Revere non-stick cookware

So, how in the world is a candidate who has said and done all the things Trump has running so damn close in the polls now?  Seriously?  Literally one month ago prominent members of his own party were calling for him to drop out of the race and he looked like he’d be lucky to hit 40%.  Damn, memories are short.  Some time ago, I wrote that Trump does not actually defy political gravity, but, I think in this hyper-polarized world we live in, we are dealing with the moon’s gravity, and not the earth’s (sorry, cannot resist a strained metaphor).

Many have argued that Trump is teflon.  Well, he may not be Swiss Diamond, but damn it, he’s at least Revere non-stick.  During Jeopardy literally all we get are political ads (oh, how I miss the days of Viagra and Lipitor) and we’re seeing some damn good ones from Clinton.  Like this one:

These are the man’s own words.  Talk about hoisted by your own petard!  And yet, here we are just days before the election and in serious doubt as to whether this buffoonish, ignorant, cretin might actually become president.  I swear, if there’s anything that’s ever made me doubt in America, this may be it.

Also, as close as Trump is, despite everything, I’m all the more convinced that any other viable Republican besides Cruz (i.e., Rubio, Jeb, Scott Walker, Mike Pence) would be running away with this thing.

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Emails versus taxes

From this tweet.  Only one of these appear to have broken applicable federal law (clear law-breaking from Trump Foundation taxes).

Emails!

I have no idea who Jonathan Good is, but this post was public, and it’s good (and DJC share it), so:

I have to say I’m ready for the election to be over. Trump admitting sexual assault. Clinton emails. Trump charity fraud. Clinton emails. Trump calls for nuclear proliferation. Clinton emails. Trump calls for national stop and frisk. Clinton emails. Trump violates trade embargo with Cuba. Clinton emails. Trump sued over Trump U fraud. Clinton emails. Trump bribes DA. Clinton emails. Trump doesnt pay taxes for 20 years. Clinton emails. Trump employs campaign manager involved in illegal corruption with Russia. Clinton emails. Trump calls for ban of an entire religion from entering US. Clinton emails. Trump lied about support for Iraq War over and over in debate. Clinton emails. Trump in court for rape of a minor. Clinton emails. Trump unaware of Russia’s Crimea occupation. Clinton emails. Trump unaware of situation in Syria. Clinton emails. Trump penalized for racist housing discrimination. Clinton emails. Trump files for bankrupcy 6 times. Clinton emails. Trump goes 0-3 in debates by showing scant knowledge of world politics. Clinton emails. Trump slams people for being POWs. Clinton emails. Trump calls mexicans rapists. Clinton emails. Trump questions judge’s integrity because of parent’s heritage. Clinton emails. Trump deletes emails involved in casino scandal. Clinton emails. Trump commits insurance fraud after florida hurricane. Clinton emails. Trump has dozens of assault victims and witnesses come forward with allegations of abuse. Clinton emails. Trump attacks former Ms America for being overweight. Clinton emails. Trump tweets about sex tapes at 3am. Clinton emails. Trump calls for US citizens to be sent to Gitmo. Clinton emails. Trump calls for more extreme forms of torture to be used. Clinton emails. Trump asks why cant we use our nukes if we have them. Clinton emails. Trump calls for offensive bombing attack on sovereign nations because someone gave the middle finger. Clinton emails. Trump calls to kill women and children of suspected terrorists. Clinton emails. Trump says women should be punished for having abortions. Clinton emails. Trump makes fun of disabled people. Clinton emails. Trump calls for end of freedom of the press. Clinton emails. Trump calls global warming a chinese hoax. Clinton emails. Trump praises Putin and Kim Jong Un’s strong leadership. Clinton emails. Trump openly admits to not paying his employees during debate. Clinton emails. Trump calls Obama an illegitimate noncitizen hundreds of times over 7 years. Clinton emails. Trump uses campaign donations to enrich his own businesses. Clinton emails. Trump says Ted Cruz involved in JFK assassination unironically citing National Enquirer. Clinton emails. Trump says laziness is an inherent trait in black people. Clinton emails.

The case for calm

Okay, writing this for my wife, who asked me today, “so, should I just listen to Sam Wang instead of Nate Silver?”  There’s a decent case for yes.  Wang has been just as accurate in the past, he’s just way less famous.  I really like that Silver is taking a fundamentally conservative approach that allows for substantial systematic polling error, but it is certainly possible he is overstating the risk.

Drum makes the case for Wang and calmness and does it using my favorite statistical concept, regression to the mean (though, Drum says “reversion” to the mean):

Reversion to the mean

This theory about response rates might explain another phenomenon that’s been much in evidence this year: reversion to the mean. You can see it pretty clearly in Sam Wang’s meta-margin:

Up through July, Hillary Clinton was ahead of Trump by a steady 3.5 points. Then she got a big spike after the Democratic convention, but it quickly reverted to around 3.5. Then she dropped a bunch after some email news and her fainting spell on 9/11—but again, the trendline quickly reverted to 3.5. Then she spiked again after the second debate and the Access Hollywood video, but reverted to 3.5 yet again.

Clinton could easily lose another point before Election Day, or she could revert back to 3.5 and stay there. I’d bet on reversion to the mean. This election features two candidates who have been around a long time and are both very well known. Almost everybody made up their minds pretty early, and nothing much has changed for the past 12 months. Hillary Clinton will most likely win by 3-4 percentage points, plus maybe a little extra because she has a way better ground game.

Ultimately, as incredibly anxious and worried as I actually am right now, the cool, rational part of me truly believes that Drum’s final paragraph is pretty spot on.  I really do think Clinton will win by 3-4 nationally, with around 320 electoral votes.

Also, I’ve been meaning and meaning to write about response rates, but haven’t.  Read the original YouGov piece on it or Drum’s summary in this same post.   (Short version: quite probable that voters really aren’t changing their minds all that much, but rather we are seeing sizable shifts in propensity to actually answer polls from among supporters of the opposing candidates).

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