Pre-Convention Polls Show Clinton Leading, Johnson Rising, Major Party Candidates Hated

A look at the state of the race before the two party conventions begin.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton 2

As Republicans head into their Convention in Cleveland, Ohio prepared to nominate Donald Trump as their Presidential candidate, and Democrats are just a week away from opening their own convention in Philadelphia during which they will nominate the first woman to appear at the top of a major party ticket in American history, polling continues to show that Hillary Clinton has a distinct advantage in the race to become the 45th President of the United States notwithstanding the fact that recent revelations about her use of a private email server continue to have an impact on how the public views her and how much it trusts her, and that Donald Trump faces as seemingly impossible uphill battle if he is going to win notwithstanding the fact that he seems to be doing far better in some polls than many analysts believed he would be even at this early point in the race. All of this is plain to see in a trio of national polls released yesterday, all of which show Clinton leading but also show that the American public is not at very happy with the choices being provided by either of the major political parties. This has resulted in a decided up-tick in support for third-party candidate, specifically Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, who is approaching the level of polling support that he would need in order to meet the criteria established by the Commission On Presidential Debates to qualify for an invitation to join the major party candidates at the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates to be held in September and October around the country.

First up is a new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post showing Clinton leading Trump, albeit by a smaller margin than the last time this poll had been run prior to the announcement by FBI Director James Comey regarding the results of the Bureau’s investigation of Clinton’s email server:

On the eve of two national political conventions that will shape the images of the major party presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are in a competitive contest nationally but with the presumptive Republican nominee facing deficits on key character attributes and issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The new survey shows Clinton leading Trump by 47-43 percent among registered voters. That represents a shift in Trump’s direction since last month’s Post-ABC survey, which showed Clinton leading by 12 points. In the new poll, among all adults, Clinton leads by 10 points — 50-40 percent — compared to a 14-point lead among this wider group last month.

(….)

Given the dissatisfaction, there is the possibility that candidates from minor parties will attract the support of disaffected voters. In a four-way matchup that also includes Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party, the results are: Clinton 42 percent, Trump 38 percent, Johnson 8 percent and Stein 5 percent.

The new poll comes after a tumultuous two weeks that included the killings of five police officers in Dallas, and deadly police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. As the poll calling was closing came news of an apparent terrorist attack in Nice, France. All these events have added to the tensions of a country on edge and heightened the importance of security and racial issues in the choice of a new president.

The poll also comes after Clinton was spared prosecution by the government for her use of a private server as secretary of state. But in avoiding any criminal charge, Clinton earned a stern rebuke from FBI Director James Comey, who said she and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of sensitive classified material in their email exchanges.

The previous Post-ABC poll showed Clinton with a larger lead than some other national surveys taken around the same time. Whether or how much the shift toward Trump in the current survey was affected by how the FBI investigation was resolved can’t be measured. Other recent polls show the race nationally to be in low single digits, with Clinton generally enjoying the advantage.

The new CNN/ORC International poll, meanwhile, shows slightly better news for Clinton, and even  more positive news for Johnson:

As the Republican convention kicks off in Cleveland, the status of the race for the presidency continues to be advantage Hillary Clinton.

Little has changed in overall support for either candidate since the end of the primaries in mid-June, despite major moments in the campaign including Donald Trump’s announcement of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Clinton’s endorsement by her main rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the announcement by the FBI that Clinton would not face charges for her use of a personal email server while secretary of state.

But one candidate has made gains since last month: Libertarian Gary Johnson. In a four-way matchup between Clinton, Trump, Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Clinton carries 42%, Trump 37%, Johnson 13% and Stein 5%. That represents almost no change for either Clinton or Trump, but a 4-point bump for Johnson.

Typically, support for third party candidates fades as the major party tickets are set heading into their conventions. But Johnson’s support outpaces that of a typical third party candidate and may prove to have more staying power.

One hint that it could fade: Support for both Johnson and Stein appears concentrated among those less enthusiastic about voting this year, suggesting their supporters may be less apt to turn out in the end. Nearly 4-in-10 voters who say they are “not at all enthusiastic” about voting this year say they back either Johnson or Stein, but among those who are extremely enthusiastic, that figure falls to just 6%.

And the growing support for third party candidates also seems centered among younger voters, which could prove harmful to Clinton’s campaign. Among those voters under age 35, 46% back Clinton, 21% Trump, 20% Johnson and 10% Stein. Broad support among younger voters helped catapult Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008.

As Trump prepares to accept his party’s nomination, the poll suggests he’s increased his backing among Republicans. The share of GOP voters who say they’d prefer Trump as the nominee over someone else has increased from 51% in June to 56% now.

In a two-way matchup, Clinton tops Trump 49% to 42%.

Finally, the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Clinton with a five point lead over Trump, and also shows Johnson performing well in a four-way matchup:

On the eve of the GOP convention, Hillary Clinton maintains a five-point national lead over Donald Trump even after a period of negative news for the presumptive Democratic nominee, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Clinton leads the presumptive GOP nominee 46 percent to 41 percent in a poll that finds both candidates facing sizable disadvantages and challenges ahead of the party conventions which kick off Monday for the GOP in Cleveland and a week later for Democrats in Philadelphia.

Those numbers are unchanged from one month ago with the poll conducted after FBI Director James Comey strongly rebuked Clinton over her email practices even though he determined that she had not committed a crime. The poll was also conducted before Trump selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate.

Clinton has the advantage among African Americans (84 to 7 percent), voters ages 18-29 (55 to 32 percent) and women (52 to 37 percent). The margin among Latinos will be released later on Sunday.

Trump, meanwhile, is ahead among whites (50 to 37 percent) and men (46 to 39 percent), and the two candidates are tied among independents (36 percent each).

In a four-way ballot test – including Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein – Clinton gets 41 percent, Trump 35 percent, Johnson 11 percent, and Stein 6 percent.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, whose firm helped conduct this poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “Things haven’t changed an awful lot.”

McInturff agrees. “Our overall ballot is very stable, and the contours of this election are becoming stable.”

All three polls also find that both Trump and Clinton head into their respective conventions with public opinion about their personal land professional ethics and trustworthiness at low points that are remarkably, and seemingly historically bad.  In Trump’s case, his favorable/unfavorable spread stands at 34%/62% in the ABC News/Washington Post poll, 39%/59% in the CNN/ORC poll, and 27%/60% in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal report. This puts the RealClearPolitics average for Trump’s favorable/unfavorable spread at 33.6%/60.1%. These same polls also show that voters have serious trust issues with Trump as well as questions about whether or not he is truly prepared to handle the office of President should he somehow end up winning in November. Each of the polls also shows that Trump is significantly underperforming among many demographic groups, including women and African-Americans, and that he remains fairly weak among younger voters. Finally, in possible indication of just how bad the situation could become for Republicans in several battleground states, a separate NBC News survey of Latino voters found that only 14% of Latino voters nationwide support Trump, a level far lower than the level of support seen for a Republican candidate among that demographic in any recent national election. By way of comparison, John McCain received 31% of the Latino vote nationwide in 2008 and Mitt Romney received 27% of this electorate. If this number holds up, it could be very bad news for Republicans in states such as Florida and even in states that have traditionally voted Republican in national elections such as Arizona and Georgia, as well as making it difficult to win in must-win states such as Florida and Virginia.

Hillary Clinton isn’t viewed much more positively by members of the public. Her favorable/unfavorable ratio stands at 40%/55% in the ABC News/Washington Post poll, 42%/55% in the CNN/ORC poll, and 34%/56% in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, leaving her with a RealClearPolitics average favorable/unfavorable spread of 38. 4%/56.2%. These same polls also show that Clinton has some of the same problems with trustworthiness that Trump does, albeit with slightly better numbers than Trump has in that area. Finally, the outcome of the investigation into her email server does not seem to have served Clinton as well as the campaign might have hope and has instead contributed to the perception that she is part of an elite that gets treated differently, and better, than ordinary members of the public. This appears to be the main reason that the top-line poll numbers have narrowed in recent weeks. The one advantage for Clinton is that all of this happened in the summer and prior to the convention, leaving open the possibility that she’s dealing with the worst of the public reaction now and that this story will largely be behind her as we get closer to the General Election. On the positive side, Clinton has distinct advantages among a wide swath of demographic voters, including women, younger voters, African-Americans, and Latino voters, The two demographic groups where she seems to be having trouble presently are men and Independent voters, with Trump giving her a solid contest among both groups.

Looking at the national horse race numbers, we see that Clinton continues to hold a narrow lead that varies somewhat depending on how many candidates are included. In a two-person head-t0-head matchup with Trump, RealClearPolitics shows Clinton (43.8%) ahead of Trump (40.2%) by 3.6%. In a three way race that includes Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson Clinton is at 40.3%, followed by Trump at 36.7% and Johnson is at 7.7%. Finally, in a four way race that includes Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton (4o.6%) has a 4.2 point lead over Trump  (36.3%), followed by Johnson at 8.1% and Stein at 3.9%. In addition to the fact that Clinton continues to hold on to a narrow lead, the big news coming out of these newest polls is arguably the fact that Gary Johnson seems to be slowly creeping into the double digits, and closer to the 15% he needs to reach to receive an invitation to the Presidential debates. It’s quite likely that at least part of the reason that both Johnson and Stein are polling better than third-party nominees have done in the past is due to the fact that the two major party nominees are so heavily disliked, but that’s arguably only part of what we’re seeing here. Johnson and his running mate former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld have been fairly aggressive about seeking out media time since winning the nomination, and the cable networks have been particularly notable in being more willing to provide coverage to third-party candidates than they have in the past. The question for Johnson will be whether he can keep this momentum up, get to 15% in the polls, and stay there long enough to show the Commission of Presidential Debates that ignoring their own criteria this time would only serve to cast doubt on the credibility and fairness of their debate process.

As for the race itself, it is arguably tighter than many analysts probably expected it to be, but it’s worth remembering that we continue to live in a country that is sharply divided between Republicans and Democrats and that Trump will likely continue to poll well as long as Republicans remain united behind him. That doesn’t mean he’s likely to win the election, though. When you look at the race where it counts, at the state level and the Electoral College Map, it quickly becomes clear that Trump at least faces the same difficulties any Republican candidate would, and that the potential for a Clinton breakthrough to an insurmountable lead is still there with plenty of time to go. As thing stand, Clinton appears to be within 61 Electoral Votes of winning the election, while Trump would need to win more than 100 out of the 165 Electoral Votes currently identified as “Toss-ups,” many of which are not really toss-ups. Once the smoke has cleared from the two back to back conventions, it will be interesting to see where the race stands but, right now, it remains Hillary Clinton’s to lose. Unless that changes, Trump shouldn’t be making any plans to move to Washington next January.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, 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. C. Clavin says:

    Interesting article about Trumps ghost-writer for “The Art of the Deal”.
    Key take-away…

    “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/donald-trumps-ghostwriter-tells-all

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Can’t wait to see Chachi on the RNC stage tonight . . . . . . . . . . .

    :))

  3. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I guess Henny-Penny is looking for work.

  4. bill says:

    “johnson rising”? nice one doug!

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Thanks for the comprehensive update Doug.

    When it comes to this polling – a snapshot in time – there’s always a an outlier, and it sure looks like the Rasmussen Report is just that. Going into this weekend Rasmussen had Trump 7 points up on Hillary, something like 44% to 37%. I’m not sure what Rasmussen does that leads to a result that varies so widely from the others.

  6. Tony W says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I’m not sure what Rasmussen does that leads to a result that varies so widely from the others.

    They are ‘unskewed’

  7. Scott says:

    @al-Ameda: As far as I could tell, Rassmussen used Likely Voters instead of Registered Voters. On the other hand, the Rassmussen polls ranked C+ in 538’s rankings.

    When it comes to polls, like polls should be compared.

  8. Slugger says:

    I think that I am in the majority of Americans who are not thrilled with the choices that have been given. George Washington’s warnings about parties and factionalism appear deeply prescient. I am likely to vote for one of the big party candidates. I am not going to ask any of you to join in my choice; however, when the new leader takes office in January of 2017 I am going to make a good faith effort to support the choice of the people and join with my fellow citizens to try to make the country run smoothly.
    There is too much bitterness, yelling, and partisanship going on. Let’s spend as much time listening as talking.

  9. Pch101 says:

    Gary Johnson is an odd bird. (Let’s just say that if his behavior during interviews means anything, then his involvement in the pot industry isn’t limited to just being a professional interest…) Giving Johnson more exposure would probably hurt the Libertarians, not help them; the more that one knows about the party, the more bizarre that it looks.

    I am still expecting an electoral vote blowout in the Dems’ favor, but I still wouldn’t get too comfortable. I would expect the popular vote to be driven largely by the usual GOP-Dem lesser-of-two-evils dynamic that is typical of elections — although many despise Trump and some adore him, there are others voters who won’t care all that much either way.

    Although Trump is obviously reviled, I also have to wonder whether there is a small percentage of the electorate that supports him but is embarrassed to admit it to pollsters. There may not be many of these people but perhaps they could make some of the swing state polling inaccurate, who knows.

  10. Tyrell says:

    Over 50 % of both parties are dissatisfied. That is more than enough to get a legitimate, permanent third party going. That would be better than this hold your nose stuff while I vote.

  11. Jen says:

    @Tyrell:

    That is more than enough to get a legitimate, permanent third party going.

    I keep reading things like this, but no. That’s not how it works.

    Building a party is hard work. First and foremost, you need an organizing principle around which people can gather–it needs to be an ideological issue or slate of issues that bind these voters together. The disaffected voters are, by and large, people who generally align with either the Republicans or the Democrats but just don’t currently care much for where each party is headed. Generally speaking, you have Republicans who would previously have been classified as moderate (socially moderate, fiscally conservative); Democrats who think the party has moved too far to the right; and then in lesser amounts Republicans who are disappointed that the social issues they follow haven’t been adequately defended by the party (very socially conservative); and then Republicans and Democrats who simply don’t care for their party’s nominee.

    There is no unifying factor that would band these people together in sufficient enough numbers to form a third party.

    Which leads me to the next point: forming a party is HARD. Every state has different ballot requirements, and, in order to govern effectively you’ll need to have people elected from that party up and down the ticket. “Party maintenance”–the everyday running of a party–involves a ton of unpaid volunteer hours. It is largely a thankless job, and it means giving up a ton of free time. I just don’t see it happening.

  12. steve s says:

    Tyrell, we all welcome you voting third party.

  13. steve s says:
  14. Kylopod says:

    If you read Nate Silver’s forecasts, there’s one fact that ought to unnerve Dems a little: the party’s much-vaunted “electoral college advantage” appears to have completely disappeared. Silver’s forecasts give Donald Trump a 5.7% chance of winning the electoral college while losing the popular vote, whereas Clinton gets only a 1.0% chance of the same scenario in her direction.

    You hear that? In other words, a 2000-like electoral/popular split is nearly six times more likely to be in the GOP’s favor than the Dems.

    This should finally, at long last, put to rest the whole “blue wall” argument that Dems have been clutching to like a security blanket for the past several years. There is no “blue wall.” And now there’s no “electoral college advantage” anymore either. Dems currently have a popular vote advantage, meaning simply that they’re slightly more popular (or less unpopular) than the Republicans at the moment, and if this election is like 53 of the 56 previous presidential elections in our country’s history, that will translate into an electoral college victory as well. But they have no magical advantage in the states that will serve as a buffer in the event that Trump surges ahead in the popular vote. If Dems don’t want the next 4-8 years to become The Donald Show, they’d better hope they continue to have more voters on their side instead of wallowing in a mythical “blue wall” that is all but nonexistent now.

  15. steve s says:

    I don’t think comparing ratios of relatively unlikely outcomes is super illuminating. 538 has her winning at 65% to his 35%. Living in the 45-45-10 country that we do, that shows the race is pretty heavily tilted in her direction. 2 weeks ago it was 80/20 Hillary, and i expect that in august after the convention noise dies down, and pence has shown America how dumb he is, it’ll return there.

  16. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Nate Silver’s electoral vote map is setting the odds at Clinton with 306 electoral votes, with 47% of the popular vote in a three-way race.

    The map on a state-by-state basis is essentially identical to 2012, which gave the Dems 332 votes. CO, FL, NV, OH, PA and VA are blue; only NC is red.

    57% (or more) of electoral votes vs 47% of the popular vote; not sure what more you want.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    I vacillate between thinking we need to find a way to make peace and thinking screw it, count the votes, and if the American people want to elect that racist, woman-hating psychopath, well hell I sell more books per capita in the UK, Ireland and ANZ anyway, and alleged ‘artists’ are almost always welcome as emigrés.

    I’ve been critical of the Left for being smug, intolerant, superficial and ridiculous. But that’s all more or less stylistic. The Left is just immature and obnoxious, the Right is sick in the head. I don’t know how you make any kind of peace with people who nominate a pig like Trump. There are some lines you just cannot cross, and this nomination is the moral equivalent of coming out in favor of pedophilia or necrophilia – it’s vile. It’s sickening. I don’t see an avenue for compromise. There’s no comfortable halfway point between Naive and Evil.

    Someone show me how we find common ground with people who hate black people, hate gays, despise women, demand medieval torture and propose evicting 11 million people, many of them children who’ve never known any other country. Show me the road map to compromise. Maybe just torture half the Muslims? Maybe just drag half the undocumented children from their homes and classrooms?

  18. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Someone show me how we find common ground with people who hate black people, hate gays, despise women, demand medieval torture and propose evicting 11 million people, many of them children who’ve never known any other country. Show me the road map to compromise.

    That why I keep asking the question; when does supporting evil make you evil?

    I have yet to get an answer.

    —–

    P.S.

    Thats also why as much as you defend James Joyner and Doug Mataconis, I see them as no better than Jenos, Jack JKB, bill, Guarneri, etc. If you support the current Republican party, you’re no better than the worse of it elements.

  19. steve s says:

    There are some lines you just cannot cross, and this nomination is the moral equivalent of coming out in favor of pedophilia or necrophilia – it’s vile.

    Rick Santorum tried to warn you! Did you liberals listen? Noooooooooo!

  20. gVOR08 says:

    What @michael reynolds: said. Where is the proper point of compromise with crazy?

    Trump is hated because he’s hateful. Clinton is hated because of decades of anti government propaganda per @steve s: and decades of the GOP character assassination machine. Doug right now is clinging to email. Without it, he’s got nothing to rationalize his hatred.

  21. SKI says:

    @Kylopod:

    Silver’s forecasts give Donald Trump a 5.7% chance of winning the electoral college while losing the popular vote, whereas Clinton gets only a 1.0% chance of the same scenario in her direction.

    This should finally, at long last, put to rest the whole “blue wall” argument that Dems have been clutching to like a security blanket for the past several years. There is no “blue wall.” And now there’s no “electoral college advantage” anymore either. Dems currently have a popular vote advantage, meaning simply that they’re slightly more popular (or less unpopular) than the Republicans at the moment, and if this election is like 53 of the 56 previous presidential elections in our country’s history, that will translate into an electoral college victory as well. But they have no magical advantage in the states that will serve as a buffer in the event that Trump surges ahead in the popular vote. If Dems don’t want the next 4-8 years to become The Donald Show, they’d better hope they continue to have more voters on their side instead of wallowing in a mythical “blue wall” that is all but nonexistent now.

    While I agree that complacency is a bad idea, your “analysis” of what Silver’s model means is overblown.

    There is a Democratic electoral advantage. Period. This piece from December is still on their homepage for a reason: What Would It Take To Turn Blue States Red? Sure, advantage isn’t guarantee but it isn’t nothing.

  22. MBunge says:

    @gVOR08: Trump is hated because he’s hateful. Clinton is hated because of decades of anti government propaganda

    I kind of think Hillary is hated more for stuff like the new ad her campaign has out with just Trump sound bites and the faces of children, implying strongly that Trump is too terrible a role model for children.

    Hillary CLINTON is making an argument that being a bad role model for children is SOOOOOOO IMPORTANT that it should determine who sits in the Oval Office. A lot of people who’ve been happy to make excuses for the Clintons still probably gagged on that one.

    Mike

  23. steve s says:

    Doug right now is clinging to email. Without it, he’s got nothing to rationalize his hatred.

    Going further back, Doug and James dislike Hillary because 25 years ago Newt gleefully enacted a politics of evil. Smear everyone you don’t like, wreck every government capability, your opponents aren’t just wrong but unamerican criminals:

    Contrasting Words

    7.1

    Often we search hard for words to define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.

    7.2

    decay, failure (fail) collapse(ing) deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, “compassion” is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors, sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocricy, radical, threaten, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude, destructive, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure, anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs; pessimistic, excuses, intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status quo, mandate(s) taxes, spend (ing) shame, disgrace, punish (poor…) bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses, obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, patronage.

    …for instance.

    By destroying faith in government, in science, in people, in solutions, in progress, in community, they hoped to create a permanent republican majority. Newt was like a CEO who poisons his competitor’s product just to get one more lucrative quarter on Wall Street, and doesn’t care when it ruins the whole market. Hey, this is the free market, and those are just externalities.

  24. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t think you find common ground under those circumstances, but then finding common ground may be dependent on how the cohort is composed. In much the same way as an article posted last week about police noted that the vast majority of the group is malleable, I expect that most Republicans are not evil, racist, and misogynistic, they’re just following the prevailing attitude.

    To the extent that the GOP is willing to isolate the radical right in the same way that the Democrats isolated its radical leftist element a decade or three back, the element of the party with which common ground might be able to be found could be identified for such a purpose. As long as conservatism is not willing to rethink its own beliefs and goals, the GOP will not be able to isolate its most poisonous element. But you’re right, Michael, the opposition cannot do that work for the party.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    57% (or more) of electoral votes vs 47% of the popular vote; not sure what more you want.

    That’s not what is meant by an “electoral college advantage,” by Nate Silver or any other serious analyst.

    Let me put it simply: since Silver estimates that Hillary has a far, far greater chance of losing the electoral college while winning the popular vote than the other way around, this means that by definition the Dems do not have an EC advantage. Indeed, Silver’s estimate implies that Dems have a substantial EC disadvantage. Since they are leading in the popular and electoral vote by a hefty margin, this disadvantage will probably not matter. But that doesn’t make it any less real.

    When a candidate wins the popular vote by a large margin, this usually translates into an even larger share of the electoral vote. This is purely an artifact of the winner-take-all system in most states, where if you win the state by even the narrowest of margins you are awarded every single electoral vote, giving EC victories a tendency to be lopsided compared with popular-vote ones. It has nothing to do with an “EC advantage.” The only advantage there is the advantage of winning more votes than one’s opponent.

  26. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Kylopod:

    I don’t think your analysis is correct (although I don’t actually know which Silver article you’re pointing to, so…). The “Blue wall” has nothing to do with the statistical liklihood of a disparity between the popular and electoral vote. The disparity means there are more “red’ states whose electoral votes are disproportionately high compared to their population. Hence, Trump can win less popular votes but still win the electoral college in more scenarios than Hillary can. (Or, to put it another way, if the 1% chance occurs that Hillary does win more Evotes than Pvotes, would anyone use that as excellent evidence of the “Blue Wall?” Of course not.) Anyone paying attention to Congressional election results could tell you that “red” states, as a whole, have more Reps than their population dictates.

    The “blue wall” is simply the number of states which drastically favor the Democratic nominee, and whose votes put Team-Blue very close to winning the contest.

    Two different issues.

    @Loviatar:

    Thats also why as much as you defend James Joyner and Doug Mataconis, I see them as no better than Jenos, Jack JKB, bill, Guarneri, etc. If you support the current Republican party, you’re no better than the worse of it elements.

    And you keep getting downvoted because neither Messrs Mataconis or Joyner support Trump. Indeed, they have overtly stated such. I’m not sure I can point to a favorable GOP post in months, if not years. You’re confusing “they don’t support Hillary” with “they support Trump.”

  27. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    The Dems are in a position to win something close to 270 electoral votes without a fight. Adding the remainder won’t be much of a challenge.

    In contrast, there are few plausible scenarios in which the GOP can do much to prevent that. Even someone less polarizing than Trump would struggle with this.

    That is what is referred to as the “blue wall.”

    As this is not promising to be a realignment election, we can look to recent history for guidance, and that clearly establishes a current advantage for the Dems. This is not necessarily a permanent condition and it certainly isn’t one that has always existed, but it is a condition for 2016. This is a byproduct of demography — states that used to be red or true swing states are now leaning blue

  28. Loviatar says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The man who is third in line for the Presidency said this last week:

    ‘Openly racist’
    Ryan’s tough spot was made clear when he was pressed by Zachary Marcone, a Republican who said he couldn’t support Trump because he is “openly racist.”

    “Can you tell me, how can you morally justify your support for this kind of candidate?” Marcone asked.

    In his answer, Ryan never disputed Marcone’s characterization of Trump as “openly racist.” Instead, Ryan responded that by failing to support Trump, “That basically means you’re going to help elect Hillary Clinton — and I don’t think Hillary Clinton is going to support any of the things that you stand for if you’re a Republican.”

    Tell me how is Paul Ryan any different from Jenos, Jack JKB, bill, Guarneri, etc? And after reading any of Doug’s eMail scandal posts or James’ ewww, icky she’s a Clinton posts, tell me how is Doug and James any different from Paul Ryan? There is no difference.

  29. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Loviatar:

    Tell me how is Paul Ryan any different from Jenos, Jack JKB, bill, Guarneri, etc?

    I never claimed he wasn’t, so I don’t know why I should have to defend him now.

    And after reading any of Doug’s eMail scandal posts or James’ ewww, icky she’s a Clinton posts, tell me how is Doug and James any different from Paul Ryan?

    Because the email issue is a legitimate issue, GOP insanity aside, because thinking Hillary is “icky” is not the same thing as being a supporter of Trump, and, again, because Paul is a supporter of Trump while James and Doug have–near-daily–spoken out against him in no uncertain terms.

    Again, as much as you want it to be, “I don’t support Hillary” is not the same as “I support Trump.”

  30. Loviatar says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    You’ve chosen to put Doug and James in the “good German” category. I’ve actually met some “good Germans”, they were cowards.

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
    – Edmund Burke

  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Loviatar:

    Well what a brave little crusader you are, valiantly standing up against…people who agree with you and who are speaking out publicly against their party and against the very candidate whom you hate. It’s a winning tactic, I’m sure.

    You’ve chosen to put Doug and James in the “good German” category.

    I actually do consider Germans who stood up and spoke out against Nazis to be the “good Germans.” I’m not sure why you don’t, and why you think they are cowards.

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    And by “nothing” you mean speaking out against Trump on a daily or weekly basis.

    Tell me, what have YOU done that has gone above and beyond speaking out against Trump on a widely read blog? I wouldn’t want to have to think you are a “good German” if you haven’t sufficiently expressed your opposition.

  32. Guarneri says:

    “Someone show me how we find common ground with people who hate black people, hate gays, despise women, demand medieval torture and propose evicting 11 million people, many of them children who’ve never known any other country. ”

    Who are these supposed people, and how did you allow goblins to occupy your head causing such neurotic, conspiratorial emotions to torture your mind?

  33. Loviatar says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I get your frustration with me, I get that you think I’m a self-righteous asshole who refuses to give the benefit of the doubt to those you consider good men. But you know what, for many, many years I did give the benefit of the doubt to those like Doug and James. I’ve told myself for all of the reasons you could articulate that, no they’re good men, they’re just misguided, etc.. I’m no longer willing to give that benefit of the doubt.

    – I’m no longer willing to give that benefit of the doubt to someone who calls himself a Republican.

    – I’m no longer willing to give that benefit of the doubt to someone who has stated they will never vote for a Democrat.

    —–

    Also, its not just Trump, its the Republican party, its their policy positions, its their members and what they hope to achieve.
    Tell that fucking bullshit to the tourists

    I often tell people that national American politics primarily about race, that no one cares smaller government or individual rights or any of that crap, and that the proof of this is that white southerners voted overwhelmingly for Democrats before the Civil Rights era and now vote overwhelmingly for Republicans. This George Wallace quote tells you all you need to know:

    “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”

    .

    Its James’ junior Senator from Alabama Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III

    At Sessions’ confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements.

    Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, testified that Sessions said he thought the Klan was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.”

    Figures also said that Sessions had called him “boy.” He also testified that “Mr. Sessions admonished me to ‘be careful what you say to white folks.'”

    —-

    As long as James is a Republican and Doug hews to his no Democrat rule I see no difference between them and a Paul Ryan or them and a Jenos. #nodifference

  34. Loviatar says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    My response is awaiting moderation, here it is without the links

    —–

    I get your frustration with me, I get that you think I’m a self-righteous asshole who refuses to give the benefit of the doubt to those you consider good men. But you know what, for many, many years I did give the benefit of the doubt to those like Doug and James. I’ve told myself for all of the reasons you could articulate that, no they’re good men, they’re just misguided, etc.. I’m no longer willing to give that benefit of the doubt.

    – I’m no longer willing to give that benefit of the doubt to someone who calls himself a Republican.

    – I’m no longer willing to give that benefit of the doubt to someone who has stated they will never vote for a Democrat.

    —–

    Also, its not just Trump, its the Republican party, its their policy positions, its their members and what they hope to achieve.

    Tell that fucking bullshit to the tourists

    I often tell people that national American politics primarily about race, that no one cares smaller government or individual rights or any of that crap, and that the proof of this is that white southerners voted overwhelmingly for Democrats before the Civil Rights era and now vote overwhelmingly for Republicans. This George Wallace quote tells you all you need to know:

    “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”

    .

    Its James’ junior Senator from Alabama Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III

    At Sessions’ confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements.

    Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, testified that Sessions said he thought the Klan was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.”

    Figures also said that Sessions had called him “boy.” He also testified that “Mr. Sessions admonished me to ‘be careful what you say to white folks.’”

    —-

    As long as James is a Republican and Doug hews to his no Democrat rule I see no difference between them and a Paul Ryan or them and a Jenos. #nodifference

  35. Kari Q says:

    @Pch101:

    The Dems are in a position to win something close to 270 electoral votes without a fight. Adding the remainder won’t be much of a challenge.

    This, exactly. Using the polling averages at Huffington Post, and giving Clinton those states where she leads by 4 points or more, she has 253 electoral votes. This does not include Pennsylvania in her column, and the chances of her losing Pennsylvania are slim, around the same odds that Trump won’t win Georgia.

    That leaves unassigned Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, and Nevada. She leads in all of those states that have enough polling to give trend lines.

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    Well, that would be an example of the “smug, intolerant, superficial and ridiculous,” Leftism I was talking about. As @NeilHudelson has pointed out, James has openly condemned Trump. Doug was never a nominal Republican, and I am sure he also will not vote for Trump. One of the ways not to win friends and influence people is by dumping on your allies — even if the ally is insufficiently pure.

    In fact this is the kind of attitude that has helped to fuel Trumpism, this heretic-hunting dismissal of anyone who is not 100% pure. James Joyner has not only been a Republican, he’s made a living which at times and in part have relied on his conservative identity.

    Now, you and I and Joyner all despise Trump, and none of us is going to vote for him, but Joyner’s putting more on the line than you are. And, by the way, so am I as I incessantly hammer Trump and the GOP on Twitter to readers whose parents may well decide not to let their kid buy my next book. You on the other hand are commenting anonymously which does not make you Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    This Spanish Inquisition impulse on the Left has done nothing but feed Trumpism. If you want to talk history and “good Germans” read a bit more and see just how much the Left – the Communist Party in particular — contributed to Hitler’s rise. If you leave people no choice but fascism and communism the outcome is pretty much guaranteed to be fwcked up. And although I will sadly confess I see no way to make peace now, peace must surely be made eventually, and it will not be, cannot be, the peace of a Leftist totalitarianism that leaves people no choice but to swallow the party line 100% or be condemned to the re-education camp.

    So here’s the thing: Joyner has already said he will not support Trump. People not supporting Trump is what we want. It is the goal. Right? When people give you what you want don’t sh!t on them because they gave you what you want. . . but didn’t smile quite enthusiastically enough. Take the fwcking win.

  37. C. Clavin says:

    Scott Baio, RNC speaker, on Clinton…
    https://twitter.com/ScottBaio/status/752324486276403200/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
    Stay classy Republicans.

  38. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    James has had the benefit of the doubt for 50+ years.

    James is a Republican, James’ party’s standard bearer and candidate for President is “openly racist”. James’s party leaders in the House and Senate support an open racist for president, James party platform and policies are openly racist. Yet you call leftist “smug, intolerant, superficial and ridiculous”. smh

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Loviatar: @michael reynolds: Damn. I find I agree with both of you. Yes, the Republican Party is the greatest threat faced by the United States. Russian nukes and the Republican Party are about the only things that can be regarded as existential threats to the United States. Many would say AGW, but we’d be dealing with that if we didn’t have the GOPs.

    But yes, there is a huge difference between James, Doug, and the usual comment trolls. Over the years, Doug and James have both shown a capacity to learn and change. If there is ever to be a better Republican Party, or a replacement, it will need the people like Doug and James. That said, it would be easier to defend James if we could see he understands what happened, that Trump is not an aberration in the Republican Party, but a culmination. (Eisenhower was an aberration.)

    The Dems do have a problem. A lot of people hate Dems, and would never consider voting for Hillary. I don’t think it’s the smug air of superiority. After all, it’s true libs think they’re smarter, but cons think they’re morally superior. Dems better represent the interests of the people who support Trump, but they can’t see past that Dems visibly helping the blahs. The obvious alignment in U. S. politics right now is haves v have nots. The 99% should all be supporting Dems. I don’t know how to get the white working and middle class to align with the minority working and middle class, but I hope Hillary, Obama, and/or whoever might be thinking about primarying Hillary in ’20 is thinking hard about it.

  40. Loviatar says:

    @gVOR08:

    Yes, the Republican Party is the greatest threat faced by the United States.

    The difference between michael reynolds and my opinion of James Joyner is in our response to that comment.

    My response:
    The Republican party is an existential threat to our existence as a country, anyone who continues to supports the Republican party is part of the problem.

    I believe michael reynolds response is:
    The Republican party is an existential threat to our existence as a country, however if you’re well spoken and occasionally denounce some of the really, really extreme elements you can still call yourself a Republican and be welcomed in polite society.

  41. steve s says:

    While the 50 million low-info or just ethically challenged people who support the GOP are why we can’t have nice things, telling them they suck donkey balls–even though it’s true–is probly not terribly helpful.

  42. steve s says:

    donald trump is going to get a way higher percentage of the vote than Goldwater got in 1964.

    There are two simple, possible explanations for this:

    1) Donald Trump is much more qualified to be president than Goldwater was.
    2) Republicans are much horribler, as a group, than they were 52 years ago.

    I don’t think the answer is number one.

  43. Loviatar says:

    @steve s:

    Republicans are much horribler, as a group, than they were 52 years ago.

    Yet I’ve been told repeatedly that James Joyner is a “good Republican”.

  44. steve s says:

    maybe you don’t understand the difference between groups and individuals?

  45. Loviatar says:

    @steve s:

    Oh I do.

    I also know that groups are made up of individuals. So that if its said a group is much horribler, than they were 52 years ago. Then by logical extension, the individuals that make up that group are much horribler, than they were 52 years ago.

  46. Loviatar says:

    @steve s:

    Oh and by the way, which one is James Joyner?

    low-info

    or

    ethically challenged

  47. Guarneri says:

    NEWS ITEM:

    Axe-Wielding Afgan Man Shot Dead After Slashing At Least 20 People On German Train Screaming “Allahu Akbar”

    No word yet as to whether the Afgan man was Mormon, Jewish or a Wicken, However, in response to the incident President Obama was expected to speak on gun control, religious intolerance and racial sensitivity at a 6pm est news conference. At an Internet site known as OTB the commentariat was almost universal in its condemnation of the Republican Party.

  48. Lounsbury says:

    @C. Clavin:
    I was just having a conversation with an Arab investor in one of my projects, whose voting age children are Americans I note. He was doing a bit of ranting about USA (for all that he’s actually quite pro American overall) and how maybe arabs should vote for Trump to destroy the US.

    My response to him was “for God’s sake man, I get the bloody joke but f***ing hell, this would give Trump the US nuclear arsenal. No matter what, this can’t happen.”

    Really, for God’s sake you gits shouldn’t let this happen.

  49. Loviatar says:

    Republican Rep. Steve King preaches literal white supremacy on national television

    So a sitting member of Congress is literally saying that white people are superior than people of other races on national television.

    Republican ex-senator called Trump backers “brownshirts,”

    I mean people who act like fascists. They might not be fascists, but they act like fascists they have the lack of manners of fascists, and in this respect they are only too reflective of Donald Trump himself.

    —–

    These people run 2/3rds of our government and have nominated a virulently open racist as their candidate for president. I’m sorry in my eyes if you have anything to do with these people you are part of the problem. If you call yourself a Republican they are you and you are them. #nodifference

  50. stonetools says:

    @Guarneri:

    Huh. It’s a good thing that he he couldn’t walk into a German Walmart type store and walk out with an assault rifle that he could have used on those passengers, isn’t it?
    Kudos to the Germans for making sure their crazies have to work with just an axe. Just sayin’.

  51. stonetools says:

    @Loviatar:

    Understand where you’re coming from, Loviatar. I believe that James will probably do the right thing in November. Doug, I’m not sure of ( the Clinton Derangement Syndrome is strong with that one). But they are our hosts here and some respect is due.
    Fully agree with you Trump is the result of the Good Republicans standing by while the leaders did a deal with the Dixiecrat devil.

  52. Loviatar says:

    @stonetools:

    Its funny, my anger isn’t really with James, its what he represents. Its like you said, he and those like him stood there and allowed the racist to take control of one of the two political parties in our country. smh

    Also, I have to admit most of my frustration and not a little bit of the anger is directed at the enablers of the enablers.

    The enablers of the enablers

    I’m not saying that all leading Republicans are racists; most of them probably aren’t, although Mr. Trump probably is. It is that in pursuit of their economic — actually, class-interest — goals they were willing to act as enablers, to make their party a safe space for prejudice. And the result is a party base that is strikingly racist, in which a plurality of voters believe that Mr. Obama is a Muslim, and more — a base just waiting for a candidate willing to blurt out what the establishment conveyed by innuendo.

    But there’s one more crucial element here: We wouldn’t have gotten to this point if so many people outside the G.O.P. — in particular, journalists and self-proclaimed centrists — hadn’t refused to acknowledge what was happening.

    michael reynolds and others here are in that secondary group, the enablers of the enablers, those who are always ready to excuse and give reason for the enablers wrongheaded actions.

    The Republican establishment directly enabled the forces that led to Trump; but many influential people outside the G.O.P. in effect enabled the enablers. And so here we are.

    we’re seeing it on a smaller scale here. #nodifference

  53. Pch101 says:

    @Loviatar:

    A lot of Republicans are nostalgic for a party that never existed. They’re not Nazis, they just have this adoration for a version of Reagan who was mostly a fiction.

    The real Reagan retreated from the Middle East when US forces were attacked, negotiated peace treaties with the “Evil Empire” (a move that was motivated in part by the TV movie The Day After), inherited the inflation-fighting policies of Carter’s Fed chairman Paul Volcker, and maintained the anti-Soviet foreign policy in Afghanistan that was initiated at Zbigniew Brzezinski’s behest. And of course, he inflated the budget deficit. But the vast majority of the Reagan worshipers don’t seem to know any of this; they are in love with their idea of Reagan rather than the man himself.

  54. Loviatar says:

    @Pch101:

    A lot of Republicans are nostalgic for a party that never existed. They’re not Nazis, they just have this adoration for a version of Reagan who was mostly a fiction.

    Wait a minute, that literally was the Nazi playbook. Convince Germans, that their problems were due to someone else’s (Jews, etc) perfidy. Tell them over and over again that the Nazis were their to make Germany great again. By the way, this Germany they talked about was also mostly a fiction.

    You’re scaring me, you’re making the case I should be lot more concerned.

  55. Pch101 says:

    @Loviatar:

    I’m not a fan of Reagan, but he didn’t kill fifty million people or create a network of extermination camps.

    If you want to earnestly compare Reagan to Hitler, then you’re just undermining your own credibility. He was bad, but not that bad.

  56. Kylopod says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The “Blue wall” has nothing to do with the statistical liklihood of a disparity between the popular and electoral vote.

    If that were the case, the argument would be virtually meaningless. There simply is no reason to consider electoral votes at all except for the possibility of an EC/popular split. It is technically true that our system awards the presidency to the EC winner, and that candidates focus their campaigns on battleground states. But even with all that, the popular vote winner has been the EC winner in more than 95% of the the presidential races in the country’s history.

    That’s why it’s so misleading to claim “there are 51 separate presidential elections.” In theory that’s true, but in practice the states do not operate like separate, independent forces in these elections; the single biggest determiner of the election outcome is the popular vote. To deny that is to dig one’s head in the sand.

    The “blue wall” argument is premised on examining the state results in recent presidential elections. The problem with that approach is that Dems won the popular vote in five of the last six elections, and that itself influenced their success in a lot of those supposedly “safe” states, which could easily stop being safe if the popular vote were to move substantially in the GOP’s direction. The “blue wall” overstates the Democratic advantage in those states by neglecting to consider how that advantage is affected by what’s happening nationally.

  57. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    The Dems are in a position to win something close to 270 electoral votes without a fight.

    Yeah, and I suppose the fact they’re facing an erratic crypto-fascist with no campaign organization and the highest unfavorables on record has nothing to do with it.

  58. Loviatar says:

    @Pch101:

    First, you were the one who brought the Nazis into the conversation with a real shitty Reagan analogy.

    Second, was Hitler HITLER in the 1920s? Was the Nazi party, the NAZI party in the 1920s?

    Look, I realize to some, that the words Hitler and Nazi must never be mentioned in polite society, however when an actual comparison can be made to current day circumstances why not mention them as a reference point. You brought up the point of modern Republicans nostalgia for Reagan and Reaganism, you stated that this did not make them Nazis. I just pointed out that au contraire, that it did make them similar in that nostalgia for a fictional past was part of the strategy the Nazis used to gain power in the late 1920s/early 1930s.

    Do I believe Trump and the Republicans are analogous to Hitler and the Nazis? No, but then again, I bet if you asked in the early 1920s did Hitler and the Nazi party have the potential to be mass murders I think you’d get the same answer. No.

    How does that saying go, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Hitler, the Nazis, and all that occurred from their rule is part of our history, to dismiss it any mention of them as conversation killers means you may end up missing the signals of the rise of the next incarnation.

  59. Pch101 says:

    @Loviatar:

    The primary differences between the left and the right in general is that the former places its hopes on the future (“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” was an appropriate lyric) while the right reveres the past.

    The Nazis were a right-wing movement, so they also evoked heritage in their rhetoric. But that doesn’t mean that the Republicans are Nazis; both may be on the right and extol tradition, but they don’t have much more in common than that.

    It’s a matter of being intelligent, not concerns about “polite society” When you make inappropriate comparisons to Hitler, it just harms your credibility. It makes you appear to be a shallow thinker who has to resort to playing the Nazi card because you don’t have many tools in your toolkit.

    Those who are quick to make Nazi comparisons tend to be shallow thinkers who don’t much about history, otherwise you would know that there are better examples available to you. There was a world prior to 1933 and since 1945, you know.

  60. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    At this rate, Trump is probably going to end up with just about the same map as Romney had in 2012, which is the same map that Cruz et. al. would have had had Trump not been the nominee.

    So no, having Trump as the candidate will probably not prove to have made any meaningful difference, as no Republican nominee could have changed the outcome. Clinton can win an electoral vote landslide even if the popular vote is close.

  61. Loviatar says:

    @Pch101:

    It was you who made the initial Nazi reference. I just pointed out that you were wrong, that their were similarities between how the Nazis gained power and how the Republicans are attempting to gain power. As far as making inappropriate comparisons to Hitler, please explain to me what inappropriate comparisons I made?

    The Nazis came to power by telling the German people a sub group within their society was responsible for their problems. They then promised to make Germany great again by promising to return to a fictional German past.

    The Republican message:

    Trying to attain power by telling the American people a sub group within our society is responsible for their problems. They then promise to make America great again by promising to return to a fictional American past.

    —–

    All I did was point out the similarities. I know this makes some uncomfortable to realize how many similarities, however I don’t think pointing that out is inappropriate.

  62. Pch101 says:

    @Loviatar:

    It was you who made the initial Nazi reference

    Er, you were arguing with someone else about Republicans being “good Germans.” Don’t put that nonsense on me; I was responding to your earlier comments.

  63. Loviatar says:

    @Pch101:

    ahhh, you’re correct. I’m wrong. I had forgotten I made the first “Nazi” reference in a different conversation.

    However, I stand by those words. I’ve met “good Germans”, they were cowards. They stood on the sidelines and let millions die so that their own lives wouldn’t be unduly impacted. Unfortunately for them once the war began everyone’s lives became impacted.

    We have a group here in this country who are attempting to do the same. They’ve stood on the sidelines and allowed one of the two American parties with any realistic hopes of ruling be taken over by racists. What do you think will happen if the party of racist, misogynist, homophobic bigots are able to gain absolute control of our government? What do you think will happen if that government is then led by a small minded egotistical racist? Sound familiar.

    There have been times in the past 50+ years for the Republican party to pull back from their deal with the Dixiecrat Devil, everytime they’ve chosen not to, why? Because the good Republicans felt that it was more important that their incremental tax rate not be unduly impacted or that the regulations on their business not be unduly impacted. You might see this as honest differences I see it as cowardice, they knew who they were bargaining with and they chose expediency and comfort over doing the right thing.

  64. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    At this rate, Trump is probably going to end up with just about the same map as Romney had in 2012 …. So no, having Trump as the candidate will probably not prove to have made any meaningful difference

    The second statement does not follow from the first. Romney was running against a fairly popular incumbent president. Trump is running against the second-most unpopular nominee in history, who would actually be #1 if Trump himself weren’t around to claim the title. If Hillary does exactly as well as Obama did four years ago, she’d still be wildly overperforming.

  65. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    You seem to have a bug up your backside about the Blue Wall thing.

    I’ll let NBC describe it. If you don’t care for the description, which is pretty standard, then take it up with the network.

    Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic every presidential election cycle since 1992, accounting for 242 electoral votes. Those states alone — often dubbed the “Blue Wall” — put the Democrats only 28 electoral votes away from the 270 they need to win.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/analysis-blue-wall-gives-donald-trump-little-room-error-n569136

    Some states have been added to that wall since 2008. Without a plausible Republican plan to tear down those extra bricks or a considerable demographic shift that is surely not going to occur between now and November, this is the problem that would be faced by virtually any GOP nominee. So unless you have some scenario that is going to alter this, you can stop banging on that drum.

    Incidentally, to understand how this margin thing can work in real life, consider 2000:

    -Al Gore famously won the US popular vote with 48.4% of the total

    -Gore infamously lost Florida with 48.8% of its popular vote. (Notice how this is a higher figure than the national total.)

    -Meanwhile, Nader arguably cost Gore the vote in Florida, even though the vote for Nader was lower in Florida than it was nationally (1.6% vs 2.7%)

    -What’s even more fun is that Gore won Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Oregon even though he had lower popular vote percentages in those states than he did in Florida

    How did that happen? Because Gore isn’t the only candidate who outperformed his national average in Florida; Bush did, too (48.9% in FL vs 47.9% nationally).

    Had Bush had won the exact same number of votes but with 600 of those cast in some state other than Florida, then we would have had a different president with an otherwise identical popular vote.

    Hopefully, you now have a somewhat better understanding of why state results and the margins matter. The ground game for electoral votes does matter when the spreads in the popular vote are thin.

  66. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar: @Pch101:

    I actually accept the Nazi comparisons. People know the Nazi end-state, the eventual result. But there were many steps between the Beer Hall Putsch and the Final Solution. Is the GOP the Nazi Party circa 1944? Of course not. Does it bear resemblances to the Nazi Party circa 1934? Yes. Absolutely.

    All the more reason not to react the same way the Left did then. Germans were boxed between brown shirts and communists, each intolerant, each doctrinaire, each ideologically rigid, each driven by obsessions over purity – racial on the one side, ideological and classist on the other. The center did not hold. And the results were tens of millions dead and a split that endured until 1989.

    I agree completely that what we have here is the culmination of GOP policies and attitudes. I’ve been right here for like a decade saying the GOP was increasingly dependent on racists, that it was being defined and taken over by racists — and wrote all that even way back when all my Lefty friends here were telling me I was over-the-top. So I’m not really interested in being lectured by people who only figured out last week what I’ve been saying for years. It makes Grandpa testy when the children repeat his own lectures back with a smug, self-righteous and accusatory tone.

    The GOP is racist? The Tea Party was nothing but a front for racists? No kidding. Gosh, I wish I’d thought of that and you know, said it or written it about a thousand times over the last eight or ten years. I guess it’s never good to be right too soon. You want to wait until you’ve got enough people to form a mob. That makes you extra righteous.

    Now, moving on, getting past the current Left’s brilliant discovery of things that I thought were bleedingly obvious a long time ago. . . what’s next? Where do we go? It is sadly clear that nothing short of the destruction of the current iteration of the GOP will do as a prelude to reconciliation. But if we are politically intelligent what we on the Left will do is welcome any and all defectors from the GOP with open arms and cold beer. Because that is the politically smart thing to do.

    I could make the argument that it is also the generous, kind and tolerant thing to do, but just as many on the Right are nothing but racists and misogynists, many on the Left are indifferent to generosity or tolerance and are nothing but little commissars-in-waiting, just looking for the moment when they can get a cool Party job searching tweets for signs of revanchism or Trotskyism or whatever the heresy of the day happens to be.

    Let me put it this way: if you think you should spend your time denouncing recent converts for ideological impurity (your father was a kulak!) you’re working for Trump. Because it’s not just factually wrong (Joyner is not a Trumpist) it is also politically stupid and self-harming.

    So, TL;DR: 1) Stop telling me the exact same sh!t I was telling you ten fwcking years ago, and 2) Stop choosing stupid, start playing smart. I was right then, I’m right now.

  67. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    You seem to have a bug up your backside about the Blue Wall thing.

    I’ll let NBC describe it….

    Here’s the thing. When someone obsesses over a particular line of argumentation, it suggests that the person has heard the line of argumentation before and is familiar with its precepts. So why you’re simply repeating it is anyone’s guess, but I’m game.

    Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic every presidential election cycle since 1992, accounting for 242 electoral votes.

    The key words there are “since 1992.” You know what’s notable about the presidential elections from that year on? Dems won the popular vote in all but one of them. That’s exactly what I was referring to when I said earlier:

    Dems won the popular vote in five of the last six elections

    The last six elections stretch back to…1992. I am a wee bit more well-versed in this argument than you think.

    To examine the state results without considering the national popular vote is bad analysis; those two factors aren’t independent of each other but are interrelated, due to a phenomenon called uniform swing, meaning that shifts in the popular vote from one election to the next tend to happen alongside more or less uniform shifts across the states. As political scientists John Sides and Andrew Gelman explain:

    In a given year, the presidential-election outcome in each state is now increasingly predicted by the outcome in that state in the last presidential election. States do shift, of course. But they tend to do so in a similar fashion.

    Sometimes political scientists call this “uniform swing” — the states “swing” from election year to election year in mostly the same way and by similar amounts, depending on the national conditions in each year.

    That’s why Alex Seitz-Wald’s remark that “The presidential election is not really a national election” is so myopic. Technically, it’s the state results that determine the winner. But in practical terms, the national conditions drive the state results–not because there’s any “rule” that says they have to, but simply because that’s what happens in practice.

    So, for example, it’s ridiculous to generalize from how well Obama did in various states in 2012 without taking into account that he won the popular vote by nearly 4 percentage points. His 0.88-point lead in Florida isn’t an emblem of how well a Democratic candidate will always be expected to do in Florida in the present day; at best it’s an emblem of how well they’d be expected to do there with as big a national lead as Obama had that year.

    Had Obama’s popular-vote lead been substantially narrower, he’d probably have lost Florida, no matter how good his campaign organization. Had he lost the popular vote, he’d probably also have lost the election. No “blue wall” would have saved him, because no blue wall exists.

    I’m hardly the first to have made this point. Here is Nate Silver last year in his article “There is no blue wall”:

    The error that these commentators are making is in attributing the Democrats’ recent run of success to the Electoral College. In fact, the Electoral College has been a minor factor, if it’s helped Democrats at all, and one probably best ignored until the late stages of a close presidential race…. So when commentators talk about the Democrats’ “blue wall,” all they’re really pointing out is that Democrats have had a pretty good run in presidential elections lately.

    Despite Silver’s clear debunking of this idea, it’s been repeated uncritically by a range of pundits who should know better. I increasingly hear Democrats clinging to it like it’s garlic for warding off vampires. I’m half-expecting a situation where the GOP candidate is leading in the polls by 5+ percentage points, and some Dems are still smugly asserting, “I’m not worried. We’ve still got our blue wall.” So far I haven’t heard anyone say something that absurd, but it’s implicit in the logic of the argument.

  68. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The GOP is a racist party (or at least a party with a racist wing) in a country that has a long legacy of racism.

    This country was liquidating and relocating its native people, invading its neighbors in order to conquer their land and practicing its own y’all version of apartheid long before Hitler was some third-rate student in art school.

    Until the post-war era, the American political system was essentially reserved almost exclusively for the benefit of white people. It talked a big game about freedom and equality that a considerable percentage of its population did not have by design.

    Let’s not blame the Nazis for American traditions. This is an American problem, one of which is the tendency for American ideals to deviate widely from American practice.

  69. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    There are many more apt analogies than Germany, the problem is that Americans know basically nothing about history beyond the Revolution, the Civil War, WW2 and Vietnam. If you can’t reference one of those events you’re offering analogies that fly straight over people’s heads.

    This is a familiar issue for me as I write books for young adults in which I am restricted not just in the matter of historical referents but cultural touchstones as well.

  70. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Kylopod:

    There simply is no reason to consider electoral votes at all except for the possibility of an EC/popular split. It is technically true that our system awards the presidency to the EC winner, and that candidates focus their campaigns on battleground states. But even with all that, the popular vote winner has been the EC winner in more than 95% of the the presidential races in the country’s history.

    I think the only person reading the “blue wall” that way is you. The blue wall is simply the number of states that lean and historically vote for the Democrats. This number of states creates a strategic starting point that is hard to overcome. It’s as simple as that. No one that I’ve ever read has stated something along the lines of “Thank God for the Blue Wall in case there’s an EC/PV split.”

    No, they say “Thank God for the Blue Wall giving us 270 votes to start with.”

    It is technically true that our system awards the presidency to the EC winner, and that candidates focus their campaigns on battleground states.

    No, not technically true. Completely true. That is exactly what presidential candidates do. No ifs and or buts.

    Your last paragraph is a good analysis, and I agree with it (especially the overconfidence part), but it really doesn’t serve to back up your EC/PV argument.