Election Update: The Blue State Polling Abyss

From FiveThirtyEight:

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Public Policy Polling on Wednesday released a poll of New Mexico, a state that hasn’t attracted much attention. Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump by 9 percentage points, while the Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson had 16 percent of the vote.

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The margin was a little closer than you might expect given Clinton’s 6 or 7 percentage point national lead and New Mexico’s demographics. But we don’t know very much about how New Mexico and a lot of other states like it are voting this year. The PPP survey was the first poll of New Mexico since PPP’s previous poll of the state in May. Other blue-leaning states have also received scant polling: Minnesota has barely been polled, for instance, and Maine hasn’t been polled much given that at least one of its electoral votes could be highly competitive.1

“Who cares?” you might protest. A 9 percentage point margin isn’t exactly close. Pollsters seem to think it’s more fun to poll traditionally red states such as South Carolina and Missouri — and, in fact, those states have been tight in recent surveys.

But while South Carolina and Missouri could allow Clinton to run up the score in the Electoral College, they’re very unlikely to determine the winner. In any election in which she wins South Carolina, for example, Clinton will almost certainly have already won North Carolina and probably also Georgia, meaning that she’ll be …

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