- EphBlog - http://ephblog.com -

Over the Edge

From The New York Times:

Trump’s acceptance of the nomination tonight reflects the capitulation of the venerable Republican Party, which has proved unable to protect either its traditions or its principles.

“There has never been a major-party nominee quite like Trump; no party has gone over the edge in the way the Republicans are about to,” Mason Williams, a professor of history at Williams College, wrote by email:

Constraints that would have prevented the nomination of a candidate like Trump have been removed — by party and ideological polarization; by the weakening of the political parties as organizations; and by the fact that primary voters, rather than party bosses or even more ideologically oriented party activists, now have the power to choose the Republican nominee. In the past, party organizations were strong enough to filter out contenders as aberrant as Trump. Evidently, no longer.”

Hmmm. I am not sure what Williams means here by “over the edge.” Trump’s chances at this stage of the race are about as good as McCain’s and Romney’s at the same stage as their failed campaigns.


I would gladly wager that Trump does better than they did, whether or not he actually wins.

Comments Disabled (Open | Close)

Comments Disabled To "Over the Edge"

#1 Comment By dcat On August 1, 2016 @ 11:07 am

I’ll take that bet.

I also notice that off 538’s three forecasts you chose the friendliest one. The Nowcast that you Trump guys were touting last week (the only one of the three that had Trump leading, natch) has seen a massive shift. Keep pickin’ those cherries!

#2 Comment By 89’er On August 1, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

At what point does Trump’s affinity for autocrats and approach to policymaking and political dissent in the US signal that he is neither a conservative nor a Republican?

Are we there yet?

At what point does Trump do lasting damage to the GOP brand that it cannot walk away from?

Are we there yet?

In fact, at what point does it become clear that Trump does not respect the Constitution and will damage foundational institutions and shared beliefs?

When do we cross that line?

Clearly the answer to Q1 is yes, IMO. I would love to hear arguments to the contrary. Q2 I would say we are there already for many (Hispanics, Muslims) but not there yet for others but we will be shortly after Labor Day if he does not improve as a candidate and change his stripes. Q3 is the one of real import to every American. How close do you allow a candidate to get to that threshold before you place country over party?

#3 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On August 1, 2016 @ 2:40 pm


Always interesting to hear from Trump’s hysterical opponents. It is time to calm down and get in touch with reality.

1. Trump is a populist who is in the middle of realigning our political parties. This new Republican party will be anti-illegal immigrant, hesitant to import adherent Muslims who would be a threat to our future, and eager to stop the present war on cops. It will also be a new Republican party that will be less likely to make soft trade deals that largely benefit other countries over us.

2. This realignment is actually saving the Republican party by attracting white, blue collar voters, who have been shunned by Democrats. This new Republican party will be a much stronger party capable of winning at the presidential level and stopping the failures of the Obama/Clinton administration including our sluggish growth, disrespect for law and order, and vulnerability to terrorist attacks.

3. Trump will appoint Supreme Court judges like Scalia who will respect the constitution much more that the liberal judges who would be nominated by Hillary Clinton. If you are sincere about protecting the U.S. Constitution, then you have no choice except to support Trump.

The bottom line is that the Republican party has been a failure at a national level even as it has dominated at the state and local level. Trump is the best chance we have to create a new governing majority at the national level. What should frighten you is that Hillary’s leftwing policies would turn us into another Venezuela.

#4 Comment By ephalum On August 1, 2016 @ 5:11 pm

dcat, I want some side action on your bet.

Newest polls out after both conventions: Clinton up 9 in CNN poll — a TWELVE point swing. Up between 5-7 in three other polls. Up in Pennsylvania in two straight polls (including up nine in highly respected Suffolk, and that was BEFORE the DNC). One poll today had Clinton tied in Georgia — in Georgia! — and another had her down within the margin of error there. Most damning: Gallup found that FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY

Oh, and Obama is now plus 12 approval rating in Gallup, so that whole Obama’s-third-term argument is not likely to be a winner for the GOP, either.

#5 Comment By ephalum On August 1, 2016 @ 5:11 pm

dcat, I want some side action on your bet.

Newest polls out after both conventions: Clinton up 9 in CNN poll — a TWELVE point swing. Up between 5-7 in three other polls. Up in Pennsylvania in two straight polls (including up nine in highly respected Suffolk, and that was BEFORE the DNC). One poll today had Clinton tied in Georgia — in Georgia! — and another had her down within the margin of error there. Most damning: Gallup found that FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY

Oh, and Obama is now plus 12 approval rating in Gallup, so that whole Obama’s-third-term argument is not likely to be a winner for the GOP, either.

#6 Comment By ephalum On August 1, 2016 @ 5:20 pm

All of this, of course, does not reflect:

(1) Trump being caught in a blatant lie about a non-existent letter from the NFL, which he is trying to use as an excuse to dodge debates;

(2) Repeatedly attacking a war hero’s family by associating them with Islamic terrorists / falsely claiming they don’t have a right of free speech / falsely claiming the war hero’s mother wasn’t allowed to speak. And no, it’s not going to help Trump when he is being roundly condemned by the VFW (hardly a left wing organization), Paul Ryan, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and on and on and on for these comments, with virtually no one of consequence supporting him. Yes, his supporters won’t care, but believe me, swing voters will.

(3) Twice attacking fire marshalls with no cause whatsoever, including one who was local hero of the year in a swing state after his heroic actions following a shooting of a Planned Parenthood clinic, and whose department has just hours before rescued Trump from a stuck elevator. Nice optics, there. I guess this is where you tell me that American really hate firefighters and that this will only help his campaign.

(4) Gave the most embarassing, ill-informed interview I’ve ever seen by a Presidential candidate, rivaling Sarah Palin for sheer incompetence and utter lack of knowledge regarding international affairs. In that interview, Trump lied about knowing Putin (or maybe it was on the four previous occasiosn that he is insisted that he had a “relationship” with Putin that he lied, it’s really hard to keep track of the current story).

(5) Lied about a purported solicitation by the Kock brothers, when it was he who solicited them.

(6) And, lest we forget, encouraged a foreign power to hack into his political opponent’s emails and release those emails to help his flailing election.

These things are not going to help him. And right now, he is down between 6-9 nationally, down in nearly every swing state that Obama carried, and basically even in Republican strongholds like Arizona, Missouri (where he is down a point in what has become a solid red state), and Georgia.

By the way, David Kane, I really hope you stop posting your wholly disingenuous annual Memorial Day tributes to fallen solders. Because it’s clear you really don’t care one whit about fallen soldiers or their families so long as they are attacked by a candidate that you are supporting. You really should be ashamed of your support for Trump, but I guess if you can look your daughters in the eyes and support him despite all of his blatant and unapologetic sexism, then, well, why should I be surprised? Congrats on abdicating the last little bit of moral authority you had, I hope supporting Trump is worth it.

#7 Comment By ephalum On August 1, 2016 @ 5:23 pm

Sorry, my first post got cut off — for the first time in history, the GOP convention actually HURT the perception of the candidate being promoted. Heckuva job, Trump!

I am shocked, SHOCKED, that Scott Baio calling Hillary a “c***” (I wonder, David, how you would react if someone called your daughters a “c***” …) or Antonio Sabato Jr. calling Obama a Muslim born in Africa or the fact that Trump couldn’t find a single person who wasn’t either a blood relative or dependent upon his largesse, or often, both, to speak on his behalf didn’t help to raise his standing in the eyes of voters, nationally. Amazing how that works …

#8 Comment By 89’er On August 2, 2016 @ 1:53 am


Time will tell. Speaking of hysterical, Trump and his apologists continue to make rather far fetched explanations for the glories of the dawning brave new day of Trumpism.

How does excusing Putin’s aggression fit into your grand vision? Or should one just plead ignorance of Trump’s behalf?

Interesting synonyms for hysterical: “overwrought, out of control, frenzied, frantic, wild, feverish, crazed; agitated, berserk, manic, delirious, unhinged, deranged, out of one’s mind, raving”.

Reminds me of a certain Presidential candidate and his minions, no?


#9 Comment By Ephalum On August 2, 2016 @ 7:01 am

Hillary up one in Utah. Utah! Romney won Utah by nearly 50. Now it’s a swing state.

#10 Comment By anon On August 2, 2016 @ 11:17 am

To everyone:

There is a lot of green between here and the end of this thing. The prediction is that Hillary will win- that is the smart call.

However- world events, what is in the rest of those damn emails, and the debates are all still in play.

My guess is that Don stays on the crazy train and is not viable at the finish line…

Stil, I would not be too fast to gloat about this. Hillary has massive negatives. Her party did just get busted rigging a primary for her…she is a hawk and the war is still going strong. Her position on immigration from the Middle East and North Africa… all of that has a possibility of blowing up in the democrats’ faces in a big way.

This could become an “its the war, stupid” election. If so, it is uncertain if the Clinton/ Bush neoconservative policies win that argument.

And of course- those emails, those damn emails.

#11 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On August 3, 2016 @ 2:38 pm

After convention bounces, Trump is still beating Hillary in USC Dornsife/LA Times Presidential Election Daybreak Poll at 45.3 to 43.7%. See, http://www.latimes.com/politics/

#12 Comment By ephalum On August 3, 2016 @ 3:42 pm

Congrats, John Drew, on finding the one outlier poll (a tracking poll that was always an outlier in favor Trump and does not have an accepted methodology since it doesn’t use random sampling but rather keeps samping the same group of people) that has Trump up within the margin of error, among about ten other polls that have Hillary up between 3 and 15 points, each. I think the plus 15 is a bit crazy, but she’s clearly up by at least 5 nationally right now.

Meanwhile, and more imprtantly, another poll came out today that has her up four in Arizona. Arizona!!! She’s effectively tied in Georgia, Utah and Missouri. Those are four red states that she shouldn’t even be remotely competitive in. She’s pulled advertising from Virginia and Colorado because she is so comfortable about her lead in those states.

And again, it’s not like Trump is helping himself since all of this polling came out by attacking babies, inspiring Meg Whitman and other prominent Republicans to endorse Hillary, trying to find excused to chicken out of debates (as he has done in the past), continuing his crusade against the parents of a dead soldier, lying about receiving a non-existent letter from the NFL, making excused three months in advance about losing the election, displaying an embarassing level of total ignorance about foreign affairs, lying about his relationship with Putin, and on … and on … and on.

#13 Comment By ephalum On August 4, 2016 @ 10:22 am

Trump down 15 in New Hampshire. 11 in Pennsylvania. 9 in Michigan. 10 nationally (in a Fox News poll, so can’t really claim a liberal bias there). Meanwhile more and more Republicans, including Meg Whitman, coming into Hillary’s camp or at the very least are distancing themselves entirely from Trump. This doesn’t even account for Hillary’s MASSIVE organizational and analytics advantage. All these GOP politicians running from Trump as fast as they can aren’t dumb — they know a loser when they see one. And of course, every single thing about Trump’s ongoing implosion was totally forseeable, since it is entirely consistent with his lack of character, intellect, restraint, and most of all, interest (or perhaps ability) to learn anything about governing, other than parroting talking points he sees on Fox News. Paging John Drew, paging John Drew.

#14 Comment By dcat On August 4, 2016 @ 6:35 pm

And even that cherry-picked LA Times/USC outlier poll today has Hillary up by one. It is a sea of blue print over at the Real Clear Politics daily polling update site.

#15 Comment By anon On August 5, 2016 @ 8:13 am

Everyone keeps waiting for Trump to start campaigning for the general election….

and waiting… and waiting… and waiting…

Tweeting about Mexicans and Indians is not going to win it.

Doing stupid stuff, like extending the feud you have with party insiders during a campaign for the presidency is not going to win it…

It appears the man simply may not care.

#16 Comment By ephalum On August 5, 2016 @ 9:39 am

Why would you expect Trump to change who he is? His entire political career was essentially launched by falsely claiming that Barack Obama is a foreign-born Mulsim and an illigitimate President. That alone should have been disqualifying, yet the GOP leadership was too cowardly to outright disavow Trump’s race-baiting lies from the get-go.

Republicans were then too cowardly to distance themselves when he insulted war heroes, and people with disabilities, and Latinos, and fabricated totally false statistics about African-Americans, and repeatedly mocked and belittled women, and showed not once in over a year of campaigning an iota of knowledge (let alone in-depth knowledge) with a single issue about which a President would be expected to be fluent, or even took any consitent, coherent policy positions. Nothing that’s happened in the past week is different, fundamentally, in character from what he’s done the last few years — the difference is, his angry rhetoric and outsized personal was just enough to win a plurality of Republican primary voters, but now, general election voters are starting to pay closer attention, and they are horrified by what they see. And it will only get worse for Trump once we get into the debates and as more and more Republicans abandon him, leading him into a morass of mutual recimination which he is unable to resist and which just futher shows his utter lack of qualification or tempermant for a job that requires you, first and foremost, to keep your eye on the ball in the face of innumerable distractions. You know that famous image of Obama “brushing it off.”? That is something that Trump is simply incapable of EVER doing. He will chase after whatever shiny ball is in front of him, without fail … a truly terrifying thought for a potential world leader.

John Drew was (and I guess remains) confident that Donald Trump will win because John Drew is his target audience — an older white male, inclined to believe unsubstantianted conspiracy theories and distinterest in facts, who is unhappy with his lot in life and is looking for someone (hint: they aren’t white males) to blame. So John Drew sees someone who speaks to his OWN core convictions and figures, of course he’s going to win, this is exactly the guy I’ve been waiting for! But while there are enough people like that to pack Trump’s rallies, there are not the 100 million he would need to win an election. He is running behind Mitt Romney among black voters, Latino voters, women voters, Asian voters, college-educated voters, and wealthy voters. And Mitt Romney did not win. The GOP hasn’t lose college-educated white voters in many years, and Trump is a near-lock to lose that demographic, largely because he has aliented so many highly educated women. There just aren’t enough uneducated white men, which is the ONLY group that Trump has tailored his messgge to, for him to win, even though he wins that demographic by an enormous margin.

I predicted he would lose all of the 2012 Obama states plus North Carolina and at least one of Georgia, Arizona and Utah. I stand by that prediction. At this point, he is behind in ALL of those states (-4 in Georgia as of today). And if he ends up around minus 8/9, where he stands in the aggregated polling right now, the Dems will win the Senate too and have an outside shot at the House.

#17 Comment By fendertweed On August 8, 2016 @ 5:50 pm

And in today’s scores:

Chance of winning

Hillary Clinton 86.3%
Donald Trump 13.7%


I’m sure Mr. Drew will be back after a short message with an outlier poll from somewhere or other.

#18 Comment By fendertweed On August 8, 2016 @ 5:53 pm

But wait, there’s more ….

This just in … John Drew’s favorite poll’s numbers today:

Clinton 45.0%
Trump 43.8%

#19 Comment By fendertweed On August 9, 2016 @ 2:29 pm

… and one wonders what a “trained political scientist” would say about this:


There’s an interesting new entry in political polling: the U.S.C. Dornsife/Los Angeles Times “Daybreak” poll. It’s different from other surveys because it’s a panel, which means it recontacts the same voters over and over. In 2012, a similar panel study done by RAND was considered a big success.

But so far, the U.S.C./LAT panel has consistently been far out of step with other surveys. Donald Trump has led in nearly every survey it has conducted in the last few months, by as much as seven percentage points. Even today, Hillary Clinton has only a one-point lead — even as she claims a comfortable lead nationwide. It was enough for the Drudge Report to feature the poll result prominently.

One factor that could be contributing to the panel’s tilt toward Mr. Trump is its decision to weight its sample according to how people say they voted in 2012.

The pollsters ask respondents whether they voted for President Obama or Mitt Romney. They then weight the sample so that Obama voters represent 27 percent of the panel and Romney voters represent 25 percent, reflecting the split of 51 percent to 47 percent between the two among actual voters in 2012. (The rest include newly eligible voters and those who stayed home.)

This is a seemingly straightforward choice. After all, why wouldn’t you want the poll to include the right number of voters for Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney? But very few high-quality public surveys — in fact, none that I’m aware of — regularly use self-reported past voting to adjust their samples.

There’s a very good reason: People just don’t seem to report their past vote very accurately. Answers tend to wind up biased toward the winner; often, people who vote for the loser say they “can’t remember” or say they voted for someone else.

That tendency is worth keeping in mind as the year’s inevitable fights about polling methodology get underway.

The most recent New York Times/CBS News poll, which showed a tied race between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton heading into the Republican convention, found that 33 percent said they had voted for Mr. Obama and 25 percent for Mr. Romney. The results were similar in May: 41 percent for Obama and 32 percent for Mr. Romney (the numbers are higher because it was asked only of registered voters in May). The most recent NBC/WSJ poll, conducted after the Democratic convention, showed an even larger 46-to-31 split among registered voters.

This is not a new phenomenon. Back in 2012, Pew’s surveys showed Mr. Obama ahead by 34 to 25 among voters from 2008. If you have a really long memory, you might even remember controversy about polls that showed people recalled voting for George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000 by a comfortable margin in 2004 polls, even though Mr. Gore won the popular vote. But it’s not perfectly consistent, either: With Mr. Bush’s popularity flagging in 2007 and 2008, more polls started showing that voters recalled voting for John Kerry in 2004.

With these figures in mind, the U.S.C./LAT poll’s decision to weight its sample to 27 percent for Mr. Obama and 25 percent for Mr. Romney is quite risky. If the panelists, like those in other surveys, are likelier to recall voting for the winner (Mr. Obama), then the poll is unintentionally giving extra weight to Republican voters. Or you can imagine a counterfactual: If the poll were weighted to 33 percent for Obama and 25 percent for Romney (per the NYT/CBS numbers), then Mrs. Clinton would hold a more comfortable lead.

Now, the U.S.C./LAT survey is so different from other polls that it’s possible that its lean toward the G.O.P. isn’t because of its use of self-reported past voting. It’s an online panel, not a live-interview survey, so perhaps the bias toward the winner in a past election is less acute in that setting. In 2012, the RAND panel took a similar approach and didn’t seem to have the same type of bias. Indeed, the U.S.C./LAT poll’s methodology report defends the decision by citing a RAND study of 2008 panelists:

“In our preparation of the RAND 2012 Continuous Presidential Election Poll, we found that members of RAND’s American Life Panel were very accurate in their reporting of their voting four years earlier: More than 90% of the reports in 2012 about voting in 2008 coincided with their reports immediately after the 2008 election, for those panel members that participated in both surveys (Gutsche et al., 2014; Kapteyn et al., 2012).”

The 90 percent accuracy doesn’t necessarily indicate that the measure is unbiased (if the 10 percent of switches were all people going from John McCain to “can’t remember,” then weighting to the 2008 result would be very problematic). Nor would it prove that new panelists would be as accurate at recalling their vote as longtime panelists. It’s even possible that the past-vote bias may be more acute this year, with enthusiasm for Mr. Obama at fairly high levels compared with 2012. But it does at least raise the possibility that the measure might be more useful in this format than in a typical telephone poll.

There are many other things that could be causing the difference between the U.S.C./LAT results and other surveys — like its unusual probabilistic measure of vote support (voters indicate how likely they are to vote for a candidate on a scale from 0 to 100) or the difficulties of recruiting and maintaining a panel.

No matter the cause, the U.S.C./LAT panel is still useful. Since it recontacts the same voters, it’s easier to distinguish actual shifts among voters from changes in who is responding to a poll. So while the poll may show Mrs. Clinton up by only 1 point, the trend line — an eight-point shift from Mr. Trump’s seven-point lead after the convention — is still very telling.