With just about a week to go, the 2016 Presidential race is, by any standard, not politics as usual.
What is known is that on many levels, the rules have been broken. Here are a few examples.
Take a look at this year’s Newspaper endorsements. We are seeing traditionally conservative leaning publications — among them, Cincinnati Enquirer, Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic, San Diego Union-Tribune and Columbus Dispatch – endorsing a Democratic presidential candidate. In the case of the Columbus Dispatch, the Democratic endorsement is the first in 100 years … the San Diego Tribune, the first in its 148-year history and the Arizona Republic, the first in its 126-year history. There has been an enormous groundswell of anti-Trump sentiment among editorial boards across the political spectrum. In the most recent count, of 57 major newspapers, 56 have endorsed Clinton and one (the Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by Trump supporter Sheldon Adelson) has endorsed Trump. It’s interesting to note that USAToday took its first position in a presidential election EVER – ‘Not Donald Trump.’
And then there’s the Gender Gap, what many are calling historic. On average, Clinton is up about 20 points among women, while Trump is up 7 points among men (same as Romney in 2012). Nothing tells the story like a picture. Yes, it is truly a battle of the sexes. These maps show the Electoral College outcome if only men – or only women – were to vote (source is FiveThirtyEight.com):
IF ONLY MEN VOTED – TRUMP wins by + 170 Electoral Votes (350 vs. 180) IF ONLY WOMEN VOTED — CLINTON wins by + 378 Electoral Votes (458 vs. 80)
In addition to the gender gap, this election we are seeing a massive shift in voting patterns, especially between two groups – white college educated voters and white voters without a college degree.
Clinton’s surge in the polls is fueled, in part, by a demographic that President Obama lost handily four years ago – white college educated voters. In the last presidential election, Barack Obama lost the college-educated white voter by 14 points. But now Clinton is winning this same group by about 11 points. Since 1952, no Democratic presidential candidate has won college-educated whites, according to American National Election Studies data and exit polls reported by the Atlantic.
On the other hand among white voters without a college degree (often refereed to as working class voters), Clinton is underperforming any recent Democratic candidate. This helps explain why reliably red states are now considered battleground states, even as some traditional battleground states are no longer competitive.
This chart captures Clinton’s struggle among white voters without a college degree, especially in comparison to President Obama. Clinton is making up for this weakness with strength in some of the most reliably Republican Turf in the country – Milwaukee suburbs, Philadelphia, suburbs around Columbus, Ohio.
Recent polling has white voters with at least a college degree voting for Clinton over Trump 48% -37% – a group that represented more than a third of the 2012 electorate. And her lead among ALL college-educated likely voters is 54% to 32%, including post-graduate degrees, a much bigger margin than President Barack Obama’s 2-point advantage with a group that represented 47% of the electorate in 2012.
Just over the weekend, FBI Director Comey made a public announcement that the bureau is reviewing newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server. No one knows if these emails have anything to do with Hillary, including Director Comey. As CNN reported, “The old, sensible FBI rule book apparently has been thrown on the trash heap this year. While undoubtedly attempting to be open and “transparent,” to protect the reputation of the FBI, the FBI director has tossed a Molotov cocktail into the presidential race. … Trashing the Justice and FBI rulebooks in the interest of “openness” is likely to put the FBI front and center in one of the most contentious presidential races in recent US history.”
In a matter of days we will know the outcome of this election. And will have an opportunity to see how breaking the rules can impact an election.