Quinnipiac's new polls of Texas and Pennsylvania are up. The Texas poll is more or less limited to the presidential and senatorial races, and even more limited because the choices as the Republican, the Democrat, Someone Else, and Don't Know/No Answer. Pennsylvania doesn't have a US Senate race this year.
Insert rant here about how, in 2016, QU was willing to list Gary Johnson and Jill Stein by name in their crosstabs, but for some reason that seems to be verboten in 2020. It isn't just Quinnipiac that has stopped acknowledging the existence of Libertarians and Greens, but IIRC the QU poll was the first I saw in 2016 that did mention them.
Pennsylvania won't have Howie Hawkins on the ballot, owing to Democratic chicanery there, but Texas will. Imagine how different the numbers would look if the major polls would list all the ballot-line candidates for those races in each state.
Could Texas Go Blue This Year? I Doubt It, But...
The 47-47 split between President Trump and former Vice President Biden should give Texas Democrats a jolt of enthusiasm. I'm willing to admit, for the first time, that a close race is very likely. Knowing Texas, I would bet money on Trump winning this state, but not a lot of money. The record-setting early-vote turnouts bode well for Biden—or, at least, for "Not Trump," in light of the UT/Texas Tribune poll showing that nearly half of Biden voters are voting more against Trump than for Biden. Only about a fifth of Trump voters claim to be voting defensively.
QU's 49-43 lead for Senator John Cornyn over former helicopter pilot MJ Hegar is...well, IDK. My first impression was that it's quite believable: The surge for Biden will have some coattail effects, but not enough to knock Cornyn off his seat. But I have a great deal of trouble swallowing only 1% for Someone Else, about the same figure as in the presidential race. My estimate, based partly on polling and partly on observation of multiple current trends, is that Kerry McKennon and I together will poll in the 4-5% range.
The whole point of this is that QU's Someone Else figures are off by several points, so I have reason to doubt that the numbers for the corporate-party candidates reflect reality.
Brody Andrew Mulligan, the Green nominee for State House District 92 in Tarrant County, brought this little gem to the collective attention of Texas Greens today. I love it when a mainstream news source not only acknowledges "third" parties, but also gets most or all of the facts right.
What's also cool is that Alex Briseño's article is informative, without an apparent agenda of ridiculing or marginalizing the Green and Libertarian Parties. Way too many politically aware Texans don't know a lot about what it's like to run a third party or as a third-party candidate, let alone all the particulars of what has happened in this intensely weird year 2020.
Bust That Myth
I have to wonder, though, if major papers will ever put aside this mythology about Libertarians draining votes from Republicans and Greens from Democrats. Did Briseño include those words in the article he submitted, or did a news editor add them in because there's a rule that all articles in US papers about third parties must include those words at least twice?
About this time in 2016, I was following presidential preference polls—not because I believed them accurate, but because some nationally known and respected polls were including the names Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in their crosstabs.
As of t-minus 89 days before Election Day, I haven't found any polls with the cojones to include the names Howie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen. They and any other relatively small parties' nominees are merged into the all-purpose mystery candidate known as Other.
The biggest reason that irks me is that Hawkins (Green) and Jorgensen (Libertarian) are already officially nominated by their respective parties; Joe Biden and Donald Trump are merely presumptive nominees.
I'm going to starting checking every other day or so, maybe thrice a week, for the first sign of a polling organization that lists the Sunflower and Hedgehog nominees by name. If you see a four-or-more-candidate presidential poll before I do, please put something in the comments below.
Except that I'm an embittered old American lefty, not a cute British novelty pop star. And if I had a hundred hands, I'd be shooting the bird with all of them and looking around to borrow more.
And there are plenty of fuck-yous to go around. My own allies in the radical and progressive movements would not escape the birdshot.
Before beginning the rant, allow me to link you to some other progressive analyses of the turd sandwich that was 8 November 2016: Brains and Eggs, Socratic Gadfly, and Thomas Frank's piece in Comment Is Free. There's also this surprisingly chill post from Caity Johnstone at Inquisitr, which makes me wonder what she smoked or drank to get in that frame of mind.
Democrats, Clintonites, and Berners who fell into line: Before you starting unfriending all those third-party voters with splinters in their eyes, you'd better see a doctor about that plank in your own.
It's late afternoon, and through the work day, I've managed to slough off some of the bitterness that I felt this morning. But still...two middle fingers way up. Mostly, I'm a tad bitter because I have so many friends who vote Blue, many of whom will continue to froth for years about how third parties fucked up this election just like in 2000.
You First, Progs
Let's begin with my progressive peeps. There's some good news/bad news in Texas: Green candidates for statewide offices set new records for vote total and percentage, but didn't get to the magical 5%.
Stein/Baraka ended up with 1.0% of the popular vote nationwide, 0.9% in Texas. The national tally of 1.2 million votes is a marked improvement over 469,000 in 2012. Thank those of you who defied the duopoly.
As a longtime Greenie, I know how support for third parties usually disappears, but come on! Last-minute polls were showing the Green ticket near 2%. In August and September, it was closer to 4%. Does that drop-off represent a few million of you who chickened out? Were poll respondents lying? Were the polls themselves bogus? Trump and Clinton voters came out of the woodwork? Maybe a combination of all that?
I can understand going voting-booth-chickenshit in a swing state. It looks like a fair number of voters in safe states like Texas (I got that one right: Texas ain't a-swingin'), there's no excuse.
...and the Flying Fickle Finger Goes to...
The 2016 Grand Prize for Advanced Electoral Fuckery
The Democratic Party wins this trophy in a landslide. No, #NotAllDemocrats, but the establishment, the machinery, the billionaires and the local Dem apparatchiks who greased the skids for Clinton.
PDiddie & Gadfly already said nearly everything I might say about the Democratic fumble—itself an echo of 2000—along with pull-quotes from Thomas Frank. But I can add this:
As I have stated emphatically and repeatedly, five million Americans who voted went Libertarian or Green did so for actual reasons, not just for hipster-cred. We are voting against the Evil Transnational Corporate Empire that keeps both major parties major and keeps the bombs falling on Pakistani weddings. When it's appropriate, or when avenues of civil protest are closed to us, we do more than vote: We take our politics to the street and throw ourselves on the gears of the machine. Apart from the 80 million registered voters who did not vote at all, we five million said "You don't own our vote" in a way that actually means something.
Nearly 66 million people voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Fewer than 60 million voted for Hillary Clinton yesterday. A portion of those 6 million missing votes went toward Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, but many more went to Donald Trump. (I'll link to the source when I can find it again.) If this election was a referendum on how well our Democratic president has guided the ship of state, fancy MSNBC graphs & statistics be damned, a lot of the white, working-class Democratic base just gave the Dems a big heave-ho. These people perceive, rightly or not, that the Democratic establishment has given up on them, so they have now given up on the Democratic Party. The only progressive alternative left for them was the Jewish doctor and the black philosopher running with the party that never wins.
Of course, the Democratic Party cannot just dump its billionaire benefactors, from whom it gets its life-blood campaign funding, right? Well, it could take a cue from Senator Bernard Sanders, start appealing to regular working stiffs, and become once again the Party of the People.
Now that the voting is over, Democrats, show me what democracy looks like. Organize like a motherfucker. Assuming some Republican Electors don't flip their votes between now and 19 December and change the outcome, the time to defeat Trump is not in 2020, and it's not just by voting. Do unto the Donald as the Republicans have done unto you, and start defeating him now.
I'll believe it when I see it on 9 November. Well, I'm not sure I will believe it then either.
As analysts such as Glenn Greenwald and Redacted Tonight's Lee Camp have done, I shall preface the remainder of this post with a disclaimer:
In no way whatsoever does any of the following verbiage mean or imply that I have any desire to see that overstuffed egomaniac pro wrestling villain Donald Trump installed in the White House.
You may have seen the news that Real Clear Politics has just moved Texas out of the Leans Trump category and into Toss-Up. Even with two weeks left before Election Day, I believe that call is premature. A few recent polls show Trump's lead in Texas within their respective margins of error. But I'm not too confident in the ways some of those polls were conducted. (Really, CBS? 17% of Millennials voting Johnson, but just 1% voting Stein?)
This week, somebody on one of the Green Party Facebook pages posted a link to this little item (content warning: Language) from Yale University's not-as-famous-as-the-Harvard-Lampoon satire magazine. It is worth a giggle or two. However, I disagree with "James fucking Madison" regarding the utility of the Electoral College. Unfortunately, the real James Madison was too busy protecting the Republic from the excesses of the majority to see the wisdom of the Ranked Choice or Approval Voting methods.
In his time, Madison had no reason to fear that the majority of the population would pick some raving yahoo to be president. It was left to the several States to determine who was allowed to vote, and they mostly limited the franchise to white male property-owning US citizens 21 or older. As it was, the white landed gentry chose plenty of racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and Indian-killers to be their leaders and representatives.
Speaking of raving yahoos, the NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll released yesterday contains some a few interesting questions regarding "Pussygate."
Sorry the print is so tiny. [Insert clever joke about Donald Trump's fingers here.] To sum it up, only 3% of the likely voters polls are now more likely to support Trump following the release of the 2005 conversation with Billy Bush; 39% are less likely, and 56% say it makes no difference (as it would in my case, since the chance of my supporting Trump was already zero).
As to whether Trump should drop out of the race because of his comments, 39% said Yes, 59% said No. This question has more nuance than you would think: You can't just drop out of the race when millions have voted for you, your name is already on all the states' ballots, and early voting has already begun in some states.
So I wouldn't mind seeing Trump drop off the face of the earth, but I would answer that question No, I don't think he should drop out of the race. For the moment, I will enjoy the Schadenfreude of watching Republicans squirming with buyer's remorse—especially Ted Cruz, who, just two weeks before, very reluctantly drank the red Kool-Aid and endorsed Trump. Maybe after the election I will begin to feel sorry for them for being so thoroughly duped.
One of the exasperating aspects of reading poll results is seeing how professional pollsters leave ambiguous questions in their surveys—sometimes intentionally, mostly because they genuinely don't know. It's amazing, and a little disturbing, how a slight change of wording can produce a different result. It would have been more precise to ask if Trump should concede the race. Rep. Paul Ryan has already disinvited Trump and his running mate Gov. Mike Pence from campaign events in Wisconsin. It won't be the last place where influential Republicans will tell Trump and Pence that they are not fucking welcome.
It's at least partly in how you interpret it, of course. It's also partly the smallish sample sizes. But by gum, the Public Policy Polling national survey for August 2016 has Jill Stein rising from 2% in May, June and July to 4%.
The 4% figure complements this week's NBC News/SurveyMonkey results. Stein maintains a 5% standing on NBC/SM, which uses much larger sample sizes and thus attains a smaller margin of error. The two polls differ widely on Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, who earns 11% on NBC/SM and a mere 6% on PPP.
"You down with PPP?"
"Yeah, you know me."
I'm trying to imagine an older, not-so-Internet-savvy Texan hearing "Deez Nuts" from the recorded voice of the pollster, and not being able to process those two syllables in any language.
This isn't the only major revelation in the latest Public Policy Polling survey for Texas. First, there is also the question of whether ACORN will steal the election for Hillary Clinton. Fortunately or not, only 24% responded that it will; 39% said no, and 36% were not sure.
In case you weren't sure yourself, ACORN was driven to extinction in 2010.
The numbers in the polls don't mean anything, especially in presidential preference polls. The real picture is likely well outside the margin of error, and the margin of error is already pretty significant when your candidate is polling in single digits.
The numbers in the polls mean everything, especially when the Presidential Debate Commission has set a bar of a 15% average in a specific set of polls in order to participate in televised debates.
The latest NBC/SurveyMonkey poll shows Gary Johnson at 11%, up from 9% two weeks ago, and inching toward that 15% mark (probably not inching fast enough). The same poll shows Jill Stein treading water at 4%, even with millions of potential votes from disaffected Bernie Sanders fans since the Westminster Kennel Cl—er, Democratic Dog & Pony Show in Philadelphia.
With Stein's NBC/SM numbers unchanged, her Real Clear Politics average remains at 3.0%; Johnson moves up to 8.5%.
I had expected Stein to receive a bigger bounce from the Democratic Con at the end of July than from the following week's "The Revolution Might Be on C-SPAN" Green Convention. After all, the Sanders delegates' walkout made for a pretty big news story and comic fodder for Samantha Bee. Neither convention really provided Jill much of a boost.
None of the polls that RCP tracks have Stein above the 5% threshold nationally, the minimum for locking in matching funds for the Greens' next nominee. Optimistic Greens and other #JillNotHill partisans might add the 1.2% margin of error to the NBC/SM figure to put her at 5.2%. It's not empty optimism when you look at the poll's methodology, including the demographic breakdown and the overabundance of land lines contacted.
At least the Stein/Baraka campaign can point to more victories on the ballot access front: As of this week, Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka are fairly well assured of having their names on ballots in 30 states, with more than 70% of the population. There are still more states in play. Stay tuned, as the clické goes.
Even with the news of Bernie Sanders endorsing Hillary Clinton's candidacy, and the resulting stampede of Sanders's supporters toward Jill Stein and the Greens, the latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll shows Stein still hovering in the vicinity of 5% nationwide.
Any bets as to whether that number increases substantially, and how much, in the next few weeks?
The NBC/SM poll is notable for having a considerably larger sample size, and thus a smaller margin of error, than most of the academic polls like Quinnipiac and Monmouth. That sample does skew affluent and white, since, per conventional wisdom, actual voting does as well. About 8% of the respondents identified as "Black," and about the same as "Hispanic/Latino," whereas both of these ethnicities compose nearly twice that percentage of the total US population.
As we have noted previously:
Mystery & intrigue, y'all. Could Dr. Stein be that "someone else" for, say, 7% of the voters?
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
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