Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

The Whitest Swan

October 8th, 2016, 8:35am by Sam Wang


Today’s estimated Clinton win probability is 93%. The Meta-Margin is Clinton +3.3% and the red one-sigma band, indicating the likely range of electoral outcomes, is 290-348 EV. Betting markets are catching up, especially after yesterday’s newest wave of Trump stories, especially the groping story.

The insta-consensus among commentators is that somehow this event is a cause of Trump’s electoral doom. I think the logic is backwards – to me, the growing obviousness of his doom created an environment for this story to blow up. The genuinely new development is the impact for downticket – in both the Senate and the House.

In one common sentiment, catching Trump on tape bragging about groping women without consent is somehow a last straw that has caused supporters to desert him, starting off with GOP Reps. Jason Chaffetz (district Partisan Voting Index R+25%), Barbara Comstock (R+2%), and Martha Roby (R+17%), and Utah governors Gary Herbert (current) and Jon Huntsman (former). Here is Taniel’s running tally of GOP reactionsSome PEC readers think this is a black swan – an unexpected anomaly that moves everything.

However, the idea that the recording comes as an exogenous surprise does not make sense. Trump’s record of misogynistic comments is abundant, and his unfiltered comments are part of his core appeal. As a reality television star with thousands of hours of candid footage, it seems inevitable that such comments would come to light…though it’s taken a while.

I would argue that this weekend’s public blowback is triggered by a growing realization of what will happen on November 8th. After the first debate, it became obvious that Trump was going to lose the general election. Clinton’s bounceback is small, but by modern (i.e. post-1996) standards it looks large. There isn’t enough time for opinion to shift back (for instance, within my random diffusion assumption), especially given the natural setpoint of the race (my Bayesian prior that assumes regression to the mean). In other words, people’s intuitions started telling them that time had run out for Trump.

Based on past elections, I estimate that people’s “animal spirits” about a campaign start to shift when the front-runner’s win probability gets close to 95% as defined using PEC’s methods. At that point, the marketplace of ideas starts looking for a reason to pile on to the loser. Enter the video/audio recording.

Elected officials have a nose for the stench of a candidate who is on the cusp of becoming a loser. All along, Republican officials have been skittish about Trump, who executed a hostile takeover of their party. Now they have an excuse to jump ship.

I think that prognosticators will soon follow suit. From a probabilities standpoint, the other aggregators have been lagging indicators of this year’s campaign. No doubt we will see them start to explain how this was the triggering event that settled matters.


Well, that certainly covers the possibilities. It’s consistent with a 75% probability…but it’s a bit broad. More on this topic another day.

In the next example of water finding its own level, let us now consider the Senate. As I have pointed out, Senate candidates of the Presidential winner’s party typically gain 3-4 percentage points between Labor Day and Election Day. So far we’ve only seen a small part of that. If those numbers continue to fulfill their destiny, Democrats would get to 52 or 53 seats. The races to watch most closely are Nevada, North Carolina, Missouri, and Indiana. I am especially interested in two states with scarce polling: Indiana, where Evan Bayh (D) may have weakened a bit, and Missouri, where Jason Kander (D) has mounted a savvy campaign against Senator Roy Blunt (R). These races are linked at left via ActBlue (Republicans, see the NRSC link).

Until now I thought the House was likely to remain Republican. But the fact that swing district Congresswoman Barbara Comstock has fled for the exit is an early indicator. If Trump is enough of an anchor dragging his party down, Democrats have an outside chance. However, at a minimum they need to win the national popular vote by 6-8%. Keep an eye on the generic Congressional ballot preference, which has been changing in tandem with the Presidential Meta-Margin.

Tags: 2016 Election · President

75 Comments so far ↓

  • BTE

    I just read this post for the first time today and it was truly surreal. Craziest week since April 1865 when Lee surrendered and Lincoln was shot.

  • Ed Wittens Cat

    The reason I believe that the tape has more resonance with the electorate is that it has validated a bottomless vault of similar evidence…
    some exemplars of which violate powerful taboos and social mores…
    “the Yuck factor”
    for example what Trump said about daughter Ivanka…
    violates the powerful taboo of incest.
    last week the AltRight was proposing Ivanka as a post Trump loss candidate…i doubt she can ever be president now, or even run, after her father agreed that she was a nice piece of ass.
    its just “yucky”.

  • Alexandra Dixon

    What astonished and dismay me is that the projected range of Hillary’s electoral college votes is nowhere near some of the blowouts we have seen in the modern era (538 electors). Reagan won the EC by 525 to 13 in 1984 and almost as much in 1980 when he was running against a sitting president. ALL of the losing candidates in landslide elections were more qualified and better human beings than Trump. It irritates me that he gets even one EC vote never mind 200 or so.

    • InmanRoshi

      I don’t consider Reagan the “modern” era. It was over 35 years ago. Before Fox News. Before AM Conservative Talk Radio.

      The “modern” era is the polarized electoral voter base where the electoral map goes largely unchanged from one election to the next. The idea that the electoral map will swing wildly within a 4 year period (1964 vs. 1968) is virtually impossible regardless of the candidates. Which candidate could the Democrats elect that would flip Texas blue in 2016, and likewise which Republican could the Republicans elect that would flip California Red? No matter who was nominated, the floor for Repbulicans was likely ~40% of the vote and ~180 EVs.

  • 538 Refugee

    Paul Ryan was heckled by Trump supporters over his dropped support for their candidate. And so it begins….. Republicans will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    • Ed Wittens Cat

      If we are fortunate…
      Angry frustrated Trump-voters will turn their fury against the “hypocrites and traitors” of the GOP elite and establishment. One third of the GOP Senate has repudiated Trump.
      This is likely part of the origin of Trumps early am tweetstorming
      https://politicalwire.com/2016/10/08/gop-scrambles-save-election/

    • 538 Refugee

      Actually a poll out already this morning on the issue. At least for now, the schism is between ‘old guard’ Republicans and the rank and file(base)/Trump. This is the first moment when I believe the old party leaders may not be able to recover their party post Trump. Will they pay the price down ticket on this?

      Exclusive poll: GOP voters want the party to stand by Trump

      http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/politico-morning-consult-poll-229394

    • Ed Wittens Cat

      I have been distressed since Trumps initial claims that if he were to lose it would mean the election was stolen.
      Since then there have been many Trumpian dogwhistles supporting armed insurrection, and the Brietbartian AltRight and the RW fringe (eg: Alex Jones & David Duke) provide fertile ground for such eumemes. The latest dogwhistle being Trump’s call for volunteer “poll-watchers”.
      It would be far better for the country and the institution of democracy if bitterly disappointed Trumpians turn their fire on the GOP establishment and elites instead.

  • Al-Zamar

    In his latest article, Nate argues that this election has been one of high volatility and high uncertainty, but when it comes time to define volatility Nate writes, “By volatility, I mean that the polls have been relatively responsive to news events.”

    If that’s all Nate means, then that’s fine, I guess. But this is not what statisticians mean by the word volatility, and I think it’s somewhat intellectually dishonest for Nate to equivocate by using a word in a way that it is not normally used. As is evidenced in these comments people are confused by Nate’s use of the word.

    • Ravilyn Sanders

      Look at the plot that accompanied his statement. He shows fluctuations with larger amplitude in 2016 compared to 2012. But the half amplitude was never greater than the DC value. Or as Dr Wang puts it, it never had a sign change. It never went negative. In the PEC’s estimated EV vote count chart, in the gray band of 95% confidence level, the lower bound went below 270 twice, briefly after RNC and after 9-11 fainting. So not only HRC remained winning, she maintained an overwhelming chance for a win all through the season!

    • kahner

      I don’t think it’s dishonest (because he does explain how he’s defining it), but it’s certainly odd and confusing for readers. Particularly since Nate’s a statistician and his site is all about applying formal statistical analysis to politics. Why he would use a term that has a very specific meaning and use it to mean something very different eludes me.

  • Sean Patrick Santos

    I think that it’s a little unfair to characterize Nate Silver’s tweet as hedging his bets. I can believe that the quartiles of his models roughly align with the possibilities he outlined. The real problem isn’t the presentation, it’s that his model has such a wide/weird probability distribution in the first place, which seems to be due to a *lot* of decisions that suspiciously all seem to err on the side of making the race a tie. But given that model, it’s not a bad summary per se to give those four possibilities as equally likely.

  • Tony Asdourian

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-bottom-could-fall-out-for-trump/

    538 just made the argument (link above) that this election is very volatile (along with accompanying graph of national polls since January), and that Trump could lose by 10-11 points as a result. Silver also says such volatility in recent presidential elections is typical (and that he will be publishing a longer article soon on the topic).

    Fascinating how different Sam and Silver approach these matters. Of course, I prefer Sam’s transparency and methods, but it’s not like Silver isn’t trying his best, and he’s well respected…

    • Sam Wang

      Hmmm. First off, it would be a fairer comparison to limit the calculation to the general election season. March-June 2016, months when Clinton and Trump were battling within their party, cannot be compared fairly with the same period in 2012. His graph is misleading, and I hope he drops that kind of comparison because it would be deceptive.

      Second, I want to see an actual calculation of standard deviation, which is the usual definition of volatility. Visual inspection of that graph suggests that 2016′s SD is not as large as the essay makes out.

      Third, “average by historical standards” is probably wrong unless “history” only involves 1996-2012. He should look at pre-1996 data.

  • Joel

    I think you’re wrong, Sam.

    Trump’s statements crossed a line; not merely indecent, or even criminal behavior (although it is both), but *violently* criminal behavior. Rapey behavior.

    I am (small c) conservative with polling and predictions, as you are, but this is something different. We shall see in the coming weeks.

    • Truthy

      I agree this is different for many people, but not because of violence – Trump has called for violence against protesters, for the Central Park 5 to be executed etc – No, this is different because it was against white women. Before he was just insulting Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, etc, all good clean fun for the GOP. But now he has gone too far…

    • Joel

      @Truthy; I think that’s only a partial explanation. All of those calls for violence, awful as they are, are just that — calls. This recording (and the ones that will assuredly follow) is a confession. The difference between “you do” and “I do” is significant.

    • AAF

      He has made plenty of nasty remarks about women before, just like he has made about Mexicans and others – so that’s not why this tape had created such a big reaction. The difference here is that he was talking about actions that he personally has taken and bragging how he has exploited his power personally, to assault people.

      It’s very easy to say that this is because he was talking about white people, but the fact is he has never been on tape talking, for example, about how he can slap his Mexican employees with impunity because he’s rich, and bragging that they let him do anything to them. I think that would have generated a similar reaction.

      This tape did not reveal his misogyny – that was already well known, and had been thoroughly displayed on video and Twitter. Rather, this tape was a confession that he puts his misogyny into action, assaults people, and brags that his power lets him get away it.

    • Mike

      Truthy,

      I think that what sticks out for most people is that, in this instance, Trump is not simply advocating or excusing violence perpetrated by others, but admitting that he has been a perpetrator of violence. And whether it is hypocritical or not, it matters that the victim was a married woman, especially to conservatives/GOP members who consider themselves to be the guardians of family values and women’s purity.

  • Ed Wittens Cat

    The tape has reset the context. It’s true Trump has said this kind of stuff about women for many years and just passed it off as entertainment chatter.
    And it’s true GOP elite and establishment are jumping ship because the ship is sinking, your analysis demonstrates that perfectly.
    But in the CONTEXT of that really terrible hot mic tape, every disgusting thing Trump has said for the past 30 years is gonna get airtime. There are dozens of Howard Stern tapes, outtakes from the Apprentice, etc, the next 30 days will be the death of a thousand cuts for Trump’s candidacy.
    We saw the ceiling but now we get to see the floor.

  • WildIrish

    So we have calls for DJT to step down by Ayotte, Heck, and others in tight races. Would anyone care to theorize about the effect on congressional races when his die-hard fans cast their votes?

    They will vote for DJT, but who do they vote for down-ticket? They won’t vote for Ayotte, Heck. etc. Will they vote for the Dem candidate just to make sure Ayotte, Heck, etc. don’t win? Or will they just not vote for anyone except DJT?

    This is kind of a wild-card scenario, and I am not a stats geek. Looking for some analysis of the probabilities, if anyone cares to enlighten me. Thanks.

    • Ravilyn Sanders

      If RNC cedes white house race completely and switches to “we got to save the Senate and House, else big bad Hillary is going to be the President” they might salvage something. If they maintain the notion somehow (amendement 25 section 4 or using electors casting the ballots to Pence instead of Trump, somehow deny both 272 and let the house elect the POTUS) they can the Presidency they will lose congress too.

  • Some Body

    Interesting theory about ”piling up on the loser” at about 95%. Any numbers or other data to back it up?

  • Howard Appel

    I have a technical question: Is it likely that there are any major polls in the field today/tomorrow, or would they generally be scheduled for after tomorrow night’s debate?

    • Sam Wang

      Usually they pause.

    • Rajeev Jain

      There are a few polls that run daily on a regular cycle, but aggregate the results over a longer period for reporting. I know of USC Dornsife, Google Consumer Surveys, and there may be others. I will look tomorrow morning if they break out the data for today in their reporting, as the expectation would be for that to show a huge swing.

    • Scott J. Tepper

      USC-Dornsife shows no change when it polled its same sample yesterday.

      Still +3 for Trump. 46-43.

  • DonC

    There are many truths here but I don’t agree that the actual release of the video isn’t significant. Especially given that the sound and video quality is so high.

    Yes you could surmise that Trump had conversations like this. Yet the reality is always different than the imagined reality. For example, running into a rattlesnake on the trail is different than knowing you could run into a rattlesnake on the trail. And losing 30% of your portfolio’s value is different than imaging you could lose it (just see the number of people who said they had a high tolerance for risk bailing at the bottom of the market).

    I suspect the release of the video changes the size of the result but not the direction.

    • DeanH

      This video is of a 60 year old, married man saying he wanted to and had in the past physically assault a married woman(about 30) because of looks. He then said it had happened, it was easy, and it was because of his money and power.

  • Thomas

    Sam,

    Why does the Median EV estimator have such an asymmetric distribution? It looks like some large Clinton wins have become really favored by the model (plus the model being not really continuous because of the electoral system?).

    • Sam Wang

      I believe the shape of a peaky distribution, as the Electoral College generates, is dependent on what is happening in close states. Currently, most close states are Clinton-favoring. Each one of those contributes an asymmetric pair of peaks that looks like this:
      .______|

      A compounded version of lots of these will have a similar appearance, just more complicated. If there were enough of them, it would look more bell-shaped.

  • Gary

    I won’t feel good about the chances of Clinton winning until Sam says he will eat a big bug if Trump wins.

  • 538 Refugee

    Well, this certainly makes Sunday night’s town hall a more interesting proposition. If it happens at all. Popcorn futures anyone? ;)

  • Bob McConnaughey

    I suppose it would be too much to hope for that the makeup of our incredibly gerrymandered state legislature, here in NCarolina, could change significantly. NC serves as a model of how easy it is to tear down decades of gradual progress; from education to the environment to social programs.

    • Matt McIrvin

      One of the things that scared me the most in recent weeks was Chris Christie’s advocacy of changing the civil service regulations so that President Trump could purge the government of Obama hires. They were basically proposing undoing reforms put in place during the Chester Alan Arthur administration.

  • counsellorben

    I think a sports analogy is in order. The situation looks similar to when a professional football team playing on the road and up by a touchdown scores another touchdown with about 3 and one-half minutes remaining in the game.

    The audio tape is similar to the home team quarterback throwing an interception which is returned for a touchdown.

    We are starting to see the hometown fans streaming for the exits, realizing the game is almost certainly lost.

  • W.Dow Rieder

    Something I’m a little concerned about for the generic house preference polls used–they are a mix of RV and LV polls. I expect the biggest effect of T tape on house races to be decrease in the proportion of R’s who are LV. But many/most of them will already be registered, so those polls won’t pick up the change. And the LV screen is now trying to accurately model something that just got a big asymmetric kick. So I expect RV polls to understate Dem advantage, and LV polls to get less accurate. Thoughts?

    • Amitabh Lath

      Why should LV filters get less accurate? I presume in their panel of LV determination question pollsters can and do ask something like “do you normally vote but are planning to sit this one out?” and find out if this disillusioned cohort exists, and if so what its D/R ratio is.

    • W.Dow Rieder

      LV filters do often ask intention but that’s not all they do–they can normally get better accuracy using a mix with proxies. And some of the correlations have probably changed, and there is less representative data on how.

  • Ravilyn Sanders

    Dr Wang’s pet project is gerrymandering. He keeps telling us all to stop looking at the presidential election and put our efforts in congressional districts. But we are attracted to disaster porn and obsess with the White House race.

    The Redmap project that produced outsized bias towards the GOP is based on the assumptions on turn out models, and demographics based calculations. They have carefully constructed “insurmountable” 15% to 20% cushion in all the Redmapped districts. It looks very much like GOP is going to lose either the white-woman demographic or non-college-white man demographic. They don’t really have to lose it, they just have under perform in those demographics compared to their assumptions during the Redmap calculations. Such a large tectonic shift among the demographics will have the effect of overwhelming the levees. When the levee overtops suddenly the bias in the process will shift from red to blue.

    They could lose PA popular vote 48 to 52 and still win 13 out of 18 congressional seats. But if they lose it 46 to 54, they are going to win 0 out of 18 seats! This is when gerry mandering becomes dummy mandering.

    Dr Wang’s graph shows something like 6% margin needed in national popular vote for Democrats to win control of the House. Is there an estimate of how many seats they will win if the margin goes to 6, 6.5, 7 or 8%. The curve is going to be nearly discontinuous.

    • Jake Gerstein

      Can you explain this a little further? Why would the bias actually flip?

  • MB

    A couple problems with this. First, misogyny is to sexual assault as prejudice is to cross burning. Everything Trump has said in audio or on video prior to yesterday’s recording has been related to his views, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs about women. His misbehavior towards, and mistreatment of, women have either been documented in print or alleged in lawsuits.

    In the GTBTP video, Donald Trump boasts of a widespread practice of assault by powerful men (stars) against attractive women, a practice that is without consequences. People face criminal charges for the groping and grabbing Trump professes to engage in. Assault is qualitatively different from disdain and the latter isn’t necessarily a predictor of the former.

    Second, when there is video or audio documentation of ugly behavior, public reaction is orders of magnitude greater than if the same behavior is merely described in text. Just examine the different reactions to Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice.

    These were not allegations, the comments weren’t just transcribed into text on a screen.

    Maybe this will not be enough to move the meta-margin past 7.0. But that isn’t the same as saying no disclosure, under *any* circumstances, could so affect the election. We are left, therefore, to muse over whether this revelation, is the one.

  • Amitabh Lath

    Fascinating that Jeb Bush’s primary team had 100M$ and couldn’t come up with anything to sink Trump and all this time there was a close family member (first cousin?) who must have known there was audio.

    On the other hand it may not have made a bit of difference in the Republican primary.

    • Ravilyn Sanders

      They were trying to defeat Trump without losing his core demographic support. They all were thinking, “Let someone else to destroy Trump, antagonize his base, and I will walk in and take over his base”. So no one attacked him the way Dems are willing to attack him.

      It is almost like the Battle of Antietam. Union troops attacked the traitors one brigade at a time, despite having a 2 to 1 advantage in headcount. Never did a coordinated attack, and Lee was able to fend off and hold off till Jackson arrived late in the evening.

    • Roger Moore

      @Ravilyn Sanders:
      Part of the dark art of opposition research is how to keep your campaign’s fingerprints off the murder weapon. If they had gotten this kind of thing to a friendly reporter, it could have made it into the public eye without an easy way of tracing it to the campaign that found it. That would actually be easier in a 17 candidate race like the Republican primary than in a 2 candidate race like the general election, since there are so many more suspects.

    • Slartibartfast

      Amitabh,

      My guess is that the Republicans couldn’t find it either because the Clintons already had it… Or the Bushes. As Ravilyn said, this might have destroyed Trump in the primaries, but wouldn’t have elevated Jeb unless he was the only other choice. Since it never came down to a Bush-Trump race, they might have decided to hold on to it as a firewall against Trump winning.

      Whomever was controlling it, it seems very well-timed. Right after it became clear that Assange has little to nothing on Hillary and too late for this to blow over and still give Trump the time to overcome Hillary’s current lead “naturally”. That level of political savvy suggests either the Clintons or the Bushes to me.

    • Robert

      I also think the other GOP candidates both underestimated Trump and overestimated their ability to control his supporters. After all, the GOP has been prepping the Trump voters for a few decades with fear and anger and managed to create a monster. 2016 was the year the GOP establishment lost control.

    • Andrew

      My guess is that they spent all their money on the serious candidates. I think Trump started his campaign as a stunt to promote his hotel in DC, and everyone else considered him along the lines of Ben Carson or Herman Cain, who are acknowledged as running a presidential campaign as a “for profit” exercise (see e.g., their fundraising). In 2012 there were, what four flavors of the month before Romney? So Trump as a joke was a commonly held belief right up until he never seemed to fade and by then it was too late.

      In hindsight, the Republicans apparently thought their base voted for them because of the things they said they were for, rather than what those things implied, and got beaten by someone who left the dog whistle at home and just went striaght for outright racism, xenophobia and sexism.

    • James Orr

      As Sam said:

      “In one common sentiment, catching Trump on tape bragging about groping women without consent is somehow a last straw….”

      If Trump’s crude comments were an isolated event, he’d probably be able to get over it, but as the “last straw,” arriving after a mountain of evidence pointing to a character of narcissism, misogyny, and sexual aggression, it seems enough to overcome most* cases of denial amongst voters. If this had been released during the primary season, then, I don’t think it would have had the effect it’s having now. I’m not even sure that the Jeb Bush campaign could even have gotten the press to pay attention to it.
      *Most but not all; listen to Scott Simon’s Weekend Edition interview of Ralph Reed this morning (7 Oct) on NPR.

    • Matt McIrvin

      It was a classic Prisoner’s Dilemma or collective-action problem. The other candidates spent most of their time, effort and funding tearing down each other, so that they could be the last one standing when Trump had his inevitable meltdown. They didn’t expect the meltdown to happen late in the general election campaign.

      I remember Jeb Bush’s TV ads well. The ones I saw spent 100% of their time attacking Marco Rubio. Bush thought Rubio was his main threat!

    • Jupitaur

      The outrage came from above. Cutting off his funding wasn’t done by the electorate. It was done by the RNC.

  • Roger

    Collective consciousness catching up to everyone’s subconscious.

  • Don

    Is this latest scandal really good news for the Dems? What are the chances of the Donald stepping aside or the Republican leadership ousting him (as was rumored back at convention time)?

    Hillary would not have such an easy time against nearly any other Republican opponent.

    • Sam Wang

      That would have been a great thought in September 2015. At this point, replacing a candidate with five weeks to go would be an even worse scenario for Republicans.

    • Scott J. Tepper

      Replacing Trump would also anger a lot of very enthusiastic Trump voters. Who wouldn’t show up. It would be a Reaganesque landslide then.

      By the way, does anyone else find it mildly satisfying that the video with Trump incriminating himself for committing sexual assault occurred because he was bragging about it to a member of the Bush family?

    • Robert Benson

      It is not legally possible to replace Trump on the ballot. In fact, voting has even started by mail in some places. So, Trump is cemented in place, and we’ll see the Trump train wreck unfold in the next few weeks.

    • Matt McIrvin

      …Some Republicans have been floating a scenario where, through the magic of circuit court decisions let stand by a deadlocked Supreme Court, they manage to get a few faithless electors to vote for Pence while keeping both Trump and Hillary under 270, and the election goes to the House of Representatives, which picks Pence as President.

      It is completely stupid, though. It requires too many unlikely things to go exactly right. Would the Republicans win an election that messed up?

  • polcat

    Not a fan of 538, but the “anything happens” tweet has been misinterpreted. Nate Silver is clearly breaking out 75% Clinton win prob into margin of victory tiers. If it were truly random, there would be six symmetrical tiers of 16% each.

  • Stuart Levine

    My concern is a bit of an off-take from Dan Smith. Is it possible that the grope-gate could actually improve GOP House and Senate chances. As we saw last night, Trump, rather than defend his actions, will move to attack Bill and Hillary’s actions (actually, mythological actions that mostly did not occur).

    Could that lead to a sort of “plague on both their houses” effect, where people vote for HRC for president, but split their voting to go for GOP Congressional candidates?

    • Scott J. Tepper

      “Grope-gate” trivializes Trump’s criminal conduct. The correct term is “sexual assault.” Words matter. It’s time to use the right words to describe assaultive criminal conduct. And the correct term for Trump is “admitted and proud sexual predator.”

    • Stuart Levine

      Scott Tepper is indeed correct. The only difference in the tape released yesterday is that it was a tape. We also have ample evidence that Trump not only talked about sexual predation, but actually engaged in it.

      In my defense, I was trying to use a shorthand to refer to the firestorm set off by the tape rather than to generally categorize Trump’s overarching approach to women.

    • E L

      Based just on a guess, more weak Trump supporters will stay home and more weak Clinton supporters will go vote as a result of the tape. Clinton’s door to door ground game just received some deadly information to encourage weak Democrats to go out and vote to stop this disgusting Trump threat. Fear is a great motivator. This phenomenon may not be picked up by polls.

    • Frank

      The problem for Trump is that insulting ethnic minority demographics (i.e. Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims, etc.)… well, individually each these are not majority-number voting demographics.

      Women, though… well, they are a little more than half of the voting electorate. Most women have already known about Trump’s sexism, but this tape is probably the last straw for women, especially those who still remained on the fence for one reason or another (e.g. young/millennial women who supported Sanders or bust; older women who were raised in a conservative social environment). I think this also aligns with Prof. Wang’s observation. There has been this “Air of Inevitability” (as I term it) regarding Clinton’s win, and, finally, this tape has shifted the last and most important demographic against Trump.

    • Howard Appel

      Short answer, no.

      Longer answer:

      First, nobody other than the hardcore rwnj/s want to relive or hear about Bill’s sex life.

      Second, Trump’s bringing it up will be seen for what it is, an attempt to deflect, the “I am rubber, you are glue” defense.

      Third: IMHO, there will be more and worse reports of his behavior coming out.

      Fourth: Although the tape (and more reports/stories) won’t affect the free republic types (you should go and read the posts there), attacking Hillary for Bill’s behavior will just push more women/independents/sane people away, and they will either vote for Hillary or not vote at all.

      Fifth: IMHO, a lot of the life-long republican women and other independents who are alienated by this won’t vote at all and that increases the power of the Democratic vote.

      Sixth: I admit I am a true believer – I see Hillary winning by at least 54-46, we retake the Senate and maybe take the House.

      Please, dear Flying Spaghetti Monster, make it so.

      PS. Hello Scott.

    • Kevin King

      Hmmm, anecdata: I read an article by Maureen Dowd where she said her “deplorable” sister did not mind the comment and is now likely to vote for Trump after this debate.

      Take this with a grain of salt.

  • smartone

    I agree this is the classic self-fulfilling prophecy. It reminds me in 2008 when we still had a few weeks it was all over for McCain but the press and pundits “suddenly” turned on Palin.

    My question is – what is the chance of a collapse in Trump support to the extent where Clinton does win landslide and perhaps take the House. Or is your previous observations that the stable electorate will make a Democratic House virtually impossible.

    • Daniel

      “If the House goes blue, the groping swan will be proved very black.”

      A black swan event isn’t just the emergence of a twist in an existing narrative. The whole point of the theory is that such events are fundamentally unpredictable. Trump losing the GOP everything has always been (and remains) an unlikely, but relatively predicable, event. Black swan events aren’t those that cause a 1 in 20 chance to occur, they are those that cause a 1 in a thousand chance to occur.

  • Daniel W Smith

    Dr Wang,

    Let’s assume that this latest scandal/gaffe drives popular vote for Hillary up 2% or so. What effect if any would this have on the Senate and especially House. I see that your House predictions have stabilized.