Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Not So Inevitable After All


The 2016 presidential election is in the books and the mainstream polls – as they did during the “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom – wildly missed the mark.

Republican nominee Donald Trump won the presidency with victories in several states that appeared to be locks for Democrat Hillary Clinton heading into the election.

The biggest shocker of the night?  Wisconsin – a state that hadn’t voted Republican since Ronald Reagan‘s reelection in 1984.   On the day of the election, aggregate polling data from RealClearPolitics showed Clinton winning the state by a comfortable six-percent margin.

Meanwhile the website FiveThirtyEight.com gave Trump only a 16.5 percent chance of winning the state.

In fact the pollsters were so confident Clinton would win America’s dairyland that Wisconsin wasn’t even included among the website’s fourteen “battleground” states.

Continue reading Not So Inevitable After All

2016: Is It Already Over?


To hear the pollsters and pundits tell it, the 2016 election is over.  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is going to defeat GOP nominee Donald Trump in a popular and electoral landslide – and that’s that.

It’s a done deal, they say.   You can “take it to the bank,” “stick a fork in it,” “cue the fat lady” or use any other turn of phrase you wish.

How inevitable is a Clinton victory?  According to the website FiveThirtyEight.com,  Clinton currently has an 85.8 percent likelihood of winning the White House on November 8.  Trump, on the other hand, has a 14.2 percent chance of victory.

Take a look …

Continue reading 2016: Is It Already Over?

End Of The “Meet And Greet” Era?


All politics is local … or is it?

Market Research Foundation has studied this issue in the past – and determined that local issues matter a great deal in statewide and national races.

But what about candidate visits?  Do these “meet-and-greets” – which offer candidates a chance to weigh in on local issues – really provide an advantage?

New data from Ohio State political scientist Thomas Wood suggests they do not.  According to Wood – who examined data from the 2012 election cycle – the era of the “meet-and-greet” is over.

“Campaign events probably don’t influence voters,” Wood told The (U.K.) Guardian.

Continue reading End Of The “Meet And Greet” Era?

Big Brexit Miss


Britain’s decision to leave the European Union – the “Brexit” – is a seismic development.  A stunning rebuke of the global corporate and bureaucratic elite, the vote has already yielded regime change in London – and shaken the EU to its core as other nations mull departures of their own.

Putting politics aside for a moment, though, the “Brexit” offers a fascinating case study for pollsters – nearly all of whom missed the outcome of the election.

Two polls released just ahead of the big vote showed “Remain” prevailing.  According to an Ipsos MORI survey released one day before the voting, 54 percent of Brits were supposed to vote “Remain” compared to only 46 percent voting “Leave” – an eight-point margin of victory.  Meanwhile a YouGov poll released on the day of the vote had “Remain” prevailing by a 52-48 percent margin – identical to a follow-up Ipsos MORI survey released on the same day.

“The results are close and it’s too early to call it definitively,” YouGov’s pollsters noted.  “But these results, along with the recent trends and historical precedent, suggest a Remain victory is the more likely outcome.” 

In fact the outcome was so certain the leader of the “Leave” faction – Nigel Farage – actually conceded the outcome on the day of the vote.

“Looks like Remain will edge it,” he said.

When all the votes were counted, though, “Leave” prevailed 52-48 – meaning Ipsos MORI and YouGov’s final polls missed the mark by eight points.

What happened?  Well, when survey results fail to project electoral outcomes any number of factors could be involved.

Continue reading Big Brexit Miss

Nevada: The (Latino) Bellwether


Since joining the union on October 31, 1864, libertarian-leaning Nevada has picked the president in 31 of 38 national elections – prompting University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) professor David Damore to refer to it as “the original swing state.”

Nevada and its six electoral votes are in play again in the 2016 election – and could be decisive in a close contest.  With its surging Hispanic population, Nevada has become a force to be reckoned with at the national level.

“The Silver State” has maintained its swing status despite dramatic demographic shifts.

Twenty years ago, nine out of ten Nevada voters was white.  In the coming election, one in five is expected to be Hispanic.  Latino turnout in Nevada is likely to be especially high during the 2016 cycle because in addition to a competitive national election – there are Hispanic candidates on both U.S. Senate (Catherine Cortez Masto) and U.S. congressional ballots.

The opportunity to make inroads isn’t lost on top tier candidates.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, for example, has hired Emmy Ruiz and Jorge Neri – two operatives who helped Barack Obama score a whopping 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012.

Meanwhile GOP candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have been aggressively touting their Latino credentials.  Bush, for example, received the support of 61 percent of Latino voters during his 1998 gubernatorial race in Florida while Rubio won 55 percent of the state’s Hispanic vote in a three-way race in 2010.

Of course Bush and Rubio enjoyed success with Latino electorates that were disproportionately Cuban. Nationally, there are only an estimated 2 million Cuban-Americans – whereas there are more than 31 million Mexican-Americans.

And more than half of the United States’ Cuban-American population resides in Florida.

In other words Bush, Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz – a Cuban-American who got roughly 35 percent of the Lone Star State’s Hispanic vote in 2012 – must craft their outreach plans to account for a diverse Latino electorate.

According to 2010 data, two-thirds of Nevada’s Hispanic population had Mexican roots, while seven percent hailed from Central America and six percent came from the Caribbean.  Another 16 percent did not specify their Latino roots.

Can the GOP find a way to connect with this traditionally Democratic voting bloc?  Can its candidates capitalize on the 200,000 voting age Hispanics in Nevada who are currently not registered to vote?

Depending on how tight the national election is, their success or failure in doing so could conceivably decide which party wins the White House.


2016: Go Big? Or Go Base?

Every 2016 contender with a shot at the general election has an important question to answer: Go big? Or go base?

Should a campaign focus on building new constituencies? Or turning out existing ones?  From this elemental decision flows the entire operation: Data, money, policy and rhetoric.

David Brooks has an interesting column out this week exploring how the current crop of 2016 frontrunners are answering this question.  Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, for example, is “going big.”  Wisconsin governor Scott Walker?  He’s “going base.”

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is “going base” – in a big way.

“Clinton strategists have decided that, even in the general election, firing up certain Democratic supporters is easier than persuading moderates,” Brooks wrote.  “Clinton will adopt left-leaning policy positions carefully designed to energize the Obama coalition – African-Americans, Latinos, single women and highly educated progressives.”

According to Brooks, Clinton’s approach is bad for the country (in terms of polarization), bad for her legislative future (i.e. reaching across the aisle) and bad for her image as a leading (in that it makes her appear calculating).

But he also argues it’s bad for Clinton politically, citing her husband’s 1992 win, George Bush’s 2000 victory and Barack Obama’s 2008 election as examples of campaigns which all “went big.”  And won big.

“Today’s political consultants have a lot of great tools to turn out reliable voters,” Brooks wrote.  “They’re capable of creating amazing power points. But as everybody from Ed Miliband to Mark Udall can tell you, this approach has not succeeded at the ballot box.  Voters want better politics, not a continuation of the same old techniques.  By adopting base mobilization, Clinton seems to have made the first big decision of her presidential campaign. It’s the wrong one.”


The Monica Factor

The reemergence of Monica Lewinsky on the political stage presents an interesting dilemma for election scientists – presuming of course former U.S. First Lady/ Senator/ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016 (as she is expected to do).

Lewinsky’s recent spread in Vanity Fair prompted all sorts of discussion: Was she re-entering the limelight to hurt Clinton’s chances? Or was she trying to help her?

Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and early polling from swing states like Ohio shows why: According to a new Quinnipaic University survey of Ohio voters conducted between May 7-12, Clinton leads every one of her likely prospective GOP challengers in a head-to-head matchup.

Currently she enjoys margins of …

  • 48 – 39 percent over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush;
  • 47 – 40 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida;
  • 49 – 41 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;
  • 46 – 38 percent over N.J. Gov. Christopher Christie;
  • 48 – 41 percent over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin;
  • 51 – 37 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas;
  • 49 – 41 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Clinton has had her ups and downs in national polls over the previous two decades.

“On four separate occasions over the past 20 years, Clinton’s favorability ratings have fallen sharply – but each time they recovered,” a 2012 analysis conducted by the Pew Center noted. “It is rare for a political figure to accomplish that feat once in a career, much less four times.”

Of particular interest as it relates to the reemergence of Lewinsky? The tremendous uptick in popularity enjoyed by Clinton during her husband Bill Clinton’s 1998 sex scandal. At the peak of the Lewinsky drama in March 1998, Clinton’s favorable/ unfavorable margin stood at a whopping 65-31 percent. Not only that, they remained above 60 percent for the duration of the year – even as her husband was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.

So does any mention of Lewinsky translate into a boost of support for Clinton? Not necessarily – but you can bet pollsters at all points along the political spectrum are currently endeavoring to determine how “The Monica Factor” could impact their preferred candidates or causes.