Charlie Cook Gives Sage Advice About Strength Of Hillary Clinton
Charlie Cook is one of my constant reads throughout election season as he does not allow partisanship to replace facts and reason.
Let’s start with the caveats: A lot can happen in the 34 days before the election. The polls are not as reliable as they used to be. People act in unpredictable ways in the polling booth. All that said, this race has fallen into a fairly predictable pattern. When Donald Trump veers off message and Hillary Clinton performs well, her lead swells to 6, 7, or 8 points. When Trump sticks to his script and Clinton goes through a bumpy patch as she did with her bout of pneumonia, her edge drops down to 1 or 2 points, and sometimes she winds up dead even. Most of the time, Clinton is up by 3 to 5 points.
When presidential candidates are ahead by 3 points, they tend to lead by at least a little in a lot of states, and the Electoral College inflates their margin of victory. When the popular-vote gap gets to 4 or 5 points, more states fall in line and the race turns into an electoral rout. It’s only when a race is effectively even or within a point or so does the Electoral College become truly competitive.