Polls: Hillary’s Up! Hillary Slumping! Bernie’s Surging! Bernie Can’t Win! Trump Triumphing! Cruz Cruising to a Victory!
In case you haven’t noticed, (and if you haven’t, you’re probably not reading this) there are a couple of presidential wannabe primaries going on.
One is a down-and-dirty dog fight that will probably leave the winner so badly damaged that he will spend the fall limping along to a catastrophic loss. That is, if there is a winner. The party may end up tossing in a replacement mutt (Mitt?) at their quadannual incest fest (aka political convention).
The other is mostly a one-sided affair that media and certain fan/bots would love to convince you is a close horse race. It isn’t! In the media’s case, an appearance of a close race benefits them monetarily. In the fan/bots case its a combination of idealism, ego and the inexperience of youth. (I used to was one of those critters until reality and realpolitik kicked me in the jewels a few too many times.)
And, no! I am not saying that all, or even most, of any candidate’s backers are that way, but all candidates have a percentage that are. I, myself, am a Bernie supporter for as long as he’s in the race. However, when it comes to the general election, I will vote for whoever the Dem candidate is. I’m not just a progressive, I’m a pragmatic progressive. Sanders, Clinton or even O’Malley are leagues better than any of the Regressive Bozos!
Which brings us to today’s rant: “What the hell is going on with all the differing polls?”
First, a little background. I’ll start off by paraphrasing an old saw: “All polls are not created equal!”
Some are very good and use proper methodology and carefully crafted questions to get an accurate sampling of opinion. Some don’t! Some go out of their way to eliminate bias in their surveys. Some don’t! Some polling groups have an excellent track record. Some don’t!
To cut through the chaff, I depend a lot on Nate Silver’s 538.com. Nate, as you may recall, batted a 1000 in the 2012 cycle, accurately calling 50 out of 50 states. To achieve this result,
our forecasts are calculated based on weighted polling averages . The weights account for the quality of each poll based on its track record and its methodological standards. They also account for sample size and how recently it was conducted; recent polls are weighted much more heavily than older ones. Polls are also adjusted for house effects, which is a tendency to consistently show different results for a candidate than the average of other polls.
He not only utilizes state polls, but also national polling and endorsements to account for the effects of external events such as how Iowa results affect NH voting and how those might affect later elections.
His website also contains a rating system for every major or minor polling group with a track record. This helps me quickly spot check polls as they are released and to judge whether I need to add some NaCl to the findings.
Ok, the back has been grounded, so let’s take a look at what’s happening. First, with Nate’s help, We’ll check out the early primaries and caucuses. (Btw, caucus comes from the Algonquian word cau’-cau’-as’u‘ meaning advisor. Who says my posts aren’t educational?)
Yesterday (1/19/15) 538 released their current projections on the various candidates’ odds on winning and it looks like, for February at least, we do have a couple of horse races with split wins.
In the Iowa Republican caucus, with less than two weeks to go, Cruz has the upper hand with a 50% chance of winning and probably getting about 27% of the vote. Trump takes 2nd with 21% of the vote, Rubio around 15%, Carson 4th with 9% and JEB coming in with around 8%. With the Iowa Republican Party’s record of screwing up wet dreams, I have no Idea how that will break down delegate wise. (Remember the 2012 fiasco?) However, non- incumbent Iowa winners almost never get the nomination, so it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of difference.
On the Dem side, it ain’t even close. 538 rates Hillary’s chances at 80% with over 50% of the vote. Bernie is given a 20% chance of winning, but should garner about 40% of the vote. Poor O’Malley probably will be getting close to dropping out.
A hair over a week later, it’s New Hampshire’s turn at bat.
On the Republican side, this is Trumps to lose. He’s given a 41% chance of winning and projected to haul in about 23% of the total vote. The battle for 2nd is a bit more interesting, with Rubio currently given a 17% chance of winning and 15% of the votes and Kasich a 14% chance and the same percentage of votes. However Rubio’s numbers are trending down and Kasich is on an upswing. Stay tuned! Cruz sits in the 4th spot at 13 and 13 with no discernible movement in either direction.
Over on the Dem side, Bernie’s chance is currently 63% and climbing. (49% of the total vote) Hillary’s heading the other way with a 37% chance. (45% of the vote) This will probably O’Malley’s last stand: >1% chance & 4% of the vote. Being that NH is right next door to Vermont, Bernie is the regional favorite son. If he does lose, it’s pretty much bye bye Bernie. But he won’t!
Eleven days later, on the 20th, South Carolina has its Republican primary and Nevada holds a Democratic caucus.
South Carolina first. This is the most important state for Republicans prior to Super Tuesday. The winner here, gets a hell of a boost, since most of the Super Tuesday states are southern.
And, the winner is currently projected to be (at 49% and 29% of the vote): Donald Trump! Cruz is waaaay behind with an 18% chance and around the same percentage of the votes. Rubio and Bush are fighting for 3rd and everybody else is so far back, they’re out of sight. This may all change after Iowa & NH, but that’s how it stands as of now.
Nevada, meanwhile, is and has steadily been all Hillary. She’s currently given a 23 point lead and a 50.3% chance of winning. Bernie chances are rated at 28.2%
Three days later, it’s Republican caucus time in Nevada. Here again, Trump has the edge over Cruz, 31.3% to 19.3%.
The last event in Feb is on the 27th with the SC Democratic caucus. 538 doesn’t have enough recent polling to call that one. However, what polling there is, points to a Hillary landslide.
That will bring us up to Super Tuesday on March 1st and the reason I stated that the Democratic primaries don’t qualify as a horse race. It’s loaded with southern states as well as some others, almost all with HUGE leads for Hillary. The only state in which Bernie currently has a lead, is his home state of Vermont.
As I’ve said before, this is all subject to change. But, right now I don’t see any on the horizon.
Nevertheless, STAY TUNED!