Via Business Insider, I missed this yesterday but it’s worth watching as the polls continue to tighten, especially since Beck is conservative media’s most famous #NeverTrumper. Trump was down eight points or so last week, Beck marvels, and thanks to James Comey he may finish five points ahead on Election Day. That is … highly optimistic, as five points would be beyond Obama’s margin of victory in 2012. Harry Enten tried to gauge the odds of a Trump comeback in a piece written three weeks ago, back when Hillary was up five or six points in the national average. Enten’s conclusion: Trump winning the race after having been down that much this late would be basically unprecedented. Of course, Comey’s announcement that the frontrunner for the presidency was under investigation less than two weeks out from the big vote was also unprecedented, as Beck notes here. But because Comey didn’t say anything incriminating about Clinton, I think the FBI news operates mostly as a political Rorschach test. If you thought Hillary was corrupt before, you’re affirmed in your belief. If you didn’t, the re-opened investigation doesn’t prove anything. The main effects, I’d guess, are to help bring Republicans around to Trump who were otherwise planning to stay home or vote Johnson by reminding them of what they don’t like about Hillary, and possibly to drive down turnout among Clinton’s softest supporters. All of that could add up to a Trump win — but it won’t be by anywhere near five. In fact, there’s a 10 percent chance that he wins the Electoral College while … losing the popular vote.
Worth your time: Go look at the matrix made by David Byler, one of RCP’s elections gurus, of the margins of victory we might expect for Clinton or Trump depending upon their respective favorable ratings on Election Day. If the Comey news drives Hillary’s rating way down — and it does seem to have made a dent — Trump might win. But he’s so deeply unpopular himself, sitting at -21 in RCP’s tracker as I write this, that there’s realistically no way for him to do much better than a margin of victory of 1.5 points or so. And even then, he would need a total collapse in Clinton’s own popularity to get there. He either loses the election or squeaks out a win in a cliffhanger. But then, that’s the story of the election, no? Two disliked nominees, one with enthusiastic support but no institutional advantages, the other with institutional advantages but not much enthusiastic support, compete to see who can crawl over the finish line first. Clinton is still the favorite, at least until one of those blue states on the map turns pink, but Comey certainly has made it interesting.