An Unfinished Sketch (Trumping the Polls)

[An unfinished sketch of a post; the text file says 13 October. This is just how it goes sometimes; it’s exhausting trying to keep up―you might have noticed we haven’t. Still, herein we find a glimpse of the moment, recorded for the sake of the historical record, and, you know, not really so much my ego, since this could have afforded some better planning and writing.]

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee speak during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, 9 October 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Steve Benen brought the setup yesterday, and it is, in its own right, a fine little tale:

On Fox News last night, host Bill O’Reilly told Donald Trump, “You’re behind with women,” though the Republican candidate was incredulous, replying, “I’m not sure I believe that.” O’Reilly reminded his guest, “Whether you believe it or not, that’s what the polling says.”

One wonders if the moment had its point; Benen again:

This year, of course, it’s likely the gap will reach new and unprecedented extremes, with Donald Trump alienating women so dramatically, at times it seems he’s trying to lose. With that in mind, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver published an interesting item yesterday, noting what the electoral map would look like if only women voted. In short, it’d a landslide: Hillary Clinton would win with 458 electoral votes. Naturally, the inverse is also true: Nate also posted a comparable electoral map showing that Trump would win with 350 electoral votes if only men voted.

Compound setups are great, aren’t they?

The twist came this morning when Eric Trump sent an email to his father’s supporters, asking for money, and featuring the male-only map as proof of Donald Trump’s “momentum” ....

.... Eric Trump said prospective donors could see for themselves the Republican campaign’s “huge gains” by looking at the featured map―neglecting to mention that the image shows the American electoral excluding women entirely.

Something about the lulz goes here.α Still, while we mentioned Silver’s article in passing, it is probably worth considering the magnitude of the difference Benen noted; Silver explains:

While we’re in something of a wait-and-see mode, one demographic split caught my eye. That was from a Public Religion Research Institute poll conducted on behalf of The Atlantic. It showed a massive gender split, with Clinton trailing Trump by 11 percentage points among men but leading him by 33 points among women. To put those numbers in perspective, that’s saying Trump would defeat Clinton among men by a margin similar to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s landslide victory over Adlai Stevenson in 1952, while Clinton would defeat Trump among women by a margin similar to … actually, there’s no good comparison, since no candidate has won a presidential election by more than 26 percentage points since the popular vote became a widespread means of voting in 1824. To get to 33 points, you’d have to take the Eisenhower-Stevenson margin and add Lyndon B. Johnson’s 23-point win over Barry Goldwater in 1964 on top of it.

The PRRI poll is an outlier for showing quite so large a gender gap, however. In the table below, I’ve compiled the gender split from all national polls I could find so far in October.

Twelve national polls showing the gap for men averaging out to a five-point advantage for Donald Trump, though with a median around seven points the range for male voters runs from Clinton +5 to Trump +14, the numbers for the women’s vote are an entirely different story. The range runs between six and thirty-three points to the Democratic nominee, median and mean at fifteen. And this leads to an electoral map suggesting a staggering 378-point electoral blowout “if just women voted”, sending Hillary Clinton to the presidency. Donald Trump wins, “if just men voted”, by 162 electors.

As it is, FiveThirtyEight puts Clinton’s chance of victory at eighty-four percent in the polls-only model, and eighty percent in their more complicated “polls plus” calculation. Benen noted that as of Wednesday, “the New York Times’ Upshot predictive model, meanwhile, shows Clinton with an 88% chance of winning the presidential election, up from 70% in late September.”

We mentioned lulz. There really are lulz.

Well, okay, maybe if you’re “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds”, baiting a bunch of “traitor cucks” by riling decent folk in general and devastating Republicans trying to wrap their heads around explaining their support for a notorious womanizing candidate who sat and bragged on tape about his privilege of sexually assaulting women.

Because, quite frankly, all it takes is one petty lulzophile and, well, just how many of the hardcore “traitor cucks” stupid enough to actually back the “retarded manchild”β will be collapsing into paroxysms of … well, [Tesfaye article] ....



Image note: Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton speak during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, 9 October 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

α It also turns out I owe James Oliphant something of an apology because it turns out he was right that the insane second debate performance did, in fact, stop the bleeding. A couple notes go here: Steve Kornacki ran through the numbers earlier this week on msnbc and while Hillary Clinton appears to have remained stable in the polling, Donald Trump picked up a couple points, ostensibly Republicans returning to the flock after filing some poll support for Gary Johnson. Additionally, it is easy enough to stand on the point that stanching the bleeding from the base is good news insofar as one stops the bleeding, but, you know, we’re talking about bleeding from the base.

β No, seriously, Brendan Gauthier’s article for Salon covering the alt-right reaction to the first Debate is the stuff of comedy vérité nightmares.

Benen, Steve. “Team Trump highlights map with male-only electorate”. msnbc. 12 October 2016.

—————. “Trump may not believe it, but the latest polls favor Clinton”. msnbc. 12 October 2016.

Gauthier, Brendan. “Pepe’s post-debate identity crisis: Online alt-right turns on Donald Trump after his presidential debate fiasco”. Salon. 27 September 2016.

Oliphant, James. “Trump may have stopped the bleeding, but not the worrying”. Reuters. 10 October 2016.

Silver, Nate. “Election Update: Women Are Defeating Donald Trump”. FiveThrityEight. 11 October 2016.

Tesfaye, Sophia. “RNC spokesman Sean Spicer denies saying the exact thing he said while defending Donald Trump’s sexual assault boast”. Salon. 11 October 2016.

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