My usual schtick at this point is to tell everyone to settle down. Things won't be as bad as they seem. Not this time. What happened yesterday is appalling. We have elected a buffoonish, misogynistic, race-baiting, game-show host to be president of the United States. I can't even begin to assess the damage he's likely to do over the next four years.

I didn't see this coming, and it's no comfort that few others did either. But obviously everything I thought I knew was wrong. I need time to digest this, and in any case, there's no point in reading anything I have to say until I come to grips with why and how I was so wrong. While I'm digesting, however, someone needs to take a close look at unmarried men. If there's any single demographic group that powered Trump to victory, that was it.

I'll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, here are the only people in my household taking this philosophically.

Once all the votes are counted, it looks like Hillary Clinton will underperform Barack Obama by about 4 percentage points in the national vote. Was this an across-the-board loss, or was it concentrated among certain groups?

The quickest way to get a sense of what happened is to compare the exit polls from 2012 and 2016. What we're looking for is demographic groups that differ from -4% by a significant margin. As it turns out, there aren't very many. Clinton underperformed Obama across the board. She did somewhat better than -4% with seniors, college grads, married voters, and high-income voters. She did worse with low-income voters, union households, and unmarried voters.

This was not a "white revolt." White men followed the national trend (-4% compared to 2012) and white women did better for Clinton (+1%). Black men and Latino women underperformed for Clinton by significant margins.

The big surprise here is that Clinton did so much worse with unmarried voters. She underperformed Obama among unmarried men by a whopping 10 points, and among unmarried women by 5 points. What's up with that? I would sure like to see a crosstab of unmarried men by age, race, income, etc. Latino voters are also a surprise. Clinton only did slightly worse than Obama, but surely she should have done much better. What happened?

Here's the full set of comparisons to Obama in 2012. For reference, 2012 exit polls are here. 2016 exit polls are here.





White men
White women
Black men
Black women
Latino men
Latino women

High School
Some college




Married men
Married women
Unmarried men
Unmarried women


White born again

Union household
Not union

Comparison to
Obama 2012














This is going to be a very bad four years for a lot of people.

I predict that Kathy Cramer is suddenly going to be much in demand to explain what happened.

Slate's VoteCastr experiment has turned out to be less mesmerizing than I had hoped, partly because I'm not totally sure what it's telling me. Plus I don't know how much early turnout is predictive of final voting. That said, the Florida data is pretty interesting:

This snapshot was taken at 5 p.m. Eastern time. There are two things to note here. First, turnout in Florida is sky high: With two hours of voting left, it's already nearly as high as it was in 2012. Second, Hillary Clinton is ahead by 3.4 percentage points. Out of 8 million votes, that's a lot. At this point, it looks like Clinton is a lock to win Florida, and if she does, that's the race. There's no way for Trump to win without Florida.

Among the other states in the Eastern time zone, Clinton is ahead by 4.1 percent in New Hampshire; 2.9 percent in Pennsylvania, and 0.7 percent in Ohio. In the other three states VoteCastr tracks, she's ahead by 7.5 percent in Wisconsin; 1.8 percent in Iowa, and 0.8 percent in Nevada.

I have no idea how meaningful any of this is. No one's ever done it before. But if it means anything at all, it suggests Clinton is very close to becoming president-elect.

UPDATE: Well, apparently the VoteCastr folks have some work to do on their model. Trump won Florida handily.

Ha ha ha. The Trump men don't even trust their own wives to vote for Donald. I'm not sure I blame them.

Time to Vote!

I think it's time to toddle up to my polling place and cast my ballot for the candidates of my dreams. I'll be back in a few minutes.

UPDATE: Everyone has to contribute their polling anecdote, so here's mine. There was a huge line. I had to wait five minutes to vote.

Seriously. I always vote at 10 am, and normally there's maybe two or three people voting and no line at all for the remaining machines. Today, all six voting booths were full and there were four people in front of me in line. The poll workers were so worried about this state of affairs that they were offering paper ballots to anyone who didn't want to wait.

I know: boo hoo. But compared to normal, my polling place was much busier than usual. I have no idea what this means.

Kathy Cramer, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has spent the last decade criss-crossing Wisconsin talking to rural folks about politics. Today she tells us what they're so mad about:

What I was hearing was this general sense of being on the short end of the stick. Rural people felt like they not getting their fair share.

That feeling is primarily composed of three things. First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power....Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff....And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect....So it’s all three of these things — the power, the money, the respect. People are feeling like they’re not getting their fair share of any of that.

....What I heard from my conversations is that, in these three elements of resentment — I’m not getting my fair share of power, stuff, or respectthere’s race and economics intertwined in each of those ideas.

When people are talking about those people in the city getting an “unfair share,” there’s certainly a racial component to that. But they’re also talking about people like me [a white, woman professor]. They’re asking questions like, how often do I teach, what am I doing driving around the state Wisconsin when I’m supposed to be working full-time in Madison, like, what kind of a job is that, right? It’s not just resentment toward people of color. It’s resentment toward elites, city people.

This is obviously a tough nut to crack because so much of it is due to demographic changes that simply aren't going to slow down. Generally speaking, rural communities are overrepresented in legislatures, but nonetheless they've lost relative influence as urban area have gotten more populous. Likewise, they get more stuff than they should, but again, less than they used to thanks to dwindling relative numbers.

And then there's respect. But what's the answer? Rural beliefs that city sophisticates look down on them has been a feature of American life forever. Hell, it was a feature of life in the Roman Empire. Urban areas are more cosmopolitan, and city mice do tend to be contemptuous of the old-fashioned mores of the country mice. This is not something that's going to change.

It's common to explain white resentment as a function of demographic change: whites used to be the vast majority of Americans, but they're steadily losing that distinction. And that's true. But it's a tiny rivulet compared to the tsunami of de-ruralization. Take a look at the chart on the right. In 1900, rural communities made up 60 percent of the population. Today it's 20 percent. Even if rural communities get more attention than their numbers deserve, they're still a tiny minority these days. They simply don't have much political power anymore.

Rural-urban tension has been woven into American history since its very beginning. Thomas Jefferson represented the yeoman farmers at the turn of the 19th century and William Jennings Bryant represented them at the turn of the 20th. But if "Eastern elites" held a stranglehold over rural interests even then, today it's far worse. Eastern elites no longer really even care. Except when they come by courting their votes, they just ignore the country folks.

So, yeah: power, money, respect, and racial decline. It's all part of the stew. And it's hard to figure out any way to really make a dent in this.

UPDATE: For an earthier and much more fun version of this argument, check out David Wong here.

Der Tag! Go vote today. And drag some of your apathetic friends to the polls too—though you might want to ask them first who they plan to vote for.

Despite my reliance on Pollster throughout this race—primarily because they produce pretty pictures—my most trusted poll guru for the past decade has been Sam Wang. So without further ado, here are his final projections:

President: Most probable single outcome: Clinton 323 EV, Trump 215 EV....The win probability is 93% using the revised assumption of polling error. National popular vote: Clinton +4.0 ± 0.6%.

Senate: 51 Democratic/Independent seats, 49 Republican seats.

House: Generic Congressional ballot: Democratic +1%, about the same as 2012. Cook Political Report-based expectation: 239 R, 196 D, an 8-seat gain for Democrats.

My own guess is that Clinton will do a bit better than a 4 percent winning margin in the popular vote. I'll go along with Wang on the Senate. And perhaps out of a surfeit of optimism, I'll take the over on the House. So my final guess is: Hillary Clinton wins by 4.7 percent in the popular vote; the Senate ends up 51-49 Democratic; and the House ends up 235-200 Republican.

What's your guess?

HuffPo's Jeffrey Young passes along a radio interview of Paul Ryan:

Obamacare doesn't get repealed, likely ever, if Hillary wins....Agree?

Yes. Yes, I do agree....All of us have basically gotten to consensus on what our plan is, but we have to win an election to put it in place.

OK, that's good to hear. Except for one thing: remember what Ryan's predecessor said a couple of days after the 2012 election? Diane Sawyer asked John Boehner if he still planned to repeal Obamacare:

I think the election changes that. It's pretty clear the president was reelected. Obamacare is the law of the land.

As I recall, Boehner was immediately savaged for saying this, and within a few months House Republican passed yet another Obamacare repeal. Since then they've voted to repeal Obamacare nearly a dozen times or so, depending on how you count. The most recent attempt was in February of this year.

If Ryan is smart, he'll call it quits on Obamacare repeal and work instead on finding places where he can horsetrade with Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, I don't know if Ryan is smart. Nor do I know if his caucus will allow him to move on even if he wants to. We'll see.

Here's a question for you all to ponder. Last night I took snapshots of four newspapers after FBI director James Comey announced that the emails they had reviewed on Anthony Wiener's computer didn't show anything new. Here are the four headlines:

At the top left, the LA Times says the FBI has "cleared" Hillary Clinton. On the bottom left, the New York Times declines to say Clinton has been cleared, only that the new emails "don't warrant action" against Clinton. Finally, on the right, we have the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. They use pretty loaded language, saying there are no grounds for "charges" against Clinton.

Who got it right? My take is that the word "charge" is inherently negative. It leaves readers with the impression that Clinton might be guilty after all, but has somehow managed to skate by. Given what we now know—that Clinton was careless but did nothing seriously wrong—it strikes me as putting a big thumb on the scale. If you're going to use legalistic language, why not follow the lead of the LA Times and say that Clinton has been "cleared"? That's what happened, after all, and it better gets the point across that this was basically good news for Clinton.

The New York Times is somewhere in between. Perhaps someone less partisan than me would find it the best compromise. For my part, I think the LA Times got it right, while the Journal and the Post screwed up. There's nothing technically wrong with their headlines, but they leave a groundlessly sordid impression.