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Educated Voters are Propelling Clinton to Swing State Leads  

 

It is no secret that Donald Trump has few viable paths to 270 electoral votes.  Those that do exist hinge on a few swing states: Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.  A map with those states classified as toss-ups and all other states classified a la 2012 (except for Maine’s second congressional district, where recent polls have shown a double-digit Trump lead) leaves Trump 78 electoral votes shy of winning the presidency.  From there, it’s a game of math – the most credible and likely paths necessitate that he win Florida, Pennsylvania, and a couple of other states.  Losing Pennsylvania greatly diminishes Trump’s prospects: Without the Keystone State, he needs to sweep the remainder to earn exactly the magic number.

And so it becomes natural to ask: How is Trump doing in said swing states?  What are his prospects for winning?  Is he notably doing better in some swing states than in others?  It is the last question I attempt to answer in order to gain insight into electoral coalitions and divisions.

 OhioIowaPAFloridaNevadaNCNHNational
Ohio —0.990.850.700.990.980.980.91
Iowa0.99 —0.920.790.980.940.990.96
Pennsylvania0.850.920.870.880.740.910.95
Florida0.700.790.87    —0.660.550.710.93
Nevada0.990.980.880.66      —0.971.000.89
NC0.980.940.740.550.970.950.81
NH0.980.990.910.711.000.950.92
National0.910.960.950.930.890.810.92        —

Table 1: Correlation index between the swing states.

To flesh out the leading question – how is Trump doing in state X compared to  state Y – I regressed each swing state results on the others as well as the national outcome, one at a time, to generate a formula used to predict Trump’s vote share in each swing state.[1]  I use Trump’s RealClearPolitics polling average as the x-variable for each equation.[2]  The results, pictured in table 2, are highlighted red or blue to denote whether the predicted Trump value is greater than Hillary Clinton’s polling average for that state.

 Ohio (18)Iowa (6)PA (20)Florida (29)Nevada (6)NC (15)NH (4)NationalResult
Ohio0.4250.3930.4140.4520.3520.4120.4100.41553
Iowa0.4560.4300.4360.4700.4090.4710.4400.44472
PA0.4160.3720.3850.4230.3280.4100.3940.38918
Florida0.4440.4080.4120.4330.2000.4630.4260.41339
Nevada0.4650.4420.4450.4790.4250.4860.4470.45578
NC0.4310.3950.4240.4640.3640.4260.4170.42668
NH0.3700.3200.3620.4120.2420.3140.3530.3560
National0.4240.3850.4010.4310.3500.4200.4060.40018
  
Average0.4290.3930.4100.4450.3710.4250.4120.41272
Clinton Avg0.4080.3870.4470.4330.4150.4220.4270.409 
Difference0.0210.006-0.0370.012-0.0440.005-0.0010.003 

Table 2: This shows Trump’s projected vote shares based on his polling average in each state shown and his national polling average.  Each row is the projected vote share for the swing states based on the row’s state header.   Simulations are then compared to Clinton’s polling average (bottom); if Trump is projected to have a higher vote share, then the cell is highlighted red.  A blue cell means Clinton is ahead.  Electoral votes are then added – Trump needs 78 to win.  Highlighted color shows the electoral winner.

Trump needs 78 electoral votes to clinch the presidency; he reaches that number in only one simulation – that with state predictions based on his current Nevada polling average.  Besides again showing the arduous task Trump faces in accumulating the needed electoral votes, this model shows whether Trump is systematically over/underperforming expectations in some states based on his polling in others.  A few examples quickly jump out.  Trump is notably outperforming expectations in Iowa and Nevada while coming up short in New Hampshire and the all-important Pennsylvania.  In both Iowa and Nevada, his current polling average (bolded and as of this writing) greatly exceeds predictions for those states based on his performance elsewhere.  The opposite holds true in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.  There, Trump’s polling average rests well below where we would expect him to be given his standing in other states.  Why might this be and what does it tell us?

Race, a default heuristic, tells part, but not all of, the story.  Trump might be outperforming expectations in Iowa because of his strength among whites (and Iowa is around 90 percent white), but what about Nevada, with its growing population of Hispanics (who have no love for the candidate)?  Pennsylvania is around 80 percent white, but Trump shows few signs of strength there.  Furthermore, New Hampshire is another overwhelmingly white state and yet Trump is very much underperforming expectations there.  Though race is an important factor in Trump’s performances in these swing states, the discrepancy in his polling numbers can be further explained by another variable: Education.

Nevada, as noted columnist and state expert Jon Ralston noted, is not a particularly well-educated state.  In fact, according to the 2010 Census, only 21.7 percent of adults in the state had at least a bachelor’s degree.  Iowa fares somewhat better — 24.9 percent of Iowan adults fit the criteria.  By comparison, in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, 27.1 percent and 32.8 percent, respectively, have a least a bachelor’s degree.

The numbers are even more disparate when looking at exit polls.  As education increases, so does voter turnout, so the differences noted by the census are exasperated at the polls.  In 2012, 43 percent of Iowa voters and 42 percent of those in Nevada were college graduates as opposed to 48 percent in Pennsylvania and 51 percent in New Hampshire.  While these numbers might not seem dramatic, a few percentage points means tens to hundreds of thousands of voters.

In 2012, Barack Obama won voters who graduated college by just two percentage points.  Today, according to Reuters polling, Clinton leads Trump by 20 points among college graduates, an advantage which extends to white voters.  She could be the first Democrat to win white voters in 60 years.  Strength among college educated voters is empowering Clinton even in states where she might otherwise be at a disadvantage given the state’s racial composition (combined with Trump’s strong showing among whites, especially white men).  Holding all else equal, educational attainment differences between swing states likely explains why Trump is beating expectations in some while falling short in others.

And yet it’s a deficit that could be overcome if Trump had a sophisticated ground game capable of registering and mobilizing non-college graduates inclined to support him.  Luckily for Democrats, anemic investment on the ground means that Trump will be playing catchup if he hopes to mitigate the effects of his non-appeal to non-college graduates.

 

[1] This exercise, of course, has a very small n.  However, because many swing states have highly correlated results, the regressions were generally statistically significant and, as will be shown, the predictions from the resultant equations almost always pass the eye test for reasonability.

[2] Throughout this example, I use four-way polling averages from RCP.

Put Your Children First and Vote for Hillary Clinton

For your children’s sake, you ought to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Elections tend to focus around economic issues and this year is no different — according to Pew Research, 84% of voters say economic issues are “very important” when deciding their vote (making it the most important factor in vote choice).  Gallup similarly found that “the economy” and “employment and jobs” are two of the four most important issues for Republicans and Democrats this cycle.  Voters want a candidate who will create jobs, both for current and future generations.

It’s for precisely the latter goal — creating well-paying jobs for our children — that voters should choose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

The economy today is very different than it was a half, or even a quarter, century ago.  Twentieth century America saw manufacturing dominance with factories employing millions of workers with high wages and generous benefits.  But in the last 20 years, those manufacturing jobs have been evaporating.  They will not return, for one simple reason: Automation.

New factories are capital — not labor — intensive, meaning that production is done largely by machines rather than workers.  This allows factories to increase productivity while keeping costs low, savings that are ultimately passed on to consumers.  In other words, even if companies decide to move production back to the United States, there will not be a manufacturing jobs boom.  It simply will not happen and anyone promising otherwise is immune to the economic reality of automated production.  No comparisons can be made to manufacturing’s heyday because automation was at that point but a fantasy.



This is not a uniquely American phenomenon.  Throughout the developed world, manufacturing employment has been steadily declining over the past 40 years.

donald trump manufacturing

In fact, as a country gets richer, manufacturing’s share of national employment tends to drop rather sharply.  This is true across the world.donald trump manufacturing plan

With manufacturing’s steady (and largely irreversible) decline, economic salience increases as voters wonder whether, where, and how their children will find employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),  among the jobs seeing the greatest increase in demand between 2014 and 2024, and thus those likeliest to employ our children, are:

  • Registered nurses, 16% increase, median wage of $67,490
  • General and operational managers, 7.1% increase, median wage of $97,730
  • Accountant and auditors, 10.7% increase, $67,190 median wage
  • Software developers, applications, 18.8% increase, $98,260 median wage
  • Computer systems analysts, 20.9% increase, $85,800 median wage
  • Management analysts, 13.6% increase, $81,320 median wage
  • Market research analysts, 18.6% increase, $62,150 median wage

What do these jobs have in common?  They all require a college degree.  That is no surprise: According to the BLS, those with a college degree have exceptionally low unemployment rates and earn wages well above the American median.  As the economy continues to specialize, requiring specialized skills and education, this gap will likely continue to grow.

hillary clinton college plan



To ensure your child will find a job, you must vote for the candidate that will make college accessible and affordable to all.

Donald Trump’s website doesn’t mention education.  He has no plan for college affordability and his given no indication that he’s willing or able to help families give their children a world-class education.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has outlined and detailed a plan that would allow all students coming from families earning less than $125,000 a year.  Under her proposal, 80% of all students would attend college for free.  Furthermore, no taxes would be raised on middle- or working-class families in order to pay for near-universal college.

College is necessary to thrive in the new-age economy.  With a degree comes very low levels of unemployment (ie, very good chances of finding a job) and high wages.  Only Hillary Clinton will help students get the education they need to thrive in the 21st Century.

Put your Children First and vote for Hillary Clinton this November.

gouverneur morris

The Fake Presidency of Gouverneur Morris

The Early Life of Governeur Morris

Gouverneur Morris joined the world on March 28, 1790 as the fifth son of a prominent Boston merchant.  His mother, Sarah Marie Morris, died but a few years later after the still-birth of her third daughter and ninth child.  Some of Gouverneur Morris’s biographers attribute Sarah Marie’s death to heartbreak from her first unsuccessful carriage; others point to diseases she might have acquired from the dirty New England hospital in which she attempted to give birth.  Regardless, Sarah Marie’s death when Gouverneur had reached the age of beginning cognizance – four years – may have affected her seventh child for years to come: Gouverneur never married, at one pointing writing to a friend that he feared “the inevitable loss and years of depression” that would follow his wife’s passing (apparently he never considered the possibility that a potential wife would outlive him).

Childhood did not treat Gouverneur Morris kindly.  By the time he reached ten years of age, he had lost three more siblings.  The eldest Morris child – John Winthrow Morris – had moved west, seeking to expand the frontier, but perished in a Native American raid.  Gouverneur’s immediate elder, Jane Morris, died in a fire that engulfed the Morris’s house in 1798.  According to Gouverneur’s later writings, he and Jane were particularly close, brought together by proximity in age and similar emotional responses to Sarah Marie’s death.  Two years later, the youngest Morris (Robert F.) died at the hands of scarlet fever.  This last death treated Gouverneur’s father poorly – the family’s patriarch fell into a deep stupor and turned to the bottle, quickly coming to terrorize the remaining children with his seething anger.  The family soon fell into disarray and in 1805, Gouverneur wrote in his journal “I wish I could escape this wretched family and move west to the frontier or at least move somewhere without pain and shadow of death looming.”

Western Adventures

Escape Gouverneur soon did.  In 1807 he stole some of his father’s money and moved west to Ohio.  But the allure of the frontier quickly wore off.  Gouverneur worked at a sawmill near Cincinnati, the recently incorporated village.  He tired of the drudgery and the hardships of the frontier.  Indian raids were common occurrences; hunger even more so.  The frontier failed to live up to expectations (or perhaps Gouverneur  simply  was not cut out for western life).  At any rate, a “fortunate” letter soon reached him: One evening, late in 1810’s summer, Gouverneur’s father, drunk as usual, mis-stepped on his walk home and tumbled into the river, quickly drowning.  With his father’s temperament consigned to another world, Gouverneur decided to return to Boston.  He decided to pursue a different life course and enrolled at Harvard College in the fall of 1811.

At Harvard, Gouverneur seemed to find himself.  He immersed himself in political studies and became an engaged member of the dying Federalist Party.  Gouverneur’s writing indicated that, during this formative period, he discovered the wonders of the Constitution and the debates surrounding its writing.  Little formal work remains from those years and his journal kept not ideas, but rather amazement and appreciation for the burgeoning republic’s Founding Fathers.

The War of 1812

After his first full year at Harvard, the War of 1812 broke out.  Gouverneur did not at first join the militia – recalling his sawmill days, he opted instead for the classroom.  But by 1813, Gouverneur felt growing anxiety about the country’s future and enlisted in the Navy where he fought under Oliver Hazard Perry.  Little is known about his time in the Navy.  Perry once mentioned Gouverneur in a formal report and did so with much enthusiasm.  Gouverneur seemed to make a shining impression on his naval compatriots.  Undoubtedly, his shining war moment occurred during the Battle of Lake Erie: He later wrote that “the thrill of flashing guns and the exploding shells could not match the excitement with which my heart beat for I knew that our actions on that day continued the principles of our Forefathers; it was for them we fought – for constitutional principle and for liberty.  To the British we would not surrender.  Each minute – each death I saw – motivated me further to ensure that America would not be collected by the dustbin of history.”

The war’s conclusion allowed Gouverneur to finish his studies at Harvard.  He graduated in 1816 at 26 and immediately began a career in politics.  His education, his last name, and his war heroics (at least what he claimed to be his war heroics) won him a seat in the Massachusetts state assembly.  But there he felt little appreciated and accomplished little.  Writing in his journal, he decried the “hostility with which the old guard treats me.  They fought in the Revolution – I in the second – but my youth precluded them from seriously taking any ideas which I presented.”  Disheartened, Gouverneur Morris forwent reelection after serving two terms and instead took to studying law.  In 1826 he opened a private practice in the city of Boston but it was clear his heart was not in law – “instead of arguing the law in front of some magistrate, I want to set the law and appoint the magistrate.  I want to create, not argue interpretation.”  Politics again beckoned.

Gouvernor Morris and his Politics

Though originally a Federalist, the party had long died by the time Gouverneur once again forayed in the political scene.  He understand the need for parties – unlike the Founders, he did not decry the “mischief of faction.”  However, in 1830, he was left without a partisan home as the nation’s dominant party – the Democrats – appalled him.  Gouverneur despised President Andrew Jackson and his “unthinking attempts to undermine the constitutional system which the Founders so wisely created.  A strong president they desired not, but a strong Congress and national tribunal they craved.  Jackson has inverted the constitutional structure and sets the country on a bad course.”  That year he ran for Congress and won.

A minority faction in Congress, Gouverneur Morris had little hopes of accomplishing anything.  Again, his inability to affect legislation saddened him and he turned his eyes elsewhere.  He ran for governor of Massachusetts – perhaps in an attempt to fulfill his name’s destiny – in 1832 and won in a landslide victory.  His support for the National Bank of the United States and ardent campaigning on behalf of Whig Henry Clay (Gouverneur joined the Whig party soon after its formation) earned him a national reputation as a rising Whig star and helped hand Massachusetts to Clay in his failed presidential bid.

Gouverneur served four successful years in the governor’s mansion.  He implemented the Whig platform at the state level, doing all he could to promote industrial growth in Massachusetts and to support new, growing industries.  A fervent embrace of the “American System” ensured that Massachusetts remained the seat of the Industrial Revolution while endearing Gouverneur to Whig elites.  At Clay’s urgining, Gouverneur ran for the Senate in 1836 and won.  In the Senate, Gouverneur fought Democratic President Martin Van Buren on a variety of economic issues.  Gouverneur is best remembered for his many long-winded speeches on the Senate’s floor in which he decried presidential overreach, the subversion of constitutional structure, and the “perverted, ignorant” economic plans of the Democrats.  He and Daniel Webster, his Senate partner from Massachusetts, often spent days giving join speeches and debating the Democratic opposition.  Together, the two consisted of the Senate’s “engine,” according to the New York Times.

Gouverneur Morris — President

Morris’s appeal – he managed to charm even those he vehemently disagreed with his politics – and eloquent oration made him the natural Whig selection for the 1840 presidential election.  With Clay as his running mate, Gouverneur successfully defeated incumbent Martin Van Buren and assumed the executive office, hoping to whittle away its power and instead return Congress to its rightful position as the center of governing legitimacy.  He largely succeeded in this task.  Though Gouverneur frequently corresponded with Whig leaders in Congress, he made no direct appeals to the tribunal and only vetoed legislation on constitutional grounds (even if he disagreed with a bill, he signed it into law).  Since Whigs controlled both chambers during Morris’s tenure, his hands-off approach to legislative stewarding still resulted in his desired outcomes.

Unfortunately, Gouverneur fell seriously ill early in 1844 and, fearing for his life, did not accept the Whig nomination for president.  Clay again headed the Whig ticket and again lost to the Democrats (who nominated James K. Polk).  Though recovered by 1848, Gouverneur’s staunch opposition to slavery and his desire to see it eliminated across the United States precluded another nomination to the presidency.  He instead returned to the Senate and spent the next 10 years there (until his death in 1858).  Those years consisted of many more long-winded speeches, disappointment in the again-expanded presidency, and an out-spoken opposition to “peculiar institution” of slavery.

Gouverneur Morris is an oft-forgotten but important figure in presidential and political history.  His disdain for expanded presidential powers and his ability to actually curtail the executive while in office represented the last administration to embrace original constitutional theory with regard to the separation of constitutional powers.  Gouverneur’s many Senate speeches are staples today in American oration and his rhetorical might still inspires speech writers for politicians at all levels.  We would do well to remember Gouverneur Morris and his political thoughts for it is they that best encapsulate our Founders’ governing intentions and which best represent our nation’s Constitution.

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