Friday, October 14, 2016

A US Presidential Election Analysis


Once in a while, important events deserve to be discussed and they dislodge physics topics. I wrote in the past about Donald Trump, and today I want to revisit the topic and present some analysis on what is currently going on in US election politics. By now the election outcome is all but certain: Trump will lose, and Clinton will win, but what is the basis for this prediction?

If you never heard of it, there is an amazing site by Nate Silverhttp://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

Nate Silver has a huge well deserved prediction credibility and he performs in-depth analysis of the elections way more than what you find on the usual media outlets like CNN.

In the image below you see the daily graph of the winning chances for Trump (the red line) and Clinton (the blue line). 




Mid July Trump got a post Republican convention boost and he was on the rise until Clinton had the democratic convention.The sharp Trump decline after that convention was due to his attack on the Khan family, whose son died for America. When that scandal faded, mid August, Trump's odds began improving following Clinton's erosion of trust due to the email server scandal, and also due to concerns about her health. Then came the first debate in which Trump had a very good first half an hour but was ill prepared for the long haul of the debate. That started a turn-off reaction for the independent voters who only now got the first serious look at him. 

Still the slide was temporary and the fluctuations were comparable with the prior two weeks and for two days he was climbing back in the polls. At this point the famous tape of him bragging about grabbing women by their genitals surfaced and this started a a chain reaction mostly inside the Republican party. The tape reversed the trend, but what killed his election chances was his performance in the second debate. Trump made two strategic mistakes:

  • he attacked Hillary (and Bill Clinton) instead of sincerely apologizing 
  • he dismissed the tape as locker room talk and claimed he did not do anything physical
Let's see what those were fatal mistakes for him. By going on the offensive when people expected genuine contrition made Trump appear as a rabid dog and people were hugely disgusted by his behavior. The general consensus of the independent people who watched the second debate was that they themselves felt dirty and in need of a shower. The second debate reduced Trump's changes into low teen numbers. If you look at the two prior cycles: June-August and August-October you notice the bouncing back rate for Trump and that there is not enough time for him to close the gap before election day. 

Now even if the election is postponed a few months, Trump will never recover due to his second strategic mistake. For all his playboy behavior, it is impossible that he never did anything real as he was bragging on the tape. But by claiming it was all "only talk" as opposed to Bill Clinton's actions encouraged women to come forward to tell their stories. Once this started it cannot be stopped. Just ask Bill Cosby on how it happened in his case: the same pattern will repeat here. 

When the tape was released, republicans running for reelection started deserting Trump out of fear that he will negatively affect their changes of reelection due to the backlash in the women's vote. But by now is is clear Trump's chances of election are virtually zero and this has the potential to split the Republican party. 

After the election loss, the finger-pointing will begin. Rience Priebus has no real vision or power and will most likely lose his job. The power vacuum will start a chaotic period for the Republican party which will end either by a victory of anti-Trump forces, or a party split. My bet is that the party will remain intact since politicians tend to act as a pack: there is strength in numbers and it is hard to survive alone.

15 comments:

  1. As their Brexit counterparts, the polls show by some 10 percentage points smaller support for the politically incorrect option than the actual one because people are being actively harassed for knowing that e.g. Trump is just fine, his accusers are just a bunch of losers, talk about pußies is an irrelevant cherry-picked distraction, women happily allow Trump to touch them, anyway, and Hillary is a corrupt crooked piece of šit. Try to say these facts at any similar place and you will see the reaction. So people are just avoiding unnecessary conflict before they throw their vote for Trump on November 8th.

    The result is clearly a close call. It's also nonsense that the Republican Party will split. Although the dirty propaganda machine that you're a tiny pathetic part of is trying to pick anti-Trump Republicans etc., GOP support Trump and Trump really *is* GOP today.

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  2. https://ig.ft.com/sites/brexit-polling/

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    1. OK, this is some averaging by methods that are not explained on that page.

      There surely were polls with a 10-point lead of Remain, including the latest one that was made, see e.g.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-poll-brexit-remain-vote-leave-live-latest-who-will-win-results-populus-a7097261.html

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    2. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/british-referendum-polls-are-a-mess/

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    3. I agree that Brexit polls were mess - but I wasn't and couldn't be quite sure before the actual vote. Most people in the markets were making the bet on Remain - in some sense, so did I - and that was why there was a hysterical drop after the Leave result.

      My point for today is that exactly the same thing may apply to the looming Trump-Hillary election. The polls may also be a mess, like some people say, just like some people were saying that the Brexit polls were a mess. Even the numbers are in a very similar category, showing edges for Hillary between 0-10 percent most of the time, and that's what we had for Remain, too. And the result may be 52-48 for Trump just like for Leave. Or it may be 50.2-49.8 now. Who knows. But the idea that this is excluded at some high confidence is self-evidently wrong.

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    4. BTW the latest poll found in the press

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/washington-post-abc-news-poll-clinton-holds-four-point-lead-in-aftermath-of-trump-tape/2016/10/15/c31969a4-9231-11e6-9c52-0b10449e33c4_story.html

      also shows the same 4-point edge for Hillary that Brexit Remain had in the FT average. It wasn't enough for Brexit Remain to win.

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    5. Nate Silver is not just an average statistician and US elections are not a simple matter of popular vote. Nate's method is sophisticated and he called the last election extremely accurately.

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    6. There was no important systematic error in the previous election because it was a choice between two politically correct puppets of the establishment.

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  3. Donald Trump wants to win, but I really do not think he wants to govern and uphold the burden of actually being President. I think this is a part of his whole silliness about the election being stolen. He will claim in November that it was stolen, he really won but was scammed by Clinton.

    Donald Trump's business career has been one of huge incompetence, and abuse of employees and those contracted to him. He clearly sees people as pebbles to be kicked around, and if they are women they exist to be taken sexual advantage of. Trump has elements of the Dunning Kreuger effect or the Downing effect, which is an illusion of self superiority or intelligence. However, he also may be right on the boundary of these and know that he can't be President or does not want to be. Trump if anything likes to have his image portrayed in a favorable light, and I suspect he might have some inkling that he would be way over his head as President. I think he has in some ways been sabotaging his campaign.

    I think he would prefer to be seen later as a "grandfather" of some uber-right movements. I can imagine him after first Tuesday in November saying, "You second amendment people have a green light to do what must be done." He will of course back pedal on this being a call for violence, but some hyper-right winged nutbags might take it seriously. As a loser who claims the election was stolen he can be adored in "legend" and be a rallying face for the hyper-right/neofascist movement the Republican Party has been evolving into.

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  4. I wanted to comment when you made this post, when Clinton was still leading considerably. Now it's perhaps too late to be a prediction, given that she is already behind Trump. What I wanted to comment was that the average guy will start to sympathize Trump, because of what to them seems a constant unfair attack against him (no, I am not pro-Trump, I really don't want him to be president of the US). Let me explain. So many intellectuals that are pro-Hillary make unfair and, voluntarily or not, manipulating comments of his actions. Everybody is biased, and so are the smartest guys. Your post is an exception, being very balanced and neutral. But what I saw in the latest months disgusted me (and I am against Trump). Otherwise smart people who claim that Hillary only had cooking receipts on those emails, exaggerating about Trump (yes, I was surprised myself that after he made such many unfortunate comments, there is still room to exaggerate, but there is), or simply being silent about Clinton's unfortunate contribution in war zones. Average men, working and uneducated men, are once in a while verbally abused by their bosses, who are also not educated. They see this as normal. Unlike intellectuals, they are not oversensitive to this. They simply don't get PC. So for them Trump's language is nothing unusual, in fact may be pleasant as compared to what they hear on a daily basis. Trump bragging about how his star status make some women allow him to touch them or kiss them is something they hear everyday, and many of them even talk in the same way. Intellectuals didn't see in Trump a guy who bragged that some ladies didn't resist him because he was a star. They saw a guy who abused his power, so those ladies were afraid to resist him. For the average guy, this appeared to be a misrepresentation of what Trump said. Everything he said, it is expected by the media to be offensive to someone. They try to find second offensive meanings who probably he didn't even realize was saying. For the average guy, who doesn't pay much attention to the way they talk, this is not so important. For them, Trump is, because of his language, one of them. Yes, they are poor and he is rich, and this is even better, because this means they can, someday, be rich too. He may be not that smart, but he is street smart to them. For them, Trump is a David, and Clinton a Goliath. Just because he speaks like an uneducated guy, and Clinton and her supporter appear like some bad teachers they had in school when they were children. For them, Trump is a legend. Uneducated people are not stupid, they realize when they are manipulated. And this disgusts them. Exaggerating the evilness of Trump and the angelness of Clinton would never convince people to change sides. But they do convince undecided people to vote for Trump, because they become disgusted. That's why I am not surprised at all by the recent changes, and I would not be surprised if he will win. I really don't want him to be president. If he will be, I blame for this the intellectuals who made him look like a victim of attacks that for the average guy don't really matter.

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    1. Clinton is still the favorite: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/?ex_cid=2016-forecast but her poll numbers are crashing due to the FBI investigation. The worst enemy of Trump is Trump, and the worst enemy of Hilary is Hilary.

      Look at: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/senate/?ex_cid=2016-forecast The democracts are leading due to Trump effect and the only explanation for Hillary's bad momentum is FBI and not a Trump resurgence. As the FBI news will fade from the collective memory the trend will be reversed.

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  5. Nate Silver should retire, together with his "in-depth analysis of the elections". He should, but he will not, unfortunately. These kind of people will continue to pollute everybody's lives and minds. Congratulations to American and British people, who have taken their countries back!

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  6. "But by now is is clear Trump's chances of election are virtually zero and this has the potential to split the Republican party."

    Have you ever thought about sticking with what you're good at, and staying out of politics?

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  7. "But by now is is clear Trump's chances of election are virtually zero and this has the potential to split the Republican party."

    Have you ever thought about sticking with what you're good at, and staying out of politics?

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    1. Blackhead, how is Brexit feeling? Keep up the good work there.

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