Early Polling Shows Little Impact From Additional Revelations About Clinton Email Investigation
For now at least, it looks as though last week's email news is having little impact on the state of the race for President.
One of the first polls to be conducted after Friday’s revelation about addition emails prompting the FBI Director to write a letter to Congress that has upended the Presidential campaign suggests that the story has had very little impact on the race:
The race for the White House is tight, but it has not been radically changed by the FBI director’s bombshell announcement last week.
Hillary Clinton has a slim three-point lead over Donald Trump one week before Election Day, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted entirely after FBI Director James Comey announced the discovery of new emails that might pertain to the former secretary of state’s private server.
Clinton leads Trump 46 percent to 43 percent in a two-way race, and 42 percent to 39 percent in a four-way race, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson at 7 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at 5 percent.
The poll was conducted using an online panel of 1,772 likely voters on Saturday and Sunday, beginning one day after Comey’s announcement. The poll carries a margin or error of 2 percentage points.
In a separate poll conducted before Comey’s disclosure, Clinton was leading by three points in the four-way race, and five points in the two-way race. Put simply, there is not yet evidence that the revelations have drastically altered the contours of the election.
Thirty-nine percent of voters said the additional review of emails in the Clinton case had no bearing on their vote in November, while 33 percent it made them much less likely to vote for Clinton.
But most of those voters are already aligned against Clinton. Nearly two-thirds of Trump voters, 66 percent, said it makes them much less likely to vote against Clinton.
Among the small pocket of undecided voters remaining, 42 percent said it made them less likely to vote for Clinton, including 30 percent who said it made them much less likely to vote for her. But just as many, 41 percent, said it makes no difference either way.
“It is unlikely that there will be a dramatic shift in the polls before Election Day,” said Morning Consult cofounder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “While Friday’s news may be considered an ‘October Surprise,’ it doesn’t seem to be moving the needle as of now.”
I’ll have a more detailed look at the polling picture tomorrow in my weekly review of the campaign, but it’s worth noting that even before the news about the email broke on Friday there were signs that the polls were tightening, at least at the national level. Several tracking polls that had shown Clinton with wide national leads in the recent past have closed significantly, for example, and by the weekend many of those polls fell within the margin of error, a fact that is interesting but not as significant as it might seem given the fact that all of these polls with the exception of a one or two continue to show Clinton in the lead. As I noted in a comment to James Joyner’s post about those tightening polls on Sunday, though, this isn’t necessarily a surprise given what we’ve seen in the past. As the chart at this page shows, for example, the polls showed a tightening race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at almost precisely this same time four years ago and yet when all was said and done, Barack Obama won the election by a four percentage point margin with 330 Electoral Votes. Similarly, the polling in 2004 showed John Kerry closing the gap with President George W. Bush to within 1.5 points.Therefore, one could expect that we’d see some closing in the polls prior to Election Day regardless of whether or not the FBI Director had sent this letter to Congress or not. Given that, and given that there is so little time left between now and Election Day, it’s going to be hard to say what impact a specific story like this will have on the race without directly asking voters, and that’s not going to really be possible until after they’ve voted.
It’s also worth noting that there is, contrary to convention wisdom, little evidence that so-called ‘October Surprises’ have the kind of impact on elections that many people have come to believe. FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten goes back and looks at previous elections and events that were thought at the time to constitute an ‘October surprise’ at the time and his findings show that, in the end, they had little real impact on the outcome of the election as shown in the polls immediately before Election Day. As it turns out these events — which includes events such as President Johnson’s decision to halt bombing of North Vietnam in 1968, the revelation the weekend before Election Day about George W. Bush’s arrest for a previously undisclosed DUI in 1976, the release of an Osama bin Laden video just days before the election in 2004, the stock market crash late in the 2008 election cycle, or Hurricane Sandy four years ago — had almost no impact on polling and seemingly little impact on the outcome of the election. In fact, in all four cases, the candidate who was leading in the polls prior to the story breaking stayed there afterward and went on to win the election and there was only a small impact on their standing in the polls before the election. Enten’s conclusion? These ‘October surprises’ had no real impact on the outcome of the election:
Some of the October surprises listed above (the halt in bombing in North Vietnam and Bush’s DWl) appeared to have a modest effect on the polls. Others, less so. All told, these surprises moved the polls — from the week before to the final week — about 1 or 2 percentage points, on average. None of the surprises on this list moved the polls by more than 2 points.
Again, this isn’t a full list, but it makes sense that late campaign news would have a limited impact. The later in a campaign an external shock occurs, the more voters have already made up their mind and the more impressions of the candidates are fixed. October surprises, in other words, may have less of an effect because they come in October.
As Enten goes on to note, this doesn’t mean that a Clinton win is guaranteed, but it does mean that much of the news coverage we’re likely to see from ‘Breaking News’ addicted cable networks over the next week, to the extent it focuses on speculation about this email story, will end up being much ado about nothing. But then, that’s been true for much of this campaign hasn’t it?
Hillary’s emails are a really important story if you’re an idiot.
On the other hand, I said a while ago that one of the keys to Trump having a chance to win would be higher turnout among Latinos being offset by lower turnout among African-Americans, young voters and liberals while he also got a bigger chunk of the working class white vote.
Betting markets and Nate Silver were betting on maybe a one point drop. The RCP average looks about like that. I doubt very few minds will be changed by this.
Unfortunately it appears nearly half the electorate are idiots.
I’m always perplexed by the seeming pathological need of some people to continue to give the benefit of the doubt.
@Loviatar: I suspect PJ’s intent would have been clearer with a /s or a winky face.
It sounds like Trump just needs to mention Clinton’s e-mails another 50-60 times over the next week (in between his own bribery, rape, sedition and perjury scandals) and he’s got this thing locked up.
Comey’s decision not to put the FBI imprimatur on the Russian hacking announcement which 13 federal agencies agreed to but his falling all over himself to slime Clinton at ever chance calls his impartiality into question. The Washington punditocracy are quick to talk about his ‘integrity’ but his actions are showing no evidence of that.
And what about that Russian hacking? Was Trump in on that? Was his staff? Are they literally traitors? Is it because he is in the financial pocket of the Russian mob? Why is Comey protecting him? Is he a traitor too? When Hillary is elected she should put them both in Guantanamo and use whatever means necessary to get them to confess.
Sorry, just trying out what it feels like to think like a right wing nut job.
My comment wasn’t directed at PJ. I think those who it was directed at got the message.
At least Hillary Clinton had the good sense to not accept debate questions from an honest CNN employee and mole, er, commentator like Donna Brazile. That would be unethical.
Hold on. What? Never mind.
Well, at least the Democrats are still heaping praise on that man of integrity, Comey.
Hold on. What? Never mind.
@Guarneri: you do realize that Donna was on a leave of absence from CNN since July? And had zero involvement in the debate prep as part of any duties for CNN because of that? In other words, someone leaked a question to the campaign through Donna but she didn’t leak it as she wasn’t working for CNN at the time.
I know, I needn’t bother but…
Ha! “@PJ” literally means “at PJ.”
Dude….Clinton didn’t need Donna Brazile to know that she was going to get a water quality question in the Flint debate. Don’t be an idiot.
Nah, the e-mails don’t even show that.
They show Donna Brazile being a Nostradamus predicting someone in Flint is going to ask her about water quality.
Boy, you guys are so right. I guess CNN fired her, excuse me, she resigned – to spend more time with family no doubt – because, uh, well, because it’s so awesome to be able to follow the Redskins this time of year.
Well, at least we don’t have one of Podestas cronies working the email issue for DOJ. That would be a real problem.
Exactly. Jason Chaffetz can have all of this investigated after Hillary’s inauguration.
So, just over the last couple of days, we’ve seen:
A Newsweek story on the Trump organization’s repeated destruction of email records in defiance of court orders;
Another piece by Fahrenthold dismantling Trump’s claims of charitable largess;
A pretty weird Slate piece detailing the existence of a server in Moscow that communicated exclusively with a server in Trump Tower;
This is the most bizarre election ever.
This is basically the movement of Republicans who thought, “I have integrity!” but are now realizing, “No, I don’t!”
As god as my witness, when I wrote my comments above I hadn’t seen the evidence that Trump or someone connected to him has been actively colluding with the Russians as reported just now in Slate and Mother Jones
No way is Donald Trump or anyone associated with him capable of running a secret link through a Trump Tower with a Russian bank. There’s just no way that that is even possible. Even if they set one up someone would have forgotten to pay the campaign Amex bill and the hosting service would have shut them down.
She left to run the DNC after DWS was chased out on a rail, and eventually resigned two weeks ago.
What kind of political junkie are you?
That’s it. It’s over.
I voted today. Ballot will be in the lockbox tomorrow.
I no longer have to care, listen, fret or concern myself with this crap.
But I swear that the next moron that says Benghazi, I will just laugh my ass off at their stupidity.
if you’re a republican at this point, you’re just saying “I’m a shitty person.”
Right Brazil was able to get her a question about poisoned water in a debate held in Flint. who could could have seen that coming, I’m sure that was a game changer.
L.A. Times poll shows Trump surging, although I doubt he’ll be the next president. But I also expect the Clinton Administration to be DoA, so tied up with investigations, inquiries and hearings it will be paralyzed for much if not most of her first term.
No doubt. And the GOP will paint it as her being a failure rather than them gumming up the works with specious accusations and assorted fatuous bullshit.
I hold out some hope the American people will eventually have enough of that sort of garbage, but I’m not particularly optimistic, at least not near-term.
On the “tied up in investigations…” line of thought…
What’s the chance that before leaving office, Obama issues a pardon excusing anything relating to the emails/Clinton’s time as SoS–I am guessing that would put a halt to any investigations, correct? Would she even want that (issuing a pardon carries with it the presumption that something was done wrong in the first place) BUT, if it can bring to a screeching halt all of these fishing expeditions, wouldn’t that be a positive?
Completely unsubstantiated musings, I’m just curious if this is a possibility.
@Jen: Besides the fact issuing a pardon would, as you say, imply wrongdoing for which there’s little actual evidence, such pardons are generally meant as a way to get the issue behind us and help heal some divide.
It’s pretty obvious by now the Republicans will never let anything heal, so what would the point be of any blanket pardon? All it would do is provide yet another place for the GOP to drive a wedge between Americans. “See, WE TOLD YOU SHE WAS CORRUPT! Even her predecessor admits it!”
It certainly wouldn’t improve whatever slim prospect exists of the GOP working with a President Clinton.
@Mikey: Yeah, agreed–that’s pretty much where I came down on the idea, but the notion of getting this cr@p over and done with is pretty attractive. That said, they’d just go make something out some other nothing. Sigh.
The GOP is not going to work with anyone. As a party they are no longer capable of achieving anything positive. If a GOP rep or senator so much as endorses a bill that was also endorsed by a Dem they will be called a traitor by the base and primaried out of existence. So – yes, the GOP will spend all their time on investigations and hearings if Clinton is Pres. And you t would be the same if Biden was Pres or Bernie or Elizabeth Warren, etc
A Presidential pardon would have no legal impact on a Congressional investigation, which is based on its oversight powers over the Executive Branch.
The Republican party used to consist of so-cons, neo-cons and fin-cons working together to achieve their political goals.
The Modern Republican party consist of haters and hucksters working together to achieve no political goals.
– Haters don’t have political goals, all they have is their hate (Guarneri, Jack, Jenos, JKB, etc.).
– Hucksters also don’t have political goals, but they realize they can get a lot of money/power pandering to the haters. (Senator Mitch McConnell, Congressman Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Conservative Entertainment Complex, etc.).
We as a country will achieve nothing as long as either of these two groups have access to power.
They’ve been investigating this woman for 30 years and found nothing.
So the idea that a smoking gun lies on the hard-drive of AW’s dic-pic computer is patently ridiculous.
Let them continue for another 30 years.
Obama has had one of the most productive Presidency’s with absolutely no cooperation from Congress.
So let them go about there way.
If they choose to not confirm Clinton’s SCOTUS nominees then we will simply have just two branches of Government. If that’s what Republicans want…fwck it. Give em enough rope to hang themselves.
Even numbskulls like Jenos and JKB and Guarneri will eventually see the light…or simply die off…leaving adults to run the Republic.
And be replaced by similar numbskulls. We will always have a certain % of the population with that mindset, the problem occurs when you give them access to power. The Republican party has given them access to power.
And just because I’m pretty sure certain people won’t have the integrity to mention it themselves, the New York Times is already reporting the FBI has found no link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
One of the more depressing things about this whole affair has been seeing folks who I thought of as something more than partisan hacks demonstrating the opposite. Josh Marshall over at TPM was all over this apparently phony Trump/Russia thing yesterday and I got five bucks that says he never mentions the NYT story discrediting it. This is the guy who didn’t put up a single post about Hillary’s collapse when it was the biggest thing in politics for almost a whole week, but posted multiple times on “black helicopter” conspiracies about how Trump really isn’t rich at all.
You’re awesome. You’re showing in real time how someone talks themself into doing something crazy/horrific. You’re really going to vote for Trump. WOW
Thank you for this lesson/example.
@Doug Mataconis: I’ll admit, I’m a little confused as to how that would work: it was my understanding that an unconditional pardon restores an individual to a state as though they had never committed a crime. If the president pardons someone, and they are then restored to the state where they’d never committed a crime, what exactly would Congress then be investigating? Is there any case law on this–all I could find was Ex Parte Garland, and this note:
I understand the separation of powers issue too.
Futile thought exercise, but interesting.
And on the subject of Donna Brazille, from CNN’s own story on the matter:
“In a statement, CNN said it was “completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.””
Does it never occur to you folks that conservatives didn’t just wake up one morning and suddenly hold nonsensical views like “global warming doesn’t exist because Al Gore is fat”? It took a long time to get there and it started by believing in what they wanted to be true over what is true. Do you really want to follow their example?
Meet the new reality, same as the current reality.
@MBunge: Since the investigation is still ongoing, I think it would be fairer to say that at this point the FBI had found no links but is continuing to investigate. And I don’t see how the global warming analogy makes sense. Since Trump’s second campaign manager, Manafort, had real links to Russia, the Trump connection made sense. Maybe it doesn’t pan out, but the GOP’s nonsensical views on climate change exist largely because of a top-down push by their money people (Koch brothers, Adelson, et. al), who have decided that they will be better off financially by denying climate change.
@MBunge: The FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia ties continues. By GOP standards that means Trump is literally in bed with Putin!
More seriously, as far as the Trump organization server to Alfa Bank communications, we probably won’t ever know, but application of Occam’s Razor would lead me to lean more toward distribution of marketing spam than some attempt to hide nefarious communications. So I didn’t get too excited about it when it came out yesterday.
More interesting is David Corn’s story at Mother Jones, wherein a former US intel guy claims he’s got info that reveals the Kremlin working directly to compromise Trump, but to me it reads more like a Tom Clancy novel than anything else. I know Corn broke the Mitt Romney “47%” story, so no doubt he’s got some good reporting chops, but how can we confirm this outside of his reporting? I don’t know. Right now I’m not buying that one, either.
It seems to me if we’re not seeing some “bombshell” opposition research stuff coming out now, we probably won’t before next Tuesday. Prodigal GOP voters are returning to the fold to vote for Cheeto Jesus, so his numbers are catching up to Clinton’s. As I said yesterday, it’s coming down to ground game and GOTV, Clinton has solid and extensive organizations to do both and Trump has pretty much jack-squat. Despite all the usual talk we seem to hear every election cycle about how “this one is different,” it’s coming down to fundamentals and that’s where Clinton is far superior, and why, barring a real Black Swan, she’s going to win.
I find it difficult to imagine Trump as President. Clinton is a pretty known quantity and despite all the apocalyptic hand wringing going on will be quite ordinary. For people worrying about the threat of endless investigations, remember that there is huge amount of info we don’t know about Trump. Who does he owe money do? What about his foreign business interests? what about the current lawsuits for fraud? What happens when they are not in his favor? IRS Audits? Will he be hands off? The list will be endless.
Are we looking at a President Pence, a failed governor, half way through the Trump administration?
The only bright side is that there is a recession due in the next four years and the Republicans will be blamed for it.
…. because you seem to do it more or less consistantly.
With his fondness for cherry picking and fields of strawmen, Bunge should pursue a career in agriculture if his mother ever kicks him out of the basement.
This was my feeling too, all the way up until the part where another server is set up almost immediately. I just don’t understand why anyone would do that for marketing spam OR real communications…once you realize you are being observed, you don’t set up a new server that requires manually locating the other server, it eliminates your plausible deniability. But why would you set up a new server if it was a remnant of 2010 marking that has been discontinued, per Hope Hicks? It’s probably nothing, but it’s certainly strange.
@Scott: If Trump becomes president and someone was on the fence about suing Trump for being stiffed by him, I would think there would be a pretty strong incentive to do so. maybe Mark Cuban can help fund the lawsuits like Peter Thiel did with Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker. As a matter of fact maybe there can be a movement to try to bankrupt hi, there are supposedly 3,500 people he stiffed.
And by the way, I would assume that if he does become president our dutiful WH press corps will be asking about his tax returns he promised to release as soon as the audit is done.
The GOP is not going to work with anyone. As a party they are no longer capable of achieving anything positive.
Good article, talks about Trump voters and more importantly links the so called decent/responsible/reluctant Republican voter with their more sexist/racist/homophobic/xenophobic counterparts. Guess what? #nodifference.
The quotes from some of these so called decent/responsible/reluctant Republican voters are eye opening.
Trump is already facing a class action suit over the bogus university and a lawsuit by a woman who claims he raped her when she was thirteen, both of which are scheduled to begin after the election, right?
Imagine President Trump giving a deposition in either one, particularly the latter.
@MBunge: You would do well by not accepting at face value, articles in newspapers stating as fact something based on anonymous sources. The New York Times article you refer to is based on “Law enforcement officials say….” I remind you of the complete coopting of major news outlets and specifically the New York Times in the run up to the Iraq war. See Judith Miller and Michael Gordon. The history of the FBI is replete with instances of anonymous leaks from politically motivated agents, including J. Edgar. Those same folks went after Bill Clinton and now are seeking to damage HRC. Mr. Comey, formerly with the Whitewater Investigation, has apparently decided to cover his ass with some of his agents by releasing his vague letter because of his fear of other leaks.
Yep. Trump’s racketeering trial is scheduled to begin November 28, and he has to show up for a status conference in the rape trial on December 16.
Let the good times roll.
That’s not exactly what the Times article said. It seems the Times worked the inside sources angle and found someone in the FBI willing to tell them off the record that the server behavior could have been explained by it being a spam server. But it appears that they never subpoenaed the server or checked in any other way. Still, it is the Times and that is worth something.
On the other hand I read the Slate article and they actually investigated the server situation themselves, connecting to technical experts. And the server behavior is quite odd. It appeared to only communicate between the Russian bank server and itself, blocking out all other traffic. Very strange for an email spamming system. And when reporters inquired about it to the Trump
Campaign it disappeared the next day, so it seems they were aware of it. More oddly, another server was stood up a few days later and the Russian bank connected to it in the first attempt. Again, all other traffic is blocked. And according to Slate’s experts, the fact that it connected on the first try means that someone sent them the encryption key ahead of time.
Do I think the FBI should be talking about this unless they have significant evidence? Not under normal circumstances. But they have dramatically broken protocol with the effect of harming the Democratic candidate. The fact that they are so protective of the Republican is suspicious.
@MBunge: “And just because I’m pretty sure certain people won’t have the integrity to mention it themselves, the New York Times is already reporting the FBI has found no link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”
Actually, the NY Times is reporting the ass-covering of some nameless people in the FBI who are desperate to prove there is not institutional prejudice against Clinton and for Trump.
Correct, but Congress also has no prosecutorial powers, so any such investigation would be limited to seeking an indictment in the House for the purpose of impeachment.
Given the distribution of the Senate, even now, there wouldn’t be enough votes to convict, so it’s meaningless.
Maybe they truly are dumb enough to have learned nothing from the last time they tried to impeach a Clinton? I guess we’ll find out.
It’s only meaningless if you believe the purpose is actually to get a conviction.
@wr: Actually, the NY Times is reporting the ass-covering of some nameless people in the FBI who are desperate to prove there is not institutional prejudice against Clinton and for Trump.
Yes, because EVERY story you like is true and EVERY story you don’t like is false.
And by the way, you know who the FBI has an institutional prejudice against? Criminals.
As I type this it is just after 4 pm Eastern time and my five bucks is secure. Nothing on either TPM or Marshall’s Twitter feed about the NYT story debunking the Trump/Russia link. He is off on a new tangent about an FBI Twitter account releasing a bunch of files related to the Marc Rich pardon, a reaction which kind of sums up the entire relationship between the Clintons and the Democratic Party/liberal movement.
Is Josh Marshall supposed to be a definitive voice of liberalism? I barely read his blog, let alone particularly know or care what he thinks, but obviously he must speak for me because Mike OCD Bunge thinks that he does.
In any case, the FBI didn’t “debunk” the claims made by Slate or Mother Jones. Some folks need to work on their reading skillz.
Right, and that worked out so well for them the last time 🙂