Election day’s reasons for calm

1) Nate Silver’s model has bounced back up to 70% for Clinton, last I checked.  Most importantly, Yglesias nicely lays out the case why Silver’s model is too cautious on Clinton:

The main reason Silver is giving Trump better odds than other modelers is that Silver sees a race with high variability and a high degree of uncertainty. That uncertainty manifests itself largely in the high number of people telling pollsters they will vote for Gary Johnson, for Jill Stein, or that they are still undecided.

His logic, which seems very correct to me, is that a 44-41 lead is a lot less safe than a 51-48 lead, even though they are both 3-point leads.

But while there really is a lot of uncertainty about where the Johnson/Stein voters will land, it’s wrong to think of that as symmetrical uncertainty. As Emma Roller wrote last month, when you talk to third-party voters, few “genuinely [think] that Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton were equally bad candidates, though some seem to truly believe that they are two sides of the same coin.”

For Stein voters this is a pretty clear-cut matter of ideology. But Johnson’s own vice presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, has also made his preference for Clinton clear. Johnson’s voters also skew very young, which is a terrible demographic for Republicans in general and for Trump in particular.

In other words, of the four possible things a Johnson/Stein voter could do on Election Day — stick to his guns, defect to Clinton, stay home, or defect to Trump — the fourth option is a lot less likely than the other three. If third-party voters are fuzzing up the polls, in other words, they are probably doing so by understating Clinton’s true level of support — not overstating it…

Barack Obama’s strong approval ratings over the past two months are another reason to believe that uncertainty in the election is not symmetrical.

In many past races, the typical undecided voter will be torn between two candidates because they like them both. This race features two unusually unpopular candidates, so most undecided voters are torn between two options they dislike. The fact that most people approve of the job President Obama is doing, and that his net margin on this score is a healthy 6 percentage points, however, gives us some clues to their overall thinking.

The ultimate behavior of a voter who likes Obama but is undecided because he doesn’t like Clinton is pretty unpredictable. But common sense says that of all the possibilities (stay home, vote Johnson, vote Stein, vote Clinton, vote Trump), casting a ballot for the most virulently anti-Obama candidate in the race is the least-likely outcome.

2) The latest Upshot summary:


3) Now go vote, if haven’t yet.  Unless you live in Finland.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Election day’s reasons for calm

  1. Mika says:

    Ok, I won’t vote. 🙂

    My Ohio differential looks worse the more I read about it. For example

    “In one key Ohio Democratic county where Clinton needs to win big, “early-vote requests by Democrats in Cuyahoga County, however, are down 35 percent compared with the same point in 2012, and ballots returned are off by 31 percent,” said Bloomberg, although Democratic early voting picked up for Clinton slightly but still off Obama’s pace. In the end, according to Cleveland.com, voting dropped off 16% in a Democratic county that Clinton needs to win, but overall early voting rose in the state.”



    “Clinton needs to rack up large margins in the Cleveland area to win the state and it’s not happening. Early vote requests are down nearly 35 percent in metro Cleveland compared to 2012.

    More whites are voting in Ohio and there’s little shift in the Hispanic vote to offset a decline among African-Americans. That could lead to a Trump win in a state where he is favored but must win to have a shot at beating Clinton.”


    Also, it’s criminal that NC republican’s have managed to suppress African-American vote with their schemes.

    Otherwise your #2 must very soothing. Keep calm and… umm… keep calm.

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