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Hullabaloo


Friday, December 02, 2016

 
Trump's pollster agrees it was the Comey effect

by digby













Trump's pollster and Clinton's pollster talk about the race. Trump's man says that the race came down to four counties in Florida and one in Michigan. Five counties, people.
“When you really drill down on this election, if you change the vote in five counties, four in Florida, one in Michigan, we’d be having a totally opposite conversation right now,” Fabrizio said of the race. “For all the money that was spent, for the all the effort that was made, literally four counties in Florida, one county in Michigan puts us at 261 [electoral] votes and makes Hillary Clinton the president. So, remember that.”

In Michigan, Fabrizio is likely referring to Macomb County, which neighbors Detroit, where Trump beat Clinton by nearly 50,000 votes. The county voted for President Obama twice and was the birthplace of Reagan Democrats. The vote differential here played a huge role in the small 10,000-vote margin by which Trump won Michigan overall.

In Florida, Trump outperformed previous Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Lee County (Fort Myers), Pasco (Dade City), Polk (Bartow), Pinellas (Clearwater) and Volusia (Daytona Beach). These areas are mostly white and older than the rest of Florida and were key in delivering his 1.2 percent margin of victory.

That is not a landslide folks. With Clinton winding up winning between 2.5 and 3 million more votes it's a lucky fluke.

This is even more interesting if totally depressing:
Both men characterized the race as having a measurable degree of movement in the final month and as Benenson put it, Clinton’s campaign was tracking “defectors” from both candidates who had favorability ratings that were underwater.

Fabrizio said that the Trump campaign did not do national polls but rather made aggregates of battleground states.

“One of the things that we saw in the data was that when you looked at the data across all of the states, it was really good for us to get a sense of what was happening writ large,” Fabrizio said. “But there were things that were occurring so frequently in this—we would see our support drop with Republicans ten points in a week after he says something.”

In these instances, the voters would move towards Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson or the undecided category. But throughout the process, Fabrizio was certain that those voters would come back because they weren’t ever going to Clinton.

In the final week after FBI director James Comey released a vague letter saying that the agency was examining new emails found on Anthony Weiner’s computer, the husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Benenson said that Clinton’s defectors just didn’t come back.

“Ours were coming back after the third debate,” Benenson said of the Clinton defectors. “We had actually solidified our lead for a period of days after that debate. Comey happens on that Friday, eleven days out, and that’s when we see—our defectors leave, their defectors get loyal and that keeps moving and probably in the end tips the balance.”

Fabrizio completely agreed with him and said if one didn’t understand the polling fluctuations, “you’d think the bottom fell out.”

The groups Fabrizio was tracking, specifically “Trump targets”—a cohort which they consistently tried to sway from supporting Johnson and/or Clinton—drastically decreased in the final week after the Comey letter. They all essentially came home.

But Fabrizio said they “held their breath” because just days later Comey cleared Clinton once again. Benenson said that second announcement did not help them either “because it just put it back into the conversation again.”

There are a lot of reasons why this election turned out the way it did. Both candidates were widely loathed by half of a polarized country which made it a difficult sell on both sides. They all knew it would be close and were just trying to keep people from defecting in the last week.

This is where Giuliani delivered for Trump. He was clearly working with the FBI agents in the New York office and Comey either maliciously or stupidly went with the plan. It was timed perfectly and it worked.


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