September 12, 2018

Is the "Circus in Washington... drowning out good economic news"?

I'm reading "There’s Never Been a President This Unpopular With an Economy This Good" (Bloomberg).
President Donald Trump’s unpopularity is unprecedented given the strength of the economy. That’s according to a Bloomberg analysis of polling data....
Is it possible that the polls are wrong? They were in 2016, when Trump blindsided everybody. I'm thinking maybe the polls are right, and it's really true that when asked, most people say they disapprove of Trump. But people disapprove of a lot of things that — when the time comes to decide what to do — they do. Drinking, eating dessert, looking at pornography. And they'll express approval of a lot of things they won't do: getting lots of sleep, eating piles of fresh vegetables, and following Jesus.

Another thing is, the economy is a pretty boring news topic compared to the "circus" of whatever bad thing Trump tweeted or what the latest Mr. Anonymous says Trump did and so forth. But the economy is always there in the background, affecting our lives. We look at the stock prices on our own, without Wolf Blitzer or whoever nudging us to look at today's statistics. Pile on Trump now, it's dangerous and fun, but when it comes time to vote, people may shrug off all the crazy stuff they've heard over the last 2 years, and vote based on the great old question "Are you better off now...?"



As we get close to Election Day, and there are debates and ads, Republicans should just make the old Reagan move and strongly prod people to look at the economy. In a few seconds, the positive news can be strongly conveyed. And the "circus" that's been cluttering up the TV shows may be hard even to remember. I'm sure Democratic Party candidates will urge voters to look at what a circus it's been and hope to blame Trump and not the media for the circus, but I'm picturing debates where the Republican candidate will easily say: My opponent is trying to distract you with the circus show you've been watching in the news all year so you won't look at one big obvious fact — the economy is doing great.

And one more thing, something even more drowned out than the economy. Trump defeated ISIS (NYT):
The last vestige of the Islamic State’s caliphate that straddled Syria and Iraq is under attack. Members of an American-backed coalition said Tuesday that they had begun a final push to oust the militants from Hajin, Syria, the remaining sliver of land under the group’s control in the region where it was born. The assault is the final chapter of a war that began more than four years ago after the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, seized vast tracts in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate. The group lost its last territory in Iraq last year.... 

150 comments:

rehajm said...

... but when it comes time to vote, people may shrug off all the crazy stuff they've heard over the last 2 years, and vote based on the great old question "Are you better off now...?"

This cycle is going to be a real test of the theory as there's never been a wider gap in what each side believes. A real referendum on capitalism and socialism. 'I like capitalism but Trump's too orange'- does anyone vote like that? We're gonna see...

rehajm said...

BTW, GDP Now- 3.8 percent.

tim in vermont said...

A recent poll said that Democrats simply don’t believe that the economy is good.

Big Mike said...

According to one poll Manchin is ahead by 27 points if he votes to confirm Kavanaugh, by only 2 points if he votes against. Interesting.

Chuck said...

...Is it possible that the polls are wrong? They were in 2016, when Trump blindsided everybody...


Althouse you keep writing that. The polls were not wrong. The outcome was within the margin of error for most of the polls.

I think you keep writing this, and you keep believing it, because the movie that is playing in your head is that Trump came from way behind, and in fact came out of nowhere, to win a stunning, large victory.

The polls showed that it was close right before the election. The polls, (speaking broadly) got it right and certainly were correct within their margins of error. The polls had Hillary winning by 2 or 3 percent, mostly. And Hillary won the popular vote by more than 1.5%.

The polls -- of the national electorate -- were right. If you want to nitpick polls, you'd need to check individual statewide polls in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And my guess is that in Michigan, they were showing real Trump polling strength. Because Trump spent almost half of his final week of the campaign in or near Michigan, and Bill Clinton was all over Michigan on the last three days.

The polls were right.

You seem to be unaware that Hillary won the popular vote with numbers that look much like the final week's polling. And that Donald Trump, with a minority of national votes, ran a bit of an inside straight to capture the electoral vote. That wasn't a polling problem.

And I know that you've done this before; throwing out pronouncements about how the polls blew the 2016 election. You are deluding yourself.

Richard Dolan said...

Trump has up-ended politics in so many ways that it's dangerous to rely on what worked or didn't work 35 years ago. Just as dangerous to rely on answers to questions that used to predict, more or less accurately, what mattered to voters in deciding whom to vote for.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world. Just look at the Dems if you have any doubts.

wwww said...

"Is it possible that the polls are wrong?"

Polls are models. Probabilistic models. It's not wrong to say 1 out of 4 chance, if the 25% probability results.

I wouldn't discount a 25% probability of the house burning down. Of a car crash. Of a airplane crashing into the Pacific. So don't discount it if you see it in a poll.

As of yesterday 8 polls showed a drop in the approval rating in the last 2 weeks. I'm ready to say there was a drop. How big or small, I could not guess. Are all the polls wrong? Sure, it's a possibility all the models are way off.

-Historically the economic situation is not as significant in midterms as it is for Presidential years.

-Independents generally prefer divided government for the check.

-Nate Cohn/ NYTimes/ Upshot Sienna is running a series of polls live on House races. You can see the results as they come in. They are transparent with methodology. Remember House races only call about 500 people. Results are noisier then other polls that call 1000.

They are doing this to inform people about the polling process. Many pollsters after 2016 realized a lot of people don't understand polls.

tcrosse said...

So Trump is unpopular. Compared to what or to whom? If he has to run against the Platonic Ideal of a US President in 2020, he's sunk. But that person doesn't exist.

rehajm said...

A recent poll said that Democrats simply don’t believe that the economy is good

They all promised to eat bugs or crow if Trump produced a strong economy. They're nervous someone will hold them to it like when they promised to eat bugs or crow if Trump won.

Bugs or crow do not. Taste. Good.

wwww said...

"They were in 2016, when Trump blindsided everybody..."


“This article is so fucking idiotic and irresponsible,”

That was Nate Silver in a tweet storm aimed at at Huffington Post. The Post accused Silver of downgrading Clinton's chances, when Silver said Clinton only had a 64% chance of winning.


The polls weren't wrong, so much as people, apparently, cannot understand how to read polls.

Michael K said...

Oh no, I have it on good authority that al Qeada is stronger than ever.

How could ISIS be defeated ?

tim in vermont said...

Many pollsters after 2016 realized a lot of people don’t understand polls.

Journalists foremost among them. Although about a year ago a WaPo reporter got fired because she was caught giving a seminar on how to use polling data to manipulate elections. So maybe they understand polls better than we think.


https://nypost.com/2018/09/10/we-need-to-keep-trumps-blue-collar-job-boom-going/

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse you keep writing that. The polls were not wrong. The outcome was within the margin of error for most of the polls."

Uh... try reading the sentence after the one you quoted.

Char Char Binks said...

I want tickets to the drowning circus!

tim in vermont said...

Sorry, the link is to an unrelated story.

wwww said...

"The polls were not wrong. The outcome was within the margin of error for most of the polls."

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Who are they polling and how? I'm just one insignificant voter that has a favorable view of Trump and that never participates in a poll. If those phone calls I get from unknown numbers that I do not answer are poll takers, how many other Trump supporters are doing the same. Do these polls account for that?

-sw

bagoh20 said...

As always, it's style vs substance. Dems, and many other don't let numbers and facts get in the way of their feels. Is there any doubt that most Dems would vote for Obama over Trump even if they were guaranteed a loss of millions of jobs and thousands of dollars in higher taxes and lower wages. I don't mean the possibility. I mean a guaranty. They still would take the hit to have the style of Obama, which I personally find even more offensive than Trump's. The lecturing, scolding, nose-in-the-air arrogance and cluelessness of a college sophomore snowflake telling me that the business I built through years of long hours of sweat and blood is not something I built. Bite me, you fucking fuck.

Rick said...

Is it possible that the polls are wrong? They were in 2016, when Trump blindsided everybody.

The polls aren't wrong, they're measuring something different.

rehajm said...

Probabilistic prediction models mean never having to say you were wrong.

tim in vermont said...

"The polls were not wrong. The outcome was within the margin of error for most of the polls.”

A lot of people made bad assumptions that there would be no systematic change to the polls. They assumed that each state was like a coin toss, independent of the others, and were this true, a Trump win was incredibly unlikely. It’s actually the same brand of error that Michael Mann made in his hockey stick. Maybe both times the error was made on purpose for propaganda purposes, IDK. The reality was more like if a bunch of trees fell in different states, would they fall randomly if there were a strong wind across all of the states.

People also say that the Nazis didn’t get the atomic bomb first because of a deliberate error in the calculations by one of their leading scientists. I personally doubt that too, I think he just screwed up and saved the world from a Hitler victory and ability to lord it over the US and Russia as the sole holder of nuclear weapons. Small error in assumptions in a problem of statistics and probability are incredibly easy to make.

rhhardin said...

What's unprecedented is the daily anti-Trump MSM for years.

wwww said...



I look at the trend lines of polls in the last 3 weeks of the election.

I don't cherry pick polls. I look at a lot of them & I look at movement.

Drago said...

tim in vermont: "A recent poll said that Democrats simply don’t believe that the economy is good."

Not just democrats. The dems LLR lap dogs are out bad-mouthing the economy too and trying to give obama credit for it.

Kevin Hassett standing up there this week and blowing those moronic views out of the water must have been a bad day for the left and LLR Chuck!

n.n said...

"There’s Never Been a President This Unpopular..."

with domestic and global 1%ers and wannabe elites.

"With an Economy This Good"

Hopefully, it's not an economy of redistributive change with progressive returns.

Drago said...

I sure hope Kevin Hassett doesn't have any young children.

That's like waving a red flag in front of a bull for LLR Chuck.

Chuck said...

Althouse when you ask rhetorically, "Is it possible that the polls are wrong?", and when you then answer categorically that "They were in 2016, when Trump blindsided everybody...", there is only one reasonable understanding of that. You think, as you have written in the past, that the 2016 polling was wrong. And I am here to say that the polling wasn't wrong. The nature of Trump's electoral victory was narrow and indeed freakish, in the way that he parlayed a few midwestern states into winning electoral numbers despite losing the popular vote on a scale that was squarely within the national polls' respective margins of error.

Again; I say, the polls were not wrong. Are you agreeing with me, that the 2016 presidential polls were NOT wrong?

bagoh20 said...

Wait till the economy has even the slightest downturn or even a leveling off. Then it will be "the economy, stupid" again. That would suddenly eclipse even Russia, collusion, and pussy hats across the media.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Wrong to ass-u-me R's want Trump invigorated.

buwaya said...

The RCP average was Clinton +5 to +7 until just two weeks before the election.
Well out of margin of error.

+5-7 was pretty much where it had been through most of the campaigning season.

RCP 2016

BUMBLE BEE said...

What bagoh20 said... and democrats worshiping Obama have the stones to call Trump a liar. What dipshits!

bagoh20 said...

Trump won states he was clearly projected to lose according to the polls. That's what the polls being wrong means.

buwaya said...

"that the 2016 presidential polls were NOT wrong?"

They were wrong - as in not usefully predictive - most of the time throughout 2016.

Virgil Hilts said...

Chuck, the national poll may have been not that far off, but the state by state polls (the ones that count given our system) were. Per Forbes: at the "state-level general election polls did not do as well. Examining more than 400 state polls conducted in the final 13 days, the committee concluded that they had a “historically bad year” in comparison to the four most recent presidential elections. The average absolute error in state polls in 2016 was 5.1 percentage points; from 2000 to 2012 it ranged from 3.2 to 4.6 points. Average errors were smaller in battleground states, but the polls predicted the wrong winner in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In the heated pre-election atmosphere, many pollsters failed to communicate the degree of uncertainty. . . This compounded the errors in the state polls by creating false confidence in the certainty of a Clinton victory..."

Chuck said...

buwaya said...
The RCP average was Clinton +5 to +7 until just two weeks before the election.
Well out of margin of error.

+5-7 was pretty much where it had been through most of the campaigning season.


I gave you some slightly inaccurate numbers up above, coming right off the top of my head. The real numbers are even better for me, and worse for you and Althouse.

The final RCP National Average was Clinton +3.2.
The final national vote total was Clinton +2.1.

Well within the margin of error. The polls were not wrong.


Michael K said...

Chuck is still relitigating the election.

He just can't understand how all those deplorables could get it so wrong.

I expect he really voted for Egg McMuffin.

buwaya said...

"The polls were not wrong."

If the polls are grossly (well outside the margin of error) wrong for a year, and then correct for just the week prior to the election, then what use are they?

Narayanan Subramanian said...

@Chuck ... Come on , say it ... Polls can never be wrong, only candidates have expectations go awry .

gilbar said...

so, if 'my poll' said that there was a %99.99999999999999 probability that Hilary, and EVERY OTHER dem on EVERY OTHER ticket would win in a landslide....

LLR's would say, "well, he Never Said it Would happen, he just said it was likely"?
I'm asking 'cause LOTS of news shows were listing %99+ prob{here's one:Hillary landslide)

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

He's unpopular based on Hillarywoodland and a corrupt hack press(D).

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Bagoh @ 4:32

!!!!!

Sebastian said...

Trump is under unprecedented attack.

Trump fights back in a way that also steps on his own good news.

buwaya said...

Imagine trying to plan for whatever on the basis of election polls 1-6 months prior to an election. Such as set up project budgets based on expectations of government regulatory policy. People have to do this.

Then imagine having to rely on polls such as those of 2016.

wwww said...

The RCP average was Clinton +5 to +7 until just two weeks before the election.


Pollsters can't FORCE the undecideds to make up their minds until they are good and ready.

Polls aren't perfect. Pollsters aren't fortune-tellers. They measure probability. They measure movement.

Watch when a bunch of polls move in one direction. Did the polls tighten 2 weeks before the election? Is someone catching up fast in numerous polls? Look at that. Watch the movement. Look at the margin of error. Consider the % of undecideds.

Kristian Holvoet said...

I just got off the phone with Rasmussen. They ask about approve / disapprove, not whether we'd vote for him.

To be brutally clear: He probably could kill a hobo in Times Square, and I still would vote for him over Hillary. The decisions isn't *just* about him, it includes the alternative(s).

And the dem fruit loopy cupcakes aren't looking so hot atm.

wwww said...


but, ya know, it's up to you.

Polls are what they are. They aren't perfect. There's no law that says you have to pay attention to them.

Michael K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya said...

"Pollsters aren't fortune-tellers."

Damn right they are fortune tellers.

So are weather forecasters, climatologists, physicians, budget analysts, the characters who write business cases, the guys who set Lloyds rates, and for that matter engineers.

They supply a probability (implicit sometimes). Probabilities are used to calculate expected returns or expected costs (cost x % prob), and many people make decisions on this basis.

Michael K said...

I'll start to worry when Trump's polling numbers are below those of the news media.

Older Americans tend to view the media more positively than younger adults do. Democrats largely trust the media and Republicans largely distrust it. The divergence based on political affiliation was also seen in perceptions of bias in the news. Forty-five percent of Americans say there is a “a great deal” of political bias in news coverage (up from 25 percent in 1989); 67 percent of Republicans say they see “a great deal” of political bias in the news, versus only 26 percent of Democrats.

Mike said...

"Is it possible that the polls are wrong? They were in 2016, when Trump blindsided everybody. "

Once more, with feeling: the polls were right in 2016. They had Clinton up by 2 points nationally, she won by two points nationally. Trump outdid the polls in some states; he underperformed the polls in others. They just happened to align to give him an electoral majority.

buwaya said...

If they weren't fortune tellers they would not be able to sell their services.

Just like management consultants.

Virgil Hilts said...

Kristian has a good point - I strongly disapprove of Trump the man. But I loathe Kamala Harris with every fiber of my being. I defy any Democrat to dislike DT as much as I dislike KH. I didn't vote in the last election. But if it comes down to a bad man versus the epitome of evil, I will hold my nose and vote for DT.

buwaya said...

Mike,

See above - If the polls are grossly (well outside the margin of error) wrong for a year, and then correct for just the week prior to the election, then how were they, in any useful sense, "right"?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Democrats trust the media who are in bed with the democrat party. Anyone surprised?

gilbar said...

Bagoh @ 4:32
most Dems would vote for Obama over Trump even if they were guaranteed a loss of millions of jobs
ah But! THEY wouldn't be guaranteed a loss of millions of jobs; THEY wouldn't lose a single job. The job losses would be in fields where people have to do actual Work, not fields like college affirmative active coordinator.
During 'the great recession', O'Bama spent his ENTIRE stimulus package protecting government jobs.

buwaya said...

"Pollsters can't FORCE the undecideds to make up their minds until they are good and ready."

That is a problem for the pollsters. If they have nothing useful to offer until that happens, and they can't predict that, their tech is defective to such a degree that they are useless.

Francisco D said...

"The polls showed that it was close right before the election."

I am surprised that anyone with an IQ above room temperature would think that political polls are objective and scientific. The pattern is to show that Republican candidates are losing badly and have no chance - UNTIL a few days before the election when the polls reflects a "last minute surge" for Republicans.

Pollsters use survey methods to skew their polls in the direction of their favored candidates. This is intended to encourage the Left and discourage Republicans and independents. The last minute "surge"is how pollsters can say that they were within the margin of error so they can retain the semblance of credibility over time.

I am not surprised that fake Republican lawyers would spread polling propaganda that is used against Republicans. It is what Moby Chuckles does.

Original Mike said...

What was the Nate Silver “chances of winning” going into the election? I seem to remember Hillary 65% Trump 35% (though my memory may be in error). The polls got the election wrong by any practical use of the word.

Rick said...

The lecturing, scolding, nose-in-the-air arrogance and cluelessness of a college sophomore snowflake telling me that the business I built through years of long hours of sweat and blood is not something I built.

The left's first step in taking it from you is claiming you didn't earn it.

Original Mike said...

”And they'll express approval of a lot of things they won't do: getting lots of sleep, eating piles of fresh vegetables, and following Jesus.”

Trump is like your vegetables; they’re good for you.

Drago said...

FD: "This is intended to encourage the Left and discourage Republicans and independents."

That's what LLR Chuck likes the most about them, though, to be sure, there are many other ways that the pollsters support the dems that Chuck clearly admires as well.

And if those same pollsters then present their dem-friendly findings on a far left show like LLR Chuck's beloved Maddow, well then. That's just a little slice of heaven for Chuck right there...

Drago said...

buwaya: "Imagine trying to plan for whatever on the basis of election polls 1-6 months prior to an election. Such as set up project budgets based on expectations of government regulatory policy. People have to do this"

Thank you for mentioning this.

Don't forget the strategic discussions of how to consolidate operations and reorganize global entities in the midst of the lefties snit fits over an American President stating simply that we will no longer be your designated shmucks.

Chuck said...


See above - If the polls are grossly (well outside the margin of error) wrong for a year, and then correct for just the week prior to the election, then how were they, in any useful sense, "right"?


LMFAO! Do tell us precisely how you know that national presidential was “wrong” for months leading up to the 2016 general election.

And I suppose that because this is an Althouse comments page I have to state the obvious; that the only way to know if a poll is wrong is on the day after the election. And the only poll that the results can speak to, is an election-eve poll. Nobody has any way of knowing if earlier polling was wrong, or by how much.

JPS said...

tim in vermont,

"People also say that the Nazis didn’t get the atomic bomb first because of a deliberate error in the calculations by one of their leading scientists. I personally doubt that too, I think he just screwed up"

Agreed.

One reason for the popularity of this theory is that a lot of people would prefer to believe that a guy as brilliant as Heisenberg couldn't have been a Nazi supporter straightforwardly trying to make Der Fuehrer a bomb. It makes smart people feel better about smart people to think (a) he wasn't wrong on something this big, and (b) he was secretly, dare I say it, Resisting from within. Intriguing notion, but I've never bought it.

Also, he really wasn't wrong scientifically. You can get to the bomb essentially the way he was trying to, he just was never going to get there before we did, which he had no reasonable way to know. Also I doubt he reckoned on never-surrendered Norwegian soldiers repeatedly blowing up his heavy water after he'd committed to that line of inquiry. Certainly Hitler never gave the program the priority he did his wonder-weapons, or anything like we gave the Manhattan Project.

He got scooped. It happens in science.

Sorry to go off-topic but I love this one.

wild chicken said...

Still time for the economy to go south. There's another housing bubble popping and more loose lending again...

hombre said...

Republicans need to run a commercial like Reagan’s “Morning In America” piece specific to this time. They can’t do petty with the Democrats and their pet mediaswine, nobody can.

Trump’s dramatically improved economy, robust foreign policy, commitment to the wall, etc. Sagging ratings. Democrats and some independents obviously prefer unemployment, record food stamps, anemic GDP, nuclear Iran, ISIS, crooked DOJ and other Obama artifacts.

Mostly women, the great moral and intellectual force of our time. /s

Darkisland said...

I wonder how much of the bad poll numbers is people liking President Trump but looking at trump supporters being vilified and worse. The think "why take a chance on anonymity. I'll just say I don't like him. Very little chance of harm to a non-trump supporter."

John Henry

hombre said...

Oh. I forgot the LLR Chucks among the “Democrats and some independents” at 5:53.

M Jordan said...

I recently drove through Ohio stopping at two services plazas coming and going. I looked around st the people and determined every single one of them was a Trump voter. Okay, not all of them but I saw not a soul who was clearly not one. My instincts in this area are rock solid ... like Peter Stryock, I can virtually *smell* Trump voters.

It’s anecdotal, to be sure, but I’m serious: Trump would win Ohio today by 20 points, polls be damned.

Yesterday, in South Haven, Michigan, a lovely tourist town, I met a woman who had just bought a condo there and was living the retirement dream. I floated a shibboleth: I inserted something about the tax cuts Into a broader point. I watched her perk up. Soon it was clear: another Trump supporter. But like all the middle and up class ones, fearful to say so. This was a Trump. Other I couldn’t smell out.

Trust me on this: they’re out there en masse. You will see.

Known Unknown said...

Trump should buck tradition and schedule a State of the Union speech on November 5.

wild chicken said...

BTW I for one take all polls and surveys, and pose as an independent. Last call it was clear Tester is trying to figure out how to vote on Kavanaugh.

The call was probably more important in MT than my vote!

hombre said...

A blue wave will make it official, the leftist mediaswine control a nation of mostly morons.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"It's STUPID'S Economy !!"

Michael K said...

Certainly Hitler never gave the program the priority he did his wonder-weapons

Hitler was clever the first two years of the war. It was a sort of feminine intuition.

After the Russian invasion, he pretty much lost it. He had imaginary weapons. Had he really supported, say the ME 262, the Germans might have inflicted such pain on the 8th AF that we would have let up. I doubt it would have helped him with the Russians. The T 34 was just too good and Stalin was willing to take millions of casualties.

The atomic bomb required, just like the B 29, the resources of the US. Britain actually had a lot of the knowledge for the bomb but not the resources. Penicillin was the same.

rcocean said...

People forget how unpopular Bush was. After the glow of 911 and the Iraq War wore off he was down in the 40's - and that was by Jan 2006. And he never recovered.

Unless there's a War or a National Emergency, about 50% of the country disapproves of the Republican President - no matter what.

Remember Bush-I got 37% of vote in 1992. Ford Lost Re-election, and Nixon's poll numbers were so low in 1972, people thought Muskie would beat him.

Birkel said...

Chuck, fopdoodle extraordinaire, once again looks only at the polls directly before the election. Conveniently, he ignores the polls that showed Hillary up double digits two weeks before the election.

Now, one could argue that both sets of polls were accurate and more than 10% of the electorate swung for Trump in two weeks. Or one could look at the likelier option: the polls two weeks before the election were used as tools to shape the election but they failed to do so.

Chuck, fopdoodle extraordinaire, fails to recognize the current polls are being used to shape public opinion. They are a tool to demoralize the right and encourage the left. And Chuck, known racist, would have us believe these polls because they suit his interests.

tcrosse said...

Britain actually had a lot of the knowledge for the bomb but not the resources. Penicillin was the same.

Also Radar.

Michael K said...

Radar was used pretty well by the British, while the A bomb was not and the use of penicillin was quite limited.

Another example of British innovation was Sonar, called by them ASDIC.

Robert Cook said...

How do we know the economy is doing well? It's all fake news, isn't it?

tcrosse said...

Radar was used pretty well by the British

The British invented the cavity magnetron, which they passed on the USA. The Radiation Lab at MIT had the resources to carry on the further development of radar, and the US had the manufacturing capacity that wartime Britain lacked.

Mike said...

"What was the Nate Silver “chances of winning” going into the election? I seem to remember Hillary 65% Trump 35% (though my memory may be in error). The polls got the election wrong by any practical use of the word"

If the 35% thing doesn't happen 35% of the time, your analysis is wrong. In 2008 and 2012, the most likely thing happened; in 2016 the less likely thing happened. That's how probability works. All year long, the polls bounced around an equilibrium point of Clinton +2. Occasionally, her lead would grow. Occasionally, Trump would move into a tie. On election day they were Clinton+2. The results were Clinton+2. Tump overperformed in some states, underperformed in others, absolutely consistent with what you'd expect for random chance. It happened he overperformed in several critical states that Clinton neglected and underperformed in states that didn't matter where she spent time running up big majorities. So he won the electoral college.

tcrosse said...

How do we know the economy is doing well? It's all fake news, isn't it?

Call it False Consciousness on a gigantic scale.

narciso said...

Conrad stark was the Nazi science czar, who insisted on Aryan scientists, he was a minor character in search of klingsor.

Robert Cook said...

"To be brutally clear: He probably could kill a hobo in Times Square, and I still would vote for him over Hillary. The decisions isn't *just* about him, it includes the alternative(s)."

There's something wrong with you if you'd vote for anyone for president who killed a hobo in Times Square. The alternative is not to vote for an equally or more distasteful opposing candidate, the alternative is not to vote for either. That's why I voted third party, (as I have for 20 years).

buwaya said...

"How do we know the economy is doing well? It's all fake news, isn't it?"

This is an excellent question.
It is a terrible mistake to depend on the "news" on these things, no matter in which direction any source is skewed. In a reasonably well run country however it is possible to trust government and commercial statistics, and indeed the financial press - that was noted by Chomsky, as should be well known.

Now, it is best to go have a look at original sources. Back in the day you had to go to the library to check statistical abstracts and other such publications. Fortunately today you can get almost everything online, from the Bureau of Labor statistics, the Census, the Federal Reserve, the Energy Department, various private industry groups, etc. and etc.

Robert Cook said...

"But if it comes down to a bad man versus the epitome of evil, I will hold my nose and vote for DT."

If Kamala Harris is, to you, the epitome of evil, you have a very low threshold for what you consider evil. Has she killed anyone, abused children, starved the elderly, tortured cats?

And, to echo my statement above, why vote for either a bad man or the epitome of evil? Refuse to vote for someone you know (or perceive) to be a bad person, to whatever degree.

Big Mike said...

Anyone who paid attention to the national polls in 2016 was an idiot. What the state by state polls were saying in the closing weeks of the campaign were that (1) in more than enough states to put Trump over 270 electoral votes Hillary had a fairly firm ceiling of about 47% and could not seem to rise above that, and (2) the undecideds were breaking towards Trump. What I was seeing was a pattern were Trump was closing the gap rapidly in enough places to give him multiple paths to 270. I was certain that if the election ran another few days he’d be a lock (but it couldn’t, because November 8 is as late as it can be Constitutionally held) but I admit I was feeling better and better daily.

My sense right now is that the Democrats are going to be disappointed on November 6th, but anything can happen in 8 weeks. Can the GOP incumbents in the House nationalize the election, making it about the gibbering, unpopular Pelosi? Can they tie Democrat challengers to extremists like Ocasio-Cortez? Can Republican incumbents convince voters that their Democrat challengers will have a moderate message for the campaign, but Pelosi and Schumer will have the leverage to force them to toe a more extremist line? Will Mueller launch an October surprise? Will it matter? Can Trump motivate his base to vote for Republican candidates for the House and Senate who are more moderate than he is? If the answers are Yes, Yes, Yes, Probably, Probably not, and Hell Yes, then forget the polls; it’s a Republican landslide. But there’s a lot of “Can they” to get there.

Big Mike said...

If Kamala Harris is, to you, the epitome of evil, you have a very low threshold for what you consider evil. Has she killed anyone, abused children, starved the elderly, tortured cats?

To my knowledge Kamala Harris has never tortured any cats.

buwaya said...

" Has she killed anyone, abused children, starved the elderly, tortured cats?"

I recall Ronald Reagan was accused of all the above, other than torturing cats. But who knows, there were volumes written about Reagan.

As for Harris, she is a low-level, low-minded functionary with no thoughts of her own. A puppet, a mouthpiece.

wwww said...

"If the 35% thing doesn't happen 35% of the time, your analysis is wrong. In 2008 and 2012, the most likely thing happened; in 2016 the less likely thing happened. That's how probability works."


(Stands up! This, this right here, this!)


Let's say I say to you: Hey, 35% chance your plane is gonna crash this afternoon. Do you dismiss that warning? Are you comfortable getting on that plane?

Rabel said...

"Virtually all major vote forecasters put Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning in the range of 70 to 99 percent."

- NY Times, Nov. 10, 2016

"The polls weren't wrong!"

- Chuck, Sept. 12, 2018

M Jordan said...

The weekend before the 2016 election someone put down a BIG bet on Trump in the British betting market. It was noted. Who was this mysterious person that, against all public sentiment and poll-modelers odds, saw something happening out in the electorate.

I don’t know. But I watch for similar events each cycle. Anecdotal evidence is HIGHLY underrated. Moneyball has given way too much credit to data. Data is useful but it squirms beneath our fingers. And it’s exceedingly massageable.

My gut says R’s will hold the House, increase in the Senate, and Trump will get two golden years while the media licks its wounds.

Rabel said...

There is no evidence that proves that Kamala Harris has not tortured cats.

Francisco D said...

"Nobody has any way of knowing if earlier polling was wrong, or by how much."

Yes. This is obviously true.

In order to understand polling error or bias we need to look at historical trends. From my unscientific viewpoint, the trends are clear - Democrats are always way ahead in the beginning, but Republicans catch up at the end. There are three possible (and not mutually exclusive) reasons:

1. People are afraid to tell pollsters they are voting for Republicans early in the cycle, but change over time;

2. People are almost ALWAYS against Republicans in the beginning, but make CONSISTENTLY dramatic shifts at the end;

3. Pollsters manipulate the polling process to repress Republican turnout and increase Democrat turnout.

The most credible explanation of this clear historical trend is #3.

Hey Chuckles,

No one has any way of knowing how many Detroit precincts went 125% for Obama (while you pretended to be a Republican election judge) and there was NO VOTE FRAUD.

.

Earnest Prole said...

Trump doesn't have time to take credit for the blazing economy; he's already late for his next twitter brawl.

M Jordan said...

It is being reported that Kampala Harris tortures cats.

Francisco D said...

"It is being reported that Kampala Harris tortures cats."

She definitely tortures basic logic and fairness when she goes into her Stalinesque questioning of witnesses.

buwaya said...

"Trump doesn't have time to take credit for the blazing economy; he's already late for his next twitter brawl."

For all we know twitter brawls are surprisingly relevant to the business climate.

MountainMan said...

Circus in Washington? How about the circus in Mountain View.

Known Unknown said...

"she killed anyone, abused children, starved the elderly, tortured cats?"

No, but she wants to control my life. (And yes, most Republicans do, too, but they are at least a bit shy about it.)

Known Unknown said...

"she killed anyone, abused children, starved the elderly, tortured cats?"

Paul Ryan has all of this covered.

/msnbc

tcrosse said...

Studies show that Kamala Harris tortures cats.

Michael K said...

Refuse to vote for someone you know (or perceive) to be a bad person, to whatever degree.

Knowing you, Robert, I highly recommend you do not vote. Besides, Bill Browder is not on the ballot.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Remember pervy Uncle Joe Biden's riff when he announced "I'm the new sherriff in town, and I'm gonna account for every penny" of the stimulus? Good commercial material. Francisco %35 of the votes couldn't make the recount in Detroit, the vote containers weren't sealed properly. Dems snuck off in silence.

Michael K said...

Speaking of phony candidates backed by big money, even the LA Times notices Newsom's backers.

Rabel said...

Shocking photo of Kamala Harris colluding with unindicted co-conspirators.

William said...

I disapprove of the Catholic Church, but I'm not going to convert to Islam.........Of course people disapprove of Trump. He probably had sex with a third tier pornstar and definitely paid for her silence. That's wrong. I disapprove of it. But when you consider the behavior of his peers in the news media and entertainment industries, he comes off as a saint. You've got to grade these things on a curve......The Church, given its record of enabling sex offenders, sounds very weak when preaching against global warming. Hollywood, given its record of honoring a child rapist and entering into business partnerships with a man who raped their girlfriend(s) is singularly ill equipped to warn us about Trump. Ditto with the various news people.......Donald Trump has never actually shot anyone. Teddy Kennedy walked away from drowning girl.

Original Mike said...

”If the 35% thing doesn't happen 35% of the time, your analysis is wrong.”

I know how statistics works. That’s not the point. These guys command big money to predict a very important event that will happen once. It’s on them to get it right, no matter what. They didn’t. They. Were. Wrong. If I was paying them I would not have been impressed with “well, if you ran the election 100 times ...”

buwaya said...

"Speaking of phony candidates backed by big money, even the LA Times notices Newsom's backers."

Newsom was always the San Francisco "downtown" candidate. His dad was a fixer for the Gettys. He's related to the Pelosis. Not a phony, just a made man among the local big shots.

BUMBLE BEE said...

The whole Democrat party walked away from Bengazi. !2 hour firefight. Heroes. Dems got anybody like that?

bagoh20 said...

"When you're famous, you can grab them by the cat." ~ K. Harris

iowan2 said...

Kamala Harris has refused to admit that she no longer tortures cat, or use plastic straws.The silence is deafening.

roesch/voltaire said...

Let me see my mutual funds are down, Wisconsin just lost more dairy farms this month that last year combined, the state has to pony up more corporate welfare for the ailing paper industry so they don't lay off more workers, and the pig farmers are squealing because the tariffs are hurting the so we give them more millions. And in the Middle East the fighting goes on with Russia ignoring our wishes. Ah yes it all looks rosy when you drink the half of glass of Kool aid.

Virgil Hilts said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
"Has she killed anyone, abused children, starved the elderly, tortured cats?"
She is evil in the way Nurse Ratched was (who also never killed or starved anyone). She was in an important position and abused it to for her own ego and political gain and the detriment of the people whom she was supposed to protect. Her refusal to clamp down on prosecutorial and other misconduct in CA, to protect railroaded criminal defendants, was atrocious. I would love it if DT labeled her as Nurse Ratched, but perhaps not enough of us still around that read the book and loved the movie.
Just a sampling - http://reason.com/blog/2018/01/09/kamala-harris-went-to-bat-for-dirty-pros
There is a lot more dirty laundry.

Birkel said...

roesch/voltaire:
Your mutual funds are down since January 20, 2017? Are your funds invested with the Madoff Fund?

Trumpit said...

Trump deserves as much credit for the illusory good economy as Jim Jones gets for making Kool-Aid for his over 900 followers all of whom died from cyanide poisoning in 1978. You can't turn the erection of Don the Con Schlump into a positive thing even if manna rained down on the people from the impending Florence hurricane. Maybe FEMA should provide Kool-Aid similarly laced to the suffering people of the South East to put them out of their misery. And you don't believe in Global Warming. You Trumptards need to finish your glass of green (or is it greed?) kool-aid, and Thank Schlump for saving your life.

Trump is great and Trump is good.
And we thank him for our food.
By his hands we all are fed.
Thank you, Trump, for our daily bread.
Trump is great and Trump is good,
And we thank him for our food. Amen.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Jones#Visit_by_Congressman_Ryan_and_mass_suicide_at_Jonestown

eric said...

Has everyone forgotten Cindy Sheehan? Code Pink? The Anti Iraq War protesters? Hurricane Katrina?

This is all the same stuff. The point is drama. People get tired of drama.

Let's take children as an example. Children throw a fit if you don't give them what they want. You can either appease them, or you can pit your will against theirs and see who can last longer. If you really love your child, you do not appease them when they throw a fit.

But sadly, many people don't do this. Instead, they appease, because they don't like drama.

How do we end the drama in the United States?

The MSM has been pretty clear on this for the last 20 years. Elect Democrats.

I think it's going to work, again. For at least 2 years, until people see, once again, what it means to appease the fit throwers by giving them what they want.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Birkel said...”roesch/voltaire: Your mutual funds are down since January 20, 2017? Are your funds invested with the Madoff Fund?”

Yeah, please tell us more r/v. Please be specific.

Darrell said...

roesch/voltaire:
Your mutual funds are down since January 20, 2017?


R/V and Cookie only invest in "Woke" firms.
Get woke, go broke.

iowan2 said...

Closing in on 100 comments and no one gets it. The question was not about the polls being wrong, but rather the voters can disapprove and still vote for someone, and do, ALL THE TIME.

But it does force us to look at the subject. (kind of like Trumps tweets, 100 years since GDP is higher than unemployment. It was wrong, but it forced the media to talk about how GOOD each number is) So the polls serve what purpose? Only one thing. Drive the narrative. That's it, end of sentence. Accuracy has nothing to do with it. The questions asked, the weighting, the order of questions, and on and on.Drive the narrative and shape public opinion. Today, with early voting, intentional skewing the polls likely moves undecideds to vote with the winner, because voting for the winner makes them feel better. In short the polls are lies. Same with approval polls, just stuff to support the talking heads pre-packaged opinions. The polls are meaningless.
Very silly to argue about.
But, our hostess did say in this post that the polls were RIGHT. So whats the squabble?

roesch/voltaire said...

Yes my Pimpco PISIX has dropped since Aug 23rd and it is not the only one, and of course more and more warning about the next crash in auto loans as well as housing so it seems like the only safe bet is cannabis" Smile.

Original Mike said...

Blogger roesch/voltaire said...”Yes my Pimpco PISIX has dropped since Aug 23rd and it is not the only one, ...”

Really? You have funds that are down from where they were 3 weeks ago? I would sell! Sell Now!!!!!

becauseIdbefired said...

And one more thing, something even more drowned out than the economy. Trump defeated ISIS (NYT):

Odd how ISIS hasn't been in the news at all. Let's be fair, though, despite that Trump reduced their numbers to 1,000 from 35,000, and that he freed over twice as many people as did Obama, google searches show clearly that Trump simply followed Obama's policies. Oh, with a Trumpian twist: more bombs, kill them all, and more autonomy of decisions to the people doing the work.

Michael K said...

Ah yes it all looks rosy when you drink the half of glass of Kool aid.

R/V is successfully avoiding those evil energy stocks and other issues that are acceptable for the Woke mutual funds.

WK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WK said...

"There’s Never Been a President This Unpopular..."

“No school this small has ever been to the state championship.” - Shooter Flatch

Original Mike said...

I could use the market dropping. At my age, I don’t have long time horizons. I could use a dip.

Not counting on it, though.

cubanbob said...

The thing that Mike and Chuck fail to notice that while national polls might be accurate if elections were strictly national with the majority of the national electorate deciding the winner. However we don't have such elections. We have fifty separate albeit simultaneous elections with the winner being whoever wins the majority of the electoral votes. Is this too difficult to understand?

Gk1 said...

Hilarious, why are we still pretending 2016 Election polls were accurate or within the "margin of error"? It was an epic belly flop. That is the take away most normal people will always remember it. Like the Hindenburg or the Titanic sinking, there is no getting around it. To say the polls were almost correct is like saying Michael Spinks "fought Mike Tyson to a standstill" up to the point he had his head cleaved in 91 seconds into Round 1.

buwaya said...

Pimco PISIX is up @23% since Jan 2017

Trump has bought me a Spanish flat, a very, very nice one someplace gracious, should I manage to convince my wife to move. And thats just with my American investments.

Original Mike said...

”Pimco PISIX is up @23% since Jan 2017.”

But it’s down since Aug 23 (apparently).

gsgodfrey said...

Blogger roesch/voltaire said...”Yes my Pimpco PISIX has dropped since Aug 23rd and it is not the only one, ...”

PISIX is the PIMCO StocksPLUS *International* Fund.

narciso said...


I would say performance is decidedly mixed

http://performance.morningstar.com/fund/performance-return.action?t=PISIX&region=usa&culture=en-US

Original Mike said...

”PISIX is the PIMCO StocksPLUS *International* Fund.”

It’s an international fund? That’s funny! (Somebody please explain the joke to R/V.)

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mac McConnell said...

Tumpit
Why bring up Jim Jones a Bay Area Democrat operative. Best known prior to Jones Town as the go to guy to buss voters from out of district to to vote where needed.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Polls? Sort of like the one that has Taco Bell the best Mexican restaurant?

Yancey Ward said...

The national polls were flat out wrong in 2016, and we know they wrong because not a single one of them caught on to the fact that Clinton's national total vote margin came from a single state in the end. A national poll that can't detect that problem is worthless- whether or not it gets the actual margin correct because it is clearly just luck.

In addition, Trump won several states outside the margin of error of the state polls- all states that he was predicted to lose- Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Even the exit polls, which have the advantage of polling only actual voters, those from late in the afternoon on election day, were catastrophically wrong- it was why all of the national networks held up calling certain state races where Trump won- states like Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia- the exit polls were telling them that Trump had lost those states. Trump voters were deliberately lying to the pollsters both before and after voting. I suspect you are seeing a similar thing in the job approval polls and with the generic ballot polls. Can you not see the media coverage that Trump gets and connect to the willingness to answer a polling question from these same media organizations?

Yancey Ward said...

I mean, they even held up calling Ohio for Trump even though it was obvious he had the state won by at least 7% early in the count- the reason was that the exit polls told the networks something different. Trump basically overperformed in every single state from that state's final polls before the election and outside the reported margins of error, and overperformed the exit polling predictions, too- also outside the margin of error in almost every single case.

Again, if the so-called "national polls" had any validity, some of them would have caught onto the fact that Clinton's support was dangerously concentrated on the coasts- none of them did. Not a single polling organization made the statement that, sure Clinton had a 2 to 3 point lead, but our internals are telling us that this do to 1 or 2 states alone, and that Trump is probably leading by 2-3 points outside of CA and NY.

FIDO said...

I don't 'like' Trump.

I want the Illegal Iran deal scuttled.

I want a stronger economy

I want cheap energy

I want REASONABLY priced healthcare with lots of competition (i.e. Anything but Obamacare)

I want ISIS and other Muslim extremeists punished hard.

I want stronger border controls

I want our electoral rolls audited.

I want a STRONG ethic of the Rule of Law (not what Hillary has EVER done in her whole life)


What Democrat is going to give me these things?

I think somewhere around 55% of Americans feel this way. Probably more.

So who will they vote for?

I also don't answer polls. I bet at least 10% of the electorate feels that way. We don't owe you data and we aren't helping you strategize.

Robert Cook said...

”She is evil in the way Nurse Ratched was (who also never killed or starved anyone). She was in an important position and abused it to for her own ego and political gain and the detriment of the people whom she was supposed to protect. “

In other words, assuming your statement is accurate, she behaved like most of her colleagues of both parties. Hardly the “epitome of evil.”

Rusty said...

buwaya said...
Pimco PISIX is up @23% since Jan 2017

"Trump has bought me a Spanish flat, a very, very nice one someplace gracious, should I manage to convince my wife to move. And thats just with my American investments."

So far Trump has paid for my youngest daughters college education. My sample portfolio, admittedley half and half blue chip and very risky tech stocks has doubled since 2016.
Thank you Mr. President.

MayBee said...

Again, if the so-called "national polls" had any validity, some of them would have caught onto the fact that Clinton's support was dangerously concentrated on the coasts- none of them did

That is a really great point, Yancy.

stlcdr said...

Ha!

"Kamala Harris; have you stopped torturing cats? Yes or No?"

"That's not..."

"It's a simple question, Ms. Harris. Yes or no?!"

Tom Grey said...

The Circus is certainly making sure that there's not as much talk about the economy as there might be.

Yet, like the smart guy speaking softly so that everybody listens more closely, the lack of "bad economic news" will likely be felt more than heard, and what little is heard is mostly positive. And Obama trying to take credit for Trump's success is likely more help to Trump.

He was partly elected because Obama failed the middle class, and Trump is succeeding.
With a magic wand:
Lower taxes, fewer regulations, ending the unfair trade deals (25% for China against US; 2% for US against China in cars).

And of course TheDonald has his own 53 million followers who have long been hearing good econ news, like this one:

Donald J. Trump Verified account
@realDonaldTrump 44m 44 minutes ago
More
“Middle-Class Income Hits All-Time High!” @foxandfriends And will continue to rise (unless the Dems get in and destroy what we have built).
--

Those who say they don't like Trump should have the intellectual honesty to at least follow his tweets (from the SOURCE! just like social science says social scientists should act).
Even if they're a bit boring, usually just bland PR plus Dem dirty tricks plus Fake News complaints plus complaints (by Trump) against the Mueller Witch Hunt with 17 ANGRY Dems.

Actually, it's nice to "hear" Trump's written words:
Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account
@realDonaldTrump
Sep 11
More
Crazy Maxine Waters: “After we impeach Trump, we’ll go after Mike Pence. We’ll get him.” @FoxNews Where are the Democrats coming from? The best Economy in the history of our country would totally collapse if they ever took control!
--
I really don't know how those midterms will come out; I don't trust the polls to be good, even if they turn out to be quite accurate. Plus, polls now are still too soon to predict early Nov.

becauseIdbefired said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

Is it possible that the polls are wrong?

It is probable. Polls are always skewed in favor of the kinds of people who participate in polls.

Rigelsen said...

the polls were not wrong

Technically no, but they were bullshit. Which is what people usually mean when they say they were wrong. And it’s more bullshit to keep trying to argue, that no, the polls were not wrong.

Anyway, the prediction models, that gave Hillary a high chance of winning, used state polls, not the national ones. The state polls had Hillary running away with the electoral college.

wbfjrr2 said...

I was actually the person who coined and suggested that phrase to President Reagan. When I saw/heard him use it in the debate, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

THERE was a great president.