Archives for November 2016

Actually, the polls were right

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After the shocking result of the 2016 election, election data science was on its heels.

How did pollsters get Trump, Clinton election so wrong?

Yes, the election polls were wrong. Here’s why

Earthquake science explains why election polls were so wrong

The polls almost all showed Hillary winning. How did Trump pull it off?

rcp

Because the Electoral College. The polls weren’t wrong; they predicted a 3% Hillary national popular vote win and were only off by 2; they just missed a few key states.

The primary problem is relying on national polls to predict an election that isn’t nationwide. The Electoral College system means that states elect the president, not voters nationwide. Hillary Clinton won the nationwide vote, but she lost the election, primarily because she ran up her margins in diverse major urban areas but lost almost the entire rest of the country.

Yes, Trump voters excused racism. Now what?

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If you’ve been on the internet this week (and you can be forgiven for not), you’ve probably seen this tweet in one form or another:

It’s been shared almost 24,000 times on Twitter alone, not to mention the versions of it floating around Tumblr and Facebook. What it states is undisputably true, but “end of story”? No, this is the beginning of the story, not the end.

The finality of this message and others like it that Clinton voters are voicing online is baffling. Even worse is this one, a revision of a meme promoting unity, now promoting the opposite.

Daniel

I realize Clinton voters are having a hard time understanding how they lost, but this kind of self-segregation from (slightly less than) half the voters in the country is the opposite of the solution.

The staggering hypocrisy of #NotMyPresident

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The world was outraged a few years ago when it was revealed that as soon as President Obama was elected, in a closed door meeting with his colleagues Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to oppose him every step of the way as a strategy to secure their own reelections in future years and make Obama a one-term president.

The entire media establishment went apoplectic. How could he oppose the new president before he even knew what he was going to do? It must have been racism!

Hogwash. Republicans don’t want Democrats to get their agendas passed or be elected or reelected, and vice versa. This is not horrifying or unprecedented on any level. They work with each other when they need to and oppose each other when they feel they must.

Now, after a year and a half of the most ugly and divisive presidential campaign in any of our lifetimes, the same thing is happening, but on a more base level.

Election 2016: Potential outcomes

If you only watch TV news and know nothing about electoral politics, you might think there are only two possible outcomes on election night: Clinton wins, or Trump wins. Those of us who study these things and have thus been in a Xanax coma for months know otherwise. Here are a few ways the election could go down, with probabilities included.

Narrow Clinton win

narrow clinton

Based on simple state polling averages, Hillary Clinton is likely to have enough votes to be elected the 45th President of the United States on Tuesday night. RealClearPolitics currently expects that to be with 301 electoral votes, well shy of President Obama’s 332-vote majority four years ago, but enough to get the job done.

Probability: 80%

Narrow Trump win

narrow trump

However, if just two key states flip, Trump could actually pull it off. Clinton leads in Florida on average right now, but a couple polls there have Trump leading or tied instead. In New Hampshire most polls show Trump ahead, but one large outlier has pulled Clinton up in the average. If Trump wins just those two states, he could walk away with exactly enough votes to win.

Probability: 20%

Early voting in Louisiana still leans Democratic, but maybe not for long

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Early voting results, which only provides voter demographics and not ballot choices, is often used as electoral tea leaves, to try to divine trends or predictions before election day. Louisiana’s early and absentee voting ended this week, so I took a look at the numbers from the Secretary of State’s office to see who the state’s eager beavers are.

This year, 517,614 people early voted in Louisiana, 31% more than in 2012, and 43% more than in 2008. Early voting is clearly a growing phenomenon, at least here, though there are similar reports of records being broken across the country.

Of those, 38% were Republicans, 44% were Democrats, and 16% were Libertarians, Greens, other parties, or unaffiliated voters. Before you take this to mean Hillary is going to win one of the reddest of red states, let’s take a look at prior years.

Four years ago, early voting was a little bluer. In 2012, 50% were Democrats, 34% Republicans, and 14% other. I shouldn’t need to remind you that Louisiana was still very, very red in 2012. Romney won 57% of the total vote to Obama’s 40%. Even though Democrats had a majority of the early vote, Republicans still took the total vote by a huge margin due to election day turnout.

Four years before that, early voting was bluer still. In 2008, 57% were Democrats, 28% were Republicans, and 13% other. That year, McCain beat Obama 58 to 39.

At least in Lousiana, early voting demographics don’t seem to be predictive of either party’s total vote share. As Republicans have increased their early voting share significantly, by 6-7 points each cycle, their total share of the total presidential vote has remained about the same.

Surprising no one, music festivals this year are anti-Trump

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This past weekend I attended VoodooFest as a music fan. With just over a week until election day, the politics swirling around the event would probably have enabled me to attend with a press pass instead.

Amidst the many tawdry and debaucherous Halloween costumes worn by the mostly Millennial crowd, there were a few Trumps and Hillarys. There were also the obligatory Planned Parenthood propaganda volunteers outside the gate.

While there was no official politicking by campaigns or companies inside the City Park venue, the artists performing on stage didn’t hold back their opinions.

Over the course of the weekend at least two artists, one a rapper, one a DJ, led their jubilant audiences in anti-Trump chants. I wasn’t in either of those audiences myself, but the chorus could easily be heard across the sprawling park.


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