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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It's All Comey -- Also, the House is Shot to Hell

I believe that this is the third analysis showing  that the Comey letter swung the election to Trump at the last minute:

Most decisively, there was a sudden change in the net sentiment results that followed immediately after FBI Director James Comey released his Oct. 28 letter to Congress about a renewed investigation of Clinton emails. Immediately afterwards, there was a 17-point drop in net sentiment for Clinton, and an 11-point rise for Trump, enough for the two candidates to switch places in the rankings, with Clinton in more negative territory than Trump. At a time when opinion polling showed perhaps a 2-point decline in the margin for Clinton, this conversation data suggests a 28-point change in the word of mouth “standings.” The change in word of mouth favorability metric was stunning, and much greater than the traditional opinion polling revealed. 

Kevin Drum explains:

Once again: Hillary Clinton did nothing particularly wrong in her campaign. She didn't ignore working-class whites. She wasn't too cautious on policy. She didn't overestimate the impact of educated voters. She wasn't complacent. What happened was simple: 12 days before the election, the FBI director released a letter saying he had found a brand-new trove of emails and implying that this might finally be the smoking gun about her private email server. That's it.

I've been saying this for months. We've been way too introspective about the loss in November. Under normal circumstances, absent the Comey letter (to say nothing of WikiLeaks/Russia), Hillary wins the popular vote by about six points and the electoral vote by more than 100. Six points is a pretty large victory in modern elections, and she'd have ended up with very close to a record number of votes in any Presidential election, period.

With those extra four points, our Senate and House candidates would've done much better, as would our state-wide and local candidates. I can't run an analysis of the more localized races right now, but a quick look at the Senate results shows that we'd have had really good shots at Missouri and Pennsylvania, and an outside shot at North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Looking at the House, we came within four points in:

CA-10
CA-49
MN-2
NE-2
TX-23


That's actually pretty eye-opening; only five out of 241 Republican-won seats were even close? It's not really better going the other way -- Democrats won by four points or fewer in:

CA-7
FL-13
MN-8
NV-3
NV-4
NH-1


Wow. 11 competitive seats out of 435. The power of incumbency plus gerrymandering has made it almost impossible to flip seats. I've heard it said a few times that gerrymandering also makes it easier to flip lots of seats in a wave election, but I don't understand the dynamic. I'll have to look into it.

But the bottom line is that the Democratic Party doesn't have to spend as much time looking inward as it does looking outward. Keeping outside interference out of our elections and resolving gerrymandering (and voting rights!) issues would make the biggest difference.

Of course we have our divisions, but our house is much more in order than we seem to think.


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