Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Asymmetric Knowledge

Liberals are the ultimate Chicken Littles come election time.  They constantly seek the defeat that they fear is coming for them.  Despite winning the popular vote in every election but one since 1989, Democrats are always convinced it will be Florida 2000 all over again.

Josh Marshall makes a very important point: at this point, most campaigns have more information than we do.  Campaigns and media outlets poll for very different reasons.  The media want to get a handle on the horse race, so they conduct big polls of the entire country or an entire state and then try and model from there.  Competent campaigns are polling to find out who might support them and how can they get those people to the polls.

Part of this is knowing where to send your candidate with 72 hours left in Shitshow 2016.  Before we look at that, we have to acknowledge that Trump doesn't run a conventionally competent campaign.  The guy stopped polling because he wouldn't pay his pollster.  Um....what?  Trump is flying blind, whereas Clinton has a map and sonar.

Sometimes a campaign will do appearances in a non-competitive state as a head fake ("Why is Clinton campaigning in South Carolina?"), but usually this close to the election, you go where you need votes.  Your campaign - again, if competently run - will send you and you main surrogates to where they can do the most good.

Let's look where Trump is going, again remembering that he's flying sort of blind.  He's going to Iowa , a state where he can plausibly win.  He's also going to Michigan twice and Pennsylvania twice.  He's going to Minnesota.  He's going to Virginia.  He has no chance there.  The swing states that he's visiting are Florida, North Carolina and New Hampshire, and that's one visit each.  He's spending more time in Michigan than in Florida.  That's insane.

Mike Pence's schedule is only slightly less insane: one trip each to Florida and North Carolina and two to New Hampshire makes sense (but I would send Pence to Iowa and Trump to NH), but two trips to Michigan? Trips to Pennsylvania and Minnesota?

Clinton, meanwhile has a formidable army of surrogates that Trump lacks.  Here are some of her campaign events:

Obama: New Hampshire, Florida, Michigan and Philly.  Chelsea is doing GOTV throughout Pennsylvania. Tim Kaine covers three events in Wisconsin and then three in Virginia, his home state.  Bernie Sanders is hitting Arizona and Nevada. Joe Biden is hitting Pennsylvania, too. Cher is doing a concert in Miami, Jon Bon Jovi is doing one in Charlotte.

But Hillary is the main asset, and where are they sending her? Cleveland (with LeBron), New Hampshire, then North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Both campaigns are targeting Pennsylvania and Michigan with a lot of firepower.  Meanwhile, there is a poll out from Franklin and Marshall that has Clinton up 11 in PA.  Not even Republican polls have him winning there.  Why are they in PA?  Maybe to win that Senate seat from Pat Toomey?

Michigan is clearly an interesting case.  There was on poll that had it tied, but the rest show easy leads for Clinton - and there's no Senate race.

Here's where the election is likely to be decided: New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Nevada.  Maybe Wisconsin.  Where are the campaigns going?

NH: Trump-3, Clinton-2
NC: Trump-2. Clinton-2
FL: Trump-2, Clinton-2
OH: Trump-0, Clinton-1
NV: Trump-0, Clinton-1
WI: Trump-0, Clinton-3 (or 1, depending on how you count Kaine doing three appearances)

MI: Trump-4, Clinton-3 (Bill is going to Lansing)
PA: Trump-3, Clinton-4 (with multiple events from Chelsea and Biden)

Clearly, Clinton needs to lock up Michigan and Pennsylvania, because every Trump victory scenario includes winning those states.  And she is investing the time and energy to do that.

Why not more time in Florida and North Carolina?  Because millions of votes have already been cast there.

It's a very weird map, isn't it?

Trump is trying to make a last minute play for Michigan and Pennsylvania, perhaps because he's worried that he can't win Florida?  Normally, I would say that he has some inside polling numbers that suggest he's going to win, but he has no pollster.  And the public polling looks grim for him there.

So, what should you be looking for Tuesday night?  New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan.  Clinton wins those and we don't have to care about Florida or Ohio.

No comments: