As election eve draws to a close my discombobulated thoughts | THE POLITICUS

As election eve draws to a close my discombobulated thoughts

on what may /will happen tomorrow.

I am not interested in further data — the national polls coming out today in general cluster around Clinton +4 with some at least up to +6.   I think both set of numbers are low, based on what we are seeing in early voting, especially with the increase among Latinos and among low propensity voters to begin with.  I also think as I have most of the campaign that the expectations for the shape of the electorate overstate what its whiteness will be.  I also think that polls underestimate how well Clinton will do among women — for many electing a woman matters in a way they will tell no stranger and quite conceivably not their husbands.

I do think what Comey did some ten days ago probably eliminated the possibility of winning the House, and may have cost 1-2 Senate seats, and perhps 2-3% off Clinton’s national margins.  But these things happens in all elections, and I won’t obsess about that.

I could put up a map but I won’t.

I am guessing Stein 1-2 and Johnson 3-4. McMullin nationally will be about 1% or less. 

I think Clinton wins by at least 6, and were I guessing I would say 8 — something more than what Obama did in 2008 when he won 366 electoral votes.

Of the 332 electoral votes won by Obama in 2012, most are safe.  Here are the states that might in some people’s minds be in contention, although what I think should be very clear.

NV — after what we saw with Latino voting, no way.   And the pattern there will apply to NM and CO.  All three are safe.  I will revisit the issue on map expansion.

VA — I live here. Once Kane went on the ticket there was no way.

NH — despite some shakiness in the polls, I have seen enough in recent polling and am buoyed by the quality of what Clinton’s campaign has brought to the state in the close versus what Trump has brought.

ME 2nd CD —  While there was some early worry, I think this has settled. 

PA —  the Lucy held football for Republicans. I think the last glimmer of any chance for Trump disappeared with the settlement of the SEPTA strike.  Simply put, he will be crushed in Philly and the four collar counties giving Clinton a lead that cannot be overcome. 

MI —  there is still enough union presence to turn out votes, the President going to Ann Arbor to rev up millennials, and Trump bears the weight of not having supported the auto bailout, a point on which Obama has hammered him.

WI — I think there has been enough pushback to hold the state.  IT may be closer than under Obama, but should hold.

Now we come to the three contested.

FL — realistically this is the ballgame.  Absent Florida Trump is toast.  So get out the butter or margerine. The massive increase in Latino registration and voting is more than sufficient to hold the state. In fact, I think by the time the polls close in the panhandle at 9 we will know enough from the Miami area and the I-4 corridor for the state to be called for Clinton.

OH — actually the hardest single state to call.  There is polling and data from early voting that contradicts the assumptions of most people a week ago that Trump would carry this.  Some people I respect are still giving it to him.  Certainly having only 1 early voting site per county was a way of suppressing minority and millennial votes.  I don’t think it will work.  It also does not help that the Kasich machine is not helping Trump. I think Clinton pulls out a narrow win.

IA — first I caution that the track record Seltzer has had this year both in IA during the caucuses and in other states during the general leads some to question the validity of the 7 point lead she shows for Trump.  Still, while the Clinton campaign has run some ads, they have not brought big names back into the state.  The Senate race is not competitive, it is only 6 electoral votes, it is a very white state with a high number of older White non-college educated voters.  Besides what their own data would show them, Iowa has never been a natural fit for Clintons, and someone key to the campaign, Ag Secretary Vilsack, probably understands the state as well as anyone around. That no big name surrogates are going in is the tell.

SO, take 6 electoral votes away from Obama’s 332, and you are down to 326.  Note that even were you to take either OH or FL, Clinton would still have a comfortable margin.   But these are my calls.


NC — this has been tight all along.  We have not banked as many votes from African Americans, precisely because some of the efforts to suppress that vote have had some success — SO FAR.  There is a further issue in that some of the college educated white are actually fairly conservative.  BUT — there have been major pushbacks against the voter suppression, there is a real anger fueling the desire of people to vote. And the Governor has succeeded in angering a lot of people.  Probably the biggest single thing was losing the ACC basketball tournament.  Things like those athletic events hurt small and even up to fairly large businesses that count on a windfall of revenue.  The Clinton campaign has been fully committed to this state, as shown by the midnight rally in Raleigh to end the actual campaigning.  And there is an increasing population of Mexican origin in NC.  I make Clinton a favorite here, although probably by less than 5 points.

AZ — I think this could be the next state to fall, if all the Latinos turn out and are willing to stay online — I expect a shortage of polling places and machines again in Maricopa, especially in Latino areas, to depress the vote.  Still, this state has seen the highest surge of early voting by Latinos.  I am going to gamble and put this in our column.

UT —  nope.  Simply put, Trump has done enough to win.  Perhaps if Romney had endorsed McMullin it could have become an interesting 3-way race. 

Now the three outliers, in no particular order.

AK  —  very little polling but some favorable.  Some dissatisfaction with long-time Rep. Don Young.  An apparent strong Native Alaskan antipathy towards Trump.  I’d say unlikely, but not impossible.

GA —  this could be a coin flip.  Heavy African-American turnout and an increased Latino population could make it interesting.  However, college educated whites are even more conservative in GA than in NC.  I note the Clinton campaign has not put much in the way of resources here.  Unless this is buoyed by national margins, probably close but no cigar.

TX —  oh, would we love to get this.  It could mean that the ten largest states by population all go Democratic.  That would be a wipeout.  We see SOME evidence of a Latino surge in early voting.  The question is what will happen on election day.  Again, we have not seen resources from the Clinton campaign put in here.  There is no competitive Senate race.  BUT  —  a surge could mean a couple of house seats.  I’d love to see, and absent Comey we might have, but sadly not.

So I think we pick up 15 EVS from NC and 11 from AZ.  Added to the 326 carried over and you get 352 electoral votes, better than Obama in ‘12 but not as good as ‘08, and less than Bill C got either time, although I expect Hillary may have a popular vote margin better than Bill in ‘92 and Obama either time.


SENATE.  Harder to read.  Lots of outside money in some races.  I think Masto holds Reid’s seat in NV, and Duckworth is a lock in IL.  That is +1, and we need +3 more for a 50-50 tie.  The next best bet should be Feingold in WI, being helped by the fact that Trump chose to spend time in MN and MI instead of hammering in WI. So then we need two more.

I feel best about McGinty in PA, in large part because of how much in terms of different kinds of resources the Clinton campaign has put into the state.  IT does not hurt that both Hillary and Joe Biden have roots in Scranton, in a part of the state that might otherwise be heavily Republicans.   I feel reasonably confident about this.

Based on the latest polling, and all the flip-flopping of the incumbent, I think Hassan will pull it out to guarantee us control.

Thereafter it becomes coin tosses for Ross and Kander.  As of right now I might guess we split and thus wind up with 51.

You will notice I did not include IN as a pickup.  Shoulda been.  Especially as I think Gregg will will the Governor’s race.  But Bayh has run a lackluster campaign, and carries too much Washington baggage, the same kind of thing that may be able to help Kander defeat Blunt.

That leaves Florida.  I am afraid of ballot splitting among Latinos in the Miami area.  I also think Murphy lost some ground during the period of time the DSCC had pulled out of its advertising commitments.  Now, if the Florida margin winds up as greater the 5%, it might pull Murphy in.

And AZ —  Sadly I think we could win AZ for Clinton and still be stuck with McCain.  He runs well ahead of Trump.

I expect no worse than 50-50.  My own pick right now is 51-49 in our favor, which would mean even were we to lose the special next November to fill Kaine’s seat we would still keep control for the entire two years of the next Congress. I can see 52-54 as possible, and absent Comey would have been more in that territory.

There is one more that nags at me, and I have no data to support this, but were I to pick an upset I might just keep an eye on KY. 

As for the House?  Originally I would have said a presidential margin of 8 points or more would have put it into play.   But I was assuming the margin would get there and either stay or grow, perhaps discouraging some Republicans from even turning out thus enabling us to overcome gerrymanders.

One thing does give some hope.  The Presidential margin in CA is going to be so huge what if we pick up 10 of the 30 seats we need just there?  There are clearly at least 2 in TX that are possible, we seem to be picking up 2 in NV, and low and behold, we are halfway there.

IF there is late movement towards Clinton, then maybe, although I think not.

And now, until the polls begin closing in just over 24 hours, I will continue to read and pass on things I might think of interest.  Having already voted, I can relax and wait for the results.

What about you?