Monday, November 07, 2016

Straws in the wind... say Hillary will win

The U.S. election is tomorrow. While most of us who are compulsively interested in the subject (and hope Trump loses) are carefully watching the forecasting sites such as 538, there are some straws in the wind that I think point to where this thing is headed.  Most polling in the state of Nevada has been pointing to a close race. If not too close to call, many forecasting sites recently have had it leaning Republican, at least until the generally acknowledged Nevada politics expert Jon Ralston declared that heavy early voting results pointed to a Democratic win.  Here is his latest projection:

"I’d guess that right now, based on history and my sources:

  • Trump is down by at least 40,000 votes.
  • About 770,000 votes have been cast, likely two-thirds of the vote.
  • Let’s suppose that there is an Election Day turnout of 450,000 voters. Trump would probably need to win Tuesday by about 10 points to win. 
  • This is almost impossible, unless the Democrats decide not to turn out voters on Election Day."

A key part of this was a big increase in Latino turnout. This surge in Hispanic voting has also happened in Florida and nationally.  Early voting numbers in Florida (including a big increase from Hispanic voters) have led Republican consultant and TV talking head Mike Murphy (who also helped Mike Harris get elected in Ontario in the early nineties) to predict on Twitter two days before the election:
"My big prediction: I think she'll win FL quickly; will be clear in early numbers. Then cable news will do a huge 180 on 'long night'."
Consider also this Washington Post profile of the campaign in highly conservative El Paso County (Colorado Springs is the major centre here and Mitt Romney took 59% of the vote in 2012):

"Democrats do not dream of winning the county, but they have played to cut into the red advantage. The field office that [Democratic canvasser Lynn] Young visited was one of four in the county and one of 30 opened for the campaign’s final stretch — on top of the 32 offices set up months earlier. According to the campaign, 1,000 volunteers have crossed the county and made 8,000 voter contacts; since April, volunteers have knocked on 400,000 doors. In the waning days, the campaign was sending out waves of canvassers from each site.

The Republicans’ campaign was harder to calculate or to see. On Saturday morning, the El Paso County Republican Party office — the only one — was bustling with people working the phone banks who made their calls in front of a flat-screen TV tuned to the Fox News Channel. One volunteer took a break from working the phones to talk about the success she was having making converts on Facebook; another, not far away, whispered loudly that voting machine software is owned by billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros. (It is not.)"

For me the conclusion is that despite Trump gains among white voters, which should be visible in smaller Democratic margins in some northern states with considerable proportions of non-college educated white voters, overall he is being out-organized and out hustled on the ground by the Clinton campaign.  I think the final map will look like this:

If there is an error my guess is that there would be a surprise Democratic upset in Arizona due to heavy Hispanic turnout.  Demographics will inevitably make Arizona Democratic within fifteen years if not sooner.

I think the Clinton campaign has every reason to be as upbeat as this closing campaign ad:

Update at 10:22: Turns out veteran forecaster Larry Sabato is making the same forecast. I saw him just now on MSNBC but his website is not updated yet.