Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Predictwise says the Democrats have this in this bag, Hillary in particular:

So do the Iowa Electronic Markets:

And yet Democrats lose seven out of eight matchups in the new USA Today poll:
In hypothetical matchups in the general election:

• Clinton loses by 2 points to Trump (43%-45%), 1 point to Cruz (44%-45%), 6 points to Rubio (42%-48%) and 11 points to Kasich (38%-49%). That's a weaker standing than the former secretary of State showed in December's survey, when she narrowly led Trump and Cruz and trailed Rubio by just 2 points.

• Sanders loses by 1 point to Trump (43%-44%), 3 points to Kasich (41%-44%) and 4 points to Rubio (42%-46%) -- each of them a slightly stronger showing than Clinton -- and he leads Cruz by 2 points (44%-42%).
Clinton and Sanders both lose to Rubio, Trump, and Kasich, and Clinton loses to Cruz. Yes, the margins are tight, but why are they even tight if this is a Democratic lock?

Yes, as Kevin Kruse says, other recent polls show better Democratic results (though they're not much better, except in matchups with Trump or Jeb), and maybe Republicans are doing better in the polls because they're having a more interesting race and getting more attention.

But what if a sense of resistance to Clinton is just building and building, exactly the way it has in the GOP toward Jeb Bush? What if -- as seems to be the case with Jeb -- it's irreversible? And what if Sanders is struggling to make a positive first impression because he's being attacked by black activists as a Johnny-come-lately on civil rights, by Clinton supporters as the leader of an army of boorish simpletons, by the cocktails-with-hedge-funders punditocracy as a dangerous radical, and by everyone else as Grandpa Simpson? And let's not even talk about the massive money gap if Sanders somehow wins the nomination.

I think Joe Biden could at least have engendered broad-based goodwill this year -- and if you're going run a guy prone to embarrassing utterances, wouldn't the best year to run him be a year when Donald Trump is saying things that are much worse? But we didn't get Biden.

I continue to have a really bad feeling about this election. I don't see Sanders having the war chest to win and I don't see the public rallying around Clinton. The most optimistic scenario is that the Republicans really might be handing the election to the Democrats as a gift. Is that it? Is hat enough? Should I stop worrying?


Tengrain said...

It is a worry.

I'm old enough to remember thinking that no one would vote for an obvious imbecile like George W. Bush; I didn't think it would get close enough that the Republicans could steal it.

My on-going mantra is that come the General Election, I will vote for whomever Bernie votes for.



Unknown said...

I lurk on this blog a lot, but have never commented. I think you're putting way too much faith in these hypothetical matchup polls.

Look back at the 2012 electoral map and ask instead what states will Trump or Cruz win that Obama won?

Florida was close last time around, and Virginia. I'd be awfully surprised if Michigan was in play after Flint. Maybe Ohio?

Florida, Virginia, and Ohio combine to 60 electoral votes. Assume Trump or Cruz takes all three, and wins all of Romney's 206 votes already. That's 266 to Clinton's 272- still a win for the Democrats.

I'd also be pretty surprised if Trump/Cruz took all 3.

Honestly, I don't think things are as dark as you fear. If Rubio or Kasich or Jeb! somehow gets the nomination, we can be worried about the "they're basically the SAME" criticism re: the "moderate" GOP vs Clinton. Really, I think the only way the Dems lose this one (barring some sort of real scandal instead of just normal Clinton Derangement Syndrome) is if the leftier-than-thou crew takes their balls and goes back to posting inane BS at Salon instead of voting.

Steve M. said...

Look back at the 2012 electoral map and ask instead what states will Trump or Cruz win that Obama won?

See what I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

AllieG said...

It's almost surely going to be a close election, and I share your doubts about market wisdom, which is just conventional wisdom writ large. But I don't think a Democrat has to be ahead by 10 to win, either. Obama was an iffy proposition in early 2012 and I think 2008 as well.

Feud Turgidson said...


I'm old enough to remember wondering WTF people saw in Nixon that 1060 ended up so close; but I was young, and the country was actually doing really well economically, so well that one big distinction between the two party nominees was the JFK was calling for big cuts to the top end personal income tax rates.

I took 1968 loss better because, man, Vietnam screwed things so bad for the Ds, I could see why undecideds looking at Nixon somehow saw stability. Still see it so: HHH made a solid run at the end & ran out time to get past the assassinations plus Chicago.

1980 blew my mind. I'd been out there in the adult work world long enough to understand the Rs as a commercial enterprise, but it was obvious to any with brains Reagan was nothing more than an actor.

Then 2000: I think we all agree. that meant the rigging could overtake the sails.

Now we're at the cusp of an era when polling generally and so poll aggregation has become a decreasingly reassuring presence. In 2008, cell-pohone-only households were a largely under-appreciated drag on accurate polling. In 2012, pollsters that failed to account for how big an effect the massive rate of increase of CPO households had become for polling ended up looking simply ridiculous.

But in 2016, CPO households are in the MAJORITY, in many states by factors of 2:1. Day to day poll tracking as no point, to where the fundamentally corrupt Gallup has abandoned it even for its arguable push-polls effects.

All of which makes it far, far easier to steal a close election. And that's a particular concern given that the GOP Has installed enough black box voting machines and succeeded in suppressing enough D votes to pretty guarantee a competitive general election. Even if the D nominee goes into Election Day with a 65% chance of winning, which to me still seems not at all excessive (head-to-head polling being so bogus at exercise at this stage), that still gives the Rs a one third chance of ACTUALLY winning, even without gerrymandering, their huge money advantages, vote suppression, caging, black box voting machinery and blatant fraud.

It's too close to call, and that's very bad.

Gerald Parks said...

Democrats Nationwide must take nothing ...absolutely nothing for grantred!

We MUST fight for and earn EVERY vote.

There should be a very loud and vocal register to vote and get the vote out campaigns i ALL 50 States!

In fact the creation of another ACORN would not be a bad idea!!!!

Palli said...

If it looks like the GOP might lose the presidency & some Senate seats by August, plans to circumvent the popular vote will go into effect in several GOP governed key states. There was a reason so many house Reps answered the call to run for governor. Just as Arizona & Ohio were prepared to muck up the 2000 election if the Florida ploy failed, any of these states-Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kansas, etc.-can create havoc with the count. Electronic voting is hackable, tabulation is hackable. To believe the political party that already contrived to put Bush/Cheney in office (twice) would never do it again is folly. If a GOP nominee is found to make it appear to be a close election (my bet Ryan), it will be easy to bamboozle Americans into another Republican selection of the president. Planes fall from the sky.

Unknown said...

I think you should stop worrying.

In 2008 I was consumed with anxiety over the outcome of the election. Someone, perhaps DeLong, pointed out that the odds on offer at the betting shops were such that I could hedge my fears with the prospect of winning a big chunk of change if Obama lost. Since I hate losing money, I didn't take the bet, but I kept reassuring myself by checking the odds until election day.

giantslor said...

Steve, you worry too much. This has to be one of the most pessimistic liberal blogs on the 'Net. It's a real downer, man. I mean, I worry sometimes too, but I'm not constantly wringing my hands in public. It grows tiresome. I know, I don't have to read the blog, yadda yadda.

Steve M. said...

You just wrote my answer.

The Democratic Party is weak. It's weaker than the Republican Party. The biggest Democratic Party star is retiring in a year and there's no one on the horizon with both his appeal and his ambition. Yes, Trump is wreaking havoc in the GOP, but the GOP at the non-presidential level is by far the stronger party in most of America. For years it's owned the South and the non-coastal West, and now it's taking over the Rust Belt. It's using legal skulduggery to make voting for Democrats harder wherever it rules.

These trends are in plain sight and yet they're rarely discussed, just the way the poll weakness of the allegedly unbeatable Hillary Clinton is rarely discussed. So I'm discussing them. If more people were talking about this, I might not bother. But there's too much denial.

AllieG said...

The history of American politics in the last decade is that unified control of government is instantly repudiated by voters. They may say they hate gridlock, but they don't hate it as much as they hate both parties. If a Democrat is elected, current gridlock will continue. If a Republican, there will be reverse gridlock installed in 2018, with corresponding losses for GOP governors and state legislatures.

Ten Bears said...

Stop worrying, Hillary will be president.

OK, worry...

Philo Vaihinger said...

I think you are right to worry.

Ken_L said...

The biggest worry is the sorry state of the Democratic Party. The Supreme Court vacancy, for example, should be a golden opportunity for respected, articulate Democratic Party leaders to pour scorn on the Republican Party every week from now until November, in ways that attract both media coverage and public support. But apart from the president, who can't descend too much into the daily fray, no such leaders exist. Instead we get regular doses of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who probably gives the GOP a few thousand more votes every time she appears on TV.