Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trump Chokes – CNN 62% to 27%

Presidential debate, Sept. 26, 2016 (Photo: Getty Images)
Donald Trump went into the first debate with momentum, but his performance did not reassure swing and undecided voters that he has the knowledge, temperament or values to be president.

Debates typically reinforce current trends, but this debate had a host of new factors that not only gave it a record audience, but made it high theater.
  • Woman candidate
  • Celebrity provocateur
  • One-point race with fluid voters
Trump started strong and made his points on trade and need for change, but he spent massive amounts of time in defensive exchanges on his taxes and business practices, the birther movement, his Iraq position, and women’s looks.

In the stages of debates, the expectation game, the actual exchange, the early commentaries and the secondary analyses, Trump is behind with the immediate post-speech talking heads and the first polls in. CNN reports people believed he lost 62 percent to 27 percent, and importantly, independents broke for Hillary Clinton 54 percent to 33 percent. Among those voters who say it moved their vote, Clinton won 34 percent to 18 percent for Trump. AOL did an online poll that gave it to Clinton 55 percent to 45 percent Trump.

There are still two more debates and more than 40 days of campaigning, but Trump missed probably his best chance to put the race away.

September started as a disaster for Clinton, culminating in the September 11 stumble, but the month ended with the September 26 Trump choke.

Chokes: A word Donald Trump introduced to the presidential rhetoric in reference to Mitt Romney’s 2012 run and Marco Rubio’s debate performance.

Late September Polls Keep Bennet With Solid Lead

Michael Bennet continues to lead the Colorado senate race by double-digits. In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Bennet received 52 percent to Darryl Glenn’s 43 percent – modest change from the 54 percent to 38 percent in the August 18 Quinnipiac poll.

Mail-out ballots are expected to arrive on October 19. Glenn has less than a month to close a significant gap.

Glenn’s challenge remains that his party is not united behind him (12% of Republicans for Bennet, Glenn has 2% of Democrats) and he’s losing independents (52% to 41%). Although he has a slight lead among white men (4%), he’s losing white women (11%).

Monday, September 26, 2016

Super Bowl of Debates and Tie Game

Record debate viewers will be watching a tied race (possibly 100 million; 20 million more than all-time record of 80 million, Reagan vs. Carter 1980). The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows the race 46 percent Clinton, 44 percent Trump and 6 percent for third-party candidates (out of field, Sept. 22).

Out of 13 states being tracked, Trump now is winning 7 and Clinton 6 by RealClearPolitics count. Silver’s 538 forecast has Clinton winning 283 electoral votes, but RealClearPolitics only gives 272 (needed 270). Colorado is now 2 points, a drop of 8 points since mid-August.

In the latest Quinnipiac Colorado survey, Clinton is winning 7 percent of Republicans while losing 2 percent to Trump. Eight percent of Republicans are backing Gary Johnson and 3 percent of Democrats.

The race is 2 points between the frontrunners because Trump is beating Clinton by 9 points among independents. Johnson and Jill Stein are also gathering in 21 percent of independents.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Discussion of Democracy: In Principle and Practice

A panel on democracy will be convened on Thursday, September 29 at 6:00 at History Colorado (see flyer below).

Floyd Ciruli will be joined by two professors of political science, two professors of philosophy and the state’s deputy director of elections.

My theme will be:

The election this year highlights shift from the Cold War era consensus among western democracies to an intense struggle between nationalism and internationalism. The battle for the U.S. presidency is only the beginning in a larger competition.

Other members of the panel are:

Andre Archie is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University, specializing in the History of Ancient Greek Philosophy and Ancient Greek Political Philosophy.

Caleb Cohoe is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver whose research interests include Ancient Philosophy and the function of the intellectual and practical authority in society.

Robert Preuhs is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver whose research focuses on issues of representation and democracy through the lens of racial and ethnic politics, state and national political institutions, and public policy.

Elizabeth Sperber is an Assistant Professor of political science at the University of Denver specializes in comparative and international politics, with regional expertise in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hilary Rudy is deputy director of elections for the Colorado Secretary of State and, as a “certified elections/registration administrator” is among the top designated election officials in the country.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

“Basket of Deplorables.” Very Bad Politics.

The November 9 fundraiser with a liberal elite constituency (Barbara Streisand on the vocals) in downtown Manhattan where Hillary Clinton described many of Donald Trump’s supporters as “deplorables” provided an easily mocked forum that immediately produced a firestorm of criticism on social media, in Trump’s speeches and in a rapid response advertisement. The timing was equally bad after weeks of inaction and declining polls, followed by the November 11 faint.

Not only was Clinton wrong in her characterization of the majority of Trump supporters, but the woman who had historically represented the more moderate, less educated and older members of the Democratic Party in primaries against Barack Obama in 2008 and Bernie Sanders, this cycle just told many of them she thought many were “deplorable.”

Unfortunately for her, many of them are still conflicted on this race, even though they are registered Democrats. They are concentrated in the old industrial blue collar areas of Ohio and North Carolina where the race is starting to slip away from Clinton. They don’t consider themselves racist, but do feel the Democratic Party has increasingly become fixated on identity politics and their identity – white working and struggling middle class – is ignored by the party’s coastal and urban elites.

Clinton described about 40 percent of the electorate or Donald Trump voters as divided between those who are acceptable because their populist fervor is based on economics or class anxiety and half who are “deplorable” because they are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic – you name it.”

The Washington Post analyzed Trump supporters using two measures: economic and racial anxiety. Their finding was that 26 percent of Trump’s supporters are primarily concerned with race and believe “Whites are losing out in America” and 20 percent are primarily concerned about the economic struggles of lower class Americans. But that a quarter of Trump supporters are attracted for a myriad of other reasons than race and class and another quarter feature both issues as important.

This dichotomy does not capture the full range of Clinton’s description, but it demonstrates that beyond the foolishness of writing off huge swathes of the electorate, things are a lot more complex than what appears on the surface. A significant percentage of Trump’s support is made up of people who increasingly believe Clinton hasn’t given them a persuasive reason to support her and who she believes are “deplorable.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Clinton’s Lead Caves; Colorado Back in Play

The Democrats’ thin advantage in Colorado, mostly based on shifting demographics, has dissipated under Hillary Clinton’s collapsing national campaign. As described in The Buzz of September 2, Where is Clinton? Campaign Defensive as it Enters Labor Day Weekend, she lost control of the national narrative in late August, culminating in her illness on November 11.

In mid-August, Colorado was considered a safe Clinton state as she had a 10-point lead over Donald Trump. Clinton’s campaign believed it and moved advertising dollars to other states before Labor Day just as Donald Trump and Libertarian Gary Johnson began airing ads.

Colorado still needs some reliable polls, but the latest reported has Trump up 4 points, or Clinton up 5. The current RealClearPolitics average is Clinton by 3.7 percent (42.7% to 39.0%). Huffington Post poll of polls has the spread at 5.8 (43.6% to 37.8%) and Nate Silver’s 538 places Clinton ahead by 3 points (45.2% to 42.1%).

Note the Emerson College poll is a robo poll with no cell phones included. The SurveyMonkey data is a non-probability sample that uses participants in SurveyMonkey polls and weights the data to construct a representative, but not random, sample of Colorado likely voters.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Don't Expect a Landslide

Democrats who had been hoping for a landslide victory since Donald Trump’s nomination are now starting to panic. For about a month, they felt good about at least a five-seat pick-up in the Senate, and after a few drinks at their favorite Capitol Hill water holes, thought they were positioned with sufficient credible candidates to win the House if this was a wave election (need 30 seats – Carroll (6th) and Schwartz (3rd) in Colorado).

But, along with tightening polls, there are a host of forces suggesting that Democrats need to get realistic. Winning the Senate remains very much 50-50 and the House a pure long shot. In fact, at this point, they’d be overjoyed to just win the presidency.
  • The high negatives of each presidential candidate are producing defections and turnout problems.
  • The hyper-polarization means each base will likely keep the race competitive, but the defections and undecided will add to volatility.
  • Most forecasts include presidential popularity. Obama’s approval has improved, but at 51 percent, it is just barely an aid for Hillary Clinton.
  • An open seat removes most of the incumbents’ (Obama’s) advantages to their successors.
  • Vulnerable Republican Senate candidates are disengaging from Trump and running ahead of him. Thirty seats in the House are beyond even optimistic projections today.
  • Clinton has a superior campaign and is ahead in most of the battlegrounds, but she has lost the narrative for more than two weeks and is now within the margin of error nationally and in several key battleground states.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump