Political Overtime – Part II

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 30, 2016 — Aside from the two Louisiana run-off elections on Saturday, all of the US House campaigns have now been projected. As expected, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) was confirmed as the winner of his re-election campaign, the last remaining undecided contest. Statistically, not enough votes remain to overturn the congressman’s 2,348 district-wide vote margin. Rep. Issa defeats retired Marine Corps Colonel Doug Applegate (D) with at least 50.4 percent of the vote, even though he scored only 47 percent in the anchor county of San Diego.

More information is forthcoming about the presidential election re-count requests for Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which are attracting more than their share of national attention. Green Party nominee Jill Stein, now joined by the Hillary Clinton Campaign, initiated the move to re-verify the electoral counts but the effort is already running into trouble.

Because there is no evidence of computer hacking or voting machine doctoring, as Stein portends, the Wisconsin Elections Commission rejected her request for a hand re-count, so now the minor candidate is suing to overturn that ruling. The mechanical re-count will move forward, however, if Stein pays $3.5 million to finance the process today.

In Pennsylvania, local election authorities say there will be no re-count because Stein missed the filing deadline.

Since Donald Trump has 306 electoral votes, now that Michigan has officially certified his 10,704-vote victory (according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office), even the unlikely invalidation of Michigan and Wisconsin wouldn’t throw the election to Hillary Clinton. Flipping the two states to the Democrat would reduce Trump’s national advantage to 280-258, which is still more than enough for a Republican victory.

The Wisconsin and Pennsylvania polling argument that Stein brings forth as a basis for her action holds no water. In Wisconsin, the most reliable pollster since they began surveying the Badger State electorate in 2012 is the Marquette Law School. Their final survey, (Oct. 26-31; 1,225 likely Wisconsin voters) found Clinton to be leading the state, 46-40 percent, with an error rate of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. This means as much as a seven-point swing could therefore exist. With Trump winning by one percentage point, the last poll is still within the far realm of accuracy, and such swings are not uncommon when analyzing election polling especially when one candidate demonstrates momentum at the end.

In Pennsylvania, the polling inaccuracy argument is even more ludicrous. One of the final state polls released into the public domain, from the Trafalgar Group (Nov. 3-5; 1,300 likely Pennsylvania voters), correctly projected the exact finish, Trump 48; Clinton 47; Johnson 2; Stein 1 percent. Harper Polling (Nov. 2-3; 504 likely Pennsylvania voters) forecast the race to be a flat tie, 46-46 percent. The Secretary of State percentage breakdown of the actual Pennsylvania results found Trump garnering 48.8 percent, Clinton, 47.6 percent, Libertarian Gary Johnson at 2.4 percent, and Stein obtaining just 0.8 percent, virtually identical to the final published polls.

The re-count ploy is a mere exercise that will not alter the Trump victory, force the election into the House of Representatives, or change the final result. As most everyone realizes, the re-count effort, because it is baseless, will prove to be a waste of time and resources.

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