08.16.2016 08:13 AM

Donald Trump is losing, and how he could win

Here’s FiveThirtyEight’s model that aggregates more than 500 polls.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.47.21 AM

What you see, there, isn’t the proverbial snapshot.  It’s a trend line.  And, for the racist, extremist, nationalist Republican nominee, the trend line is all downward.  As things stand now, he is going to lose: as of today, in fact, projections show Hillary Clinton already has the electoral college votes needed to win the presidency.

So, if you were a GOP strategist trying still to elect Trump – or, more plausibly, to save “down ticket” Republican candidates – what do you do?

At this very moment, Donald Trump’s two biggest fans – Vladimir Putin and ISIS – are busily concocting an October Surprise.  In in the latter case, it will almost certainly be one with a big body count; in the former case, it will be something concocted by Putin’s hacker army.

I hope I’m wrong, of course.  But, based on the numbers, October Surprise is really all that Trump has left.




  1. Ted Heighington says:

    I agree an October Surprise is unfortunately in the works. Pre-election calamities are regrettably an increasingly common not-so-covert campaign strategy. But if Trump’s downward slope steepens any further, I suspect the disaster body count will still be higher than the new Trump supporters body count that he will try to leverage from the tragedy.

  2. Steve T says:

    The “October Surprise” could also be known as the “…ooh, something shiny!” effect. It drives me nuts how many voters seem distracted by single events (and often inconsequential events, in the broad context of the election), and completely ignore the overall platform of a candidate.

    And my other point is… oh wait, there’s a squirrel!

  3. Luke says:

    I’ve noticed that Trump has been making a real effort to deliver the same essential message but through a more leader-ly tone and posture. The impression I got was that this new approach has the effect of lending the appearance of legitimacy to his lunacy. I don’t know if that will work, given that everybody knows about Donald Trump already and probably has an opinion, but people do have a tendency to change their minds and forget sometimes. Perhaps if some October Surprise occurs his new disposition will make it easier for voters to flip.

    Despite Trump’s dismal polling trends, I remain unconvinced that he is toast.

  4. Bernie Orbust says:

    I think Trump is going to win. He’s building up a revolution. Hillary just flushed one down the toilet and is now courting neocons now hated by the Republican base. In short: Trump is giving his base something to believe in, while Hillary is giving her base nothing but grief.

    It’s also funny that Trump made it to where he is today by working his image and the media. The only thing he has a talent for. Yet the media seems to be (somehow) unaware of this. (Too busy manufacturing news instead of observing it, my guess.)

    I think he’s trying to break the media. Shine them on. He says things to set them off like a car alarm. Now while many are swept up in the hysteria, it exposes a lot of bias and corrupt journalism to others. Phony PC outrage. Trumped up accusations. Overt campaigning for Hill. Flagrant hypocrisy: calling the kettle black while promoting the pot.

    So the people mute the establishment news media.

    Then they turn to the social media and are inundated with information about Hillary’s corruption over the past 20 years in politics. Problems with her health. Bribe-email server Mother of All Truth Bombs waiting to blow.

    The strongest play in an election campaign is a revolution. Like Mike Harris, it doesn’t have to make sense to incite the people. I think the American establishment would rather move to Canada than have Trump as their better. In that, there’s a certain appeal to shoving Donald Trump right up their arses! POTUS the reality TV show? Could be worse.

  5. Michael Bluth says:

    Seems to me the biggest potential for an October surprise comes from the investigation Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern Disitrict of New York, has started into the work of the Clinton Foundation. This guy is no ideologue, has repeatedly taken on high profile cases and is tenacious.

    If he finds something it will get coverage. He won’t be swayed by the political calendar when he releases his findings, or issues indictments.

  6. The Doctor says:

    Warren, one thing you didn’t mention there is the wedge issue. It seems to me that that’s one thing Trump and his people are aiming at and hoping for: to find the perfect wedge issue. This latest proposal to require immigrants (but really muslims) to submit to a “loyalty questionnaire” is clearly that, an attempt at finding a wedge issue that might peel off some centre-right voters and make the Democrats look mushy on terrorism/national security. Basically Trump is hoping to find his own magic Willie Horton ad.

  7. MississaugaPeter says:

    The trend line, the trend line! Even 528 is on the act. The polls are a conspiracy theory.

    From actual polling average to an adjusted average gives Clinton another 2.2% spread. Just hilarious. The actual polling average is 42.9% to 37.7% (a mere 5.2%), but 528 throws in “Adjust for trend line (WTF?) and gives Clinton 1.3% and takes away from Trump 0.9%. VOILA. Magically we now have a 7.4% spread.

    Actual Polling average 42.9% 37.7% 8.5%
    Adjust for likely voters +0.4 +0.5 -0.1
    Adjust for omitted third parties -1.0 -1.0 +0.0
    Adjust for trend line +1.3 -0.9 +1.1
    Adjust for house effects +0.1 +0.4 0.1
    VOILA! Adjusted polling average 43.8% 36.7% 9.4%


    If after all Trump has said Hillary has only a 5.2% lead, Chomsky is right, “Trump is a clown” and there are a lot of people at the circus and they are refusing to leave, even if the clown is no longer funny.

    • Richard says:

      Bear in mind that for a lot of Republicans, “Never Hillary” is just as much a thing as “Never Trump” is for Democrats and the popular opinion outside the US.

      I think people are staying for the tire fire.

  8. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Terrorism only works in your favour if you are seen as being competent to address that scourge and level-headed enough not to resort to overkill, like using theatre tactical nukes. Hillary has the experience, temperament and sound judgment. Trump, by his very nature is nothing more than a threat to national security. (Finally agree with Joe Biden.)

  9. Michael Bluth says:

    The Donald Trump that spoke tonight makes the election very competitive very quickly.

    That speech was delivered professionally and without the inflammatory rhetoric. Trump reached across the aisle to African Americans.

    Can Trump keep it up?

    • Ron says:

      As Warren said, won’t work. If he hangs on until the debates, he will be a ticking time bomb.

    • Derek Pearce says:

      Holy shit, has ever the term “too little, too late” applied more than now? Please. Laughable at this point.

      • Michael Bluth says:

        It’s the middle of August. So no “too little too late” doesn’t really apply.

        We have seen much bigger than nine point swings in any number of previous general elections.

        Remember this here site is preaching to the converted (never mind mostly non-eligible voters). As WK always says, it comes down to the persuadable voters.

    • James Smith says:

      …um the 1% of Back Americans who support him? Please

    • James Smith says:

      …. um you mean the 1% of African Americans who support this person?

  10. Carey Miller says:

    Every day of this election, I keep remembering Bob Dole. One of the unstated themes of his primaries was that it was his turn.

    Whether she is qualified or corrupt, Hillary Clinton is the personification of the insider. She is the dictionary definition of the status quo. Refused in 2008 for an inexperienced Senator, Clinton has spent over a decade positioning herself to run for President. The primary was the structured to be as noncompetitive as possible and it was still a challenge.

    Let’s be frank, Clinton would never be in this position were she not Bill Clinton’s wife. Even worse, she pales beside him in leadership, empathy and oration.

    The idea of a President Trump is frightening. However, let us not forget that Hillary Clinton, in no way, is the leader or the agent of change that America needs.

    Cards on the table, the ticket that would have warmed my heart was Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. I term for Bernie and then he would spend the last year pushing for President Warren.

  11. MississaugaPeter says:

    Mulcair II?


    I am really having a hard time seeing the upside to this.

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