It is good for a cheap laugh to flay the media for its obsession with horserace. This week’s ongoing ruckus with Phlegm-ghazi confirms that reporters cannot get out of their mental rut of some older storyline. In this case, the storyline is “Clinton is secretive.” Let us pause for a moment. She was concealing her pneumonia because the press would make a big deal out of it. And, wait for it…the press made a big deal out of it.
You, Dear Reader, are complicit in this. I notice that more of you click Presidential links than on the nifty Competitive Congressional District Finder. You like the Presidential horserace. My reason for generating the best prediction I can is to reduce the noise of campaign news. I thought it would clear mental space for thinking about policies, or downticket issues.
The Presidential forecast [methods] takes a low-noise snapshot of state polls, then adds possible drift based on recent elections and this year. Because of intense polarization, few voters are movable. The calculation says that Clinton’s win probability is 90%. The Senate forecast does the same [methods], but also factors in Presidential-year or midterm-year bias. It says that Democrats’+Independents’ probability of taking control is 72%, which is in the 20-80% range, meaning that things could really go either way. Other forecasts tend to count uncertainties twice, or to overestimate how movable voters are. Other forecasts are also under commercial pressure to attract eyeballs.
Still, the comment section is still peppered with anxious questions about Clinton’s chances. Honestly, some liberals can be total ninnies. You don’t see the conservatives in hysterics…though actually, here is their version of a meltdown. I take it back. You go.
Here are some news items that matter more. In Minnesota, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party (similar to Democrats elsewhere) failed in their lawsuit to keep Donald Trump off the November ballot. At a literal level, this didn’t matter because Minnesota is a safe win for Clinton. The real importance was in the three close House races in Minnesota, as you can see using our Competitive Congressional District Finder. In addition, the DFL is within striking distance of taking back a legislative chamber there. The lawsuit was a tacky move, but it would have been effective.
In a second news item, the National Collegiate Athletics Assocation (N.C.A.A.) decision to take all championship basketball games out of North Carolina is likely to have repercussions. North Carolina is crazy for basketball. The trigger was North Carolina H.B. 2, an anti-bathroom-access law that is directed at transgendered people. Republican Governor McCrory was the force behind it. However, he is already a median of 7 percentage points behind Democrat Roy Cooper in polls. Any possible anti-Republican backlash is more likely to have downticket effects on Deborah Ross’s effort to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr. She is currently behind by a median of 3.5 percentage points. On average, between now and Election Day, Senate polls move close to 4 percentage points toward the winning Presidential candidate. That election should be close.
Ross is one of five Democratic women running in close Senate races. Their outcomes will determine which party controls the Senate after the election. No matter which side you support, these races matter quite a lot. You can contribute at ActBlue if you’re a Democrat, or at the N.R.S.C. if you’re a Republican.