I've been watching this chart
like a hawk. (I also go here
at least twice a day.) Without taking into account a lot of stuff that I probably should
take into account -- you know, the usual boring jibber-jabber about polling methodology -- I've noticed one strange, continuing, unexpected, inexplicable, and completely counter-intuitive meta-trend: Whenever a candidate has a bad week, he or she gets better numbers. This has been the situation for both Trump and Clinton.
I have a (tentative) explanation for this: Whenever the online trolls and teevee talking heads mount a coordinated and unrelenting hate-hate-hate
campaign against a candidate, many people become unnerved by the viciousness of the mob. After all, in the "Frankenstein" movies, we sympathize with the hunted creature, not with the crazed, torch-wielding villagers.
Not only that. When everything seems darkest for a candidate, people watch the news carefully. They listen to the arguments mounted by that candidate's surrogates -- arguments from people one might otherwise ignore. After hearing both sides, a voter may think: "Oh, that thing we're all supposed to be upset about really isn't that
upsetting. This supposedly huge problem is really just a molehill that the media wants to turn into a mountain."
This principle explains why Bill Clinton's approval numbers shot up
after Monica-gate, especially after the broadcast of Clinton's grand jury testimony. Stupidly, the Republicans had fought to make that broadcast happen; they completely mis-judged how the public would react. Each and every day -- for years -- Americans had been told that the Starr inquisition would expose a long list of ghastly crimes committed in an orgy of Satanic perfidy. Instead, all we got was a bright, well-meaning, middle-aged man who foolishly had succumbed to the charms of a curvy brunette with a crush on him. The Republicans only made themselves look like a batch of pervs when they demanded second-by-second details of the affair. All of the other horrifying claims against Clinton were exposed as a pack of lies: Starr had nothing
. The torch-wielding mob suddenly looked a lot scarier than the creature being hunted.
In spite of all that, I'm still predicting a Trump victory. I always predict the worst. And Trump is definitely the worst.