Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What are the Turnout Models Telling Us?

I just read a couple of reports on early voting, and they seem to show that Republican voter turnout is up, compared to 2012, and black turnout is down. Only, if your read the MSM reports, they show the Dems ahead. Go figure.

So, are all the media polls adjusting their turnout models to reflect on-the-ground data from actual voting? Or are they waiting for more data?

As I understand it, the whole trick with polls is the turnout model, trying to estimate from respondents' answers whether they will actually vote in the upcoming election. If you are a political actor you want to influence the poll-takers to oversample your supporters and give the impression of an unstoppable tide. Equally, you want to discourage your opponent's supporters in the hope that they won't even bother to vote.

Up to now the pollsters really haven't known how turnout was going to go. They have been using turnout models from previous elections. But, of course the 2008 was a downer election for Republican supporters because of the Bush failures. And 2012 was a downer election for Republican supporters because Democrats brilliantly presented the kind and gentle Mitt Romney as an uncaring capitalist.

But today white working class Americans are clearly enthusiastic about Donald Trump, and African Americans are clearly not feeling the Hope and Change. That's why the Dems had to gin up the Black Lives Matter rage.

So the question is: what about the women? Now it is clear that women have been targeted in two ways, using the "I can't believe that he/she said that" concept that is central to the women's Culture of Complaint. On the one hand we have conservative women targeted by the revelations of Donald Trump's locker-room talk; no doubt millions of them will not vote. But then we have the Hillary revelations, culminating in the connection between her and the sexting Anthony Weiner through the sainted Huma Abedin. Surely liberal women must be saying to themselves: "I can't believe he did that."

By the way, I'm inclined to believe that it is principally educated middle-class women that are offended by gross male behavior. My reason? Twenty, thirty years ago, I remember going to the ice show here in Seattle -- Peggy Fleming and all that. But what shocked me was that about 15 minutes into the show the bathroom humor -- big women skating around with balloons for boobs, etc. -- came out and the downscale audience loved it. Just saying.

So I wonder if the educated woman turnout is going to take a hit this year. And I wonder if the polls are factoring that into their results.

By the way, if you are upset that the election has been about everything except the issues, the reason is that the big battle is over turnout: getting your side's voters to the polls, and discouraging your opponent's voters from getting out of bed on Election Day.

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