• Political Forecast & Review - October 28, 2016


    Hillary Clinton is locking in her national popular vote lead, but her margin does appear to be falling.  The five latest polls show her lead beginning at four points, and then dropping all the way to a tie. Rasmussen Reports (latest: 10/25-27; 1,500 US likely voters) sees a flat 45-45% tie in the popular vote prognostication.  The Investors Business Daily/TIPP survey (latest: 10/22-27; 973 US likely voters) finds Clinton leading 44-41%.  These two surveys have consistently shown to draw the best Trump numbers. 

    ABC News (10/22-26; 1,109 US likely voters) and the new YouGov/Economist survey (10/22-26; 1,209 US likely voters) find Clinton’s margins to be four and five points, respectively.

    Five new polls see the all-important Florida race tightening, however, as one projects Donald Trump taking a two point lead (Bloomberg Politics; 10/21-24; 953 FL likely voters), at 45-43%, with Libertarian Gary Johnson notching 4% and the Green Party’s Jill Stein taking just 2 percent.  Remington Research (10/20-22; 1,646 FL likely voters via automated response telephoning) forecasts a 46-46% tie.  Three others, conducted during the same 10/20-24 time period (Survey USA, CBS News/YouGov, and Opinion Savvy) find Ms. Clinton maintaining an edge of either three or four percentage points.

    In Ohio, however, the trends favor Trump.  Remington Research, Quinnipiac University, and CNN/ORC all see the Republican nominee leading between one and three points during the October 10-22 period.  Suffolk University (10/17-19; 500 OH likely voters) finds the two candidates tied at 45% apiece.

    The two latest Pennsylvania studies, Remington Research (10/20-22; 1,997 PA likely voters via automated response telephoning) and the Emerson College Polling Society (10/17-19; 800 PA likely voters) post smaller Clinton leads of three and four points. 

    The Minnesota electorate, which hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential race since 1972, was for a time teetering in this race.  But, a new Minneapolis Star Tribune survey (10/20-22; 625 MN likely voters) puts the race back in what should be its normal perspective suggesting that Ms. Clinton is topping Donald Trump and the minor party candidates, 47-39-6-1%.

    All of this still suggests a Clinton national victory, however, as Trump’s best-case scenario seems to be a close loss.  In the end, Ms. Clinton’s electoral vote total will likely top 300, with Trump following in the 230+ range.  If so, Trump will have fared better than both John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, but the final result will still be the same.


    We seem to be seeing movement in the New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Nevada Senate races.  UMass/YouGov (10/17-21; 772 NH likely voters) gives Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) a 48-44% advantage when all committed and leaning voters are added to the respondent tally.  She and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) had previously been locked in a tie.

    While Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has been consistently polling ahead by small margins in eight of the last nine statewide polls (the ninth showed a tie between the two candidates), the latest New York Times/Siena College survey (10/20-23; 792 NC likely voters) gives challenger Deborah Ross a slight 47-46% edge.  But, simultaneously, Monmouth University (10/20-23; 402 NC likely voters) sees a six-point, 49-43%, Burr advantage.  The Monmouth polling sample, however, is just over half as large as the NYT/Siena College respondent universe.


    The Nevada Senate race continues to bounce back and forth between the two candidates, but four of the latest six polls give Democratic former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto an edge over Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson).  Both Rasmussen Reports and the Las Vegas Review Journal in surveys fielded between October 20 and 23, find Ms. Masto clinging to two and one point leads, respectively.  Now, however, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll (10/20-24; 707 NV likely voters) gives Rep. Heck his largest lead of the entire contest, 49-42%.  Therefore, this race is far from decided.


    In the aggregate, the Senate race picture continues to hover around the 50-50 mark, though the latest trends suggest that Democrats will obtain the Senate majority either in a tie vote, or by breaking through to 51 or even 52 seats.



    Our own compilation of all 435 House races suggests that the Republicans will maintain control of the chamber in the next Congress, but with a smaller margin. 

    It appears that Republicans are safe in 197 seats as compared to 177 for Democrats.  An additional 21 seats are rated as “Republican favored”, where ten more lean to the GOP candidate.  In addition to the 177 safe Ds, another nine can be categorized as “Democrat favored”, with three more leaning their way.

    Thus, the grand total of safe, favored, and lean Republican seats is 228, while the Democratic total looks to be 189.  This leaves 18 toss-up districts, fifteen in Republican districts and only three in those currently held by a Democrat.  Extrapolating the toss-up category with the latest trends and voter history, suggests that the Republican majority will hover around the low to mid-230s, exactly where most of their margins have resided after first assuming the House majority in the 1994 election.  Currently, the House party division is 247R-188D.


    Trends are developing in some of the key Governor’s races.  The latest polling and past election history suggests a Democratic conversion in North Carolina where Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) maintains a small lead over Gov. Pat McCrory (R).  The same may occur in Indiana, where Democratic nominee John Gregg maintains a small margin over Republican Eric Holcomb in the seat left open when Gov. Mike Pence (R) accepted the GOP Vice Presidential nomination.

    Democrats are poised to hold the open Delaware, Missouri, and West Virginia governorships, while Republicans could score conversion victories in New Hampshire and, most surprisingly, Vermont.