Weekly Poll Report.

              Here’s the good news. Remember that just a couple of weeks ago the Trump people were saying that he had time to catch up. And they cited as proof of their rosy picture how the polls started moving towards their man over the last several weeks of the 2016 campaign.

              Over the last week, in fact, the polls have started moving towards Trump. Except there’s only one little problem. The movement in Trump’s direction has been so slight that you need a microscope to see any real change at all.

              First the national aggregate polls.  On October 14th, 538 had Joe ahead by 52.2% to 42%; RCP had it 51.5% Joe versus 41.3% Trump. This morning, the 538 national poll is 52% for Joe and 42.8% for Trump.  RCP’s numbers today are 50.8% Joe, 42.9% Trump. So in both polls, Joe has dropped slightly and Trump has improved by a bit.

              Now let’s look at the battleground states.  Here’s what we have from 538:

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Joe is ahead in 11 of 13 battleground states. On October 12th, he had a slight lead in Ohio, where the polls have jumped back and forth, so he had a lead in 12 battleground states. Joe’s overall average on October 12th was 49.43%, now it’s 49.42%. Trump has gone from 44.67% to 45.26%.  So just like in the national polls, in the battleground states Trump has also moved up a bit.

Now here’s the number that really counts. In the 538 national poll, the dog-shit number is 5.2%, the lowest it has been. RCP has the national dog-shit at 6.3%. The battleground dog-shit number according to 538 is 5.31%, on October 16th, it was 5.89%. 

Back in 2017, Nate Silver found that “the more undecided and third-party voters there are, the more volatile and less accurate the polling has tended to be.” But he also found that as the dog-shit number decreased, the percentage of voters who made up their minds as they went to vote the day of the election also went down.

In other words, right now Trump can only win the battleground states by convincing voters who have already decided to vote for Joe, to change their minds and vote for him. Given the way we are setting records for daily Covid-19 infections, that’s easier said than done.

Want to know the names of two rather important individuals who have announced that they are no longer interested in rooting for Trump? Try Bibi Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin, who let it be known that Trump was no longer their man. On Friday, Trump directly asked Bibi whether ‘sleepy Joe’ could ever do for Israel what Trump has done and the Prime Minister of Israel refused to take the bait. The previous week, Putin said he would work with whomever occupied the Oval Office next year.

Trump has spent the last four years kissing the rear ends of these two guys every chance he got. Know what he’s gotten for all his hard work? Gurnisht, as my beloved Grandmother would say, which means nothing, not a g.d. thing.

Want the best line of all from the two political camps? It has to go to Jared Kushner, the dipshit son-in-law of the President who told Fox & Friends that his father-in-law had done wonderful things for Black Americans, but that Trump couldn’t help Blacks be successful if they didn’t want to be successful.

I guess what Jared was thinking is that the disparity between Black and White Covid-19 mortality rates is due to the fact that Blacks who catch the virus just don’t know how to get cured. Or even if they do know, they don’t care. I’m assuming, of course, that Jared or for that matter his father-in-law is capable of any rational thought at all.

One week to go, folks, one week to go. Get online. Vote early, vote often, said Al Capone. I agree with Al.

Who Says The Election Is So Close?

If I had a nickel for every pundit, expert, spieler, and media noisemaker who has predicted that the winning margin on November 3rd will be razor-thin, I really could spend all my time at my golf club and forget about doing any work. As of this morning, RCP has Joe ahead by 51% to 42.5%; 538 says that Joe’s at 52.2%, Trump’s number is 42%.  Let’s split the difference and say that Joe’s up by 10.3%. 

As for the battleground states, let’s average the two surveys together again and we have Joe at 5% in Pennsylvania, in Michigan the gap is 7.6%, in Wisconsin the difference is 7.2% and in Minnesota, it’s 6.75%. Don’t forget that in these four states, Trump won three by 32,979 votes, or .002% (that’s two one-hundredths of one percent) of all votes cast. And the so-called political experts are all united in saying that Joe’s lead in the battleground states is very thin?  Some thin.

Right now, RCP is saying that Trump has a tiny lead over Biden, something around 1/10th of 1 percent, in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. In the last week, guess where Trump’s held all those bullshit rallies? I say ‘bullshit’ because in their debate, Trump claimed that he was drawing crowds of 35,000 people, when in fact the events were pulling in around 3,500 mostly unmasked fans.

Trump held events in Nevada last week, as well as in Florida. Today he’s going to North Carolina. But Joe doesn’t need Nevada, Florida, or North Carolina. He only needs Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota plus New Hampshire, where right how he enjoys a double-digit lead.

Every pollster always says that their poll results should be taken with a ‘margin of error’ of 3%. That’s fine, except for this. First, the 3-point error margin is arrived at with about as much scientific certainty as what my late mother-in-law would have referred to as hai cock and a bubba, meaning there’s nothing certain about it at all.

And even if there is some numerical validity to the 3-point spread, how come it’s only used in one way? How come none of the so-called political experts take Joe’s national lead of 10 percent and say that he may be leading by as much as 13 percent? If Joe were to rack up a national vote that was 13 percent higher than Trump, it would be the biggest landslide since Reagan’s re-election in 1984.

Just for the heck of it, let’s give Joe every battleground state where the margin either way is right now under 3 percent. Joe ends up with 373 electoral votes. Not 273, which is one vote more than he needs. Three hundred and seventy-three electoral votes. The last President to hit that number was George Bush in 1988. 

Oh no. This can’t happen. There’s no chance. Says who? The same experts who keep telling us that we shouldn’t underestimate another last-minute surge for Trump?

Take a look at the details from the last New York Times/Siena poll, a national poll which is generally regarded as being the best and most accurate poll published each week. This poll has Joe leading Trump by 51% to 40%, with the Libertarians and ‘other’ candidates getting 3% and 6% still haven’t made up their minds.

But what happens if we take the 3% error margin and assign those votes to Joe? What if the 48%-47% split in Trump’s favor on who would do a better job of managing the economy was a 50%-45% margin for Joe? Forget who would do a better job dealing with the virus – Joe’s already 12 points ahead, 52% to 40%.

No survey can ever clearly catch what and how people will behave when the veritable push finally comes to the veritable shove. I can only hope that the media has more invested in making the contest appear close because otherwise everyone would tune out and the click-rate would collapse.

Let’s hope this explains why everyone keeps saying that the race is so close.

How Accurate Are The Polls?

If I weren’t so spooked by what happened in 2016, I would assume at this point that the 2020 election is over and done. But being Jewish first of all means that I suffer from a congenital conditions known as kayn ayin hara, which means beware of the evil eye.  I’m also something of a compulsive analyst of data, a combination of having been raised by a father who was an accountant and a college minor in stat.

Here are the numbers today: In the national polls, Joe has a 10.3% lead (52.2% versus 42%) in 538; in RCP his lead is 8.6% (51.1% versus 42.5%). A week ago Joe was at 52.4% in the 538 aggregate, and 51.6% in RCP’s aggregate poll. Slightly down in one, slightly up in the other. In other words, basically the same.

Where things get a little dicey is in the must-win states.  Here is where Joe sat on October 13, RCP in blue, 538 in red:

Here is where Joe stands today, again RCP in blue, 538 in red:

Note that a week ago, 538 had Joe above the magic 51% mark in 3 of 4 states. Note that today he’s at 51% in only 1 of 4 states. RCP had Joe at or above 50% in 3 of 4 states on October 13; now he’s hit that mark in only 1 of 4 states. So the race has ‘tightened,’ which is what all the media people would like you to believe. Because if you didn’t believe it, why bother to tune into their shows? Better watch the jewelry auction or how to cook fat-free food.

The good news is that the slight decline in Joe’s must-win states has not been matched by an increase for Trump. He has gone up in Pennsylvania from 43.8% to 45% in the 538 number, but in the other 3 crucial states, Trump’s either the same (MN) or slightly below where he was on October 13. As for the results from RCP, Trump’s down slightly in Michigan, and up a bit in MN, WI, and PA. If the statewide polls continue to move for the next two weeks the way they moved in the last week, Joe easily wins all 4 states.

Despite what is usually said about the lack of valid statewide polls in 2016, this belief is only partially true. In Michigan, for example, Hillary went into the last week with a 7-point lead. But the dog shit number was still above 7%. In Pennsylvania, statewide polls gave Hillary a 5 or 6-point lead, but the dog-shit number was between 8 and 10 percent. This is why I never discuss the polls without reminding my readers that what counts most of all are the respondents who haven’t made up their mind, if they have a mind, for how they are going to vote.

Pardon my sarcasm, but if you still haven’t figured out what a disaster Trump would be if he held onto the Oval Office for another four years, you probably don’t have a mind, or at least not a functioning mind.

The biggest problem with any attitudinal poll is that many respondents haven’t necessarily thought about the issue for the first time until the moment they pick up the phone. So to compensate for this problem, the pollsters analyze as much previous data as possible, tie the results to the various identifier categories they have on each voter (age, gender, race, income, etc.) and compare the most recent answers to the way this particular individual voted in the past.

This year, according to Nate Silver, most pollsters are paying more attention to educational attainment for voters because they believe that the non-college voting population was undercounted in 2016.

In the 2016 exit polls, voters who never went to college went for Trump by 51% to 45%. But voters whose annual income was less than $50,000 went for Hillary by 52% to 42%. So how do these numbers explain the fact that Trump won Pennsylvania and Michigan by a grand total of 65,000 out of 10 million votes cast in those 2 states? Sorry Nate, it doesn’t.

Can we trust the polls this time around? It really won’t matter what the polls say if our side makes sure to get out the vote.

What Are The Polls Saying Today?

I don’t really blame Trump for saying that the virus is ‘disappearing.’ What’s he supposed to say? That things are getting worse?   I also don’t really blame him for pretending that he’s completely recovered from the virus. Again ,what should he say? That he feels lousy as hell and can’t draw a deep breath?

Trump has one, simple problem. And the problem is this: He’s going into the last three weeks of a campaign to get re-elected as President and it turns out that a majority of American just don’t like him very much.

This is a guy who went over the 50% disapproval mark in March, 2017 and has never dipped underneath that level again. He was at 56% disapprove versus 40% approve in January, 2019, got it down to 50% disapprove versus 46% approve on March 1st, 2020, went back up to 56% negative and 40% positive on July 1st of this year, and right now the numbers sit at 53% negative versus 43% positive. Here’s how it look since mid-year 2016:

A week before his re-election campaign ended in 2012, Obama’s approve-disapprove numbers were evenly split – 49.8% approved, 47.6% went the other way. At no time during Obama’s eight-year run did his negatives outpoll his positives by more than 8%. Other than a three-day period this past March, the gap between disapproval and approval of Trump has never been less than 8%.

Trump was a novelty in 2016. His brash rhetorical style, the plain talk, the insults, the curse words, the nicknames, the rallies with the hats and the chants – it was very new and very different from what had come before. And the fact that his opponent not only entered the contest with high negatives but disappeared from the campaign trail for the last several month, didn’t hurt him at all.

I can just imagine how Rudy Giuliani felt this past Saturday when his campaign cavalcade showed up in Kingston, PA to be greeted by a crowd that maybe numbered 50 people, maybe less.  This is the reception that waited for him in front of county GOP headquarters in a county (Luzerne) where Trump got 60% of the 2016 vote. Frankly, I think I’m being charitable by saying that there were 50 people standing around:

Anyway, back to the polls. As of today, Joe leads Trump in the national polls by 52.3% to 41.9%, a gap of 10.4%.  Less than 6% of the voters are now dog-shit, which means that everyone has more or less made up their minds on how they are going to vote.

Who did the Trump campaign trot out this weekend to explain why the polls are all wrong? None other than Corey ‘retread’ Lewandowski, who appeared on Fox and gave the same spiel about ‘hidden voter enthusiasm’ that he’s been delivering since he published a piece back in July which claimed that, ”President Trump continues to draw huge ratings and massive enthusiasm, while Democratic presumptive nominee and 44-year career politician Joe Biden remains hidden away in his basement.” Back in July, Joe had a 9.5% lead. Now it’s 10.4%.

As for the battleground states, here’s how they look today:

Joe is now at or above 50% in the five states (MI, MN, NH, PA, WI) that get him over the finish line. But he is also now slightly ahead in every battleground state except Texas, where according to Ted Cruz, the race is ‘incredibly volatile.’ The word ‘volatile’ means your guy isn’t winning, okay?

On September 1st, Trump was ahead in 4 of 13 battleground states. Biden’s overall average in the 13 states was 48.15%, Trump was at 45.08%. Today, Biden’s average in the battleground states is 49.43%, Trump’s at 44.67%. Get it? Joe’s gone up; what’s-his-name’s gone down. And by the way, the dog-shit number in September was 7%, now it’s under 6%.

What Michael Moore said in 2016, that many Trump votes were ‘fuck you’ votes, was true then but sure isn’t true now. Because once you’re the man in charge, no matter how you pretend to somehow be everyone’s good friend, the ‘fuck you’ votes will be aimed at you.

But let’s not forget one very important thing. We don’t need to win. We need to kick what’s-his-name’s ass so bad that any attempt he makes to invalidate the results because it’s nothing more than another ‘scam,’ can be quickly and decisively put to bed.

I voted yesterday by mail. You better vote too.

High 5 to Paula Schapp for the Giuliani pic.

Trump Doesn’t Have The Virus!

              Here’s what’s really going on. Trump doesn’t have any infection at all. Trump is using the sickness thing to create a new campaign narrative because what he has been saying so far in this campaign has only made his numbers worse. Plus, the campaign is dead broke and nobody even knows where the money has gone.

              Tuesday night Trump debated Joe. He made a complete mess of the debate, most of all the moment when he mocked Joe for always wearing the ‘biggest mask’ he had ever seen.

              Trump did a rally in Duluth, MN on Wednesday before 3,000 folks. During the debate, he claimed his rallies were drawing 35,000 fans.

              On Thursday he went to his golf club in New Jersey for a fundraiser. Nobody’s giving him any money. Joe’s fundraising right after the debate set a new, one-day record for how much he has taken in.

              On Friday Trump stayed at the White House and looked at the polls, which show his campaign cratering like never before. He’s trailing Joe by double digits in the national polls. The NBC/WSJ poll has him down by 14 points! The situation in the battlegrounds is just as bad or worse:

              Note that Joe is now ahead in every swing state except Texas. Note that he’s at the 50-point mark in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. He wins those 4 states, he wins. Overall, Joe is the choice of 48.77% of all voters in the swing states, Trump’s at 44.9%. A week ago, Joe was at 48.2%, Trump was at 45.2%.

              And most important, the Sedaris dog-shit number was 6.6% last week, this week it’s 6.3%. In other words, more and more voters have made up their minds and they’re not making up their minds in favor of Trump.

No matter how you slice it and dice it, Joe’s numbers are going up and Trump’s numbers are going down. Wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

              Trump and his gang have exactly four weeks to pull this one out. You don’t have any more money and you’re not about to collect any more dough. The whole idea of the election as ‘fraud’ has gone over like a lead balloon. And worst of all, not only hasn’t the virus disappeared, as Trump claimed it would several months ago, but in a majority of states, particularly red states, it’s getting worse.

              So here’s what you do. You stop ignoring the corona virus and you stop saying it’s something that was cooked up by the Chinese government and the Deep State. You also stop denying the importance of social distancing to distinguish yourself from the other side.

              You’re the tough guy, remember? You’re the guy who GETS THINGS DONE! So you’ll defeat the virus and you’ll also defeat Joe. And after those two problems disappear, you’ll really bring the country back to being great again!

              What’s the most effective way to hammer home this message and make everyone forget that you spent the last nine months saying exactly the reverse?  You get infected by the virus and to make sure that everyone knows how tough you are, you recover, check out of the hospital, and go back to the White House in just two days.

              How do we know that any of those videos allegedly made at Walter Reed weren’t made in a video studio somewhere else? We don’t. How do we know that the doctors who all happen to be military guys and thus have to follow orders from the Commander in Chief are telling the truth? We don’t.

              Trump’s video message before he drove outside for that stupidly obvious photo op included a comment about how his campaign is generating more enthusiasm than ever before. And he also is now saying that he ‘learned’ about the virus by becoming infected himself. So now he’s ready to attack the problem on all fronts.

              The reason that more than 210,000 Americans have died from this pandemic is because Trump refused to learn anything about the virus when it first appeared. He was too busy blaming the Chinese and disagreeing with health experts to learn anything at all.

              I give this new reality-TV campaign a week before the script changes again. Meanwhile, I believe he’s still testing positive the way he’s been testing positive all along.

Is There A Way For Trump To Win?

              If I feel a total contempt for anyone active in the political arena these days, it’s not the politicians themselves, not even Donald Trump. The ones I believe are the worst of all the worst are political commentators, op-ed writers and consultants who started out as liberals and then went the other way.

People like Geraldo and Juan Williams really make my skin crawl because if you decide that liberalism isn’t your bag, that’s fine. So go do something else. Make a pizza, drive a cab, lay brick, but don’t turn around and help out the other side. Particularly when the other side is led by someone named – ucchh – I can’t even say his friggin’ name.

              Another member of the turncoat group is Doug Schoen. He flitted in and out of the Clinton orbit and has also done consulting work for Bloomberg’s brief Presidential campaign. But the bottom line is that he’s a Republican, and his true colors are on display in a piece in The Hill which basically says that you-know-who still has a good chance of winning the Presidential race.

              Here’s the basic argument that Schoen makes about the polls: “While Biden leads nationally and in several battleground states, many of his leads in swing states are even tighter than they were for Hillary Clinton in 2016, notably in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida, all states that she lost.” He then notes that Arizona has become a clear battleground state, ditto Florida where the Cook Report now rates as a ‘toss-up’ rather than a Biden ‘lean.’

              What Schoen forgets to mention is that Biden doesn’t need Florida or Arizona. He doesn’t even need Nevada where Trump appeared today before his usual Nuremburg-type crowd. Unless something really crazy happens in the Commie/Socialist/Sanctuary/BLM states, Joe needs 50% plus 1 in Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and PA. That’s it. Fartig – finished. Done.

              As for Schoen’s missive, either he doesn’t know how to read polls, or he’s lying, or both. When he says that Joe’s lead in states like Michigan and PA is smaller than what Hillary enjoyed at the same time in 2016, he’s only referring to the gap in the percentage of poll respondents who indicated for whom they were going to vote.

              Right now, Joe has a 6.5-point lead in Michigan and a 5.0 lead in PA. At this date in 2016, Clinton had bigger leads in both states but, and this is a very important but, the dog-shit responses in both states (i.e., other named candidates or not yet sure) was twice as high for Hillary as it now is for Joe. If Trump were to grab every voter who says he or she is voting Libertarian plus half the voters who still can’t figure anything out, he would still lose both states.

              Most of Schoen’s column is spent talking about the growth of Hispanic support for Trump in Florida, particularly in Miami Dade County. The same day that Schoen’s column appeared, the Florida Lt. Governor announced that Trump has really ‘delivered’ to the Latino community, and that his popularity is based on the fact that “Latinos care about faith, they care about family and they care about freedom, and Joe Biden doesn’t stand for any of those things.”

              Know what else Trump has delivered to Miami Dade County? A death-rate from Covid-19 which is twice as high as the death rate in Florida as a whole. Miami Dade County represents 10% of the state’s total population and the virus mortality number is at 2,900 out of 12,800 statewide virus deaths.

              But let’s say that even with the pandemic in Florida not being under control, that Biden is simply too much of a Socialist for the Latino population this year. So what? He doesn’t need Florida and by the way, the statewide polls for Arizona, which also has a large Latino population, happen to be running stronger for Joe.

              Here’s how the battleground looks today:

              Joe is at or almost at the magic 50-mark in 5 states. Both guys have dropped a tiny bit in several states and pushed up a bit in several other states. Bottom line: nothing has changed. But the most important news is that together, the dog-shit number in all 12 states is under 7. Which means that in order for you-know-who to get re-elected, he has to convince a bunch of Biden supporters to switch to him. 

              That’s what makes the 2020 campaign so different from 2016.

Did Voters Think About Gun Violence When They Went To The Polls?

              Yesterday I received my weekly (sometimes daily) email from our friends at Everytown asking me to give them some bucks. If it weren’t for the fact that a gun-nut friend of mine wants to sell me his Smith & Wesson Model 41 for $700, I’d respond positively to Everytown’s solicitation today. But I’ll get another email from Mayor Mike tomorrow. I won’t see another Model 41 out there for $700 bucks, okay?

              What caught my eye in the Everytown email was not the request for dough, I will send them something soon. It was this statement which sums up the Everytown analysis of the election results in 2018: “For the first time, it’s clear that across the country gun safety is a winning issue.” Which happens to be what every Gun-control Nation organization is saying about the mid-terms, by the way.

              When either side in the great gun debate makes a claim, I try to verify the statement before I accept it as being true; I’m just a contrarian when it comes to noise made by advocates on either side . Take a look, if you will, at the House races where major donations from Bloomberg helped Democratic candidates grab the brass ring.  Of the 44 seats which will now be occupied by Democrats and were either GOP seats or vacant last year, 19 of those races evidently turned on major cash infusions from Bloomberg, either monies he directly gave those campaigns or money which he gave to other outside organizations which then used the dough to bolster those same campaigns. These campaigns also received money from the Everytown PAC, so we can assume that for these contests, the gun issue was a ‘winning issue,’ correct? The answer: yes and no.

              In Virginia’s 2nd CD, a pro-gun Democrat, Elaine Luria, beat out a ‘pro-gun’ incumbent. In Virginia’s 10th CD, the defeat of Barbara Comstock had nothing to do with the gun issue at all. In both of these races, the issue was Trump. In New Jersey’s 11th CD, an open seat, Mikie Sherrill won an open seat against her GOP in a race where guns meant nothing to either side. Take a look at the issues in Pennsylvania’s 6th CD, guns aren’t mentioned by either side. And even in a race where the blue candidate, Jason Crow, touted his gun-control bone fides against NRA stooge Mike Coffman, the loser was against an assault weapons ban but he supported a red-flag law, too.

              The one race where guns were certainly front and center was Georgia’s 6th CD, where the incumbent Republican, Karen Handel, lost her seat to a first-time Congressional hopeful, Lucy McBath. What created the noise in this race was the fact that McBath has been a spokeswoman for Everytown, following her son’s shooting death in 2012.

              Am I saying that gun-control issues didn’t make a difference? No. Am I saying that the energy and determination of Gun-control Nation didn’t outdo the efforts of the other side? No. Am I saying that the NRA’s lack of fungible cash wasn’t a factor in how the mid-terms turned out? No.

              What I am saying, however, is that the gun issue, in and of itself, just doesn’t explain how most electoral contests turn out.  The CNN exit polls for House races found that support for stricter gun laws ran 59% in favor, 37% opposed. But 76% of Democratic voters favored stricter laws, while 76% of Republican voters were opposed. The Parkland kids generated lots of media attention, but if you’re a Democratic candidate, you’re in favor of expanded background checks. If you’re a Republican, you’re not.

              What my GVP friends need to remember is that while NRA political contributions went down the drain in 2018, lobbying expenditures slipped from the previous year but were $1 million higher than 2016. Wishful thinking about the demise of the NRA to the contrary, the balance sheet of America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ shows them $26 million in the black.

              Want to reduce gun violence? Maybe the fight’s just begun.