I can only rate this as a freakin five alarm fire involving emergency responders from three states. And FEMA. From Nate Silver at 538.com.
Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls has been declining for several weeks, and now we’re at the point where it’s not much of a lead at all. National polls show Clinton only 1 or 2 percentage points ahead of Donald Trump, on average. And the state polling situation isn’t really any better for her. On Thursday alone, polls were released showing Clinton behind in Ohio, Iowa and Colorado — and with narrow, 3-point leads in Michigan and Virginia, two states once thought to be relatively safe for her.
It’s also become clearer that Clinton’s “bad weekend” — which included describing half of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” on Friday, and a health scare (followed by news that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia) on Sunday — has affected the polls. Prior to the weekend, Clinton’s decline had appeared to be leveling off, with the race settling into a Clinton lead of 3 or 4 percentage points. But over the past seven days, Clinton’s win probability has declined from 70 percent to 60 percent in our polls-only forecast and by a similar amount, from 68 percent to 59 percent, in our polls-plus forecast.
He goes on to make the point that the shift of only a few points changes what was looking like an Electoral College lock into a very competitive race. Reuters is reporting that the Electoral College is tied.
For this whole election cycle the message from Silver to the Democrats — because let’s never lose sight of the fact that Silver is a progressive and his site is a progressives site and he’s not above sugar coating polls to put the best face of Democrat chances and to troll GOP poll addicts — has been “you got this made.” I don’t know what influence he has on the Clinton campaign, but the Democrats have pulled ad money from Colorado, where Trump has crept into a small lead, and Virginia, where Trump is now with the MOE with Clinton. Now he’s throwing the fire alarm.
The fact is that Clinton has been running a campaign of sloth and indolence. As my colleague, Leon Wolf, points out for large portions of the past couple of months she has been totally MIA. No rallies. No fundraisers. Her strategy appears to be to lay low, minimize her own mistakes, and let Trump destroy himself. Unfortunately for Clinton, it really hasn’t worked that way. Her email scandal won’t go away. After flopping to the sidewalk last Sunday, every story about her health is covered and a poll out today shows about 40% of Americans believe she is too sick to run for president.
We are now a little more than a month from the election. Trump has the proven ability to self-immolate. So does Clinton. But Trump has shown an almost preternatural ability to shake off blunders that would have destroyed anyone else. There is no way of knowing how this ends but today them momentum is clearly with Trump and unless Clinton — or Trump — does something really big, Trump has to be the favorite to win.
In short, if you are a Hillary fan, now would be the time to put on your brown trousers.