Trump supporters have always known the FBI director’s letter about reopening the email investigation didn’t influence the election, now there is crack in the liberal armor–Nate Cohen of the NY Times is presenting evidence showing that the Comey letter to Congress about reopening the Hillary Clinton email investigation may have had little to do with the Clinton loss.
A pollster trade organization, The American Association for Public Opinion Research, agrees with Cohen’s numbers.
Just last week Ms. Clinton told supporters:
“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a donor who relayed the remarks. But, she added, “our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”
But that belies the facts. Nate Cohen has presented evidence in the Tuesday 5/9 NY Times that proves Hillary’s support began to crash before the letter was sent. The lag between when polls are taken and when they are reported exaggerated where Hillary’s support stood before Comey sent his letter.
Cohen’s investigation started with the Upshot/Siena College poll in Florida that he received the same day Comey sent his letter, 10/28. Cohen thought the poll was an outlier because it reported a 46%-42% Trump lead.
At the time, the poll looked like a bust. There wasn’t much reason to think the result was even in the ballpark. Mrs. Clinton was ahead by six points in national polls and ahead by a similar margin in states worth 270 electoral votes, suggesting Mrs. Clinton was probably up by a few points in Florida. I can’t say I was thrilled about having to write an article about a poll that looked flat-out wrong.
But it’s now clear that Mrs. Clinton was weaker heading into Oct. 28 than was understood at the time. Several other polls were conducted over the same period that showed Mr. Trump gaining quickly on Mrs. Clinton in the days ahead of the Comey letter. And the timing of these polls — particularly the gap between when they were taken and when they were released — has probably helped to exaggerate the effect of Mr. Comey’s letter on the presidential race.
The case for a big Comey effect hinges on the large decline in Mrs. Clinton’s lead in the polls that followed the letter. In the FiveThirtyEight model, for instance, Mrs. Clinton had nearly a six-point lead heading into the Comey letter, but just a three-point lead one week later: an apparent three-percentage-point shift against Mrs. Clinton. It seems reasonable, as many have argued, to attribute much of that decline to Mr. Comey’s decision…