Sunday, September 18, 2016

More Polls Suggest Tightening May be Over

Josh Marshall has an interesting analysis of the new Pennsylvania poll. 

"A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll is out last night shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 9 points in a head to head match up and 8 points when third party candidates are added."

"A few points of context about this poll are worth noting."

"First, this is a highly respected in-state pollster. And the margin is significantly above what was the PollTracker Average (a 4.3 percentage point margin for Clinton) prior to this poll. Needless to say, if polls didn't show Clinton with a lead in Pennsylvania that would signal fairly dire election scenario. But this poll shows a margin higher than the current trendline. Indeed, the last time the average was in this territory was in early August. (With the addition of this poll, the PollTracker Average moved to Clinton +6.3."

"Now, what does this tell us?"

"It may just tell us that Clinton likely still has a lead in Pennsylvania, which is nice to know but something we assume. I believe it suggests something more though. The last polls recorded for Pennsylvania were from the first week of this month. The final date on which the most recent poll was in the field was September 9th - in other words, entirely before but just before "deplorables" and Clinton's health scare. This poll was taken from Monday to Friday of last week, 9-16th. If the rapid contraction of Clinton's lead that began that weekend were persisting, or if Trump's upward momentum were continuing and propelling him into a clear lead nationwide, we would expect to see some further tightening of the margin in Pennsylvania too. But we don't. We actually have a Clinton lead about twice as large as average before the poll was released. That's significant."

"Now, a few obvious caveats. This is one poll in one state. Muhlenberg is a highly-rated in-state poll - they know Pennsylvania. But I believe this is their first poll of the race this year. So we have no earlier Muhlenberg poll to compare it to. Like any poll, this one has a margin of error which, from a statistical point of view, could place the race near a tie. With all that said, though, this poll is significant because it's one possible piece of evidence for what we discussed as a possibility Friday: that the shift in the numbers we saw last week wasn't a decisive turn in the race but an ephemeral response to two fairly high intensity news events that demoralized Clinton's supporters and energized Trump's."

"We'll need more state and national polls to know whether what I call the 'Clinton Wall' remains intact. But this poll is more consistent with that hypothesis than a true shift in the dynamics of the race."

There is more data to back up Marshall's theory.

1. As I've discussed her approval rating has been on the rise lately. While it's still not high, it's better than it has been. In an Economist/YouGov poll that came out last week she's now upside down onlyl 46-53; again, not great but better than it has been and the best she's had in YouGov since last December.

In addition, Gallup showed her rally 4 points on the week to 40-55. She was at 37-58 in early September which might suggest the tightening we've been seeing is i the rearview window.

A Fox News poll has her at 45-54. So her favorability is o the upswing-though clearly there's plenty of room for improvement.

2. A Morning Consult poll that shows her up 3 points in a head to head the last week.

"Clinton Maintains Lead Over Trump Despite Health Scare."

Don't get me wrong. It was never clear to me even if God forbid she wasn't ok-which she is-this would make anyone want to vote for Donald Trump. A choice between Trump and Tim Kaine is a no-brainer. 

In the four way with Morning Consult, Gary Johnson is down a couple of points. With him not making the debate and people realizing the best kept secret about him post Aleppe that he doesn't know anything, hopefully his numbers continues to slip

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