Political observation is partly instinct. My instinct has begun to insist that Donald Trump will win the presidency. Since Friday, the chance of his winning has been rising and now stands, according to FiveThirtyEight, at just above 30 percent. Despite the flaws of political polling, the polls’ general direction is significant. They’re showing a movement in favor of Mr. Trump, a decline in the number of states Secretary Clinton can count on, and a bulge in the number of states in the ‘toss-up’ column. RealClearPolitics shows roughly the same pattern, with several crucial swing states now expected to go for Trump rather than Clinton, or too close to call.
The polls have probably always underestimated support for Mr. Trump, whom many respectable figures have been excoriating. When I went to see my eye doctor last week, he mentioned the near-total absence of presidential yards signs around Chicago. Whereas in most years, such signs proclaimed support for candidates openly, voters’ choices are more opaque in 2016. Jake Novak of CNBC has argued that the same may be true of many polls: they may suffer from a systemic bias, caused by respondents refusing to participate out of a reluctance to admit support for a controversial candidate whose fortunes are down.
Meanwhile, articles out by Ryan Lizza and Thomas Frank identify the disillusionment that Hillary Clinton is battling. James Comey’s announcement last week that the FBI would investigate a newly discovered cache of Clinton’s emails, found on the laptop of the disgraced husband of one of her top aides, added powerfully to the public’s gathering impression of misconduct, whether on the part of Clinton or of her circle. This is freeing ambivalent voters from the obligation of voting for her as ‘the lesser of two evils.’ It will likely galvanize heavier voting on the Republican side.
The stock market has been declining markedly in advance of the election, and gold stocks have risen, moves suggesting that investors are bracing for a possible Trump win.
Image: Aerial of Florida, a key battleground state,
@ Susan Barsy