Donald Trump is not trailing by much in this election, and actually may be ahead

 Reuters/Ipsos released a poll last week that was widely reported as indicative of a commanding Clinton lead. It showed Hillary up by twelve points. Wow, the race is over, right? Wrong, because this week, after only a mere seven days, Trump has cut that lead by almost sixty percent, now down to a five-point margin. And when they include all the candidates running, including Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, you know, like the actual ballot will, the lead is only three points.

What changed in that time to make such a dramatic difference? Well certainly a good deal happened. Trump has softened his stance on deportation, Clinton went extreme with racial slurs toward Trump, and the AP released its analysis showing that half of all Clinton's official meetings were with donors to the Clinton Foundation. Hmmm, stinks pretty bad.

So are these developments enough to move seven percent of the population? That's a huge swing and this electorate is polarized and hardened, so, of course not. The truth is that Hillary was never up by twelve points. Nor is she up by ten points now and she has certainly never led by fifteen points. All of these leads were reported breathlessly by the media campaign to elect Hillary Clinton. As an aside, the Quinnipiac poll showing a ten-point lead did not release the party identifications of its respondents, a sure sign that it oversampled Democrats.

The Four-Way Race Polls are the Only Polls that Matter

These very large Clinton leads are fictions of the pollsters, created by pitting Clinton and Trump head-to-head, not offering the Libertarian and Green Party candidates as options and doing everything they can to put each likely voter into a category. In an imaginary pollster world where only two choices exist and every likely voter actually turns out to vote for only one of two candidates, Hillary would win big. This margin is the result of the media and pop culture war on Trump. When middle of the roaders don't favor either candidate, they will lean toward the one that leads to less scorn if forced to do so.

But that's not reality. In America, nobody is forced to vote. A greater than normal number will almost certainly stay home in 2016. There will also be other options on the ballot. If you have a Facebook account, you likely have witnessed the passion of Libertarians and Greens convinced they can make a difference this time around. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein will receive a big chunk of the vote collectively, as polling currently reflects. So why do pollsters not include them in every question?

Well there is some value in measuring the head-to-head in a normal election, where supporters of third parties usually break for one of the two big parties toward the end, but that's not likely to happen in 2016. As Nate Silver points out, dislike for the major party candidates is record breaking. Many middle of the roaders just don't like either candidate, and likability is a major factor in a presidential vote, and for the first time in a long time, both candidates are intensely disliked by the nation at large.

So we should expect major defections to the third parties this time around. This peculiar 2016 dynamic demonstrates that pollsters should include the third parties in every test, and they should only report the results of the four-way race, not the head-to-head. In reality, the media is doing the exactly opposite, only reporting the head-to-head, and only the most extreme leads for Hillary. So you see, you poor abused Trump supporter, you really do have reason to believe that the media is out to get you and you also have validation for looking only at the the four-way race.



Third Parties will matter in 2016, and the polls should reflect thatGary Johnson by Gage Skidmore 5 (cropped 5x7 small)JillStein Tar Sands Blockade (cropped) 

Brexit is a harbinger that the American election is tracking closelyBritain over Europe 2

There is Almost Certainly a Hidden Trump Vote

There likely is a hidden Trump vote that is not showing up in the polls, probably worth two or three points, but maybe as much as five or six points. If you doubt this, you have to look no further than the Brexit vote for evidence. The establishment attacked Brexit in the same way it is attacking Trump, with charges of racism, ignorance and constant polls showing a Brexit loss. But Brexit didn't lose even though most of the final polls showed that it would. Almost every poll showed the Remain side winning, one respected poll by as many as ten points. Yet the the Leave side won by four points. Clearly when the media and pop culture establishment has its favorites, it can create a perception that it is winning. Even supporters of Brexit who wanted Leave expected that they would lose because of the media and celebrity campaign aimed at convincing them they would lose.

So even though Brexit supporters thought they were going to lose, and the polls almost exclusively showed Remain winning comfortably, Brexit won. The same types of themes and players are involved in the American 2016 election as in Brexit. Brexit was considered racist by the establishment because of its focus on British nationalism and wanting to limit immigration. Donald Trump is considered racist by the establishment because of his emphasis on American nationalism and wanting to limit immigration.

Brexit was viewed as protectionist by the establishment, including the Conservative party establishment who exalts completely free trade. Donald Trump is considered protectionist by the establishment, including the conservative establishment who also prize completely free trade above everything, including human rights. The conservative establishments in both nations prefer to ignore the virtually slave labor that Brits and Americans must compete against, all for the sake of "free" trade.

Both nations are also suffering from long-term economic stagnation in the labor market. The labor voter is frustrated in each nation and one can easily imagine workers who typically do not vote turning out to vote with the very targeted approach of the Brexit campaign and Trump. One can also imagine those same people refusing to talk to pollsters who they view as hostile to them.

The media treats Trump in the same way it treated Brexit, as racist, ignorant and protectionist. It heaps poll after poll on us while stridently condemning Trump and all who would even consider voting for him, as they did with Brexit. Some of the same pollsters are finding Trump behind by similar margins as they found Brexit behind, such as Ipsos. In many ways, Brexit and Trump are cousins. We should expect that there is a hidden vote for Trump as there was for Brexit. The average of polls heading into the vote showed Remain winning by two points, although it ultimately lost by four points, a six-point swing. If we apply the same swing to the average of four-way polls in this election, a Clinton four-point lead, we see Trump actually winning by two points. Follow my new Twitter account for daily tracking of the states that really matter!

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