Michigan Is Trump’s Silver Lining
The number of the day is 16 and that number can change everything. Michigan has 16 Electoral votes and according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls Hillary Clinton would win those 16 Electoral College votes if the election were being held today. That squares quite well with traditional mainstream thinking but it may not hold. In fact, it is entirely possible that the number could be off by a mile. I will even go one better and tell you it could be so far off- Donald Trump could well win Michigan while Hillary’s Team is looking the other way.
Why on earth would I think such a thing? That’s just crazy! Actually, it’s not crazy at all and I will tell you why.
Lets start with a few big points: first, old-fashioned polling is a dying dinosaur that will likely be extinct in the very near future, 2/3rds of homes in America don’t even have landlines anymore, the vast majority of people don’t respond to pollsters anymore and those that do are not reflective of the electorate at large.
Remember how Donald Trump kept outperforming all expectations when he began knocking down big wins in the primaries and in some states blew away predictions by the professional pollsters by as much as 10 points? How could that be? Well, it is in large part because old-fashioned pollsters are getting old-fashioned results. The formula is outdated and doesn’t work anymore. That’s just the way it is.
The crew behind Barack Obama’s spectacular slicing and dicing of the numbers, Civis has been predicting races more accurately than anyone since 2012. Civis points out that by calling a landline you are far more likely to get an elderly person than a young person on the line. And the likelihood that anyone responds at all is less than one percent.
Civis however has figured out a new metric and has been predicting accurately what others and especially the mainstream media calls huge upsets. The best example of all is the Michigan Democratic primary where Nate Silver’s almost legendary 538 blog gave Hillary Clinton a 99% chance of winning over Bernie Sanders on the evening of March 8, 2016. Instead Sanders walked away with the win and so did Donald Trump.
Every single poll leading up to the Michigan primary had Clinton winning, every single one. Here is an example; in the week leading up to the primary the polls looked this way Monmouth had Clinton up by 13, NBC News 17, CBS News 11, ARG an incredible 24 points and Fox 2 Detroit/Mitchell Research just 2 days before the primary had Hillary Clinton ahead of Bernie Sanders by an incredible 37 points- 66% to 29%. The Real Clear Politics average was a 21-point Clinton advantage. Bernie Sanders simply had no chance they all said. Each and every one of those news outlets and pollsters who made little effort to conceal their support of Clinton let us know she could not lose in Michigan.
But on Election Day lose she did. Sanders cruised to victory by almost 2 points with a 20,000-vote margin. Nate Silver called it and I quote “among the greatest polling errors in primary history.” I would go a bit further and say one of the greatest polling failures of all-time from all sides, period.
The pollsters were full of excuses but they did seem to agree on one thing; Michigan is very hard to poll. Shifting demographics and shifting allegiances in such important groups as union households have hindered the ability to pick the state correctly. One of the groups that just about every pollster got dead wrong were black voters that were supposed to support Hillary at about 90% but in the end Sanders took a whopping 28% of the African American vote in Michigan.
What does all of this lead me to conclude?
Well, it tells me not to trust any poll from Fox 2 Detroit/Mitchell Research for starters. By the way the latest poll from that crew came out on Tuesday and showed Hillary with a 5-point lead. Considering they missed the Bernie Sanders victory by a mere 39 points I guess maybe you can trust them. And as far as Nate Silver and the 538 blog goes- as they say around here; the shine is off the pumpkin. I can assure you Nate does not walk on polling water.
And here is the real kicker; if Donald Trump outperforms the polls and wins Michigan’s 16 Electoral votes he would almost certainly win the White House. It would be a big indicator of a good night because Michigan is bigger than New Hampshire and Colorado combined.
I would call that a real Nate Silver-Silver lining wouldn’t you?