United States presidential election, 2016

United States presidential election, 2016

Last night, Leon posted an anecdotal observation that perhaps, contrary to what most of us would have thought, that Marco Rubio was siphoning votes off from Donald Trump.

Where are these votes coming from? One of the most bizarre phenomena I observed yesterday at the Rubio rally I attended in Cedar Rapids was that there were people there who said that they had narrowed down their final choice to being between Rubio and Trump. I previously did not believe that such a person existed in America, as all the Trump supporters I have ever known have basically treated Rubio like he was infected with a particularly virulent strain of leprosy.

But I think that broad brush analysis ignores the fact that not all of Trump’s support is hardcore Trump support. Some people have glommed on to his campaign because they believed he represented the best chance to beat Hillary, and they also saw him as somewhat inevitable. Rubio has been working the state tirelessly over the last two weeks attacking that message specifically and positioning himself as the candidate that Hillary is (justifiably) afraid of.

Intriguing. So I did a quick stubby finger calculation back of the envelop calculation. The easy way of evaluating this is to simply look at Trump vote plus Rubio vote and then compare to the polls. Now the Iowa polls basically didn’t get anything right but the names of the candidates but still, over time, there should be an identifiable trend. If the theory doesn’t hold then the numbers should be everywhere.

trump plus rubio
That simple bit of arithmetic put most of the Iowa polls conducted over the last ten days within the margin of error of the final result. If you drop the three seeming outlier (highlighted) polls, the new average goes up to 46.

This doesn’t prove that Trump lost voters to Rubio but is certainly bolsters Leon’s observation of the likelihood.