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Charlie Cook Gives Sage Advice About Strength Of Hillary Clinton

October 7, 2016

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.

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