Weekend open thread: Final Iowa polls and last-minute GOTV edition

No need to ask what's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers. Three days from now, this election will be over except for the recounts. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have released their closing arguments to television viewers. Clinton's 60-second ad "Roar" is a lot more upbeat than Trump's two-minute "Argument for America." UPDATED to add: the Trump commercial pushes some anti-Semitic buttons.

Nearly 600,000 Iowans have already voted. I enclose below the latest absentee ballot figures, as of today and at the same point in the 2012 campaign. The Democratic lead in ballots received by county auditors stands at 41,881. On the Saturday before election day 2012, Democrats had banked 65,099 more votes than Republicans.

The Des Moines Register released toplines from Selzer & Co's final Iowa poll of the year a few minutes ago. It's not good news for Democrats: Trump leads Clinton by 46 percent to 39 percent, with 6 percent supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson and 1 percent the Green Party's Jill Stein. Last month's Selzer poll showed Trump 4 points ahead.

The latest surveys from Simpson College/RABA Research and Emerson College both showed Trump leading Clinton by 44 percent to 41 percent in a field including multiple candidates.

Loras College in Dubuque released its final Iowa poll earlier today: Clinton 44 percent, Trump 43 percent, Johnson and Stein 3 percent each, and 7 percent undecided. Loras found a 10-point advantage for Trump (47-37) among respondents who said they had not yet voted. Clinton's net favorability (-8) was substantially better than Trump's (-36). I enclose below excerpts from the Loras polling memo and Jason Noble's write-up of the Selzer poll in the Des Moines Register. I'll update later with more details as the Register publishes further results.

Lots of pundits have written off Iowa already, given the demographics that favor Trump (a mostly white population, older than in other swing states and with a relatively small proportion of college graduates). Clinton's campaign is working GOTV hard. A field office near you could use your help these last few days. If you don't feel comfortable talking to strangers on the phone or at the doorstep, you can bring food to campaign staff and volunteers, or offer to be a poll watcher on election day.

I can't remember more perfect weather for canvassing the weekend before a general election. For those planning to hit the doors tomorrow, Monday, or Tuesday, here are my best tips and pointers from superstar volunteer Laura Hubka, the Howard County Democratic Party chair.

Some GOTV "scripts" are geared toward voters already identified as supporters of Democratic candidates. These people don't need persuading. Volunteers will remind them of their polling place location and opening times and will ask for their plan to vote. Research has shown that when people articulate their plan (for instance, before work or after dropping the kids off at school), they are more likely to follow through and cast a ballot. Clinton's campaign has an online tool for voters and hilarious YouTube video of Joe Biden (enclosed below) on why making a plan "is like the whole secret of life."

All 99 county auditors' offices will be open for early voting in person on Monday, November 7, from 8 am to 5 pm.

Important reminders for absentee voters who have not yet mailed back their ballots: late-arriving absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 7 in order to be counted. Post offices no longer routinely attach postmarks, so either 1) take your ballot to a post office on Monday and request a postmark, 2) hand-deliver your ballot to your county auditor's office by 9 pm on November 8, or 3) ask a campaign volunteer to pick up your completed ballot so it can be hand-delivered on time.

Make sure to follow instructions carefully: fill in ovals completely, seal the marked ballot in the secrecy envelope, seal that envelope inside the affidavit envelope, and sign and seal the affidavit envelope.

If you've changed your mind about voting absentee, bring your unmarked ballot to your regular polling place on November 8, so you can "surrender" it and receive a regular ballot. If you don't have your absentee ballot with you, poll workers will make you fill out a provisional ballot instead.

Final note: political junkies can enter Bleeding Heartland's Iowa election prediction contest by posting a comment in this thread before 7 am on November 8.

Absentee ballots requested by Iowa voters as of November 5, 2016
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 70,817 48,847 42,266 589 162,519
IA-02 80,561 53,520 44,081 671 178,833
IA-03 73,510 59,048 34,995 613 168,166
IA-04 50,566 64,300 35,836 491 151,193
statewide 275,454 225,715 157,178 2,364 660,711

Absentee ballots received by Iowa county auditors as of November 5, 2016
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 63,618 44,551 36,901 495 145,565
IA-02 73,117 49,134 38,888 578 161,717
IA-03 64,918 52,854 30,021 516 148,309
IA-04 46,132 59,365 31,869 430 137,796
statewide 247,785 205,904 137,679 2,019 593,387

Note: I'm using November 3, 2012 for comparison because it represents the same number of days before the general election.

Absentee ballots requested by Iowa voters as of November 3, 2012
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 78,914 48,211 52,544 247 179,916
IA-02 89,962 54,256 55,965 309 200,492
IA-03 78,195 59,095 41,568 217 179,075
IA-04 59,348 61,809 41,075 175 162,407
statewide 306,419 223,371 191,152 948 721,890

Absentee ballots received by Iowa county auditors as of November 3, 2012
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 69,939 44,723 44,709 208 159,579
IA-02 80,572 50,452 48,385 273 179,682
IA-03 67,351 53,571 34,389 172 155,483
IA-04 52,934 56,951 35,470 149 145,504
statewide 270,796 205,697 162,953 802 640,248

From Jason Noble's report on the final Iowa poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom:

Trump leads among several key demographic groups, including men, self-identified independents, young and middle-aged voters and those without a college degree.

Forty-one percent of independents support Trump, compared to 34 percent who back Clinton. Trump likewise leads by 5 percentage points — 43 to 38 — among voters under 35. [...]

At first glance, the early vote offers a bright spot for Clinton, where she enjoys a 22-point advantage over Trump. That’s a testament to her campaign’s heavy focus on banking votes during Iowa’s 40-day early vote period. But the data indicate it will not be enough to overcome Trump's support.

Voters who have already cast their ballots represent 34 percent of poll respondents. Among the remaining two-thirds of respondents who haven’t voted but plan to, Trump leads by 21 percentage points, 53-32.

Among other groups, meanwhile, Clinton’s lead is significantly lower than the advantage she enjoys nationally. She holds just a 3-point lead among women, for example, a demographic Democrats have been banking on to reject Trump and lift Clinton and one that she leads by a dozen or more points in national polls.

The poll of 800 Iowa likely voters was conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines on Nov. 1-4 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

From the Loras College polling memo:

While Clinton holds a one-point advantage in the four-way ballot test that includes responses of those who indicate they have already voted, the picture changes when you look only at those who said they had not yet voted. Excluding early voters, Trump holds a 10-point advantage 47 to 37 percent.

“Given Trump’s advantage with those people who have not yet voted, this election may come down to the relative size of the early vote compared to the size of the turnout,” [Associate Professor of Politics and poll director Christopher] Budzisz said. “A smaller early vote proportion of total turnout may mean Iowa’s six electoral votes swing toward Trump.” [...]

Other noteworthy results from the statewide poll:

54 percent approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, while 43 percent disapprove.
33 percent say the country is on the right track, while 53 percent say it is headed in the wrong direction.
50 percent say the State of Iowa is on the right track, while 30 percent say it is headed in the wrong direction.
40 percent say that the issue of Clinton’s past email use is very important to them, while 40 percent say it is not very important. Fifteen percent say it is somewhat important, and another 5 percent are undecided.
Note on methodology
The statewide Loras College Poll surveyed 500 likely voters in Iowa. The survey was conducted Nov. 1-3. Margin of error for full statewide sample results is +/- 4.4 percent. Additional likely voters were sampled for IA-1 and IA-3 congressional races (total 415 and 417, respectively). The margin of error for IA-1 and IA-3 total samples is +/- 4.8 percent. All results calculated at a 95-percent confidence interval.

The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
Survey conducted with a random sample of registered voters (sample from official voter files provided by third party vendor).
The statewide sample was balanced for standard demographic variables such as age and gender.
Survey included both landlines and cell phones (58-42 split statewide).
Screen for likely voter is report of “definitely” or “very likely” to vote in presidential election in November or who had already voted.
Script development and methodology used for the survey received input from Republican campaign consultant Brian Dumas and Democratic campaign consultant Dave Heller.

Login or Join to comment and post.