30 September 2016

Election Update: Clinton’s Debate Performance Is Helping Her In Swing States & Trump Is More Unpopular Than Clinton Is — And That Matters & Who Will Win The Senate? 30SEP16

WE can not become complacent , the fact that the drumpf/trump-pence campaign is still in the race is cause for concern. The election is the Clinton-Kaine campaign's to loose and we have to keep that in mind until the day after the election. Here is the latest on the presidential race from +FiveThirtyEight .....

Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump

National polls conducted since Monday’s presidential debate have shown Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by an average of about 4 percentage points — a meaningful improvement from her position before the debate, when she led by just 1 or 2 points. Now, it’s becoming clearer that battleground state polls are moving toward Clinton as well. These include the first results since the debate from high-quality, live-caller telephone polls; the numbers we’d been getting earlier this week were all from online or automated polls.
Here’s what I wrote on Thursday about what we might expect to see in swing state polls, assuming that Clinton led Trump by 3 to 5 percentage points nationally, as national polls seem to show:
  • A 4- to 8-point lead in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan, which have been slightly bluer than the national average this cycle.
  • Somewhere between a tie and a 4-point Clinton lead in Florida and North Carolina, which have been slightly redder than the national average.
  • A roughly tied race in Ohio and Iowa, which have been significantly redder than the national average.
So, what data have we gotten since then?
As you can see, these results are pretty much exactly what we’d expect with a Clinton lead of 3 to 5 percentage points nationally. In fact, they’re mostly toward the high end of the range, which means that her lead over Trump nationally could eventually turn out to be more like 5 points than 3 points as more data comes in.
The most impressive result for Clinton is probably the Suffolk poll of Nevada. I didn’t establish a benchmark for Nevada in Thursday’s write-up because there’s been a divergence between polls and demographics there all cycle, with polls showing it as a Trump-leaning state while demographics imply it should remain Democratic. But her 6-point lead in the Suffolk poll — the largest lead she’s had in any live-caller poll in Nevada all year — is the sort of number our model was expecting to see there all along. As a caution, Suffolk’s sample sizes are on the smaller side (500 people) so we’ll need to see more data from the Silver State.
Still, the polls have told a pretty consistent story overall. Among the 11 swing state polls conducted since the debate, Clinton has led in all 11.1
You may notice that I’ve focused on the top line numbers (“Clinton’s up by 4”) instead of trend lines (“she’s gained 2 points”) in these last couple ofupdates, because with trend lines there’s more to keep track of. The period from Sept. 11 through the Sept. 26 debate was one of Clinton’s worst polling stretches of the year, for example, so a new survey from a pollster that last tested the race in that period will probably show Clinton gaining ground since then. But if a pollster had last surveyed a state in early August, when she was up by 7 or 8 percentage points nationally, you’d still expect Clinton to lose ground since then.
Our models keeps track of all this stuff, of course, although they may not yet have Clinton’s debate bounce fully priced in. Her chances of winning have risen to 67 percent in our polls-only model and 64 percent in polls-plus. But our hyper-aggressive now-cast has Clinton’s popular vote lead at 4.1 percentage points, as compared with 3.1 points in the polls-only model. Since the now-cast doesn’t need as much data to show a big change, the gap implies that Clinton has some further room to grow in polls-plus and polls-only if we get more polls confirming the results we’ve seen over the past couple days.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two most disliked presidential nominees in modern American history. That was true at the beginning of this campaign, and, as we sprint towards Election Day, it’s still true now. But equating Clinton and Trump’s popularity problems misses a meaningful part of the story. Sure, they both have terrible favorability ratings compared to past presidential candidates, but Clinton has consistently been more popular than Trump, and we’re now at the point in the campaign when that difference suggests Clinton has a clear advantage.
Here’s a 10-poll rolling average of each candidate’s net favorability rating — the percentage of voters who have a favorable opinion of them minus the share who have an unfavorable opinion — since June, when Clinton became the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The trend in Trump’s and Clinton’s net favorability ratings tracks with thehorse-race polls and the overall trajectory of the race. Trump’s likability improved right around the time of the Republican National Convention in mid-July, closing in on Clinton’s. Clinton’s edge in favorability expanded after the Democratic National Convention. And things slowly tightened after that.1 Yet, unlike the horse race, Trump has never truly moved to within striking distance of Clinton’s net favorability rating except for that brief moment after the GOP convention.
Why has Clinton maintained a greater edge in net favorability than the horse-race numbers? The gap might suggest she has more latent support that she isn’t currently capturing but could on Election Day. There’s also evidence of that upside when you compare two-way surveys (just Clinton vs. Trump) to four-way polls (which include Gary Johnson and Jill Stein). Clinton does better when Johnson and Stein voters are forced to choose between the two major party candidates.
That upside is one reason to keep an eye on the candidates’ favorability ratings. Especially now. Take a look at the average net favorability of the candidates in the final two weeks of September in elections since 1980.
1980Ronald Reagan-10.5+6.0R_+16.5
1984Ronald Reagan-9.0+14.0R_+23.0
1988George H. W. Bush+11.8+17.4R__+5.6
1992Bill Clinton+11.4-9.0D_+20.4
1996Bill Clinton+18.7+3.1D_+15.6
2000George W. Bush+23.2+24.4R__+1.2
2004George W. Bush-0.4+10.6R_+11.0
2008Barack Obama+17.0+12.4D__+4.6
2012Barack Obama+6.5-5.4D_+11.9
The candidate with better favorables tends to win
Average of polls in final two weeks of September before the election
A few things stick out. First, as I said at the outset, Clinton and Trump remain very much disliked relative to previous candidates. Jimmy Carter in 1980 was the only candidate before 2016 who had a net favorability of -10 percentage points or worse. Now, both Clinton and Trump fall into that category, and Trump’s is below -20 points.
Second, the difference in popularity between the candidates right now is fairly predictive of the November result. You can see this more clearly in the chart below, plotting the average difference in net favorability ratings of the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees in the final two weeks of the September before the election and the final result.
In every election, the candidate who was leading in net favorability ratings in late September won the Electoral College and the election. The campaign with the closest favorability margin, 2000, also featured the closest final result. This year, the net favorability differences aren’t anywhere near as small. Since mid-September, Clinton’s net favorability rating is 10 percentage points better than Trump’s — similar to the edges George W. Bush had in 2004 and Barack Obama had in 2008. Bush and Obama both won small but solid victories.
Indeed, if you were going to project the 2016 election using a simple linear regression based on the difference between candidates’ net favorability ratings, you’d have Clinton winning by a little over 4 percentage points. That’s slightly larger than the 3.1-point margin the FiveThirtyEight polls-only model currently forecasts. Again that suggests that Clinton may have some upside potential our model may not be showing.
Of course, it could also be that the unusually large share of voters who don’t like either candidate makes these numbers less meaningful than usual. And even if the 2016 campaign isn’t operating on a different set of rules, net favorability at this point in the campaign is not a perfect predictor of the final result. Bill Clinton, for example, beat George H.W. Bush in 1992, but by a smaller margin than their net favorability rating difference implied. Further, as my colleague Nate Silver pointed out four years ago, we can’t be sure why favorability ratings correlate with the election results — the relationship might be the result of confounding variables. It could be, for example, that some set of other factors, such as underlying economic conditions, determines both how voters view the candidates and which one they cast a ballot for. If that’s the case, then net favorability may not tell us anything the horse-race polls aren’t already.
My guess, however, is that Clinton’s being better liked than Trump matters. Clinton has been better liked throughout this campaign, and elections are ultimately choices. Right now, the polls reflect that, and it’s why Clinton is ahead of Trump even if voters aren’t thrilled with their choices.
Chance of winning control