Final primary predictions: Sanders to win CA

First, let’s see the performance of my most recent predictions.

Region Predicted Actual Error
New York 46.5 43.7 2.8
Connecticut 40.7 49.1 -8.4
Delaware 18.4 39.2 -20.8
Maryland 30.2 36.8 -6.6
Pennsylvania 42.4 43.5 -1.1
Rhode Island 53.1 54.2 -1.1

The demographic model was fairly consistent in underestimating Sanders, with the exception of New York. None of this surprises me. Here are my predictions for the remaining races:

Region % Bernie
Puerto Rico 20.7
California 50.3
Montana 72.7
New Jersey 40.2
New Mexico 46.3
North Dakota 70.6
South Dakota 62.6
D.C. 3.9

Puerto Rico and D.C. are probably underestimating by a lot, like Delaware. The rest seem pretty reasonable to me. South Dakota might be a bit more like Wyoming and come in the upper 50s instead of lower 60s (advance registration deadline). New Mexico might be more like Arizona in the lower 40s rather than upper 40s. New Jersey might be a few points higher.

To win the majority of pledged delegates Sanders would need to take 78.7% of the remaining. Unfortunately, instead of ending with the desired numer, 2026, of pledged delegates, these predictions show Bernie ending with about 1860. That’s about 45.9% of all the pledged delegates. And for the purpose of context, here’s a comparison to other recent progressive Democrats in similar primary years.

Year Candidate % of delegates
2000 Bill Bradley 21
2004 Howard Dean 5.6
2004 John Edwards 19.4
2016 Bernard Sanders 45.9

Bernie’s (projected) share is almost exactly as much as the previous three combined. It’s clear we’re entering a new era of politics in America. I can only hope it happens quickly enough to address the problems of political corruption, climate change, extreme inequality (in its many forms–e.g. education and not just income), healthcare for all, and the many other urgent problems affecting vulnerable Americans.


FiveThiryEight is wrong: the system IS rigged against Sanders

FiveThirtyEight is wrong

Nate Silver and Harry Enten claim The System Isn’t ‘Rigged’ Against Sanders. I’ve written at length already debunking their argument and drawing attention to the statistical malpractice they rely on to make it. To summarize, their argument is that caucuses have favored Sanders by suppressing the vote, and that somehow this disadvantages Clinton supporters more than Sanders supporters. Using a severely flawed statistical model they estimate that Clinton would have done 20-25% better in caucus states if they held primaries instead. To their credit, Silver and Enten attempted to address the question of having open vs closed primaries. But despite the sweeping title of their article (the system!), their focus is entirely too narrow. They identified two possible mechanisms by which the system could be influencing votes: caucuses vs primaries and whether or not the vote is open to independents.

The system IS rigged against Sanders

I conducted my own analysis to address some problems with theirs. Their model included percent of population that is black, percent Hispanic, whether the vote was a primary or caucus, whether it was open or closed to independents, and the national polling margin at the time of the vote. I’ll do several things slightly differently. Instead of national polling margin, I’ll just use the date–this is highly correlated with the national polling margin anyway. I did this more out of convenience than anything else, because my data already had date but not national polls. This difference is not important. Next, I’ll include just one more variable: whether or not the state has same-day registration. It just so happens that almost every caucus state also has same-day registration. Here are the coefficients of the resulting model:

Variable Estimate Std. Err. p-value
(Intercept) 69.2271 4.2055 <0.00
Date 7.5544 7.1372 0.3
Deadline -5.6614 5.1451 0.28
Type -5.946 5.2812 0.27
Independents 2.232 2.7884 0.43
RaceBlack -1.1415 0.1488 <0.00
RaceHispanic -0.3431 0.1974 0.09

Let me break this down for you. Ignore the (Intercept) variable. The Date variable estimate of roughly 7.5 means that, on average, Sanders has gained 7.5% comparing the most recent votes to the first votes early on. The Deadline variable at about -5.7 means Sanders loses about 5.7% on average when states do not allow same-day registration. The Type variable means Sanders loses 5.9% in primaries compared to caucuses, again on average. (As an aside, if I leave out Deadline and have almost the same model as 538, the Type variable estimate is about -10.46, still not quite the absurd estimate Silver and Enten present). The Std. Err. and p-value columns tell us roughly how certain we can be that the estimate is good and that the effect isn’t really just zero. Many of the p-values are above the traditional 0.05 “significance” cutoff because this model is not very good.

Let’s try a better model. As a described in a previous post, Silver and Enten are not adjusting for other important demographic variables like age, income, and so on. Due to the limited sample size (I have 44 rows in my data), it’s not realistic to simultaneously estimate many demographic effects. I’ll just include two more variables: median age and percent of population having a high school degree or less.

Variable Estimate Std. Err. p-value
(Intercept) 130.7826 23.6031 <0.00
Date 6.9082 6.3529 0.28
Deadline -5.3206 4.4755 0.24
Type 0.3334 4.9385 0.95
Independents 0.983 2.5311 0.7
RaceBlack -1.1497 0.1502 <0.00
RaceHispanic -0.8587 0.2384 <0.00
MedianAge -0.8648 0.5918 0.15
EduHSorless -0.7326 0.2329 <0.00

Surprise! The Type estimate is now only 0.33, meaning if you also do a slight adjustment for age and education Sanders only benefits by 0.33% in states having a caucus. The Deadline estimate is still roughly the same. The fact that the Deadline estimate is stable to this change in the model gives me more confidence that its effect is real. If I include another variable, InternetAccess–an estimate of what percent of the population has access to high speed internet–the Deadline estimate becomes -4.87 and Type is -0.25, consistent. If I also include some regional indicators for the South East, North East, and West (leaving the mid-west as part of the intercept) Deadline becomes -5.74 and Type becomes 0.55–meaning Sanders now actually benefits from primaries relative to caucuses.

The data and code for this analysis is available in this Github repo in the files DemPrimaryData.csv and Rigged.R

It’s the voter registration deadlines, stupid

I shouldn’t be writing any of this. I’m supposed to be finishing my thesis right now. So I’m not going to spend the time to find data for primary turnout this year and do a regression to show that turnout is depressed by early registration deadlines. Instead, I will cite several facts which are either obvious or easy to verify with Google.

  1. Young people are more likely to be first time voters.
  2. Young people and first time voters are less likely to be registered, and if they are registered they are more likely to be registered as Independents.
  3. Young people and first time voters are less likely to know that registration deadlines exist and can be surprisingly early.
  4. Some states with closed primaries, like New York, have even earlier deadlines for party affiliation changes. New York’s was back in October of 2015, four days before the first Democratic debate. New York’s turnout was also second lowest of any state…

Nate Silver and Harry Enten ignored all of this. They conducted a highly flawed statistical analysis that left out important demographic controls and had no data at all related to registration deadlines or other forms of voter suppression. Enten in particular with his background in political science should know there is a vast literature of research on voter suppression involving things like registration deadlines and voter ID requirements. By pretending that the caucus effect is the only one that matters, they claim to answer a far bigger and far more important question than they actually do, and the answer they give for their limited question is still flawed.

Bernie might have been winning…

My own analysis, controlling for more demographic variables and checking that my results are stable when I add or remove several of these controls, shows that Sanders probably lost at least 5% on average in states that did not allow same-day registration. Sanders currently has about 45% of the delegates. It’s impossible to say anything counter-factual about this with certainty, but try to imagine how different things would be. The first Super Tuesday would have been far less devastating, and we may never have seen the widespread media narrative that developed about Clinton’s commanding lead in “delegate math.” The following states might have switched from a loss/tie to a tie/victory.

State Advanced days Vote % Bernie
North Carolina 23 40.76
Arizona 28 41.39
NewYork 23 42.01
Ohio 27 43.13
Pennsylvania 28 43.56
Kentucky 28 46.33
Connecticut 1 46.42
Illinois 27 48.61
Massachusetts 19 48.69
Missouri 26 49.36

Conservatively, Bernie might have won 4 or 5 more states, and might have come close to a tie in New York. The clear change-point in this graph might not have happened:


I think it’s safe to say that the lack of same-day registration is a very significant factor in Clinton’s lead. In all of this, I did not even begin to ask how it might have been different if closed primaries were open to independents.

Statistical malpractice at FiveThirtyEight

Others have written about 538’s recent spate of journalistic/scientific malpractice (e.g. formulating a question in a limited manner that ignores the part of the data that doesn’t conform to ones hypothesis or narrative). I’m going to write about statistical malpractice and then tie it back in to scientific/journalistic standards at the end. I previous wrote about this but went a bit over the top with prose and punditry, so this version is going to be short and to the point.

What did they do?

In a recent article titled The System Isn’t ‘Rigged’ Against Sanders, they argue that Sanders has benefited from some kind of biasing effect caused by caucuses, and that if all states held primaries he would be significantly further behind. They do some kind of regression analysis to “control for” demographic differences and estimate this mysterious caucus effect. And they predict what the vote might have been if a state that held a caucus had been a primary. For example, they claim that in Iowa the result would have been Clinton winning by 24% instead of the tie that occurred.

Why is this wrong?

First of all, they begin the analysis by comparing vote margins in caucus states versus primary states to point out that Sanders has won more votes among all caucus states and Clinton has won more votes among all primary states. This comparison is pointless, which they acknowledge, because the states which held caucuses are demographically different from the states that held primaries. This method could only give a heavily biased estimate of the caucus effect because it does not control for demographics or other important differences. They included this pointless analysis anyway, along with its own gigantic table, right at the beginning of the article, perhaps in an attempt to anchor the readers to the conclusion they’re trying to show.

Omitted variable bias

Next they carried out a regression analysis attempting to control for some demographic differences and get an unbiased estimate of the caucus effect. Here’s what they said:

The model considers each 2016 contest and controls for (i) the black and Hispanic share of the Democratic vote in that state in the 2008 general election, (ii) whether that primary or caucus is “open” to independent voters unaffiliated with a political party, and (iii) the margin in national primary polls at the time the contest is held.

So they reduced all demographic differences between states with primaries and states with caucuses to two variables: proportion of black voters and proportion of Hispanic voters. Age? Income? Education? Geographic region? Religious differences? Economic indicators, like unemployment? Apparently none of these things matter, according to Silver and Enten. (They should know better: by their own admission they have tried various other models at different times during this election season controlling for other variables, and doing ad hoc things like leaving out Arkansas, New York, and Vermont on the premise that “home state” advantages would skew the results).

This is obviously incorrect, we know very well that at minimum age is an incredibly important variable. Young voters of all races prefer Sanders, and older voters of all races prefer Clinton. They might believe that states don’t differ much on age, but for example Florida has only 21.5% of its population age 18-34 while for Alaska this number is nearly 4% higher.

By leaving out many factors which are important for determining differences between states that could affect the vote outcomes, their analysis is subject to omitted variable bias. The practical consequence of this is that essentially we have no way of knowing if the caucus effect they estimated is anywhere near the truth. They might even have the wrong sign, meaning it is possible that caucuses actually hurt and do not help Sanders.

Collinearity and variance

The bias issue is already enough to completely kill their result, but there’s more. They also included the national polls in their regression model. This is problematic because the national polls are highly correlated with time. What else is correlated with time? Well, most caucuses happened after March 5th. There were 5 caucuses before and including March 1st, and March 1st is the day where Clinton expanded her votes the most. There were 11 caucuses later. So, the caucus effect is also probably correlated with time, and hence correlated with the national polls. In regression models, when multiple predictor variables are correlated with each other, it becomes harder to estimate their effects. The variance of the estimates will be high. This means it is more likely that if the data estimates a large caucus effect, its size is just due to noise rather than signal. And why would national polls have any relevance for state votes? Silver wrote a book about basically this, so he and Enten really should know better.

How could they correct this?

They should just retract the article, honestly. There are statistical methods that could be used in scenarios like this (I’m thinking of propensity score matching, for example), but the fundamental limitation is the size of the data. There are only about 16 states with caucuses. There are many potentially confounding effects, like the demographics I mentioned earlier. Further, even estimating the demographic effects to properly control for them may not be possible due to further confounding. For example, New York is one of the youngest states, but we have no idea how much the outcome there was affected by voter suppression–recall that over 100,000 voters had their registrations purged in just Brooklyn alone. Minority voters have gone for Clinton, but they were also directly targeted by pro-Clinton SuperPAC spending in the early voting states.

I think the only way to try to answer the underlying question concerning the effect of caucuses would be to collect new data. We would need polls/interviews of many registered voters, both ones who voted and who didn’t, preferably on either side of a state border where the two states are very similar with the only difference of importance being that one holds caucuses and the other primaries. Something like this could be done by looking at the vote outcomes for neighboring states. Many people have pointed out the Iowa +24% for Clinton estimate is absurd given that the surrounding states which held primaries were close to ties.

Ask more questions

Apparently, Silver and Enten aren’t interested in the whys. Suppose their analysis didn’t have holes in it large enough to drive a truck full of statistics textbooks through. Shouldn’t they wonder why caucuses would help Sanders? There is empirical evidence that strong support for Sanders is more widespread than strong support for Clinton. But there is also plenty of evidence that habitual/dutiful voters tend to be much older and favor Clinton. So if caucuses suppress turnout, why would the young strong supporters necessarily outnumber the older, dutiful voters?

Silver and Enten probably have one answer ready: race! It’s their favorite “demographic destiny” variable, after all. And I do believe that racial minorities might be less likely to participate in caucuses. However, the state of Iowa has about 2.9% black population and 3.7% Hispanic. So how can race explain a 24% increase for Clinton if Iowa had been a primary? Also, if this was the hypothesis for why the caucus effect exists, they should have included interaction terms between the caucus variable and race variables in their regression model.

Bigger problems with data journalism

As a statistician, I can mentally reverse-engineer their description of their analysis and make an educated guess about what precise mathematical model they’re using. But the audience for data journalism is the general public, not professional statisticians. FiveThirtyEight has a large audience and even larger indirect audience through the influence of their reporting on how other, less data-oriented news outlets. They are perceived as having a greater degree of rigor in their journalism because of the emphasis on analyzing data. But they are subject to none of the checks of peer-review in academic analysis. They don’t make their work reproducible by making the data and code openly available. I can understand the difficulty in finding a balance between giving more mathematical details and appealing to a wider audience. But the downside of the compromise they currently use is that they get all the benefits of appearing to be scientific without being subject to any of the aspects of the scientific method that actually make it rigorous.



Nate Silver: data contortionist

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and Harry Enten are not data journalists (or “empirical journalists”), they are data contortionists. Throughout this entire election season their coverage has been so consistently inaccurate, both in description and prediction, that their work can only be viewed generously as a good parody of data analysis or journalism. This did not begin in 2015. Silver has in the past headlined articles saying that early polls are not important, only to show in the body of his article that they actually are somewhat predictive (R^2 of 0.4) of election outcomes. If his writing had been subjected to anything like the peer-review process that data analyses must pass in an academic setting, these inconsistencies between actual results and narrative would have raised many questions. But his celebrity status affords him a large audience with no real checks, so he can say whatever he wants regardless of what the data shows. And that’s what he does.

For example, as “data journalists” it is particularly surprising that they would ever tell us to ignore the data. That they consistently do so whenever the data shows an outcome that doesn’t fit with the status quo, or would raise doubts concerning their obvious favored candidate turns mere surprise into suspicion. The straw that broke the camel’s back, to me, is a recent article claiming that the Democratic primary season has actually been rigged in Sanders’s favor. This is a classic example of “big lie” propaganda: promote an idea so incredibly opposite to the truth that people cannot believe anyone would be able to lie so audaciously and conclude they must be telling the truth. In this case, their motivation is probably to role play as bold contrarians. It would be much easier to believe this act were it not for the fact that they are always biased in the same direction, and that direction is perfectly aligned with the rest of the media establishment, whose bias against Sanders verges on bloodlust.


To write the most ridiculous possible article it helps to begin with an absurd premise, so I must pause and explain the background. In this case, media reporting concerning Clinton’s lead in both the popular vote and delegates has been consistently inaccurate. Many news agencies have been including superdelegates in their delegate totals despite the fact that superdelegates do not vote until the convention and this has been explained to them by the DNC. Many news outlets report that Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is about 3 million, when in fact it is closer to 2.5 million. The incorrect number completely ignores votes from caucus states where the number of individual voters is usually not known, and the “correct” number is an estimate based on aggregating guesses by caucus precinct captains (which could be highly inaccurate). Sanders supporters have been angry about this for months, because we think our guy’s chances are being hurt by the media portraying him as a lost cause. Here is a timeline of 538 articles that all essentially say the same thing: Bernie has no chance, Clinton will certainly win, abandon all hope:

This is not exhaustive; I stopped opening browser tabs because my machine was getting slow. And this is just from 538. The Upshot over at the New York Times has been almost an exact clone in terms of their coverage. Here they are dismissing Bernie immediately following his astounding upset in Michigan. And if we lower the bar to non-data journalism we can probably find thousands of other articles and TV clips pushing the same narrative: Bernie has no chance. They all said basically the same about Trump almost right up until he won. They’re probably right about Bernie, but they definitely helped make it true in his case with their absurd doom and gloom coverage. And they also exclusively reported the single most boring and uninsightful fact about his amazing campaign, completely missing what is history in the making and probably the most important change in politics in America for decades.

Against this backdrop, Shaun King at the New York Daily News was correcting the claim about Clinton’s 3 million vote lead by pointing out it did not include caucuses.

The Clinton campaign knows this. Their friends in the media know this, but they continue to allow the campaign to tout that 3 million number even though they know full well that it’s not accurate. The Democratic primaries and caucuses simply don’t have accurate popular vote totals.

He also made several other points about the unfairness of the Democratic primary, with his headline being about superdelegates. He pointed out that if superdelegates had split the opposite way than they have now, counting their votes (as the media does) would actually put Sanders ahead of Clinton.

The straw the broke the camel’s back

In response to all of this, Silver and Enten ignored every single thing about the entire process except for caucuses and wrote an article claiming that they have unfairly benefitted Sanders. It is true that caucuses generally have much lower turnout than primaries, despite the fact that they are usually held on the weekend while primaries are usually held on Tuesdays. The claim usually cited for this is that they take a long time. Except, in this primary season, due to systematic attempts at voter suppression in states like Arizona, many primary voters have ended up standing in line for longer than they would have in a caucus. These facts aside, let’s present the logic of Silver and Enten’s argument.

  1. Fact: Sanders has done better in caucus states than primary states.
  2. Claim: The demographic differences between these states is not enough to explain this over-performance.
  3. Fact: Sanders won the caucuses of Washington and Nebraska, and Clinton won their symbolic primaries.

They then present the predictions of a model based on demographics and the caucus effect to claim that if all states had done primaries, Clinton would have won some of the states where Sanders won and would currently be leading by much more. In other words, the suppressed voter turnout in caucuses benefited Sanders, and furthermore his claim that he wins when voter turnout is high is false.

It is a fact that Sanders has done better in caucus states. However, their claim that demographic differences cannot explain this is an essential point to their argument and they present exactly zero evidence to prove it. Fact #3 above is not even remotely close to being evidence in favor of this for reasons any statistically-literate person would know. A symbolic primary is likely to show a biased sampling of voters, and this bias is probably going to be in favor of people who were upset their candidate lost the caucus. When a sampling method is biased, it doesn’t matter how much large you make the sample. Increasing sample size reduces variance, but not bias–unless your sample becomes the entire population. The symbolic primary in Washington, for example, represents about 11% of their population. It is possible that this 11% is composed almost entirely of elderly loyal Democratic voters who have tended to favor to Clinton. We don’t have any exit polls from either the caucus or this pointless symbolic primary so we don’t know. The fact that Silver and Enten draw attention to the primary having a larger sample is, I believe, a tell that they are ignoring the possibility of bias completely, because any bias would make the sample size irrelevant.

What evidence could they have presented? They might have compared actual elections (instead of symbolic ones) between similar states. However, this would immediately disprove their entire claim. For example, Northern Marianas, Guam, American Samoa, and Hawaii all had caucuses. Sanders won Hawaii by a large margin. Clinton won the other 3 by equally large margins. What happened to the mysterious caucus effect in Guam? Why were the outcomes in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa all roughly the same, instead of Sanders getting the eye-popping 20-25 point boost their model predicts in Iowa because of its caucus?

Pitfalls of regression analysis

Many of these questions would be easy to answer if they provided any details about their analysis. What were the units of analysis, states or counties/precincts? Since the primary/caucus rules apply at the state level, data at the county/precinct level would only help us in getting more accurate estimates of demographic effects, but not the caucus effect. If their data is at the state level, like mine, the most appropriate response would be to just throw statistics textbooks at them. They’ve got less than 50 rows of data that they are proposing to use to simultaneously estimate all the relevant demographic effects and the primary/caucus rule effects. This is insanity. In my own dataset, I have over 30 demographic predictor variables. If I did linear regression with ~50 observations and ~30 variables, I would have next to no confidence in the estimated coefficients, especially given the fact that a lot of demographic variables are highly collinear (e.g. income and education).

As an exercise in such idiocy, I just ran a few linear models and looked at the coefficients for the caucus effect and the open/closed (to independents) effect. In one model I got negative coefficients consistent with the 538 analysis. I noticed that some of the coefficient estimates with absurdly large in absolute value (because of collinearity) so I removed income and left education in the model… and the sign of the caucus effect changed, meaning that model predicted Bernie did better in primaries than in caucuses.

Maybe Nate Silver doesn’t actually know this. In that case, I am plainly frightened that the most famous “data journalist” doesn’t understand basic facts about introductory regression analysis. Another possibility is that they understand variability of regression coefficients and used a model with fewer variables… but that would only introduce bias by not adjusting for enough of the demographic effects.


The immediate response to this article on social media was disbelief. People were stunned, because 538 pushed the race narrative so hard from the beginning and then claimed Iowa, an extremely white state, would have gone 24 points in Clinton’s favor if it had not been a caucus. To me this is most worrisome. Even smart people can forget what they learned in a class years ago. That’s one thing. But if you see that prediction and you don’t immediately realize your model has failed a sanity test, you don’t even have intuition anymore. You’re flying without the instruments and you’ve lost your senses. You may as well not even know the meaning of the variable names.

Nate Silver and Harry Enten, you get a C- for this ridiculous article. Retract it and you might regain some credibility, but you’re making it harder and harder to take anything you say seriously.


A brief thought on the Democratic Party

According to polls, a majority of all voters prefer most of Bernie Sanders big policy proposals. By absurd margins, the next generation of progressive voters (and many of the libertarians as well) prefer Bernie as the candidate to enact those policies. The same is true of the largest group of voters in America: independents, who outnumber both Democrats and Republicans.

Despite all of this, and despite him winning over 45% of the delegates so far, the Democratic Party establishment is doing everything in its power to stop the candidacy of Bernie Sanders and to curb his influence on the Democratic convention. Not only do they want to prevent him from being the nominee, they want to prevent his policy proposals from becoming part of their platform. This is true even though a majority of all Americans favor his policy proposals.

Superdelegates and party insiders have gone to Hillary by absurd margins even when the voters in their states made it very loud and clear they prefer Bernie. SuperPACs have been spending to boost her in the primary instead of waiting until the general election to defeat Republicans. Think about that. SuperPACs are spending to defeat Bernie and his coalition of young voters and independents. In fact, they specifically targeted minority voters with ads associating Hillary with the historic and enormously favorable presidency of Barack Obama (despite the fact that she was his opponent in 2008 and tried all kinds of racist attacks against him).

My argument is not to disenfranchise the people who voted for Hillary. But that’s absurd anyway, because it’s the opposite of what’s happening. She has less than 55% of the delegates but she is on track to have 100% control of the Democratic Party. Again, this is despite the fact that a majority of all voters prefer Bernie’s policies even if they prefer her as the candidate. Given the low voter participation in our sad excuse for a Democracy, the restrictive rules in many states disallowing independents from voting in the primaries, and strong statistical evidence of systematic election fraud favoring Hillary, I’m not even sure a majority of voters prefer her as the candidate.

April 26th primary prediction update

New York was very surprising. I really hope they do some serious auditing and decide to count the affidavit ballots that people whose registrations were mysteriously changed had been forced to use. At any rate, with updated data here are new predictions for tomorrow.

Connecticut 40.7
Delaware 18.4
Maryland 30.2
Pennsylvania 42.4
Rhode Island 53.1

The Pennsylvania prediction is only about one percent higher than the latest polls there. Connecticut’s latest polls are actually several points higher than 40%. Maryland is a big question mark, with some polls matching 30% and some showing 40% or higher. It will be especially interesting to see if felons whose voting rights were recently re-enfranchised participate and how they vote. Polls in Rhode Island show about 45%, so my prediction is significantly higher. The extremely low prediction for Delaware is apparently being heavily influenced by the large part finance plays in its economy.

If Pennsylvania and Maryland outperform these predictions then tomorrow could be a decent day for Sanders. If they underperform, calls for him to drop out before California will intensify. He shouldn’t, and hopefully won’t. He should still do very well here in CA, and even if he doesn’t get a majority of pledged delegates he may still come close enough yet to have more influence at the convention.

Clinton’s disastrous New York Daily News interview

A week ago Bernie had a perfectly reasonable interview with the New York Daily News. Many corporate news outlets tripped over themselves in their race to frame it as a disaster, saying Bernie was unprepared or uninformed about the topics he claims to care about. Several experts/wonks calmly pointed out that his answers were all essentially correct and adequately substantive, but the media’s attention had already moved on to the next “controversy” by then. Today, Hillary sat down with the NYDN Editorial Board for an interview. The transcript is available here. Corporate media are currently either ignoring it or framing it as a major win for Clinton, hailing the depth of her expertise and length of her answers. Blinded with bias, they completely missed three smoking guns, each of which should be devastating to her campaign.

A failure by her own standards

Aside from the popular myth that Clinton has more experience (Bernie has 32 years in elected office), her campaign repeatedly uses two lines of criticism on Sanders and his policies. One, that his numbers just don’t add up, and two, that he won’t be able to pass his plans against Republican opposition. Instead of defending Bernie, let’s suppose these are valid points. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help Clinton, because by her own admission these same criticisms hold against her.

As an example of the first, consider their college affordability plans. Clinton has repeatedly criticized Bernie’s plan, saying that it relies on states for funding and pointing out that Republican governors like Scott Walker have been doing the opposite of late. But let’s look at Clinton’s answer in the interview concerning her college plan:

I will not make it free the way my opponent, Sen. Sanders, has offered, for two big reasons. First, I want not only to incentivize states to reinvest in higher education. I want to incentivize colleges and universities to take a hard look at their costs, because I do think that there needs to be a rigorous analysis. […]

So the federal government would hold out this promise. And I think states with Democratic governors like New York or California would accept it.

This information is also freely available under the “College” section of her campaign website “Issues” page:

States will have to step up and meet their obligation to invest in higher education by maintaining current levels of higher education funding and reinvesting over time.

So the exact same criticism she uses to say the numbers for Bernie’s college just don’t add up is also true about her own college plan. This isn’t a secret. It’s not some journalistic scoop. She is openly proclaiming this, “I think states with Democratic governors… would accept it.” She knows her plan has the same weakness, but she still repeatedly uses it against Bernie on the campaign trail and during interviews and debates.

Let’s consider the other criticism, about “getting things done” despite Republican obstructionism. The very first question asked by NYDN reveals a smoking gun here. In the quote below I have taken the liberty to paraphrase Clinton’s much longer response, but I encourage the reader to read the whole transcript if they are interested (I have).

Daily News: You’ve made lifting the fortunes of the working and middle classes a centerpiece of your campaign. And you’re well aware that in 2000, you pledged to create the conditions that would add 200,000 jobs upstate. You’re also well aware that that didn’t come true. The state Labor Department data show that the average annual number of jobs actually fell during that period. What went wrong?

Clinton: It was George W. Bush’s fault, also 9/11 had ripple effects going upstate.

She admits that as a Senator of the state of New York she was unable to implement her plans, and the excuses she gives are Republicans and 9/11. In fact, when was it ever apparent that Clinton would be able to accomplish more against Republican obstructionism? She hasn’t explained how she will get anything past them. Do people just hope that because her plans are not ambitious, Republicans won’t oppose them? Because she’s only asking for a $12/hr federal minimum wage they’ll step aside because at least it’s not $15?

The Daily News, to its credit, kept pushing and pointed out that upstate New York continued to suffer economically even during Obama’s administration. Clinton then admitted it’s because of outsourcing, which was accelerated by all the trade deals she supported and helped to pass. There was a reason she was already promising to create 200,000 jobs back in 2000, at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency. This isn’t a Republican problem, it’s a neoliberalism problem, and both party establishments still love neoliberalism. If there is one issue Clinton has flip-flopped on more than any other, it’s trade deals. She was for them until she ran for president in 2008. Then she was for them again as Secretary of State until her campaign started in 2015. In fact, later in the interview Clinton openly admits that neoliberalism is the “fundamental theory of her economic plan.”

Daily News: But going back to something more basic, I think your theory is: promote growth, increase growth, will increase employment, will increase the upward pressure on raises, on salaries, right?

Clinton: Yes, right.

Daily News: That I think is the fundamental theory of your economic plan.

Clinton: Right, […]

Never mind that this is exactly the same thing any Republican would say, or that it has been thoroughly debunked empirically by our own national experiment since Reagan…

But I digress. The point is that Clinton, by placing blame for her own failures as a Senator at the feet of George W. Bush, has all but openly admitted that Republican obstructionism can and will defeat her as it has in the past. The main difference between her and Bernie on this issue is that Bernie is actually trying to bring about a grand overthrow of Republicans and re-engagement of the public in politics.

Child’s play on Wall Street

The supposed smoking gun against Sanders in his Daily News interview was a bit about breaking up the big banks. They asked him specifically how he would do it, and he gave vague answers. This was not because he doesn’t know the details- he has actually written legislation to do it. But the media all agreed to pretend like Bernie doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about. Against that backdrop, Hillary’s answer on the same question is cringe-worthy.

Daily News: How do you stop too big to fail? What needs to happen?

Clinton: […] There are two approaches. There’s Section 121, Section 165, and both of them can be used by regulators to either require a bank to sell off businesses, lines of businesses or assets, because of the finding that is made by two-thirds of the financial regulators that the institution poses a grave threat, or if the Fed and the FDIC conclude that the institutions’ living will resolution is inadequate and is not going to get any better, there can also be requirements that they do so. […]

Clearly, she did her homework in preparation for this exact question. Impressive? Maybe if this were a test for regulator certification school and not an interview of the potential future President of the United States. Hillary Clinton is the person you want on your debate team. She is not the person you want making important decisions affecting hundreds of millions of people. Corporate trade deals. Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Opposing marriage equality until 2013. She has demonstrated throughout her entire career that she lacks either the judgment to choose wisely or the morals to do what’s right, or both.

Maybe this answer makes Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow get all wonk-giddy. But does it inspire any confidence that Clinton is the candidate to push for sufficiently strict Wall Street reform? Lest we forget, the Clintons together have a very long and very cozy relationship with Wall Street. The Street bankrolled Bill’s presidential campaigns and Hillary’s senatorial and presidential campaigns. Bill deregulated them, thinking the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a great idea. The Clintons have made tens of millions of dollars for a few hours of speaking at their private events. Their son-in-law is a hedgefund manager.


And what, exactly, is her track record, as a New York Senator?

From As a senator, Hillary Clinton was hands-off on Wall Street:

“What Wall Street wanted then was for everyone to look the other way,” said former Representative Brad Miller, a Democrat who sat on the House Financial Services Committee and struggled to get attention from his colleagues as he pushed legislation to halt predatory mortgage lending. “And to a large extent, we did.”

Financial institutions and their employees were Clinton’s biggest donors when she was in the Senate from 2001 to 2008. The top four banks were Citi, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley. […]

There were other fights. During Clinton’s Senate years, her colleagues were trying for reform proposals that banks spent millions of dollars trying to stall.

One senator tried desperately to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — but it didn’t go anywhere. Another pushed to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more authority.

Clinton signed on to none of these bills, the record shows.

Crickets. As a Senator from New York, she was one of the people best-positioned to foresee, prevent, mitigate, or once the crisis was in full swing, swiftly respond. She did nothing. And after an entire career informed by a worldview that makes this kind of stuff seem reasonable or excusable, she quotes “Section 121, Section 165” like the fact that she remembered that is supposed to be meaningful. This is not leadership on reforming Wall Street, this is child’s play.

The weakest anti-Trump arguments imaginable

The Daily News, again to their credit, asked about the transcripts of her paid speeches. Her response is, I believe, terrifying.

Clinton: […] I have reason to believe that others have made some speeches of some interest, and so…

Daily News: Who might that be?

Clinton: Well, we’ll have to wait and find out.

Daily News: Right now you’re only running against Bernie Sanders, and he’s your only opponent. He hasn’t given the speeches….

Clinton: Yeah, but he will not be my only opponent in this general election. So I’m looking over the horizon.

Daily News: Do you know these three Republicans have given speeches paid to?

Clinton: I have reason to believe Donald Trump has, for money, rather considerable amounts. A lot more than I ever was offered.

Leaving aside that she once again reveals she considers the primary a foregone conclusion, this teaser of an anti-Trump talking point convinces me that Clinton’s campaign has completely failed to understand Trump. Will Trump’s supporters care that he made lots of money talking to private audiences? On the contrary, they will love him all the more for it. His speeches could be at the Playboy Mansion and they’ll count it to his credit. If she believes this will help her stave-off Trump’s relentless attacks on her trustworthiness, I am beginning to worry that the match-up polls showing she would beat Trump might be proven wrong.

Trump is an outsider fueled by populist rage against the Washington/Wall Street power center that currently controls this nation. He will bring up her transcripts constantly, merely ask what she has to hide, and make her already-dismal “honest & trustworthy” polling numbers worse by the day. There is an unfortunate side-effect of Bernie running a positive campaign, and that is everyone is forgetting how weak Hillary Clinton is as a presidential candidate. She was defeated by a Junior Senator from Illinois and is currently being given a run for her money by a cranky old Jewish socialist from Vermont. Consider what Trump did to Jeb Bush. He repeatedly humiliated him and forced him out of the race despite enormous SupePAC spending on Bush’s behalf. Now imagine Hillary, in a debate, explaining her Wall Street reform plan by citing “Section 121, Section 165,” and then parrying Trump’s attacks on her transcripts/character by saying “I’ll show mine if you show yours!”

The transcripts have been one of her greatest weaknesses. Bernie didn’t even start talking about them until January. She should have known better before she even gave the talks, but her worldview is so warped around this issue that she still hasn’t come up with a believable defense. In February she thought she could shrug it off, saying “Well, I dunno, um, that’s what they offered.” Later in her answer she claimed, “They’re not giving me very much money now, I can tell you that much.” Again, this was in February, and even CNN wasn’t buying that story two months earlier. If Hillary is the nominee and faces Trump… he is going to wreak havoc, and she apparently still doesn’t understand the first thing about how to counter him.

April primary prediction update

Wisconsin and Wyoming have voted. Let’s look at my previous predictions to see how they fared.

State Old Prediction
Wisconsin 61
Wyoming 79.9
New York 41.5
Connecticut 40.7
Delaware 18.7
Maryland 32.4
Pennsylvania 47.6
Rhode Island 55.2

Wisconsin came out 56.6% and Wyoming 55.7%. I’m willing to speculate that the outcome in Wisconsin was affected by voter ID laws. As for Wyoming, it appears Clinton actually waged a very organized mail-in ballot campaign. Caucus attendees overwhelmingly favored Sanders and might have come much closer to that 79.9% prediction. I would also speculate that it’s possible the present-day demographics in Wyoming are different from the demographics in my data. It would be interesting to see if there has been an exodus of younger people from the state into Colorado since they legalized marijuana in 2014.

With these two additional data points and an updated Google search volume predictor I give you the new predictions!

State Prediction
New York 46.5
Connecticut 42.1
Delaware 18.7
Maryland 29.7
Pennsylvania 43.7
Rhode Island 55.1

Since the last two outcomes were lower than their old predictions, the increased prediction for New York is probably due to search volume. And in fact, if Bernie wins this much in New York it should be considered an upset–a single digit margin, less than half the 17% margin Obama lost New York by in 2008.

Unfortunately, if my predictions are accurate for all future contests it puts Bernie on track to win only about ~1845 delegates. This is significantly lower than the 1923 that I had earlier on before Arizona. It remains to be seen how much Bernie’s volunteer army can push these numbers higher.

A small consolation here is that Bernie will easily prevent Hillary from winning the nomination in pledged delegates only. That means his political revolution will certainly go to the Democratic Convention whether or not he comes out of it the nominee. Even that is an outcome nobody would have believed remotely possible mere months ago.

Finally, this isn’t a prediction, but I’m including a little “delegate math” calculation here just to try to counter the overwhelming prevalence of the completely incorrect versions appearing in most of the mainstream media. Right now, Bernie needs to win about 56.5% of the remaining pledged delegates to have a majority. If he wins 46% in New York, then he’ll need just under 58.4% of the delegates after that.

Projected Remaining To Win Needed Percent
1209.62 1400 2026 816.38 58.4%

I am not impressed by Barney Frank

Former Congressman from Massachusetts, Barney Frank, had an interview in Slate out yesterday.

Barney Frank Is Not Impressed by Bernie Sanders: “Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years with little to show for it.”

I’m going to address a few specific claims or critical questions posed in that interview.

On voter turnout and lack of support for Democrats

Frank said:

I’m particularly unimpressed with people who sat out the Congressional elections of 2010 and 2014 and then are angry at Democrats because we haven’t been able to produce public policies they like.

This is basically victim-blaming. We the people who have only the influence of our vote are disaffected by a political system we see as representing the interests of the elite and wealthy. Are we naive? Not at all. A study by Princeton political scientists analyzed over 1,700 policy issues and found:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination

That’s pretty conclusive empirical evidence. But Frank is also ignoring a mathematical fact: our voting system is flawed in ways that encourage low voter turnout. Winner takes all plurality voting and the Electoral College are both horribly flawed voting methods with many absurd downsides (and were adopted historically in order to support slavery). Far better alternatives exist, but the people in power aren’t interested in changing the rules of the game they’re already winning.

Frank has failed to address why voters in general are disaffected, despite there being an abundance of clear evidence that it doesn’t have anything to do with laziness. To drive home the fact that this is pure victim blaming, consider the relationship between voter turnout rates and income:


The people who don’t vote are poor people. Why don’t they vote? Probably because they’re poor and it’s not always easy to vote. In addition to the problems I already mentioned, it can be hard to vote if you have to work two jobs, or are a single parent, or don’t have your own car to drive to the polls and live in a place with shitty public transportation. Nearly 5% of Americans work multiple jobs. Aside from the poor, other groups with low turnout include minorities and the less-educated. These are the people Frank is disparaging from his high horse.

As for Democratic voters in particular, the 2010 midterm disaster wasn’t even a surprise. Democrats knew in advance it was going to happen, and they simply didn’t do enough to get their supporters out to vote. Consider what Obama was saying right before the election:

When I hear Democrats griping and groaning and saying ‘the healthcare plan didn’t have a public option’ … or, ‘yes, you ended the war in Iraq, but you haven’t completely finished the Afghan war yet’, I say, ‘folks, wake up’.

And I say: if you want my vote, earn it. Don’t blow healthcare reform by constantly compromising with a tiny minority of Republicans, ending up with a version of Romneycare written by pharma, insurance, and hospital industry lobbyists and then tell me I have no right to be disappointed. You can’t say you’re going to have the most transparent and open administration in history, but then turn around and wage a war on whistleblowers, and act all self-righteous when I say you lost my vote. When Obama and a large majority of Democrats came into office in 2008, Wall Street had just been bailed out and Main Street was in desperate need of radical change. What we got was weak tea. If that’s what Democrats are serving, they have no right whatsoever to feel entitled to the votes of people who either suffer from or care about poverty and inequality.

Even the New York Times Editorial Board places the blame for low turnout on politicians:

Over all, the national turnout was 36.3 percent; only the 1942 federal election had a lower participation rate at 33.9 percent. […] Democrats were too afraid of the backlash to put forward plans to revive the economy or to point out significant achievements of the last six years. Neither party gave voters an affirmative reason to show up at the polls. […] There was one useful lesson: When voting is made easier, more people vote. Colorado switched to a mail ballot system this year, and it had the fourth-highest turnout in the nation, substantially larger than in 2010. […] to encourage participation, politicians need to stop suppressing the vote, make the process of voting as easy as possible, and run campaigns that stand for something.

Given all this, I am not just particularly unimpressed with Frank’s argument, I’m downright pissed at him for this disgusting victim-blaming.

On the supposed lack of corruption in Wall Street and D.C.

Here’s Frank on Wall Street:

The financial system is people lending money to other people so they can do things. I do think that he overstates it when he says, “they’re all corrupt.” It’s simply not true.

To assess whether Frank’s rosy view of Wall Street is realistic, consider this 2015 study reported in the business section of the New York Times (not exactly a radical venue). The study surveyed finance professionals and found that “one in 10 said they had directly felt pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law” and “about a third of the people who said they made more than $500,000 annually contend that they have witnessed or have firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.” Most troubling?

And nearly half of the high-income earners say law enforcement and regulatory authorities in their country are ineffective “in detecting, investigating and prosecuting securities violations.”

The Dodd-Frank reform became active in 2010. Have things been getting better?

23% of respondents believe it is likely that fellow employees have engaged in illegal or unethical activity in order to gain an edge, nearly double the 12% that reported as such in 2012.

Oops! The people actually working on Wall Street think it’s getting worse. Frank’s quote above about the financial system actually begins “Well if that’s the case it’s even dumber than I thought.” Who, exactly, is being dumb here Mr. Frank?

Frank on Clinton’s millions in speaking fees:

What Sanders basically says is, “They’re trying to bribe you.” Well what do they get for money? He shows nothing.

Money in politics is not a simple quid pro quo issue. We can call that naive view the Clinton-Frank-Trump theory of money in politics. The most accurate answer to “what do they get for money?” is access. Access is actually far more insidious than money itself. Consider this quote from Richard Skinner of the Sunlight Foundation (a nonprofit money-in-politics watchdog organization)

Most people concerned about campaign finance are concerned that there’s plenty of evidence that the views of very wealthy people are reflected in the views of public policy. The fact that you have people spending so much of their time with very wealthy people affects not only the policies they adopt but also their worldview.

That right there is the real problem. There are actually no shortage of examples of public policy being directly affected by money–consider the Princeton study earlier that concluded the most accurate description of our government is “Economic-Elite Domination.” But the problem is even worse because it makes lawmakers unable to actually represent ordinary people because they don’t know us, they don’t understand our concerns, they have no idea what our lives are like.

It’s actually about the kind of person you are. If you are extremely wealthy, like Hillary Clinton, and your children are extremely wealthy (Chelsea was paid a $600,000 salary by NBC to be a rookie news correspondent, is married to a hedge fund manager, and lives in a $10.5 million condo in Manhattan), and you constantly interact with an enormous wealthy donor network, that has an indelible effect on your worldview. This is why she often makes embarrassing slip ups or mistakes that leave her supporters wondering what she was thinking. For example, she claimed that she and Bill were “not only dead broke, but in debt” when they left the White House in 2000, despite the fact that they owned a $1.7 million house in New York and another $2.8 million house in D.C. Or her flippant response when she was asked on CNN why she accepted $675,000 from the infamous Goldman Sachs:

Clinton: Look, I made speeches to lots of groups. I told them what I thought. I answered questions.

Cooper: But did you have to be paid $675,000?

Clinton: Well I don’t know, um, that’s what they offered.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So are Bernie’s supporters naive for thinking that a person like her isn’t the best choice for representing the vast majority of Americans who aren’t ultra wealthy?

On Bernie’s record of getting things done

Two quotes from Frank:

Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years with little to show for it in terms of his accomplishments and that’s because of the role he stakes out.

Other than Glass-Steagall, what did he propose in 2009 and 2010 when he was a senator when we were dealing with this? The answer is nothing.

So two issues, first what did he propose? Frank apparently wasn’t paying attention and didn’t do his homework because the answer is not “nothing.” In congress, Bernie has sponsored 64 bills addressing the financial sector, nine of them in the period of 2008-2009. These include the Stop the Greed on Wall Street Act, a bill to limit compensation at financial firms that were bailed out, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, a bill to require the Fed to publish information about its assistance to banks (the “shadow bailout”), and the Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act, which is self-explanatory. This  is just the financial sector. Bernie has been prolific throughout his career, a tireless worker obsessed with trying to make things better for ordinary people.

What happened to the bills I just listed? They all failed. Frank supported none of them because he is a corporate tool like most politicians. He received more campaign donations from Wall Street than any other industry. Doesn’t that just inspire so much confidence in the Dodd-Frank Act being able to prevent the next crisis?

An important follow up question, if those bills of Bernie did not pass, what has he accomplished? In the House, Bernie passed more amendments than any other congressperson and was referred to as the “Amendment King.” Seriously, just click on that link and look over the list of his accomplishments. One example:

Sanders was able to get the first-ever audit of funds given out by the Federal Reserve, which made transparent over $2 trillion of funds handed out by the secretive organization. This was a cause that Republican congressman Ron Paul (TX) had been pursuing for decades, but Sanders was able to get the votes to do it by forging a compromise.

An unauthorized biographer of Sanders described him this way:

He’s like a stealth politician because people think he’s just this guy who has super-liberal, i.e., socialist tendencies, but at the same time he is a brutally successful political knife-fighter.

The title of this post is a little mean–Frank is certainly one of the better legislators in congress in recent history. I was just mirroring the title of the Slate article. But I am definitely not impressed with Barney Frank’s inaccurate and/or dishonest assessment of Bernie Sanders.

[Update] Democratic primary predictions

A week ago I predicted the second half of the Democratic primaries. Six states have voted since then. How did my predictions fare?

State Predicted Actual
Arizona 44.8 40.9
Idaho 61 78
Utah 62.8 79.3
Alaska 66 81.5
Hawaii 79 69.8
Washington 65.5 72.7

Well, not too great. Arizona was the only one that came close. Idaho was way off. I overestimated in Arizona and Hawaii and underestimated the rest. On the other hand, I did call the meaningless “win/lose” status correctly for all six. But those calls were pretty easy, with the possible exception of Arizona. I’m still not sure how much to believe the “actual” outcome in Arizona, given the widespread complaints of voter suppression (possible systematic election fraud?)

Including the six new data points into my analysis and re-running it (with a few other small changes) caused some changes in the variable-importance plot. Let’s see the plot and then break down a few of the changes.


  • Date: Momentum? Probably not so much. A string of big wins following a much rougher early half are pretty much guaranteed to produce a positive time trend. I don’t really believe this effect will persist for the rest of the primary season. For that reason, for all predictions of future states I am treating them like the date they vote is today.
  • IndustryFinance: Still the largest negative effect. Still the most neglected explanation of this election season?
  • RaceBlack now appears relatively stronger, and RaceAsian less so. These estimates are probably closer to their true effects now, given what we know from exit polls. RaceHispanic now appears negative, likely because of Nevada and Arizona going differently from the other western states. How Hispanic people will vote in California, for example, is a very big and important unanswered question.
  • Poverty and wealth both seem to favor Clinton, while education beyond the high school level favors Sanders.
  • Internet predictors: [high speed] InternetAccess, the share of Facebook likes FBshare, and Google relative search volume in the month before the election now appear stronger than before. One reason, for Google specifically, is that before I used relative search volume during one period of time for all states, whereas now I have limited it to the 30 days before the election. For states that have not voted yet, the time window is from 30 days ago to today. It’s important to note that this predictor might change before each election as candidates run ads in that state and some undecided voters go online to look up their choices (does anyone actually do that? Honest question).

Given the time sensitive nature of the model–now that Google search volume was restricted to specific time periods and the estimated Date trend is large–I’m limiting my predictions to votes occurring in the following one month.

State Prediction
Wisconsin 61
Wyoming 79.9
New York 41.5
Connecticut 40.7
Delaware 18.7
Maryland 32.4
Pennsylvania 47.6
Rhode Island 55.2

How believable are these? I’m pretty sure Sanders will win Wisconsin and Wyoming, though perhaps not by so large a margin in Wisconsin. After that, I think some things are being influenced too heavily by the IndustryFinance variable. Look at Delaware, that’s just not believable. New York is more than 20 days away. The Sanders campaign just opened offices there. It’s possible the grassroots machine with Eye-of-Sauron level focus on New York for 10 days before its election will change things. That might be reflected in a change in relative Google search volume compared to the current time window.

Sanders supporters should not become complacent. If my predictions for all the remaining states are accurate, Sanders will still lose among pledged delegates by a wide enough margin that even if some superdelegates switch it wouldn’t be enough. Whatever effect the movement had in influencing Michigan, it will need to work even harder for a large win in Wisconsin, and twice as hard again probably just to break even in New York.

(Note: interested parties can find my data and code here on GitHub).