Monday, August 20, 2018

An Anti-Red Wave Is Far More Likely Than A Blue Wave-- And That's Mostly What We're Seeing


The same clowns who didn't see a that Ocasio was about to eviscerate Crowley don't even understand that WI-01 is a key House race. Credibility: zero

Recently, Bill Maher invited Lawrence O'Donnell on his show to talk about Deadly Force a book he wrote in 1983 but that is about to be re-released with a new preface and afterward. The segment wasn't exactly electrifying but when Maher asked O'Donnell to predict what's going to happen in the midterms, O'Donnell was savvy enough to explain he doesn't knowing that his knowledge of electoral politics doesn't give him any special abilities to add to common wisdom. That kind of self-awareness is rare in his field.

On Sunday, CBS News ran a piece by their chief pollster, Anthony Salvanto, Democrats in stronger position to take the House: CBS News Battleground Tracker. But Salvanto ins't joining the crowd predicting an historic 50-80 seat flip, not even close. "Democrats have improved their standing in the fight for control of the House of Representatives," he wrote. "Our House model now shows the party poised to win 222 seats if the election were today, up from our estimate of 219 earlier this summer. The range on that estimate is plus or minus 11 seats, or 5% of House seats. It reflects the political reality that many contests are still toss-ups and that Republicans are still in a position to hold the House, if a less comfortable one. Even if Democrats' seat gains are in the double digits, there are plausible scenarios in which Republicans hang on to control."

That's the most conservative analysis I've read from any non-partisan source. In fact, the New York Post version of Salvanto's work on Saturday, CBS News pollster reveals why ‘blue wave’ is unlikely is even more dismal. I agree that there's no blue wave coming, but, unlike Salvanto, I see a massive anti-red wave, something he isn't considering.

His current thinking seems to be determined by his new book, Where Did You Get That Number?, the story of why the pollsters were wrong in 2016. "In 2016, a lot of us assumed we knew what would happen in Michigan and Wisconsin," Salvanto told The Post. "It was a great lesson for us pollsters: Even if you think you know what will happen, poll it if you can." Salvanto doesn't take Kremlin interference into account in Wisconsin and Michigan, something that Trump and the GOP have made certain could easily happen again.
Blame it on the Blue Wall. Since 1992, in six consecutive presidential elections, a solid block of 18 states had voted for the Democrat every single time. They would have given Clinton 239 electoral votes-- 89 percent of the way to victory-- if she had held on to them all.

Few bothered to ask those states’ voters what they thought, though. “Pre-election polling in the Midwest . . . just wasn’t there,” Salvanto said. When Trump knocked out Michigan and Wisconsin, two of Clinton’s critical Rust Belt supports, her Blue Wall crumbled.

Late deciders made the difference. CBS’s final 2016 poll gave Trump a substantial lead among voters who made up their minds at the last minute. In another Blue Wall state that went red in 2016, 10 percent of Pennsylvanians made their choice in the campaign’s closing week, netting Trump 97,000 votes-- more than twice his margin of victory there.

But that vital indicator was buried under the headline news from the same CBS poll that Clinton held a 4-point lead over Trump nationally.

“The horse-race analogy is compelling but it’s wrong,” Salvanto said. In racing, he pointed out, the distance already run gets your horse closer to the finish line, but “in a campaign, everything can change tomorrow.”

If voters see the election as a dynamic instead of a race, we can use polls the way campaign managers do: not as a crystal ball, but as a tool. “That means asking where a candidate or party is weak, where they’re strong, and which groups may be moving in what direction,” Salvanto said.

That’s why Salvanto is relying more on CBS’s ongoing tracking poll and less on random-sample telephone polling, ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

“That decision is very much informed by 2016,” Salvanto said.

A tracking poll sets up a panel of thousands of voters and returns to them repeatedly over months. That lets pollsters discern the factors driving voter decisions-- and gauge how attitudes change as the campaign wears on. In 2016, only two major surveys’ final predictions foresaw a Trump victory. Both of them-- from the LA Times/USC and IBD/TIPP-- were tracking polls.

“It gives us a great advantage in trying to explain the meaning of the poll results,” Salvanto said.

This year, the CBS Battleground Tracker “is concentrating on the districts that we think will make a difference,” he said. “Remember, in a midterm, you have to watch each congressional seat-- don’t pay attention to national numbers.”

Just as a presidential race is not a national contest but a collection of 51 separate elections (one for each state and for the District of Columbia), November’s midterm involves elections for 435 House districts and 35 Senate seats. The collective result will determine which party gains enough seats to control each congressional chamber.

“For pollsters, midterms are the most interesting and difficult challenge we face,” Salvanto said.

Not only must they consider 470 unique races, “there’s never more than a third or at best 40 percent turnout in midterm elections,” he noted. “So we’re looking for a subsample of a subsample” of voters.

...Salvanto’s polling currently indicates that few House seats will change hands in November-- and that the GOP could very well hold its majority in the House. “In this era, a district’s voting patterns from the past tend to stay that way,” Salvanto said. “Not as many partisans today are willing to cross party lines.” Of the nation’s 435 House districts, fully 85 percent will almost certainly stick with its current party affiliation come November, Salvanto projects.

Salvanto's model falls apart because, despite the fancy title, he doesn't really know much more about electoral politics than Lawrence O'Donnell does. These aren't living, breathing races for him, just theoretical numbers. Otherwise he would know and have factored in, for example, that Ed Royce (CA-39) had announced his retirement months ago and that the Orange County seat is open. Same for MI-11, where David Trott announced his retirement long ago, leaving an open seat. Salvanto doesn't know squat about the individual races beyond his theories. He doesn't understand the idea of taking who the candidates are into account and he doesn't understand what a wave is-- whether we're talking about a blue wave (which I agree isn't likely or an anti-red wave, which is coming, whether he recognizes it or not). He's the wrong person for the job he's got. Sorry, but numbers geeks are idiots when it comes to politics, whether they know how to sound bright-- he does-- or not.
“Overall, the districts in play tend to be more suburban and more affluent than the rest of the country,” he said. “But no single district will tell the national story.

“Right now I think this election looks like a toss-up,” Salvanto said. “We see a Democrat pickup in the House of Representatives in the 20-odd seat range, but Republicans could certainly hold on to the House.” The GOP holds a slim 43-seat House majority, with six vacancies.

“Even though Republicans have not fared well in special elections so far this cycle, it does look like they will be turning out for the midterms,” Salvanto said. “So far we do not see a large number of Republicans saying they will flip and vote for a Democrat.”

GOP voters in the past have been much more likely than Democrats to turn up and cast ballots in midterm elections, regardless of each party’s enthusiasm level ahead of Election Day.

So Democrats are literally betting the House on their ability to capture large numbers of voters who don’t normally vote in midterm elections. “They have to bring new voters in,” Salvanto said.

Democratic anger against President Trump gives them a shot at doing just that. “A large number of Democrats are contesting districts they have not contested before,” Salvanto pointed out. “That has new people coming into politics-- younger, more women, more ethnicities-- making for some interesting dynamics.”

But, according to his tracking poll, “voters say the Democrats need to do more than just oppose Trump,” he said. “They’re asking, ‘What are they arguing we’ll get if they take the majority?’”

A key indicator to watch is whether voters are thinking nationally or locally when they choose their congressional representative.

“I think we are picking up a shift of more voters looking to national issues,” Salvanto said, a startling departure from the old truism that all politics is local.

That’s another change that can be chalked up to Trump.

“Views of the president are a major factor,” he said. “The more intensely you feel about him, the more important you think the midterms are”-- a correlation that’s equally strong on both sides of the aisle.
Yep, Democrats will vote for Democrats and Republicans will vote for Republicans but what Salvanto doesn't take into account is that independent voters have swung strongly towards the Democrats and away from Trump and that that's the reason we are going to experience an anti-red wave in November.

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At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Polls don't take into account voter suppression and electoral fraud. Little-to-nothing is being done about any of those problems. The GOP control of the government remains a probability.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, 10:09, LESS THAN nothing is being done. The Nazis are going to avert their gaze even more than usual to outside tampering (from Russia, no doubt). Of course, the democraps are doing their usual -- nothing at all.

"Democrats are literally betting the House on their ability to capture large numbers of voters who don’t normally vote in midterm elections."

No. Democraps are literally betting their prospects on keeping the trump shit-show running at full throttle. Same as 2005-2006 when they took the house, except it was the cheney/bush shit-show... which wasn't nearly as bad.

"Democrats have improved their standing in the fight for control of the House of Representatives,"

And NO, the democraps have done nothing to earn any control of the house. They are relying on the Nazi voters to lose enthusiasm more than the independents losing their minds and still voting for those who've been betraying them for nearly 4 decades.

This piece totally mixes its metaphors. Imagine how much more effective it would have been if it had stuck to the 'anti-red' from top to bottom instead of this mish-mash of conflicting ideas.

The odds of the 'craps falling face-first into a house majority cannot be much better than 51 - 49 only because they've actually done nothing to earn anything. They're doing exactly what they did in 2006, bupkus, down to the vow to not impeach. Their house prospects rely totally on how many voters are sick of the horse-shit vs. how many are dumber than horse-shit.

Of course, I'm probably the only one who notices.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Alice said...

I am with something Howie said earlier, that the special elections are more indicative than opinion polls. I would also suggest that rates of increase rates of voter registration generally, esp. coming from women and young people indicate that people are ready to drive the Republicans from office. Another indication is the record number of retirements, clearly experienced Republican politicians know which way the wind is blowing.

Last year in Virginia over all turnout was almost at Presidential levels, and I think that we will see the same thing this November.

Not even voter suppression and out right theft by vapour voting machines will be enough this year. The Republicans are going down in flames.

At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alice, in my blue state and my very red district, turnout was at about 14% for the primaries. Not to dampen your 'thuse with facts or anything.

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won with but 9 percent of the possible vote, which was more than Joe Crowley received. Most people don't give a damn, and just want the "easy" selection of two people with a D or and R after their names so that they don't strain their TV and iPod addled brains with having to think.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Frank Kirkwood said...

I wish pollsters would state the turnout assumptions they are making behind their predictions. Generally the pollsters are pretty good at predicting the way a demographic group will split its vote but not good at predicting the turnout of each demographic group. Maybe media outlets should request information about these assumptions when pollsters release the poll results. It is a tougher question for pollsters to predict than, "Who are you going to vote for?", but often election winners and losers are all about who shows up on E day.


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