For all the hype and noise, this election has seen a remarkably consistent trend. If you average all the polls, Clinton has always been ahead, whether by 8 points or 2. Right now she is 4 to 5 points ahead, and it would take a massive polling failure for that not to be reflected in the actual vote. She is also ahead in all the swing states bar Iowa and possibly Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. What we are arguing about is the margin of victory, and who controls the Senate.

Without control of the Senate (55% probability per 538), she won’t be able to make key appointments or ratify Treaties, and without control of the House, she won’t be able to pass a budget or keep the government open. So either way we may be facing a gridlock and an effective coup d’etat. The New American Century is no more. The USA’s influence in the world will probably decline whoever wins the Presidential poll.

Iowa has been trending away from Clinton, but is still within the margin of error given there have been less polls in the state:

Ohio is the tightest state of all – within 1% – well within the margin of error:

North Carolina has also been very tight – this time in favour of Clinton – despite reports of fading African American early voting turnout for Clinton.  It will also be one of the first states to declare, so should give an early indication of which way the wind is blowing…

Florida should also report results early – hanging chads permitting…Latino early voting turnout is reported to be high which should favour Clinton:

All the other battleground states are showing greater than 2% margins for Clinton, meaning that upsets are unlikely but not impossible. Trump’s problem is that he could win almost all of them and still not win the electoral college. Sam Wang’s Princeton Election Consortium currently estimates he would need a swing of at least 2.7% to bring enough of them into play. His other problem is that he doesn’t have a GOTV (get out the vote) operation comparable to Hillary’s, and he is being killed by very high Latino early voting turnout in key battleground states like Nevada and Florida.

It is difficult to know what impact FBI Director Comey’s attempt to put his finger on the scales will have. He broke established procedure to reveal that the FBI intended to examine a laptop belonging to one of Hillary’s aides for possible incriminating evidence just 10 days before the poll. Just yesterday – after 40 million voters had already voted – he revealed that nothing incriminating had been found.  Hillary’s lead went down from 7 to 4% in that period. However it is doubtful his belated “clarification” will be helpful to her because it highlights her greatest vulnerability at a time when she would rather focus the public narrative on Trump’s suitability for office.  Meantime, Trump’s impending prosecution for child rape (since withdrawn, allegedly because of intimidation) gets almost no publicity.

There has been much discussion of possibly skewed polls, “shy Trump voters” unwilling to declare their support for him publicly, the impact of voter suppression attempts (closure of polling stations in predominantly Democratic leaning areas) and a supposed lack of voter enthusiasm for Hillary. African American early voting turn-out is down 12% in North Carolina, but that may be largely down to reduced numbers of polling stations and voting hours. My own view is that there are more likely to be “shy Hillary voters” – women with Trump supporting husbands unwilling to cross them publicly.  If your Husband is a misogynistic, authoritarian, Trump supporting bully you are hardly likely to declare an intention to vote for Hillary to him or to a pollster who happens to be on the line within earshot.

But we should know by early morning Wednesday who has won. If Trump wins North Carolina and Florida – two early reporting states – we could be in for a long night.  If Hillary wins both you can probably safely go to bed.

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