A Final Look At The Polls

With just one day to go, Clinton's paths to victory continue to look far more realistic than Donald Trump's.

Trump Clinton

It may be hard to believe folks, but we’re finally here. 719 days after the 2016 Presidential campaign season started with former Virginia Senator Jim Webb becoming the first candidate to announce the creation of a Presidential Exploratory Committee, we’re now less than twenty-four hours from the polls opening and about thirty-six hours or so away from finding out the identity of the 45th President of the United States. Without question, it has been one of the most raucous, controversial, and disheartening campaigns in recent memory, and one that could have a lasting impact on American politics with consequences that won’t be fully sorted out for years to come. Over the course of one year, 11 months, and 19 days we’ve seen some of the worst aspects of American politics play out on our television screens, in social media, and, quite often, in one on one discussions between friends and family members who found themselves on opposite sides of the political fence in a year when our politics seemed as if it was more polarized than it had been in quite some time.

The past week, for example, was marked by seemingly non-stop coverage of what seemed to be a politically disastrous reopening of the F.B.I. inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as was announced in a letter that F.B.I. Director James Comey had sent to Congress at the end of last week. For several days, the polls at both the national and local level began to close at what likely seemed like an alarming pace for the Clinton. Additionally, notwithstanding Clinton’s advantage in the Electoral College and the fact that Trump’s paths to victory remained no easier at the end of the week than they were at the start, polling at the state level suggested some trouble for the vaunted Clinton firewall. By the end of the week, though, the polls seemed to largely turn around and Clinton’s lead returned to the several point margin that we’d seen before. The result was a reshuffling of campaign appearances by both candidates as the campaigns sought to exploit what seemed as if it was a shifting electorate in the final days of the campaign. The final capper to the week came yesterday when F.B.I. Director Comey sent another letter to Congress, informing them that they had completed their investigation into the new email he had previously referenced and found no reason to change the previous conclusion that there was no basis to change the conclusion from July that prosecution was not warranted based on the facts available.

Looking at the race from the national level one last time, it seems clear that Clinton is in the lead and that Trump’s path to victory would be difficult at best. As always, we turn first to the RealClearPolitics polling averages. In a two-way matchup, Clinton now leads Trump 46.8% to 44.3% for an average lead of 2.5 points. This is actually slightly higher than where Clinton stood last week, and is also a notable improvement from where the average was even a few days ago after days of polling that was generally showing the race as tied or Clinton with a narrow lead of one or two points. In a four-way match, Clinton stands at 44.8% to 42.1% with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson averaging 4.9% and Green Party nominee Jill Stein averaging 2.0%, giving Clinton an average 2.7 point lead over Trump. This is exactly where Clinton was a week ago, and is an indication of the fact that the movement in the four-way polls over the past week was far less volatile than it had been in the two-way matchup Pollster also shows improvement in Clinton’s numbers in both a two-way and a three-way race  In the RealClearPolitics polling average of the Favorable/Unfavorable question for both candidates, where we might expect to see some evidence that the email story is having an impact, both candidates continue to be viewed unfavorably but Clinton remains in a far better position than Trump, For Clinton an average of 55. 3% of respondents saying they have an unfavorable opinion of her versus 41.5% who say they have a favorable opinion. This leaves her with an average deficit of -13.8 points.This represents a drop for Clinton and is likely a reflection of the revival of the email story for much of the week.   This compares quite favorably, though, to Donald Trump who stands at 57.8% unfavorable and 38.6 favorable and an average deficit of -19.2points. This is a slight statistical improvement for Trump. In both cases, this may be attributable to the fact that people who have made up their mind about one candidate or the other have become more favorable toward that choice.

Here’s the chart for the two-way race:

RCP Two Way Chart Final

And the four-way race:

RCP Four Way Chart Final

 

Nowhere else is the tightening of the polls we saw over the past week seen more than at the state level, where several states that had been put in Clinton’s column slipped into the Toss-Up category thanks to the fact that polling was showing the race closer than it had been. Several of these states, though, include states that Clinton seems very likely to win tomorrow including Virginia, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico. As a result, the RCP Electoral Map currently gives Clinton 203 Electoral Votes to 164 Electoral Votes for Trump and 171 Electoral Votes from fourteen states and one Congressional District in Maine listed as toss-ups. The advantage obviously still lies with Clinton since she has more apparent paths to victory than Trump does. Without toss-ups, Clinton has 301 Electoral Votes to 237 for Donald Trump. In reality, I tend to think that Clinton’s win in the Electoral College will be larger than this but this still represents a sizable victory for Clinton that could end up being apparent well before the end of the night on Tuesday.

The projections, not surprisingly still predict a Clinton win, albeit by a narrower margin than before. Nate Silver’s polls-only forecast, for example, projects a 66.4% likelihood of a Clinton victory and a 36.6% chance of a Republican victory while the ‘Polls-Plus’ forecast gives Clinton an 66.7% chance of winning versus 33.2% for Donald Trump and the “Now-cast,” which purports to project would happen if the election were held today, showing a 66.7% chance of a Clinton victory and a 33.3% chance of a Trump victory. Silver’s numbers have consistently been far more conservative than those of other forecasters throughout the campaign and it’s no different now that we’re just one day before Election Day. This has led to some degree of controversy and criticism directed at Silver by those who feel that he’s ‘cooking the books,’ but Silver has defended his modeling as the most appropriate way to approach the numbers at this time. Additionally, keep in mind that 538’s forecast numbers can change throughout a given day as they factor newly published polls into their forecast model, these numbers represent what was displayed at the time the post was written. These are all slips for Clinton over last week, which isn’t surprising given the extent to which the race tightened in the polls. As was the case last week, Clinton fares slightly better in Sam Wang’s forecast and in Larry Sabato’s forecastThe New York Timesmeanwhile, gives Clinton an 84% chance of winning the race while DailyKos gives Clinton a 88% chance of winning. These are largely consistent with Clinton’s position last week.

It’s been a bumpy week for Clinton, but it’s ending largely in a very good position for her heading into tomorrow. In addition to the numbers above, the early voting numbers from states such as North Carolina, Florida, and Nevada were very favorable for Democrats all last week, suggesting that Trump would have to have a massive turnout in his favor tomorrow in order to pull of victories in those states. While that’s certainly possible, that is also the kind of thing that would require the kind of ground campaign that Trump doesn’t seem to have. Indeed, in all three of these states Clinton’s ground operation appears to be manifestly superior to Trump’s, but we’ll have to see if that holds up tomorrow.

Previous Posts:

With Eleven Weeks To Go, Hillary Clinton Appears To Be Unstoppable
Ten Weeks Out: The Presidential Race Tightens A Bit, But Clinton Still Lead
With Nine Weeks To Go, Clinton’s Post-Convention Bounce Seems To Have Disappeared
With Eight Weeks To Go, A Tighter Race But It’s Still Advantage Clinton
Presidential Race Continues To Tighten With Seven Weeks To Go
Presidential Race Remains Tight Heading Into First Debate
With Five Weeks To Go, Clinton Appears To Have Momentum
Clinton Keeps Pulling Ahead Heading Into Second Presidential Debate
With Three Weeks To Go, Clinton’s Momentum Appears To Be Surging
It’s Two Weeks Until Election Day, And Things Are Looking Very Good For Hillary Clinton
With One Week To Go, The Presidential Race Tightens But Clinton Still Has The Advantage

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Liberal Capitalist says:

    One of my favorite polls.

    1) When people thought Trump had a chance, the stock market dropped.

    2) Now that it looks like it will be a President-Elect Clinton (with the statement from the FBI), market takes off.

    I think that holds more for us than that still undecided voter in Arizona.

    Could you have imagined the effect on the market with a President-Elect Trump?

    Boggles the mind.

    Best quote that I read today: Trump got his wall. A solid wall of Hispanic-American voters turning out to vote in Nevada.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I spent 3 days in Nevada knocking on doors, so pretty sure I’ve singlehandedly saved Nevada and by extension all of American democracy. No, no, I don’t consider myself a hero. But if you insist. . .

  3. JKB says:

    Trump winning is against conventional wisdom. All the elements were aligned against him. Hillary had the money, the organization, the media, the ground game, the feckless Republicans… Yet it is neck and neck with even James Carville proclaiming nervousness. That in itself says something that should be paid attention to.

    I do believe their will be some surprises with Trump doing better with Hispanics, women, etc. than the “death of Whites”(as a voting force) camp can imagine. That to will be revealing regardless of the actual winner. After all, while the Democrat/Progressives like to believe the Genetic Lineage Matters (GLM) above all else, people are still individuals trying to get by in a broken economy (in many areas) and many will vote for change.

  4. JKB says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You saved American democracy but lost the American republic.

  5. @michael reynolds:

    If Jon Ralston is right, and he seems to be the expert on Nevada politics, then the early vote for Democrats has been overwhelming and Clinton is likely to win there comfortably.

    http://www.ktnv.com/news/ralston/the-nevada-early-voting-blog

  6. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Where do you have your cape dry-cleaned?
    Seriously, though…thank you.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    people are still individuals trying to get by in an broken economy broken by failed Republican economic theories.

    FTFY

  8. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    I do believe, based purely on my emotions and no actual facts, their will be some surprises with Trump doing better with Hispanics, women, etc.

  9. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No, no, I don’t consider myself a hero. But if you insist. . .

    Thanks, Shoeshine Boy. You’re humble, and lovable.

  10. CSK says:

    Sarah Palin yesterday campaigned for Trump in Detroit at the…Town Pump Tavern.

    You read that right. The Town Pump Tavern.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    The final UNH poll of New Hampshire came out this AM and it has Clinton up 49 to 38% for Trump and the margin of error is 3.7. News article reporting that noted final poll from a couple of other sources that had similar numbers. The WMUR poll that caused a stir last week may have been an outlier.

    Besides the Nevada early voting trend, Bloomburg is reporting that Hispanics in Dade and surrounding counties in So FLA are turning out in record and overwhelming numbers. Speculation that for Trump to win FLA now will require him to beat Clinton by double digits with voters who cast their ballots tomorrow.

    Seems we’re going to be spared the spectacle of a Trump presidency.

  12. bookdragon says:

    @Doug Mataconis: He provided my favorite snark of last week on Trump and Hispanic turn out:

    “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, will stop me from being president.”

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    Hey, sack of wind? every time you pop up here I’m going to remind you that you failed to address @HarvardLawyer’s direct questions.

    You never have an answer to anything. You just spout a lie and run away like the coward you are.

  14. Pch101 says:

    @JKB:

    I do believe their will be some surprises with Trump doing better with Hispanics, women, etc. than the “death of Whites”(as a voting force) camp can imagine.

    No one has ever lost money betting against you.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    President Barack Obama on Sunday mocked Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for having his Twitter access taken away by his campaign staff, who hope to minimize the real estate mogul’s frequent social media ramblings in the last days before the election.

    “Apparently, his campaign has taken away his Twitter,” Obama said, speaking at a Hillary Clinton rally in Kissimmee, Florida. “In the last two days, they had so little confidence in his self-control, that they said, ‘We’re just going to take away your Twitter.’”

    “Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account,” he continued, to audience laughter, “they can’t handle the nuclear codes. If somebody starts tweeting at 3 in the morning because ‘SNL’ made fun of you, then you can’t handle the nuclear codes.”

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    Just so you remember to answer, here’s @HarvardLaw92’s comment:

    No, apparently only you do, and as I have asked you before – which law? Feel free to cite the exact statute(s) you believe that she violated and then explain how you believe that she violated them. We can discuss the situation attorney to “attorney”.

    Or you can keep doing what you’ve been doing from the outset – talking out of your behind about things you know little to nothing about and shredding what little credibility you had to begin with.

    Answer the question or admit you can’t. Either show some scrap of intellectual integrity and honesty or crawl back under your rock. Because I think we are all about sick of your fact-free, lying bullshit.

  17. Scott says:

    @C. Clavin: Capes? I hope not. As Edna Mode in The Incredibles said: “No capes!”

  18. An Interested Party says:

    I do believe their will be some surprises with Trump doing better with Hispanics, women, etc.

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the comic relief…I’m sure you’ll be here all week…

    After all, while the Democrat/Progressives like to believe the Genetic Lineage Matters (GLM) above all else, people are still individuals trying to get by in a broken economy (in many areas) and many will vote for change.

    Republicans could easily solve their “GLM” problem if they treated everyone as well as they treat rich white people…

  19. Jen says:

    I highly doubt Trump will provide anything close to a surprise by doing better with women. I got added to that private Facebook Pantsuit group when it was still under 100K. It’s at 1.8 million people right now and most of that growth has been over the last week, and the women on there–a LOT of whom are (or were) Republicans–are so excited to vote for Clinton it’s astonishing. I am no longer buying any “enthusiasm gap” talk.

  20. dxq says:

    if republicans get the senate tomorrow it’ll be hell for all of us.

  21. EddieInCA says:

    I am probably wrong. Won’t be the first time or the last time. But I’ve spent the last three days canvassing for Clinton in Georgia – far, far from my home in Los Angeles, and I think you’re going to see a surprise in Georgia.

    I think Clinton is going to pull out Georgia, and NC, and win Florida comfortably.

    I’m hoping it’s an early night.

  22. C. Clavin says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’ve spent the last three days canvassing for Clinton in Georgia

    Thank you.

  23. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Jen: I was closer to member 850,000, but, yeah, same observation. Tons of enthusiasm.

    After reading story after story there, I have a feeling that there are a lot of male Trumpsters that have absolutely no idea that their wives and daughters and mothers and sisters are going to be cancelling out their votes.

  24. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    What’s it like today in NH?

  25. Neil Hudelson says:

    What’s crazy is just how fervently JKB believes his own bullsh*t. Even Jenos figured out Trump was going to get slaughtered, no matter what Scott Adams promised.

    Think about that.

    JKB is more susceptible to bullsh*t than Jenos.

  26. Jen says:

    @CSK: Quiet today, but tons of door to door over the weekend. New WMUR/UNH survey has all Dems leading.

  27. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Thank you. I just looked at the UNH Granite State poll from yesterday. It has Clinton 48–Trump 38.

    Trump must have acknowledged to himself that he’s losing bigtime, because in Time magazine today he’s predicting that if she’s elected. Clinton will be impeached and face a criminal trial, while the country is overrun by violent refugees and illegal aliens who will commit wholesale rape and murder.

  28. Mikey says:

    Sam Wang has an interesting piece on both how and why he gets his estimate on the likelihood of a Clinton victory, and why it differs from 538’s.

    Is 99% a reasonable probability?

    He has Clinton’s probability of winning at >99% this morning.

  29. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mikey:

    Is 99% a reasonable probability?

    He has Clinton’s probability of winning at >99% this morning.

    So you’re tellin’ me there there’s a chance… YEAH !!!

  30. C. Clavin says:

    Almost as much as I want to see Trump and his Trumpkins go away…I want to see Turtle Face lose control of the Senate.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @C. Clavin: I want to see Ryan get kicked out.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    Sarah Palin yesterday campaigned for Trump in Detroit at the…Town Pump Tavern.

    All kidding aside I’ve been wondering if she has a substance abuse problem. She seems to have completely fallen apart in the last year or two.

  33. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @MarkedMan:

    All kidding aside I’ve been wondering if she has a substance abuse problem. She seems to have completely fallen apart in the last year or two.

    Slurred speech

    Repetitive speech patterns

    Relationship/marital problems

    Difficulty at keeping a job

    Difficulty in delivering a concise thought

    Isolating / secretive about activities

    Legal problems

    Financial problems (e.g. always needing money)

    Irritability/Argumentative

    Defensiveness

    Inability to deal with stress

    Obnoxious

    Confused easily

    Denial

    Rationalizing – Offering alibis, excuses, justifications, or other explanations for their using behavior

    Minimization – Admitting superficially to the problem but not admitting to the seriousness or full scope of the behavior or consequences

    Blaming – Placing the blame for the behavior on someone else or some event

    Diversion – Changing the subject to avoid discussing the topic

    Hmmmm…. not sure…

  34. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    What I’m wondering is whether she’s so desperate for attention that she’d jump at the chance to do an appearance in a place called The Town Pump.

    Did she beg for a gig? Something, anything? And this is the bone the Trump camp tossed her? They must regard her as a joke. She drew a crowd of a dozen, by the way.

  35. anjin-san says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’ve been wondering if she has a substance abuse problem

    Having been there myself, I am thinking yes. Hopefully she will straighten herself out, I don’t wish that on anyone.

  36. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: I’m not sure about that. I think that JKB had Trump early in the GOP primaries, too.

    It reminds me of an old saying about blind barnyard animals and some sort of fungi, but I can’t put my finger on it right this moment… even a blind something can something something… aarrrggh!

  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK:

    if she’s elected. Clinton will be impeached and face a criminal trial, while the country is overrun by violent refugees and illegal aliens who will commit wholesale rape and murder.

    And that projection is about as likely as the one where the Trumpettes rise up in anger and blood flows on the streets of major American cities.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: Glad to see there are so many Underdog fans around. Of course, that says bad things about our average age…

  39. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @CSK:

    What I’m wondering is whether she’s so desperate for attention that she’d jump at the chance to do an appearance in a place called The Town Pump.

    So, first, as a former Detroiter, I have to say that The Town Pump is in a great part of Downtone that is Sports focused. If you haven’t seen Detroit lately, it’s worth a visit.

    HOWEVER…

    Let’s just say that Detroit will ALWAYS be Detroit… and that means NOT the best place for Sarah Palin.

    https://www.michigandaily.com/section/news/protesters-disrupt-sarah-palin-event-detroit

    Her reception was less than polite.

    In the words of the infamous Was Not Was: Needless to say, the party broke up.