Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Today on The Takeaway: The Home Stretch

November 7th, 2016, 8:33am by Sam Wang

Today on The Takeaway with host John Hockenberry: How certain is the Presidential race? What about the Senate? Who picks the bug? The show airs nationwide at various times starting at 9:00am Eastern (I’m scheduled at 30-40 minutes after the hour). Find a radio station near you, stream at, or listen to the segment here.

→ 83 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · President · Senate

Is 99% a reasonable probability?

November 6th, 2016, 11:31pm by Sam Wang

Three sets of data point in the same direction:

  • The state poll-based Meta-Margin is Clinton +2.6%.
  • National polls give a median of Clinton +3.0 +/- 0.9% (10 polls with a start date of November 1st or later).
  • Early voting patterns approximately match 2012, a year when the popular vote was Obama +3.9%.

Based on this evidence, if Hillary Clinton does not win on Tuesday it will be a giant surprise.

There’s been buzz about the Princeton Election Consortium’s win probability for Clinton, which for some time has been in the 98-99% range. Tonight let me walk everyone through how we arrive at this level of confidence. tl;dr: With a more conservative assumption (see discussion) the PEC approach gives a probability of more like 95%. [Read more →]

→ 165 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · President · Senate

The Nevada bonus is back

November 6th, 2016, 10:17am by Sam Wang

Two states are hard to poll accurately, probably because they have high rates of migration: Alaska and Nevada. In addition, Nevada has a high Hispanic population, which votes heavily Democratic. Based on early voting, it looks like 2016 will be a repeat of 2010 and 2012, in which Democrats outperformed Nevada polls by 10 and 3 percentage points, respectively. [Read more →]

→ 107 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · Senate

Confidence is associated with increased turnout

November 5th, 2016, 10:40pm by Sam Wang

I’m getting mail claiming that when voters are sure their candidate will win, they are less likely to vote. Therefore (these are Democrats writing) I should pipe down. However, this speculation contradicts both human nature and empirical evidence. [Read more →]

→ 86 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · President

Beyoncé and Me

November 5th, 2016, 5:56am by Sam Wang

Well, this was unexpected. The clip is here.

→ 126 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · President · Senate

Sound bites and bug bites

November 4th, 2016, 9:19am by Sam Wang

We’re entering a period when all the math and data gets converted to short quotes. The above quote is pre-Comey, but I will live with it.

I have some interviews this weekend. I doubt that I will be asked about median-based probability estimation. With luck I will get to the question where there’s real suspense: who will control the Senate?

Here are the weekend’s planned TV hits. I’ll update this as things develop. [Read more →]

→ 226 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · President · Senate

On CNN Digital: watch the data, not the drama

November 3rd, 2016, 8:00pm by Sam Wang

So, Julian Zelizer and I had an e-chat about next Tuesday on CNN Digital. Mostly themes you know!

→ 35 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · President · Senate

Politics & Polls #19: Election Night

November 3rd, 2016, 2:48pm by Sam Wang

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and I talk about what we’ll be watching for on Election Night.

→ 36 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · House · President · Senate

Slow train coming

November 3rd, 2016, 9:26am by Sam Wang

The PEC calculation relies on state-level polls, which take time to come in. But by now the Meta-Analysis is current: of the top ten states listed in The Power Of One Voter, nearly all polls are post-Comey. The exceptions are Iowa and Michigan.

Michigan is vexing because of one oddball survey taken over a two-month period showing Clinton +20%. This is where medians help a lot; that race is more like Clinton +4.5%, which makes it about as competitive as Virginia and North Carolina. I hear Hillary Clinton is going to Michigan. In addition, there are three close House races there. It’s probably a good use of her time.

If you want an estimate that uses national polls, see The Upshot. I’m a little concerned that FiveThirtyEight’s code double-counts (i.e. overcounts) the swings in national and state polls. They’ve been a bit underconfident and volatile.

Of far greater import is the recent shift in Senate polls, which are also post-Comey (though we’re using a longer time window there). As of now, six races show medians (calculated using the PEC rule) of 1 percentage point or less. Entering the sharpest knife-edge zone are two states that have been trending toward Republicans: Indiana and Wisconsin. Democratic candidates Bayh (D-IN) and Feingold (D-WI) may be caught in an undertow caused by a shift from Clinton +6% (median of 19 polls that were in the field on October 24th) to Clinton +2% (median of 7 polls, October 31).

Things aren’t looking great for Bayh – the most recent 3 polls show his opponent Todd Young (R) leading by a median of 4 percentage points. The Senate Meta-Margin is staying steady, in part because Jason Kander (D-MO) is improving.

→ 125 CommentsTags: 2016 Election · Senate

Not 100%

November 3rd, 2016, 4:55am by Sam Wang

For a moment this morning, the top banner probability has read 100%. Sorry, rounding glitch in the software. It should max out at >99%. Fixing soon.

Comments OffTags: 2016 Election · President