On Elections

How people elect parliaments

7 days to go in US elections

In seven days’ time the results of the US elections will be blazing from news services around the world. What are the predictions one week out?

The most established of the many poll aggregators, Real Clear Politics, displays the clear trend of the past week – Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is still ahead in national support, but her lead over Republican Donald Trump has eased back in from around 6% to just over 2% – enough to make the sprint to the finish grip hold of everyone’s attention.

image - RCP chart 7 days to go.jpg

RCP’s national polling aggregate; Clinton is hanging onto a lead, while Trump is on the rise, and the minor candidates are falling away

RCP’s more detailed state-by-state polling is showing Hillary Clinton holding leads where they matter most, and with that 259 of the 270 Electoral College votes she needs to win the presidency. Donald Trump is holding leads for 164 votes, and the remaining 115 are in play.

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RCP’s state-by-state map of polling leads, showing Electoral College votes

Clinton needs just 11 more College votes. Any one of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona or Georgia would give her that result, as would several combinations of two or more smaller smaller states.

Nate Silver’s more sophisticated tracking of probabilities at FiveThirtyEight.com also shows the Clinton lead, still well ahead but declining.

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Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com chart of changing probabilities

Trump has got up off the mat in the past 10 days, rising from a probability of winning of just 12% to be at nearly 29% with 7 days to go.

image - 538 propability 7 days to go.jpg

Silver’s state-by-state map shows Clinton winning Pennsylvania and New Hampshire safely enough, and clinging to leads in Florida, North Carolina and Nevada. But one week ago Clinton also looked to be ahead in Ohio and even Arizona and Iowa.

Silver gives independent Evan McMullin a 20% chance of stealing the state of Utah from the Republicans, thereby setting up fantasy scenarios as the first third-party candidate to win any Electoral College votes since 1968.

The investors at the prediction market site Iowa Electronic Market thought they could put down their glasses a few days ago, but the last-minute FBI announcement about an investigation linked to Hillary Clinton appears to have caused massive turbulence.

image - IEM chart 7 days to go.jpg

The prediction market at IEM has had a last-minute panic

The change in prediction prices at IEM shows a weakness of the model. What has probably happened is that very few prediction contacts have actually changed hands in recent days, but that those who did were individual buyers over-reacting to the potential for Trump to gain on the FBI issue, leading them to buy! buy! buy! The sellers, reasonably enough, took them for whatever price they would pay.

All up, the race has tightened enough to make it hold everyone’s attention. Trump’s campaign is widely reported to be placing all its hopes in a low turnout election, which it is trying to make a reality with the most intense Clinton-negativity it can manage (which is a lot).

Turnout is indeed likely to be very important in this poll. But over 20 million Americans have already voted, and 15 states which publish immediate statistics about such voting are showing that it is up on four years ago.

Six more sleeps.




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This entry was posted on November 2, 2016 by in Current issues, Polling and prediction, United States.
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