Slack Chat: ‘Twas the night before Armageddon

T: Gonna be interesting — My bed is still damp, but I probably won’t drown

J: Yeah, it’ll be interesting, but I think Clinton is going to be OK.

T: The signs are pointing the right direction … as long as we are reading the correct signs.

J: Latino turnout in Florida is running double what it was last time, and going about 80-20 for Clinton… that will probably put her over the top.

T: Nevada looks optimistic, New Hampshire pessimistic, North Carolina and Florida dicey but optimistically dicey.

J: And Trump just doesn’t have a path to winning without Florida.

T: Florida is his ballgame … but if Clinton loses Florida, Ohio AND North Carolina, suddenly she is in some very deep waters. NC depends on turnout, if the African-American vote gets out on Election Day she should be OK there too… if they don’t it’s going to be dicey.

J: She needs one of the three to shut the door. Preferably Florida but I think any of the three would about do it.

T: Nevada looks good for Clinton. Florida – Clinton, 100 percent she wins. Florida – Trump, 50-50. So, Florida is about 75 percent chance the true swing state of the race. If Trump wins Florida, it’s not just the 29 electoral votes he gets.

J: Yep, it’s the key to the election. It’s the one state that Trump 100 percent has to have… Clinton can win without it but Trump can’t.

T: That would indicate that the Hispanic vote isn’t as pro-Clinton as expected, and that the minority vote hasn’t been as activated as expected (either lack of interest of ant-voting measures are working), or that the white male dipshit vote was especially activated, or that college educated whites did not switch parties as much as expected.

538 is unusually conservative about their expectations, and their trust in the polls

because so many of those factors I listed above can’t really be measured based on polls.

J: Turnout is everything

T: That’s good for Clinton in many ways — I’m optimistic — but there is still far too much gray area in there to be 100 percent confident.

J: Exit polling shows the Hispanic vote in Florida breaking to Clinton by 78-17… the other factors we probably won’t know about until Wednesday morning. I’m not 100 percent confident of Florida, maybe 75 percent, but there are other paths if she does happen to lose there.

T: I don’t think that number will prove to be accurate … think about it. Which Hispanics are going to say who they voted for? The Trumpites, or the Clintonites? I do expect Clinton to get 70 percent, though.. the question will be 70 percent of how many?

J: It also depends on the ethnicity… the Cuban-Americans are traditionally Republican, but the Puerto Ricans and Mexicans are almost unanimous for Clinton.

T: I thought NC was in the bag a couple of weeks ago, but the Repubs have really clamped down on the anti-get out the vote stuff. I bet it’s ugly on the ground in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.

J: They got shut down on that but how many voters didn’t get the message?

T: Oh, they got OFFICIALLY shut down. Have you been to the south? I honestly don’t know why anyone with dark skin would live in some of those areas. I think Clinton’s get out the vote apparatus is strong, though. Everyone says her machine is working well.

J: Yeah, the Dems outnumber the R’s 4,200 to 900 in paid staff, so their ground game is vastly superior.

T: All trends working in the right direction — betwetting gone, now only worried about a sudden burst of fecal outrage. Clinton has a 3.6 percent lead now.

J: I think even fecal outrage wouldn’t stop it. I thin k she has it in the bag. A colostomy bag, if you will.

T: Well, a large polling error would create it, a sudden burst of WTF, right out the back of my butt.

J: It would have to be a MASSIVE polling error. Silver is getting a lot of hate, he’s very much an outlier now… the other aggregators have Clinton 90%+.

T: I have heard some of the anti-Silver stuff … it’s not really fair. He’s not a predictor, he’s a forecaster. 70 percent is an accurate reflection of a race that’s been all over the dammed place. We both know that normal conditions make that more like 96 percent, but that assumes no lunatic polling interference, all the expected voters actually get out and vote, and the pollsters were all weighting their polls correctly.

J: I agree that there are a lot of wild cards but even so Silver seems to be overly conservative.

T: No, he’s accounting for things the others don’t account for. He’s not trying to make anyone happy, he’s trying to cover all bases. The 99 percenters will all fade into the woodwork if they are wrong, but they will crow like little bitches if they are right. Silver wants to still be here, either way. He had the race up around 90 percent in 2010 with what looked like a much closer race (49-48 Obama). Right now it’s 48.6-45.1. What’s different? Why is it 70, and not 90? It’s different because of several factors, two of them above the others: 6.3 percent undecided, and normal polling error.

T: Plus the wide swings in the polls, including in the last couple of weeks. We might think it’s 90 percent or 95 percent, or 99 percent, but we are just talking out our asses. Silver actually calculates the factors and runs them through 10,000 simulations every time a new polls comes out. If he says it’s 70 percent and some other asshole says he’s full of shit, ask yourself why the other guy is so quick to discount all the dammed volatility of this race? Silver has a long track record of accurate modeling. He’s accountable. The Huffington Post is a left-leaning paper. It’s a good paper, with professional reporters, but a thumb is a thumb. Silver tries mightily to keep his thumbs off the scale.

J: Basically the HuffPo’s argument is that Silver tweaks his data to create fat tails in the distribution which makes extremely implausible events look much more likely. Silver has a 3% chance of Clinton getting north of 400 EV, which even I think is fantasy.

T: They are wrong. The flat tails are specific to a single-result two-way race. For example, Larry bird is 99 percent to beat Wilt Chamberlin in a three point shooting contest, but he ain’t a 99 percent favorite if they are shooting just one each. Three percent sounds about right … that allows for the chance the polls are off three percent in the other direction. If trump, down 3.5, is 30 percent, then Clinton has at least a three percent chance of winning by 7-8 percent – and that could put her over 400 in the electoral college.

J: Silver also has a 7 percent chance of Clinton getting less than 200 EV which would mean she would lose every single swing state plus some others in the upper Midwest.

T: Sounds about right. You can’t assume the polls are 100 percent accurate. They can be off as much as 3-4 percent, and it would be considered a normal polling error. Seven percent is about halfway through the third standard deviation, I think.

J: Nothing about this election cycle has been normal.

T: Sixteen percent is the first standard deviation, then 8.5, so 7 is a bit more than two standard deviations down. The other prognosticators all assume the polls are accurate. Silver assumes the polls are as human as the people taking them, so he uses the sample error ratios from polling history back to 1972.

J: Well, we’ll find out tomorrow I guess. All the signs are pointing in the right direction but there’s still the turnout wild card.

T: Agreed, John. Will voter turnout will be consistent with the pollsters’ expectations? This might be the true 64 dollar question. I think the indicators favor Clinton, get out the vote favors her. Early voting favors her, the trends favor her – she is gaining in the polls.

J: Organization favors her.

T: Trump’s putrid approval rating favors her.

J: Trump being Trump favors her.

T: But trump’s sheer insanity, and the insanity of his followers, means we can’t assume they will either stay home or allow free access for minorities in the key states. They took his twitter away, did you see that? Any chance he tweets tonight? I bet he does — he can’t resist.

J: I saw that someone claimed it, the surrogates said no but evidence indicates that they did. I’d bet he does too, he just can’t help himself… some stupidity at 3 am.

T: Has he tweeted? Are they URGAY tweets coming from his android with lots of letters misspelled and the dates wrong?

J: Tomorrow night’s 3 am tweetstorm should be one for the ages.

T: Oh question! If – assuming the polls are accurate – Hillary gets called around 930-10 pacific, how long does it take for Trump to concede, does he call her, or does he tweet something? Does he dispute? I might almost say it would be best for the country if he NEVER concedes … if just keeps saying it’s rigged until even his biggest fans think he should give it up.

J: I don’t think he’ll concede… he’ll dispute every state that’s remotely close, I think he’s already lawyering up for that. It’s essential to his internal narrative that he doesn’t acknowledge that he lost… someone has to be blamed and it can’t be him.

T: If he just shits all over the process, eventually his people will realize he’s just a windbag and his hold over them will evaporate like the profits from every casino he ever bought.

J: Whether it’s the GOP rank and file for not supporting him, the FBI, rigged polls, whatever… he just mentally can’t admit that he’s a loser.

T: Automatic recounts for 0.5 percent, but over that he’s gonna be wasting his time. Once he’s lost – and his main bloc realizes that he’s lost …

J: And his alt-right minders will be encouraging him all the way.

T: He will have to return to the bottom of the fridge with the rest of the roaches.