One of the big mysteries to me is how a sane person can look at this election season and come to the conclusion that Russia had any impact whatsoever. As the polls and favorability surveys show, Clinton improved her standing in the polls after the DNC emails were released. Hillary Clinton had higher favorability ratings than Donald Trump at every point in the general election campaign. She led Donald Trump in the polls at all times AND she won the popular vote.
First, let’s look at opinion of the voters. Surely, anything that led swarms of voters to decide to forsake Hillary for Cheeto Jesus would show up there.
This chart starts on July 1, 2016. Two dates to keep in mind. The first tranche of hacked DNC emails were released by Wikileaks on July 22, 2016. The publication of the Podesta emails started on October 7.
What is notable about this chart is that on July 1, Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable was 40.1/55.6. That is as stunning 15 point deficit. On November 7, she was at 41.6/55.0. Statistically she was unchanged. But you could even say she had gained a point in favorability since July.
If the Russians were trying to help Trump, it didn’t do much to damage Clinton’s image with the voters. Well if it didn’t hurt Clinton did it help Trump? Again, this is favorability ratings starting July 1.
Trump’s favorability rating is actually worse than Clinton’s throughout the course of the summer and the tightening begins after November 1. In fact, Trump won the election with a worse favorable/unfavorable rating than Clinton.
Finally, let’s look at the polling for the same time frame
As you can see, Hillary jumped out to a lead after the DNC emails were released. After October 7, Clinton again increases her lead. She continues to gain strength until after October 17.
The best one can say about the Russian effort, if it was even focused on affecting the outcome of the election (something that I think is laughable on its face), is that is was a failure in every respect. And the Democrats aren’t dumb. They know this. Let’s look at Dianne Feinstein who, looking like she is working as an extra in “The Walking Dead”, was on “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd this morning
Let me buttonhole something, though. You said you believe that Russia’s interference altered the outcome of the election.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN:
I do. I believe that with–
So do you believe he’s a legitimately– yeah.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN:
Well, it’s a combination of a couple of things. I think that, and I think the F.B.I., in the October surprise, I call it an October surprise, of announcing a subsequent investigation, did have an impact. And I believe the Clinton people believe it did, too. They were polling and they were up, and all of that diminished.
Feinstein’s focus throughout her interview is on Comey’s letter to Congress. But while that has a stronger case than the DNC hack, because it got a lot of coverage primarily because of Democrats crying about it, with most of the electorate Hillary Clinton’s pathological dishonesty were baked in. No one learned anything new from Comey’s letter. And, empirically, she wasn’t hurt in the polls AND she won the popular vote.
The fact that Feinstein glides over the Russia issue and latches onto Comey is no accident. It tells you that the intelligence one the Russian hacking is mostly speculative and won’t stand the light of day (which is why it hasn’t seen the light of day) and that a new fall guy is needed for Clinton’s loss.