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US Elections 2016

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    With Trump as the Republican’s presidential nominee, Texas has become a battleground state in this years election. (MH)

    Hillary Clinton holds a three-point lead over Donald Trump in Florida, while in Texas – a state that has voted Republican by wide margins in recent years – Trump leads by a mere three points.


    In 2012 Republicans won a double-digit victory in Texas, as they often do; it’s one of the most reliably Republican states in the nation. Today Texas is close, and is more a story of Trump underperforming rather than Clinton over-performing typical Democrats, and why despite the tightness it may still be difficult for the Democrats to actually get those last points and win the state outright. Clinton is doing about as well with key groups as President Obama did in 2008, but Trump is under-performing the Republican benchmarks by roughly ten points among white men, white women, and college whites in particular. Many of those not with Trump are unsure or voting third-party rather than Clinton.

    In 2008 then-candidate Obama lost white men in Texas by more than fifty points and Clinton is down 35 points today. That’s still a big gap but the sheer number of voters that represents is part of the reason for the difference in the race. Meanwhile, Hispanics in Texas, who are supporting Clinton, say they feel very motivated to vote this year.

    Scroll down for the polling data. Much of what is there is stuff we have talked about before. Clinton has consolidated Democratic voters better than Trump has done with Republicans. 93% of Dems are with Clinton, with four percent for Trump, one percent for Gary Johnson, and one percent for “someone else”, while only 84% of Rs are voting Trump, with 7% for Clinton, 5% for Johnson, and 2% for “someone else”. Clinton leads among all voters under 45, with a 21-point lead with the under-30 crowd. Trump as noted isn’t doing as well among white voters as Republicans have done in the past, but he is once again weirdly above 30% with Latino voters. I continue to believe those results are off, and that we’ll see numbers more in line with national Latino preferences once we have actual data. But look, the big deal here is that Texas is being tracked as a Florida-like battleground state. Who would have thunk it?

    On a side note, Real Clear Politics has Trump leading Clinton 44.2 to 39.6 in the two-way race and 43.6 to 38.8 in the four-way race, while FiveThirtyEight has it at Trump 49.1, Clinton 43.9. That would be the highest total for a Democrat in a Presidential race in Texas since Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976.


    Clintons chance of winning the presidency is higher than ever (according to fivethirtyeight forecast) (MH)


    German newspaper article qouting the OSCE that “up to 6 million US americans are excluded from voting” – due to being under custody or being under custody once in their lifetime (MH)

    OSZE-Beobachter sorgen sich um amerikanische Wahl
    Sechs Millionen Ausgeschlossene, Standards unter internationalem Niveau: Die OSZE-Wahlbeobachter warnen vor Schwächen bei den Präsidentschafts- und Kongresswahlen – und äußern sich auch zu den Vorwürfen des Trump-Lagers.

    Die OSZE machen sich Sorgen um die Präsidentschaftswahlen in Amerika. Das geht aus Untersuchungen des OSZE-Büros für Demokratische Institutionen und Menschenrechte (Odihr) in Warschau hervor, das die Wahlen am 8. November 2016 beobachtet und am Mittwochabend einen Zwischenbericht veröffentlichte.

    „Bis zu sechs Millionen Amerikaner werden von den Wahlen ausgeschlossen“, sagte der deutsche Chef-Wahlbeobachter der OSZE, Michael Georg Link, gegenüber FAZ.NET. Dabei handele es sich um geschätzte 3,2 Millionen Bürger des Landes, die sich in Untersuchungshaft befänden oder strafrechtlich verurteilt worden seien. Rund 2,6 Millionen Bürger hätten ihre Haftstrafe bereits verbüßt. Auch sie seien nicht zugelassen. Beunruhigt äußerte sich auch der offizielle deutsche OSZE-Wahlbeobachter, Jürgen Klinke. Er sagte der „Bild“-Zeitung, es gebe „Nachholbedarf bei der Anpassung an internationale Standards.“

    In den Vereinigten Staaten fürchten viele Menschen, dass die Präsidentschafts- und Kongresswahlen manipuliert werden könnten. Laut einer jüngeren Umfrage rechnet inzwischen jeder dritte Amerikaner damit.

    Die amerikanische Regierung geht davon aus, dass Russland versucht, mit Hilfe von Hackerangriffen und Veröffentlichungen von erbeuteten Daten den Ausgang der Wahl zu beeinflussen. Im Gegensatz dazu haben Anhänger und Politiker im Umfeld des republikanischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten Donald Trump den Demokraten vorgeworfen, systematischen Wahlbetrug und Stimmendiebstahl in einigen der größeren Städte vorzunehmen. Auch Trump selbst befeuerte die Skepsis zuletzt. Er äußerte auf Twitter, die Wahl werde schon jetzt manipuliert, die Medien veröffentlichten falsche Zahlen, auch seine Gegnerin Hillary Clinton selbst manipuliere die Wahl.

    Die OSZE-Walbeobachter sehen in diesen Äußerungen den Ausdruck einer ungewöhnlich harten politischen Auseinandersetzung. Ansonsten sind sie offenbar haltlos. „Fest steht, dass unsere Beobachter bisher keinerlei Anhaltspunkte feststellen konnten, dass an diesen Vorwürfe etwas dran ist“, sagte Link. Er verweist auf eine Tatsache, die die Vorwürfe zu einem unrealistischen Szenario machen. Das Gros der Wahlleiter in den Bundesstaaten wurde von republikanischen Gouverneuren bestellt.


    This article is basically about the odds needed by Trump to win the election – plausible or not? (MH)

    Driving across the country last week, it seemed hard to believe an American presidential election is happening a week from Tuesday. Few campaign signs sprout from urban lawns; partisan billboards along the highways are scarce. Away from the coasts, the talk on the radio is largely of football and Jesus, not politics. It takes a moment, hearing a spot in North Carolina for a US Senate candidate, to realize the voice belongs to President Obama, interrupting some country music.

    Oh, there’s plenty of chatter about it in the raging echo chambers of talk radio and TV cable news, and in the cocksure journalists’ fun house known as Twitter, where in-the-tank reporters and dispossessed campaign consultants, smarting over their collective defeat in the primaries, smugly assure each other that Donald Trump will lose in a landslide.

    But what if the widely swinging polls, turnout models and forecasting mechanisms are all wrong? What if the unique historical circumstances of this election — pitting the female half of a likely criminal family dynasty against a thin-skinned bull-in-a-china-shop businessman — have invalidated conventional wisdom? What if the ranks of shy voters storm the polls and, in the words of Michael Moore, deliver the biggest rebuke in history to the establishments of both parties?

    What if, far from having a lock on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. come January, Hillary Clinton’s margin-of-error lead — currently between 4 and 5 points in the RealClearPolitics average of multiple national polls — turns out to be a Potemkin village, dependent on high turnout among blacks and other minorities and on getting late deciders to turn her way?

    What if, in fact, the opposite happens — that Trump’s appeal to the disaffected white working class (many of them Democrats) in coal-mining and Rust Belt states outweighs the Democrats’ traditional advantages in the big cities, flipping a state like Pennsylvania from blue to red?

    Welcome to the hidden election, where those who say they know what’s going to happen don’t, and those who do know will make their voices heard on Nov. 8.

    Nationally, Clinton holds 3.8 points over Trump in a four-way race that also includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein. But polls may not be everything this year.

    Indeed, Hillary has suffered a major polling meltdown over the past week or so, hurtling from a 12-point lead to 4 points in the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll.

    The WikiLeaks revelations about her campaign’s dirty tricks, the pay-to-play nature of the Clinton Foundation, the astonishing personal enrichment of the Clintons via politics and the electrifying news Friday afternoon that the FBI is reopening its investigation into her use of a private e-mail server are finally taking a toll.

    Spurning the poll-based forecasts in favor of historical analysis, professor Helmut Norpoth at SUNY Stony Brook — who’s correctly predicted the last five presidential elections — gives the nod to Trump, 52.5-47.5 percent. Meanwhile, an artificial-intelligence system developed in India that takes into account data from Google, YouTube and social media says Trump’s “engagement data” points to a GOP victory.

    So, if the conventional wisdom is wrong, what’s Trump’s plausible path to 270 electoral votes? In 2012, Mitt Romney won 206 electoral votes to Obama’s 332. But recall that the Electoral College is a zero-sum game; every vote that switches is both a plus and minus, so that’s not quite as big a margin as it might seem.

    Current thinking has it that there are 11 battleground states that could go either way: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. In these states, with a total of 146 votes, the election will be won or lost.

    Welcome to the hidden election, where those who say they know what’s going to happen don’t.

    Throw out the first tier of Colorado (nine electoral votes), Michigan (16) and Wisconsin (10), which are likely to stay blue; in the RealClearPolitics poll averages, Hillary Clinton leads by 6.2 to 8.8 points in this group.

    A second tier would include Iowa (six), Nevada (six), and New Hampshire (four); of this group, Trump currently leads only in Iowa, by 1.4 points. But a win in any one of these could well provide a crucial margin of victory for him after the main battlegrounds of Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20) and Virginia (13).

    Because here’s the good news for Trump: Despite the structural advantages in the Electoral College the Democrats currently enjoy — they start with New York (29), Illinois (20) and California (55) already in their pockets — the truth is that Trump need only retain the states Mitt Romney won in 2012 (including, critically, North Carolina) and then flip these three battleground states: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. That would give him a 273-265 victory.

    Right now, the RCP numbers show Clinton up 0.7 points in Florida, Trump up 1.1 in Ohio, and Clinton up 5 points in Pennsylvania. Still, RCP has just put Pennsylvania into the “toss-up” category, including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and even Texas. And it’s likely that those four red states will remain true to form, barring a complete Trump collapse in the last week of the campaign.

    Let’s take a look at each:

    In Florida, Hillary will have the usual Democrat advantage in and around Miami and the university towns of Gainesville and Tallahassee. And the GOP’s hold on the Cuban émigré vote has softened over time, especially in the aftermath of Obama’s normalizing of relations with the Communist country. But Trump benefits from a certain favorite-son status (he owns Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach), has extensive business interests in the state and will easily win the rural and western parts of the state, while siphoning off some Jewish votes due to his adamantly pro-Israel stance. Clinging to a mere 0.7 percent lead in the RCP aggregates, Hillary’s head cannot rest easy in the Sunshine State.

    Down-ballot leading indicator: Incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio is up 5.6 points over challenger Patrick Murphy.

    Prize: 29 electoral votes.

    In Ohio, Trump has successfully wooed the working class, so much so that the Clinton campaign has pretty much given up on the bellwether state. Only one state poll shows Clinton with a small lead, while others give it to Trump by up to 4 points. Ohio is the very model of a Trump state, with a large industrial working class that’s seen jobs exported and its livelihood threatened; sure, Cleveland will roll over for Hillary, but look for Trump to be strong elsewhere, especially in the coal towns along the Pennsylvania border.

    Down-ballot leading indicator: Incumbent GOP Sen. Rob Portman is demolishing former governor Ted Strickland, leading by almost 16 points in the RCP averages.

    Prize: 18 electoral votes.

    Things are tougher in Pennsylvania, a state that performs a quadrennial fan dance to tease the GOP, but then reverts to type as after-hours votes from Philly and Pittsburgh come flooding in. The RCP averages show Clinton with a healthy 5.2-point lead, but savvy observers know you have to also figure in a small but significant vigorish for the Democrats as last-minute poll irregularities are discovered, Democrat lawyers get emergency injunctions to keep polling places open and boost minority turnout, and ballots fall off trucks or are discovered in locked rooms. A Trump wave, especially among disaffected Dems and outsourced steel workers, could flip the state, but it will still be hard.

    Down-ballot leading indicator: Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey clinging to a 1.3-point lead over challenger Katie McGinty in a state that often retires new GOP hires after one term.

    Prize: 20 electoral votes.

    If Trump loses Pennsylvania, his next-best chance to close the deal comes from Virginia and Iowa/Nevada, where the combined 19-25 electoral votes would just squeak him over the line. But thanks to the metastasizing numbers of federal employees in the northern Virginia DC suburbs, the Old Dominion is no longer a sure thing for the Republicans; Hillary is currently up 8 points. Neither is Nevada, Harry Reid’s service-employees fiefdom, where Hillary leads by 2 points.

    Meanwhile, consider this: If Trump loses Pennsylvania and Virginia, but (in addition to Ohio and Florida) wins New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada, the race ends in a 269-269 tie. Then it might come down to a single congressional district in Maine or Nebraska (neither a “winner take all” state) or even wind up in the House of Representatives.

    As the campaigns draw to a close, however, it’s crucial to remember that polls are only one aspect of the race. Still little understood is Trump’s lead in the unconventional metrics of social media. Consultants and reporters like to crow that rally sizes (huge for Trump, miniscule for Clinton unless she has Michelle Obama by her side) are not predictive of electoral success.

    There’s little question that the Trump-Pence ticket has generated far more visible enthusiasm among its supporters than the dour Washington death march of Clinton and Tim Kaine.

    Less remarked is Trump’s overwhelming superiority on social media, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where Trump’s page has double the “likes” of Clinton’s (10 million to 5 million). Further, Trump is said to average 30,000 viewers on live-streamed YouTube events, compared to Clinton’s mere 500.

    Clinton has big money on her side, but Trump has big motivation. Both the “intangibles” and AI models showing a Trump victory take these factors into account.

    The truth is, this is an election not just between Clinton and Trump but a whole raft of political antagonists in Barack Obama’s “fundamentally transformed” America: urban vs. rural; old vs. young; makers vs. takers; taxpayers vs. recipients; white collar vs blue collar; Harvard vs. the heartland; manipulative consultants and biased reporters vs. honest Americans who, however naively, believe that their vote really does matter.

    Many have felt apathetic or disenfranchised for decades.

    The question is: How many of them are there and are there enough of them to hold the GOP line and deliver the three crucial states to Trump? We’ll soon find out.


    The Washington Post sees a “tight presidential race” just slightly more than one week before election time on the 7th of November (MH)

    Republicans’ growing unity behind Donald Trump has helped pull him just one percentage point below Hillary Clinton and placed GOP leaders who resist him in a vulnerable position, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll.

    A majority of all likely voters say they are unmoved by the FBI’s announcement Friday that it may review additional emails from Clinton’s time as secretary of state. Just over 6 in 10 voters say the news will make no difference in their vote, while just over 3 in 10 say it makes them less likely to support her; 2 percent say they’re more likely to back her as a result.

    The issue may do more to reinforce preferences of voters opposed to Clinton than swing undecided voters – roughly two-thirds of those who say the issue makes them less likely to support Clinton are Republicans or Republican-leaning independents (68 percent), while 17 percent lean Democratic and 9 percent are independents who lean toward neither party.

    [Latest results from the Post-ABC presidential tracking poll]

    When asked about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to campaign for Trump in the final weeks, two-thirds of Republican-leaning likely voters disapprove of the move (66 percent), including nearly half who disapprove “strongly” (48 percent). Barely one in five approve of Ryan’s decision, 21 percent.

    The Post-ABC Tracking Poll continues to find a very tight race, with Clinton at 46 percent and Trump at 45 percent among likely voters in interviews from Tuesday through Friday, followed by Libertarian Gary Johnson at four percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at two percent. The result is similar to a 47-45 margin in the previous wave released Saturday, though smaller than found in other surveys this week. When likely voters are asked to choose between Clinton and Trump alone, Clinton stands at 49 percent to Trump’s 46 percent, a margin that is still statistically insignificant.

    Greater Republican unity has buoyed Trump’s rising support, which has wavered throughout the year. Trump’s 87-percent support among self-identified Republicans, ticking up from 83 percent last week nearly match Clinton’s 88-percent support among Democrats. Independents also have moved sharply in Trump’s direction, from favoring Clinton by eight points one week ago to backing Trump by 19 points.

    Clinton maintains clear edge on qualifications, but not on empathy

    Clinton is still widely seen as more qualified for the presidency, leading the measure by an 18-point margin, 54 to 36 percent. She has held a clear advantage over Trump in qualifications throughout the campaign.

    But Trump receives more unified backing among those who see him as better qualified. Fully 99 percent of this group currently supports him, compared with Clinton’s 84-percent support among those who see her as better qualified. Another seven percent of this group supports Trump, while four percent are for Johnson and two percent for Stein.

    Clinton’s also lost a once-large advantage on empathy, where voters now split 46 percent for her and 43 percent for Trump when asked which candidate understands the problems of people like them. Clinton had led Trump by an eight-point margin on this measure in early September among likely voters and by a 20-point margin among all adults in August.

    Clinton has a narrow eight-point edge over Trump which candidate has stronger moral character, 46 to 38 percent. A sizable 13 percent volunteer that neither candidate possesses this trait. A larger share of Trump supporters than Clinton supporters say neither candidate has strong moral character (12 percent vs. 2 percent).

    House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to campaign for Trump this fall has proven unpopular among his fellow partisans. This as Ryan’s status as Speaker is in peril through Republican infighting.

    Rejection of Ryan’s stance swells to 75 percent among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who identify as “very conservative” compared with smaller majorities of “somewhat conservative” Republicans (63 percent) and those who are moderate or liberal (56 percent).

    Ryan’s stand against Trump is being handled differently by several other prominent Republicans. For one, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), has said that even though he could not endorse Trump nor his actions, he still plans to vote for the Republican nominee.

    Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a popular Republican governor in a overwhelmingly Democratic state, has spoken out against Trump, a move that was widely popular with independents and Democrats in the state, but Republicans were split on whether they approved on the decision.

    This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 25-28, among a random national sample of 1,781 adults including landline and cellphone respondents. Overall results have a margin-of-sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 points; the error margin is plus or minus three points among the sample of 1,160 likely voters. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York.


    The Washington Post sees Donald Trump at 46 percent and Hillary Clinton at 45 percent in their most recent poll.
    Additionally the WP measured “a drastic dip” in overall enthusiam towards the democratic nominee in the last few days.

    It’s easy to focus on the fact that today’s Washington Post-ABC tracking poll shows Donald Trump at 46 percent and Hillary Clinton at 45 percent. While Trump’s lead isn’t statistically significant, it’s still a sign that a candidacy written off as recently as a few weeks ago is showing some signs of life.

    But, the most interesting number in today’s poll — and the one that should worry Clinton’s campaign most — is the question concerning how enthusiastic people are to vote for the two candidates.

    That’s a pretty drastic dip — and it coincides with the announcement Friday afternoon by FBI Director James Comey that new emails had been discovered considered pertinent to the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. On Thursday and Friday of last week, the Post-ABC tracking poll showed negligible differences in enthusiasm between supporters of Trump (53 percent said they were “very enthusiastic”) and those of Clinton (51 percent “very” enthusiastic.) But by our Tuesday morning track, enthusiasm among Clinton supporters had dipped all the way to 43 percent while Trump’s held steady at 53 percent.

    That’s striking. And worrisome if you are a Democrat.

    For all of the talk about the small percentage of people who remain undecided in this presidential election, the bases of each party are equally — if not more — important. Voting — even for base voters — is not necessarily a habit. Ask any politician what the hardest part of their job is and they will tell you that’s it’s ensuring the people who are for them turn out to vote.

    Without an excited base, a candidate never gets to the point where swing voters matter. Given that, even a slight change in base voter enthusiasm can create major issues for a candidate. That goes double — or maybe even triple — in an election like this one where so many base voters are something short of thrilled with their party’s nominees. We know that there are lots and lots of Democratic (and Republican) base voters who planned to hold their nose and vote for their nominee. But given any sort of excuse not to, they might just stay home. (Side note: Nothing — and certainly not the Comey announcement — would drive Democratic base voters to cast a ballot for Trump. But staying home hurts Clinton too.)

    At the moment, it’s too early to conclude that Clinton’s current enthusiasm dip is anything more than a several-day blip. It’s totally possible that by the time voters vote next Tuesday, her enthusiasm numbers will be back at — or even above — the pre-Comey levels. But what we know now is that the Comey announcement coincided with a clear erosion in enthusiasm among Clinton backers. And that has to make any Democrat nervous this close to an election.

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