October 9, 2016

UNLIKE 1984 AND 1996...:

Why the Trump Sex Tapes Matter (Charles Lipson, October 09, 2016, Real Clear Politics)

There may not be many undecided voters, but there are plenty of weakly committed ones. After learning what Trump said about women, some of his least-committed supporters will simply stay home. That is particularly true of Christian conservatives, who were never comfortable with Trump to begin with. The nomination of Gov. Mike Pence reassured them; these tapes rattle them, as they did Pence himself.

Conversely, the tapes will galvanize some of Hillary's previously weak supporters to come out and vote, less for her and more against Trump. Either way, she benefits, as she does from the slow meltdown of Libertarian Gary Johnson's campaign. Johnson was taking votes from Hillary, and virtually all his dramatic drop has gone to her. (There will be some Republicans now who might vote for neither party's nominee, as John McCain has announced he would, but that won't help Trump, either.)

Even a small increase in Hillary's margins matters. That's because our electoral system is designed to convert small differences in raw votes into large differences in electoral votes. Additionally, the larger Hillary's margin of victory, the more likely Democrats are to carry the Senate. Before Friday's revelations, online bookies had installed Democrats as a 58 percent  favorite to win Senate control. Those odds quickly rose to 69 percent on a site called PredictIt.  If the Democrats win the presidency --now even more likely than before--they only need 50 seats (not 51) to control the Senate: Vice President Tim Kaine would control the tie vote. The markets are now saying that is more than a two-thirds probability.

Republican hopes of keeping the Senate would now seem to depend on ticket-splitting, a once frequent phenomenon that is now as rare as a Donald Trump apology.  Republican candidates are in even worse shape if they openly backed Trump or said nice things about him. New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is in a tough race against a popular Democratic governor, must be slamming her head into a wall when she remembers calling Trump a good role model for her own daughter. Although she has now dumped Trump, her headache remains. For Republican candidates like her, there is only one silver lining: National donors and the party apparatus will now turn away from the presidential election to concentrate on helping these embattled down-ballot candidates. That is small comfort.

...there is no incumbent voters have grown comfortable enough with to allow for much ticket-splitting.

Posted by at October 9, 2016 9:38 AM