The Widdershins

Catching lightning…

Posted on: October 28, 2016

Pull on your high top waders.  Tie on your chullo.  Carbo-load.  We are about to be hit by a polling tsunami – an experience similar to being an over-caffeinated mole in a free Whack-a-mole game.trumpkin

Each day can bring sixty new polls.  It is just an avalanche of data overload.  How do we make sense out of it all?

Let me help.

First, Hillary is going to win the election.  She knows it.  Her people know it.  The data nerds know it.  And most importantly, Trump and his people know it.

The only “unknown” is by how much.  That is important.  The control of the Senate and the working majority of the House hang in the balance.  So it is vitally important to vote.

Second, if you are interested in polling keep on reading.  If not, just skip to the “Comments” and tell me how much you enjoyed this post.

The public polling we are used to seeing is a lagging indicator of attitudes.  To explain, let’s say we were going to conduct a survey.  The initial survey would be designed, reviewed, tested, redesigned, re-reviewed, and retested before it was ever fielded for the first time.

trumpkin-ivBut before it was fielded for the first time, the sample would have to be constructed.  This means the sample’s configuration for the phone numbers would have to be designed, purchased, delivered, and processed from a data supply house.

Once these and many other steps are completed, the survey is fielded.  Typically, it takes three days of calling to achieve a sample of 1,040 responses.  For most reputable survey companies, calls are only made from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. prevailing time.  In other words, calls stop in the Eastern Time zone just as they are starting in the Pacific Time zone.

Here’s the kicker – in 2012 the survey completion rate was only 9%.  Simply put, it takes ten calls to get one complete response.  So it isn’t uncommon to buy sample of 20,000 phone numbers because you over-sample in order to make sure you have fully captured the correct demographics required by the methodology.

Once a sufficient sample is captured, the raw data is then scrubbed by data analysts.  This can take from a few hours to a few days depending upon the sophistication of the pollster.

Only at this point is the data run for analysis.  Once the data run is complete, it is analyzed by the scientists and the cross-tabs are reviewed.  A report is then written.  Polls routinely generated by the news networks are more systematic, but are still on a weekly turn-around schedule.trumpkin-ii

This is from the poll taker standpoint, here’s what happens from our standpoint as consumers of news events.  When we experience news reports, we have an initial reaction.  We take it in, run it against our experiential knowledge, figure out if it makes sense, and then run it against our personal set of biases – ethics, morals, values, philosophies, etc.  Then we forget most of it.  Then we listen to acquaintances or pundits tell us how to feel about what we heard.  We forget some of the opinion, appropriate some as our own, and then go on about our lives.

A few days later, we get a call from a pollster who asks us what we remember and how intensely we feel about that memory.

Because of all this, there is a lag time of about a week to ten days before opinions are captured in public polls.  In the throes of a campaign, this lag time is compressed because the questions are abbreviated and the samples are smaller.  Campaigns have polls in the field virtually constantly so they can register and react to events on a daily basis.

So what was the point in explaining all that?  To lay the framework for the back story of the rather surprising level of candor captured in this Bloomberg piece about the Trump data shop.

Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it…Several things jump out. Despite Trump’s claim that he doesn’t believe the polls, his San Antonio research team spends $100,000 a week on surveys (apart from polls commissioned out of Trump Tower) and has sophisticated models that run daily simulations of the election. The results mirror those of the more reliable public forecasters—in other words, Trump’s staff knows he’s losing. Badly. “Nate Silver’s results have been similar to ours,” says Parscale, referring to the polling analyst and his predictions at FiveThirtyEight, “except they lag by a week or two because he’s relying on public polls.”

The article refers to the “dark art of voter suppression”.  Honestly, it isn’t so much voter suppression as “voter dissuasion”.  Drumpf is attempting to dissuade young white liberals, women, and African-Americans from coming out to vote for Hillary.  As a weaponized political science ploy this has only been around for about thirty-years.  No one knows if it will work in a national election since it has never been tried on such a scale.

trumpkin-iiiSome people believe it could have a reverse effect and drive more Hillary voters to the polls.  In any event, the Trump data team is being managed by a guy who was an inexpensive tech journeyman known to the Trump family for his cut-rate webpage design work.  Literally, this is his first time at the campaign rodeo.  If that wasn’t enough, the data team works in an office festooned with “inspirational quotes from Sheriff Joe Arpaio and evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.”

The clamorous Yam likes to point to the Brexit vote as proof that polling can be wrong.  As with most things the Yam says, this would be true if it wasn’t false. The Brexit polling was correct.  As many polls had it passing as had it failing in a close election.

In any event, if everything goes perfectly for the Orange Marmalade Skin Puppet and he wins all the toss-up states, he will still be short of 270 electoral votes.  To analogize:  The ambulatory Pumpkin Navel Lint has to catch lightning in a bottle, turn it loose, and catch it again while blindfolded to stop Hillary from being the 45th President of these United States.

Ain’t gonna happen.

What’s on your mind today?

 

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70 Responses to "Catching lightning…"

Great post, Prolix!

I feel sick. Why can’t the FBI just leave it alone?! Does anyone seriously believe that Hillary deliberately and knowingly sent confidential information from her private email server? That doesn’t make any sense at all.

They are doing everything possible to throw the election towards Trump. EVERYTHING.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/fbi-to-re-open-investigation-into-hillary-clintons-email-server/ar-AAjx01q?appwebview=true&ocid=wispr

Relax, madamab! The air is already going out of that ridiculous balloon. I just saw a series of tweets on hillaryhq.com that say the emails are not from Hillary. Also, the stock market took a momentary dive and is now back up. So, much ado about nothing!

prolix, excellent post as usual! Your creative descriptions of Trump always have me laughing out loud.

Roz in NJ/NYC

@Roz, bless you. I was having palpitations. 😀

Isn’t it pathetic that instead of trying to gain support from certain groups, Trump’s tactic is discourage people from voting at all. Anyone who would not vote for Trump is not going to be influenced by what he says about Hillary. As Trump would say – SAD.

@4 – It is pathetic…but what is his alternative? The Republicans, when they talk about issues, lose to Democrats. They really cannot get enough support to win using that approach, because their platform is not popular with a majority of Americans. So, despite all the blah blah blah about how “oh if Trump sticks to issues, he wins,” the exact opposite is true. He was going to lose if he stuck to issues, and he was going to lose if he didn’t. So, he might as well be himself, build up a big base of supporters, and figure out how to monetize them later. In the meantime, he gets to be abusive to a woman. It’s a win win.

Wow! Look at this poll – amazing how false the reporting has been on her alleged issues with millennials. She is outperforming Obama in that group and others (she is getting more male support, believe it or not).

http://shareblue.com/harvard-poll-clinton-winning-millennials-by-massive-margins/

What the hell is James Comey doing here? I’ll tell you what he’s doing. He’s playing partisan politics a week and a half before an election. To put out this ambiguous statement is inappropriate and irresponsible.

Do y’all remember a month or so ago when he said they had found 30 more emails that may or may not have to do with Benghazi and may or may not be duplicates? The media had their frenzy for a week then they turned out to be duplicates they had already seen.

I hate to sound like the Republicans but this is unacceptable from our Director of the FBI. His half-assed statement is meant to interfere with the election. I don’t care if he has tenure with a ten year term or not. It’s blatant partisan politics.

@1 & 2: I’m late getting to the dance today. All I knew was what’s blaring on MSN-BS and CNN about NEW investigation…EMAILS…Hillary!!! And isn’t the timing wonderful…Friday afternoon newz dump.

@6 Wow is right! Trump is stupid to think he can turn young women against Hill based on what her husband did. Women, especially young women, don’t play that blame game.

The NYT is reporting the emails are from Anthony Weiner’s electronic devices.

Evidently, the White House was caught unaware as well. People ought to get a clue from what happened to the stock market about what a vote for Drumpf would do to the country and economy.

This is what happens when the FBI violates its protocol as to investigations. Never should Comey have come out and made the spectacle he made this summer. The FBI doesn’t do what he has done to Hillary. This summer or now.

Shameful and sad.

@1 & 2, thanks MB and Roz.

@6, MB, that is great data. Each cycle this age cohort is slow to warm. This is really good news they have finally come around.

@7, GAgal, I agree. This is shameful.

Excellent explanation of the polling process Prolix. So basically the time lag between the event/statement they are polling about until they get to the finished product is at least a good week or so. No wonder the campaigns constantly have polls out there.

I’m still not sure I quite understand why some polls are of registered voters and some are polls of likely voters but here’s one explanation. The article is from 2000.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/4636/how-define-likely-voters.aspx

Prolix said:

This is what happens when the FBI violates its protocol as to investigations. Never should Comey have come out and made the spectacle he made this summer. The FBI doesn’t do what he has done to Hillary. This summer or now.

Shameful and sad.

I don’t think the F.B.I. has been this politicized since J. Edgar ran the joint.

Here’s something light-hearted for going into the weekend.

Dog has favorite toy (a Gumby toy). Guy dresses up as giant sized version of dog’s Gumby toy. Hilarity ensues.

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@17: Took the video down. 😦

Yup, these emails have nothing to do with HRC at all. The AP says that Comey had to release that letter, but the timing and the vague wording, IMNSHO, were pure partisan politics.

Once again…well-done Obama, appointing a Republican who sh*ts all over your successor for almost two years over, quite literally, nothing. Maybe appointing all these Rethugs was the price for the House not impeaching him. I expected them to start proceedings in 2010 based on his alleged lack of American citizenship.

Matthew Miller, former DOJ spokesperson on how Comey keeps breaking FBI protocol

@17, here’s the video from another story:

@16, if this is an example of Comey’s judgment, he is over-employed by a factor of a million.

Love that gorgeous dog! First thing to make me smile all day.

I think Comey needs to be investigated and fired. He is clearly a ratfucking republican stooge.

@20, who is that creepy cnn guy? Miller did a good job of walking around the traps cnn guy was trying to set for him. The cnn guy was as bad as Comey, spinning this nothing story to look bad for Hillary.

I am so pissed at the media for jumping on this the way they did this morning. I also think they should have shown a lot more skeptism about the WikiLeaks issue, like how would anyone know if they are altered or made up out of whole cloth. Wiki clearly has a partisan agenda. I don’t believe a word they say.

@21 what a cutie! He should have chewed on the big Gumby more. When I give my sister’s dog a toy like that he goes straight for the eyes. He’ll chew them out first thing so we can’t get him anything with button eyes.

@27 That’s Jake Tapper on CNN. Thinks he’s a big, tough, hard-hitting reporter.

Prolix, love your post as always. Laker just did a test yesterday of which 1/3 was about polling (poly sci), and he was nervous about it all week. He wanted me to read about it in his text book, and I glanced at it, and it looked like what you wrote in your post. I don’t have any serious understanding of polls because its too mathematical for me, but my impression of it seems to square with what you wrote.

@28, LOL!

@29, that’s Jake Tapper? I’ve heard of him of course, but we rarely have cnn on, so I’ve lost tract of who their “reporters” are, except for the oldies like Wolf.

As usual, Mr. Pundit has a good takedown on the (gasp!) FBI announcement.

And thus, with a whiff of pheromones in the air, the right-wing feeding frenzy went from “shit fight at a monkeyhouse” to “weasels f*cking after getting into the meth stash.”

@21: Oh I’m so glad you found that!

I just watched a 12 minute clip from earlier today of Wolf – of all people- putting Ghouly in his place. Almost every lie he told, Wolf corrected him sternly. Ghouly tried to deflect, Wolf called him on it. It was almost like Wolf was taking up for Hillary. I would post it here but I don’t think anyone could stomach the two of them together. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. It was nice to see Wolf do that though.

@32, excellent! I hate the ratf*&king republican party.

Jeff Zeleny (or whatever his name is) on CNN just said ‘Hillary didn’t answer questions… well she TOOK questions…’. then he said another reporter yelled to her -do you think this will sink your campaign? Zleney said “She just laughed as she is prone to do when she doesn’t want to answer a question… it was a defiant laugh”. Right Jeff, glad you think you know what someone’s laugh means.

Have y’all noticed when these news programs first come on, at the top of the hour, they’re all serious and stern. Then as it goes on they start fizzling out because they realize they got nothing. Then the next person’s hour comes on and they do it all again?

By the way Prolix, any of those Trump pumpkins on a front doorstep would scare small children away and give not so small children nightmares.

The FBI has had this laptop for 5 frigging weeks.

Five weeks!

No one can tell me, even if Comey didn’t know, someone didn’t hold this information for some period of time and then drop it on Friday knowing that Comey would be obligated to drop the letter. It might not be Comey who is playing politics, but it is someone in the chain of command in this investigation.

Five freaking weeks they had this laptop. They drop this letter — this is an internal play by partisans within the FBI who will have plausible deniability. They need to be rooted out and tied to a stake in front of the FBI building.

@39, I was surprised it was so easy to find Trumpkins. In fact, there are lots more floating around out there.

@38, Thanks GAgal

Rebecca Traister about to come on Chris Hayes about how ANOTHER man’s (Weiner’s) sexual misconduct gets dumped in Hillary’s lap.

Prolix, great post, but I had to hold my hand up while reading to block out the Trumptantrumkins. They are so repulsive (as is the original). I want to stomp and/or vomit on them!

I’m so glad Hillary addressed this immediately. She is finally learning about managing perceptions. it’s really awful because she hasn’t done anything wrong, but there it is.

I’m catching up on the events of the day. Just donated some more. Nasty women need to bury the orange popsicle. Excellent post as usual, Prolix. Too bad we are reduced to talking about email again. Would that it were the repugs email. I would be there are some ugly things floating around in cyberspace.

Just saw Kurt Eichenwald say that these emails were emails Huma sent to her yahoo account in order to print them out because the process to print them out with State printers was too difficult. This whole process is not new. It was known to the FBI previously. It is a big lot of nothing that was previously known to the FBI as nothing.

The reporters are also saying that Comey was guarding his own back from internal leaks within the FBI. Not exactly a vote of confidence for the agency that is supposed to be prosecuting leaks and spies.

I’m looking for the article.

I have a feeling, one way or another, Comey will not be serving under Hillary’s Presidency. I doubt he would work for a woman anyway. I hope she appoints a woman to replace him. 😀

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My husband thinks Comey did this to ingratiate himself with the Repugs because he know damn well he’s out as soon as Hillary takes the oath.

From the Eichenwald article embedded in his tweet:

The disclosure by the Federal Bureau of Investigation late on Friday, October 28 that it had discovered potential new evidence in its inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s handling of her personal email when she was Secretary of State has virtually nothing to do with any actions taken by the Democratic nominee, according to government records and an official with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke to Newsweek on condition of anonymity.

I would bet the “official with knowledge of the investigation” might just have a last name that rhymes with “Bomey”.

@44, thanks Luna, sorry to have gone off the deep end with the Halloweeney Trumptantrumkins (LOL). If you want to print them out to scare off vermin, there are plenty at Google Images.

@46, thanks contrask — don’t you just know there are all kinds of small barnyard animal porn on Chaffetz’s and Issa’s “devices”.

@48 & 50, unfortunately, Comey has another 7 long years on his term courtesy of Obama’s appointment in 2013.

@54: Yep, getting ready to say Comey isn’t going anywhere anytime soon unless he wants to.

In theory, they serve ten-year terms unless they resign, die, or are removed, but in reality, since J. Edgar Hoover, none have served a full ten years, except Robert Mueller, who served twelve years.

@55, I doubt Comey is going to be invited to the Christmas party unless he’s valeting cars.

@56: The W.H. party? Yeah I’m sure they’ll say the invite was lost in the mail and since he didn’t R.S.V.P. that’s just too bad.

@57, or they can say, we sent an e-vite — how did you miss it?

I know he was given a 10 year term, but why can’t he be investigated, or impeached or something? He has shown bias, he has tried to influence a US election. I think he should spend time in Club Med. How hard can it be to fire him or get him to resign?

@58 Annie, he will step down. No way he will serve under Hillary. His history with the Clinton’s goes back to when he was part of the failed prosecution on Whitewater and it’s been a thorn in his side ever since. He almost seems to be sabotaging his job on purpose, although I can’t see why he would want to ruin his own reputation. Maybe he already has a new job lined up or he just wants to retire. Someone should ask him how that investigation into Russia hacking this countries emails (to also influence our election) is going.

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Krugman has an epic meltdown over Comey’s actions.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/paul-krugman-melts-down-over-185231245.html

So they confiscated Anthony Weiner’s computer 5 weeks ago. In the course of looking for his sexts to underage girls, they “find” that Huma also has several email accounts on this computer. So they need a warrant to see her emails so they can “read” them. So even though they haven’t seen the emails yet, Comey announces they “appear to be pertinent” to his non-prosecutable case from July. Okay, got it.

Since Huma is not the one accused of sexting why should they be able to get a warrant to read her emails? It’s not relevant to their case.

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The whole thing is a farce. Comey doesn’t even know if he can get Huma’s emails even since the FBI needs a warrant. Comey deliberately was trying to interfere in an election and it shows from the letter he sent his own employees. I think most Dems are LIVID about this.

And I bet the farce was orchestrated by his Rumpus. He just tweeted “I’m in Colorado, big day planned – but nothing can be as big as yesterday!” I sure hope HRC campaign has a nasty surprise for him. Oct isn’t over yet….

I agree GA6TH. I think this is going to backfire on Comey and on the Republican Party in general. If this was done to counter partisan leaks within the FBI, that means that it’s not just Comey trying to swing the election. These people are, indeed, deplorable.

P.S., I love the Krug’s meltdown. He doesn’t get exercised like that often. 😄

The Justice Department warned Comey that his letter was against and in contravention of Justice Dept. policy.

In other words, you are hanging out Mr. Comey and we are not helping you cover your arse. Comey’s defense is that he was afraid of leaks.

So here’s the deal for my simple mind — if Comey, the Director of the FBI, can’t demand that there be no leaks for 11 days from his agents — his agents — I think the first investigation should be the agents he can’t trust to follow FBI and Justice Dept. policy directives.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-officials-warned-fbi-that-comeys-decision-to-update-congress-was-not-consistent-with-department-policy/2016/10/29/cb179254-9de7-11e6-b3c9-f662adaa0048_story.html?wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation

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