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Friday, September 16, 2016

Has Larry Sabato caught on?

Professor Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia is a fixture on cable television as an election prognosticator, not because he is particularly very good at it.

Last September, he wrote:
Most mainstream analysts think Trump fever will break once the winnowing process reduces the number of Republican candidates so that other contenders—augmented by a large majority of GOP leaders who abhor Trump—can define him as insufficiently conservative. The identity of the actual Republican presidential nominee, though, remains obscured.
He used the last two Republican presidential nomination processes as his guide. The guy who led early was not nominated. That is like correlating atmospheric carbon dioxide with the weather. Nevertheless, he did just that:
In the meantime, just keep two facts in mind. First, polls taken in 2015 about the 2016 presidential contest are as solid as a sand castle built on the sea shore—and it’s hurricane season. Second, voters (especially in Iowa and New Hampshire) are just test-driving candidates like cars. They find features of several contenders to be appealing, but they realize no final purchase is needed until February,
Of course, "most mainstream analysts" were wrong, as was Sabato. Their predictions were built on sand. They underestimated Trump and overestimated Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz.

So now we are a year later, and "most mainstream analysts" are underestimating Trump and overestimating Clinton. But the light may have clicked on for Sabato.

Nonetheless, the defining difference in this election is not Clinton but Trump.
Bingo! This election is a referendum on Trump.

But Sabato and company just cannot bring themselves to fully commit to that:
The challenge for the Democrats is to keep 2016 from becoming a change election, which it might have been without Trump (and could still become).
Excuse me, but as Reagan said at the 1988 RNC convention: We Are The Change.

Trump changed the game. Without a huge staff, huge money, and huge media buys, he is one point from a tie a little less than two months from Election Day. He beat the weakest Republican field since 1940. And he is up against the weakest nominee I have ever seen. On Sunday, she couldn't even stand for a 9-11 commemoration. "Most mainstream analysts" may not get it, but voters do.


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  1. If Professor Larry is a fixture, I guess that's why Don is yanking his chain and pushing his buttons.

  2. I would tend to agree.

    Especially about the change election. We realized that about 8 months ago.

  3. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Mark Twain

    And polls are basically statistics. - Elric

  4. I always thought Sabato was a run-of-the-mill, garden variety, useless dim bulb left wing university communist leftist hack. I haven't changed my mind. I think he is a clown, and a dumb one at that.

  5. "Most mainstream analysts think Trump fever will break.."

    Did he include himself among that group, or was he using that "others say" construction to express what HE really thought but did not want to be held accountable for if events turned out otherwise? If you ask me, he's looking for election trends in all the wrong places.

  6. This election is also a referendum on Hillary. I can't stand her.

    1. Referendum? You mean to say she can't be abolished by regulation ?