I’ve been having a constant debate with my father recently as to whether Clinton or Trump is winning/will win the presidential election this year. My bet is on Trump but he actually thinks Clinton will win in a landslide (a pseudo-landslide that will be likely called a landslide that is).
However, I wanted to revisit an untold story behind some of the polling. Specifically, the actual demographics of party-affiliates that are usually polled.
According to the latest Quinnipiac University 4-way poll, Clinton has +2% lead on Trump but Independents favor Trump 45-40%. Why is that number significant? Because according to a 2015 Gallup poll, 42% of Americans identify as Independents compared to 26% identifying as Republicans and 29% identifying as Democrats.
So let’s assume we poll about 1,000 people here. Independents will make up roughly 42% of the people polled. That would be 420 people. 45 of 420 is 189. 40% of 420 is 168. We’ll let 72 of our hypothetical Indpendents remain undecided for now.
Clinton has 92% of 290 hypothetical democrats which is roughly 267. 4% of these favor Trump which gives him 12. Trump has 86% of 260 hypothetical Republicans which gives him roughly 224. Clinton has 10% which gives her 26. We’ll leave the remainders of this poll undecided.
So Trump has 224+12+189 which gives him 425.
Clinton has 168+267+26 which gives her 461.
So assuming the Quinnipiac poll has made the right guesstimates here, Trump would be losing.
Though there needs to be another factor to consider. Namely, who is likely to have more people voting for them. Let’s assume only the people who are absolutely for their candidate rather than merely against are more likely to vote. 46% of those voting for him are doing so because they like him. That would be 196 people. Clinton has 38% of her supporters saying that they are voting for her. This gives her 176 supporters.
Thus, the mathematical factors seem to actually favor Trump when one gets down to the knitty-gritty. This would factor to a 52%-48% lead for Trump assuming that the more enthused one is about a particular candidate in terms of being for them indicates a stronger likelihood to vote. For instance, if one is more motivated by a “lesser of two evils” argument, they may not be a likely voter and are just filling out this poll for goodness sake. It is unknown but this may actually point to favouring Trump.
However, some polls have revealed Trump has a much greater lead among Independents. And a CNN poll from the 4th shows Trump with a 20% lead among Independents. If this is accurate, than if we go back to our hypothetical poll, what we may see is that 206 Independents would vote for him while 122 would vote for Clinton. Assuming the CNN poll is correct.
This means Trump would have 206+224+12 or 442 supporters in a hypothetical poll compared to Clinton who would have 122+267+26 or 415 supporters in a hypothetical poll netting Trump at a +2% lead in the General Election. However, we may need to factor out more Democrats and Republicans if CNN’s numbers are correct. But the basic point is that when Independents represent the majority of people in America and when the majority of Americans are actually factored into that “untold story behind the polls”, Trump actually appears to be winning.
In a landslide? Likely not. Though one may need to then go back and factor in how many Independents compared with Republicans and Democrats and the percentages of both who are likely to be voting. For instance, if, a greater percentage of Independents end up voting than either Democrats or Republicans combined, this would indicate that Trump could actually rob Clinton of certain blue states in the electoral college. Further, if more and more Democrats and Republicans choose to bail on their nominee, this may indicate more Independents than either group shows up at the poll. Again, Independents form the majority of Americans so it would not be difficult for Independents to oust Republicans and Democrats at the polls on the election day (combined). This may indicate that Independents have actually been under-represented in the polls and it is perhaps a huge reason why many polls are actually appearing tight or in slight favor of Clinton even. If so, this could mean that Trump might possibly be winning by an even bigger margin than the one I just attempted to calculate here.
I’m not certain why people have not factored into the equation yet these silent Independents.