Daily 2016 U.S. Presidential Odds (October)

► Mike Caro   → Exit

In the 1990s, the Mike Caro Brain Trust was founded, promising the most reliable odds about what’s going to happen in current events and politics. Long suspended, the brain trust is being revived, although Caro now bases assessments on his own analysis, with limited dependence on members.

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The following odds on the 2016 United States presidential election focus on popular vote. It is possible that a candidate will win the most votes, but lose the election, which is based on the state-by-state electoral college.

Odds only weigh Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. They will no longer be announced daily if either candidate is out of the race. And they exclude the chance of someone else winning. This is a purely one-on-one evaluation of candidates’ chances of winning the popular vote.

Previously unpublished odds since the Indiana primary in mid-June have Clinton at a high of 62.9% and Trump at a high of 67.5%. The first day that odds were publicly announced (July 16, 2016) marked a new high for Trump. Odds will be updated each day. — MC

= up (from previously announced chance);   = down;   = same

Most recent odds appear at the top of the tracking list below…

See current odds (with links to other months)

Monday, October 31, 2016 : Trump 53.2% ↑
(Up 2.3% from yesterday)

1.14-to-1 against Clinton
(12:41 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: The only real news that further affects these odds is that 65,000 or so emails were seized in the Weiner investigation and that it appears some or many of them relate to Huma Aberdin, his estranged wife and Clinton operative, and may include sensitive government documents or other information related to a possible prosecution of Clinton. It’s likely that some of the Aberdin communications are from or to Clinton — and probably some of both. Of course, that’s speculation, but something significant must have triggered Comey to “reopen” (using the term loosely) the probe into her handling of government communications on her private server and other related issues.

I’m still speculating that there’s about a coin-flip chance that the FBI will make a clarifying statement that will somewhat diminish the impact of this event relative to the Clinton campaign. Even if that doesn’t happen, there a better-than-coin-flip chance that the Clinton team is saving some explosive disclosure against Trump (real or contrived) that will grab headlines in the final days of the election season.

Meanwhile, Trump is campaigning furiously in multiple states. Clinton is also on the march, but making fewer appearances.

Public sentiment seems to be deserting Clinton at an even higher pace than the polls suggest. But that doesn’t mean she’s destined to lose. A lot of things can happen to swing the momentum back in her direction.

Sunday, October 30, 2016 : Trump 50.9% ↔
(Unchanged from yesterday)

1.04-to-1 against Clinton
(12:16 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: This was a pretty easy day to analyze, relative to recent ones. Forces pulled in both directions, with the tiniest advantage for Trump. However, that movement wasn’t even enough to change these odds by the minimum 0.1 percentage points. So, we’re almost exactly where we were yesterday.

To Clinton’s advantage is an unexpectedly large amount of news coverage questioning the motives of FBI director Comey in making the announcement that an investigation was in progress only 11 days before the vote. However, he had been also questioned by the other side, but not so much by the predominating news media, when in July he voiced the conclusion that despite some wrongdoing by Clinton, she shouldn’t be charged. It seems that his dilemma was that, having been presented with new evidence that might (and almost certainly does) involve Clinton, he could either inform congress now and be criticized for influencing the election or withhold the information and be criticized after the election for having done so. Not a pretty place to be.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch apparently tried to dissuade Comey from sending the notification, but he did it anyway. That is making some Democrats angry and they’re expressing their disapproval.

Meanwhile, some polls show Clinton’s support collapsing, even before the latest FBI revelations, while others show her remaining strong. And continued Wikileaks disclosures have been almost forgotten in the news, even though several of them are weighed in these odds, because they will matter in the remaining days before November 8.

All-in-all, lots happened. But nothing happened to these odds.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 : Trump 50.9% ↑
(Up 6.8% from yesterday)

1.04-to-1 against Clinton
(10:35 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Almost every reader is aware by now of the main event yesterday. The FBI announced, through its director James Comey, that the investigation into Clinton’s possible wrongdoing related to the handling of classified government emails and other issues is ongoing. The issue was thought to have been resolved in July when Comey announced that, although Clinton had been extremely careless, he was recommending that no charges be brought.

Now comes this bombshell just a week and a half before the final votes are cast in an already chaotic presidential election. So, I’ve just finished hours of analysis, trying to determine how this event fits and how it influences all other factors used to produce these daily odds.

Damaging to Clinton? Sure. How much? Not so sure. One thing that other analysts haven’t stated is that there’s a high probability that the FBI (having made this controversial announcement after discovering new evidence in an unrelated probe of Anthony Weiner, Clinton aide Huma Aberdin’s husband) will issue a clarifying statement. If so, you can expect to hear emphasis that Clinton has not been charged and that nothing conclusive has been found. If that happens, and I’m giving it a bit better than a coin-flip chance, the Clinton campaign will use it to reduce the harm.

There are many things going on that are beyond the scope of these daily “Quick notes,” but it pretty much comes to this… Trump was already gaining briskly. Many voters were teetering in his direction and ready to topple. The FBI announcement will accelerate the movement to Trump. The major media is likely to cover this happening to the minimal degree that they must before rejoining the Clinton cheering squad. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read earlier comments about what I discovered during these months of research.) There’s a very slight chance, also, that Clinton will be forced to withdraw, possibly pleading poor health, but that’s an extremely long shot that would only happen if evidence is so crippling to her and her party that there is no other choice. Practically, it’s too late for that to happen otherwise.

It calculates to a 6.8 percentage point gain for Trump, who now retakes the lead, though the race is still almost even.

Friday, October 28, 2016 : Clinton 55.9% ↓
(Down 2.9% from yesterday)

1.27-to-1 against Trump
(1:30 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: This marks the fourth down day in a row for Clinton, totaling a significant slide of 11 percentage points. Although she remains the favorite to win the popular vote (and an even larger favorite to win through the electoral college), Trump’s momentum is undeniable.

This is despite the latest AP-GfK poll that shows Clinton leading unrealistically by 14 percentage points — 51-37. Some other polls show Trump nearly tied, while a few have him ahead. Since the AP poll has a large sample size, is it likely that it could be statistically that far away from others, just as a fluke? The answer is no. It is almost certainly manipulated in an effort to hurt Trump — even if that effort is tactic among its engineers or even if they’re creating the problem unconsciously. Other polls are doing the same, as recent evidence suggests, but not to the extent that the Associate Press seems to be. There’s always a slight chance that the poll was done honestly and that the result was abnormal, but you can guess which way I’d be betting on that. Why am I discussing this one poll? It’s because it possibly, but not necessarily, serves as yet another example of how deeply the public is being misled. I would have found that hard to believe when I began to analyze the political odds for this election. Now I’m certain that the media bias is monumental. If you think I’m speaking from a political perspective, favoring a single party or candidate, then you’d probably be surprised by my actual beliefs, which are all over the map. All I’m trying to be at this point is a lonely voice crying, “Look out! Watch your step!” Some say that when we no longer have any neutral press to rely upon, we’re doomed. Well, then, probably we’re doomed.

End of sermon. Back to analysis.

Clinton had a remarkably good rally by her standards, attended by approximately 11,000. That approaches Trump numbers and, in some cases, surpassing them. She was energetic in her speech, but the main reason for the big crowd was the appearance of Michelle Obama, the First Lady, who gave the main address. Clinton served as the opening act. Obama showed off her oratory skills and looks like a potential future superstar for the Democrats. But exactly how does that help Clinton right now? I’m guessing her ongoing support helps Clinton moderately, but not greatly. In fact, probably the effect of her appearances on Clinton’s behalf make many in the audience wish Michelle were the candidate and Hillary were the supporter. Just sayin’.

Trump has been more focused and seems less likely to get sidetracked. But analysts have thought that before and seen him repeatedly stray from his message in ridiculous ways. Things are moving in the right direction for him, but it might not be enough, and he could kill his momentum entirely with a few ill-considered words. He has a tendency to do that. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, expect more TV ads from Trump, although Clinton will match them in most states where they air. In the last days of the campaign, this war of advertisements could be meaningful.

Also, a homeless African-American woman guarded Trump’s vandalized star on the sidewalk in Hollywood. That’s a great human interest story and one that would help Trump. That’s why you see so little mainstream coverage, while right-leaning media features it. Wikileaks continues to haunt Clinton and the latest revelations should be potentially crippling, but — as I stated previously — these revelations have reached the saturation point and are no longer worth our daily discussion as far as moving these odds. Long ago, we reached the point of diminishing returns on this and now we’ve discovered the “law of almost no returns.”

So, 11 days to go. Clinton still has the advantage, but has been losing her lead for four straight days. We’ll see what today brings.

Thursday, October 27, 2016 : Clinton 58.8% ↓
(Down 6.3% from yesterday)

1.43-to-1 against Trump
(4:15 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Here’s a brief explanation of an unexpectedly large Trump gain. Nothing big happened!

There! That’s the full story. The reason for the 6.3 percentage point move away from Clinton is that her Wikileaks negatives are finally causing significant damage, despite media suppression of facts and its unwillingness to investigate.

Also, Trump’s superior energy in campaigning is scoring with many voters. Polls are becoming much more favorable to Trump. He continues to attempt to gain African American votes and may be succeeding in larger numbers than most analysts anticipated. Clinton’s supporters are less enthusiastic about her than Trump’s are about him. That means there may be a turnout gap favoring him over her. Early voting, based on the groups that are participating most and the number of votes by regions, suggests less of a Clinton surge before election day that her campaign would like. Those that remain undecided are now much more likely to favor Trump, and many of those may be reporting themselves as undecided rather than suffer the social stigma of being a Trump supporter.

All other events, some that might have been important earlier in the campaign, seem to be washed into the background by the Trump tide itself. However, this adjustment still leaves Clinton with a big advantage. And that Trump tide could recede at any moment.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 : Clinton 65.1% ↓
(Down 1.4% from yesterday)

1.87-to-1 against Trump
(3:10 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump’s chances increased a little yesterday, but not for any single reason. Oddly, most analysts seem to be souring on his chances, while logical analysis suggest they are increasing.

There are now so many Clinton negatives being finally absorbed by increasingly large segments of the public that late movement in Trump’s direction is inevitable, barring major Trump bad news or missteps. Of course, Trump could once again do what he has done so often and go off-script to his disadvantage. If he keeps up his energetic campaign of yesterday, while Clinton continues to surround herself with symbolic supporters, such as Elizabeth Warren, who repel a good segment of voters (while appealing to others), the Democrat’s lead will slide further.

There are signs that Trump may capture an unexpectedly high percentage of African American voters, previously thought to be about 97 percent pro-Clinton. When I say “previously thought to be” I don’t mean by me. In fact, these odds have been built with the expectation that Trump would get well over 10 percent of the black vote, as clearly stated over a month ago in this comment section.

Meanwhile, there were more health concerns for the Clinton campaign, plus more Wikileaks revelations being sorted through by analysts. However, the public has absorbed about as much on that front as they can and nothing hereafter, barring a Hurricane-force scandal, detracts much from her odds. Continued bad news about the stability of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare), though, could damage Clinton somewhat.

Will this Trump mini-surge eventually be enough to put him over the top in this analysis of popular vote chances? Probably not. But there’s a much greater chance than others are suggesting. Trump gains 1.4 percentage points today, while Clinton celebrates her 69th birthday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 : Clinton 66.5% ↓
(Down 0.4% from yesterday)

1.99-to-1 against Trump
(3:44 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: No major event is responsible for Trump’s small gain yesterday. His momentum seems to be increasing, but not nearly enough to become the favorite. However, it’s important to note that even without any further progress — progress that is likely — he’d have about a 16 percent chance of winning if the election were held today. That’s important, because most analysts think Clinton is certain to win unless Trump closes fast.

However, there’s mathematical uncertainty about whether Clinton is even ahead at the moment and about whether polls are accurate (or whether they correctly measure the difference in enthusiasm favoring Trump). Trump is making four campaign stops in Florida today, and supporters are standing in long lines to hear him speak.

Clinton continued to concentrate on states where she is pretty certain of victory, indicating her growing confidence and her willingness to help Democrats get elected to congress.

Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct isn’t sticking and a broad number of voters are now doubtful about the claims. More things happened to Clinton that could hurt her if reported by the media, but the one-sided press coverage is now obvious to almost everyone who’s ever likely to see it at all. The rest seem blinded to the obvious. Again, I’m saying this because it’s the most surprising thing I’ve learned in researching this campaign daily. Although media bias was clear to me before, I couldn’t really see the extent of it until monitoring news outlets so precisely.

A much hyped appearance by a so-called “Clinton fixer” — a man who supposedly made their scandals go away in years past — seemed to underwhelm on Fox New’s Hannity show last night. Nothing sensational or greatly damaging to Clinton occurred, though much was promised. The man seemed to retreat from his strongest assertions or was uncomfortable about restating them.

All-in-all, Clinton is just less than a two-to-one favorite now, having lost 0.4 percentage points yesterday.

Monday, October 24, 2016 : Clinton 66.9% ↑
(Up 0.9% from yesterday)

2.02-to-1 against Trump
(12:07 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton is set to campaign in states where it was thought the outcome in her favor was secure. While some have suggested this is a sign that she’s worried, it’s much more likely that her campaign’s internal polling has made her very confident and therefore she’s trying to bag an even bigger national lead to help her chances of winning a Senate majority for Democrats. Winning enough seats to capture the House of Representatives still seems out of reach for her.

I interpret the fact that Clinton’s campaign is using resources in states not necessary to secure an electoral college victory as a sign that she considers victory a near certainty. Trump’s chances largely center around the hope that she’s wrong. And these odds suggest a reasonable possibility that she is.

Not much else moved the odds yesterday, although there were many things to factor into the equation. There were indications Clinton may actually favor the Trans-Pacific Partnership after all, despite her recent claims that she has switched to being against it. That could add to Trump’s appeal among some voters. Also, there is mounting evidence that some associated with the Clinton campaign and other Democrat operatives actually did talk about rigging elections, making Trump’s claims of such seem less bizarre.

Trump has amazingly kept his powder dry by not competing in television advertising. This is due to the fact that he didn’t have the money to match Clinton. But he’s been hoarding. Look for the final two weeks of the campaign to show a sudden and unexpected rash of Trump ads.

Clinton gains 0.9 percentage points today mostly because time is running out for Trump to make dramatic inroads.

Sunday, October 23, 2016 : Clinton 66.0% ↓
(Down 0.3% from yesterday)

1.94-to-1 against Trump
(7:50 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump appeared in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania yesterday to deliver what was widely promoted or panned as his “Gettysburg Address.” In it, he stated plans and proposals for his first 100 days in office. In fact, he devoted a good share of the roughly half-hour speech to what he would do the first day. There was not much new, but some was. And there were specifics that had not been previously defined. By putting all of his aspirations into a clearer and tighter knit bundle, he likely helped win the minds of some voters.

On the other hand, some things didn’t help. He threatened to sue women making claims of sexual misconduct against him, which tends to backfire, because it unnecessarily emphasizes the accusations. And a porn star has said he propositioned her.

Although much of what he said at Gettysburg was immediately discredited in some of the major media, it no doubt made sense to many voters. In the address, he emphasized his planned war on government corruption and pledged again to “drain the swamp.” All-in-all, the speech fell a bit short of a game changer, but helped him marginally. If he sticks to that theme, it might help significantly. If you’re not familiar with the details of what he said, I recommend reading the transcript or watching on YouTube. Clinton has also spelled out many of her plans in detail, which can be found at her website (www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/).

Though Trump gained a little, this isn’t nearly the pace he’ll need to become the favorite before election day. Trump will be campaigning mostly in Florida for the next three days. Clinton’s schedule is far lighter, indicating her growing confidence to some and posing questions about her health and stamina to others.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 : Clinton 66.3% ↑
(Up 1.2% from yesterday)

1.97-to-1 against Trump
(10:59 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Both candidates made campaign appearances yesterday before enthusiastic supporters. In fact, Trump made three.

New groping allegations threaten Trump, just when many thought the issue was falling from the headlines. We await a major speech by Trump in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, centered around what he claims he will do in his first 100 days in office. That could have some affect on these odds.

Russia is semi-disavowing a role in the Wikileaks revelations. However, a major denial of service attack affecting major online entities yesterday (including Twitter and Amazon) could be linked to Russians. That would play in Clinton’s favor somewhat, because Trump has questioned the certainty of Russia’s role in the hacking.

The biggest reason for the 1.2 percentage point Clinton gain is that another day went by without a shakeup. The more days she can go without Trump scoring big, the greater her chances, which, without such Trump-favorable events, will grow quickly for her.

Friday, October 21, 2016 : Clinton 65.1% ↓
(Down 3.5% from yesterday)

1.87-to-1 against Trump
(2:08 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton might have saved Trump’s campaign last night at the annual Al Smith charity dinner. Here’s what I mean…

Trump had already taken the spotlight with possible negative consequences earlier in the day by reaffirming his previous-night’s refusal to say that he would accept the results of the election. (See discussion yesterday.) Specifically, he said he would accept the outcome … if he wins. Of course, he was being humorous by giving the media another jab for their over-the-top criticism and he smiled broadly. But, even though he went on to explain that it was in American tradition to challenge irregularities and in the absence of such would not contest the voters’ decision, he should have known that his words would be headlined out of context to his disadvantage. But that got dwarfed by the Al Smith affair.

What was expected in the event was that the candidates be civil and humorous, largely making self-deprecating jokes. Trump went first and did a little of that, but then went off the rails with mean-spirited attacks on Clinton who sat nearby and smiled to cover her probable anger. This was a major misstep by Trump who seemingly misread the nature of the night. However, then Clinton took the stage and — remarkably — her remarks were equally mean, thus negating the huge advantage she could have gained by being more civil. So, that’s what I mean by asserting that she may have saved his campaign in those moments. She probably could have scored a knock out right then and there.

Clinton let Trump escape and his chances are increasing, even if most polls don’t reflect that yet. He gains 2.5 percentage points.

More happened, of course, but the affect on these odds was minor. Trump is off to a good post-debate start, despite what you may be hearing from other sources, but it will take much more to make him the favorite once again.

Thursday, October 20, 2016 : Clinton 68.6% ↑
(Up 2.0% from yesterday)

2.18-to-1 against Trump
(3:00 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump gave the honest and correct answer in last night’s debate when asked whether he would accept the results of the election if Clinton won. He said he’d have to see what happened and that he’d keep us in suspense. But that was the wrong play politically. He would have been better off saying something like, “I always accept the results when I’m beaten fair and square.”

His answer gave the mainstream media a chance to ignore his arguable victory and highlight the fact that he might not accept the results of the election. They seem to be ignoring the reality that he’s been claiming that voting irregularities threaten the purity of the results and that him saying he would absolutely accept whatever happened would be inconsistent with one of his main campaign arguments. They also seem to forget that it’s been Democrats who have said that voter ID rigs elections and that it was Democrats who challenged many elections and arguably stole some with questionable recounts over the past several decades. And wasn’t it Democrats and their presidential candidate, Al Gore, who — after consulting with Bill Clinton — refused to concede the 2000 election to George Bush?

Despite the media hysteria over Trump’s political misstep, the Republican nominee only surrendered 2.0 percentage points. But don’t be surprised if these odds show him losing ground quickly from this point on. There are only 18 days left until the final vote and each day that goes by without a significant Trump gain makes it harder and harder for him to succeed.

I managed to get the gist of television commentary following the debate in just over two hours this time. That’s a personal record, but I only scanned six media outlets, spending an average of 20 minutes with each, to gauge the response. So, my odds adjustments were made more hastily than usual. Sorry. If further adjustments need to be made, or if I completely misinterpreted yesterday’s happenings, I’ll fix it tomorrow.

My grades for balanced reporting, meaning (in this case) little bias toward Clinton in immediate post-debate analysis, are as follows: (1) Fox News, C (two hours of Megyn Kelly and guests, before turning it over to Sean Hannity who was over-the-top pro-Trump); (2) NBC, F (unimaginably anti-Trump); (3) MSNBC, F (even worse than NBC itself and actually declared Clinton the obvious winner); CBS, D (very favorable to Clinton, but at least included a focus group that had mixed opinions); ABC, F (and that grade is generous — inconceivable bias for Clinton coming from a news organization that some people still rely upon); CNN, F (more robots doing what they think they need to do to offset possible Trump gains and talk the audience out of thinking what they just saw was what happened). So, wow! Triple wow!!! Media gone mad. However, it’s Trump’s fault. Once again he gave them the opening by not clearly saying he would accept the results of the election, but reserves the chance to challenge possible improprieties, just as the Democrats reserve that right. How hard is that to say? It makes me once again wonder about Trump’s tactical wisdom. He won, but he lost.

Other events, dwarfed yesterday by the magnitude of the debate, are beginning to favor Trump a bit more than Clinton. However, the liberal media spin following the debate detracts greatly from his probable victory, otherwise. And the fact that probably fewer people watched this encounter than the average number for the first two also diminishes his chances. Still, at least for today, the race goes on. Those putting Clinton at a 94 percent or greater chance of winning are simply wrong. They may be on the winning side of the eventual outcome, but they don’t understand how odds work, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, the National Enquirer expose that I mentioned yesterday hasn’t yet gotten traction. There was a time when the National Enquirer was laughably outside the norms of mainstream journalism. But is it really more slanted or sensational when weighed against news coverage today? A rhetorical question. Don’t answer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 : Clinton 66.6% ↓
(Down 1.2% from yesterday)

1.99-to-1 against Trump
(4:05 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Most polls have been favorable to Clinton, with a few exceptions. Tonight’s debate will be the last time both candidates appear before a huge national audience prior to the election. The odds today remain heavily against Trump, who gained moderately — 1.2 percentage points.

Assange has been at least temporarily severed from the Internet, but his revelations against Clinton (or possibly against Trump … you never know) through Wikileaks are likely to continue, anyway. There have been so many important disclosures that I’ve already invested several days in research and still don’t grasp most of it. How do you fit things like a group loosely affiliated with the Clinton campaign trying to get Trump supporters to react violently on camera or the evidence of news organizations cooperating with Clinton? There are 34 bullet points in these latest Wikileaks revelations and how they fit the puzzle is more guesswork than science. Sorry. At least I’m a good guesser, if that makes you feel any better.

The Trump women scandals have pretty much played out with damage surprisingly less than most analysts predicted. That may be because there was a phony feel to so many women appearing at once to say they’d been kissed or fondled, while the Trump machine (such as it is) has been semi-successful in poking holes in the stories — except for one reporter who has produced several women who support her claim of being kissed.

The National Enquirer (yes, that publication) is promising sensational front-page revelations against Clinton today. We’ll see if this merits the hype or survives fact checking. Waiting for debating.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 : Clinton 67.8% ↓
(Down 0.8% from yesterday)

2.11-to-1 against Trump
(5:14 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: More new revelations should be damaging or even destroying the Clinton campaign, but they aren’t, because the dominant press is underplaying or ignoring them. Same old, same old, day after day. Polls now show that the vast majority of voters are seeing this so-called mainstream media for what it has become. That’s partial good news for Trump.

If you’re not following the anti-Clinton revelations in detail, it’s time to stop taking my word for it and do your own research. If you’re beginning to wonder if I’m a Trump fan, I’m actually not. I never envisioned drifting into a position where just reporting what’s obviously happening would seem like a Trump endorsement. It’s my intention to be as fair and unbiased as possible. So, if you still think what I’m explaining is over the top, do your own research. Challenge me.

Meanwhile, Trump’s ridiculous mistakes continue to harm him, but the great damage of the assault claims against him is beginning to diminish.

So, it’s unlikely that there will be much to discuss until tomorrow night’s debate. Everything I said today has been said previously. Clinton slips 0.8 percentage points.

Monday, October 17, 2016 : Clinton 68.6% ↓
(Down 1.9% from yesterday)

2.18-to-1 against Trump
(7:53 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Anti-Clinton revelations continue. However, much of the press predominantly focuses on Trump negatives. That’s the story, and there’s not much else that drives these odds.

Trump continues to stumble. His “rigged election” emphasis is horrible politically. Of course, the election is rigged in the context that voters aren’t getting fair coverage from the traditional media. And, of course, there will be some actual corruption of the voting and vote-counting processes that will favor Democrats more than Republicans. Fine. But how bad a strategy is it for him to stress that in the last week’s of the campaign? This only tends to discourage his potential voters and some might not cast ballots. He may win that argument, but winning it now can damage his chances.

Clinton remains pretty much secluded and is reported to be in preparation for Wednesday night’s debate. If Trump doesn’t score overwhelmingly in that, his chances here will plummet. Even if he does prevail, the past two debates have shown that the media is likely to spin his performance into a neutral or even a loss. That’s a problem for him, too, because many voters put more importance on the after-debate analysis than on what they saw and heard. So, we’ll wait and see.

There is a new mystery over Wikileaks and Julian Assange being unlinked from the Internet, at least temporarily. Also, mysterious Wikileaks codes were distributed via Twitter. Whether this will have any significant impact on the election or the promised final document dumps remains unknown.

An adjustment to these odds of 1.9 percentage points favors Trump today, mostly because the Clinton revelations are beginning to register mildly and the Trump attacks are losing power.

Sunday, October 16, 2016 : Clinton 70.5% ↓
(Down 0.6% from yesterday)

2.39-to-1 against Trump
(1:31 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: There are some signs that the dominant media’s emphasis on Trump’s sexual misconduct, whether real or contrived, has reached a point of diminishing returns. Major doubt has been cast on some of the allegations. That’s causing many to believe that all of them may be false.

Clinton supporters largely don’t see it that way, but enough voters do that the entire seemingly coordinated media and Democrat assault is in danger of backfiring. But, by backfiring, I don’t mean that the overall result will be negative for Clinton. Too much damage to Trump has already occurred for that to happen. But from early yesterday on, I believe that backfiring may have begun and that any more media emphasis on these salacious claims, without supporting evidence, will benefit Trump. We’ll see.

At the same time, most major media is either downplaying or ignoring extremely harmful revelations against Clinton. And it’s likely that a segment of the public, to which this bias hadn’t been previously apparent, is getting it now.

Never did I expect that these daily comments would turn into a largely anti-media warning. But that’s what’s happening, and it would be improper not to stress that this (along with Trump’s sometimes ridiculous tactics and self-inflicted wounds) is the main reason for Clinton’s lead. As an aside, it frightens me that there are few credible sources for political information remaining in the United States. It’s almost all bias, some to the right and some, including almost all the so-called mainstream media, to the left. You can search the Net, but it’s hard to tell what’s fact and what’s fabricated. Making these daily odds has clarified to me that we essentially have no press left to rely upon.

Anyway, where was I. Oh, yeah, on the slight chance of a backlash against media for crimes against journalism, Trump regains 0.6 percentage points. But Wednesday’s debate will probably determine whether he still has a chance beyond that point.

Saturday, October 15, 2016 : Clinton 71.1% ↑
(Up 4.0% from yesterday)

2.46-to-1 against Trump
(3:43 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: There’s a simple explanation of Clinton’s continued rise, this time by 4.0 percentage points, beyond just journalistic bias. Here it is…

Even if most or all of the 10 or so Trump accusers’ stories are bogus, he himself has made it seem likely that others similar to them probably exist with real tales to tell. He damages himself beyond belief by seeming to dismiss all but the most glamorous women as acceptable to him, saying to look at one of the accusers’ photos and determine whether you believe he would have been attracted to her. But the photo just seems to show a normal, acceptable woman to many voters, and Trump’s “high standards” will seem repulsive to most of them. Trump’s weak understanding of basic human nature and of expected civility may be his downfall.

Many guys would think that what he is alleged to have done wasn’t that abnormal, given his stature, even if it were all true. It seems like a lot of episodes in which he “struck out” and not where he succeeded in a seduction. So, he backed away, eventually, when rejected. Under today’s standards, there may be elements of assault in his behavior, but it wouldn’t have seemed to be decades ago when many of these events happened. Others would find his behavior, if significant portions of it are true, to be reprehensible. His best tactic would have been just to scoff at the sensational press coverage and move on with powerful attacks against Clinton, citing the latest allegations. He did that, of course, but the tactic loses potency when mixed in with too much spotlighting of the charges against him.

Once again, Trump has very badly played a hand and there is unlikely to be time for him to recover. But Wednesday’s final debate could give him long-shot chances. So, for the moment, he still has realistic hopes. Other events are happening, but the basic odds movement centers on Trump’s bad behavior toward women and Clinton’s mounting defects, which are being revealed so quickly by Wikileaks and other sources that it’s hard to keep them all in your head. But, if the press doesn’t report the true significance of those, she isn’t hurt much, while Trump is.

Friday, October 14, 2016 : Clinton 67.1% ↑
(Up 5.1% from yesterday)

2.04-to-1 against Trump
(5:39 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: The final presidential debate next Wednesday night will likely settle everything. Will the race move within reach again for Trump? Will Clinton hang on or even increase her margin and become pretty much unstoppable?

Trump doesn’t just need to conquer in the final debate, he must do it convincingly. If he does that, the race likely will be close again. If not, he will need a dramatic turn of fortune in the weeks that follow to come close.

If you’re a fair-minded follower of these odds, you know what the primary reason is for Trump’s disadvantage. I’m guessing that if you’re a Clinton supporter, as many of my followers are, you just thought something like (or said out loud), “Trump — he’s the reason for Clinton’s lead.” But that isn’t the main reason. Trump is responsible for being about 15 percentage points behind what a normal, qualified, not-so-controversial, less-volatile, move-civil, non-womanizing Republican would be. That means, such an exemplary Republican candidate would be up by seven points or so in polls.

But, wait! Why would such a Republican only be ahead by seven? Wouldn’t thirty or more be more likely for an acceptable, competent candidate against Clinton and all her arguably disqualifying negatives? The difference between Clinton being 30 points ahead and seven is the predominant media. Pure and simple. If you haven’t noticed the insane extent of bias, then you’re probably in the majority, because the fact is hard to believe. I only began to understand that Americans have no real credible source of news at all by researching these odds daily from about 35 major sources. These range from liberal to conservative. What about neutral? If you can find those, let me know. The closest I can find is, believe it or not, the Christian Science Monitor! That’s sad. Of course, it was obvious to me before beginning this project that there was enormous bias. In fact, I believe it costs Republicans about 23 percentage points on average — and that was the starting point I used. Fortunately for Republicans, the majority of people eligible to vote are more strongly aligned emotionally (and to some extent intellectually) with Republican arguments. I believe the elite media professionals, who are liberal by nature, unconsciously realize this disadvantage and instinctively act to keep the populace from fairly weighing their options.

This may sound like a rant, but it isn’t. I’m trying to objectively convey what I believe to be the main factor on Clinton’s side. Certainly, you can see it being played out in the last week. If you can’t, then just ignore me, because we’ll never be able to communicate rationally.

Anyway, it’s clear now that the media is going to emphasize Trump’s bad behavior (and even questionable allegations of such) and hardly cover Clinton’s numerous major scandals. The extreme media bias favoring Democrats is even greater because Trump is the Republican candidate.

So, I won’t talk about the specifics that have been discussed in previous comments. I’ll just say that new polls show Trump sliding and that the public is souring toward him and his crude behavior. Additionally, I find some of his strategic instincts quite baffling. It should be clear by now that he has a psychological deficiency that makes it necessary for him to right every insult and win every skirmish, even if correct tactics dictate a different course of action. That might be a terrible quality in a president, by the way. As an example, today he attacked a woman who had accused him of sexual aggression by saying, “Look at her. Look at her words. Tell me what you think. I don’t think so.” In effect, he’s saying that semi-attractive women couldn’t possibly attract him. How do you think that goes over with average women and with men whose mates might not be Hollywood glamorous? But, on balance, his negatives still don’t approach Clinton’s — except in mainstream media reporting, which is winning the war.

So, a meaningful jump up for Clinton of 5.1 percentage points.

Thursday, October 13, 2016 : Clinton 62.0% ↓
(Down 0.3% from yesterday)

1.63-to-1 against Trump
(3:51 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: This will be the quickest comments yet, although much is happening. More Wikileaks disclosures threatened Clinton. The New York Times is breaking claims of Trump’s sex assaults that will make some wonder about the timing and accuracy of the reporting. Trump’s rallies were well attended and seemingly just as enthusiastic as before the audio event (see below). And Clinton’s fall in the polls, expected after the last debate, is slow to materialize. So, down a scant 0.3 percentage points for Clinton.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 : Clinton 62.3% ↓
(Down 0.3% from yesterday)

1.65-to-1 against Trump
(1:25 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: There were even more seemingly campaign-crippling revelations against Clinton today, courtesy of Wikileaks. However the dominant news media continues to downplay this latest information. Many of the items would have individually been sufficient to derail previous presidential campaigns. There is evidence of Clinton collusion with the media and even of her campaign being given a key question that could have been problematic for her, in advance of a town hall event in which Clinton and Trump appeared.

And there was much more (not just today, but in the previous several days.) It took me four-and-a-half hours just to acquire a limited understanding of what’s happening. It’s huge, but you wouldn’t know it from media coverage, which continues to focus on destroying Trump, using the leaked audio of his private guy-to-guy inappropriate banter as the main vehicle.

But those who’ve thought the media had gone insane and wondered if it was just an overreaction in their own minds are now finding more and more proof that it really is as bad as they thought. Essentially, we don’t have a reliable source of news anymore — and delivery of facts (without having to do days of investigation on your own) is the primary purpose of a free press. If the press had a bias against Democrats, it would be equally dangerous. A fair press should have no opinions and take no sides. Who, what when, where, and why. Where did it go?

Polls continue to disappoint Trump, but these odds are based on the likelihood that the large gap in Clinton’s favor will narrow. So, a slight down day for Clinton, who has jumped up massively in these odds over the last five days. (Just a week ago, Trump was leading.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 : Clinton 62.6% ↑
(Up 7.1% from yesterday)

1.67-to-1 against Trump
(3:16 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Polls were bad for Trump. One, in particular, taken over the days preceding Sunday night’s debate, showed him down 14 percentage points head-to-head against Clinton and down 11 in a four-way race.

That margin is greater than factored into these odds, even considering that Trump was taking heavy damage from the previously discussed audio. The recording was at the top of the news at the time the likely voters were surveyed. That poll had a small sample size, though, so is more likely to be off in one direction or the other than more comprehensive samples. Trump is very likely to improve on his standing, but probably not enough to overtake Clinton by November 8, barring big shifts in public sentiment or big events.

The press was abnormally stingy about reporting Trump’s better moments in the debate, which he seemed to dominate. Some in the media are now spinning a Clinton debate victory. A CNN poll actually showed that Clinton had won the debate. Yes, I’m skeptical of that, but the poll results were widely reported elsewhere, even on Fox News. And that tends to make people go along with the crowd and think that Trump failed in the encounter, even if their first assessment was otherwise. Media has power.

Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, stated in a meeting with Republicans that he will no longer campaign for Trump. However, Pence said he would remain on the ticket as the vice presidential choice.

Overall, I’m pushing Clinton’s lead by 7.1 percentage points and it now stands at 62.6. Events could still bring Trump back into the race, but time is running short and Clinton’s chances are soaring.

Monday, October 10, 2016 : Clinton 55.5% ↓
(Down 2.5% from yesterday)

1.25-to-1 against Trump
(4:20 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Today’s short notes are almost entirely about last night’s debate and an event that happened immediately beforehand. Trump gained. Here’s why.

It’s clear to me and most neutral observers that Trump won fairly decisively. Even many in the mainstream media grudgingly concluded that his performance wasn’t a disaster. And that, in itself, is a major success, given the broad pro-Clinton bias.

On my scorecard, he looked uncertain at first, especially during his explanation of the damaging audio discussed here previously. But shortly afterwards, he began to appear more vigorous and took the attack to Clinton.

His problem is that dozens of notable people in his Republican party had already withdrawn support in the previous two days. It’s unlikely that many of those will return to his side. Also, troubling for his campaign is the strange absence of his vice presidential running mate. Pence wasn’t at the debate and hasn’t made supportive comments since the audio was released — but has spoken negatively about it. When asked a question about a Pence strategy opinion about Syria, Trump said he hadn’t spoken with his running mate and that he disagreed. So, what does that mean? Is Pence about to resign from the campaign or be asked to do so? It’s a mystery, but until the answer is known, these odds are even more volatile than they would have been.

The pre-debate event was Trump announcing a news event and surprising the press by appearing with four women who claim to have been sexually victimized by Bill Clinton (three of them) or by Hillary Clinton’s defense of an accused rapist (one of them). The impact of this event is uncertain, but could hurt Clinton.

All-in-all, including other less-persuasive factors, Trump gains 2.5 percentage points, but Clinton maintains a 55.5 percent chance of winning the popular vote. Incidentally, her chances of winning the presidency through the electoral college are even greater, but these odds don’t measure that.

Sunday, October 9, 2016 : Clinton 58.0% ↑
(Up 6.8% from yesterday)

1.38-to-1 against Trump
(9:18 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: I’ll make this short, although trying to even partially unscrambled the events of the past three days has taken me an extra seven hours this morning. Here it is simply.

The Trump audio (see previous discussions) is being so massively exploited by the media, by Democrats, and by some Republicans fearing their own shadows that it’s become like an overplayed poker hand. They’re betting too much into a situation that’s deceptively dangerous. If Trump can seem suitably contrite in tonight’s debate and score in other areas, he could rebound dramatically by tomorrow. This isn’t likely to happen, but it might.

If Clinton clearly prevails in the debate, then her chances of winning will increase enormously. That would mean tomorrow’s odds here could jump more than 20 percentage points in her favor.

The recent revelations against Clinton, which have been astonishingly underplayed by the press, will be longer lasting. But by the time they seep into public consciousness it might be too late to revive Trump.

Meanwhile Clinton jumps another 6.8 percentage points. And we wait for tonight.

Saturday, October 8, 2016 : Clinton 51.2% ↑
(Up 3.0% from yesterday)

1.05-to-1 against Trump
(3:24 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Yesterday was huge for events that could alter the campaigns and determine the presidency. I’ll only discuss a few, although an unusual amount of factors were considered in determining today’s odds.

An audio recording of Trump engaging in what he termed “locker room” banter before a video shoot promoting his guest presence on a TV soap opera has been released. In it, Trump talks crudely and casually while his microphone is active in preparation for cameras to roll. In his comments, he jokes about his failure to seduce a woman. He mentions that she is married and that her looks had changed so much, because of breast enlargement and other appearance enhancements, that he could barely recognize her. And he relates how easy it is for celebrities to make advances to women and that you can even grab their groins (and he doesn’t say groins). Immediately following, he exits a bus, meets a woman on camera, and appears likable and gracious. This happened in 2005.

Now, I’m here to tell you that, personally, I don’t find much that is unusual about the recording. The majority of men, including charming and polite ones, that I’ve met privately will often behave very similarly at times. I’ve always been the exception, because those conversations make me uncomfortable. So, I’ll smile, nod, and not contribute. But that’s how I am — odd. Also, he’s not bragging about a sexual conquest; he’s relating a failure to seduce.

If the revelation had lacked an audio recording and simply was a statement that eleven years ago Trump had spoken crudely about his advances to a woman, which failed, and also that being a celebrity meant many women were willing to be groped, not much damage would be done. It’s hearing it that does great damage to his chances.

So, how great? About 8.5 percentage points great. However, the explosive revelations against Clinton yesterday would have lost 5.5 points for her. Subtract her loss from his and you get a three point Trump drop. But it only works that way by coincidence. This isn’t the place to explain in depth how probabilities collide to alter odds, but you should be aware that factors overlap. The fact that Clinton would have lost only 5.5 and Trump 8.5, independent of both events happening, doesn’t mean you can subtract one from the other and get the right answer. But I’ll just leave it there and say that Trump actually lost more than three percentage points on the exchange, but gained some back through other tracked events.

Clinton’s problems yesterday will seem more serious to many. But they’re not as emotionally explosive. And there’s no audio. Mainly these are revelations that she privately talked about her need to state different positions to the public than she actually held and would act on, that leaked transcripts of her addresses to Wall Street notables confirm a close alliance that she was trying to hide, that she coordinated her email crisis with the White House and the State Department to minimize damage, and more.

Clinton was off to a horrible start yesterday, which continued, somewhat, even after Trump took a major blow to his chances.

This marks the 14th time that Clinton has been ahead since these daily odds were first published in July. And, depending on how the media covers the negative events for both candidates, she is likely to move even further ahead before tomorrow’s debate.

Friday, October 7, 2016 : Trump 51.8% ↑
(Up 0.7% from yesterday)

1.07-to-1 against Clinton
(2:40 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump intends to spend more time preparing for Sunday night’s debate than he did last time. He is putting in a few campaign appearances, though. Clinton is said to be in a deeper seclusion, preparing in earnest for the town-hall-style confrontation.

Meanwhile Hurricane Matthew batters the lower east coast and these odds could be influenced by the appropriateness of candidate reaction. Polling seems mixed. Trump is possibly gaining nationally, but in some states that could possibly swing the electoral college (Michigan, for instance), he’s trailing Clinton recently by as much as 11 percentage points. My assessment is that Trump is rebounding almost everywhere, but some polls are slower to reflect the change.

If Clinton can get Trump off his game Sunday night, she could move well ahead in these odds. If Trump can tone down his aggression, contain his ego, and — as a result — seem to dominate gracefully, he will gain enormously. So, there could be big changes when these odds are released early Monday. But, maybe things will balance and there won’t be much change at all. The suspense surrounds us.

Clinton backed away from her intention to pepper The Weather Channel with campaign ads and taking advantage of increased viewership during Hurricane Matthew’s assault along the southern east coast. However, her opposition attacked prematurely, helpfully pointing out the inappropriateness of using a disaster to political advantage and facing potential backlash. That caused the Clinton campaign to change its mind. So, not much damage to her there.

Other factors played their part, slightly benefiting Trump. But mainly it was the Pence win for team Trump in the VP debate that sets him up for a good Sunday, if he doesn’t fumble. That’s the main mover of today’s 0.7 percentage point upswing for Trump.

Thursday, October 6, 2016 : Trump 51.1% ↑
(Up 0.3% from yesterday)

1.04-to-1 against Clinton
(7:40 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: I have very little to add to previous comments. Both Clinton’s and Trump’s chances could be affected largely by Sunday’s second presidential debate. Trump mispronounced Nevada while campaigning there and asserted that he was right. Democrats are trying to gain ground from the flub, but good luck. Carryover from the VP debate continues to favor Trump.

There were a few positive polls for Trump, but mostly negative. I’m guessing the slide downward has slowed following Pence’s good debate performance, helping Trump.

Trump gains a modest 0.3 percentage points.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 : Trump 50.8% ↓
(Down 0.4% from yesterday)

1.03-to-1 against Clinton
(2:21 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Well, here’s the deal. Trump fell 0.4 percentage points, but he actually had a good day. How did that happen?

The main positive for Trump was the vice presidential debate last night, in which Mike Pence (Trump’s running mate) most likely looked more vice presidential to most viewers than Tim Kaine (Clinton’s running mate). Of course, that suggests that Pence looked more presidential, as well. Most early commentators (and the huge majority of sampled viewers) had a more positive impression of Pence afterward and a less positive one of Kaine. That’s a major problem for Clinton, whose possible poor health may signal to many that the VP candidate should be one they like. And Kaine was seen to be annoying.

But Clinton’s major plus yesterday was something that didn’t happen. Specifically, Julian Assange of Wikileak’s fame didn’t follow through with his teased threat to reveal information damaging to Clinton. As I stated yesterday: “… uncertainty of what Assange will release today, in accordance with his promise — if anything at all. He has stated, by the way, that he intends to deliver his announcement by video, because he fears assassination if he appears in public. That’s certainly a big buildup to a bombshell, but will the result be a dud?” To answer that last question: yes. But he promises the revelations are still coming.

Since these odds had already been elevated in Trump’s favor based on the mere possibility that Assange would damage Clinton, much of that previous gain is erased. However the VP debate aided Trump. Other things happened, of course, and you can find discussion of many of the tracked events in my previous comments. Yesterday was difficult to analyze and I’m not completely satisfied with my conclusions. But it looks like a small loss for Trump, on balance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 : Trump 51.2% ↑
(Up 2.2% from yesterday)

1.05-to-1 against Clinton
(2:33 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton relinquishes her three-day lead in these odds. The previous time she had regained a lead (August 10), she stayed ahead for 10 days. There’s a good chance, perhaps as much as 30 percent, that Clinton will be back in front tomorrow. That could be the case if the vice presidential debate helps her campaign and, particularly, if Wikileaks founder Julian Assange falls short in his revelations against Clinton, now announced for today.

So, there you have it. The main two influences on these odds today are (1) Tonight’s vice presidential debate and (2) The uncertainty of what Assange will release today, in accordance with his promise — if anything at all. He has stated, by the way, that he intends to deliver his announcement by video, because he fears assassination if he appears in public. That’s certainly a big buildup to a bombshell, but will the result be a dud?

I’m not ignoring the negative Trump factors — including his tax issues and Miss Universe controversy — that are still playing heavily in the news cycle. And, no, I’m not forgetting about potential fallout from his assertion that it wasn’t just Bill Clinton who was untrue to Hillary, but it could have also been the other way around. Once again, Trump errs by digging holes that would be better left undug. But for now those events aren’t registering to the likely degree that the VP debate and the Assange announcement will. So, these odds reflect a major move in Trump’s direction. But, as I said, it might not be long-lasting.

Monday, October 3, 2016 : Clinton 51.0% ↑
(Up 0.1% from yesterday)

1.04-to-1 against Trump
(4:55 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Nothing major entered the political arena yesterday, although several minor happenings could prove more significant in the future. There was only one added occurrence that could have major bearing on the popular vote outcome. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first…

Trump continues to get massively negative press for his $916 million loss reported on 1995 tax filings. His disastrous business setbacks in the 1990s are well known and were part of the headlines at the time. Trump has written and spoken extensively about that period in his career and seems to take pride in his rebound. The anonymous mailing of three pages of his tax returns to the New York Times, which initiated this round of controversy in a subsequent front-page story, have been used by Clinton’s campaign, by journalists, and by commentators as shocking evidence of his failure as a businessman. That’s strange, because this part of his life was already in the spotlight. The other angle used by the media is that he paid no taxes for 18 years or so, based on the reported loss of almost $1 billion. That’s speculation, but likely true, because presumably he took advantage of tax law and applied deductions in years following the reported loss.

What’s important is that media and Democrat spin of this revelation scores emotionally with the public. So, it’s a large gain for Clinton.

Okay, now it’s time for the new factor that could scrabble the outcome. However, it’s not really new — just further emphasis on what was already rumored. So… On the negative side for her is a situation that may be a huge burden or amount to little (or even nothing). That’s the announcement of Wikileaks founder that there will be revelations before election days that could essentially destroy her. Hyperbole? Reality? Who knows. We’ll wait and see, but the possibilities make this election much more volatile.

Balancing these and many other factors, Clinton creeps up to 51 percent from 50.9.

Sunday, October 2, 2016 : Clinton 50.9% ↓
(Down 0.4% from yesterday)

1.04-to-1 against Trump
(7:52 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: There were two big factors impacting these odds yesterday. One: Speculation based on analysis of Trump’s business dealings, going back decades. He might have taken almost $1 billion in federal income tax deductions due to losses during a downturn and may have paid little or nothing for many years. Two: The revelation that Clinton talked disparagingly off camera about Bernie Sanders supporters unrealistically wanting free gifts from government, while campaigning to offer them the same.

Fortunately for Clinton, the mainstream media has almost completely ignored the second revelation. Had Trump been exposed disparaging his own potential voters in a similar way, I presume the headlines would make sure readers knew. As for the first, the tax revelation is leading in traditional news sources everywhere. It is covered as if it were a scandal, whereas the scandal would be if Trump had voluntarily paid taxes he didn’t owe, costing investors money and opening himself up to civil or possibly criminal liability (if he did it deliberately). As far as his personal taxes, he can do what he wants, but it would be pretty stupid not to take advantage of laws in his favor. Fine. So, why don’t new-era reporters see it that way? I know why, but the explanation is long and beyond the scope of these notes. What’s sure is that their distorted views dramatically affect your life. Whatever happened to what-where-how-when-why reporting?

Anyway, I see the combination of the two events above as a short-term gain for Clinton. But in the long term, her comments will seep into public consciousness even without mainstream media participation. And, so, she suffers the greater damage.

Clinton continues to appear healthy enough to be president, dispelling widespread concerns about her physical condition for now. Other stories continue to have influence, especially Trump and Miss Universe, but altogether Clinton loses 0.4 percentage points from her previous large gain.

Saturday, October 1, 2016 : Clinton 51.3% ↑
(Up 6.4% from yesterday)

1.05-to-1 against Trump
(5:39 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: This marks the second largest single day movement for this analysis. And it happens for much the same reasons that I attributed to the largest change.

That happened August 10 when Clinton jumped 8.8 percentage points and took a lead that she wouldn’t relinquish for 10 days. During that span she peaked at 54.6 on August 13 and that number held unchanged for the next two days. (Actually, as stated in the lead-in explanation above these daily comments, she peaked at 62.9 percent before these updates began to be published.)

Anyway, what were the reasons for her dramatic 8.8 gain in a single day back then? It was Trump going off-message and improvising his strategy. He has demonstrated a serious inability to put himself in the minds of those who are receiving his message and gauging what his words mean to them. Instead, he broadcasts from the perspective of what his words mean to him. This is one of the great errors in human interaction that I teach students to avoid. Never focus on what you’re saying — be the audience and focus on what’s being heard. But that’s another discussion for a different setting.

Trump’s problem is that at a time he could have had ridden momentum to a clear lead in polls and popularity, he regressed. That regression began in Monday night’s debate when Clinton unexpectedly inserted an accusation about his verbal mistreatment of Miss Universe in 1996. Instead of just saying something like, “You’ve got that wrong. I was the one who supported her and saved her job,” and pivoting to a positive subject, he chose to attack the woman. Then in tweets over the past few days, he has bolstered his attack. To me, it seems that Trump has a compelling need to be right, even when proving that he is right obviously will costs him votes. That’s bad judgment.

The other thing that harmed Trump was his slippage in polls. He now seems to be trailing Clinton in Florida, where it looked as if he would have secured a significant lead by yesterday. Other states are similarly moving toward Clinton. And while these odds only track overall popular vote, the states are good indicators of direction. Plus, in national polling, he is about four points worse than expected. Most of this loss for him is directly related to his attacks on Miss Universe 1996 and one-sided media reporting (which he should expect).

Trump’s possible salvation is that if he stays on offense, returns to his more stable-seeming persona, and focuses on issues that attract voters to him, then there’s still over a month before the election and that’s enough time to make him the favorite. I’m increasingly skeptical about whether he’s capable of doing that. Yes, it’s largely my impression of his stability that rules these odds, rather than statistical science based on facts. Statistics govern, but the reality is a judgment right now.

Trump has widened his lead in the Los Angeles Times daily tracking poll — one of his few positives. And a Clinton off-camera audio recording that has her speaking disparagingly of supporters who want free gifts from government will hurt her. But that revelation came after today’s odds were set, so discussion and adjustments will come tomorrow.

Altogether, including many factors discussed previously that continue to resonate, Clinton is on the rise and has recaptured the lead.

Friday, September 30, 2016 : Trump 55.1% ↔
(Unchanged from yesterday)

1.23-to-1 against Clinton
(4:09 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: I had expected polls to be released late yesterday, as announced by several major media sources. My mistake. I should have checked the polling sites myself for precise scheduling. Apparently, major polls will appear today, instead.

Trump is on the attack at his rallies, but moderating his tone somewhat — as he has for about a month. It is unclear to me whether his attacks are succeeding.

Clinton has remained fairly quiet. Her attack, launched Monday at the debate, regarding Trump’s alleged verbal assaults on a 1996 Miss Universe, seems to be falling apart. However, to her advantage, the major media has been slow to correct the record.

The vice presidential debate next Tuesday may have more importance than previously expected. That’s because the lead among Clinton and Trump is in doubt, with Clinton most likely a few percentage points ahead. In such an atmosphere, a clear winner for vice president could, indeed, sway the odds. When voter thought processes are deadlocked — as is the case now with undecideds — it’s natural to look for tie breakers. The VP debate could be significant in that regard.

I’m aware that there have been an unusually high number of “unchanged” days in these odds. It’s just a fluke. I can’t help it. Those are the numbers here, and I’m not going to move them by 0.1 just so it will appear more reasonable. No change means no change.

Thursday, September 29, 2016 : Trump 55.1% ↓
(Down 0.7% from yesterday)

1.23-to-1 against Clinton
(2:43 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Yet another low-event day.

Most things that influenced these odds favored Clinton, but only slightly to moderately. Added together and then subtracting the fewer Trump positives, we end up with 0.7 percentage points lost by the Republican candidate.

Some topics considered were the 1996 Miss Universe publicly speaking against Trump, the FBI director being grilled by Republicans in congress about his handing of the Clinton email investigation and granting of immunity, Clinton’s enthusiastic campaign events featuring Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama, Trump’s overflow rallies, Juanita Broaddrick’s message to Chelsea Clinton regarding former President Bill Clinton’s alleged misbehavior, a few polls favorable to Clinton (although the controversial Los Angeles Times tracking poll showed a bump up for Trump from the previous day), and more.

More important polling results will be made public beginning today. Those percentages could sway this analysis.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 : Trump 55.8% ↑
(Up 0.1% from yesterday)

1.26-to-1 against Clinton
(3:32 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump makes the smallest gain possible on the scale that these odds are announced — 0.1 percentage points. This is mostly an adjustment to the impact of Monday night’s debate.

As many analysts in the media seem to be hedging on their initial assessment that the debate had gone very badly for Trump, it looks as if he’s likely to survive intact. And there’s even a remote possibility of a gain for him.

We’ll know more when the first polls that include reaction to that head-to-head confrontation are released today through Friday. The wave of polls immediate after that will also matter greatly, because it will reflect more accurately how the debate settled in with the voting public.

There are many minor events influencing these odds, but they pretty much balance. One that threatened Trump — his ungentlemanly remarks about weight gain of the reigning Miss Universe in 1996 — may be less of an issue now that negative news stories have surfaced about her past. So, the Clinton campaign, which announced her endorsement, will probably not get the mileage out of the issue that they had hoped.

Nothing else compelling that I choose to talk about, so let’s leave it short.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 : Trump 55.7% ↓
(Down 1.0% from yesterday)

1.26-to-1 against Clinton
(4:15 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Changes in today’s odds hinge almost entirely on last night’s debate. But wait!

The one-point drop for Trump isn’t due to his debate performance. If you could freeze time when Clinton and Trump shook hands afterward, I’m guessing that the debate would have been given to Trump by a small majority of viewers registered to vote. But that advantage won’t be realized fully because of what I saw that you probably didn’t. And it’s the reason these comments come hours later than I had intended today.

I recorded the debates with 90-minute extensions and then watched the first 11 minutes to 35 minutes of follow-up commentary on nine channels — CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox network, Bloomberg, C-Span, and CNBC. Sadly, I didn’t get to see the follow-up on MSNBC, which would have been my 10th recording, because, mysteriously, only the first 58 minutes of the debate was recorded. (If you’re wondering how I was able to record all this simultaneously, it’s because I have eight DirecTV DVRs linked together, each capable of recording two shows at once. This may seem excessive, but I have this setup for monitoring news events, like tonight’s debate, from multiple sources.) What I discovered from those follow-up commentaries was that most were amazingly biased in declaring Clinton the winner immediately — or at least strongly suggesting such.

You might think that this makes little difference, since, presumably, the viewers just watched the debate and had already formed their opinions. But that isn’t the case. These commentaries tell viewers how they should think and tend to cancel many previously conceived notions based on the actual viewing experience.

If it weren’t for this tremendously overstated bias (one commentator saying immediately that it will now be very hard for Trump to come back and win the election and others verbally digging his grave), I would have given the advantage to Trump. All he needed to do was survive and he did that easily, probably winning in the minds of many. He had weak moments, especially on taxes, whether his claim of initially opposing the Iraq war was true, a real estate racial discrimination suit settled by him when he was 26 years old, and his investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate. His responses in those areas seemed weak to me.

He also failed greatly in hammering Clinton on emails, the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi, or other areas where she is weakest. That was a missed opportunity. His salvation may be that many viewers might have thought something like, “Hey, why isn’t he mentioning that?” And thinking thusly would reinforce those weaknessess in their minds, even without Trump’s help. That’s a bit far-fetched, perhaps, so let’s call it a Trump fumble.

However, Clinton didn’t shine and faded at times. Overall, she seemed energetic enough to put worries about her health aside for now. I believe her core positions were less palatable to the majority of voters than his. Since all he had to do was look significantly more presidential than portrayed by Clinton and most of the media, he succeeded. But the gains that this would have brought were undone by the one-sided analysis afterward.

Last night marks a new low for media integrity, in my opinion. I was amazed by what I saw and heard. They weren’t describing the debate I had just seen. Oddly, several of the broadcasts ended their initial commentary with something like, “Now we take you to the spin room.” Go figure.

Monday, September 26, 2016 : Trump 56.7% ↑
(Up 0.2% from yesterday)

1.31-to-1 against Clinton
(1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump moved up largely on polling that is a bit more favorable. However, the gain was slight, recapturing the 0.2 percentage points he had dropped yesterday.

The battle of front-row seating apparently is over. Clinton had said that her billionaire supporter, Mark Cuban, would sit in the front row of tonight’s debate, perhaps to distract Trump. Trump had countered by suggested he would put Bill Clinton’s mistress, Gennifer Flowers, in the first row. Neither is likely to happen now.

Clinton met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump had done the same earlier in Netanyahu’s New York visit. This constitutes the tiniest of gains for Trump, because his recent appearances with world leaders (Egypt’s, Mexico’s, Israel’s) increase his limited international stature (although he already had a friendly relationship with Netanyahu) and thereby help him more than Clinton, who already has earned her diplomatic credentials.

Right now, Trump has a 56.7 percent chance of winning the popular vote. If the debate is a draw, that will go up. If Clinton wins decisively, he will fall well below 50 percent. If he does something goofy that’s poorly perceived by the public, he could fall as far as, say, five percent. The same goes for Clinton. Her performance, compared to his, can mean she’ll be an overwhelming underdog after tonight or a very large favorite — but most likely tomorrow’s odds will remain far away from those extremes. Again, we wait.

Sunday, September 25, 2016 : Trump 56.5% ↓
(Down 0.2% from yesterday)

1.30-to-1 against Clinton
(3:29 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: This will be another very short analysis.

Clinton is believed to be preparing intensely for Monday’s debate, even practicing against multiple versions of Trump that might “show up.” I guess the thinking is that Trump has multiple personalities or, at least, personas. Trump is said to be preparing less intensely.

Clinton has offered Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas NBA team who has endorsed her, a front-row seat. Possibly that’s an attempt to put Trump off his game. In turn, Trump has toyed with returning the favor by putting Gennifer Flowers, Bill Clinton’s mistress years ago, in the front row. Isn’t this fun?

Trump drops a trivial 0.2 percentage points. We wait.

Saturday, September 24, 2016 : Trump 56.7% ↓
(Down 0.5% from yesterday)

1.31-to-1 against Clinton
(2:08 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Not much to say. Please read commenst from previous days to get up to speed on the direction of these odds.

Trump will make a public appearance today. Clinton will not, according to her team, but she’s preparing for Monday night’s debate. She was scheduled to visit Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of protests over a highly-publicized police shooting of an African American man. But she changed her mind.

Trump’s less-ambiguous pro-police stance likely is registering a bit better with more voters than Clinton’s concern for both sides (which, of course, appeals to some). However, he may be losing a bit of the gains he made with African Americans. National polls leave Trump within reach, but not edging ahead the way that momentum had suggested.

We wait for Monday.

Considering everything that entered into this analysis, Trump falls another 0.5 percentage points.

Friday, September 23, 2016 : Trump 57.2% ↓
(Down 1.1% from yesterday)

1.34-to-1 against Clinton
(5:20 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Not much new to analyze. A major national poll yesterday, showing Clinton leading Trump by six percentage points, is probably discouraging to the latter’s campaign. Almost certainly, they were hoping for better.

However, other poll results — especially in individual, highly contested states — met or exceeded Trump’s likely expectations. So, the polling indications are mixed, but the absence of continued clear gains for Trump is responsible for most of his 1.1 percentage point drop in these odds.

In a video conference, Clinton was described as scary (using that precise term or similar) by many viewers. It wasn’t so much the words she used in attacking Trump as it was her close-up expressions that many found “off.” If it were an actress in a movie, the audience would have been alerted that this was going to be a character with mental issues, as the plot unfolded. Clearly, that isn’t what she meant to convey, but it just registered that way with many amateur and professional commentators. I’m guessing that video will be used in opposing ads, probably without much comment. It’s unfortunate for Clinton, because her tone of voice and zoomed-in expressions weren’t that far from acceptable. The clip just registered as bizarre for many — and that’s probably bad luck for Clinton. And still she gains in these odds. Go figure. Oh, right, I already did that.

Other factors and events were weighed, as always. Clinton is now preparing for their first debate almost full time, according to staff. Trump, not so much. So, what is likely to happen in Monday night’s one-on-one encounter? Almost anything.

Thursday, September 22, 2016 : Trump 58.3% ↔
(Unchanged from yesterday)

1.40-to-1 against Clinton
(3:00 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton did appear in public, despite earlier reports that she might not. Oddly, she didn’t talk about Trump, a glaring change of course that might only be temporary. A war of ads broke out on TV in some battleground states. Clinton’s ads mostly blasted Trump, while his were somewhat more positive. There is no clear advantage to either side.

Most of yesterday’s polls were a little more friendly to Trump, but not all. The Real Clear Politics average of selected recent polls has Clinton up 1.9 percentage points head-to-head and by 1.5 in the current four-way race (with Johnson and Stein included). Trump’s electoral college hopes are improving, but — once more — these odds don’t deal with that.

The rioting in Charlotte, North Carolina, triggered by a killing of a black man by a black police officer (and possibly including the recent killing of another black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma by a white female officer) is likely to bring more support to Trump than Clinton. Anyway, the airing of the event (Fox News/Hannity) was delayed until tomorrow, due to continuous coverage of the Charlotte situation.

Trump addressed a town hall with a largely African American audience and voiced his support of “stop and frisk” policies that many in that demographic oppose. It’s hard to determine whether doing this is a gain for Trump (because he’s saying what he thinks, rather than pandering) or a loss (because the policy is unpopular with many black voters).

As the first debate threatens to shake up the race on Monday, these odds (which include factors previously discussed and others) stay unchanged. Actually Trump gained about 0.06 in the percentage point category. If you’re thinking that it should round off to a 0.1 gain and be reflected in the published odds, you’re on the right track. However, yesterday’s announced 58.3 percent was actually about 58.26. Add the 0.06 and you get 58.32 today. Both days round to 58.3. I’m only telling you this so you understand that, while there have been several unchanged days, there actually was some movement.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 : Trump 58.3% ↓
(Down 0.8% from yesterday)

1.40-to-1 against Clinton
(1:02 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Just when I expected no significant movement until after the first debate Monday, we get movement. Not colossal movement or an earthquake. But 0.8 percentage points worth of movement. And it went Clinton’s way.

As often is the case with these odds, this change isn’t obvious. It’s based on a couple of polls that might be disturbing to the Trump campaign. One showed Clinton ahead by five percentage points nationally and the other showed her leading by the same amount in Florida. These polls contrast to recent trends and most would have expected the national one to be much closer and for the Florida one to show Trump ahead. If the results of these polls are mirrored by the next batch, it would suggest that the recent Trump surge is over. He would rather have had it end with a lead, which seemed to be a strong possibility.

As Clinton’s health concerns, while still a major factor, fade from the immediate spotlight, Clinton gains by having the news focused elsewhere. However, a late announcement that Clinton has cancelled another appearance — this one a fundraiser in the battleground state of North Carolina — could reverse this factor, if it turns out to be health related. President Obama’s speeches on her behalf (including his vague negative reference of Trump, although not naming him, before the United Nations yesterday) are beginning to register. This is primarily due to the fact that his popularity has risen surprisingly lately.

Meanwhile, Trump seems a bit more strident on the campaign trail. This threatens to remind voters of his earlier campaign self that was not broadly popular beyond the base primary voters that won the Republican nomination for him.

Most other factors, but not all, favored Clinton, too. So, at least for a day, Clinton’s prospects of winning the popular vote are improving. Oddly, Trump’s chances of winning the Electoral College vote are also improving recently, but that’s not what these odds are about.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 : Trump 59.1% ↑
(Up 0.1% from yesterday)

1.44-to-1 against Clinton
(1:44 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Today’s odds were mainly influenced by the way previous events unfolded. Trump made an insignificant 0.1 percentage point gain.

Although yesterday was a fairly heavy news day — mostly focused on terrorist bombing attempts, a related arrest, and a knifing attack also linked to Islamic extremism — there was no major change in the presidential chances.

Trump made some minor errors — particularly by taking a bit too harsh of a terrorism position, relative to immigration.

Clinton made some minor errors — particularly by seeming a bit too soft on terrorism and having little enthusiasm in her presentation or voice when fielding related questions.

Sprinkle in other factors and you’re left with almost no change in either candidates hopes.

Monday, September 19, 2016 : Trump 59.0% ↓
(Down 0.3% from yesterday)

1.44-to-1 against Clinton
(2:30 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: The Trump momentum seems to be decreasing. The race is left with Clinton leading slightly in most polls and trailing in a few. One week from today will be the first debate.

Expect less volatility than usual until that debate concludes. Voters will be waiting to see what happens. While they do that, less focus will be made on minor events, although major happenings may still give candidates a significant pre-debate boost.

As I’ve said, if you’ve been following these daily comments, Trump doesn’t need to win the debates. Because he’s been painted by Clinton and the media as crude and uninformed, it won’t require a superior performance to dissuade some voters of that notion. Conversely, Clinton may need clear victories.

The explosive devices found in New York and New Jersey, along with the stabbings at a Minnesota mall, are playing out as a very slight potential gain for Trump, although he is probably not benefiting immediately. Clinton’s charge that he jumped ahead of the story at a campaign rally by announcing that there had been “bombings” in New York and that he didn’t know what to make of it yet, was well publicized. But attacking Trump for this will do little damage and may seem to some as if Clinton and her supporters are making too much of him saying bombs when it could have been other kinds of explosions. That was a heavy issue in campaign coverage, but amounts to little in terms of these odds.

The leveling off of Trump’s surge a bit earlier than I expected is mostly what’s behind Clinton’s 0.3 percentage point gain.

Sunday, September 18, 2016 : Trump 59.3% ↑
(Up 0.2% from yesterday)

1.46-to-1 against Clinton
(7:45 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: There’s much less to discuss this time, as far as events that influenced the odds. That doesn’t mean ongoing previous events and trends aren’t important.

Much of the media and Democrats claimed Trump had been reckless by saying that Clinton’s bodyguards should be disarmed and then we’ll see what happens. For journalists to report seriously that he was, perhaps, threatening Clinton is remarkably childlike. Even if you missed the obvious — it was a political stance against what he asserts is unnecessary gun regulation — the word “dangerous,” which he used to describe what would happen if you did that should have given those reporters and pundits a clue. I’m only stressing this otherwise minor incident to demonstrate something that isn’t minor: A large segment of traditional media has become so anti-Trump that it’s a daunting negative for him. And these odds reflect that.

Explosive devices found in New York and New Jersey (two of them detonating) will make the public more concerned with terrorism, even if these turn out to be unrelated to Islamic extremism. That works in Trump’s favor. There was also a stabbing incident tentatively linked to Islamic terror in Minnesota.

President Obama said he would take it as a personal insult if African-Americans decided not to vote for Clinton. I wrestled mentally to imagine how this impacts the candidates’ chances and decided the effect is minimal. Clearly, it was an attempt to keep even a small percentage of blacks from defecting from Clinton. But in a strange new world where so much is considered racist, it will be interesting if the media pays attention to this glaring example.

Trump moves up modestly — a 0.2 percentage point gain.

Saturday, September 17, 2016 : Trump 59.1% ↑
(Up 0.6% from yesterday)

1.44-to-1 against Clinton
(4:53 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump seemed in trouble yesterday morning, after being attacked by Clinton and others for his probe of President Obama’s place of birth. The charges from supporters of Clinton even included one that his investigation was racist and that it would not have happened had Obama been white. That speculation about Trump seems wrong to those who believe there’s nothing racist about him, but rings true to others who have doubts.

You might want to research the controversy about where Obama was born, if you’re not up to speed on what we’re discussing. Anyway, he handled the so-called “birther” situation by saying he would have a major announcement and suggesting to the press that he would take questions. So, they gathered and waited for over an hour for the public appearance to begin. When it did, it was different from what the press had expected. He brought key military men to the stage with him and one-by-one they made short speeches praising him. Finally, he got to the part the press and the public were anticipating and simply said (1) Clinton had started the whole birther thing in her 2008 primary campaign against Obama (something that the Clinton team disputes); (2) His investigation had finished the controversy; and (3) President Obama was born in America. Then he said, approximately, that now we can move on to making America great again (his campaign slogan). Then he walked off without taking questions. That left the press stunned and many among them angry.

Yet, it was strategically strong, certainly not ending discussion over what could be a big negative for him, especially among African Americans. But at least he played his hand in a way that minimized damage, while spotlighting both him and his latest hotel where the event happened.

Clinton, meanwhile, maintained her image of improved health in public appearances, and continued to attack Trump as unqualified, bigoted, and more.

Other events factored into these odds, as always. Polls continued to show movement in Trump’s direction. So, overall, it amounted to a 0.6 point percentage gain for Trump.

Friday, September 16, 2016 : Trump 58.5% ↑
(Up 0.7% from yesterday)

1.41-to-1 against Clinton
(3:47 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump made two strong TV appearances yesterday, showcasing his good nature and charm — whether real or pretended. This will contrast to his widely perceived persona as a mean-spirited, crude and insensitive human being — an image that has been painted by Democrats, much of the news coverage, and by his own actions. This is a plus for Trump.

He also appeared before an economics-minded audience, laying out his visions for an improving economy. It was a small gathering that was moderately receptive. At night, he addressed a larger campaign rally. Since he stuck to his new, less-bombastic strategy in both cases, these also rate as a small plus for him.

Trump was a Dr. Oz guest, answering health questions, on the Fox network (not Fox News cable). The audience is typically mostly female, so the milder disposition he portrayed while revealing his latest medical test results, which seemed reassuring, might help him a bit with women voters — among whom he is trailing Clinton. His later TV appearance was mostly for fun and exposure on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Trump ended by allowing Fallon to muss up his hair, a silly act requested by the host that probably was enjoyed by viewers and made some less-serious-minded voters feel more comfortable about his candidacy.

Clinton returned to the campaign trail looking healthy, which will be reassuring to many. So, that goes into her plus column.

Meanwhile Trump continued to surge in latest polls, certainly a plus. But increased scrutiny on his charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, is a minus that may be a bigger problem on the horizon. Altogether, a 0.7 percentage point gain for Trump.

Thursday, September 15, 2016 : Trump 57.8% ↑
(Up 0.1% from yesterday)

1.37-to-1 against Clinton
(2:36 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Odds movement yesterday revolved (among other factors) around two main happenings. They pulled in opposite directions. But the net effect was only a tiny gain for Trump — 0.1 percentage points.

Not included among the tidal events was the release of hacked emails from retired general Colin Powell, which happened earlier but only resonated yesterday. He was critical of both candidates, privately calling Trump “a national disgrace.” But his irritation with Clinton for trying to convince voters that he had mishandled email in similar ways will harm her. Since he identifies as a Republican, that would tend to hurt Trump greatly — because he is widely admired — but actually the damage is minimized. The reason is that Powell isn’t strongly Republican and backed President Obama in both previous races. We’ll call this pretty much a neutral with a barely measurable advantage to Trump, especially because of other doubts Powell raised about her health and character.

The first of the events that matter more was the announcement of an investigation of the Donald J. Trump Foundation by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. The Trump Foundation is a charitable entity, much like the heavily scrutinized Clinton Foundation, except much smaller in scope. The exact focus of the investigation is murky, but possibly includes an illegal contribution made to the attorney general of Florida, Pam Bondi, for which Trump was assessed a fine. However, the investigation itself will seem politically motivated to those who know that Schneiderman is a Democrat who has been closely aligned with Clinton and publicly supports her. But even assuming this is a mostly politically inspired investigation, the effect likely will be to neutralize the potential scandal involving the Clinton Foundation. Although the two assertions of wrongdoing aren’t similar in scope, because Clinton’s troubles involve possible government favors for contributions while secretary of state, they are sure to be painted as equal by Democrats and by portions of the press supporting her almost openly. Score this as a Trump negative.

But scored as a Trump positive is his continued rise in the polls. He has taken the lead in several battleground states where he had previously trailed. And while that doesn’t directly influence these odds, which are based on popular vote nationwide, it does indirectly give him a boast by providing a more positive perception of his chances.

Also, Trump has surprised many by staying on strategy for several weeks. Put it all together with previously discussed (and still-monitored) factors and you have almost no change in today’s odds — just an insignificant step upward for Trump.

Today, Trump will appear on a TV show to discuss his health (some details of the prerecorded interview have already leaked) and Clinton is expected to return to campaigning (see previous discussion of her health issues). Those events may influence their respective chances by tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 : Trump 57.7% ↓
(Down 0.4% from yesterday)

1.36-to-1 against Clinton
(6:35 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: The dominant media seems to be in high gear minimizing Clinton’s health issues. Particularly glowing coverage of President Obama’s campaign speech on her behalf helped to minimize the damage caused by her stumbling and perhaps fainting when leaving a 9/11 ceremony early. She continues to recover and has not made appearances in person, only by phone.

Trump made a major address last night focusing on child care and related issues. While his somewhat progressive recommendations may prompt some women to feel more warmly toward him, they are certain to cause debate among Republican and conservative voters. I view this as a neutral for Trump, but may turn out to be slightly positive or negative.

On the email front, aides to Clinton who asserted their fifth amended rights to remain silent during a congressional hearing yesterday probably hurt her cause, as did a key witness’ refusal to show up at all. Clinton’s worries about being perceived as hiding evidence continue to grow.

A war of TV ads between the campaigns probably favored Trump. Both tried to use the opposing candidate’s own words to attack, but Clinton’s quoted short clips were largely out of context, while Trump’s showed Clinton saying half of his supporters belonged in “a basket of deplorables” and then made it seem as if the whole audience of patriotic Americans were being disrespected. A small plus for Trump here.

Overall, Clinton seems to be surviving her health issues better than expected. The lack of investigative reporting following her most recent episode seems glaring. And this will help her. So, I have Trump fading by 0.4 percentage points.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 : Trump 58.1% ↑
(Up 1.3% from yesterday)

1.39-to-1 against Clinton
(2:11 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump moved up again, but only by 1.3 percentage points. You might think that’s a conservative adjustment in light of the two major hits her campaign has suffered in the past few days.

First, there was her now-clear mistake of saying that half of Trump supporters belonged in what she called “a basket of deplorables.” That hasn’t been received well by Trump supporters, those undecided, more moderate voters, or women voters who are turned off by Trump’s harsh rhetoric and now are perceiving the same coming from Clinton. Second, her fainting or stumbling into a waiting van after having to leave a 9/11 ceremony early. As I said previously, that made the previous rumors and milder video and photographic evidence of similar previous episodes more believable — even though her campaign is attributing this event to pneumonia.

And Trump avoided the disaster that I talked about yesterday and that some of his supporters undoubtedly feared: Criticizing Clinton for her health issues immediately at a time when sympathy was appropriate. In fact, he played his hand in the opposite manner, wishing her a speedy recovery and saying he was looking forward to their first debate in two weeks. So, another Trump positive.

However, Clinton could gain sympathy votes if she appears healthy and vigorous in appearances later this week. (Already, she has cancelled several days of campaigning.) That would be reassuring to many voters who might then be cheering for her to rebound. If she can pull it off, that can actually work in her favor.

Trump has said he will disclose his health records soon. The pressure will then (assuming that happens) be on Clinton to mirror his actions.

There is talk in Democrat circles of replacing Clinton on the ticket, if necessary. If that happens, these odds won’t matter, because they’re based on the assumption that both Trump and Clinton will be the major party candidates on election day. (See explanation at the top of this page).

A replacement for Clinton does matter in these odds, though, despite the fact that they only measure the two candidates against each other. That’s because if Trump begins to run away from her in the polls, it’s more likely Clinton will withdraw — either voluntarily or through pressure from the party. If that happens soon (note that early voting is already available to some), Trump’s head-to-head chances against Hillary are reduced mathematically, because her withdrawal is more likely to be from a race he would have been likely to win.

Trump’s appearance before members of the National Guard yesterday was particularly well delivered and received. It was more calm and presidential than Trump addresses from a month ago and earlier.

I have Trump jumping up another 1.3 percentage points today. And coupled with yesterday’s 0.5 gain, Clinton’s new troubles only amount to under a two percent drop — less of an adjustment than you’ll find elsewhere — although these chances still remain more favorable to Trump than other widely published betting odds.

Monday, September 12, 2016 : Trump 56.8% ↑
(Up 0.5% from yesterday)

1.31-to-1 against Clinton
(1:07 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Most analysts forecast a major Trump upswing due to Clinton’s near-fainting and stumbling episode upon making an emergency exit from a 9/11 remembrance ceremony yesterday. That makes sense, except…

Clinton might successfully sell her campaign’s assertion that this was caused by pneumonia, which she had been recently diagnosed to have, but hadn’t revealed. And if she can seem healthy in her next public appearances, then the public might largely dismiss the event and even feel sympathetic.

If Trump makes any less-than-empathetic comments that sound like “I told you so,” — in harmony with his campaign’s assertion that Clinton is hiding health issues — then that could seriously wound his chances. In fact, if he’d done that today, a misstep some might think would have been in keeping with Trump’s speak-unregulated nature, the damage could have been fatal to his campaign. As it is, he probably impressed doubters by not trying to take advantage.

The big problem for Clinton is that her loss of equilibrium happened at a time when other similar episodes were under scrutiny. Presumably those weren’t caused by pneumonia. So, while the damage to Clinton is survivable now, it could be compounded if her explanation is met widely with skepticism. No matter what, the existence of a video showing Clinton’s dramatic collapse will help Trump.

I’m not moving these odds as greatly as you might expect, based on this incident. And Clinton regained a little ground because the latest major poll showed her five percentage points ahead — less than the expected gain for Trump. So, incorporated with other events, Trump gains only half a percentage point, but the race is again increasing in volatility.

Sunday, September 11, 2016 : Trump 56.3% ↔
(Unchanged from yesterday)

1.29-to-1 against Clinton
(2:40 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton promptly retracted her statement Friday that half of Trump’s supporters were racist and sexist (among other things) and that they fit into a “basket of deplorables.” Apparently the campaign decided that line of attack was doing mostly harm and needed to be softened or abandoned.

Trump attended Phyllis Schlafly’s funeral, addressed the congregation at St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, and was given a standing ovation. But since Schlafly, who died at age 92, was a controversial conservative activist, the political benefit of his appearance is minimal beyond his base supporters.

Republicans are threatening a serious legislative probe into latest revelations they feel are damaging to Clinton. You can consider this a pre-criminal investigation, if it happens, since the end result would be to recommend filing of charges against her, if the findings merit.

This may be seen as too political and may actually hurt Trump. That’s because it’s the story of her alleged misdeeds itself that damages her, not criminal prosecution. However, some Republicans in congress may be looking out for the United States’ legal and structural future and not thinking in narrow political terms. No doubt, others are approaching this purely as a get-Hillary tactic — and that may backfire.

There were many other events (previously tracked and new), but nothing major to move the odds. Everything seemed to balance and leave these odds unmoved.

Saturday, September 10, 2016 : Trump 56.3% ↓
(Down 0.4% from yesterday)

1.29-to-1 against Clinton
(3:38 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: The rate of gain for Trump in the polls is slowing, but not completely stopped. This means that the shift may settle at an almost even race or with a slight Trump advantage. Previously, these odds had expected Trump to exit this wave with a 2.5 percentage-point lead. So, the probable (but not certain) shortfall is enough to enhance Clinton’s odds.

However, this has a diminished long-term effect, because the polls may now be poised for an even higher gain for Trump if the next surge goes in his direction. Think of it as a build-up of energy in reserve. Less than expected was used, meaning more remains. However, if the next wave of public opinion goes Clinton’s way, that can greatly benefit her, because she will be more in the lead than she would have and Trump supporters are more likely to feel desperation. This is more an exercise in examining mass psychology than mathematical science. So if you believe my odds, then you need to know that psychological assessments of the public are part of the equation.

So, let’s talk about yesterday. Not much to shake the earth. Clinton gave a very impressive, soft toned speech and took a handful of questions from the press afterward. However, she returned to the podium, as if to have second thoughts when hearing a question from among the reporters. Her answer gave her a chance to attack Trump, still in an unusually soft voice. Fine. What others have failed to notice is that her reconsideration about whether to answer another question was choreographed.

I guess it’s my tell-reading ability that makes this obvious. I’m not certain whether the reporter’s question that made her pivot, gesture, and return to the podium was planned. Perhaps she was instructed or independently decided in advance to act that way in response to any question, real or imaginary, that mentioned Trump. But I’m quite sure that her action wasn’t spontaneous. It was pre-planned and not acted perfectly — otherwise I would have been less likely to spot this. However, this hasn’t been discussed widely or investigated (nor would it likely be a big issue if it were), so the effect is almost nonexistent. However, it demonstrates an obstacle for Trump, because it shows that he is facing a much more sophisticated opposition than his own team is likely to equal — even if that were his goal, which it probably isn’t.

Trump’s rally in Pensacola, Florida boasted an enthusiastic overflow crowd. But this is typical for him, and not much news was made in his address.

The Clinton team is now striking at Trump’s strengths, even trying to use his campaign slogan “Make American Great Again” against him by suggesting that it’s racist. That might actually work for her, because muddying waters, no matter how obvious it is to some, will often confuse others. She might have taken it too far, though, by saying, last night, that half of Trump’s supporters were in a “basket of deplorables” — racist, sexist, and more. That is likely to serve more as a get-out-the-vote incentive for Trump than it is to pad Clinton’s vote total. A mistake.

In summary, both campaigns are using quality strategy right now, but Clinton’s is probably a bit superior. Nonetheless, she has more to overcome. So, we’ll see. These odds might jump quickly in either direction. For now, Clinton gains 0.4 percentage points as a likelihood of winning the popular vote.

Friday, September 9, 2016 : Trump 56.7% ↑
(Up 1.3% from yesterday)

1.31-to-1 against Clinton
(1:59 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: This first observation is sure to be controversial, but I’ve given it more impact on the election that you might expect. Before I tell you about it, let’s acknowledge that conservative websites are giving it more credibility than it probably merits, but there’s a chance they’re right. Also, I see this as probably having little importance on the election outcome, but there’s about a 35 percent chance that it will register and weigh against Clinton.

Mathematically, when you factor in something that’s, say, 65 percent likely to have no effect or little effect, but has a 35 percent chance of having a modest to significant effect, that does two things. It adds greatly to the volatility of the odds and it favors the candidate who is less likely to be damaged. In this case, it’s a positive for Trump, though — as I said — more likely to amount to little or nothing.

Now that I’ve shared how this works in analyzing odds correctly, let’s end the suspense by explaining what I’m talking about. At the NBC/MSNBC “Commander-in-Chief Forum” on Wednesday, Clinton is alleged to have worn a small, skin-tone earpiece. Conspiracy-minded pundits on the right are using so-called enhanced photographs and suggesting that the device (if present) might have been used to feed information and talking points to Clinton while she was interviewed. On the other hand, left-wing media and websites are exhibiting photos that seem to show that there was nothing in Clinton’s ear at all.

So, how does one evaluate this? Well, I carefully examined recordings of the event and the photo evidence on both sides. It seems more likely than not to me that actually there was something in Clinton’s left ear. However, even if this turns out to be true (and it might not), there could be other explanations for its presence. It could be just cosmetic application of a substance used to cover a blemish. It could be a normal hearing aid that she wears occasionally. It could be a medical device to combat inner ear equilibrium, perhaps caused by her recent concussion. And there are even more alternate explanations.

So, we’re left to speculate on how this will play out. But currently, it benefits Trump, who’s son (Donald Jr.) has made public statements questioning the apparent (to him) presence of the device. That alone guarantees that the issue will make its way into the mainstream — either to be ridiculed as a right-wing smear or to be further investigated (or both). For that reason it potentially is a significant factor that favors Trump, although there’s a strong chance it won’t even be an issue. If that last sentence seems illogical to you, reread my earlier paragraphs about how these events influence odds and you’ll probably understand what I’m saying.

Also yesterday, Trump made what was billed as an education speech at a poorly performing school and was met politely, but not enthusiastically, by the audience. Still the fact that he ventured into that potentially hostile arena and spoke softly probably helped his image. Meanwhile, Clinton continued to pummel Trump by spotlighting words he’s uttered and positions he’s taken on national defense. She attacked him for his criticism of some leading military commanders. Her approach is probably scoring with many voters and might diminish the flow of undecided voters toward Trump (something that seems to be happening, judging by his rise in recent polls).

Putting it all together with other tracked factors (and some new ones), Trump jumps up 1.3 percentage points.

Thursday, September 8, 2016 : Trump 55.4% ↑
(Up 0.2% from yesterday)

1.24-to-1 against Clinton
(2:23 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump gave a surprisingly soft-spoken address in Philadelphia that was well received. Then at night, both Clinton and Trump performed on an NBC/MSNBC one-hour forum. They appeared back to back and never together.

The Matt Lauer interviews, peppered with audience questions, were equally tough, and they seemed fair. Viewers will differ on which candidate did best, but neither excelled. Trump probably gained simply because he seemed reasonable, but not quite as presidential as he had earlier in the day.

Trump continues to close on Clinton and is now within 2.1 percent in the Real Clear Politics daily average. Since the polls with the highest Clinton lead are the oldest and will soon drop off the recent list, the race likely will get even closer in the RCP average.

Other tracked factors and a few minor new happenings tended to slightly favor Trump beyond what this analysis had anticipated. Score this as a 0.2 percent gain for Trump, measured a percentage probability of winning the popular vote.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 : Trump 55.2% ↓
(Down 0.2% from yesterday)

1.23-to-1 against Clinton
(1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton is starting to score slightly with her targeted ad campaign that uses Trump’s own words to paint him as an undesirable choice for commander-in-chief. Her campaign has used this tactic in the past, but new iterations and repetition of the theme are swaying some voters.

The issue of a Trump charity having made a $25,000 political donation to a group backing Pam Bondi, Florida Republican attorney general, is costing him. Right now, it’s not a major issue, but could become more harmful. The Florida attorney general’s office was apparently considering a lawsuit against Trump University at the time of the donation. While some are suggesting that the emphasis on this is a stretch when compared to Clinton’s greater transgressions, it could serve to diminish Trump’s advantage in attacking her for those.

A new CNN poll shows that Trump has now gained a two-percentage-point lead nationally among likely voters. That equates with three recent lesser-followed polls that also show him ahead. A recent Fox News poll has him two points behind, but having gained. It is widely believed that Trump will be narrowing Clinton’s lead in the less-frequently-announced battleground state polls, when new results are published.

Clinton and Trump will appear tonight on NBC and MSNBC in the “Commander-in-Chief Forum.” This isn’t a debate and the candidates will appear separately. Trump won a coin toss and will go after Clinton, which may be a slight advantage, even if he doesn’t get to hear how she answered. As pointed out yesterday, this event may be elevated to the stature of a semi-debate in the minds of some voters, who could compare the candidates and make decisions.

Trump is sticking to his more-scripted messages and addressed an enthusiastic crowd in Tampa, Florida yesterday. Clinton also appeared in the same area, addressing a smaller audience.

Clinton gained a little ground in these odds yesterday (0.2 percentage points), her third positive day consecutively.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 : Trump 55.4% ↓
(Down 0.1% from yesterday)

1.24-to-1 against Clinton
(2:25 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Among other happenings that affected the odds, Clinton held what is being loosely described as a press conference yesterday. Actually, it was only a closed exchange with reporters on her campaign plane — the ones who follow her from place to place and have just now been allowed in the back of her main plane, rather than traveling separately, as before.

There were a few semi-hard-line questions, but no follow-up probing of her routine answers. And a few questions were quite silly and fluffy. Nonetheless, she came across as sincere, and the media will probably take sound bites of her answers that will be appealing to many voters.

Oddly, when asked about possible Russian hacking of Democratic National Committee and other emails, she blamed it on Trump. Whether or not that tactic will be effective or seem too convoluted depends on how the exchange is presented and analyzed. I’m guessing it will have little effect, but the exchange with reporters will be slightly positive for her.

Unfortunately, from her campaign’s perspective, she had two serious episodes of coughing yesterday — one on the campaign plane while addressing reporters and one while delivering a campaign speech. These are certain to prompt more questions about her health, particularly since they’ve happened previously.

Meanwhile Trump seems more and more incapable of using common sense in choosing his tactics. Among several exhibits is his bizarre attack on Arizona Republican senator Jeff Flake, who is running for reelection. Trump tweeted that Flake was “very weak and ineffective.” Sure, the senator has decline to endorse Trump, but it would be politically savvy to say kind and forgiving things, rather than attack. That’s obvious, particularly since Trump presumably wants Republicans to retain control of the Senate. So, this strikes me as yet another Trump go-figure moment.

Also, probably a misstep is Trump’s previous acceptance of an opportunity to participate in so-called “Commander-in-Chief Forum” on NBC and MSNBC tomorrow. It will be hosted by Matt Lauer, who many perceive as hostile to Trump and Republicans in general. Although it will be held before a largely military audience, which would generally favor Trump, the topics will be veterans issues, the military, and national security — areas of expertise where Clinton might excel.

While the candidates won’t address each other face-to-face and will be asked questions separately, this could be perceived as a pre-debate. That could take some suspense from the first debate on September 26. And, if Trump falters, he could be written off by some voters before the actual debates begin.

All-in-all, I believe this is too risky for Trump. Although he has an excellent chance of surviving, and a smaller chance of outshining Clinton, the payoff won’t be huge and the risk is excessive. Although the forum had already been factored into these odds, it may be too great of a gamble now, because Trump is gaining in the polls and may not need to take chances. That’s why this event is weighing more heavily against Trump than it did days ago.

Put everything together and we have almost no change in these odds — just a 0.1 percent Clinton gain.

Monday, September 5, 2016 : Trump 55.5% ↓
(Down 0.2% from yesterday)

1.25-to-1 against Clinton
(3:03 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Trump slipped a bit (0.2 percentage points). It’s not because he stopped gaining momentum, but because he is benefiting slightly less than I expected, based on recent events.

Nothing new of major import entered the arena. Continuously tracked events are pretty much on course, whether favorable or unfavorable to either candidate.

It’s expected here that next week’s round of polling results will show further gains for Trump. But that has already been factored into these odds.

Sunday, September 4, 2016 : Trump 55.7% ↑
(Up 0.7% from yesterday)

1.26-to-1 against Clinton
(2:48 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton continues to suffer from Friday’s FBI release of notes taken when agents interviewed her in early July. However, the damage is minimized by the Labor Day weekend, with many voters not fully focused on news events.

Trump, meanwhile, scored significantly by addressing mostly invited guests at an African-American nondenominational church in Detroit. His tone was soft and his reception was better than I expected. Dozens of protesters gathered outside, but there was no violence.

There seems to be a consensus among analysts that, although addressing a largely black audience, he was really appealing to moderate whites and women who need to see a more conciliatory Trump demeanor to be won over. While I think that’s true, I also believe that their assumption that he won’t win any significant African-American votes by reaching out in this way is wrong. These odds, at this moment, assume that he’ll win 12.5 percent of the black vote, despite current polls that show him winning as little as two percent.

Other tracked factors were also leaning slightly Trump’s way. The net gain for Trump was 0.7 percent.

Saturday, September 3, 2016 : Trump 55.0% ↓
(Down 0.3% from yesterday)

1.22-to-1 against Clinton
(2:52 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Clinton had a terrible day. So why is Trump down 0.3 percentage points in these odds? Good question, so I’ll tell you.

First, the reason for Clinton’s uncomfortable day was that the FBI made public the notes taken by agents when she was interviewed by them at the end of their email investigation. The notes confirmed suspicions of her critics. She seemed less than candid, saying she couldn’t remember a dozen key events they asked her about. (She claimed not to be able to remember more than a dozen times, but the other instances were less important.)

It was also revealed that she had 13 personal devices, but she couldn’t remember how the out-of-service ones were discarded. Separately, it was disclosed that two were destroyed by a staff member, using a hammer. All of this, and several more related discoveries, harm Clinton.

But the disclosure (what is sometimes called a “document dump”) happened on the Friday before a three-day weekend, meaning the revelations will be old news by Tuesday, when many voters would otherwise pay more attention. So, she’s likely to escape on the front-end, but there may be long-term damage.

The single reason pulling Trump back from a clear gain was his relapse into horrible strategy. He seemed to engage in a tweet war with the Mexican president, Nieto. After Wednesday’s diplomatic meeting in which he was spotlighted as a potential statesman, tweeting negatively about the man who hosted him in Mexico isn’t what he should do. Nieto may have started it by boasting that he’d told Trump Mexico wouldn’t pay for the border wall, as the Republican candidate has assured Americans that it will. Trump should have been savvy enough to recognize the tough political spot Nieto was in, having taken heat for inviting Trump (as well as Clinton who hasn’t yet accepted). Trump should have remained silent.

But as seems to be his nature, he took it personally and counter-attacked. Trump will self-destruct if he reverts to his previous undisciplined self in the late stages of this campaign. If he doesn’t, he’ll survive and probably win. But it’s his apparent lack of understanding about what’s appropriate to say (and when) that is the biggest volatility in this election. Because his tweets, which aren’t very damaging right now, signal that he still may not have the discipline to remain on track, he’s thrown a new variable into a winning surge. And for that reason, he lost ground.

Friday, September 2, 2016 : Trump 55.3% ↑
(Up 0.6% from yesterday)

1.24-to-1 against Clinton
(5:30 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: From the aggregate perspective of voters, latest revelations regarding Clinton emails — and, particularly, newly found evidence that she may have continued to communicate classified information when no longer Secretary of State — have reached diminishing returns status for Trump. That means each additional negative finding adds little to the hard-to-remember collection of transgressions. The voters are concerned, bewildered, or tired of hearing about it. So, Trump has gained about as much as he can from this and he’ll need to stress other avenues of attack.

The reluctance of Clinton to hold a news conference for nine months is beginning to be a bigger problem. It’s moving some votes away from her, but so far not a significant number.

As I explained yesterday, Trump made a mistake by not weaving statements of compassion into his hard-line immigration speech Wednesday night. That followed a positive appearance with the Mexican president where he seemed statesmanlike. He is paying the price for that error.

Still, Trump continues his rise in the polls and the enthusiasm gap between his core supporters and Clinton’s is widening in his favor. The longer this trend continues, the more these odds will shift in his direction. Weigh in all other tracked factors and we see Trump making a semi-significant upward move yesterday, even without any major events.

Thursday, September 1, 2016 : Trump 54.7% ↑
(Up 0.3% from yesterday)

1.21-to-1 against Clinton
(2:29 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.)

Quick comments: Well, it was an interesting yesterday. Trump moved up three-tenths of a percentage point in these odds. But he could have improved more.

Clinton spoke before a gathering of American Legion members. Her reception was polite, with applause here and there. She did about as well as she could before an audience that largely isn’t supportive of her, though she seemed to lack magnetism.

Circumstances were such that yesterday was Trump’s show to steal. And he did. But he fumbled away some of his gains in a rally at night.

Trump met with the Mexican president Nieto. It was definitely a gamble and could have turned out negatively. But it went very well for the Republican candidate. Following a private meeting, they appeared for a press conference with side-by-side podiums. This was Trump’s chance to look presidential on a foreign stage, and he did. So, a big morning plus for Trump.

But then he held his campaign rally in Arizona yesterday evening. He stuck pretty much to the topic — outlining his immigration policy. He did that successfully, too, and delivered the speech with passion. The large audience (typical for Trump) received his words enthusiastically. Fine so far.

But here’s where I think his hand was misplayed. He stuck to a hard-line, zero tolerance immigration plan. That’s okay, but he failed to interject the more moderate words he’s recently used. Lately, he’s been saying that he understands that some illegal immigrants have successfully integrated into American society and, having lived here for a decade or longer, they and their children should be given a chance to earn a break and remain. This new Trump approach had quickly been gaining support among moderates and women, making him seem more acceptable. If he’d included a few lines about this more moderate and conciliatory viewpoint — one that he’s recently expressed in a heartfelt way — I believe that would have worked better.

Now he risks an almost certain backtracking from Nieto, who is already faced with criticism for inviting Trump to Mexico and treating him diplomatically.

Anyway, we’ll see how this unfolds. Democrats are certain to attack Trump for his overly combative stand against illegal immigrants. And Trump is almost certain to bring back more moderate language when rephrasing his plan. Where it goes from there, we’ll have to wait and see. Temporarily, Trump has center stage and Clinton and her issues have somewhat gone out of focus.

In the latest polls, Trump has averaged surprisingly good gains.

See current odds (with links to other months)

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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