Dan Guild

When waves happen

Dan Guild surveys the possibilities for control of the U.S. House. In his last Bleeding Heartland post, he reviewed generic ballot polling and swings in special elections. -promoted by desmoinesdem

When tidal waves hit, and when we know they are coming

Nothing is more human than the tendency to underestimate how much things change. Few predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union. Though there were signs, most did not anticipate how badly the U.S. and global economies would be hit by the U.S. mortgage crisis.

Anyone who remembers election night 2016 knows well how poorly humans are able to predict politics. In the time I have been active I have seen the same mistake over and over: people underestimate the range of possible outcomes.

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The House on a knife's edge

Dan Guild argues that the swings we have seen in recent special U.S. House elections “are a sign that something very big may be about to happen.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

It is fair to say the stakes have seldom been higher in a mid-term election. Obamacare survived by a margin of one vote in the U.S. Senate. It is likely the Republicans will gain the one Senate seat they need to undo Obamacare. The Republicans have finished their report on Russian involvement in the 2016 election. The only real way for true public hearings into Russia and our elections is for the Democrats to retake the House.

2016 was in many ways a VERY unusual election. Some of those ways are as obvious as a Trump tweet, others are less obvious. Essentially there were two large swings, each in opposite directions:

  • Among those making under $30,000 a year, Republicans improved their share of the vote by 16 points
  • Among those making between $100,000 to $200,000, Democrats improved their margin by 9 points
  • It is very rare to find swings like that – when they occur they are usually indicative of a political re-alignment. I have NEVER seen swings like that in the same election in opposite directions.

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    Can anything make Trump popular?

    Guest author Dan Guild has closely followed American presidential polling and elections for decades. -promoted by desmoinesdem

    Consider three quotes: “It’s the economy, stupid”–James Carville, 1992

    “Events dear boy, events”–Attributed to British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan

    “That the prince must consider, as has been in part said before, how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptibleIt makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects, from both of which he must abstain.”–Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513

    I cannot prove Machiavelli had Donald Trump in mind when he wrote those words 500 years ago. But the polling is consistent (we will explore it in a later post) – after his first year Trump is one of the most hated politicians in American history.

    This was true on election day in 2016, when only 38 percent had a favorable impression of him, the lowest rating any major presidential candidate has received since exit polling began. He did not get the typical boost most presidents get after being elected. His numbers have not improved despite what by some indications is a good economy. In fact, about 75 percent of polls taken since May 2017 find his approval rating within 3 points of his favorable rating in the election day exit.

    So the question must be asked: can anything change the public’s impression of Donald Trump?

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    State of the race

    Dan Guild follows up on yesterday’s post about late-stage scenarios in the presidential campaign. -promoted by desmoinesdem

    In 2008 I did state polling summaries at Open Left. That analysis originated from work I had done in 1996 which suggested the state polling was far more accurate than national polling. In 1996 the national polling was off by a considerable margin. I did the same analysis in 2012.

    This is that analysis this morning.

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    The First Debate: Irresistible Force Meets Immovable Object

    A must-read review of what recent history tells us about the impact of presidential debates. You can find Dan Guild’s past writing for this site here and here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

    Debates have arguably remade the race for the Presidency in 1976, 1980, 2000, 2004 and 2012. Even in races where arguably they are less important, they still are significant events. Having said all of this there are patterns that repeat themselves. Guideposts that can help evaluate how they will affect this race. Here they are:

    1. Typically debates consolidate support within their Party for each candidate. Where this is unequal, the candidate who is behind tends to benefit.

    2. In races where there is significant discontent, debates often help the candidate of the party that is on the outside.

    3. Third Parties frequently decline afterwards

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