May 2 2016 shorts

Topics include:

  1. New approach to campaign add effectiveness
  2. Gender issues hurt Trump, fail to help Clinton
  3. Bernie Sanders tries to stay relevant
  4. Bernie Sanders hopes to change the rules in his favor
  5. Undated model predictions for upcoming Democratic primaries

New approach to campaign add effectiveness

I like my campaign analysis to contain as much factual, data driven accuracy as possible. I am not all that interested in what they pundits have to say. But even people that cherry pick among the numbers aren’t any more reliable than those that just ignore them. In fact, they might even be worse since the numbers lend the appearance of plausibility.

Lynn Vavreck and John Geer at Vanderbilt University have created something called Spot Check that analyzes the effectiveness of currently playing campaign adds. Every week they analyze two different adds that have been playing recently, giving a numerical score of how the adds did.

This will definitely be a useful tool for the various campaigns. It will also give anyone interested in an unbiased look at how the campaign advertising is working an insight into how effectively the campaigns are spending their television money.

Here is a more detailed description of the project explained by the creators.

Gender issues hurt Trump, fail to help Clinton

Lynn Vavreck, a contributor to the Upshot in the New York Times as well as one of the two people appearing in the story directly above this one, has written about how – despite Donald Trump claiming that Hillary Clinton is playing “the woman’s card”, gender is hurting him and not helping Hillary Clinton at all.

Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton is playing “the women’s card.” But evidence suggests that if anything is making gender a potent issue in this campaign, it’s Mr. Trump’s words, not Mrs. Clinton’s.

How do we know? New data on the emotional engagement and effectiveness of different campaign messages suggests that it’s far easier to drive down support for Mr. Trump by highlighting the derogatory things he has said about women than it is to drive up support for Mrs. Clinton by talking about her as a strong woman.

So the “woman’s card” that Donald Trump claims is helping Hillary Clinton doesn’t really help her at all. What seems to help her is the fact that Donald Trump has so repeatedly played the “anti-woman’s card”.

Donald Trump’s best tactic seems to be to leave gender issues completely out of the race (if that is possible for him). Every time the talks women, he is only shooting himself in the foot.

So far, there have been no woman’s issues that have helped Hillary Clinton. But every time Donald Trump plays the “anti-woman’s card”, Hillary Clinton has to do is repeat it to the voters and Donald Trump goes down in popularity.

Bernie Sanders tries to stay relevant

As the Democratic party moves past the nomination fight and begins to coalesce behind Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to be forgotten. His latest strategy is to take the talking points made popular by the Republicans and claim that the Democratic National Convention will be contested as well.

ABC News reports:

“She will need super delegates to take her over the top of the convention in Philadelphia. In other words, the convention will be a contested contest,” he said during a press conference in Washington, D.C. Sanders’ top brass has been arguing this point for weeks, but this was the most direct statement the senator has made about his outlook on the remaining portion of the nominating process.

This ignores the fact that, under the current Democratic nominating rules, almost any candidate will require at least some of the super delegates to win the Democratic nomination. It has been set up this way specifically to insure that there won’t be a problem like is currently happening within the Republican party.

But the Republican nominating process has also shined a spotlight on the Democratic super delegates as well. The super delegates are extremely hesitant to support anyone other than the current front runner for fear that it will give the impression that they are “political bosses” deciding whom the candidate is and ignoring the Democrats’ votes.

Bernie Sanders hopes to change the rules in his favor

Regardless of the voting outcome of the Democratic primaries and caucuses, Bernie Sanders hopes that the super delegates will get behind him. To accomplish this, he is asking for something different depending on whether he wins or loses the popular vote in any particular state, or the national popular vote for that matter.

In the same article posted by ABC News in the above entry, Bernie Sanders makes the following, conflicting argument:

… He argued that super delegates should follow the popular vote from the states they represent, but also said they should consider backing him even if he does not win the majority of pledged delegates.

It would seem that he actually wants the rules to change so that, regardless of the delegate count, he will end up being the winner of the Democratic nominating process.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has been the leader since the start of the race. She has been targeted by Republicans since 1992, with increasing targeting since she became Secretary of State, and intense targeting since she announced that she was going to run for President.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, hasn’t been targeted by the Republicans at all. In fact, many Republicans have suggested that Democrats should vote for Bernie Sanders in the hopes of forcing Hillary Clinton to spend more of her money in the nominating process. Some of those Republicans have even gone as far as to suggest that Republicans vote for Bernie Sanders in open Democratic primaries where it is legal to do so by law.

Against this backdrop, Bernie Sanders says:

“[Super delegates] are going to have to go into their hearts and they are going to have to ask themselves do they want the second strongest candidate running against Trump or the strongest candidate?” Sanders said.

But it is very doubtful that Bernie Sanders is the strongest candidate against the Republican opponent – regardless of whom the opponent turns out to be. If Bernie Sanders were to, somehow, become the Democratic nominee, he would immediately and viciously be targeted by the Republicans in an attempt to pull more people to their side.

In other words, the only reason that Bernie Sanders polls so well against potential Republican nominees is because no one takes him as a serious enough threat to actually campaign against him.

In other words, it doesn’t matter that…

His campaign distributed factsheets Sunday showing general election polling in battleground states and nationwide where he outperforms his opponent against Republican candidates.

If any Republican candidate took him serious enough to actually campaign against, he would be sunk faster than a rowboat in a navel battle.

Undated model predictions for upcoming Democratic primaries

Alan I. Abramowitz, a senior columnist and analyst for Sabato’s Crystal Ball has updated his model for the upcoming Democratic races. (Picture of model’s output is available here)

… The model is based on three predictors — region (South versus North), African-American percentage of primary voters in 2008, and Democratic percentage of primary voters in 2008 — and it outperformed pre-election polls in the five Democratic primaries held on April 26.

That’s right. His model outperformed the polling results and came extremely close to the actual voting results. With results like that, we definitely want to hear what his model is predicting for the upcoming Democratic races.

[The model predicts] Hillary Clinton’s vote share in the four Democratic primaries coming up in the month of May: Indiana on May 3 (47% Clinton), West Virginia on May 10 (50% Clinton), and Oregon and Kentucky on May 17 (55% and 46% Clinton respectively).

As you can see, all of these races are predicted to be fairly close. Each of them fall way short of the percentages needed to energizer the Sanders campaign.

I’ll let Alan Abramowitz have the closing comment:

While the model predicts that Bernie Sanders has a chance to win three of the next four Democratic primaries and is clearly favored in two, the relatively small numbers of delegates at stake in these three states and the expected closeness of the predicted margins indicate that he is unlikely to gain much ground in the overall delegate race. As a result, Hillary Clinton’s substantial lead over Bernie Sanders in pledged delegates is unlikely to change very much in the next month.



Published by


I am a writer of words, a thinker of thoughts, a changer of genders, and a queerer of life. I am an antagonist of the ordinary; and while I do tolerate it, I also look at it with contempt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s