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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Moody’s Election Model Sees Blue Wave Forming

All of the usual caveats about it being too early to discern meaningful political trends for the 2016 general election notwithstanding, Moody’s Election Model has some very good news for Democrats. From Ryan Sweet’s “Democrats to Win in a Landslide in 2016, According to Moody’s Election Model” at The Street.com:

Our Moody’s Analytics election model now predicts a Democratic electoral landslide in the 2016 presidential vote. A small change in the forecast data in August has swung the outcome from the statistical tie predicted in July, to a razor-edge ballot outcome that nevertheless gives the incumbent party 326 electoral votes to the Republican challenger’s 212.
…It takes 270 electoral votes to win a U.S. presidential election. Our July forecast predicted a Democratic win with 270 electoral votes, to 268 for the Republican, regardless of who wins either party’s nomination.

“Democratic landslide” — an appealing concept, that. Not a bad mantra for some creative visualization, looking toward 2016. But the why of it is interesting and maybe a little worrisome, according to Sweet:

The primary factor driving the results further to the incumbent party in August is lower gasoline prices. Plummeting prices and changing dynamics in global energy markets from Chinese weakness and the Iranian nuclear deal have caused us to significantly lower our gasoline price forecast for the next several years. This variable is very significant to voter sentiment in the model, with lower prices favoring incumbents.

Good to know that. There’s also the converse to worry about, as when soaring gas prices helped defeat Jimmy Carter in 1980. Sweet also points out that the model does not predict what would happen if the election was held today; it is rooted in what is known about economic, demographic and political realities coming in 2016, which is more than a little dicey.
Another cautionary note from Sweet:

Just three states account for the change in margin, with Ohio, Florida and Colorado swinging from leaning Republican to leaning Democrat. The margin of victory in each of these important swing states is still solidly within the margin of error though, and will likely swing back and forth in Moody’s monthly updates ahead, underlining the closeness of the election to come. Furthermore, three of the candidates for the Republican nomination enjoy favorite-son status in Ohio or Florida, potentially making the outcome of those important states even more unpredictable.

Still the model has an impressive track record, as Sweet notes: “The model successfully predicts every election back to 1980, including a perfect electoral vote prediction in the 2012 election.”
For Democrats worried about the Trump card, Rob Garver and Eric Pianin, reporting on a new Quinnipiac Poll, also have some good news at The Fiscal Times. Despite Trump’s antics dominating the GOP field,

In a hypothetical matchup with Vice President Joseph Biden, Trump loses 48 percent to 40 percent in the new poll. He does little better against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the current Democratic frontrunner, losing 45 percent to 41 percent. Even in a matchup with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Democratic socialist, Trump comes up short, 44 percent to 41 percent.

The upbeat reports in this post could have a very short shelf life, as with pretty much anything you read about politics at this early stage the 2016 campaign. But it’s not just Republicans screwing up. Neither the Moody’s study or the Quinnipiac poll would be so encouraging if Democrats weren’t doing a pretty good job of maintaining civility, keeping focused on the issues and generally behaving as adults, in stark contrast to the GOP. We can hope that is worth something to an increasing percentage of voters who would prefer to live in a country run by grown-ups.

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