Monday, November 9, 2015

Trump Should Have Hosted SNL Three Months Ago

Twice in the last week people have made arguments to me of the form "everyone I know thinks this, so it must be true."  The nature of the specific arguments were very different though:
  • Everyone I know hates Sam Brownback, so he couldn't have won re-election without fraud.
  • Everyone I know is voting for Donald Trump, so he will certainly be our next President.
I have talked about the Brownback re-election enough on this blog, but Trump only once, and Trump was just on SNL, so why not take a look?


I enjoyed Trump on SNL, not because I thought Trump was great, but because the non-Trump elements were good.  My top moments of the night:
  • Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle: I have liked this character for a while now, as it reminds me of my interactions with.. well.. a lot of people.
  • Larry David heckling Donald Trump: Making light of the real bounty on interrupting the show that night, but also Larry David being hilarious.
  • Larry David as Bernie Sanders: I want your vacuum pennies!
  • Donald Trump as Music Producer: Actually wanted more Trump in this sketch and less of the Dad character.  Maybe a role Trump was born to play.  
That's somewhat humorous, but prior to the show I tweeted out:

My tweet was met with a couple of Trump supporters telling me I didn't know what I was talking about, and the logical fallacy of "Everyone I know..."  But what do the numbers really say?


The "everyone I know" logic is wrong for a couple of reasons:

  • It's almost always based on a sample or 20-30 people that someone talks to on a regular basis, statistically too small for large-scale inference.
  • The sample of "everyone you know" is biased by the people you choose to associate with, demographics of where you live, and how people filter what they say to their friends (yes people lie about their politics not to offend, especially faced with passionate people). 

Now that I have that out of my system, what do recent polls say about Trump's popularity?  More importantly will Donald Trump win the Republican Nomination and eventually the presidency?  I like the view below, because individual polls can show bias, but using moving averages can mitigate the bias of an individual poll.

The view shows us a few things:
  • Trump entered the race in April and showed a steady improvement in polling numbers through August, topic out at nearly 30%, with a 12% lead over the closest competitor.
  • Since early September, Trump's polling results have been more mixed, sometimes losing to other competitors.  His current effective polling lead has shrunk to less than 5%.

These patterns generally match our prior post on Trump's success, effectively that as other candidates move out of the race and others consolidate their base Trump would slowly fade back to the pack. The only positive for Trump in the near future is that his current closest competitor is facing a string of mini-scandals regarding grain storage and stabbing people.

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