<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usFri, 21 Oct 2016 22:01:59 -0400Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:01:59 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Who Shut Down Much of the US Internet Friday?]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:37:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16295768471512-Dyn-Cyberattack-Internet-Outage.jpg

It is too early to determine who was responsible for the digital attacks that darkened much of the internet in the United States Friday, cyber experts and intelligence officials told NBC News.

Some said evidence points to Russia, others proposed it was "internet vandalism." One clue could be a similar attack mounted against the Republic of Georgia eight years ago by Russian cybercriminals enlisted by a Russian intelligence agency.

Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, Spotify and Reddit are some of the sites that were knocked out in the three "denial of service," or DDoS, attacks at about 7 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

The attacks came largely via "smart" household appliances linked to the web, hit websites with more than 150,000 requests for information per second and were largely aimed at one company's internet infrastructure rather than specific websites.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[After Major Outages, 3rd Cyberattack 'Has Been Resolved']]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:53:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/map-outage.jpg

A third wave of denial-of-service attacks on a key piece of internet plumbing was resolved by late Friday, said the company that was targeted.

Internet infrastructure company Dyn Inc. told CNBC earlier in the day that the third wave was underway, causing more disruptions after dozens of the world's most popular websites were taken largely offline Friday morning. 

The White House said it was aware of the situation and that the Department of Homeland Security was looking into it; a senior law enforcement official told NBC News that the FBI has been investigating as well. U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News Friday afternoon that they did not know who was responsible for the attacks, though one source said involvement by North Korea had been ruled out.

Dyn, which runs domain name servers, said on its website that it was subject to a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack. Domain name servers translate website names to the numeric Internet Protocol addresses behind them. Dyn, headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, is one of the larger companies in that business. 

Major internet services including Spotify, Twitter, Paypal, Reddit, the PlayStation Network, Netflix, SoundCloud and a number of media websites were difficult or impossible to reach early Friday.

DownDetector.com, a popular website for checking internet outages, showed a sharp and simultaneous spike in users reporting sites being inaccessible just after 7 a.m. ET and again around noon. 

Service providers including Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and AT&T were also affected. 

Dyn told CNBC that it was being hit by "tens of millions of IP addresses" Friday afternoon, around 4:15 p.m. ET. They said one of the sources of the attack is devices like DVRs, printers, and other appliances that are connected to the internet, collectively known as the "Internet of Things."

Dyn said normal service was restored just over two hours later. But on its website it reported a new attack as of 11:52 a.m. ET that was still underway a half hour later.

"(We) have begun monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue," the company said on its status update page. 

Later Friday, Dyn released a statement saying the third attack "has been resolved."

The extent of the effect was not clear as the attacks unfolded — Twitter experienced partial outages throughout the day. 

"The earlier issues have resurfaced & some people may still be having trouble accessing Twitter," the company wrote on its support account at 12:55 p.m. ET. "We’re working on it!"

After four and a half hours of problems, Twitter reported that Dyn had mitigated the attacks and that Twitter was once again available to all its users. 

Dyn said it was "still investigating and mitigating the attacks on our infrastructure," though a monitoring issue was resolved, it tweeted shortly after 3 p.m. ET.

On social media, people reported renewed difficulty accessing Spotify in Europe, as well as problems with photos and video on Twitter. DownDetector showed fresh spikes in outage reports for sites including PayPal, Netflix and Pinterest. 

The attacks immediately renewed fears about the security of the Internet's core infrastructure, particularly with the presidential election - already the subject of hacking concerns - less than three weeks away.

(Comcast is the owner of NBC parent NBCUniversal.)

Photo Credit: DownDetector.com
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<![CDATA[Abortion Becomes Debate Flashpoint With 'Late-Term' Question]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:34:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16294052406753.jpg

Abortion became a topic in the debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the first time Wednesday night when moderator Chris Wallace focused on access to what he called "late-term, partial-birth" procedures.

"Well, I think it’s terrible," Trump said. "If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

"And, honestly, nobody has business doing what I just said, doing that, as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth," he said. "Nobody has that."

Abortion is one of the most polarizing social issues in America. A May 2016 Gallup poll showed that 29 percent of respondents believed it should be legal under any circumstances, 50 percent only under certain circumstances, and 19 percent illegal in all circumstances. Only 2 percent of those surveyed had no opinion.

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"Late-term abortion" is a non-medical term that varies in definition. Most laws agree that it encompasses abortions near the end of the second trimester, when viability -- the fetus' ability to exist independently of the mother -- comes into question. There are three methods used in "late-term" abortion: dilation and evacuation, where the contents of the uterus are surgically removed after dilating the cervix; early labor induction; and intact dilation and extraction, in which the fetus is taken out as it appeared in the womb and which is widely prohibited.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of reproductive rights, only 1.2 percent of abortions in the United States occur after 21 weeks gestation. Despite their infrequency, Columbia University professor Rachel Adams said that "late-term" abortions have been a hot topic in the political sphere and have served as a means for conservatives to promote an anti-abortion agenda.

"It allows you to make a more viable argument that you're talking about a baby and not a fetus, which I think is a more dividing ethical line," said Adams, who specializes in gender and sexuality studies.

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Americans' attitudes toward late-term abortion seem to be changing as a result of microcephaly, the birth defect that can be caused by the Zika virus. A July poll from Harvard University and STAT, the Boston Globe's publication about health and medicine, found that 61 percent did not think a woman should be able get an abortion after 24 weeks, while 23 percent did. But if the respondents were told that there was a serious possibility that the fetus had microcephaly caused by Zika, the numbers flipped: 59 percent favored allowing a woman to get an abortion and 28 percent disapproved.

Adams criticized Trump's incendiary language of "rip(ping) the baby out of the womb" for its violence toward women and the use of the charged word "baby" for an unborn fetus.

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Others took exception to Wallace referring to "partial-birth abortion" in his question.

"Partial-birth abortion is a political term, it's not a medical term," said Laura Ciolkowski, the associate director at Columbia’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. "The language that we use to talk about abortion really matters."

Terminology aside, Trump's comments revealed a lack of knowledge of gynecological medical practice, according to experts.

"First of all, there’s no such thing as ninth-month abortions," Ciolkowski said. "We call that Cesarean sections."

Lisa Perriera, a staff physician at Philadelphia Women's Center and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Thomas Jefferson University, called Trump's comments at the debate "completely medically inaccurate."

"Abortion procedures are usually performed until viability, which is nowhere near complete nine-months of pregnancy," she said.

Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, has also told Politifact that if there was a risk to a mother's life on her due date "the treatment for that is delivery, and the baby survives.”

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In Pennsylvania, "viability" is legally defined as 23 weeks and six days, but almost all of Perriera's patients have abortions within the first trimester. Among those who don't, it's usually due to a problem with access to healthcare. Because many are on government-issued Medicaid, their procedures aren't covered by insurance and they have to save to be able to afford an abortion, which takes time.

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In the rare event of an abortion after 23 weeks and six days, it's often a situation when "the baby is incredibly sick," and the mother finds out late in the pregnancy, Perriera said.

In the debate, Trump said that if his nominees were appointed to the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade would be reversed "automatically" and issues of abortion would be legislated by the states.

Overturning Roe v. Wade would just make abortion unsafe, according to Perriera.

"It will have really dramatic health outcomes for women," she said. "You will see more women try to self-induce abortion and possibly have an increase in deaths from unsafe abortion."

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said Donald Trump would block access to Planned Parenthood, attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, and believed women should be punished for having an abortion.

The comment was a reference a March 30 town hall event when Trump told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that women who had abortions should receive "some form of punishment." He walked back those remarks the same day to say that women should not be punished.

"Make no mistake, Donald Trump would ban abortion in this country," Richards told NBC. "And that's why women will be the reason he's not elected this November."

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Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the moment the candidate mentioned reversing the 1973 Supreme Court case "was literally when Donald Trump support bottomed out with independents... His willingness to say that puts him on the wrong side of the vast majority of Americans."

After pushing hard for moderators to ask candidates about abortion access since the primary debates, NARAL activists were thrilled to see Wallace highlight the issue.

"The voters were able to hear a pretty stark contrast in the two candidates," Hogue said.

Some conservatives were annoyed Trump did not directly answer the question of whether he wanted Roe v. Wade overturned.

Evan McMullin, the independent presidential candidate, tweeted: "Why can't @RealDonaldTrump actually say the words 'I want Roe v Wade overturned?' I'm the only pro-life candidate in the race."

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Others denounced Clinton’s position.

"Hillary is an extremist on abortion and admitted last night that she is part of a very small, extreme minority of Americans who believe there should be zero restrictions on abortion throughout all nine (months) of pregnancy for any reason," Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, wrote to NBC, emphasizing that she was commenting in a personal, and not official, capacity as a Christian and mother of four.

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"While demanding that crimes against children in war torn countries must stop and touting her pro-toddler agenda, she clearly stated that she thinks everyone is worthy of life except children still in their mothers' womb," Hawkins wrote. "You can't claim you are for all rights of women while simultaneously demanding the right to kill pre-born children, half of which are female."

Matt Batzel, national executive director at American Majority Action, tweeted, "Trump: Ripping the baby out the womb, may be okay with Hillary, but is NOT OKAY WITH ME #debatenight #prolife #neverhillary."

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However, few pro-life organizations have directly addressed Trump's comments during the debate.

Clinton has taken a position that abortions should be "safe, legal, and rare." In the debate, she emphasized that abortion policy has to take into account the life and health of the woman, especially during "late-term" procedures.

"You should meet with some of the women that I have met with, women I have known over the course of my life," Clinton said on Wednesday night. "This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it."

Many abortion-rights supporters were cheered by Clinton's performance.

"Hillary did a wonderful job of bringing it back to the real crisis of access in this country," said Hogue with NARAL Pro-Choice America. "We have now a presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton --partly because she's a woman, partly because she's an excellent leader -- (who) has chosen to listen to real stories of women."

Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AP
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<![CDATA[Highlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:24:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-615943454.jpg The 2016 presidential race has been contentious and full of surprises. Check out scenes from the campaign trail.

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Time Warner Jumps on Report It Could Sell to AT&T]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:41:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/timeGettyImages-616058134.jpg

AT&T is in advanced talks to acquire Time Warner in a deal that could be announced shortly, CNBC reported Friday, citing sources. 

An announcement could come as soon as Monday before the opening bell, as the boards are expected to meet over the weekend, CNBC has learned.

Time Warner could be seeking more than $100 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. That's about in line with $110 a share, according to Bloomberg.

Sources also told CNBC that AT&T could pay well north of $90 a share for Time Warner, and speculated it could be up to $110 a share. Alan Gould, an analyst at Brean Capital, wrote in a research note that such a deal could hit the $110 to $125 a share range.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle's Style Shines Through 8 Years of State Dinners]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:28:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/01shmobama20.jpg First Lady Michelle Obama has been a fashionista for the eight years she’s been in the spotlight. Here are some of her iconic looks during various state dinners that the Obamas have hosted.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Women Will Surf Mavericks Contest]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:32:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FullSizeRender+%281%296.jpg

It's been called one of the most dangerous surf competitions in the world, and for the first time it will be a co-ed contest.

After mounting pressure to include women as well as a lingering meeting by the California Coastal Commission to consider an appeal by the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, Titans of Mavericks competition organizers announced Thursday it will include six women in an inaugural women's division for the first time.

This is a notable moment in the history of the Titans of Mavericks competition, which has never named a female winner.

It was a sizable hurdle to jump for female big-wave surfers, as the all-male panel had not previously invited a woman to be an official competitor in its 17-year history.

There have been women chosen as alternates in past years, starting with big-wave surfer Savannah Shaughnessy in the prior season.

The decision comes after amendments to Titans of Mavericks' beach permit that the event be more inclusive of women in the future.

Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan has made women's inclusion in the  competition one of the major issues in her re-election and says she has been an advocate for change throughout her term.

In an interview with NBC Bay Area, the organizers said the decision for a women's heat is good timing and that there are now enough women in the sport to make a separate division possible. 

"It's a permit that we've never been required to get before — all of a sudden we have a permitting agency so it's something we've been working on for years," Titan of Mavericks founder Jeff Clark said. "Finally there's enough women to put together a women's heat."

Prior to the announcement, competition organizers made a multi-year beach permit stating that it would work to identify female athletes who have surfed Mavericks and evaluate them under the same qualifications all potential Titans must meet before competing.

In its inaugural year, the six women will compete within the division for a prize purse of $30,000.

The winner of the surfing contest in the previous year took home $120,000.

The opening ceremony will be held Friday at 12 p.m. with events happening between November 1 and March 31, 2016.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Rebecca Greenway
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<![CDATA[Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:55:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_0910210590-Orionid-meteor-shower-bulgaria-telescope.jpg

There is something magical about seeing "shooting stars" and you'll have your chance from midnight to dawn Friday and again Saturday night.

Don't get your hopes up that the Orionids will be a spectacular showing though. The end of the full moon, or the waning gibbous moon, will wash out the faintest meteors. If you can find a spot away from the city, you may see a maximum of 10 to 15 meteors per hour.

Halley's comet is really far away but we are intersecting the comet's orbit. What's really cool about the Orionids is the debris comes from the most famous of all comets. Halley's comet's last visit was in 1986, and it will return again in 2061. The comet is no where nearby but this time every year the Earth intersects with its orbit.

The meteor shower is called the Orionids because it appears to fan out from the constellation Orion, the Hunter. These particles, or meteors, are about the size, shape and color of Grape-Nuts cereal.

These tiny pieces of debris slam the top of the Earth's atmosphere 80 miles up. Each meteor hits the atmosphere at 37 miles per second, creating a hot streak of superheated air that you see on the ground as a streak of light. They burn up, never reaching the surface of the Earth. It is inaccurate to call them "shooting stars" because they are bits of rubble.

You don't need any special equipment to watch, simply go outside with an open view and away from as many city lights as possible. Lay down on a blanket or a lawn chair and keep an eye on the sky.

Photo Credit: XPP102
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<![CDATA[With Women as Key Planners, Events at Trump Venues Are Down]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:27:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/marGettyImages-515752270.jpg

There is growing evidence that Donald Trump's mud-slinging is tarnishing his gold-plated name, and industry observers say the Republican presidential nominee risks doing permanent damage to his brand.

"There are certainly groups and event planners shying away [from Trump-related venues] just because they don't want to offend anybody," said David Loeb, managing director and senior real estate research analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.

Already, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is considering relocating an annual fundraiser held at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, NBC News reported. In addition, the PGA announced this summer that it was moving the WGC-Cadillac Championship from the Trump National Doral in Florida to Mexico City next year.

"The majority of the meeting planning community is female, and when you have a candidate who's been very polarizing… it just kind of makes sense that might impact their decision-making," said Kevin Iwamoto, a senior consultant at GoldSpring Consulting. "Planners and buyers are going to vote with their dollars." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Quick and Dirty Guide to Polls for the 2016 Election]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2016 16:15:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/split2-template-new-trump-clinton.jpg

This election, polls have been center stage and often come under fire.

Donald Trump has mentioned online polls, for example, only to have them be contested as falsified, irrelevant, unethical, or out-of-context. But even more respected polls have been all over the map, with most showing a Clinton lead but by vastly different margins.

What explains this variation? How are polls conducted, and what makes for a trustworthy survey? Here's a look into polling during the 2016 election season. 

But first, an introduction.

How Are Polls Conducted?
In 2016, most polls are done either online or over the phone. Pollsters use a sample size — a group meant to represent the larger population — to project how American citizens will vote in November. They come up with unique definitions of their populations: some survey registered voters, others likely voters, and others the adult population. "Likely voters" is an especially tricky category, as pollsters have to define what that means by measuring the enthusiasm of their respondents. 

And low response rates make it difficult for pollsters to get a truly random sample, experts said. 

"No poll is perfect," said Andrew Gelman, political science and statistics professor at Columbia University. "Response rates are typically less than 10 percent. So every poll needs to adjust the sample to match the population in some way."

Because the polls aren’t random, biases based on the sample taint the data.

Polls often differ because their samples vary.

"Who responds to a poll changes from one day to a next," Gelman said. "Different people are home. Different people are likely to respond."

When one of the parties is especially mobilized, its candidate will often experience a bump in the polls that doesn’t necessarily represent a change in public opinion. For example, after the Republican National Convention, Trump saw a perceived increase in support, and Hillary’s lead jumped immediately after the DNC. 

Polling can also prove a self-determining process because if a candidate is thought to be winning, more of his or her followers will take the time to answer a survey, which changes the polling summary.

"Recently, there’s been a big shift towards Hillary Clinton in the polls, and I think that does represent a real shift in public opinion, and I think there are people who have changed their vote intention," Gelman said. "But also, now that the news is looking better for Clinton, I think more Clinton supporters are likely to respond to polls. And now that the news is not looking so good for Trump, I think Trump supporters are less likely to respond." 

Gelman said this year's elections have proved different than those from the past. With Trump’s leaked 2005 video footage about sexual assault and subsequent Republican fall-out, things are becoming increasingly unclear.

"It’s really very hard for me as a political scientist to try to identify how important things like a split of the Republican party would be because historically, when we’ve had these kinds of splits, it’s typically been when the economy was going so strongly that basically everybody wanted to stay with the incumbent," Gelman said. "All sorts of things could happen. Presumably the most likely thing is that Clinton will win by a little bit more than 4 percent, but not a landslide. But it’s just hard to know because this is not something that we’ve really seen before."

And now, a deeper look at 2016 polling data, broken into three types: aggregated predictions, statistically relevant polls and unscientific surveys.

1. Aggregated Predictions 
Aggregated predictions are not polls, but analysis of available polling data to predict who is most likely to win the election.

Example: FiveThirtyEight
How It's Done: Nate Silver aggregates polling data to predict the outcome of the elections based on a model set months before. He forecasts the probability that each candidate will win in November and offers three options to interpret his predictions.

"It’s one way of us telling readers, 'Hey, we don’t have all the answers on this. Here’s a couple of different ways you can do it,'" said Micah Cohen, politics editor at FiveThirtyEight.

As of Oct. 14, all three of FiveThirtyEight's models give Hillary Clinton more than an 80 percent chance of winning the election.

The three forecasts are based on all polling data that the FiveThirtyEight team considers legitimate. They've banned a few pollsters because of "really compelling evidence that they’re faking polls or that they’re doing something else really shady," according to Cohen.

But FiveThirtyEight doesn't treat all polls equally. Silver has rated each poll, and those with higher grades are weighted more in the model. Cohen explained that grades are based on "how accurate… the pollster (has) been in the past" and "how methodologically sound" the pollster is. Silver relies more heavily on state polls because historically they've been right more often. 

The model makes predictions based on likely voters, a category Silver lets the pollsters define for themselves.

Strengths: According to Cohen, "The most basic strength is it does in a systematic and unbiased way what everyone is doing anyway."

Decades before FiveThirtyEight was conceived in 2008, politically active citizens were still trying to combine and decipher polls to predict who would win elections. Silver’s model is impartial, and so it should be more on point than subjective interpretations.

Silver was one of the most accurate pollsters during the 2012 elections, predicting every state in the union correctly.

Weaknesses: Statistical models improve with more data. Because presidential elections only happen every four years, FiveThirtyEight doesn’t have a ton of historical data to determine its model.

"We don’t know that much about how presidential elections work, and so we’re kind of limited by the sample size," Cohen said.

And then there’s the fact that, like many analysts, Silver was blindsided by a Trump Republican nomination. As Gelman said, this isn’t your typical election, and the polling data might not play by the same rules that led to correct FiveThirtyEight predictions in 2008 and 2012. 

Similar resources: The Upshot by The New York Times

2. Statistically Relevant Polls 
The most common polls during election season are conducted by polling organizations, often with a media partner, to predict the outcome of a race. The polls have a stastical basis, and pollsters typically release details on methodology and an expected margin of error. 

Example: Marist Institute for Public Opinion Poll
How It’s Done: Marist conducts both state and national polls, with live callers phoning both mobile phones and land lines. Lee M. Miringoff, the institute’s director, said that his team is in the field nearly every day.

Used by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, the Marist poll earned an "A" on FiveThirtyEight’s pollster rankings, correctly predicting 88 percent of the 146 polls Silver’s team analyzed.

A new poll released on Oct. 10 had Clinton up by 14 points in a two-party race and leading Trump by 11 points when third and fourth party candidates were introduced.

Each poll starts with a sample size of approximately 1,100 adults 18 and older. For national polls, Miringoff determines how many voters to call in each state from the state’s population and relative weight in the election. His probability model is based on likely voters, so first he must find out if the person on the line is registered to vote. Then, he asks a series of questions to gauge how likely they are to cast a ballot. Even if someone is unlikely to vote, they’re included in the model — their vote just weighs less. 

"In polling, not all opinions are created equally," Miringoff said. "The ones who are going to vote are the ones you are most interested in finding out about."

Miringoff can ensure that his data is fitting with the U.S.’ demography by comparing census calculations with his own. He emphasized that the polls represent how the American people feel in the moment. A poll before and after one of the debates might not look the same.

"It’s all about timing. When you’re dealing with an election, it’s a moving target," he said. "This campaign has been one of ups and downs at different times, usually after an important event."

Strengths: By using two different methods — landlines and cellphones — Miringoff offsets bias from both (though not bias from only using calling). Younger people are more likely to pick up their iPhones, whereas older voters might still have a landline, so Marist’s polling takes into account different demographics based on the media they use. The team is also able to take note of how many people own cell phones versus landlines in each state and distribute polling to reflect that — one state may be 80 percent cells and 20 percent landlines, while another is 60 percent and 40 percent.

Weaknesses: The model takes time and costs money. A post-debate poll, for example, might last four days. Meanwhile, some pollsters are releasing data the night of the debate. Miringoff said that those polls will be skewed, as most responses will come from those impassioned to weigh in after 10:30 p.m. on the East Coast. But they’re fast.

Also, refusal rate (which includes people who aren’t home or whose numbers don’t work) is pretty high. These days, it’s hard to get someone to agree to take a survey over the phone. “Clearly it’s become a more difficult process,” Miringoff said.

Similar resources: Quinnipiac University, Gallup, CBS News/New York Times 

Example: UPI/CVoter Poll
How It’s Done: The UPI/CVoter poll is one of two mainstream polls that has often predicted a Trump victory or shown a nearly tied election (the other is the University of Southern California/ Los Angeles Times poll). Both polls use last vote recall, where pollsters ask respondents who they voted for in the last presidential election to gauge how many voters are switching parties or won’t vote at all after participating in the last election. According to Yashwant Deshmukh of CVoter, last vote recall accounts for the Trump lead in his past predictions. However, UPI’s latest data shows Clinton with a comfortable lead

CVoter has a "C+" on Silver’s pollster ratings. 

After using a phone model in 2012, CVoter has moved online for 2016, experimenting with multiple platforms (like SurveyMonkey, Google, etc.) to garner about 250 responses per day. Internet users are incentivized to answer. Boosters focus on specific demographics — for example, one survey is in Spanish, exclusively targeting Latino voters. 

CVoter measures likely voters by simply asking, "How likely are you to vote?" Its cut-off model removes unlikely and undecided voters from the equation. Like Marist, CVoter polls nationally based on population per state. 

Strengths: It’s fast. UPI can update predictions with the data from 250 responses every day.

Weaknesses: Because the poll is online and compensated in some way, it’s tainted with participation bias — tendencies that skew the data.

"It is not a random probability sample," Deshmukh said. "Nobody claims that."

Deshmukh conceded that he’s "not a big fan of online samples," and if possible, he would have chosen a calling model with both landlines and mobiles. However, using automated dialers to call cells is illegal in the United States, and hand-dialing each number would make the process too expensive, he said. 

Also, there’s a reason why most pollsters don’t use last vote recall — it relies on people remembering actions from four years ago, and respondents may misreport.

Deshmukh did not directly address his company's "C+" rating on FiveThirtyEight.

Similar resources: YouGov, Reuters/Ipsos, Google Consumer Surveys

3. Unscientific Surveys
Unscientific surveys are Internet-based polls that ask the user - anyone who comes to the site - to indicate their preference. They can quickly get feedback on a real-time event, such as a debate or a political convention. 

Example: The First Debate

The day after the first 2016 presidential debate, Trump tweeted out that his "movement" had won the night before. He included an image with 10 polls all showing him as the victor. However, national polls conducted during the week following the debate implied a bump in Clinton's overall popularity. 

So why did 10 polls indicate that she had lost the debate?

Websites like Drudge Report and CNBC launched surveys to try to monitor how each candidate performed. They were unscientific, in that they didn't use any controls. Forget categories like "likely" or "registered" voters -- anyone from around the world could respond, and if someone used proxies, the user could get into the survey multiple times. Also, as Miringoff noted, the East Coast respondents would only be those who were fired up and and would not be representative of national opinion. 

Strengths: Unscientific polls yield nearly immediate results. As Gelman said, “People want to click every day, so you have to have something new."

Weaknesses: There is absolutely no evidence that they're believable.  

What It All Means
According to Cohen, data from the last 15 presidential campaigns indicate that polls don't move much between October and Election Day. So based on current polls, the U.S. is is more likely to elect its first female president on Nov. 8. 

But the final tally will probably be close, Gelman said. In the end, what matters is which "likely voters" turn up to the voting booths. 

“There is evidence that there’s higher turnout in close elections," Gelman said.

And polls are subject to human error and can be wrong, as Cohen pointed out. 

“These are tools built by very fallible people,” he said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:55:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-615854050.jpg View daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Make Her Opera Debut]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:58:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP352200093523.jpg

Fans of the Supreme Court and the opera are in for a double treat next month, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her debut in Washington, D.C., NBC News reports. 

She'll be on stage at the Washington National Opera as the Duchess of Krakenthorp in "The Daughter of the Regiment," though for one night only — opening night, on Nov. 12.

The 83-year-old justice is a well-known opera fan, and has actually been on stage with the group before, as an extra in three productions, but this is her official debut. Ginsburg won't actually be singing in the 1840 rom-com by Gaetano Donizetti, though. Her part is strictly a speaking role. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pentagon IDs US Sailor Killed by Roadside Bomb in Iraq]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:15:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jason+Finan+1021.jpg

A sailor with the U.S. Navy based in Coronado, California, was the American service member killed in Iraq Thursday, Defense Department officials confirmed Friday.

Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, died Thursday from injuries suffered by an "improvised explosive device," or roadside bomb, officials said.

Finan was from Anaheim, California, and was serving in Iraq with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 in an advisory capacity, according to the Pentagon. 

"The entire Navy Expeditionary Combat Command family offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and loved ones of the Sailor we lost," said Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command/NECC Pacific, in a news release.

Finan was the first U.S. service member to die in combat since the launch of a massive operation to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul earlier this week.

More than 100 U.S. special operations forces are embedded with Iraqi units, and hundreds more are playing a supporting role in staging bases.

As of early this month, there were 4,565 U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. That doesn't include another 1,500 troops considered there "on temporary duty," whose number changes daily, according to the U.S. officials.

Three other service members have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes against IS in August 2014.

<![CDATA[Niantic School Cancels Halloween Parade, Bans Costumes]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:31:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Lillie+B+Haynes+elementary+school.jpg

A Connecticut elementary school is canceling its Halloween parade and banning students from wearing costumes in school this year. 

The principal of Lillie B. Haynes in Niantic sent a letter to families on Wednesday with the decision and said school leaders made the decision with input from staff members. 

“This decision was based on many factors including safety and exclusion of students," Principal Melissa DeLoreto said in a statement. "With increasing societal safety concerns, the number of adults who attend this event, some in costumes, poses a potential safety threat.” 

School officials said students in past years have been excluded from participating because of religion and cultural beliefs. 

“We believe school day activities must be inclusive for all students and we must be sensitive in regards to holidays and celebrations of religious, cultural or secular nature,” DeLoreto wrote. “Please know classroom celebrations will continue to take place however, they will be Fall themed, not Halloween.” 

DeLoreto said classroom teachers will send home information about the celebration.

"I think it's a little overreaction -- knee jerk," said parent Shawn Prevost, whose two nieces and a nephew attend the school with his daughter. "But it's one thing that happens. As parents you have to explain to them the reasons behind it." 

But another parent noted that there are other ways to celebrate Halloween in town, including at East Lyme's "Trick or Trunk" event. 

NBC Connecticut also reached out to the superintendent, but has not heard back.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Democratic Strategist Refutes Trump's Claims of Paid Protests]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:13:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DONALD6.jpg

A longtime Democratic activist said that contrary to Donald Trump’s allegations at Wednesday's debate, he had no role in any secret plan to instigate violence at Trump rallies.

Robert Creamer told NBC5 Investigates, “Aside from the fact that we didn’t want to--why would we provoke the crowd? Donald Trump did it from his own podium.”

At issue: rowdy confrontations between pro-and-anti-Trump forces outside his campaign events, including a notable rally at the UIC Pavilion last March which became so raucous that the candidate canceled his appearance. Conservative activist James O’Keefe claims in a new video to have secretly recorded Creamer and his associates discussing the plants they supposedly placed in the crowds to goad Trump supporters into violence.

“We have mentally ill people that we pay … make no mistake,” activist Scott Foval is heard boasting on the tape. “If you’re there and you’re protesting and you do these actions, you will be attacked at Trump rallies. That’s what we want.”

“I was wondering what happened with my rally in Chicago and other rallies where we had such violence,” Trump declared during Wednesday evening’s debate as he pointed across the stage at his Democratic opponent. “She’s the one, and Obama, that caused the violence.”

On the tape, Foval appears to brag of his association with Creamer, a longtime Democratic strategist who is married to Illinois congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

“Bob Creamer is diabolical and I love him for it,” he says. “There’s a script of engagement. Sometimes the crazies bite, and sometimes the crazies don’t bite.”

But Creamer, chief of the firm Democracy Partners, adamantly disavows Foval’s claims.

“He was not a contractor at the time he made the statements in April,” he told NBC5. “The things he described were contrary to the policies of Democracy Partners---never happened.”

He would not speculate about why Foval made the claims he did, in conversations which he was not aware were being recorded.  Creamer accused the Trump forces of committing dirty tricks of their own.

“James O’Keefe, the discredited individual behind this well-orchestrated spying scheme directed at our firm, uses methods that would make Richard Nixon and the Watergate burglars proud,” he said in a statement. “O’Keefe executed a plot that involved the use of trained operatives using false identification, disguises, and elaborate false covers to infiltrate our firm and other consulting firms, in order to steal campaign plans, and goad unsuspecting individuals into making careless statements on hidden cameras."

The Associated Press reported that O'Keefe and Project Veritas often target Democratic groups with hidden cameras and false identities. O'Keefe filmed hidden camera footage at an office of community organizing group ACORN, portraying workers there as engaging in criminal activity, which led to the end of the group.

His 2010 scheme to film illegally at the office of Mary Landrieu, then a Democratic U.S. senator for Louisiana, resulted in O'Keefe being convicted, according to the AP.

In excerpts on the edited video that Project Veritas recently released, Foval seems to boast of the ease with which campaign events can be disrupted.

“It’s a matter of showing up, to want to get into the rally with a Planned Parenthood t-shirt,” he said. “Or Trump is a Nazi, you know? You can message to draw them out, and draw them to punch you.”

Two police officers were injured and five protesters arrested at the Chicago event, with the taxpayers shelling out over $100,000 in police overtime. As a result of the fallout from the video, Creamer severed his relationship with Foval, and announced he was “stepping back” from his responsibilities working with the Clinton campaign.

“Because I did not want to be a distraction from this campaign in the last two and a half weeks,” he told NBC5. “I did not want to be a lightning rod.”

Creamer made news of his own 10 years ago, when he was convicted of fundraising irregularities surrounding his former consumer group, Illinois Public Action. He was sentenced to five months in prison for bank fraud and an associated tax charge. He is a longtime Democratic consultant, working on the campaigns of, among others, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and now congressman Mike Quigley.

The news website DNA Info reported Thursday that Twitter was bursting with anti-Trump posters who facetiously wondered where their paychecks might be.

“Trump, Chicago didn’t need to be paid to express our dislike for you,” Christopher Mikell said in a tweet posted Wednesday night. “We just ain’t got none.”

Activist Jedidiah Brown put it even more succinctly.

“I need Donald Trump to please tell me where I can get my $1,500 for standing against him at the Chicago rally.”

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Montana Judge Criticized for 60-Day Sentence for Incest]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:29:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/generictrial.jpg

Thousands are calling for the impeachment of a Montana judge for what they argue was a too lenient sentence given to a father who admitted to committing incest with his 12-year-old daughter, NBC News reported.

The judge, John McKeon, sentenced the man to 60 days in prison when the sentence could’ve been as long as 25 years. NBC News is not identifying the father in order to protect the identity of his daughter.

A Change.org petition has accumulated more than 62,000 signatures of people demanding the judge’s impeachment.

McKeon defended his decision, stating that the psychosexual evaluation during the trial revealed the man could be safely treated and supervised.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Poll: 45 Percent of GOP Might Not Accept Election Results]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:14:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/DONALD-TRUMP11.jpg

Among Republican and Republican-leaning likely voters, 45 percent said they might not accept the election as legitimate if their candidate doesn't win, including 18 percent who said they would definitely not accept the outcome, according to the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Third Debate Reaction Poll conducted on Thursday, Oct. 20. A majority of Republicans—53 percent—said they would accept the results of the election if their candidate loses, NBC News reported.

Voters polled also said Hillary Clinton won the third and final debate of the 2016 Presidential Election cycle by a 9-point margin over Donald Trump. A 46 percent plurality said Clinton won the debate, while 37 percent said Trump won. Another 17 percent said that neither candidate won the debate. Clinton's final victory over the Republican nominee marks a decisive sweep of all three debates.

The debate was most notable for Trump's refusal to say he would accept the outcome of the election—with some GOP leaders joining a backlash.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dem Group to Warn Millennials Third-Party Vote Helps Trump]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:42:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/johnson-stein.jpg

A deep-pocketed environmental group aligned with Hillary Clinton will blanket 1.1 million households in battleground states with mailers warning millennials that a vote for a third-party candidate only helps Donald Trump, the group told NBC News.

The League of Conservation Voters plans to spend $2.6 million before Election Day, most of which will go towards their efforts to prevent Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein — polling at about 7 percent and 3 percent, respectively — from siphoning votes away from Clinton.

"There are high stakes for young voters in this election, including the opportunity to meet the climate crisis head-on, and they overwhelmingly dislike Trump. But some may still be leaning towards a third-party candidate instead of Hillary," said LCV National Campaigns Director Clay Schroers. "This is a group of young people who don't want to risk a Trump presidency, and it's important that they know that a vote for anyone but Hillary is a vote for Trump."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Model Katie May's Death Caused By Chiropractic Procedure]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:30:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/katiemayfeuerherd.jpg

Former "Playboy" model Katie May's death in February was caused by a chiropractic procedure to her neck, the Los Angeles County coroner's office told NBC News.

May died on Feb. 4 due to a "manipulation of the neck," the coroner's office said. Her death was ruled an accident.

On Friday, the American Chiropractic Association offered condolences to May's family, but defended chiropractic neck procedures.

"Our sympathy goes out to the family of Katie May," they wrote in a statement. "With respect to the safety of neck manipulation, it’s important to understand there are risks and benefits to all treatments; however, the best available evidence indicates there is no causal relationship between neck manipulation and stroke."

"Millions of neck manipulations are performed safely in the U.S. every year, providing patients relief from common forms of neck pain and headache, and helping them to get back to their normal activities," the statement continued.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Media Attacks: 'Biting the Hands That Fed Him'?]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:39:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-615754408-%281%29.jpg

Donald Trump's increased hostility towards the media is not only a dangerous approach because it erodes voters' faith in the integrity of the electrical system, but the strategy is also somewhat ironic for the former reality TV star. After all, without it, he would never have become the nominee of the Republican Party.

"He's biting the hands that fed him for all those months," said Temple University journalism professor Larry Atkins, author of "Skewed: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Media Bias."

Trump earned close to $2 billion worth of free media attention — dwarfing that of his Republican competitors in the primaries, according to the New York Times, NBC News reported.

Kurt Bardella, Breitbart's former spokesman, said that by setting up a narrative that the media are corrupt, he's building the foundation for another business venture. 

"Everything he says and does — and this has been the case for weeks — has been laying down the case for the rationale for a Trump TV," Bardella said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Could an Undiscovered Planet Be Why Our Sun Is Tilted?]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 22:42:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Planet-Nine-artist%27s-rendering.jpg

A theoretical, distant and undiscovered planet in the solar system may be why the sun is tilted, according to a new study released this week by Caltech scientists.

It's called Planet Nine, NBC News reported, and it is said to be lurking deep in the Milky Way, tilting the planets in our solar system by as much as six degrees — or so the calculations say.

"Because Planet Nine is so massive and has an orbit tilted compared to the other planets, the solar system has no choice but to slowly twist out of alignment," said Elizabeth Bailey, lead author of the study announcing the discovery.

Planet Nine remains a mystery. It was proposed through computer and mathematical modeling, but one has actually seen it yet, far beyond Pluto, which used to be thought of as the ninth planet.

Photo Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)]]>
<![CDATA[Pediatrics Group Lifts 'No Screens Under 2' Rule]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:32:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-135280995.jpg

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new screen media guidelines for parents with infants and young children, amending its previous recommendation that outright banned screens for children under the age of two.

In its policy statement released Friday, the AAP says it’s OK for children under the age of 18 months to Skype or Face Time with grandma and grandpa, and for older children and teens to do some of their socializing, learning and playing online – as long as they put down their devices long enough to sleep, exercise, eat, and engage in rich offline lives. 

The nation's leading group of pediatricians recommends children under 18 months, with the exception of video chatting, should avoid screens. Children between 18 months and 24 months should only be introduced to digital media that is high-quality and parents should watch it with their children in order to help them process what they’re seeing.

For children ages 2-5, digital media use should be limited to one hour a day. The guidelines again recommend high-quality, education media suited for children, such as Sesame Street and PBS.

Overall, parents should avoid using media to calm a child or replace physical activity. Parents are also recommended by the AAP to have media-free time with their children and media-free zones in the house. Parents should also have conversations with children about online safety and respecting people both on and offline.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Speaks About Trump's Comments on Women]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 22:59:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Belitting-147693197079900001.jpg “Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger,” Hillary Clinton said at the debate on Oct. 19, 2016. Donald Trump responded by saying, "Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody." ]]> <![CDATA[Chicago, Post-Laquan McDonald]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:09:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-498664792-chicago.jpg

The shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald two years ago, on Oct. 20, 2014, has become the defining moment of a mayor, his police force, the criminal justice system and a city that for decades resisted with all its might the notion that a code of silence dictated who got justice and who did not.

Even Jamie Kalven, the independent Chicago journalist who first broke the story of the 2014 killing of the teenager, shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke, admits being stunned at it's impact.

"It is extraordinary," he said this week. "I’ve never seen anything like it. I couldn’t have imagined it."

Alderman Pat O'Connor, Rahm Emanuel's City Council floor leader, does not disagree.

"I think it has changed, definitely changed the way the city operates going forward," O'Connor said in an interview in his City Hall office.

It hardly started out that way.

A police involved shooting.

A kid with a knife — according to the now discredited official version — who was out of control.

"He lunged at police," asserted Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden on the scene that night.

Ultimately, police dash cam video would prove that not to be true.

It was something City Hall and CPD knew within hours of Laquan McDonald's death. But the general public did not. Not until a year later, November of 2015, when a Cook County judge ordered the release of the video.

"Everybody saw in a very incredible way this young man being shot," O'Connor said.

"It has affected not just questions of police accountability and police-community relations but really every dimension of our public life in Chicago," Kalven said.

The ramifications were immense. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired. State's Attorney Anita Alvarez voted out of office. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder and entered a plea of not guilty. Police reports showed a cavalier attitude by higher ups signing off on police reports that proved untrue. Federal prosecutors began to probe. The Justice Department opened a pattern and practice investigation. And the mayor was humbled as his popularity plunged.

"I know that the city’s efforts have been an honest attempt to make sure that we are making changes," Pat O’Connor argues. And there have been structural changes.

The Independent Police Review Authority, tasked with probing police shootings, was cast aside in favor of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

But perhaps most significantly, police video evidence is to be released publicly within 60 days. In McDonald’s case it took 13 months for the city to be forced by a Cook County judge to release the damning pictures.

But it is how the system works — and worked the night of October 20, 2014 — that most concerns the journalist Jamie Kalven. What took place, he argues, went far beyond a cover-up.

"A cover-up would be a matter of a relatively small number of people conspiratorially suppressing something,” he said, adding he thinks this “is the way our institutions work. And I think we are all reckoning with that."

As is the family of Laquan McDonald, who released a statement on this second anniversary of his death reading:

Laquan’s death at the hands of Jason Van Dyke was a brutal and senseless act of violence.

Time has not dulled the pain of this tragic loss to his mother, his sister and the rest of his extended family.

We thank all of the people who have honored Laquan’s memory and continue to advocate for police reform.

We look forward to the day when Jason Van Dyke will be held responsible for Laquan’s senseless murder and everyone involved in trying to cover up this criminal act is held accountable.

Only then will justice truly be served.

Today, two special prosecutors and the U.S. Department of Justice continue to investigate.

As defining moments go, the case of Laquan McDonald still grips Chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>