Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reuters-Ipsos curiosities, continued

The Reuters-Ipsos interactive interface for the organization's national presidential tracking poll is a composite of the results obtained from the 50 states and DC. The national sample of likely general election voters totals 22,846; the sum of the states over this same period of time comes to 23,310. It's unclear where those additional 464 participants come from. My guess is that it's the consequence of some coding errors or a few respondents being double-counted, but at 2% of the total, it's a trivial difference.

The three most heavily sampled states are, from the top, New Jersey, Virginia, and Minnesota. These states are the 11th, 12th, and 21st most populous in the country, respectively. The latter two are blueish-purple states and the first is, while relatively amenable to Trump compared to previous Republican candidates, deeply blue.

It's an inconvenient week to have the schedule loaded up because this really feels like something worth getting a handle onR-I only applies weights to the following four variables: Gender, Age, Education, and Ethnicity. A 40 year-old white male college graduate from Mississippi and a 40 year-old white male college graduate from Minnesota aren't necessarily interchangeable.

I remember hearing exasperation during the primaries from pundits who couldn't figure out why Trump's performance among "white Evangelicals" in South Carolina was so much better than it was in Wisconsin (ie relative to previous Republican presidential candidates, Trump resonates especially well with 'Scots-Irish' from Appalachia). If these professional prognosticators don't have a clue, how unreasonable is it to wonder if the pollsters do?

How much is the fact that Trump isn't a generic Republican candidate disrupting the utility of standard polling models? It's an important question. As commenter pyrrhus alluded to, polling outfits have to draw the line somewhere, but the unusual nature of this election could be causing these polling models to be missing the mark in a systematic way.

Then again, this could just be wishful thinking on this Trump supporter's part. This weekend I'll compare the R-I samples by state with votes cast in 2012 by state to present a fuller quantitative picture. Any help making sense of this in the comments is appreciated.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

More curiosities surrounding Reuters-Ipsos polling

I'm not able to make the time to do the digging I'd like to at the moment, but playing around with the R-I interface that allows users to toggle cross-tabs, I noticed that since September 1st, R-I has sampled just 376 likely voters in Texas to 565 likely voters in Virginia. The 50 states and DC add up to the entire nationwide sample so there isn't any weighting of responses taking place as R-I gets to its national polling numbers.

Given that Texans cast more than twice as many votes in the 2012 presidential election as Virginians did, that's a bit... odd. And given that Texas is a red state while Virginia is a blueish-purple one, maybe it's actually more Oddjob than just odd. There's more than a little evidence that the deck is being stacked.

Texas could destroy the United States

Many people mistakenly but understandably believe that the State's most powerful weapon against its subjects is its superior firepower. While that firepower is obviously important, it's not the State's most powerful weapon.

The State's most powerful weapon is its putative legitimacy. As long as the State is perceived as legitimate, it can do anything it wants to. Once a regime loses its legitimacy, however, its downfall becomes not a question of "if", but a question of "when".

The state department is conceding things in negotiations with other countries to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Thousands of illegal voter registrations have occurred in places like Indiana and Virginia. There are millions of dead people on voter rolls and registered in multiple states--and voter fraud is relatively easy to detect. Electoral fraud--the fraud that takes place during the counting process--is even more difficult for those on the outside to trace and definitively track.

With wildly divergent polls providing cover, an professional media backing Hillary more overwhelmingly than self-identified Democrats are, and a bipartisan political apparatus that demands Trump lose, even the discovery of blatant irregularities and outright fraud won't reverse a Hillary win if it occurs.

Trump's refusal to offer a blanket acceptance of next month's election results was the most significant blow he's landed on the Establishment in the last 18 months, and that's saying a lot.

Speaking of, I'd be remiss if I didn't propose a toast to the host who can boast the most roast:

If Hillary wins, she'll enter office with an approval rating below 50% and it probably will not, through the course of her presidency, ever crack 50%. The majority of white Americans will be faced with the stark reality that they haven't chosen a president for over a decade, and rather than being an aberration, such an outcome is the new normal.

Not just white Republicans, either, but white Democrats as well. White Democrats wanted Hillary in 2008 but got Obama instead. White Democrats wanted Bernie in 2016 and got Hillary instead. A minority of a minority of whites now pick the president.

Wealth inequality will continue to grow, the number of adults out of the workforce will as well, and another recession similar to the one that began in 2008 will hit. Nullification and secession will continue to move from the fringe of political thought into the realm of not just the possible, but the desirable.

And if something like Texit happens, the United States as a political entity is over. If Texas leaves, the electoral college immediately becomes utterly and irrevocably impossible for Republicans to win. Movements in the remaining red states to follow suit start springing up everywhere and the perceived legitimacy of the federal government, already on a decades-long downward trajectory, plummets through the floor.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

An "extremely expensive election to poll accurately"

Gregory Cochran descended to say a few things about political polling and elections outcomes. It is by default worth reading because it's written by him, but commenter pyrrhus' dissenting remark is what really caught my eye:
[Representative samples have] become increasingly difficult to obtain, with many voters having only cellphones, widespread disinterest in answering polls, and candidates challenging the 2 party status quo. Furthermore, when people know that they might be fired for supporting the “wrong” candidate, they are not going to respond….truthfully. That’s how Bernie was 22 points behind in [Michigan] the day before the election and won.
In the primaries we saw polling in the earlier state contests regularly overestimating Trump's performance while polling in later states consistently underestimated it.

A cynic might say it's because the Cathedral wanted the Trump fireworks to go on for awhile for entertainment and pied piper value but later began fearing, once he began to look like the clear GOP favorite, that the Trump forest fire was burning out of control and had to be contained. There are real reasons to suspect that some intentional polling 'irregularities' have occurred.

That's what those of us on the Trump train hope is to be the case, anyway.

Pyrrus concludes thus:
My wife, an expert in this area, comments only that this would be an extremely expensive election to poll accurately.
Let's take a look at the RCP average at the same point at the same point in the 2012 election cycle as we're in now:

To avoid redundancies we're considering a wider time frame in 2012 than we are when we look at RCP's most recent average for 2016. Across 14 polls and spanning nearly three weeks, in 2012 we span from Romney +3 to Obama +3, a range of 6 points.

Compare that to the current RCP average for 2016:

Across 10 polls spanning 11 days we span from Clinton +12 to Trump +2, a range of 14 points.

The polling this time around, at least some of it, is in fact quite inaccurate and will turn out to miss the final mark badly, even with the benefit of margin of error taken into consideration. Including reported MoEs extends our 2016 range from Clinton +15.6 to Trump +5.6--a difference of more than 21 points!--over a sampling period of less than two weeks, all of which was conducted less than a month out from election day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Third presidential debate

As a time capsule, a record of my live reactions to the third presidential debate, starting from the beginning and progressing through to the end. I use facebook instead of twitter because I can't multitask well enough to corral what I write into 140 characters or less while still paying attention to what's being said.


Hillary says we are going to "ask" the wealthy to "contribute". If I say "no", does that mean I don't have to pay any taxes?



Yes, Hillary, our foreign policy should definitely be determined by sad pictures of children.


"If she did nothing, we'd be in much better shape."

The truest statement made in any of the four presidential debates.


Questioning the integrity of the electoral results was risky in the extreme--and one of the reasons I admire Trump's candidacy so much. Just recently there were thousands of illegal registrations discovered in Virginia alone.

Virtually every time there is a recount conducted anywhere, the subsequent results differ from the original ones. Usually the differences are marginal and don't effect the outcome; occasionally they do. But the first run is never accurate. There's plenty of opportunity and incentive for foul play.

WikiLeaks reported that John Kerry made negotiation concessions to Ecuador in return for shutting up Julian Assange. If the federal government is bending US diplomacy to the purpose of getting Hillary elected, why shouldn't we assume that electoral fraud is at least on the table?


I remember hearing about how the Good Guys were fighting to take back Mosul a decade ago. It never ends. It never will until we extract ourselves from our futile, deadly nation-building enterprises in the world's tribalistic hellholes.


Trump takes the gloves off with men, too. Criticizing men is no big deal, but dare to criticize a woman and it's time to collectively clutch our skirts.

Hillary, if you want to act like a man then be prepared to be treated like a man. That's what feminism is all about, right?


Hillary would've more accurately said: "There's only one person on this stage who has created jobs."


The US foots well over half of NATO's effective budget. It's obsolete. The Cold War is over. We may need NATO, though, if Hillary is president, because that Cold War won't only be back on, it might get ignited into a Hot War.


Hillary tries to deflect to the source of WikiLeaks rather than the content of the leaks. If it sets off WWIII, well, when you want an omelet sometimes you have to crack a few eggs.


Ha, she wanted open borders for energy. Of course! There is simply no reason that kilowatts should have to be stopped-and-frisked as they cross the Rio Grande! Open borders for electricity of all kinds, no exceptions!


In Operation Wetback, for every one illegal immigrant the Eisenhower administration deported, 8 left on their own. The BS about long lines of busses is demagoguery of the worst order. It's quite simple--make it difficult to live in the country illegally and far fewer people will want to do it.


Hillary thinks it's absurd that every single illegal immigrant could potentially be subject to deportation.

We have a presidential candidate who is advocating that the top executive in the country should not enforce the nation's immigrations laws.


Roe v Wade should be overturned and abortion should be returned to the states.

That's a great rule of thumb for every "culture war" issue. Instead of fighting for 51% of the votes and then forcing the other 49% of the country to bend to your will, let's live-and-let-live to the extent that it is possible.


Once again Hillary makes no mention of the Constitution when asked about her appointment(s) to the Supreme Court other than to argue that the Senate should let Obama name Scalia's replacement. The court's exclusive function is to rule on the constitutionality of laws and the execution of those laws.