Thursday, October 27, 2016

Will Colorado Turnout Hit 3 Million Voters?

About 2.5 million voters showed up in the 2012 Colorado presidential election. Turnout in 2016 will most likely not reach 3 million, but Colorado’s population and voter registration continues to grow.

Total turnout, which will affect many local races, should range from 2.6 to 2.8 million voters and produce 1.5 million in the Denver metro area.

Polls and Debates Created Trump — Then Made Him a Loser

Donald Trump used the primary debates to dominate and often belittle his opponents and propel his candidacy. Polls provided his favorite rationale for his legitimacy. Regardless of how incorrect, ill-informed or inexperienced he appeared, the fact that one-fifth — climbing later to two-fifths — of Republican primary voters supported him was his main talking point for why he should receive the nomination and lead the party.

But in the three general election debates his candidacy crumpled. After nearly closing the gap with Clinton before the first debate, his poor performance, seen by 84 million viewers, reinforced his ill-preparedness and undisciplined mind and behavior. Any momentum he had built stopped, and he fell back four points in the polling averages in five days.

He lost the second and third debates as the national and battleground states’ polls continued to slide away. The main takeaway from the second debate was his promise to investigate Clinton (or as his crowds chant, “lock her up). And, in the final debate, he announced that due to the “rigged” system, he may not concede.

After all three debates, the Republican Party is more divided than ever, and a significant portion of Republican leadership regrets its nominee. Trump’s weak polls and poor performance have caused the party to focus on saving the down ballot races.

Trump’s debate performance, reinforced by polls, turned against him in the end.

See Politico story: Donald Trump’s favorite pollsters

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Clinton and Bennet Hold Significant Leads in Polls at Start of Colorado Voting

Colorado began mail-back voting on October 18 as ballots began to arrive at the homes of more than 3 million registered voters. Nearly 300,000 have been returned as of Tuesday, October 25.

A SurveyMonkey poll of 15 battleground states was reported in the Washington Post on October 18. Clinton won the two-way race in Colorado by 9 points and the four-way race by 7 points.

Among the state surveyed, Gary Johnson received his second highest vote in Colorado, tying with Wisconsin at 12 percent. He received 18 percent, his highest percentage in his home state of New Mexico (Clinton won the state by 8 points).

Senate incumbent Michael Bennet was cruising to re-election with 52 percent of the vote compared to 42 percent for Republican Darryl Glenn.

The latest Quinnipiac Colorado survey has Clinton ahead 45 percent to 37 percent in a four-way race from a poll conducted October 10-16 (in the two-way race, Clinton is ahead 11 percent).

Clinton’s four-way number increased one point since September 22 (before the 1st debate, Sept. 26) and Trump’s support went down 5.

Bennet leads Glenn 56 percent to 38 percent, a major widening of the race since the September 23 Quinnipiac poll (Bennet 52% to Glenn 43%, a 9 point shift).

Hence, in two polls with very different methodologies, Clinton and Bennet are headed toward substantial wins.

Washington Post: Clinton holds clear advantage in new battleground polls
Quinnipiac University Poll, October 18, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trump Could Lose By 5 Million Votes, Not 537

Donald Trump’s argument that a rigged election may cause him to lose will be a hard case to make if the polls showing him six points down are correct. John McCain lost by 7 points in 2008, or 9 million votes.

Trump’s defenders like to cite the Al Gore-George W. Bush election in 2000 as an example of an election that required a recount and stopped Gore’s concession. It involved 537 votes after recounts and court cases.

Unless Trump reverses the current trend, he will lose by five to ten million votes and 300 plus electoral votes near, worse than Mitt Romney in 2012.

Independent Voters Dominate Colorado Registration

Since the Obama era and the surge of Millennials (18 to 35 year olds) into the electorate, unaffiliated voters have come to dominate the Colorado registration rolls. They are now 36 percent of voter registration. Republicans have fallen to third place with only 31 percent, and more than 200,000 registered voters behind unaffiliated and about 20,000 behind Democrats. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Republican Nightmare: President Clinton, Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi

In a year of voter volatility and unpredictability, the forecasts are closing in on a Clinton victory. The New York Times Upshot has Clinton a 93 percent likely winner and the review of colleagues shows across-the-board agreement: 538 (Nate Silver) at 86 percent, Huffington Post 96%. This is largely because polls three weeks out from the election begin to dominate the forecasts and Clinton is ahead by 6 to 7 points in all the polling aggregator sites.

But, the next unknown is will Trump’s loss lead to a wave election? A wave this year would require a 30-seat shift to the Democrats in the House to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker and 4 or 5 seats in the Senate (depends on which party wins the presidency) to put Chuck Schumer in charge.

Shifts of that magnitude are rare. The American Presidency Project reports only four presidential elections since Roosevelt’s 1932 win shifted 30 or more seats. And presidential landslides don’t necessarily correspond to huge shifts in the House. In 1936, Roosevelt won every state except Kansas, but only added 12 seats to the big Democratic majority created in 1932. Richard Nixon’s 45 states sweep in 1972 only added 12 Republican seats. Obama’s 9-point victory gained 23 seats in 2008 and Reagan’s massive re-election in 1984 only shifted 14 seats.

Barry Goldwater (1964) and Jimmy Carter (1980) did cost their parties major losses in the House.

The Senate this year was always assumed to be at risk for the Republicans because of defending so many seats and having several states where Democrats are likely to win the electoral votes, such as Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

The RealClearPolitics generic congressional ballot test has increased to 4 points in favor of the Democrats in recent weeks. There have been some recent mid-term elections with major losses for the president’s party: Obama losing 63 seats in 2010, Bush 30 in 2006 and Clinton 52 in 1994.

But, this remains a difficult election to predict. Although Republicans are likely to suffer losses, it’s not clear that a wave is building, at least not yet.
  • Republicans may skip or write in the top of the ticket to vote for Republican senators and congresspersons (or split their ticket if voting for Clinton)
  • Republicans no-shows at the polls may equal Democrats, especially Democratic minority and Millennial voters. Many of them who do vote for Democrats may not vote for lower races.
Clearly, the Democrats feel a wave. They are shifting their attention and resources to Senate and House races.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Presidential Race Narrowed Twice and Now Widening

It will take about 46 percent of the total electorate to win the race for the White House, assuming third-party candidates win about 8 percent of the vote, leaving 92 percent to divide up. Currently, Hillary Clinton is holding about 49 percent and Donald Trump 42 percent.

On two occasions since the California primary made Clinton the presumptive nominee (Trump was considered the nominee when Ted Cruz dropped out after the Indiana primary), Trump was one or two points ahead or behind Clinton. The first time was at the conclusion of the two conventions on July 29 and the second was before the first debate.

Unfortunately for Trump, the Democrats had a good convention (they appeared unified, Republicans did not) and he attacked the Khan family, both of which put Clinton into the lead.

But by Labor Day, after weeks of negative press on e-mails and the Clinton Foundation, the race tightened, then the “basket of deplorables” and the 9-11 fainting incident led to an even worse September for Clinton. Also, Trump shook up his campaign and tried to stay on message. By the first debate, the race closed to a couple of points. But Trump failed to answer questions about temperament and what appears to be his final slide began.

Friday, October 7, offered a powerful blow to his image when the Entertainment Tonight tape of “locker room talk” broke. Trump’s slippage continued through the second debate on Sunday, October 9. On the eve of the final debate, he is in a deep hole.