Now The Campaign Really Begins!

              Okay guys, the Summer’s over on Tuesday and the election gets down to brass tacks.  So here’s where things now stand. 

              As of today, Joe is leading in the aggregate national poll by 50.4% to 43%, numbers for both candidates that have been basically unchanged for the last week. On this same date in 2016, Hillary was at 41.3%, Trump at 39.2%.  Not only was the aggregate poll much closer in 2016 than today, but the all-important Sedaris dog-shit number was 19.5%. Right now the national undecided number is 6.6%. If Trump picks up every, single dog-shit voter between now and November 3rd, he would still lose the popular vote.

              There’s only one little problem.  Trump lost the popular vote by 3% of total votes cast in 2016 and we’ve still been cursed with him for the last 4 years. So let’s drill down and look at the state-level voting, because once again the election will be decided by turnout and voter decisions in a handful of states.

              How small is that handful?  Try three – Michigan, Wisconsin and most important, PA. Here’s how the numbers work out. Joe has 21 states in his pocket which together count for 227 electoral votes. These are the states that voted for Hillary in 2016, and with the exception of Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Hillary had a double-digit advantage in each of those states. Right now in the three states that went single-digit blue in 2016, Minnesota and Nevada are showing 6+ gaps in favor of Joe, in New Hampshire it’s 8.2%. Only in Nevada is Joe running under 50%.

              The three states whose outcomes will determine whether or not we have Trump around for another four years count 46 electoral votes. Which gets Joe to 273 EV’s. That’s the end of that. Right now, Joe’s ahead in all 3 states – 6.6% in Michigan, 7.2% in Wisconsin and 4.5% in PA.  There’s only one little problem with these numbers, however. At this point in 2016, Hillary was ahead in those three same states. In Michigan, Hillary was up by 5%, in Wisconsin, the gap was 5%, the gap was 9% in PA.

              Right now Joe is leading in those three states by the same margin, more or less, that Hillary enjoyed following Labor Day in 2016. So how did Trump manage to pull it out?

I posted a column back on August 30 which showed that Trump pulled his last-minute surge because Libertarians who had declared themselves for Johnson, decided at the last minute not to waste their vote and switched to Trump. In this year’s pre-election polls, the Libertarian candidate, Jo Jorgensen, is only getting 2%-3%, which doesn’t give Trump any kind of boost even if every, single Libertarian goes into the booth and votes GOP.

In 2012, Obama got 7,175,828 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and PA, the total for Hillary in 2016 was 6,577,816. Wow! Blue votes decreased by 8%. If Hillary had received the same number of votes in 2016 that Obama got in 2012, Trump would have spent the last 4 years tweeting to himself.

              Look what happened in PA.  Obama got 2,990,274 votes in 2012, HRC got 2,926,441 votes in 2016. How many votes did Trump get in 2016? Try 2,970,733.  If Hillary had received the exact same number of votes in 2016 that Obama pulled out in 2012, she would have won PA by 82,000 votes. In Michigan, if she had garnered Obama’s 2,564,569 total, she would have swamped Trump instead of losing those all-important 16 EV’s by a pathetic 10,000 votes.

              Trump has lost on re-opening schools; he’s lost the mail-in vote issue as well. We now have a new scandal involving what he said or didn’t say when he went to Europe in 2018. What’s left? Race. And I guarantee he will run the most disgusting, racist campaign of all time.

              Joe was absolutely spot on when he said that you’re not Black if you voted for Trump. Let’s make sure he can say the same thing after November 3rd about voters who are White.


Can We Trust The Polls?

              If you’re addicted to politics like I am, every four years you also get addicted to political polls. And since my undergraduate minor was stat, beginning in August I begin every day by looking at the numbers and trying to figure out whether the polls are really saying what they appear to say.

              Right now what they appear to say is that Joe is ahead in the national popular vote by somewhere between 3 and 13 percent. Wait a minute, you say, all the aggregate pollsters show Joe with a lead of 8 or 9 points, somewhere around 50-51% for Biden, 42-43% for Trump. But if you read the fine print at the bottom of the page, you’ll notice that virtually every poll says something about having a ‘margin of error’ of 5 percent.  If you deduct 5% from Joe’s number he’s down to 48%.  Add 5% to Trump’s numbers and he’s up to 45%. Get it? Good.

              A 48% to 45% margin for the popular vote is exactly how things ended up for Hillary and Trump in 2016. But that’s the easy part. Now things get a little more complicated.

              You’ll notice that every poll says that the respondents were either ‘registered’ voters or ‘likely’ voters, but never both. The registered polls tend to be earlier in the season, the polls answered by likely voters are mostly what starts to be published right around now.  I guess this is because asking someone whether they plan to engage in any particular activity four months before it is  scheduled to take place, is asking them to make a prediction about their own behavior which may or may not actually occur.

              I happen to think that grouping voters in either category is basically a waste of time, if only because the fact that someone says they are intending to vote doesn’t mean that when they show up they will actually spend more than two seconds thinking about which lever to pull down. And I have yet to see any pre-election poll which asks respondents to divulge just how much time – hours, minutes, seconds – they have spent thinking about how they are going to  vote.

              Then there’s a bigger problem when we look at the daily voting trends published by aggregators like Silver’s 538, 270towin, Real Clear Politics (RCP) or Huffington Post. Very few pollsters run their polls more than once a week, sometimes even less frequently than that. So unless you aggregate the results of numerous polls together, you won’t have any new data to publish except once a week. Which means your website will go stale very quickly, which means your clicks will start dropping like flies.

              On the other hand, if you aggregate a whole bunch of polls every week, how do you know that the pollsters aren’t measuring responses by using duplicate answers from the same respondents, whether they even know it or not? If you’re an aggregator, how do you adjust the numbers to take into account an unintended bias that will impact your trends from duplicate counts? You can’t.

              I try to deal with these problems by trusting one pollster who polls very frequently, in this case I reference Morning Consult, which claims to run a national poll every day. Here’s their aggregate national poll from May through today:

              Joe is at 51%, Trump at 43%. Note how little the results have changed over the last 90 days. I’m hardly the first person to notice that the numbers for both candidates have been basically unchanged over this period of time. In 2016, Hillary was under 42% on July 1st, pulled back up to 45.7% at the beginning of August, was just over 42% as September came around and moved between 45% and 46% over the last 30 days. Here’s how Clinton and Trump looked from the beginning of June:

              I have left the numbers for Johnson and Stein off the graph, but note that not only does this graph show much greater day-to-day variation for Clinton and Trump, but more than 13% of the queried voters said they wouldn’t vote for either of them at the end of the campaign. Right now the Sedaris dog-shit number for 2020 in half of what it was in 2016.

              That’s where things stand at the national level but it’s the state-level polls that we still need to see. That’s tomorrow’s column. Stay tuned.

Weekly In-Play State Polls: Trump Keeps Rolling Along – Nowhere.

              Next week and the week after that, I’m going to skip publishing a report on how the polls look in the in-play states for the simple reason that I don’t trust any poll about anything conducted the last week of August when everyone is thinking about resuming whatever they are planning to resume after Labor Day. And the fact that the situation in schools is still unclear only makes what people will be thinking about next week even more difficult to understand.

              So our next report will appear on Monday, September 7th, which will not only be Labor Day so whatever you needed to do before Labor Day is either done or not done; plus, the polls beginning in September will also take into account the ‘bounce’ that candidates get from their conventions, which start this week.

              That being said, the poll results currently show Joe increasing his lead bit-by-bit in the in-play states, with the current numbers looking like this:

              Note that Joe is at or near 50% in 7 seven states; last week it was 1 state. Note he has hit the 50% in 3 states, last week it was 1 state. Joe’s overall average in the 12 in-play states is 48.4, our wartime President’s average is 44.8. Joe has pulled even or slightly ahead in Ohio, he’s 2 points behind in Texas, 1.4 points behind in Iowa – he doesn’t need either state. Assuming Joe wins all the Communist states, he only needs Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire to put him and Kam over the top. Except for Pennsylvania, where’s he’s 6 points ahead, Joe’s ahead by 8 points in the other 3 must-win states.

              Joe’s even up by a point in North Carolina, which a month ago, nobody thought he could win. But maybe an 8-point lead at this moment doesn’t mean that Joe is ahead. Last week our Commander-in-Chief told the sycophantic New York Post that because of crime and high taxes, his campaign was going to put New York “into play.” After my sister tipped me off to this loony statement I checked the polls and Trump is only behind in New York by 25 points – 63% to 38%. New York’ in play – yea, right.

              Now here’s the real news. For the 12 in-play states, the Sedaris Dog-shit vote is now down to an average of 7.8.  In New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, it’s down to 5.5. In those two states, every, single voter could make up their minds to vote for Trump between now and November 3rd, and he still couldn’t win. The dog-shit vote in Michigan and Wisconsin is somewhat larger, but unless 90% of the dog shits went for Mister Dog Shit himself, he couldn’t carry either of those states on November 3rd.

              Incidentally, with the exception of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan all have no-excuse, absentee voting. In other words, voting by mail. Now you know why Trump is making those claims about mail-in voting equals voting fraud. I love how he is now blaming Amazon for financial losses suffered by the Post Office; pretty soon he’ll be claiming that Amazon is also spreading the virus into all 50 states.

              I can’t recall one, single day in the last 3 ½ years when Trump didn’t blame someone for something. And if this guy thinks that blaming anyone other than himself for not taking the Cobvid-19 virus seriously, is what a ‘wartime President’ does when the country is under attack, then all I can say is that he wouldn’t know how to be a ‘wartime leader’ any better than he knew how to run an airline or start a new football league.

              The only problem with any political poll is what w call the ‘black swan’ effect, namely, that no matter how many times we think we know how people are going to do something, there’s always a chance they’ll do it differently the next time out.

              Which is why good poll news to the contrary, just remember what Al Capone said: Vote Early, Vote Often.

What Happened To Trump’s Big ‘Base?’

              I would love to know how many people watch Trump’s so-called ‘briefings’ every day. First of all, he has nothing to say. Second, he just repeats the same lies and insults again and again. If this is how his new campaign manager has re-set his floundering campaign, as my grandfather would say, oy zuch en vay, which basically means you can stick it you know where.

              Now that we are into the fifth, straight month in which Biden continues to hold the same, 8-point lead, I think it’s safe to ask the inevitable question which is this: Why does anyone think that Trump can win again? Why may sound really stupid until and unless you take a long, hard look at the numbers from 2016. And what those numbers really show is that Trump won the 2016 election by a margin so slight that the idea of a big, devoted ‘base’ ready to support him again is a big, fat, joke – almost as fat as his rear end.

              Trump became #45 because he got 306 electoral votes. The only two Presidential elections in the past hundred years where the winner received fewer electoral votes was Bush in 2000 and Carter in 1976. But Carter won the popular vote in 1976 and Bush lost the popular vote by less than 500,000 votes. Trump lost the 2016 popular number by 3 million votes.

              Now let’s look at the so-called ‘swing’ of blue to red states. In fact, what really got Trump into the White House were the results from three states: Michigan, Wisconsin, and PA. The last time these states voted red was in 1988. Together, those 3 reliably-blue states gave Clinton 6,577,816 votes, Trump got 6,655,560, a difference of 77,744 votes, a difference of one-half of one percent of all the votes cast in those three states.

              Now you would think that someone who came into office with such a razor-thin margin would realize right from the git-go that his term of office would be shaped by how well he could convince a real majority of Americans that he understood why they didn’t want him around. To the contrary, what Trump has done for the last four years minus three months is to pretend that his election heralded not only the rebirth of America, but the beginnings of a new ‘movement’ that has never been seen before.

              This new ‘movement’ is so big and strong that they couldn’t even turn out a full house at Trump’s June rally in Tulsa, and had to postpone his New Hampshire rally in early July, an event, by the way, that his campaign said would be ‘re-scheduled’ for sometime in the following two weeks.

Know what the great campaigner did yesterday? He held a meeting in the White House to announce yet another Executive Order requiring that the federal government always hire Americans first. Here is what he said: “I’m signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a very simple rule: Hire American. We’ve been doing it at a level that hasn’t been done maybe ever.”

              Note the word ‘maybe.’ The truth is that his claim about hiring Americans first for government jobs was a statement he made up right there and then. So he inserted the word ‘maybe’ just to make sure that when someone does a quick fact-check and discovers that he was wrong, his silly, little press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, doesn’t have to admit that he lied.

              Want a better one? Trump is now defending his non-response to the Covid crisis by saying that we have ‘better numbers’ than anywhere else. Our per-capita GDP happens to be four times higher than the rest of the world. And Trump is comparing our Covid response to countries whose economies produce a fraction of the goods and services that we enjoy?

              That’s me (above) putting the Biden sign on my front door. If Trump wants to continue using the most foul, racist narrative to appeal to his so-called base, let him go right ahead. Just remember, we only need three states.

What Will We Write About If Biden Wins?

              The latest issue of The Atlantic Monthly contains an article which makes the case that Trump could still pull things out in November because he has key advantages that our side doesn’t have. The problem with this article, however, is that it’s based on a mish-mash of quotes from various sources, all of whom will find themselves without anyone to talk to if Biden actually wins. Let’s look at each argument in turn.

              Argument #1. Trump will spin a slight recovery into the beginning of a real economic return. To buttress this point, the author of The Atlantic piece, Peter Nicholas, says that a new ABC-WaPo survey still gives Trump a 50 percent mark for how he’s handled the economy. Except the mark is actually 47%, Trump is tied with Joe in the new poll and his positive number has dropped by 19 points since March.

              Argument #2. The polls are no more correct than they were in 2016.  Which experts does Nicholas quote for this idea? None other than KellyAnne Conway, who deserves the Lifetime Medal of Freedom for how much bullshit she has pitched for Trump over the past four years.

              Argument #3. Trump can use the powers of incumbency to campaign all the time. Nicholas uses as an example of Trump’s media presence his daily briefing on Covid-19. Except there’s only one little problem. Trump has now twice abandoned those briefing because he looks and sounds like a fool.

              Argument #4. Biden still can’t convince the Bernie supporters to get onboard. This argument is bolstered by a comment from big-mouth Nina Turner, a co-chair of the Sanders campaign, who believes that voting for Biden is like eating a “bowl of shit.” The pro-Trump media has had a field-day with that one.

              Argument #5. Biden’s vote might be suppressed because Trump is against the mail-in vote and in-person voting sites are being reduced as a protection from Covid-19. Why do we assume that making people wait longer to vote will only hurt Biden? Why couldn’t the same lack of voting sites hurt Trump?

              Argument #6. Trump could always pull an October surprise. Trump can pretend that a vaccine is ready to hit the market, but how does such news mitigate the fact that because of how Trump responded to the ‘Chinese plague’ back in February, we need to rush a vaccine into production at all? And what about the possibility that an October surprise would be pulled off by Biden against Trump?

              Trump may want to believe that he’s a ‘wartime’ President but Americans aren’t lining up to support him the way they supported George Bush after the Twin Towers came down. Why not? Because Trump isn’t a wartime President. He’s a real-estate salesman who figured out how to use social media against an opponent who ran a totally inept and mismanaged campaign.

              When Obama was President, every time I walked into a bookshop there was always a big display of anti-Obama books. He was undermining the Constitution, he was promoting nefarious social policies, he was born outside the United States, he was doing this or doing that.  Now I go into bookstores and that same display case is filled with anti-Trump books. He’s a Fascist, a crook, a liar, next month Michael Cohen’s tell-all will be on display.

              So here’s the question: What are all these writers going to do if Biden wins? Can you imagine an anti-Biden book which argues that he’s a threat to this or a threat to that? If things keep going the way they are going in this campaign, nobody’s going to buy a book which tries to prove that Biden’s anything other than what he really is – a nice guy who might have beaten Trump in 2016 except he didn’t run because of the untimely death of his older son.

              Yesterday the President of the United States got up in public and promoted the medical views of a doctor who actually believes that DNA from outer-space aliens is being used to treat patients here on Earth. And Biden’s the demented candidate this year?