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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Smears and polls

The final polls of this election are a-comin' in. Before we look at them, some background might be useful. Here are the final pre-election polls of the 2000 election:

Only one poll had Gore ahead; the rest put Bush in front. Averaging them out gave Bush something less than a two percent advantage. And yet, on election day, Gore won the popular vote, albeit by an excruciatingly narrow margin. (As we all know, he did not win in the electoral college -- although he should have.)

So what changed? I think we should look at the "third party factor": Nader dropped at least a point and Buchanan's one-percent became less than half of one-percent. Obviously, many would-be third-party voters got cold feet at the last minute. Gore got most of the benefit; not too many wandering Naderites saw the charm of George W. Bush.

Will this principle hold true today? If so, then the question is: Who will benefit from "third party drift" in 2016 --  Hillary or the Donald?

Although I can't easily see through the eyes of a Gary Johnson voter, Libertarians would seem more likely to favor the more conservative candidate. Yet Johnson's running mate, William Weld, clearly favors Hillary. In a recent interview, Weld spoke like a natural-born Hill-dog.
He called Trump "totally unfit to be president" and said Clinton was "a perfectly reputable, professional, responsible candidate for president of the United States and deserves to be treated as such."

"Frankly, I think Mrs. Clinton has been receiving a pretty raw deal," Weld said.
That kind of talk has gotta have an impact on Libertarians, don't you think?

As for Stein: I doubt that many of her voters are going to see much charm in Donald Trump.

A smear too far.
Before we continue with the topic of polling, let's look at some recent exercises in mudslinging.

It may be that the Trumpian tactic of smear-smear-smear has finally gone too far. A couple of days ago, Erik Prince of Blackwater fame did the far-right circuit and spread a fake story that the FBI had found information on Weiner's laptop connecting Hillary Clinton to Jeffrey Epstein's "pedo island."

Somehow, this nonsense became linked up in the public mind with an equally-inane smear-story which claimed that John Podesta had engaged in diabolical rites derived from Aleister Crowley.

(I'll have more to say about that when the election is over. I'm dying for the freedom to write the occasional post about non-serious matters.)

Today, even more ludicrous anti-Hillary tales have been floating around right-wingerland. The "Lolita Express" story has been expanded even further, along with the claim that “evidence has emerged from the Clinton email investigation that a massive child trafficking and pedophile sex ring operates in Washington.” Supposedly, the NYPD raided Clinton's residence and came out with bags of kiddie porn and other evidence.

None of this is true. There was no police raid and no evidence of kiddie porn. If the NYPD had barged into Clinton's residence, every major newspaper and television network would be blaring the news.

As far as we know, nothing important is on that computer. Hillary has no link to Jeffrey Epstein. (Yes, Epstein flew Bill Clinton to an AIDS conference in the days before Epstein was indicted, but rumor and fake stories have expanded that connection far beyond the evidence.)

The only sources for these outlandish fantasias are no-name freaks who scuttle in and out of ultra-fringey websites. Infuriatingly, the Buzzfeed story which exposes this smear as a smear has evinced a host of comments from readers who insist that every horrible detail of these accusations must be true. Why? Because them Clintons is eeeevil, I tells ya. (I presume that at least a few of these comments come to us by way of St. Petersburg.)

Have these Roger Stonian tricks started to rebound on the tricksters? Have the smear-peddlers gone a smear too far? Maybe I shouldn't underestimate the foolishness of the average Americano, but when the accusations become this ludicrous, aren't people more likely to blame Trump instead of Clinton?

And with that in mind, let us now look again at the latest -- last -- polls. For now, we'll stick to the national numbers. So far, the news seems pretty good for Hillary, especially when compared to the situation in 2000.

(Being a natural-born pessimist, I almost didn't want to make this admission. Usually, nothing short of cyanide can bring a smile to this perpetually dour mug -- and yet, right now, the corners of my mouth are starting to twitch.)

The NBC/WSJ poll (rated A- by Nate Silver) has Clinton up four points in a four-way race, 44/40, with Johnson at 6 and Stein at 2.

ABC/WP (rated A+ by Nate Silver) puts Clinton ahead by five, 48/43, with Johnson at 4 and Stein at 2.

Politico/Morning Consult (not rated by Nate Silver) puts Clinton ahead by three, 45/42, with Johnson 8 and Stein 4. I seriously doubt that either Johnson or Stein will come out Tuesday with those numbers.

All the news is not good for Democrats: The IBD/TIPP poll, which has been tied for days (and which Nate Silver gives an A- rating), puts Trump ahead by one point, 44/43, with Johnson 5 and Stein 3.

The big question: How many self-proclaimed third-party voters will acquire frozen-foot syndrome in the voting booth? Matthew Yglesias has tweeted his opinion that "The biggest polling miss is going to be massive overestimation of the Johnson/Stein vote." Perhaps so..

Personally, I believe that the third party numbers will be lower than the ones you see above. Few or no Stein voters will make a last-minute dash toward der Donald. So riddle me this: Will breakaway Libertarians break in the direction that Weld has suggested?

Yes, I am quite aware of the fact that national polls do not necessarily reflect what's happening in the states. We'll talk about state polls -- and early votes -- tonight or tomorrow.

One last thing. Please don't advise me against not to pay attention to polls. I'm only human, and so are my readers. Of course we're glued to the polls! How can anyone pretend otherwise? If you're in the Louvre, you notice the paintings. If you're in a strip club, you notice the nudity. If you're in the Sahara, you notice sand. And if you're in the final days of an election, you notice the polls.
Joseph, this may be the last time we see Alec Baldwin portraying . . . *tries not to vomit* I can't even say his name anymore, I can't stand to hear it (we've all heard his name spoken more than enough to last a hundred lifetimes). . .portraying that orange cretan. Would you mind if I just called him (not Alec, who I love, but the orange cretan) 'Voldemort'? Or do you think that's an insult to Lord Voldemort?

Anyway, check out this SNL 'cold opening':

It cheered me up today, albeit temporarily. Will I ever stop hearing *gags* his name in my lifetime? This creepazoid has gotten more free press than any human ever in all of history and people won't stop saying his name over and over and over and over, as if he's the Candyman.
I'm paying attention to the polls but I adjust (without any actual basis) - I give Hillary about 3 points for organization and GOTV. I subtract 5 from DT because he consistently underperforms.

She may win in some surprising places.

But then, I'm not a pessimist. ;-)
Averaging them out gave Bush something less than a two percent advantage.

Not meaning to be pedantic here, but "averaging" poll percentages is statistically invalid anyway because of differing sample sizes. You can't "average" a percentage - it's an essentially meaningless operation. It appalls me to see supposedly reputable media citing poll "averages" as if that number had some actual significance.
If you get a chance, check out the DailyPUMA Income Tax Story, it may hold the real reason why Donald Trump wo't reveal his income taxes. And you are welcome to snippet if you like for your own article on the subject.
I don't know what it's like elsewhere in the country, but the vaunted Democratic ground game is pretty poor here in Colorado. Here in heavily Democratic Boulder, I've seen exactly one GOTV worker - and he knocked on my door a week after early voting had already started (and well after I'd already sent in my ballot). Clinton made a major miscalculation in assuming that Colorado was solid blue - she didn't run a single ad here until a few weeks ago. She completely squandered her early lead and made a major error in not courting disaffected Sanders voters.
FBI stands behind July recommendation of no indictment for Clinton over emails.
Two bits of news: Comey sent a letter to Congress today saying "nothing to see here, move along, move along", in other words, nothing *at all* on the Weiner laptop, while Senator Franken just said on CNN that he'd like to ask Comey some questions in a future Senate hearing on the FBI.

The other bit of news is the California court date for Trump on civil charges of racketeering, fraud, and elder abuse is set for November 28th.

Colorado looking good, 70% of the ballots already in, Hispanic vote up here and in Nevada.
Colorado looking good, 70% of the ballots already in

Really? It was only 53% yesterday. The admittedly biased CS Gazette (the newspaper that called Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich "Marxists" in an editorial cartoon back in '93) is showing a dead heat in early balloting between Democratic and Republican voters. Channel 7 in Denver is reporting similar data:

The election here will be decided by unaffiliated voters - they're the largest bloc in the state (outnumbering Democrats and Republicans). So far, less than 40% of them have voted.
Comey's second letter will if anything help Trump. As advertisers know, negation doesn't register well with the unconscious. People will hear Clinton's name near words such as "emails", "criminal", "investigation", and "FBI". Nor am I optimistic about the worth of Clinton's GOTV. Your median Trump voter is highly motivated. Your bottom decile Trump voter is also highly motivated. Clinton supposedly having the better GOTV is a bit like the view that her greater spending, at least in the early days, including on TV advertising, gave her an advantage. But if you make the news you don't need to buy much adspace. Many Trump voters will experience a release. They know it and are looking forward to it. They're less disposed to answering questions put by pollsters. Polls said Bremain would win. It's not as if Cuban-Americans in Florida will be flocking to vote for Clinton. Trump's in with a chance.

BTW as things stand, Clinton needs states accounting for at least 271 because one of her electors in Washington State, Robert Satiacum, has said he won't vote for her. I think both candidates need about 275 to be sure on Wednesday, or even more, given that if the result is close there's bound to be a "Get Out The Vote In The Electoral College" (GOTVITEC) stage between the results coming in and the casting of the electoral votes six weeks later. Unless there's a big margin of victory, pressure will be put on electors to vote faithlessly, and events will occur that are found to be useful for those who are exerting the pressure.
How Far Back Can IRS Claim Tax Evasion Or Fraud? Timing Is Everything

Screw tax stories. Why aren't Democrats going hardball on Trump's under age sex trafficking connections? He is friend of John Casablancas who has ties to Jean Luc Brunel who supplied eastern European and Russian underage models to Jeffrey Epstein. Casablancas was raping underage models that applied to his modeling agency. Trump sent his 13 yo daughter to this guy's modeling agency knowing all of this. Why are the Democrats not connecting the dots and finishing off Trumps campaign? These characters supporting Trump are all tied to various Russian Oligarchs, Russian spooks, Russian models or others tangled up with them. Jeffrey Epstein, Lex Wexler, Ghislaine Maxwell, Robert Maxwell, Carter Page, Tevfik Arif(Sex trafficker, ex-soviet and partner in Trump businesses),Paul Manafort, Rudi Giuliani, Bernard Kerik, Elliot Cuker, James Woolsey, Corey Lewanowski, Bob Ney, Jack Abramoff, Michael Flynn, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch(Murdoch is friends with Russian Oligarchs, Wendi Deng was from Communist China). Erik Prince(Friend of Chinese spooks). Connections all over the map. Russia being the main connection. All of these people are tangled up with the Russians and others working to divide up the USA. Repeat. ALL of Trump's big name supporters appear to have been tangled up with shady Russian or Chinese ties.

Why is the media talking about Hillary Clinton's fucking emails and not the Russian penetration of the USA? Why have the Republicans rolled over for Trump and the Russians? Why are Democrats risking losing the election by not taking Trump down with his multiple ties to underage sex trafficking in the modeling industry?

Good point, @Anon 10.18pm. The Bremain campaign didn't quite get it either: they couldn't take the battle to the adversary. Early voting figures aren't showing shit. It's the polls that are indicating a big Clinton win. Only the polls. Since a short time ago. Polls can be wrong. Trumpers are less likely to respond to pollsters, and a very large proportion of them are fired up. Still, far be it from me to underestimate the Jesuits and the chances of their man Tim Kaine. That said, who knows what may happen later today? I seriously don't think Clinton will take Florida.
The Jesuits? b, cah-MON. That's silly. This is 2016, not 1616.
hey Michael, excellent article on income tax fraud. Trump is toast if he loses the election. and I quote…"Some courts have concluded that the six year statute doesn’t even start to run until the last act of tax evasion". Trump's 20 year 50 million dollar a year loss just concluded recently, he's toast if he loses.

Begin Article quote.
"All are potential problems that might occur many years after the tax return was filed or should have been filed. That means you may have to worry for many years beyond six. The issue is especially important if any later act keeps the statute open. Some courts have concluded that the six year statute doesn’t even start to run until the last act of tax evasion.

For example, in United States v. Irby, the court held the six year statute began to run on the last act of evasion. Mr. Irby used nominee trusts to conceal his assets many years after he failed to file. He may have thought he only had to worry for six years, but his use of nominee accounts delayed when his six years commenced. That meant he could still be indicted, prosecuted and convicted.

Finally, you often hear people say that the statute of limitations never runs on fraud. For civil tax fraud, that’s true. The IRS can come after you any time. But it’s still rare for the IRS to go back too far. Problems of proof are too great, and the IRS bears a high burden of proof in fraud cases, even civil fraud." end article quote.
Trump's income tax issue is HUGE. Trump may still owe that 916 million dollar IRS write off, with penalties it could easily be 2 to 3 billion dollars. Plus it was income tax fraud.
Trump HAS to win to stay out of jail. And that would explain his constant need and desire to keep calling Hillary Clinton a criminal who should be locked up. Trump knows he himself could be locked up if he loses on Tuesday.
Donald Trump has been able to avoid revealing the real reason he never released his income tax returns.
Donald Trump faces billions in fines and possibly tax fraud charges.
They will blame it on President Hillary Clinton if Trump's chickens come home to roost post election.
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