Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

The Presidential debates are over.

We can all sit back and breathe a sigh of relief — especially if you are a Hillary Clinton supporter. Hillary Clinton has come out on top in all three of the presidential debates.

Here is my view on how the electoral college looks as of right now.

Electoral Vote as of Oct. 21, 2016

And here is a link to the above map located at 270towin.com.

There are still two states that are so close that I consider them to be tossups: Arizona and Ohio. It is also clear that Hillary Clinton doesn’t need either of these states to win the election. Without either Arizona or Ohio, I project that Hillary Clinton will win 323 electoral votes. If that is accurate, that would give her 53 more electoral votes than necessary to win.
Continue reading Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

Presidential polling by state prior to the first presidential debate

Clearing up the confusion

There was some initial confusion regarding the “winner” of Monday night’s presidential debate. While the respectable polling firms either hadn’t finished conducting their polls or weren’t doing such quick polls, social media was flooded with messages saying that Donald Trump had won the debate decisively won the debate. We can now put that nonsense behind us.

Here is a quick quote as to what happened directly after the debate from The Daily Dot:

The efforts originated from users of the pro-Trump Reddit community r/The_Donald and 4chan messaged boards, which bombarded around 70 polls, including those launched by Time, Fortune, and CNBC.

There were plenty more news outlets that looked into the exuberant Trump supporters to see if there was any merit to their claims. To save you a lot of reading, there was none.

Now that the lies of the debate winner have been put to bed, here is what I wrote early Tuesday morning after watching the debate.

Polling going into the debate and future expectations

I just finished watching the presidential debate using time delay. To me, it looks like Hillary Clinton did exceptionally well, and she will probably gain slightly from the outcome. Because of this, I wanted to have an updated look at the electoral map to better see how it changes over time.

As of right now, here is what the map looks like to me.

Election map via 270towin.com, and data via Huffington Post pollster

I have currently left four states as tied: Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, and North Carolina. While they aren’t tied technically, they are very close and have a tendency to change from one candidate to the other. Those four states — at least for the moment — are the ones that I am considering battleground states. While other states could change hands in the future, In my opinion, the rest of the states actually look pretty stable.

The stability of the map is actually bad news for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton could lose all the remaining battleground states and still win the election by a significant margin.

I will be looking forward to seeing how the polls develop over the next days and weeks. At present, I expect further advancements for Secretary Clinton.

Clinton vs Trump: registered voters

[Edit: added Aug 18, 2016]

I couldn’t leave the below graph alone. While accurate, the dates were stretched out. With stretched out dates, it is possible to give an inaccurate view of exactly how the voting was shaping up. I have recreated the chart keeping the date until election on a linearly decreasing line.

160818 2 Clinton v Trump (registered voters)

I have used two different y axes. The axis on the left is related to the Clinton v Trump polling percentage. The axis on the right is only related to the difference between Clinton and Trump (Clinton’s percentage minus Trump’s percentage). By putting all the data into one graph, I believe it is more visually accurate without losing accuracy.

As you can see, the only times that Donald Trump has led in this timeframe has been between 109 and 107 days until the general election. That also represents the Republican National Convention. His campaign began to tank directly following his convention.

[End of Edit]

It is obvious by watching the news that Donald Trump is losing. Presently, the polling figures aren’t even close. While I haven’t been doing any polling calculations recently, curiosity did get the better of me and persuaded me to at least show where we are. This isn’t a deep analysis of the current state of the race; instead, I just wanted to see how bad it was from a grand overview.

I limited my data to non-partisan pollsters. I also excluded likely voters since, in my opinion, there aren’t enough good polls. This is the result:

160818 Clinton v Trump (registered voters)

While that might not look all that bad, currently it represents a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton. While this isn’t the best chart that I have ever made, you can see that things have taken a dramatic turn for the worst for Donald Trump since he peaked 114 and 107 days until the election. Those dates correspond to the polling that was done right around the Republican National Convention. It has been all down hill from there.

You can also see that the polling seems to have stabilized starting at about the 100 day mark. It will be interesting to see whether the latest dramatic changes Donald Trump has done in his campaign will make any difference.

Political analysis FAQ

Why should I care about your statistics?

The short answer is that you shouldn’t. The longer answer is that I try to do my analytics in a way that are easy to understand, that show my reasoning, and can be replicated by anyone with an interest in doing the work for themselves.

Where do you get your data?

I am currently using historical data from Electoral-vote.com and current polling data from Huffington Post Pollster.

Shouldn’t I get an analysis directly from the source?

By all means. Each of the following places has their strengths and weaknesses with respect to data and political analysis. That being said, regardless of their personal ideology, they each do a tremendous job at statistical analysis.

So what do you do differently from them?

I take the median of current polls to use as a base. This idea was pioneered (to the best of my knowledge) by Princeton Election Consortium. I then use each state’s history so that I can apply a Bayesian analysis to the results to try to get a better picture of how each state will ultimately vote. Finally, I employ a computational analysis called the Monte Carlo method to compute the likelihood of each candidate winning in November.

Do you do all this by hand?

Yes. I download the updated data, sort it, and apply all the mathematics (with the exception of the Monte Carlo computations) by hand.

Holy Shit! That’s a lot of work.

Not a question, but yes it is. That is the reason that I don’t update my results nearly as often as the more popular sites.

Are you more accurate?

Sometimes, but I’ve made no great leap in political predictions.

Each respected statistician comes infinitely closer to the ultimate election outcome than the political pundits we will be forced to listen to for the next three months.

Then why do it yourself?

I studied math and physics in college: I like it. More specifically, it is a personal competition to see if I can get a hair’s breadth closer to the actual election outcome than the other statisticians.

I understand. Can I safely ignore this political analysis crap?

Yes, but please don’t ignore politics. It is important that we elect a person that will help the United States be the kind of place where we can all live happily, thrive, and reach the pinnacle of our humanity instead of allowing it to turn into a steaming cesspool of authoritarianism with no other purpose than to grind people to dust for profit.

Arizona as a battleground state

The easiest way to look at the battleground states, also known as swing states, is to go alphabetically. The first state that anyone predicts has a chance to be a battleground state is Arizona.

Here is a chart of the presidential election outcomes from 1976 through 2012:

76-12 Arizona voting history

With this chart, it looks like Arizona has been trending Democratic over the 1976 – 2012 time period. But there are four years that deserve notice: 1976, Carter followed 4 years after Nixon and people really wanted a change; 1980 and 1984 Reagan was a Republican superstar that pulled Republicans and Democrats; and 1988 Bush 41 promised to continue Reagan’s progress. Both the Republican and Democratic parties were different back then. In addition, the United States was still reeling from the Watergate scandal.

A better statistic to measure Arizona by would be 1992 – 2012:

92-12 Arizona voting history

As this chart shows, the trend in recent history has been toward the Republican party. The only time that Arizona has voted Democratic since 1992 has been Bill Clinton’s second term. While it is possible that Donald Trump’s attacks on John McCain as well as Arizona’s previous support for a Clinton will be enough to put this state back in play, it is going to take quite a bit of work.

As of right now — pending state level polling — I expect Arizona to go to the Republicans.

State Presidential election results starting today

As of today, I am beginning to track the United States presidential election by state level. There aren’t many polls yet, but I have to start somewhere.

As of right now, here is a list of the states that I consider to be likely Democrat, likely Republican, or tossups. So far, I have included any state that I think even has a chance of being a tossup state into the tossup category.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

In the upcoming days, I will be looking more closely at the individual states — especially those in the tossup category.

Updated statistics for Clinton v Trump

There has been a lot of talk about whether Donald Trump will get a “bump” in the polling following the Republican National Convention. It looks like he did. Other pollsters are reporting various levels of the bump, and only time will tell whether his polling will remain at the higher level or revert back to its lower level.

I was curious to see how the Presidential race was developing over a slightly longer term; namely, I wanted to see how the previous month developed. Here is the latest graph for the last month ending on July 24, 2016 — the Sunday after the end of the Republican National Convention.

160728 clinton v trump

X axis = days to general election.
Y axis = percentage
Margin = Clinton percentage minus Trump percentage.

As you can see, Hillary Clinton has held pretty well steady though there was a slight drop in her trend line. After the month that the Democratic party just endured, it is amazing that there wasn’t a greater drop prior to the Democratic National Convention.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has steadily gained over the course of the past moth. You can see the increase at the right of the chart that represents the polling done right after the Republican National Convention. With that bump, you can see that his trend has been positive over the timeframe.

Finally, the bottom line represents the difference between Clinton and Trump (Clinton – Trump). A positive number indicates that Clinton is in the lead while a negative number indicates that Trump is in the lead. It is obvious that Clinton’s lead has dissipated over the past month and they are now essentially tied, although the polling margins are split between positive and negative on the most recent data.

Since this should be the time when Donald Trump is at his best, the fact that he can barely tie Hillary Clinton  doesn’t bode well for his campaign. While there is still a long way to go before the general election, if Donald Trump doesn’t significantly improve — or Hillary Clinton dramatically falter — then he has little chance of winning in November.

Note:

  • All data was downloaded from the HuffPost Pollster.
  • Data was limited to registered voters.
  • Data was limited to polls ending between June 24 and July 24, 2016
  • Data was retrieved on July 28, 2016