Predicting 2016 State Presidential Election Results with a National Tracking Poll and MRP

Donald Trump’s widely unexpected victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has raised questions about the accuracy of public opinion polling, the aggregation of polling into probabilistic election forecasts and the interpretation of election polling by data analysts, journalists and the general public. While national-level polls on average proved as accurate as in past elections in predicting the popular vote (with an average error on the margin of about 2 points), there were substantial polling errors at the state level, particularly in Midwestern swing states (Eten 2016; Silver 2017; Cohn, Katz and Quealy 2016).

These significant misses, amplified by a proliferation of overconfident probabilistic forecasts, have (fairly or not) placed a cloud over the polling industry, provided ammunition to critics of survey research and led the leading industry association to study how the 2016 misses can be avoided in the future. This paper demonstrates the advantages of a statistical approach developed over the past two decades, multilevel regression with poststratification (MRP), in improving survey estimates in general and, specifically, in producing superior forecasts of election outcomes. CONT. – pdf

Chad P. Kiewiet de Jonge & Gary Langer, Langer Research Assoc.

Why The 2018 Senate Elections Are Looking Bad For Both Parties

The 2018 midterms are a story of two chambers. Democrats are in the best position they’ve been in since 2010 to win a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The Senate map, on the other hand, is so tilted toward the GOP that most political analysts have all but dismissed Democrats’ chances of winning the chamber before 2020. It has even been suggested that Republicans could gain enough Senate seats (eight) in 2018 to amass a filibuster-proof majority (60 seats).

This is normally the part of the article where I push back on the conventional wisdom and argue something like, actually, the 2018 Senate map isn’t that bad for Democrats. But no, it’s pretty bad: Democrats are a long shot to take back the Senate. CONT.

Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight

Are Democrats headed toward a wave election?

Quinnipiac’s recent national poll made quite a splash when it reported a Democratic lead of 16 points on the generic Congressional ballot question. Indeed, conventional wisdom – as well as historical trends – suggests that Democrats, as the party opposite that of the new president and in the Congressional minority, are poised to take back one or both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. But is it too soon to jump to this conclusion? A look at the polling data from cycles past suggests it may be, and it should temper Democrats’ enthusiasm about the prospect of a wave election. CONT.

Kyle Clark, Public Opinion Strategies

What right-wing populism? Polls reveal that it’s liberalism that’s surging.

For liberals, one of most disturbing things about the 2016 election was that it seemed to indicate a massive lurch to the right in a country they thought was getting more, not less, liberal. Many contemplated with varying degrees of seriousness whether they should simply leave a country which had suddenly become hostile territory.

That was a suspect view even at the time of Trump’s election — Clinton did, after all, get almost 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. But it’s even more suspect now, as public opinion polls have shown over and over since last November. CONT.

Ruy Teixeira (Center for American Progress), Vox

Belief in Creationist View of Humans at New Low

The percentage of U.S. adults who believe that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so — the strict creationist view — has reached a new low. CONT.

Art Swift, Gallup

Will Donald Trump Be Impeached?

After a cacophonous two weeks of political news, a new sound has begun to emerge from Washington: the word “impeachment.” …

In a perfect world, we’d have data on hundreds of presidents, a few dozen of whom had been impeached. That would let us statistically identify the various factors that made a president more or less likely to survive the process. In the real world, the best we can do is make some educated guesses. Based on the precedents we have available — and our overall knowledge of the American political system — I would expect the following factors to be important in determining a president’s likelihood of removal or resignation: CONT.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

Support for health care law higher when polls mention ‘repeal’

With the U.S. Senate set to take up debate on a new health care bill, Cornell researchers asked a simple question.

Does the American public want former President Barack Obama’s health care law repealed and replaced?

The answer is, it depends on how you ask the question. CONT.

Susan Kelley, Cornell Chronicle

Views of US Moral Values Slip to Seven-Year Lows

Americans’ ratings of U.S. moral values, consistently negative through the years, have slipped to their lowest point in seven years. More than four in five (81%) now rate the state of moral values in the U.S. as only fair or poor. CONT.

Jim Norman, Gallup

The owl of Minerva, part 2

One of the striking things about the 2016 election was that the gap between more and less educated voters became much bigger. Compared to the 2012 election, less educated voters shifted towards the Republican, more educated voters towards the Democrats. The American National Election Study asked about vote in 2012, and I used that and 2016 vote to create a six-way classification: non-vote to Trump, Non-vote to Clinton, Obama to Trump, Obama to Clinton, Romney to Trump, Romney to Clinton. CONT.

David Weakliem, U. of Connecticut

Nation Tracker poll: Core Trump supporters dig in, while others grow nervous

The ranks of President Trump’s strongest backers are a bit smaller today than when we last checked in with the Nation Tracker, as the weight of the FBI investigation appears to be taking a toll, and Americans’ optimism and confidence in his presidency have slipped.

Meanwhile, the ranks of his most ardent detractors have grown, as some who once said they were willing to give him a chance, or supported him conditionally, count themselves as opponents today. CONT.

CBS News