Swing State Symphony Status – July

The seventh month of July is upon us and it is time once again to see how the baker’s dozen of states that comprise my Swing State Symphony are leaning concerning the 2016 American presidential election.

Back in June, I posted the status of the thirteen states that will decide who will be the next occupant of the Oval Office come January 2017. In that post, the presumptive presidential nominee of Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, was projected to be the winner as eight of the Swing State Symphony (Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin) went for her and two states (Missouri, North Carolina) went for the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump. The remaining three (Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico) were not awarded to either party because no polls had been done in 2016.

So where do things stand one month later?

Let’s find out.

To recap, here is the baseline tally that I created at the start of this blog that shows the states that are either solidly or mostly leaning towards one party. Thanks once again to the folks over at 270towin.com for their interactive map.

270ToWin_SolidMostly

States in deep blue are classified in my baseline tally as “Solid” for the Democratic Party and those in a lighter blue are classified in my baseline tally as “Mostly” for the Democratic Party. Likewise for the Republican Party except the color of choice is red. This map also shows that the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party can count on 202 votes in the Electoral College and the presidential nominee of the Republican Party can count on 181 votes in the Electoral College. With my Swing State Symphony collection (states in gray) holding 155 votes in the Electoral College, the Democratic presidential nominee only needs 68 of those votes while the Republican presidential nominee needs 89 of those votes to hit the mark of 270.

Let’s work through the thirteen states in gray and see where they stand in the month of July.

Starting with Colorado and there has actually been one poll commissioned since the beginning of this year (Huzzah!). In that June survey from CBS News/YouGov (996 likely voters, margin of error 4.3 percentage points, results here), the questioned residents of Colorado expressed their presidential preference. Hillary Clinton received 40% of the vote, Donald Trump received 39%, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson received 4%, and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein received 1% of the vote. Other options included “Not sure” (10%) and “Someone else” (6%). I understand that this is one poll and that the difference between Clinton and Trump is a single percentage point, but it’s the only survey from the Centennial State that I have and so the state of Colorado is painted blue (albeit an extremely light blue).

Next up is the state of Florida. In my June posting, the Sunshine State went to the Democratic Party. By my count, there have been ten polls taken in Florida in the month of June (full list here courtesy of electiongraphs.com)*. Of those surveys, Clinton wins eight and Trump wins two. In Trump’s pair of victories, his average margin of victory was 2.5 percentage points (Public Policy Polling, 737 registered voters, margin of error 3.6 percentage points, results here, Trump 45%, Clinton 44%; Gravis (with Other included), 1,619 registered voters, margin of error 2.4 percentage points, report here, Trump 49%, Clinton 45%, Other 6%). In Clinton’s octet of victories her average margin of victory is 7.7 percentage points. Her biggest poll wins are a 14.8 percentage point victory (Saint Leo University, 459 likely voters, margin of error 4.57 percentage points, report here, Clinton 50.1%, Trump 35.3%) and a 14 percentage point victory (Ballotpedia, 596 registered voters, margin of error 4 percentage points, results here, Clinton 51%, Trump 37%). Clinton’s smallest victories in the Sunshine State are both wins of 3 percentage points (Mason-Dixon, previous post here, Clinton 45%, Trump 42%; CBS News/YouGov, 1,192 likely voters, margin of error 3.6 percentage points, results here, Clinton 44%, Trump 41%, Johnson 3%, Stein 1%, Someone else 4%, Not sure 7%). Clinton has extended her margin of victory from 5 percentage points from my post in June to 7.7 percentage points in the last ten polls. For that reason, Florida (and its 29 votes in the Electoral College) goes to the Democratic Party.

Moving on to Iowa, there have been four surveys completed in June that document the presidential preferences of the citizens of the Hawkeye State (full list here from electiongraphs.com). In that quartet of surveys, Hillary Clinton bests her opponent in all of them. Her average margin of victory is 5.75 percentage points. Iowa is painted blue.

Minnesota is next on the list, but there have been no polls done in the Gopher State since an April poll (Star-Tribune, 800 registered voters, margin of error 3.5 percentage points, results here) showed a 13 percentage point for Clinton over Trump, 48%-35%. In my June status post, Minnesota leaned Democratic and in July, it stays the same.

Missouri has also seen no new polls since my June status post. In that post five weeks ago, the Show-Me State went for Trump and it stays red for July.

Nevada had a single poll commissioned in June. From Democracy Corps, this survey (300 registered voters, margin of error 5.66 percentage points, results here) showed a tie between the two major party presidential candidates. Both Trump and Clinton earned 44% of the vote with Gary Johnson taking 9%. This draw makes it difficult to choose a hue for the Silver State, but it is one of my constraints of these monthly status posts that I cannot punt. To break the tie, I look at the last presidential elections and pre-2016 surveys. In 2012 and 2008, the presidential nominee from the Democratic Party won Nevada’s electoral votes. In addition, the pair of polls run in 2015 (full list here) show a Clinton victory of 6 percentage points and a Trump victory of 3 percentage points. That averages out to a Clinton win of 3 percentage points. For those reasons, Nevada joins the list of states turning blue (albeit, again, an extremely light – nearly transparent – shade of blue).

New Hampshire saw a trio of polls done in June (full list here). Of those three, one is a tie and Clinton wins the other two by margins of 5 and 4 percentage points. The Granite State finished my June status post in the fold of the Democratic Party and that trend continues with Clinton’s pair of June wins.

For whatever reason, I missed this poll for my June status post, but that will be rectified here. Since the start of 2016, there has only been one poll done documenting the presidential preferences of the citizens of New Mexico. Done by Public Policy Polling (previous post on poll here), Clinton defeats Trump 41%-33%. Even with the margin of error (3.5 percentage points), this survey is a definite win for the Democratic Party presumptive presidential nominee. The Land of Enchantment turns blue.

Our next stop is North Carolina. In June, there were five polls done (full list here)**. Of those five, Trump wins one (by 2 percentage points) and Clinton wins four (with an average margin of victory of 5.75 percentage points). In my June status post, the Tar Heel State joined Missouri in Trump’s column. That changes in July with this latest quintet of surveys (and Clinton’s four victories) and North Carolina turns UNC-blue.

Ohio was busy in June as six polls (full list here)# were added to my analysis from the Buckeye State. Of those six, two are ties and four are victories for Clinton. Of those four wins, her average margin of victory is 5 percentage points. Ohio was Democratic in the June status post and it remains with that party this month.

Pennsylvania was just as busy as six polls (full list here)## were also added to my analysis. Of those six, one was a draw and five were victories for Clinton. Of those five wins, her average margin of victory is 6 percentage points. The Keystone State was for Clinton in the June status post and it remains in her column in July.

Virginia saw four polls released (full list here) in the month of June. In all four, Hillary Clinton defeats Donald Trump. In her wins, Clinton’s average margin of victory is 5.25 percentage points. There is a sense of deja vu, but Virginia went blue in the June status post and it remains that way for July.

We finish with Wisconsin. In June, I wrote of the eight surveys taken to date that all showed victories by Clinton. In the month of June, five surveys are released (full list here) and, again, they all show victories for the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Wisconsin stays blue.

So with colors added to the Swing State Symphony, what does that do to the electoral map? Here’s how it stands for July. I have changed the original “Solid” and “Mostly” states to their respective solid colors and have color-coded the Swing State Symphony to be either light blue or light red depending on where they fall now.

270ToWin_Status_201607

In my rundown for the month of July, Donald Trump only wins the state of Missouri and its ten votes in the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton wins the remaining dozen states and its 145 votes in the Electoral College. This projection gives Clinton a 347-191 victory over Trump. This is an improvement over her tally of 312 votes in my June rundown.

There is still plenty of time between now and Election Day. There are still the conventions, the vice-presidential picks, the debates, and who knows what else that can happen between now and when the ballots are cast.

The die has by no means been cast.

 

*From Florida, electiongraphs.com lists fourteen polls from Florida that were released in June. Of those fourteen, Clinton’s average margin of victory is 6.25 percentage points.

**From North Carolina, the full list from electiongraphs.com showcases polls that asked separate questions that included third-party candidates. When those extra two surveys are added in, Clinton’s average margin of victory for all seven surveys is 4.57 percentage points.

#From Ohio, the full list from electiongraphs.com lists surveys that asked separate questions that included third-party candidates. Of those extra three, Trump wins one (by 1 percentage points) and Clinton wins two (by 2 and 7 percentage points). When all nine polls are considered, Clinton’s average margin of victory is trimmed to 3.1 percentage points.

##From Pennsylvania, the full list from electiongraphs.com lists surveys that asked separate questions that included third-party candidates. Of those extra four, Clinton wins all of them. When all ten polls are considered, Clinton’s average margin of victory is trimmed to 4.9 percentage points.

 

Virginia: PPP: June 2016

The folks over at Public Policy Polling (PPP) have released a poll documenting the presidential preferences of the citizens of Virginia. This survey (1,032 likely voters, margin of error 3.1 percentage points, results here) shows that in a hypothetical contest between the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, and the presumptive presidential nominee of the Green Party, Jill Stein, Clinton leads Trump by 3 percentage points, 42%-39%, with Johnson polling at 6% and Stein at 2% (10% respond “Undecided”).

PPP asked Virginia respondents what their presidential choice would be if only Trump and Clinton were on the ballot. In that imaginary two-person contest, Clinton still leads by 3 percentage points by a margin of 48%-45% (7% respond “Not Sure”).

Since one of the mantras of this blog is that it is trends that matter and not a single poll, can we see if there are any trends that this poll and the past surveys tell us?

The first trend that pops up is the fact that Clinton’s lead in the Old Dominion has been shrinking since the first poll was taken at the start of 2016. The initial 2016 poll taken in Virginia was done by Roanoke University (as mentioned earlier in this post). This January survey showed Clinton leading Trump by 17 percentage points (52%-35%).

In April, Christopher Newport University released a poll (as mentioned earlier in this post) which showed Clinton’s lead was now 9 percentage points (44%-35%).

In the next month*, Gravis Marketing released a survey (as mentioned earlier in this post) that showed Clinton’s lead now down to 4 percentage points (45%-41%).

Now, in June, this latest poll from PPP shows Trump trailing Clinton by 3 percentage points. Are these surveys a case of Clinton losing or Trump gaining? The answer is the latter. In January, Clinton’s support of the Virginia electorate was 52%, but is now 48% (a drop of 4 percentage points) in June. Trump’s support has increased 10 percentage points from 35% in January to 45% in June.

In comparing simply the January Roanoke poll (PDF topline results here) to the June PPP survey, are there any other trends that explain Trump’s rise in Virginia? Well, there’s the favorability factor.

In January, Trump had a favorability rating of -41% (22% respond “favorable” versus 63% “unfavorable). Half a year later, Trump’s favorability “jumps” to -28% (32% “favorable” versus 60% “unfavorable”). In six months, more residents of the Old Dominion have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. For comparison, Clinton’s favorability rating in January was -15% (36% “favorable” versus 51% “unfavorable). Of the respondents to the June PPP poll, 39% viewed her as favorable and 53% view her as unfavorable giving her a favorability rating of -14%. Clinton’s favorable number increased only 3 percentage points, but her unfavorable numbers increased also.

There are no other demographic breakdowns from the January Roanoke College poll, so I can do no other comparisons to this June’s PPP poll.

Moving on to the April survey from Christopher Newport University (CNU), the factor of party identification plays a major part in Trump’s climb in Virginia’s polls. In the CNU survey, only 68% of the respondents who identified themselves as members of the Republican Party said they would vote for Donald Trump. Of the respondents who said they had voted in the Virginia Republican primary, a full 28% said they would not vote for Trump (13% would vote for Clinton, 13% would vote for a third-party candidate, 3% would not vote). For comparison, 87% of respondents who identified themselves as members of the Democratic Party said they would vote for Hillary Clinton. Of the respondents who said they had voted in the Virginia Democratic primary, only 9% said they would not vote for Clinton (4% would vote for Clinton, 3% would vote for a third-party candidate, 2% would not vote). The director of the organization that produced this survey called this a “loyalty gap” between the two candidates.

Jump forward to June and the loyalty gap is long gone. Of the respondents who identify as members of the GOP, now 84% say they would vote for Donald Trump (in the two-person question), an increase of 16 percentage points. Clinton’s support among fellow Democrats in June remains steady at 88% (+1 percentage point).

In addition to grabbing his fellow Republicans, Trump has increased his support among Independent voters. In April, Trump won 36% of the Independent vote (versus 26% for Clinton, 27% for “Neither”, and 11% for “Undecided”). Two months later, Trump now commands (in the two-person race) 47% of the Independent vote while Clinton takes 39% (and 14% respond “Not sure”). It is true that Clinton’s share of the support increased by 13 percentage points, which is greater than Trump’s increase of 11 percentage points among Independents, but the numbers favor the Republican Party nominee when the contest is expanded to four people. In the Clinton/Johnson/Stein/Trump ballot, Trump wins 42% of the Independent vote (+6 percentage points from April; -5 from the June two-person race) while Clinton receives 29% (+3 from April; -10 from the two-person race). Johnson takes 10% of the Independent vote and Stein wins 6%. Since Clinton’s drop among Independents from the two-person race to the four-person race (10 percentage points – 39% versus 29%) is greater than Trump’s decrease (5 percentage points – 47% versus 42%), it appears that the addition of third-party presidential candidates in Virginia draws support away from Clinton among Independents.

The caveat to the above statement is that in the four-person contest, 76% of Republicans would support Trump while 83% of Democrats would stick with Clinton. That’s a drop of 8 percentage points (76% versus 84%) for the Republican Party  presidential nominee, but only a 5 percentage point drop (83% versus 88%) for the Democratic Party presidential nominee. Part of the drop in Trump’s numbers is that the number of undecided GOP respondents jumps 6 percentage points from 7% in the two-person race to 13% in the four-person contest.

The third (and final) factor I will discuss that helps explain Trump’s rise is his shrinking of the gender gap. In April, Clinton led over Trump with female voters by 23 percentage points (52% Clinton, 29% Trump). In June, Clinton still led among that demographic, but now only by 11 percentage points (51% Clinton 40% Trump). In the four-person race, Clinton’s lead over Trump is still 11 percentage points (45% Clinton, 34% Trump, 4% Johnson, 3% Stein). In two months, Trump’s support among female voters, in a two-way contest, has increased 11 percentage points.

Another caveat should go here and it relates to the male vote. To a much smaller extent, Clinton has cut into Trump’s lead among men. In April, Trump led among male voters by 6 percentage points (43% Trump, 37% Clinton). In the two-person contest in June, Trump’s lead among male voters is 4 percentage points (49% Trump, 45% Clinton)**.

Trump is gaining on Clinton in the Old Dominion and part of the gain can be ascribed to Republicans coming around to support their party’s nominee, voters starting to see him in a favorable light (relatively speaking), and his narrowing of the gender gap.

All in all, the 13 votes in the Electoral College that Virginia holds looks more up for grabs than it did in January.

 

*In the chronology of Virginia polls, there was a May survey conducted by Roanoke College (as mentioned earlier in this post) that showed a 38%-38% tie between Trump and Clinton. I skip that survey in this post because I consider it an outlier. It has the fewest number of respondents (610 likely voters) and the highest margin of error (4 percentage points) of all the surveys taken in Virginia this year.

**In the four-person contest, Trump’s lead among men is 7 percentage points over Clinton (46% Trump, 39% Clinton, 7% Johnson, 2% Stein), which is a slight increase (+1 percentage point) over the April two-person race numbers.

Wisconsin: Marquette: June 2016

On Wisconsin with another poll released by Marquette University Law School. The results of this poll (626 likely voters, margin of error 4.9 percentage points, press release here) show the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, leading the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump by 9 percentage points (46%-37%).*

Since the start of 2016, Marquette University has released four polls. Including this most recent survey, this organization did polling in late March and late January. From January to today, the needle for each major party presidential candidate has barely moved.

In January, the results from Marquette (806 registered voters, margin of error 4 percentage points, topline results here), show Clinton leading Trump 47%-38% (9 percentage points). In March, the results from Marquette (1,405 registered voters, margin of error 3.3 percentage points, press release here) show Clinton leading Trump by 10 percentage points (47%-37%).

In my baseline tally, Wisconsin was categorized as a “Leaning” state towards the Democratic Party. With this latest poll from Marquette being the ninth consecutive poll since the start of 2016 to show Clinton leading Trump (complete list from Real Clear Politics here and electiongraphs.com here)** by an overall average of 11 percentage points, “leaning” Democratic may not be the correct descriptive word anymore for the Badger State.

 

*Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, received 0.3% of the vote in this June poll.

**Electiongraphs.com includes a Marquette poll from February that Real Clear Politics does not have in its list. This February survey shows Clinton leading Trump by 10 percentage points (47%-37%). Real Clear Politics (as of this writing) includes the Marquette June poll that electiongraphs.com does not.

Kansas: Maybe the Numbers Are Transposed?

Kansas is a solid Republican state.

Both its Senators are Republican. All four of its Representatives are Republican. The Governor of Kansas is Republican.

In the last seven American presidential elections (since 1988), the nominee of the Republican Party was won all seven. In six of those past seven contests, the Republican Party candidate was won a majority of the vote. The sole exception was 1992 when Bush defeated Clinton in the state 38.8% – 33.7% (this was the year H. Ross Perot also ran and 27.3% of the Kansas vote went to third-party candidates). Over the past four elections (since 2000), the average margin of victory for the Republican Party nominee is 21.27%.

Given that electoral history and present state of the federal and state representation of Kansas, it almost seems like a waste of time, manpower, and electricity to do any polling in The Sunflower State.

The first poll released in 2016 to document the presidential preferences of the citizens of Kansas seems to bear this out. In late February, before the Kansas presidential caucuses, the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University released a poll (440 respondents, margin of error 5 percentage points, article here) that showed that in a hypothetical contest between Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party) and Donald Trump (Republican Party), Trump wins 46%-36% over Clinton (with 18% responding “Don’t Know”). A win of 10 percentage points may not be consistent with the history of presidential elections in Kansas, but this survey was taken three months before Trump became the presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party.

So now that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both have the label “presumptive nominee” attached to both of them, what say the people of Kansas?

As if we needed to ask.

Well, apparently, we needed.

In a survey released in June by John Zogby Strategies (433 registered voters, margin of error 4.7 percentage points, article here), 43% of the respondents said they would vote for Hillary Clinton with 36% opting for Donald Trump (21% are “undecided”).

Granted that Clinton’s hypothetical victory is within the margin of error (Trump could win with 40.7% of the vote to Clinton’s 38.3%), it is still something of a wonder to write the phrase, “Clinton wins Kansas by 7 percentage points.”

I am simply too dumfounded to go into the demographic breakdown of the Zogby poll.

I think I need to sit down.

Yes, as I have often said before, one poll is nothing to become too excited about and it is the trends that matter. To that end, more surveys will need to be undertaken in Kansas.

And just the fact that more polls need to be run in Kansas is enough to make my head swim.

Utah: The Pendulum Continues

In mid-May, I wrote a post (text here) about a poll taken in Utah in March that showed Hillary Clinton (presidential nominee of the Democratic Party) defeating Donald Trump (presidential nominee of the Republican Party) by 2 percentage points, 38%-36% (article on poll here). That post talked about the possibility (albeit slim) that Utah could flip from red to blue in the 2016 American presidential election, but that post also mentioned that it is trends that matter and not a single survey.

As if to make solid my point about trends, less than a week later I wrote another post (text here) about a poll taken in Utah in May that showed Trump defeating Clinton by 13 percentage points, 43%-30% (article on poll here).

That double-digit lead in May placed the Republican Party presidential candidate back into the historical pattern of Utah’s past presidential elections. Romney won the state in 2012 by double digits (48 percentage point margin over Obama). McCain won the state in 2008 by double digits (28 percentage point margin over Obama). Bush won the state in 2004 by double digits (45 percentage point margin over Kerry). Bush won the state in 2000 by double digits (40 percentage point margin over Gore).

Now, however, the pendulum has swung back to the Democratic Party courtesy of the last two surveys that have been released documenting the presidential preferences of the citizens of Utah. In June, Gravis Marketing released a survey (1,519 registered voters, margin of error 2.5 percentage points, article here) that shows Donald Trump “only” defeating Hillary Clinton by 7 percentage points, 36%-29%. However, that margin shrinks to 3 percentage points when respondents were asked who they choose for President given the option of Trump, Clinton, and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. In that three-way contest, Trump wins 29% of the vote, Clinton warns 26%, and Johnson takes 16% (“Other” actually ties for first place with 29% of the vote).

A 7-point win or 3-point win is still a win for the 6 votes in the Electoral College that Utah holds, so is the Beehive State in play?

There is one more recent poll that keeps the pendulum (virtually) swinging to the blue. In June, Salt Lake Tribune/Hinckley Institute of Politics released a survey (1,238 likely voters, margin of error 2.8 percentage points, article here) that showed that a contest between the presidential candidates of the Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, and the Republican Party is a tie (35%-35%) between Trump and Clinton with Johnson pulling in 13% of the vote (“Undecided”wins silver with 16%).

Since the start of 2016, I have found six polls (full list here courtesy of electiongraphs.com) taken in the state of Utah. Of those surveys, two are a tie, three show a Republican Party win by margins of 13, 7, and 3 percentage points, and one (the earliest – from mid-March) shows a Democratic win by 2 percentage points. Using math, I can show that the average Republican Party margin of victory for those six surveys is 3.5 percentage points, a figure that is within the margin of error of some surveys.

Five months away from Election Day and the average margin of victory for Donald Trump is the single digits.

The low single digits.

Can’t wait for the next Utah poll.

Connecticut: Underperforming?

Granted that the state of Connecticut only has 7 votes in the Electoral College, but as with most American presidential elections, every single vote may be the difference between who takes the oath office on January 20, 2017. So while the Constitution State is not a member of my Swing State Symphony, let’s take a look what the polls from that state are saying.

In my baseline tally of the states, Connecticut is categorized as a “Solid” state for the Democratic Party. This, as with most of my baseline categorizations, is due to the history of the state in past American presidential elections. In the past seven elections (since 1988), Connecticut has voted for the presidential candidate from the Democratic Party the last six times in a row. For the last five elections running, the Democratic Party candidate has won a majority of the votes cast in Connecticut. Over the past four elections (since 2000), the median margin of victory for the Democratic Party candidate has been 17.4%. With this history as backdrop, Connecticut (and its 7 votes in the Electoral College) is solidly Democratic.

So what are the presidential preferences of the citizens of Connecticut nowadays?

The most recent polling done was published on June 7 by Quinnipiac (pronounced KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. In that poll (1,330 registered voters, margin of error 2.7 percentage points, results here), the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, defeats the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, by a tally of 45%-38% – or by a margin of “only” 7 percentage points.

For comparison, Barack Obama (Democratic Party) defeated Mitt Romney (Republican Party) in the 2012 presidential election by a margin of 17.3 percentage points (Obama’s 58.0% to Romney’s 40.7%).

I could only find two other polls from Connecticut taken since the 2012 election. An April 2016 poll from Emerson College (1,043 likely voters, margin of error 3 percentage points, report here) has Clinton over Trump by 8 percentage points (48%-40%). A Quinnipiac University poll from October 2015 (1,735 registered voters, margin of error 2.4 percentage points, results here) shows a Clinton victory over Trump by a margin of 7 percentgae points (47%-40%).

For further comparison, in the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama defeated John McCain by 22 percentage points (Obama’s 60.6% to McCain’s 38.2%).

I mention the comparison to the previous pair of American presidential elections because the nominee from the Democratic Party won in 2008 and 2012 by double digits both times. Compare that to the three surveys taken since 2012 where the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party only wins by single digits (albeit high single digits).

Given that the level of support in Connecticut for the Republican Party nominees has been consistent from the previous pair of elections (40.7% for Romney, 38.2% for McCain) to the last three polls (40% (Quinnipiac October 2015), 40% (Emerson April 2016), and 38% (Quinnipiac June 2016)), can we figure out why Clinton’s level of support (47%, 48%, and 45%) has dropped below Obama’s 58% and 60.6%?

Probably not, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try?

For this comparison, I will be using the exit polling results* of the 2012 presidential election from NBC News (details here) and the latest survey from Quinnipiac.

In 2012, 63% of the female voters cast their vote for Obama (versus 36% for Romney). In the latest Quinnipiac survey, Clinton does win a majority of the female vote with 53% (versus 35% for Trump). From Obama in 2012 to Clinton in 2016, that’s a drop of 10 percentage points in the female vote (while Trump only loses a single percentage point from Romney).

For men, according to the exit polls, 51% cast their vote for Obama (versus 47% for Romney). In June of 2016, Clinton loses the male vote to Trump 36%-48%. From Obama in 2012 to Clinton in 2016, that’s a drop of 15 percentage points (while Trump gains a single percentage point from Romney).

In 2012, according the exit polls, 51% of the respondents who identified themselves as “Independent or something else” voted for Obama (versus 46% for Romney). In June of 2016, 36% of the respondents who identified themselves as Independent would vote for Clinton (versus 41% for Trump). From Obama in 2012 to Clinton in 2016, that’s a drop of 15 percentage points (while Trump drops 5 percentage points from Romney).

In November of 2012, Obama won the White vote with 51% of that demographic (versus 48% for Romney). Three and half years later, 39% of White respondents support Clinton (versus 44% for Trump). From Obama in 2012 to Clinton in 2016, that’s a drop of 12 percentage points (while Trump drops 4 percentage points from Romney).

In 2012, voters over 65 supported Obama 54%-46% over Romney. The June 2016 results from Quinnipiac show that voters over 65 support Trump over Clinton 45%-36%. From Obama in 2012 to Clinton in 2016, that’s a drop of 18 percentage points (while Trump loses a single percentage point from Romney).

Gender, party affiliation, race, and age are just part of the demographic puzzle that help to explain why Clinton’s level of support is not near Obama’s level from 2012. While it is true that results from an actual election in November are different from results from surveys released in June before an election, there is data here for each party organization to use to help identify opportunities and challenges for Election Day 2016.

Connecticut is categorized as “Solid” in my baseline tally, but that’s only due to its history. The future of the Constitution State (and its 7 votes in the Electoral College) is not yet written.

 

*Yes, I realize exit polling results are not the same as actual ballot results, but I work with what I have.

Pennsylvania: PPP: June 2016

Another day. Another poll released documenting the presidential preferences of the citizens from one of the members of my Swing State Symphony.

I find such joy in the little nooks and crannies of life.

Today’s results from a question-and-answer session done over the phone and Internet takes us to Pennsylvania. Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a survey (1,106 registered voters, margin of error 3 percentage points, results here) that showed that between a hypothetical two-person presidential race between Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party) and Donald Trump (Republican Party), the two contestants finish in a 44%-44% tie.*

At this point, I would go into the demographic breakdown of the poll’s results and tease out why Clinton and Trump won the amount of vote that they did. However, the authors of this PPP report about this June Pennsylvania survey explain as well as anyone can when they write…

…Republicans are more unified around Trump (79/8) than Democrats are
around Clinton (75/15). That dynamic is what’s making the state competitive.

The numbers in the parenthesis indicate that 79% of GOP respondents in the PPP poll would vote for Trump while 8% would cross party lines to vote for Clinton. While three-quarters of voters (75%) who identify as members of the Democratic Party would cast their ballot in support of their party’s nominee, 15% of the Democratic respondents say they would vote for Trump.

People were interviewed for this survey before Clinton became the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. That designation happened on June 6 when the Associated Press announced that Clinton had won more than enough delegates to cinch the nomination at the party’s convention in Philadelphia. It will interesting to note if Clinton receives a bump in polls among her fellow party-goers now that she has the word “presumptive” attached to her name. But that’s for another (and future) date.

Another item of note is the gender gap. This is the difference between Clinton’s lead among female voters and Trump’s lead among male voters. The gender gap has been invoked in articles (see here and here and here) saying how it could be Trump’s downfall as he tries to win the White House. The narrative goes that Clinton’s lead among women voters will be greater than Trump’s lead among men voters. Since there are more women in the United States…well, that there spells trouble for Trump with a capital “T”.

However, this latest PPP poll from Pennsylvania has an interesting tidbit. Men support Trump by a margin of 55%-33%, which is a lead of 22 percentage points. Pennsylvania women, sayeth PPP, support Clinton by a margin of 54%-34%, which is a lead of 20 percentage points. Calculating the gender gap as the difference of Clinton’s lead among women (20) and Trump’s lead among men (22) gives a value of -2 (20 – 22 = -2). A negative value in this instance means that the gender gap is a liability for Clinton as Trump’s lead among men overcomes Clinton’s lead among women (hence the overall tie at 44%-44%) even with the fact that more women (53%) were respondents than men (47%)**.

This Trump advantage to the gender gap may not be a one-off phenomenon. A day before PPP released their survey about Pennsylvania, PPP published its results from a poll done in Florida (as seen previously here in this blog). In that PPP Florida survey, men support Trump by a single percentage point (45%-44%), but women also support Trump by a single percentage point (45%-44%). As with Pennsylvania, the gender gap figure is -2 ((-1) [Clinton’s lead among women] – 1 [Trump’s lead among men] = -2). As with the Pennsylvania PPP survey, more women (53%) than men (47%) were respondents, so Trump’s lead among women help to propel him to an overall victory in this hypothetical Sunshine State election by a margin of 45%-44%.

Yes, there is the caveat that these are only two polls taken a day apart in early June.

Yes, there is a caveat that a CBS News/YouGov released June 5 about the presidential preferences of the citizens of New Jersey (and written about here on this blog) showed Clinton not only winning the women’s vote by 24 percentage points (54%-30%), but also winning the men’s vote by 5 percentage points (44%-39%) giving Clinton a gender gap figure of 29.

But, there is also this fact that a June poll released by Franklin Pierce University in conjunction with The Boston Herald (and written about previously here on this blog) showed that the gender gap difference in New Hampshire for Clinton was only 2.2. While she led among women by a margin of 22.1 percentage points (53.8%-31.7%), Trump’s lead among men voters was almost similar at 19.9 percentage points (55.3%-35.4%).

So we have surveys run in three swing states (Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania) in June that show that Clinton’s advantage of the gender gap is not to be seen. Two of these swing state surveys actually show Trump having the advantage among the genders (i.e., his lead among men is greater than Clinton’s lead among women) and the third (New Hampshire) shows her lead to be below her latest national poll figure. FOX News released a poll on June 9 (1,004 registered voters, margin of error 3 percentage points, results here) that gives Clinton a gender gap difference of 3 (Clinton leads women by 18 percentage point 50%-32% and Trump leads men by 15 percentage points 48%-33%)***.

Only time and more surveys will be able to answer the question if the gender gap in swing states has vanished for the (now presumptive) presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

 

*Respondents in this poll were also asked who they would opt for given the choices of Trump, Clinton, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. In that hypothetical four-way contest, Clinton wins with 41% of the vote to Trump’s 40%. Johnson takes 6% of the vote and Stein wins 3%.

**In the four-way Clinton/Johnson/Stein/Trump contest, women support Clinton by a margin of 49%-31% (+18 percentage points) and men support Trump by the same 49%-31% margin (+18 percentage points). Though the gender gap difference is zero (18 – 18 = 0), Clinton still defeats Trump by a single percentage point overall (41%-40%) because there were more female respondents than male.

***FOX News also asked respondents who they would choose in a three-way contest between Trump, Johnson, and Clinton. In that race, Clinton’s gender gap difference actually increases to 7 as Clinton leads among women voters by 17 percentage points (47%-30%) and Trump leads among men voters by 10 percentage points (41%-31%).

Florida: PPP: June 2016

Of all the states in my Swing State Symphony, Florida is the richest when it comes to votes in the Electoral College with twenty-nine. With that being the case, my antennae always quiver whenever a new poll is released from the Sunshine State.

Well, there was plenty a’quiver courtesy of a survey released by Public Policy Polling (PPP) which documented the presidential preferences of the citizens of Florida. In that poll (737 likely voters, margin of error 3.6 percentage points, results here), the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, is the winner over the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, by a single percentage point (45% for Trump, 44% for Clinton)*.

The previous four polls done in the state of Florida (Mason-Dixon, CBS News/YouGov, Gravis, Quinnipiac) all pegged Trump’s support at 42% (as previously written about here; full list of Florida polls here).

What this post will look at is where did Trump receive his boost of 3 percentage points?

Our first stopping point is gender.

The narrative  of the 2016 presidential election seems to be that Clinton will win the women’s vote and Trump will take the men’s vote. This survey from PPP goes against that narrative. The most recent survey, before this PPP survey, that asked about a two-person race was done in May by CBS News/You Gov (as written about previously in this post). In that earlier poll Clinton beat Trump overall by a single percentage point (43% versus 42%). In terms of gender breakdown, the CBS News/YouGov poll had Trump winning 38% of the women’s vote (versus Clinton’s 47%). Less than a month later, the PPP results show the Republican Party nominee winning 45% (+7 percentage points) of the women’s vote (versus Clinton’s 44% (-3 percentage points)). Trump not only wins the women’s vote in this survey by a single percentage point, he also wins the men’s vote by the same 45%-44% figure.

In terms of party identification, Trump’s support among Republican voters remained constant. The CBS News/YouGov poll in May showed 84% of GOP voters supported Trump (with 5% crossing party lines). In June, PPP shows 83% of Republican voters choosing Trump (with 9% crossing party lines to vote for Clinton). What looks to be a 4 percentage point gain for Clinton in picking up Republican voters is cancelled out based on her own party’s voters. In the CBS News/YouGov survey, Clinton takes 83% of the Democratic vote (with 8% crossing party lines). In June, PPP shows 77% of Democrats choosing their party’s nominee (with 14% now crossing party lines to vote for Trump). Trump’s pickup of 6 percentage points among Democratic voters is greater than Clinton’s pickup of 4 percentage points among GOP voters. In addition, Clinton lost 6 percentage point among her own party voters while Trump only dropped a single percentage point.

In terms of race, Trump increased his support among White voters. In May, CBS News/YouGov showed that 50% of White voters would vote for Trump while 36% would opt for Clinton and 14% were undecided. In June, PPP showed that 59% (+9) of White voters would vote for Clinton while 31% (-5) would vote for Clinton and 7% (-7) were undecided. Clinton does make gains with Black voters (77% CBS News/YouGov; 91% PPP) and Hispanic voters (50% CBS News/YouGov; 53% PPP) in Florida. However, because White voters comprised 65% of the PPP sample size (while Black voters and Hispanic voters comprised a total 29% of the PPP sample size), the percentage gains made by Trump with undecided White voters moving to him is magnified over the gains Clinton made with Black voters and Hispanic voters.

In terms of age, young voters between the age of 18-29 moved to Trump. The CBS News/YouGov May survey had this age bracket voting for Clinton over Trump by a margin of 51%-21%. In the PPP June survey, Clinton still wins this age group with 50% of that vote, but Trump has now moved up to 36% (+15 percentage points). The percentage of undecided/third-party/I-don’t-know voters between the ages of 18-29 dropped from 27% (CBS News/YouGov) to 14% (PPP). It appears that almost all of those who were once on the fence landed on the Republican Party side of the lawn.

The other age brackets** are a wash for the Republican Party nominee. Those between the ages of 30-44 gave their support to Clinton over Trump by a margin of 42%-37% in May and they increased that margin to 54%-34% in June (+12 percentage points for Clinton; -3 percentage points for Trump). Those between the ages of 45-64 support Trump over Clinton by a margin of 50%-39% in both surveys (no net gain or loss for either candidate). Those over the age of 65 support Trump over Clinton by a margin of 49%-43% in both surveys.

Trump’s gains with women, Democratic voters, undecided White voters, and the young were enough to give him his slim lead in the Sunshine State in this PPP survey. Will this be his winning team to give him the state’s 29 votes in the Electoral College come Election Day?

 

*PPP also asked respondents to choose between Trump, Clinton, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. In that four-person contest, Trump still defeats Clinton by a single percentage point (41%-40%) while Johnson takes 4% of the vote and Stein wins 2% of the respondents’ support. The analysis done in this post is only looking at the results of the two-person contest.

**The middle two age brackets between the CBS News/YouGov and the PPP polls were slightly different. CBS News/YouGov used brackets of 30-44 and 45-64 while PPP used age brackets of 30-45 and 46-65.

The One-Offs: New Jersey

In polling, it is trends that matter.

In polling, it is trends that matter.

In polling, it is trends that matter.

I will keep saying it until the nation’s news organizations listen.

Today’s example of a “one-off” American presidential poll causing the collective heads of news organizations to become unglued comes from New Jersey.

In my baseline tally, the Garden State is classified as “Solid” Democratic. This is due to its history of voting in American presidential elections. In the past seven elections (since 1988), New Jersey has only voted for the nominee of the Republican Party once (1988). In the last six elections, New Jersey has given its votes in the Electoral College to the nominee from the Democratic Party. In the last five elections (since 1996), the Democratic Party presidential candidate has received a majority of the votes. In the last four elections (since 2000), the median margin of victory for the blue side has been 15.7%. While not quite as “Solid” as California or the District of Columbia, New Jersey is still quite solid for the Democratic Party.

Since the start of this year, there have been six polls taken documenting the presidential preferences of the citizens of New Jersey (full list here) for 2016. In five of those surveys, the nominee from the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, wins by margins of 16 percentage points, 14, 7, 11, and 15 for an average of 12.6 percentage points over her opponent, the nominee from the Republican Party, Donald Trump.

So what of that sixth poll?

Given that level of support for the Democratic Party presidential nominee, I guess it should not have been a surprise that trumpets would blare and click-bait would be written when a poll was released showing Clinton only defeating Trump by 4 percentage points. Stories were written of the Trump-Clinton race in New Jersey now being “tight“, “close“, and with Clinton “clinging” to a lead.

All this was started on May 31 when Monmouth University released a poll (703 registered voters, margin of error 3.7 percentage points, results here) showing Clinton defeating Trump in New Jersey by a tally of 38%-34%. Given the margin of error, the results could also show a Trump victory where the Republican earns 37.7% of the vote while his opponent nets only 34.3%.

While a possible Republican victory in New Jersey would indeed by newsworthy, what did the trends say?

The survey released prior to Monmouth’s results was done by Fairleigh Dickinson. Released on May 24, this survey (702 registered voters, margin of error 3.7 percentage points, results here) shows Clinton defeating Trump 48%-37%, a margin of 11 percentage points. Given that the Republican Party nominee’s numbers are fairly consistent from the Fairleigh Dickinson survey (37%) to the Monmouth University poll (34%), what can explain the sharp dip in Clinton’s numbers (48%: Fairleigh Dickinson; 38%: Monmouth)?

Clinton’s usual cadre of supporters (Democrats, females, non-whites) seem to disappear between the Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth polls. In over a week, Clinton’s support among respondents who identify as Democrats falls from 80% (Fairleigh Dickinson) to 72% (Monmouth). For comparison, Trump’s support among Republicans stays near constant from Fairleigh Dickinson’s number of 74% to Monmouth figure of 73%.

The female demographic supported Clinton by 56% in the Fairleigh Dickinson survey, but that number drops to 44% in the Monmouth poll. For comparison, Trump’s share of the male vote also drops from a level of 49% (Fairleigh Dickinson) to 40% (Monmouth).

As for the non-white vote, Clinton sees her share of that demographic go from 70% (Fairleigh Dickinson) to 54% (Monmouth), while Trump’s share of the white vote remains level from 46% (Fairleigh Dickinson) to 44% (Monmouth).

This loss of core support might seem to spell doom for the presidential nominee from the Democratic Party, except for the fact that less than a week after the Monmouth University results were released, another poll came out showing Clinton defeating Trump by double digits.

Released on June 5, a survey done by CBS News/YouGov (1,194 likely voters, margin of error 3.8 percentage points, results here) showed that a sample set of New Jersey voters preferred Clinton over Trump by a margin of 49%-34%.

In the CBS News/YouGov poll, Clinton’s core support comes back. Voters who call themselves members of the Democratic Party support Clinton by a margin of 84%-5% This 84% level of support even surpasses the 80% level from Fairleigh Dickinson. Female respondents in the CBS News/YouGov poll support Clinton by a margin of 54%-30%, up from Monmouth’s figure of 44% and level with Fairleigh Dickinson’s figure of 56%. The percentage of non-white voters who select Clinton as their presidential choice (73%) in the CBS News/YouGov poll is even higher than Fairleigh Dickinson’s figure of 70%.

Yet, despite the CBS News/YouGov survey showing a return to the average margin of victory for the presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, the writers of news headlines were rather quiet when it came to declaring that New Jersey is, once again, safe to be painted blue come Election Day.

If the Monmouth University poll is taken away, the trend lines that emerge from the Fairleigh Dickinson survey to the CBS News/YouGov results show continued support for Clinton from Democrats, females, and non-whites. It also shows a lengthening of her overall lead from 11 percentage points to 15 percentage points.

So how to account for the Monmouth University results? What makes it a one-off in this 2016 election cycle? The answer is “I don’t know.”

This answer of “I don’t know”is a variation of the answer given by poll respondents when they choose to vote for neither Trump nor Clinton. The number of these undecided, “I don’t know” voters is what helps skew the Monmouth figures. Let’s go back to comparing the Monmouth University poll to the Fairleigh Dickinson numbers.

In terms of overall numbers, the percentage of voters who selected neither Clinton nor Trump in the Fairleigh Dickinson survey is 15%. In the Monmouth University poll, that figure is 27%. Among Democratic voters, 21% of those voters did not choose between the candidates of the Democratic Party and Republican Party. In the Fairleigh Dickinson poll, that figure of “I don’t know” Democrats is 12%. As for women, 17% selected neither Trump nor Clinton in the Fairleigh Dickinson poll while that number jumps to 28% in the Monmouth University poll. With non-whites, Monmouth University found 31% of that demographic opted for neither of the major party candidates while Fairleigh Dickinson only tallied 11% for that group who chose neither R nor D.

So, rather than the Monmouth University survey being a document showing a tightening of the American presidential contest in New Jersey, I am arguing that the pollsters simply found a rather large data sample of undecided Garden State voters and that is what sapped Clinton’s support. The CBS News/YouGov poll showed Clinton back on track with New Jersey voters…but that makes for a boring headline.

In polling, it is trends that matter.

In polling, it is trends that matter.

In polling, it is trends that matter.

The One-Offs: Oregon

As I may have mentioned once or twice in this blog, a single poll is not enough to set one’s hair on fire. With polls and surveys, it is trends that matter.

I wish more news organizations paid heed to that mantra (“it is trends that matter”) rather than scream from the rafters over the latest national poll (and see my thoughts here about the idiocy of national polls) results or wrote click-bait headlines how one single poll shows that the presidential contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton (Democratic Party) and Donald John Trump (Republican Party) is tightening up, a nailbiter, or neck and neck.

I will grant that a survey that seems to go against the historical grain may be worthy of the attention of news outlets, but is such attention always deserved? This post is the first in a series that looks at the “One-Offs”, those state polls that seem to go “zig” when all the other surveys go “zag”.

Today’s initial post takes us to the state of Oregon. In my baseline tally, Oregon (and its seven votes it holds in the Electoral College) was placed into the “Mostly”-Democratic category. This was due to its history in past American presidential elections. In the last seven elections (since 1988), the citizens of Oregon have voted for the nominee of the Democratic Party all seven times. In the past three elections (2004, 2008, 2012), the nominee from the Democratic Party has actually won a majority (over 50%) of the votes. The median margin of victory for the Democratic candidate over the past four elections (since 2000) has been 8.18%. All those figures were not enough to make Oregon a “Solid” state, but its history has shown that it definitely swings blue when it comes to presidential elections.

So, it was with some degree of surprise when the second survey to be released in 2016 that documented the presidential preferences of the citizens of Oregon showed Trump defeating Clinton by 2 percentage points. From May 10-13, Clout Research interviewed 657 likely voters (margin of error 3.8 percentage points, memo here) and Donald Trump was the preferred presidential choice of 292 (44.4%) of the respondents, Hillary Clinton was chosen by 278 (42.3%) of those interviewed, and 88 (13.3%) were unsure.

While Trump’s win in the Clout poll was not decisive because, with the margin of error, the results could also show Clinton at 46.1% (42.3% + 3.8) and Trump at 40.6% (44.4% – 3.8), it is still noteworthy that in a state that has voted Democratic in the past seven American presidential elections would give the Republican candidate a lead of two percentage points.

This result from Clout was all the more surprising because the first survey released in 2016 that documented the presidential preferences of the citizens of Oregon showed Clinton defeating Trump by 11 percentage points. From May 6-9, Davis, Hibbits, & Midghall (DHM) Research (for Oregon Public Broadcasting and FOX 12) interviewed 902 likely voters (margin of error 3.3 percentage points, results here) and Hillary Clinton was the preferred presidential candidate of 385 (43%) of the respondents, Donald Trump was chosen by 288 (32%) of those interviewed, and 228 (25%) selected another option (11% chose “some other candidate”, 11% chose “don’t know”, and 4% chose “will skip this contest”).

Even with the margin of error of 3.3 percentage points, Clinton’s victory in the DHM survey is decisive because her lowest possible percentage of the vote is 39.7% (43% – 3.3) while Trump’s highest figure is 35.3% (32% + 3.3).

So what happened between May 9 (the end of the DHM poll) and May 13 (the end of the Clout survey) that swung the presidential preferences of the citizens of Oregon by 13 percentage points towards the Republican Party?

Unless another poll comes out that shows Oregon leaning red, the short answer to my question in the previous paragraph could be “Nothing.” A possible longer answer is, “Because of who asked the question.”

Note that the DHM poll interviewed 902 likely voters, while the Clout poll only spoke to 657 likely voters. The sample size of Clout survey is more than a quarter (27%) less than the DHM sample. Is it possible that if Clout asked 245 more people (to get level with DHM), all those folks would have cast their ballot for Clinton? Why not? In both the Clout and DHM surveys, Trump wins the nearly the same number of votes (292 with Clout, 288 with DHM) while Clinton’s number of supporters are quite different (278 with Clout, 385 with DHM). Clinton’s number of voters increased by 38% (278 versus 385 ) simply when 37% more voters were asked (657 versus 902).

Sadly, the Clout survey does not provide any detailed breakdown on which demographics voted for which candidate (as opposed to the folks at DHM), but the writers of the Clout report do cite two factors in Trump’s lead and Clinton’s loss. They write “…Trump has a massive lead among Oregon independent voters, winning 53% support compared to just 26% support among independents for Clinton.” They also comment on “her underperformance among women, where she leads Trump by only 9%, far below her national performance among women. Among men, Trump leads Clinton by 13.”

How do those two factors stack up against the only other poll run in Oregon, the poll done by DHM? According to the tables provided by DHM, Clinton’s share of the female vote is 49% compared to Trump’s 27%, a margin of 22 percentage points and well above Clout’s finding of “9%”. As for the male vote, DHM shows that Trump only beats Clinton by a single percentage point (37% versus 36%). Again, a far different number from Clout’s “13”. Again, this difference could be due to the number of likely voters asked. Since there is no breakdown of Clout’s numbers, I can’t tell.

As for the Independent voter, DHM’s survey shows a 32%-29% split with the advantage going to Clinton. The Democratic Party presidential candidate leading among Independents by 3 percentage points (as shown by DHM) is a far different narrative than the numbers given by Clout where Independents lean towards Trump by 27 percentage points. Again, this difference could be chalked up to the difference in the number of people asked in each survey. The difference could also mean that Independent voters are actually turning towards the candidate of the Republican Party.

Or the difference could be because who was asking the questions.

Over at the fivethirtyeight.com website run by Nate Silver, they have a page devoted to rating polling organizations. On that page (found here), Clout Research/Wenzel Strategies (as of this date’s writing) has a Mean-Reverted Bias of “R +1.7”. Silver’s website has this definition for Mean-Reverted Bias:

A pollster’s historical average statistical bias toward Democratic or Republican candidates, reverted to a mean of zero based on the number of polls in the database.

In other words, the results of Clout’s polls, on average, show a bias towards the Republican Party. This figure of “R+1.7” ranks Clout in a tie for seventh place (out of a total of 373 polling firms tracked by fivethirtyeight.com) in terms of a bias towards the GOP. Nate Silver’s website also grades polling organizations and Clout receives a mark (again, as of this date’s writing) of “C-“.

For comparison, DHM (Davis, Hibbits, & Midghall, Inc.) is also tracked by fivethirtyeight.com. The receive a grade of a “B” and their Mean-Reverted Bias clocks in at “R+0.0”, which means there is no bias towards either party.

Was there bias by the polling organizations? Is there an upsurge in Independent voters swinging towards Trump? Are females fleeing Clinton? Was the one-off the Clout survey or the DHM poll?

As I’ve said before, don’t just look at one poll. We will need more surveys from Oregon to answer those and many more questions to see the trends that will help us decide which way Oregon leans.