POLITICS

HUFFPOLLSTER: Social Media Users Are Sick Of Arguing About The Election

Few say that online debates are helping them find common ground.

Most Americans are (understandably) ready to see this campaign end. Most voters are (less understandably) worried about voter fraud. And most forecasters think Hillary Clinton will win, but they differ in levels of certainty. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, October 26, 2016.

AMERICANS ARE OVER THE ELECTION - HuffPollster: “No matter whom they support at the polls, Americans can mostly agree on one thing about this presidential campaign ― they’re really, really ready to be finished with it. An 81 percent majority of Americans say they wish this election were over, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, with just 12 percent saying they’re enjoying watching things play out. More than three-quarters of people in both parties say they’re ready to move on….Just because people are tired of hearing about the campaign, though, doesn’t mean they aren’t worried about the outcome. An overwhelming majority, 78 percent, say that depending on who wins the presidential election, the U.S. could be in serious trouble. Just 8 percent think that the nation will be fine no matter who wins….Women are 15 points likelier than men ― 41 percent to 26 percent ― to say they’ve found this election ‘very stressful.’ Just 9 percent of women, compared to 16 percent of men, say they’re enjoying the election.” [HuffPost]

Some social media users are particularly fed up - Maeve Duggan and Aaron Smith: “More than one-third of social media users are worn out by the amount of political content they encounter, and more than half describe their online interactions with those they disagree with politically as stressful and frustrating...64% say their online encounters with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum leave them feeling as if they have even less in common than they thought – although 29% say they end these discussions feeling that they have more in common than they might have anticipated….Many users view the tone of political discussions on social media as uniquely angry and disrespectful – although a sizeable share feels that these discussions simply reflect the broader political climate.” [Pew Internet

MANY VOTERS WORRY THEIR BALLOTS WON’T COUNT - Giovanni Russonello: “Fewer than half of Americans are very confident that their vote for president will be counted correctly — and most say their ballot will not matter anyway because the political process is so dominated by corporate interests. These are among the results of a P.R.R.I. poll released on Tuesday showing a nation that is deeply ambivalent about the electoral process. Americans are almost evenly divided on whether fraud or voter repression is a bigger problem, despite many studies showing that fraud is almost nonexistent nationwide…. political independents were the most skeptical, with just over a third expressing a great deal of confidence. Independents were also among the most likely to say that the influence of wealthy interests overpowered voting. Fully 57 percent of all Americans, and nearly two-thirds of independents, agreed that ‘politics and elections are controlled by people with money and by big corporations,’ so it does not matter if they vote. At 66 percent, young people are among the most likely to feel pessimistic about the worth of their vote.” [NYT]

Republicans most fear non-citizens voting - Eli Yokley: “Non-citizens voting is the main way Trump supporters think the election result will be fraudulent, according to a Morning Consult/POLITICO poll. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the Republican nominee’s supporters say they think non-citizens voting will be very or somewhat common. By contrast, about two in 10 (19 percent) of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s supporters said they thought non-citizens voting was common – a 45-point gap with Trump’s backers....Efforts to determine the pervasiveness of voter fraud have found that it does happen on occasion, but is rare. The larger problem, according to a study by Pew, has been in administering elections, from keeping invalid registrations on the books to failures to scrub dead voters from the rolls. But this poll and others suggest that voters think fraud is more common.” [Morning Consult]

A CNN poll finds that two-thirds of voters have at least some confidence that their vote will be accurately cast and counted. [CNN]

MANY AMERICANS ARE NOSTALGIC FOR DECADES PAST - HuffPollster: “Americans are close to evenly split on whether the U.S. has gotten better or worse in the past 60 years, according to a new survey from the nonprofit organization PRRI. Fifty-one percent say that American culture and way of life have worsened since the 1950s, while 48 percent say they have changed for the better. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Seventy-two percent of likely Trump voters think things have changed for the worse, while about 70 person of Clinton voters think things have changed for the better. ‘This election has become a referendum on competing visions of America’s future,’ Robert P. Jones, PRRI’s CEO, said in a statement. ‘Donald Trump supporters are nostalgic for the 1950s, an era when white Christians in particular had more political and cultural power in the country, while Hillary Clinton supporters are leaning into ― and even celebrating ― the big cultural transformations the country has experienced over the last few decades.’” [HuffPost]

ONLINE POLLSTERS ARE CONDUCTING FREQUENT 50-STATE POLLS - A new trend in polling has emerged in 2016: Daily 50-state poll releases. Four online survey companies are releasing data at least once a week on all 50 states, plus Washington D.C.: Ipsos/Reuters, UPI/CVoter, SurveyMonkey and YouGov. HuffPost Pollster is using data from the first three, but as usual for tracking polls, only polls with no overlapping field dates get included in our charts at one time. That ensures that each respondent is only counted once. The YouGov releases aren’t included in our charts because they use a modeling structure that incorporates data beyond just the polls.

YouGov’s methodology uses “multilevel regression and poststratification” - Benjamin Lauderdale: “The raw data for our analysis is about 50,000 respondents to YouGov’s polling over the past two weeks, however turning that into state-level estimates involves several other sources of data to ensure that we are generating a representative portrait of the electorate, not just of those who respond to our polls. The approach we are following, which is referred to as multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP), has three components…. For each [of many voter] types, there are three important quantities that we would like to know. 1) What proportion of people of that type will vote for Clinton, Trump, Johnson, Stein, etc, among those who do vote? 2) What proportion of the individuals in each voter type will turn out to vote? 3) How many (voting eligible) individuals are there of that type?” [YouGov]

SurveyMonkey uses a polls-only approach - Mark Blumenthal: “Survey Monkey’s newly released Electoral College Map currently shows Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading in enough states to win 307 electoral votes and defeat Donald Trump in the race for president (it takes 270 electoral votes to win). The interactive map is based on 41,569 interviews conducted over the past eight days as part of SurveyMonkey’s ongoing Election Tracking survey. Results will be updated regularly over the final two weeks of the campaign (scroll down on the map for a description of its functions).” [HuffPost, SurveyMonkey]

WHY ONE POLL IS DIFFERENT FROM MOST OTHERS - Scott Clement: “At a rally Sunday, Trump touted results from the Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP tracking poll, whose latest results, published Tuesday, showed the race about even, with Clinton at 41 percent and Trump at 40 percent…. [The poll’s] overall approach is quite similar to the sampling approach of other national media surveys... Weighting marks an area where IBD/TIPP’s poll is more unusual on two fronts. First, the poll weighs its sample of registered voters to match 2014 Current Population Survey estimates for that group by age, gender, racial and region. By contrast, the most regular national surveys weigh their overall adult samples to demographics of the voting-age population, for which benchmarks are published with greater regularity…. Education also was not a weighting factor in IBD’s survey, though it is commonly used in surveys since adults with less education tend to be hard to reach in public opinion polls…. A second unusual aspect of IBD/TIPP’s weighting is party identification, where the survey’s sample of registered voters is weighted to match a predetermined estimate for the share of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, independents and others.” [WashPost]

WHY ONE FORECAST IS RELATIVELY BEARISH ON CLINTON - Nate Silver: “Hillary Clinton is probably going to become the next president. But there’s an awful lot of room to debate what “probably” means. FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only model puts Clinton’s chances at 85 percent, while our polls-plus model has her at 83 percent…. Other statistical models are yet more confident in Clinton, however, variously putting her chances at 92 percent to 99 percent… So let me explain why our forecast is a bit more conservative than some of the others you might be seeing… Assumption No. 1: The high number of undecided and third-party voters indicates greater uncertainty…. Assumption No. 2: The FiveThirtyEight model is calibrated based on general elections since 1972…. Assumption No. 3: The FiveThirtyEight model uses a t-distribution with ‘fat tails,’ which gives a greater likelihood of rare events…. Assumption No. 4: State outcomes are highly correlated with one another, so polling errors in one state are likely to be replicated in other, similar states.” [538]

We’ll never know who was right - The electoral outcome on Nov. 8 will tell us if forecasts were generally right, not how likely that outcome was today (or any other day). Read more about the HuffPost model’s methodology here.

HuffPost forecast update - Hillary Clinton has a 97 percent chance of winning the presidency. Donald Trump’s chances are under 3 percent. In the Senate, Republicans have a 33 percent chance of getting 51 or more seats, Democrats have a 32 percent chance of winning the outright majority and there’s a 35 percent chance of a 50-50 split. In the event of a tie, the vice president would be the tie-breaker, so after accounting for the chances of each ticket winning the presidency Democrats have a 66 percent chance of holding at least a weak majority in the chamber. [Presidential forecast, Senate forecast]

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WEDNESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Harry Enten shows that Hillary Clinton’s voters aren’t necessarily just voting against Donald Trump. [538]

-Respect for police is at its highest point in 50 years. [HuffPost]

-Tom Webster and Joe Lenski explain what makes an exit poll legitimate. [Edison Research]

-Carolyn Presutti details the inner workings of SSRS’s telephone polling operation. [VOA]

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