Tracking Polls Show Clinton Disaster Looms, But Electoral College Holds

The relationship between the popular vote, roughly reflected in national polls, and the Electoral College vote, is where the rubber meets the road.

When you look at states that are very solid for each candidate, neither candidate has a lock on the race, but Clinton has way more electoral votes, currently. These numbers hover around 200-something to 100-something.

Then there are the strongly leaning states, which when added to the other states, put Clinton almost exactly at the required 270 electoral votes. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less, depending on which states you think you can count on. For example, until this weekend, many put Florida in this second category, but Florida is now looking more like a Trump state.

All of these in between states, including the strongly leaning ones and the real tossups, have the candidates within just a few percentage points of each other. If a strong swing toward or away from either candidate happens, either candidate could win this election. The chances that such a swing puts Trump in the White House is low, but not zero. Repeat: Not zero. And, there is currently an anti-Clinton swing going on, the full magnitude of which we will not know for several days.

It is distinctly possible that the situation on the weekend before voting day will be distinctly different than, say, last weekend. At the present, the race is in flux.

More on the negative side: It is possible that James Comey has (in an act best described as a felony) put enough of a counter spin on the top of the ticket that the Senate is lost to the Democrats.

On the positive side, it is possible that the Democratic Party gets anywhere between one and three extra points in each state because of an improved ground game, a get out the vote effort, compared to the Republicans. But, the Republicans have been getting good at this, and in states where they have a senator at stake, they are putting millions of dollars into play. And of course, some of those states are also swing states.

Anyway, here is today's bad news:

ABC Tracking Poll:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-19-29-am

USC LA Times Tracking Poll:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-20-24-am

IBD/TIPP Tracking Poll:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-21-37-am

Recent trends reflected in the FiveThirtyEight electoral vote estimate:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-24-30-am

Of the swing states, Trump is leading in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Utah,

Of the swing states, Clinton is leading in Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Caroina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Clinton is leading in Florida but with a rapidly diminishing lead, and is behind in more recent polls than is Trump. Florida may go for trump. A prudent guesser will now put Florida in the unknown column, or to be safe, in Trump column.

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By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 30 Oct 2016 #permalink

It's going to take years for the contempt I feel for a large part of the American electorate right now to dissipate. I didn't feel this in the case of Reagan, or George H.W. Bush, or Romney, or even George W. Bush (maybe a very little). The needle moved with McCain, who showed there was far less substance behind his lovingly-polished media image than it appeared.

But that someone as utterly and obviously unfit for the presidency (or any high office) as Trump, who has openly expressed his contempt for democracy and the norms of a representative government, will draw over 40% of the popular vote is unforgivable.

China and Russia are openly laughing, and American allies are in shock. This is a bleak moment for the U.S., and if Clinton wins and the Democrats take even a razor thin majority in the Senate they would be well advised to scrap the anachronistic filibuster rule and make as many senior appointments within the first year as possible, regardless of Republican sentiments.

It would be wise if 83-year old Ginsburg and even 78-year old Breyer considered the merits of voluntary retirement from the Supreme Court during that period. In addition, swing justice Kennedy is 80, and Thomas, though only 68, looks ready to pop at any time. It would be deeply satisfying ironic justice if the Republicans' favorite target of the past quarter century could somehow make 3 or 4 or 5 appointments to the top court while owing them *nothing*, and liberalize it for a generation or more.

More on the negative side: It is possible that James Comey has (in an act best described as a felony) put enough of a counter spin on the top of the ticket that the Senate is lost to the Democrats.

The attorney general advised him against the disclosure. And some are now saying that it was a violation of the Hatch Act.

http://www.businessinsider.com/hatch-act-james-comey-richard-painter-20…

I think the repercussions could go either way. It certainly will resonate with Trump supporters, who will once again hear only "FBI Clinton e-mails." On the other hand, Republican Comey's action will be taken as a dirty trick by Clinton supporters and probably drive some to vote who might have skipped it, thinking their candidate was a shoo-in.

The wild card is whether Comey's team can come up with something substantively damaging to Clinton. It's clear he hopes this will happen ASAP.

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 30 Oct 2016 #permalink

Apparently, Justice Thomas thought Anita Hill and a few other lawyers also looked "ready to pop at any time".

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 30 Oct 2016 #permalink

(AP) FBI Director James Comey has departed Washington on a military transport, bound for "an interrogation operation" at Guantanamo Naval Base. The director's office, responding to queries about the operation, provided scant details, and said they had "no idea when he would be returning".

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 30 Oct 2016 #permalink

Maybe you shouldn't shoot the messenger.
If he does nothing, he's "covering it up".
If he does something, he's "violating the Hatch Act".
Why not focus on the actual issue: Hilary Clinton's woeful approach to honestly dealing with her breaches of national security.
As far as public perception goes, "dodgy emails" is very much trumped by "sexual molestation", so the partisan attacks on James Comey don't appear to suffer from an excess of credibility.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 30 Oct 2016 #permalink

I agree with the legal experts who point out that Comey has violated the Hatch Act, making himself a felon. That's hardly "shooting the messenger", although the punishment may fit the seditious act well enough.

Keeping the details of an on-going and only recently opened investigation could and should be kept from the public, and Comey was legally bound to do so. It would never be considered "covering it up" unless he did exactly that and buried the evidence and stopped the investigation. Which is not what's happened.

If we follow your suggestion, then we'd have to immediately open investigations and probably prosecutions of several members of Bush Jr's administration -- who committed much more egregious violations and cover-ups that Clinton is accused of... something the right-wing hypocrites conveniently ignore. What HRC is neither unusual nor particularly egregious. Which is what the FBI's original verdict on the case expressed: "No prosecutor would consider bringing charges against her."

And the mounting criticisms of Comey are anything but partisan, which is good to see. One of the earliest and most damning opinions on Comey's actions came from none other than the "ethics czar" under Bush Jr, a Republican. And several right-wing FBI agents at several levels are very upset with Comey for this breach.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 30 Oct 2016 #permalink

Errata: What HRC is accused of is neither unusual nor particularly egregious.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 30 Oct 2016 #permalink

Craig Thomas (#7):

If he does nothing, he’s “covering it up”.
If he does something, he’s “violating the Hatch Act”.

It wasn't a binary choice. He could have investigated these new emails without informing the public.

Why not focus on the actual issue: Hilary Clinton’s woeful approach to honestly dealing with her breaches of national security.

Yes, she erred in using that private server and she lied to the FBI about it. However, an actual breach of national security has not been shown.

As far as public perception goes, “dodgy emails” is very much trumped by “sexual molestation”, so the partisan attacks on James Comey don’t appear to suffer from an excess of credibility.

For a certain segment of the public. Another doesn't care at all about Trump's many defects (while they hate HRC for relatively minor flaws) because they envy Trump's evidently opulent lifestyle.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-plumber-idUSMTZSAPEC34J3…

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

It wasn’t a binary choice.

It certainly wasn't. Comey should have sent a different letter on Friday: a resignation letter to President Obama. That would have allowed him to get out of town with his reputation partly intact. Instead he has revealed that either (1) he has corrupt subordinates that he cannot control or (2) he himself is corrupt. Neither of which speak well of his management skills.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

Kurt Eichenwald (Newsweek) spoke with several of Comey's subordinates in the FBI, at various levels -- many of whom are Republicans. They were all pretty uniformly outraged that he did this.

Which suggests that Comey has revealed that Comey is corrupt.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

I suspect the other shitkicker is going to drop right on the fan some time today.

Greg, Brainstorms, and anyone else who is feeling computer and internet savvy:

I saw somewhere that there were supposedly 650,000 emails "on" the laptop in question.

Am I crazy or is that number crazy? How is it possible?

As for the fallout, lighten up people. This gives the Republicans who were embarrassed to say they were going to vote for Trump an excuse to admit what they were going to do anyway. It was always going to come down to a closer numerical race, but there will still be Republican crossover votes because they realize Trump is an idiot.

It might perhaps affect Senate and House races, but someone will have to explain how the fundamentals would change because of this phony "revelation". Why doesn't it also motivate HRC voters to turn out so the Senate can investigate the FBI?

Am I crazy or is that number crazy? How is it possible?

It would be about 90 e-mails per day, including weekends and holidays, for twenty years. Which is possible if you include various forms of spam. However, the overwhelming majority of that will be outside the period of interest. And many of those won't be relevant to any Clinton investigation, either (because the total does include spam, as well as Anthony Wiener's e-mails--apparently these e-mails were discovered as a result of an investigation into Wiener aka Carlos Danger). So the actual number of e-mails of interest would be low five figures, tops, and probably only four figures. Many of which will have already been examined during the course of the prior Clinton investigation.

As for how this could affect the race: The big factor is turnout. Many Republicans who were sufficiently discouraged to sit this one out are now more likely to actually cast a vote, and will likely cast votes for downballot Republicans as well. I suspect that a fair amount of the poll variability we have been seeing is due to variations in the eagerness of Republicans to cast votes: bad news about Trump makes them less eager to vote and therefore widens Hillary's lead, while bad news about Hillary makes them more eager to vote and therefore narrows that lead.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

for twenty years

Exactly. So, am I crazy or is that number crazy?

I know that "erased" files can often be recovered, but over any reasonable period of time (for the laptop to exist) such an accumulation would have created problems.

There are unknowns. But there is speculation that the laptop in question may have been used to backup other drives.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

OA,

OK, that makes a little bit more sense. But still crazy, since it just means (for example) there were 10 other computers accumulating 65,000 emails each.

Perhaps the guy has a hoarding problem as well as a sexting problem?

Most people, when they migrate to a new computer (laptop or desktop), will migrate all of their old files to the new computer. Especially with recent vintage OS's, that's trivially easy to do. I have some files around that are more than twenty years old. Commercial internet has been available since 1995, so it's plausible that they have 20 years of e-mail on their system.

Volume of storage shouldn't be that much of a problem either. Even at an average of 1 MB per message (which would involve regularly sending and receiving large attachments--plausible here because we are talking about Carlos Danger) that would be 650 GB of storage. My laptop, which is several years old, has that much space in its internal drive. And you can get even more space by connecting external hard drives--2 TB drives have been available for years now, and you can probably get even bigger drives if you look.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

So does this mean that Donald Trump's attachments are small...?

And is Carlos Danger in some way related to Johnny Dangerously?

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

Eric,

Thanks.

I guess I am not most people. I have a small backup for photos, music, and some financial records, but I regularly delete stuff that I have written or received or downloaded and read.

I guess when some future generations recognize my genius, and wish to write the biography, they will only be able to evaluate the works I have deliberately put out in public.

Let the mystery be...

Z,

Not necessarily. In any case, a big bunch of those e-mails belong to Huma Abedin not Weiner. She apparently doesn't know how her stuff got on his computer, hence some of the speculation about backups..

These are very highly active people socially and professionally, plus we don't how equipment was used or misused or by how many people...

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

And is Carlos Danger in some way related to Johnny Dangerously?

"Carlos Danger" was a pseudonym Anthony Wiener used in some of his sexting escapades. I have no idea where he got the inspiration for that 'nym.

I regularly delete stuff that I have written or received or downloaded and read

First, actively curating your files like that is significantly more work than just letting the old stuff migrate to the next computer. Since most people will do the thing that involves the least effort, that means they will let all of the old stuff migrate.

Second, your employer may (will, if it is any kind of government agency) have document retention policies. You may be expected, or even required by law (e.g., FOIA or tax law), to keep relevant documents, including e-mails, on your system for a period of several months to several years. And once it's been there for that long, again, it's easier just to keep it there.

Third, although this only happens once in a while, I find that occasionally I need to refer to some old file to remember what I was doing on some old project that is similar to what I want or need to do for a current project. This is, for example, the real reason why you should comment your code.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

"Johnny Dangerously" was a pseudonym used by a Michael Keaton character in the eponymous 1984 film. He was a good-guy turned criminal. Seems there's also confusion as to how (his character) got inspiration for his 'nym.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

Perhaps it's "Anthony the Weiner" that is the pseudonym... I think he could never bring himself to tell Huma that it was just his sexting/chat room persona.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

What Eric said.

However I wouldn't be at all surprised if that number got pulled out of somebody's nether quarters because it's yuge.

For that matter you don't know how much of it is junk exchanges, using e-mail like texting -- then having much of that preserved in both the in and out boxes.

----
What's 4 lunch
---
Turkey club
---
Boring!!!
---
Hey wanna see pics of my Weiner?
----
NO!
---

That's 5 right there.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

...and that example was just an email from Tony the Torpedo to his wife, Huma.

(He used the 5 after receiving that last one...)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

Brainstorms,
"If we follow your suggestion, then we’d have to immediately open investigations and probably prosecutions of several members of Bush Jr’s administration — who committed much more egregious violations and cover-ups that Clinton is accused of… something the right-wing hypocrites conveniently ignore."

Saying, "oh, but the other mob are bad, too" isn't the ideal approach for a political party that is trying to actually differentiate itself from the blatant criminals (and end-of-times nutjobs) that were infesting the opposition.

The Tea Party is in a class of its own. Or it should be. And Clinton's breaches of national security, and her lies to the FBI about it, would get any normal person prosecuted and jailed. She might be better than the barrel-scrapings she's competing against, but she isn't anywhere near good enough.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

So now you're set up to tell us what the preferred alternative is.

What is better alternative? Who should I vote for?

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

"And Clinton’s breaches of national security, and her lies to the FBI about it, would get any normal person prosecuted and jailed. "

Ok. You sound awfully sure of yourself. How did you come up with that?

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 31 Oct 2016 #permalink

"Ok. You sound awfully sure of yourself. How did you come up with that?"

Blind faith, obviously.

The inevitable consequence of anti-politics, shock headline journalism, and a political class who don't have to care about votes (ergo misleading the voter is not merely useful, but *sensible*). leads here.

After all, "Trump may be a nutcase, but Clinton is worse!" leads to having to FIND reasons why she's worse. Even if those reasons don't exist, or exist equally all around the candidates.

Just think on this: how bad would this have been if the Republicans had been able to field a merely incapable candidate, a la Shrub?

"Ok. You sound awfully sure of yourself. How did you come up with that?"

Blind faith, obviously.

The inevitable consequence of anti-politics, shock headline journalism, and a political class who don't have to care about votes (ergo misleading the voter is not merely useful, but *sensible*). leads here.

After all, "Trump may be a nutcase, but Clinton is worse!" leads to having to FIND reasons why she's worse. Even if those reasons don't exist, or exist equally all around the candidates.

Just think on this: how bad would this have been if the Republicans had been able to field a merely incapable candidate, a la Shrub? What if they had a Nixon?

"What is better alternative? Who should I vote for?"

So we're not allowed to tell you to stop telling us lies about us not voting for Clinton UNLESS we tell you how to vote?!?!?!??!

Doesn't work like that.

Vote as you decide. But recognise that you're voting for evil, just the lesser one. You DO try to claim that not voting for the lesser evil is letting the bigger evil in. But you refuse point blank to realise YOUR complicity in this current tragic situation.

Apparently taking responsibilities for the consequences of your voting choice is something you reserve only for others....

"Second, your employer may (will, if it is any kind of government agency) have document retention policies."

And this is one reason why such agencies will require their top employees *not to use official company email servers*. Either verbal meetings or external communication: so that the company can delete the information when investigated without breaching company policy.

It's why the previous republican administration used private email servers for their highest personnel.

And why the police are going back to paper for reports: they're not as open to FOIA requests and are more easily lost or deleted in a cost cutting exercise.