What I Think We’ll See Tomorrow Night

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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Let me share with you my take on the race on the day before election day.

A group of reasons make me think Clinton is increasingly likely to win and increasingly likely to outperform the numbers which have seemed likely for the last week plus. I don’t like making predictions. I think for the same reason I’ve never understood the appeal of gambling. I don’t know the future. Why would I cause myself anxiety by stipulating to something I don’t know? In any case, looking at the public polls, the best breakdowns of the early vote, the indications of a high turnout election in general, what I can glean about what Clinton campaign thinks is happening, I suspect Clinton is going to over-perform the public polls and end up with a more lopsided victory than a lot of us have expected.

Am I sure? Not at all. These are just ‘more likely than not’ reads; and a lot of those reads are favoring Clinton.

(One meta-point is worth making here. We’ve heard a lot about both candidates being unlikeable, the election being ugly and so forth and how that means people are going to be turned off and a lot of people just won’t vote at all. We don’t know the total numbers yet. But all the indications from the early vote are that that is not going to be true. This should have been obvious. Everything we’ve seen over the last generation tells us that hard fought elections where a lot is on the line turn out a lot of people. That makes total sense. Why people stick to this other assumption is a mystery.)

I think it’s highly likely Clinton wins Florida, even though the polls show basically a tie race. North Carolina looks less certain because the effect of voter suppression laws. But with polls calling it a tie, national trends moving for Clinton and I assume a superior field operation on the ground, it just seems more likely than not to me that Clinton wins there too. The big surprise for me is Ohio. I’ve been assuming for weeks that Trump wins there. Now that doesn’t seem clear. I think she may win there too. A big driver, at least in the southern tier states is that as much as I’m skeptical of early vote analyses in general, the run up in the Hispanic vote seems real. Overall I think the most likely outcome is a Clinton victory in the low-300s electoral vote range for Clinton but possibly getting into the mid-300s range.

Here are the known-quantity, standalone (i.e., not tracking polls) polls from the last 24 hours.

Monmouth Clinton +6
Fox Clinton +4
Selzer/Bloomberg Clinton +3
CBS/NYT Clinton +4
NBC/WSJ Clinton +5
MC/Politico Clinton +3

A simple average gives you a Clinton +4.2 lead which is pretty close to the Clinton +4.5 we get from the PollTracker Average. Remember, the PollTracker number is a trend estimate so it’s picking up that upward movement at the end. This upward trend, combined with the hints of over-performance also makes me think the Dems’ odds in the Senate may be a bit better than the polls alone suggest.

Here is another piece of perspective. The head to head match up between Clinton and Trump will likely change a bit before tomorrow since we’ll probably have a couple more national polls. Right now it’s Clinton +4.5. Four years ago, at the end it was Obama +.7.

That’s a significant difference. To the extent there are indications of polling failure on the margins, they point to additional Democratic voters not Republicans.

When I look at all the information we’ve seen over recent days it looks like the mix of data we’d look back on (not certainties but indications) and say it wasn’t as close as we thought. Am I predicting? No. I don’t know, though I’m fairly confident of a Clinton win. I just think this is the most plausible read of the available data.

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