Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hillary's white flight

The following table shows the change in the number of white votes Hillary Clinton received in the 2016 Democrat primaries and caucuses compared to the 2008 Democrat primaries and caucuses for states where exit polling was conducting in both years (with the exception of Iowa, whose entrance polls in '08 didn't record respondent race):

West Virginia-75.9
North Carolina-29.5
New York-28.6
New Hampshire-7.1
South Carolina+22.1

Through these 26 states, Hillary has received 2.14 million fewer white votes in '16 than she did in '08. She's down in 23 states and up in just three.

Of those three, South Carolina and Illinois have easy explanations. In '08 North Carolina senator John Edwards won a plurality of the white vote. The primary occurred when there were still three electorally serious candidates in the race.

Obama had home field advantage in Illinois in '08. Even so, Hillary's white vote increase in '16 was still quite modest.

Virginia is the only state she convincingly improved her white support in from '08 to '16. Lots of federal government trough-feeding (defense) industries and contractors in the state who were afraid Sanders would cut their allotments?

In an attempt to put Sanders away, Hillary has said her top presidential priorities will be gun control and immigration 'reform'--amnesty, citizenship, etc. Trump, in contrast, has made immigration his signature issue and recently received the NRA's endorsement.

While Black Lives Matter becomes increasingly brazen and thuggish, Hillary is singing paeans for Trayvon Martin's reckless, derelict mother. Trump unapologetically points out that the group is trash.

From her failed run in '08 Hillary learned that winning white Democrats over doesn't matter. White Democrats won't convincingly support a candidate blacks don't. Blacks, in contrast, are monolithic and all vote for the same person. Ergo, white voters can go to hell, both in the primaries and in the general election.

This election is shaping up to be one of the most lopsided in history among whites. Given that Trump will need nearly two-thirds of the white vote to win, it can't be lopsided enough.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trump leads

If what many of us are working for comes to pass (and Nate Silver underestimates Trump yet again*), it'll be fun to retrace the journey, highlighting the milestones along the way.

Here is one such milestone. Trump is leading Hillary in RCP's general election polling average for the first time:

The lead is razor thin and well within the margin of error. But it's only May. Trump's numbers are all moving up. Meanwhile, Hillary has been bumping along horizontally and she has so many as-of-yet unexploited vulnerabilities that it's hard to see much of a way for her to ascend. Polls of "likely voters" are, other things equal, superior to those of "registered voters", and Trump's lead is largest in the only "likely voters" poll included in the average. Trump unofficially ended the Republican primaries substantially outperforming his polling numbers. Hillary can't keep pace (see Oregon, for example).

The Clintons are in trouble.

Parenthetically, picking Sanders as vice president would probably reset the general election match up to a month ago when Hillary averaged a 5-10 point lead. Besides the bad blood between Sanders and the Democrat party machine, this would of course mean a white-white Democrat ticket. I won't be alone in the schadenfreude I'll enjoy if we get to see that straining the precarious unity of the Coalition of the Fringes.

* Silver, who claims the biggest mistake he made in the Republican primary process was acting like a pundit and failing to create a quantitative model to support his predictions and here he is repeating the same allegedly flawed process for the general election. It wasn't the lack of a formalized model per se, though, that caused him to miss so spectacularly, it was his failure to look at the most relevant indicators that did.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Of hotties, hags, and harpies

Single, younger women vote Democrat and older, married women vote Republican, of course.

If we adjust for age and number of children birthed, though, I bet Trump's women are aesthetically better than Hillary's are.

When we're talking about activist-types, or at least the ones who'll get campaign gear and go to rallies, Trump's girls crush Hillary's, no contest.

Nate Silver sees Snowden's thigh, misses his armpit

Nate Silver is tormented by Trump's success. He's offered multiple kinda-sorta explanations and excuses as to why he so wildly and spectacularly missed the mark on Trump before, but a couple of days ago he let loose with a massive post that is still, well, a kinda-sorta explanation on why he was so wrong. Here's a taste:
With some time to reflect on the problem, I also wonder if there’s been too much #datajournalist self-flagellation. Trump is one of the most astonishing stories in American political history. If you really expected the Republican front-runner to be bragging about the size of his anatomy in a debate, or to be spending his first week as the presumptive nominee feuding with the Republican speaker of the House and embroiled in a controversy over a tweet about a taco salad, then more power to you.
The post is entitled "How I Acted Like A Pundit And Screwed Up On Donald Trump". That's a cop-out. He explains it thus:
Unlike virtually every other forecast we publish at FiveThirtyEight — including the primary and caucus projections I just mentioned — our early estimates of Trump’s chances weren’t based on a statistical model. Instead, they were what we “subjective odds” — which is to say, educated guesses. In other words, we were basically acting like pundits, but attaching numbers to our estimates.
The numbers he attached were things like the quantity of political endorsements received; comparing Trump's poll numbers with those of other exciting early leaders who subsequently flamed out like Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani; favorability ratings (Trump's were low while primary success putatively required them to be high), etc. In other words, quantitative stuff.

He says this wasn't formulated into any specific model like his polling predictions--which only differs from what Real Clear Politics does by assigning different weights to different polls instead of RCP's binary yes/no on whether or not to include a poll--the results of Silver's forecasts and RCP's are, not surprisingly, virtually identical. That's likely technically true, but based on the fact that all of these quantitative indicators suggested Trump wouldn't get the nomination, amalgamating them into a formula would have clearly yielded the following prediction: Trump will not win the Republican nomination.

Trump is going to win that nomination, of course. Silver didn't get it wrong because he wasn't meticulous enough with the way he balanced his numbers, he was wrong because he was looking at the wrong numbers, at least this time. Political forecasting is more marketing research than it is Science!--the need to adjust inputs and calibrate assumptions accordingly is a prerequisite to having a shot at getting it right every time rather than only getting it right when everything plays out exactly like it did the time before.

Because I bought in early on Trump, maintained Sanders never had a shot in hell because blacks weren't going to vote for a carpetbagging wonkish Jew from lily white Vermont, and wear a pseudonym that requires it, some modest suggestions for what Silver should have looked at:

- Immigration. Polls appear to show wide variation in public sentiment on the issue according to how the questions are presented, but the most objectively-worded polls have shown for decades now that immigration restriction and deportation are majority positions at the national level, and are overwhelmingly so among Republicans.

Trump made this his signature issue. With the exception of Tom Tancredo, who was at the time an unknown congressman from Colorado who lacked charisma, stature, and salience, no other presidential candidate since Pat Buchanan has paid it any heed.

Humorously, way back in September of last year, Silver contrasted Sanders' putative substance to Trump's alleged lack of it:
Sanders is campaigning on substantive policy positions, and Trump is largely campaigning on the force of his personality. I'm not sure this assertion requires a lot of proof, but if you need some, check out the candidates' websites. Sanders's lists dozens of specific policy proposals across a wide range of issues; Trump's details his position on just one, immigration.

- Relatedly, I'll echo Steve Sailer and note that the success of "far right" European political parties, for which Trump is a closer American representative of than any of the other GOP presidential candidates are, should've tipped Silver off to the fact that immigration (and related issues like internationalism) was going to be a driving factor this time around.

- Nowhere in Silver's 5,000+ word post did he mention social media. Trump dominated the rest of the field, Republican and Democrat, when it came to generating interest on social media. Back in December, I quantified it graphically:

Months before any actual voting had taken place, Trump and Clinton had garnered the most followers. Several months of voting having now occurred, it is clear that Trump and Clinton are going to win their parties' respective nominations.

To emphasize how crucial this has become, consider that Trump is instantaneously able to communicate directly to more people than the audiences at any given time of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC combined. I hear about every news item Trump's involved in from Trump before I hear about it anywhere else. By leveraging social media, he is able to assert more control over the narrative than the major media do.

- Nor did Silver mention rally/speech turnouts. When one guy is struggling to fill a high school gymnasium and the other guy is packing sports stadiums, it's probably time to reconsider favoring the former over the latter. If, on two-day notice, they'll skip work to travel a couple hours across state to wait a few more hours in line for a shot* at seeing a candidate speak, there's a reasonable chance they're going to drive a couple blocks to the local church or middle school on primary day and spend a couple of minutes voting for that candidate.

* Many people who've shown up for Trump rallies have been turned away because the massive venues were full; my wife and I got to the rally in KC a couple of hours before it started and would not have been able to get in had a friend not arrived two hours before us and saved us a spot in line.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Clintons are in trouble, con't

Several GOPe pols and pundits have already reluctantly fallen in line and expressed public support for Trump. More will continue to do so. Trump has now started in on Hillary and by what is already on offer, it's going to be a grueling six months for Crooked Hillary. Her stamina will definitely be tested.

I wonder if Bill even wants Hillary to get the nomination. It's not going to do his reputation any good. Most people under the age of 40 are not acquainted with the myriad ways Bill abused his power to satisfy his unrelentingly rapacious desires. Trump, Roger Stone, and many, many others will ensure that changes over the coming months.

Even if in his heart-of-hearts Bill doesn't want Hillary to get the nod, there probably isn't much he can do to prevent it at this point. I took his clash with BLM miscreants as possible evidence of sabotage, but I may have misread that.

Meanwhile, Hillary continues to be embarrassed by Sanders in state after state. In West Virginia, more people who voted for Sanders said they'd vote for Trump in the general than said they would vote for Hillary.

Appalachia is among the most favorable regions in the country for Trump, and many of these people were Trump supporters who, safe in the knowledge that Trump had the nomination locked up, decided to use their votes to sow discord in the Democrat party, but a not insignificant number of legitimately disaffected Sanders supporters will end up backing Trump in November.

Trump perspicaciously realizes as much. I've showcased some of that previously, but it's no one-and-done theme for the god emperor. Today he offered this:

In this environment, it's hard to see how the public perception of Hillary improves. Her favorability numbers are bumping along horizontally, no higher today than they were a month ago. Here they are, among likely general election voters:

Trump's, in contrast, are steadily climbing:

Again, at this point most general election voters are not engaged in nomination processes of either major party. Their perception of Trump the candidate is largely based on second-hand sources. As the nominations settle, this is already beginning to change. It will continue to do so. It's a shift I suspect will redound almost exclusively to Trump's benefit.