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August 26, 2016

Open Thread: Friday, August 26

  7:00 am

This is the open thread for Friday, August 26.

“No the old switcheroo is where you poison your drink and then switch it with the other persons.”

This is a good place to post anything that would be off topic in other threads (articles of interest, polls, etc).


August 25, 2016

Once upon a mattress – Dornsife and CVOTER flip and Clinton rebounds

  11:04 pm

The USC-Dornsife and CVOTER are internet daily tracking polls and have performed more flips than an Olympic diver in the last few days. Quinnipiac and Rasmussen have come in with results that look a lot like other non-internet pollsters. The upshot is that Mrs. Clinton is back at 4.5%, about 0.1% better than on Sunday.

Here is the combined spreadsheet that uses 4-way polls when available, that is adjusted by mean reverted bias, and that is weighted by sample size:

Polling Average Combined Aug 25


Today, the non-internet average had Mrs. Clinton ahead by 6.2% and the internet average showed her ahead by 2.6%. The 3.6 point divergence has grown but its meaning remains murky. Correcting for house effect using FiveThirtyEight’s figures shows the internet polls here to be 0.7 more Republican than this season’s average and non-internet to be 0.5 more Republican, so that accounts for 0.2 points of the 3.6 difference. I am left waiting and watching to see if they converge.

In particular, Nate Silver says of USC-Dornsife:

“. . . the poll surveys the same panel of roughly 3,000 people over and over instead of recruiting new respondents. That creates a more stable baseline and can therefore be a good way to detect trends in voter preferences, although it also means that if the panel happened to be more Trump-leaning or Clinton-leaning than the population as a whole, you’d be stuck with it for the rest of the year.”

My solution: leave USC-Dornsife in the mix and let the average work itself out.

As for the question I raised: what is the right size for an internet panel? It really depends on what you are trying to achieve. Two objectives come to mind: trying to emulate a random sample or trying to show trends longitudinally.

Let’s look at emulation first, since it usually what a pollster is trying to do. I want to build a model of the US population. So lets use this picture of the US for our make believe model. Pretend we got it from the Census Bureau. It is about a megabyte so each pixel is about 130 voters.


Now I need to turn it into a panel of say 37,440 and each pixel is still representing 130 voters on the scale above so that requires a picture of 288 pixels or a 12 x 24. Here is the panel:


Kind of small, but it looks like it may be pretty good. I mean, I did not personally intervene, I just turned it into a JPG image and reduced it to the required size using MS Paint. So lets look at it under a magnifying glass.


No, you do not need to see an eye doctor, that’s our panel. Before I ever draw a sample, I am going to tell you that the “credibility interval” is 3+% (NOT confidence interval), because I have been really careful and un-biased in selecting this panel and I’ve used pretend Bayesian Statistics on this pretend panel! The interval here depends on my selection, not the sample size. The AAPOR says that the Bayesian approach required by internet panels like this does:

“. . . elevate the importance of correctly choosing the statistical model that links the sample to the target population through which the polling data are filtered and adjusted to produce results.”

I think our model and the original picture are well linked. Now randomly pick 300 pixels from our blurry picture and do it every day. That is your tracking poll. There is no “easy way to validate” my model, but this linkage may actually be better than most internet polls. Just how good the linkage is will have to wait until after the November 8 vote. If we get sample results that match the real results, our linkage and picture were pretty good, even if it doesn’t look that way.

–Deming’s Disciple


Poll Watch (CNN, Monmouth): Trump Leads in AZ, Clinton Ahead in NC

  2:17 pm

CNN / ORC Arizona General Election:

  • Donald Trump (R) 43%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 38%
  • Gary Johnson (L) 12%
  • Jill Stein (G) 4%

Survey of 842 registered voters was conducted August 18-23, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

CNN / ORC North Carolina General Election:

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 44%
  • Donald Trump (R) 43%
  • Gary Johnson (L) 11%

Survey of 912 registered voters was conducted August 18-23, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Monmouth North Carolina General Election:

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 44%
  • Donald Trump (R) 42%
  • Gary Johnson (L) 7%

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Hillary Clinton 36% / 52% {-16%}
  • Donald Trump 34% / 54% {-20%}

Survey of 401 likely voters was conducted August 20-23, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percentage points.

H/T to The Argo Journal.


Poll Watch (Quinnipiac, Rasmussen): Clinton Holds Lead Nationwide

  2:12 pm

Quinnipiac National General Election:

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% {42%} 
  • Donald Trump (R) 41% {40%}

Among Men

  • Donald Trump (R) 48% {47%} 
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42% {34%}

Among Women

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 60% {50%} 
  • Donald Trump (R) 36% {33%}

W/ Third-Party Candidates:

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% {39%} 
  • Donald Trump (R) 38% {37%}
  • Gary Johnson (L) 10% {8%}
  • Jill Stein (G) 4% {4%}

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 41% / 53% {-12%}
  • Donald Trump 33% / 61% {-28%}
National survey of 1,498 likely voters was conducted August 18-24, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted June 21-27, 2016 are in curly brackets.
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42% [41%] 
  • Donald Trump (R) 38% [39%] 
  • Gary Johnson (L) 9% [9%]
  • Jill Stein (G) 2% [3%]
  • Some other candidate 3% [3%]
  • Undecided 7% [5%]

Survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted August 23-24, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.Results from the poll conducted August 15-16, 2016 are in square brackets.

H/T to The Argo Journal.

Trump Makes Amnesty Great Again

  12:20 pm

It seems like yesterday that Donald Trump rode in on his white horse and said that illegal aliens “have to go!” He was going to construct the wall of all walls across the entire border to keep Mexicans from flooding into the country, and anytime anyone gave him any guff about it he was going to build the Cadillac of all walls that much higher. He called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers and said, “and I suppose there are a few good ones.”

Amplifying on his implicit theme that our troubles are caused by foreigners and not by mundane matters like an onerous tax structure, a gargantuan federal register, an increasingly failed educational system and things like that, he talked about our “bad trade deals” and how we have to pull out of NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

And then, after more than a year of all this, he takes it back. He’s always said that after they all go, we’ll let the good ones back in. After saying that, they don’t have to go after all. It turns out that Bush and Obama deported a lot of them and so would he. Now, all of a sudden, he would keep doing things the way they have been done since time immemorial. The quintessential xenophobe Ann Coulter, who just finished her book “In Trump We Trust” is reportedly thinking of cancelling her book tour. Her immediate reaction was that this “is insane.” Relax Ann, you’ve been punked.

The interesting thing is that anyone was surprised. Charles Krauthammer summed things up rather succinctly, but he didn’t need to be the psychiatrist that he is to do it:

Well, you know, if this is evolution, this is like a platypus going to sleep and waking up as a pussycat. That has really never happened in the history of any of our species. This is not evolution — this is a complete turnabout. And the worst thing is not just that it’s a change of policy. It’s that — look at what happens to the underlying logic. The logic of the policy was — this was the tent-pole of his campaign — the politicians are idiots. The politicians are stupid. The politicians are sold-out. They don’t care about you. And what did he say? “We don’t have borders. We don’t have a country. They are all flocking in. They’re killers, they’re rapists, and the country is a divided crime scene,” as he said in his speech at the convention, as a result of this. And now he tells us, “Oh, the laws are wonderful as administered by Bush and Obama. I don’t want to change any of it. I’ll be a little more energetic.” That undermines everything he’s ever said. And you have to question, did he ever mean it? I believe the answer is probably no.

Charles is being rather disingenuous, and too polite by half, in saying that Trump “probably” didn’t mean it. How could he have? Look at what he was saying just a few months ago on The Morning Joe:

“Are you going to have a massive deportation force?” Mika Brzezinski asked.
“You’re going to have a deportation force…”
“So people will face ramifications if they don’t leave, if they harbor them?” Brzezinski asked.
“People will leave,” Trump said.
“How are you going to pay for this? Are they going to be ripped out of their homes? How?” Brzezinski asked.

Trump said such an operation would be inexpensive. “They’re going back where they came,” Trump said. “If they came from a certain country, they’re going to be brought back to that country … They can come back, but they have to come back legally.”

But on Hannity last night, after saying we won’t deport them, Trump sought to reassure the audience, saying:  “It’s not really amnesty! They won’t get citizenship! They’ll pay back taxes!” Then again, they won’t leave, either. He would continue to deport some, just like Bush and Obama, but most of the illegal aliens will stay, just as they always have. And just like always amnesty will be the de facto law of the land.

Ann Coulter in her book “In Trump We Trust” makes an interesting point: “There’s nothing Trump can do that won’t be forgiven. Except change his immigration policies.” After leading the charge for Trump, lo these many months, one wonders if Coulter will forgive him. That will depend on whether Ann is one of those useful idiots that Abraham Lincoln said could be fooled all the time.

And it will be similarly enlightening to see where Trump goes from here, now that his immigration policy is in shreds. Can his trade policy be far behind?


Open Thread: Thursday, August 25

  7:00 am

This is the open thread for Thursday, August 25.

“Well if he’s doing that bad, maybe he’s in line for another promotion”

This is a good place to post anything that would be off topic in other threads (articles of interest, polls, etc).


August 24, 2016

Open Thread: Wednesday, August 24

  7:00 am

This is the open thread for Wednesday, August 24.

“Well, Leslie, sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason”

This is a good place to post anything that would be off topic in other threads (articles of interest, polls, etc).


August 23, 2016

Poll Watch (Roanoke, Monmouth): Close Race in MO, Clinton Up Huge in VA

  2:26 pm

Monmouth Missouri General Election:

  • Donald Trump: 44%
  • Hillary Clinton: 43%
  • Gary Johnson: 8%
  • Other / Undecided: 6%

Favorable / Unfavorable: 

  • Donald Trump: 33% / 53% (-20%)
  • Hillary Clinton: 32% / 56% (-24%)

Senate Race:

  • Roy Blunt (R): 48%
  • Jason Kander (D): 43%
  • Jonathan Dine (L): 3%
  • Undecided: 7%

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone from August 19 to 22 2016 with 401 Missouri residents likely to vote in the November election.  This sample has a margin of error of + 4.9 percent. 

Roanoke College Virginia General Election:

  • Hillary Clinton: 48%
  • Donald Trump: 32%
  • Gary Johnson: 8%
  • Jill Stein: 3%
  • Undecided: 9%

Favorable / Unfavorable: 

  • Hillary Clinton: 39% / 45% (-6%)
  • Donald Trump: 23% / 63% (-40%)

Interviewing for The Roanoke College Poll was conducted by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem, Va. between August 7 and August 17, 2016. A total of 803 likely voters in Virginia were interviewed … are subject to a sampling error of plus or minus approximately 3.5 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.


After Trump Loses

  2:03 pm

Going into the nominating process there were two basic factions in the Republican Party, with Donald Trump representing one of them and 16 other candidates representing the other. Gary Johnson, The Libertarian Party nominee, has said that 30% of the Republican Party thinks our problems are a result of Mexican immigrants crossing the border, taking our jobs, and flouting our laws. That’s an over-simplified depiction of one part of the party, but it’s not altogether inaccurate in its implication.

The other faction of the party, sometimes referred to as the managerial part, or the part that is well educated and lives largely in suburbia, is the reason why the party can’t seem to quite unify under Trump. In the last couple of weeks he has been making major overtures to that wing in the form of a variety of speeches.

On Monday of last week Trump gave a major national security speech in Ohio, calling for new measures to combat terrorism and proposed “extreme vetting” for any prospective immigrant coming from a country identified with a terrorist problem, and called for a stronger police presence where needed. On Tuesday he gave a speech in Wisconsin calling out liberals for failing and betraying blacks and promising them better jobs and futures under his administration. On Thursday he apologized, sort of, for any offenses he might have given during his primary campaign. And he also doubled down on his new outreach to black voters, asking them “What do you have to lose?” And he pledged to protect equality for women, Hispanics, gays, and minorities in general. On Friday he released his first campaign ad, focusing on Hillary’s invitation to bring in lots more Syrian refugees. On Saturday, Trump broadened his message to the black community, telling a rally in Virginia, “The GOP is the party of Abraham Lincoln. And I want our party to be the home of the African-American voter once again.” And he met with his Hispanic council and notably softened his stance on illegal immigration, saying he would enforce “existing law.”

What this all amounts to has been described as the presidential pivot, but could be characterized as throwing a new bunch of it against the wall and seeing if it sticks. Alternatively, it can be argued that it’s an attempt to consolidate the party behind him and mollifying its managerial wing.

The thing is, the portion of the party he’s recently been appealing to isn’t as manipulable as the part he originally captivated. GOP managers, professionals, and techies are more likely to look for consistency and take umbrage at slurs and petty backbiting. And that part of the party is looking for viable alternatives. Brandon Morse of Red State, in part referring to an interview by John Harwood of Gary Johnson, suggests that the Republican Party, much like Humpty Dumpty, can’t be put back together again:

Many of those who left the Republican party, or have pledged to never vote for someone like Trump, have found their way to the Libertarian party. While many, including myself, don’t agree with Johnson 100%, we’re still finding him a breath of fresh air in an election otherwise polluted with horrible candidates.

Later (John) Harwood asked what would happen once Hillary is elected, and with Johnson having such a solid showing. Johnson, while obviously seeing the Republican party as ultimately good, sees it ending.

“Let’s say Hillary Clinton’s elected, and you have a solid showing. Trump loses. Where does the Republican Party go after that?” asked Harwood.

“This is the demise of the Republican Party,” answered Johnson. “This is an opportunity, I think, for the Libertarian Party to become a major party.”

The Republican Party will be reconstituted, but it will never go back to being an all-conservative Party. There will be conservatives in it, as well as a lot of formerly faux conservatives who have now been exposed as being ideologically corrupt. It will be a lot more anti-free-trade and anti-immigration than heretofore. It will be more economically populist and less free-market oriented. And The Libertarian Party will become a new bastion on the Right.

Quite a few Republicans have sought refuge in The LP, and more will when push comes to shove later in the campaign. So Libertarians, who have constituted the largest third party in America for the last 40 years could break out into major party status. In a recent poll of 400 economists, 15% thought Johnson would handle the economy better than anyone else in the race. The kicker is that only 14% thought Trump would. It’s frightening that half of them thought Hillary was the right way to go, but consider that most undoubtedly see it as a binary choice and are appalled by Donald’s views on trade.

We could be entering a tripartite America.


So Which Trump Will It Be? Immigration Hawk or Mr. Amnesty?

  12:17 pm

Trump’s rise began last June during his announcement when he called Mexicans rapists and drug traffickers and said he’s going to send them back. He hit a nerve with many Republicans who are sick of our leaders doing nothing to curb illegal immigration. The wall idea cemented his die hard supporters.

Trump chose an issue that he knew would resonate and therefore went all in. He presented himself as the guy who would be the guy who finally would put the American worker first and take care of the immigration problem.

The more he got attacked for this type of rhetoric, the more his supporters were convinced that he’s the one that won’t be afraid to say it like it is and is a threat to the status quo.

There were two camps of Republicans that quickly became staunchly anti-Trump. The first camp were the more mainstream Republicans who are pro-amnesty of some sort and believe that to win you need to appeal to Hispanics. The second camp saw right through Trump and knew, based on his past, that he’s not a real conservative and is just using hyperbole to gain attention and votes. Trump’s overall crazy behavior and pettiness caused both these camps to be firmer in their opposition.

Those in the second camp (like Ben Shapiro, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Mark Levin, Erick Erickson)  who never believed Trump to be a conservative aren’t surprised by Trump making a 180 about his immigration policy. During the primaries Trump was talking about deporting all illegals, building the wall, and banning all Muslims. He blasted his opponents for disagreeing. Now he’s talking about allowing illegals to stay, maybe building a wall and being vague on his Muslim proposal. They aren’t surprised and believed Trump to be a fraud all along.

The die-hards like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Drudge and Breitbart will spin anything Trump says or does and will continue to believe that Trump will be the greatest president and will carry out his original immigration plans. These people will be the most disappointed. Either because Trump will lose or even if he wins, he won’t do anything that they think he will.

So either Trump will really be this immigration hardliner and is just softening his tone now to win or he hoodwinked his way to the nomination and never really cared or planned on implementing any tough immigration stances!


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