June 14th Poll Report

June 14, 2019
 

June 14 Poll Report

            Good morning everybody.  Yesterday’s poll—Biden, Booker, Buttigieg and Warren—was the strongest group of candidates I have offered in at least three weeks, controlling an estimated 44% of the vote, and that number clearly growing.   The poll went essentially as would have been predicted by previous polls, except that Elizabeth Warren gobbled up half of Cory Booker’s rapidly diminishing voting stock, and also picked up trace amounts from Biden and Buttigieg.  Here is the chart summary of that poll:

 

Scores

Biden

1134

Booker

441

Buttigieg

1133

Warren

1644

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predicted

Biden

26

Booker

10

Buttigieg

26

Warren

38

Actual

Biden

25

Booker

5

Buttigeig

26

Warren

44

 

            It is clear, it has been clear for several weeks now, that the race is consolidating around a limited number of leaders.    The standard deviation of scores for the candidates, which hit a low of 316 on May 27, has been growing almost every day since then, and is now up to 402.   The late-June Democratic debates could either reverse that trend, if some of the struggling candidates do well, or (more probably) emphasize that trend, by effectively pushing some of the candidates off the stage.     A total of 386 points changed hands in yesterday’s poll, a large number as was expected since it was a power poll.   Because it was a big poll and did shake up the standings, I am going to take a few minutes to summarize the initial and secondary effects of the poll:

            Elizabeth Warren picked up another 89 points yesterday, in essence another 1%.  She now stands at 1733, easily the strongest position that anyone has had since I started these polls in early April.   I wouldn’t make too much of this.   We don’t know to what extent Warren’s support in my polls does or does not reflect her support in the wider electorate, and, even if it does, 17% is not 50%.  And even if she is in reality well ahead of her rivals, there is a long time left for her to stumble.  

            Joe Biden, despite not doing especially well in yesterday’s poll, picks up 58 points, mostly due to the removal of the April 24th poll from the data.  Biden got 54% in the April 24 poll against Trump, Castro and Swalwell, but indications are that if we repeated that polling group now, Biden would do better than that.  

            Pete Buttigieg, who performed as expected in yesterday’s poll, picks up 31 points as a secondary effect of the forward steps of Biden and Warren, who he was being polled against yesterday. 

            Kamala Harris advances 9 points from yesterday, as a secondary effect; I’ll explain better in a minute.

            The biggest thing that happened yesterday was actually not Warren over-achieving by 6 points in the poll; it was Cory Booker under-achieving by 5 points.  Given where they are, Booker losing 5 points—half of his support—is a heck of a lot bigger event than Elizabeth Warren picking up another 6. 

            Explaining how the polls work with an analogy to college basketball, suppose that Kentucky has a rating of 800 and Kansas a rating of 900, and suppose that Kansas and Kentucky play in late January in the Big 12/SEC challenge, which they always do.   Suppose that Kentucky wins.   In that scenario, Kentucky’s victory helps not only Kentucky, but, to a lesser extent, helps everyone in the SEC (Kentucky’s conference) and hurts everyone in the Big 12 (Kansas’ conference.)  If Kentucky has lost earlier to Tennessee but Kentucky then beats Kansas, that makes Tennessee look even stronger.  

            I poll the candidates in "heats" pretty often, polling Cory Booker against other candidates who have similar strength ratings—Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Kirsten Gillibrand, etc.   When Booker has a terrible day, that lowers the "values", the "position estimates", for everyone that Booker has been polled against.  It makes his entire conference look bad.   So, as a result of yesterday’s poll, not only does Cory Booker lose 37 points, but everybody in his group loses a few.  Beto O’Rourke loses 8, Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand and Andrew Yang lose 7 each, Tulsi Gabbard loses 6 and Jeff Flake loses 5.   Amy Klobuchar loses 14, and Stacey Abrams loses 13.  

            But not all of that is a result of Booker’s bad day; some of it is a secondary effect of Donald Trump steadily falling in my polls.   Republicans are not voting in my polls in representative numbers.   I regret this; I wish that they would, but their candidates just lose and thus look bad, so I understand logically why they would not wish to participate.  

            The poll removed yesterday was the April 24th poll, in which Donald Trump got 26%.   The removal of that poll knocks Trump backward just as far as yesterday’s poll knocks Booker backward, 39 points—and Trump is at a relatively similar strength number to Booker.   He’s in the same conference.   So it is like Kansas loses to Kentucky and, on the same day, Oklahoma loses to LSU; the whole conference’s reputation takes a hit.   That’s why all of those candidates are down about 2% each.  

            It’s not a big deal; Klobuchar and Sanders and Gillibrand will probably recover the few points they have lost in the next few days, O’Rourke and Hickenlooper and Abrams will probably continue to fall a few points.  

            Julian Castro also lost 15 points since yesterday as a result of the removal of the April 24th poll.  In that poll Joe Biden got 54%, Julian Castro 15%, a ratio of 3.6 to 1.   Their current numbers are 1192 and 202, a ratio of almost 6 to 1.   So that poll suggested that Castro had some reasonable level of support vs. Joe Biden.  Pulling that poll out of the data costs Castro points.

            These are the updated standings:

Rank

First

Last

Current

1

Elizabeth

Warren

1733

2

Joe

Biden

1192

3

Pete

Buttigieg

1164

4

Kamala

Harris

821

5

Bernie

Sanders

502

6

Amy

Klobuchar

487

7

Beto

O'Rourke

416

8

Cory

Booker

404

9

Stacey

Abrams

350

10

Kirsten

Gillibrand

298

11

Donald

Trump

286

12

Bill

Weld

263

13

Andrew

Yang

235

14

John

Hickenlooper

231

15

Jay

Inslee

214

16

Julian

Castro

202

17

Howard

Schultz

164

18

Tulsi

Gabbard

162

19

Michael

Bennet

134

20

Jeff

Flake

134

21

Steve

Bullock

90

22

Tim

Ryan

85

23

Eric

Swalwell

85

24

Seth

Moulton

77

25

Mike

Gravel

70

26

Marianne

Williamson

68

27

John

Delaney

62

28

Bill

de Blasio

48

29

Wayne

Messam

24

 

 
 

COMMENTS (5 Comments, most recent shown first)

bjames
If anybody cares what I think. . .the Democratic Party's arbitrary debate rules strike me as stupid beyond belief. I hold no brief for any of the excluded candidates (Messam, Moulton, Gravel and Bullock) and have no desire to see any of them continue in the race. But the point of the debate package, I would think, is (1) to insure that the nominated Democratic candidate has been thoroughly vetted with the public, so that the emerging candidate is in the strongest possible position, and (2) to build the reputation and standing of the party.


I don't see how this debate structure is going to do that. People just don't have enough TIME and SPACE, in this format, to develop their platforms. I think what will happen is (1) one or more of the leaders will be crippled by saying something a little bit off key, (2) two or more also-rans (most likely Williamson, Yang or Inslee) will strike a chord with some audience and will have a little surge in the polls, and (3) most of the candidates will atrophy. Buttigieg is likely to come out of the debate in a stronger position because he is very good at the sound bite snack bar.


But the issue is, will the candidates who will be helped by this be the BEST candidates? I doubt it. I see this structure as most likely pitching candidates like Harris, Booker, and Castro--who are good candidates in my opinion--into a kind of maelstrom from which they will difficulty escaping.
12:39 PM Jun 16th
 
meandean
I suppose one can reasonably argue that if you're willing to have as many as 20 candidates, you've already invited a cluster@#!@ and what difference does two more make. But personally, I think the fact that 20 is more than enough candidates means that drawing the line there is appropriate. The standards were not at all difficult to reach.

As for how they split up the debates, they did attempt to put half of the "big contenders" in one debate and half in the other. But the issue is that "big contender" was defined as 2%. I agree this was not great.
6:19 PM Jun 15th
 
MWeddell
The Democratic National Committee sticking with a plan made before all these folks declared their candidacies for President strikes me as fair, not evidence of a lack of adaptability.
3:25 PM Jun 15th
 
klamb819
Does it bother anyone else that the Democratic National Committee has essentially ended (or at least severely crippled) four campaigns by excluding them from the first debates? Gravel and Messam just had vanity campaigns, but so did Williamson, who made the debate cut. Bullock and Moulton, though, are as viable as at least half a dozen who made the cut, and more intriguing than a bunch of them.

There isn't much to separate the bottom 15, and none are likely to break through, but why not give them all one crack on a national stage? Then apply the polling and fund-raising formulas to winnow the crowd after that. Ten podiums is too many anyway, so instead of 10 candidates on each of two nights, why not eight and three? Or even six and four. Sticking with a plan made last year is not an indicator of adaptability, either.

And how did they wind up with 4 of the Top 5 in the same debate, with Warren alone in the other? Didn't these people ever near of seeding? Of March Madness, at least? They could use the same metrics they have for cutting the field. They kept insisting there wouldn't be "A" and "B" rounds, but they managed to come up with something worse.
6:46 PM Jun 14th
 
rjazzguy
While it’s nice to see Trump in eleventh, hasn’t he got a history of outperforming polls? I know he’s got a small sample size for that, even, but I fear and quake openly. I hate living in a laughingstock country.
2:39 PM Jun 14th
 
 
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