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AI Wessex
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Rove had an op-ed in the WSJ the other day where he claimed almost the mirror opposite of Silver, arguing that Romney is ahead in nearly all the polls. He didn't list them, however. His point was that Romney is unstoppable.
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DonaldD
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I'm not sure how much of an outlier 538 is...

Electoral College prediction:
538: 303 to 235
RCP: 290 to 248
Electoral-vote.com: 281 to 215 (tie 42)

As for the % to win - basically, 538 comes down to Ohio now - the vast majority of combinations have the winner in Ohio taking the EC majority.

Basically, Silver has Obama at an 80% likelihood to take Ohio based on state polling - you can argue about how to calculate the % chance of winning the state, but all polls have Obama up in the state.

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kmbboots
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Depends on who is counting the votes in Ohio. As that person is Jon Husted, I am not optimistic.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:

As for the % to win - basically, 538 comes down to Ohio now - the vast majority of combinations have the winner in Ohio taking the EC majority.

I also, at the start of this thread, put Ohio in that category. It's a pretty obvious thing to most of us I think.

quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
Basically, Silver has Obama at an 80% likelihood to take Ohio based on state polling - you can argue about how to calculate the % chance of winning the state, but all polls have Obama up in the state.

That's the outlier I'm talking about - 80%. The state is a toss-up, razor thin margins in most polling, within MOE. And not all polls have Obama up - Rasmussen has it Romney by 2.

[ November 02, 2012, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: G3 ]

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G3
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just looked and found this:
quote:
Obama carried Ohio by a 51% to 47% margin in 2008, but just 46% of the state’s voters now approve of the job he is doing. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove. This includes Strong Approval from 29% and Strong Disapproval from 44%, giving the president a slightly worse job approval rating in Ohio than he earns nationally.

Forty-seven percent (47%) have a favorable opinion of the president and 52% have an unfavorable view. Those figures include 32% with a Very Favorable opinion and 42% who have a Very Unfavorable view of him.

Romney is viewed favorably by 53% and unfavorably by 45%, including 40% with a Very Favorable opinion of the former Massachusetts governor and 32% with a Very Unfavorable one.

With that, I find it impossible to believe there is a unbiased way to put Barry at 80% on Ohio. He might take it yet once all the votes are counted but a 80% chance? No, no way.

[ November 02, 2012, 01:20 PM: Message edited by: G3 ]

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NobleHunter
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Here's Silver's methodology:

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/methodology/

It describes why he puts the chances at Obama taking Ohio at 80%. ETA: Or what process he used to reach that decision.

[ November 02, 2012, 01:28 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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DonaldD
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
just looked and found this:
quote:
Obama carried Ohio by a 51% to 47% margin in 2008, but just 46% of the state’s voters now approve of the job he is doing. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove. This includes Strong Approval from 29% and Strong Disapproval from 44%, giving the president a slightly worse job approval rating in Ohio than he earns nationally.

Forty-seven percent (47%) have a favorable opinion of the president and 52% have an unfavorable view. Those figures include 32% with a Very Favorable opinion and 42% who have a Very Unfavorable view of him.

Romney is viewed favorably by 53% and unfavorably by 45%, including 40% with a Very Favorable opinion of the former Massachusetts governor and 32% with a Very Unfavorable one.

With that, I find it impossible to believe there is a unbiased way to put Barry at 80% on Ohio. He might take it yet once all the votes are counted but a 80% chance? No, no way.
Well, yes - but those numbers all come from a single (Rasmussen) poll, which is not even the latest Ohio state poll.

For a fuller picture, one could look at all the polls done for Ohio over a month or two weeks.

Looking at the most recent poll from each firm over the last month (25 polls in total) 18 show Obama leading, 3 are ties and 4 show Romney leading. Just for fun: 18 / (18 + 4) = 0.82, so roughly 80% of the polls show Obama 'winning' the poll. [Smile]

In the last 2 weeks, the polls (19 of them) show Obama having an average lead of 2.16% (2.24% for the full month).

Compare that to Florida, where Romney only has an average 0.74% lead over Obama for the past 2 weeks (12 polls).

If you consider Ohio to be a tossup, then so is Florida, which opens up many other paths to victory for Obama, and makes Romney's path more difficult.

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G3
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I do consider FL a tossup with a small advantage to Mitt - that's precisely why I put it in my list of states to watch in the first post on this thread. For future reference ... I did the same for VA.

Let's go back and look at that OP:
quote:
The defeat of Gov. Ted Strickland by John Kasich, a Republican, was one of the most painful outcomes of the election for Democrats and President Obama, who campaigned repeatedly in Ohio, as did Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and former President Bill Clinton.

The ouster of 5 of the 10 Democrats serving in Ohio’s 18-member Congressional delegation also caused Democrats plenty of heartburn.

But a string of other local Republican victories in the state could hurt Democrats for years to come.

Republicans defeated Democrats in all major races for statewide office ...

That was only 2 years ago, there's no reason to believe that has changed and, in fact, most polling suggests that the sentiment that drove that GOP landslide is still strong - as my previous post demonstrates.

Looking at polling over time is a good deal but I think it's more important to look at the internals of those polls and the picture they paint there is somewhat inconsistent and definitely not favorable to Barry. He's losing independents by a huge margin, turnout patterns are not boding well and he's just squeaking by in polls that give him rather incredible demographic advantages. I don't know if he'll win OH or not but I think Rasmussen may be the more accurate poll in this.

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TCB
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Let's just be clear about what we're arguing about. Below are the current RCP averages in the battleground states. (RCP is run by conservatives, if that matters to you.)

MN: Obama +5.0
WI: Obama +5.0
PA: Obama +4.6
MI: Obama +3.0
NV: Obama +2.7
OH: Obama +2.3
IA: Obama +2.0
NH: Obama +2.0
CO: Obama +0.9
VA: Romney +0.5
FL: Romney +1.2
NC: Romney +3.8

You don't have to be biased to think that Obama is the favorite. You just have to take the polling consensus at face value, and there are good reasons to do that - polls are historically predictive of election results.

To think that Obama isn't the favorite requires that you don't take the polling consensus at face value, and there may be good reasons to view them skeptically. All of the credible arguments I've heard for not trusting polls involve criticizing likely voter screens, which is pretty much turnout assumptions.

Bottom line, we're arguing about whether the polling industry as a whole, nationwide is using valid turnout assumptions.

I trust professional pollsters to predict turnout better than pundits, so I would normally discount the conservative complaints. But the media coverage weirdly contradicts the polling data - they portray North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia as easy locks for Romney, and longtime Democratic bastions as toss-ups. Either they know something we don't or Romney is playing them like a fiddle.

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G3
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They do know something they're not telling you and it's precisely what I'm telling you for the reasons I give. [Wink]

It's a lot closer than those polls imply.

[ November 02, 2012, 02:54 PM: Message edited by: G3 ]

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Viking_Longship
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TCB I think the media is trying to up the drama.

Whatever else happens I know the guy I'm voting for is going to lose.

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G3
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quote:
Two weeks of Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll interviews find 84 percent of likely voters who supported Obama in 2008 support him this year, while 13 percent say they are switching to Romney and 3 percent are backing others or haven’t made up their mind yet.
13% defecting from Barry to Mitt? I'll have to see that to believe it, seems a little high.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TCB:
I trust professional pollsters to predict turnout better than pundits, so I would normally discount the conservative complaints. But the media coverage weirdly contradicts the polling data - they portray North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia as easy locks for Romney, and longtime Democratic bastions as toss-ups. Either they know something we don't or Romney is playing them like a fiddle.

The media isn't being played by Romney, most of them don't like Romney. I doubt they definitely know something we don't, but they also know that the polls probably are over-predicting Obama likely turnout.

From Reason:
quote:
Without seeing the demographic composition of the likely voters in each poll, it appears that several polls are extrapolating 2008 turnout beyond what will actually occur in 2012. Consequently, these polls may overestimate Democratic turnout and thus Obama’s lead in the polls. Excluding Rasmussen, the average Democratic share lead among these polls is approximately 5 points, when historically it has been 3 points among actual voters (excluding partisan Independents). If likely voter models have in fact overestimated Democratic turnout, Obama’s lead could shrink about one and a half points.
Reason
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Wayward Son
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There was a bit of talk about bias on this thread, so I thought it might be interesting to see what the actual bias in the polls was.

Oddly enough (or perhaps not so odd, considering the expectations vs the results), there was a Republican bias in the polls, at least according to Nate Silver.

quote:
However, it turned out that most polling firms underestimated Mr. Obama’s performance, so those that had what had seemed to be Democratic-leaning results were often closest to the final outcome.

Conversely, polls that were Republican-leaning relative to the consensus did especially poorly.

Among telephone-based polling firms that conducted a significant number of state-by-state surveys, the best results came from CNN, Mellman and Grove Insight. The latter two conducted most of their polls on behalf of liberal-leaning organizations. However, as I mentioned, since the polling consensus underestimated Mr. Obama’s performance somewhat, the polls that seemed to be Democratic-leaning often came closest to the mark.

Several polling firms got notably poor results, on the other hand. For the second consecutive election — the same was true in 2010 — Rasmussen Reports polls had a statistical bias toward Republicans, overestimating Mr. Romney’s performance by about four percentage points, on average. Polls by American Research Group and Mason-Dixon also largely missed the mark.

It was one of the best-known polling firms, however, that had among the worst results. In late October, Gallup consistently showed Mr. Romney ahead by about six percentage points among likely voters, far different from the average of other surveys. Gallup’s final poll of the election, which had Mr. Romney up by one point, was slightly better, but still identified the wrong winner in the election. Gallup has now had three poor elections in a row. In 2008, their polls overestimated Mr. Obama’s performance, while in 2010, they overestimated how well Republicans would do in the race for the United States House.

Check out Nate's first chart in the article.

So while there was some bias in the polls this year, a vast majority of them broke Republican, especially among the larger polling firms.

Turns out the polls were not too Democratic, but rather they were not Democratic enough. [Smile]

[ November 12, 2012, 02:31 PM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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D.W.
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I think every election should be "too close to call". Maybe then our voter turnout will be a bit more respectable.
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Pete at Home
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That certainly did not work with the 2000 re-count-o-rama. Too Close to Call leads to examination of the vote system and magnification of its flaws, plus plain false accusations of fraud, resulting in a lower turnout in the next election.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
I think every election should be "too close to call". Maybe then our voter turnout will be a bit more respectable.
These priorities seem upside down. We want voter turnout to be high so that the results can be representative, and so that the winner has a clear mandate.

To want the elections to be close (leading to an unclear mandate and general mistrust/distrust) *just* so as to to increase voter turnout...

Beware lost purposes.

[ November 13, 2012, 08:03 AM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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AI Wessex
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I saw an article that articulates why the electoral system is a good idea better than I've been able to (summary):

1. Certainty. There have never been any "voting irregularities" in the electoral college. The electors vote for the candidate they are obligated to. The popular vote can be contested (Florida 2000) or subjected to a recount if the difference between the candidates is less than a certain amount. That's expensive and very time-consuming. It took 8 months after the 2008 election for Minnesota to declare Al Franken the winner and take his seat in the Senate.

2. Everyone's President. No part of the country has enough electoral votes to elect the President on its own. Electoral politics forces candidates to address the needs of states with different priorities and regional needs.

3. Swing state effect. Swing state voters are probably the best barometer of who better represents everyone. Since the voters are split between the candidates their constant appearances there highlight the "debate" for the rest of us. Admittedly neither Obama nor Romney talked about global warming or immigration in Ohio, but people in states like Alabama aren't going to give the time of day to the Democratic Party candidate. No matter how often s/he comes by Mobile, what would s/he talk about there?

4. The big state problem. If NY, CA and TX were all heavily Dem** or GOP, the vote stockpile in those states could overwhelm the rest of the country where people were evenly divided. You would end up with a "big state" federal system that could then dictate "national" priorities to the other 47 states.

5. Runoff elections. This is probably the biggest one. Clinton won only 43% of the popular vote in 1992 but got more than enough electoral votes. If we elect the President by popular vote we would have either had to have a coalition between Clinton-Perot or Bush-Perot (Parlamint - yuck!) or a whole new run-off election. The only time the electoral system didn't clearly pick a winner was 1824. Perot didn't get any electoral votes, but if he had and neither Bush/Clinton got 270 the election would have ended up in the House and it would have been a partisan dogfight.

** We need a TLA for the Democrats. I was thinking of DIP (Damn Immigrant Party).

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Aris Katsaris
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This list kinda assumes the things that are to be proven
1. There's no voting irregularities in the electoral college, because the electoral college doesn't cast a meaningful vote. You don't know the name of a single "elector": They're numbers not decision-makers. It's not as if you were suspensefully asking yourself "but will the electors of Obama actually *vote* for Obama?". You already knew the election was over when the "electors" were chosen. The "electoral college" as a grouping of physical people is merely of symbolic importance.

2 and 3. At this point the list doesn't even care if it's contradicting itself. First it says that the candidates need to address the needs of different states -- then it concedes that the result is whichever states are already assumed lost to a particular candidate, said candidate doesn't need to give a crap about them.

4. This is just nonsense. It's the winner-takes-all-system that gives disproportional importance to the populations of big states.

5. And here it is just assumed that "runoff elections" and/or coalition are bad things.

Jeez, these are supposed to be arguments?

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D.W.
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quote:
These priorities seem upside down. We want voter turnout to be high so that the results can be representative, and so that the winner has a clear mandate.
WE certainly don’t want that. You may. If there is a near equal vote for extreme left as there is to the extreme right I want the winners to act like a damn centrist. THAT is representative.
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AI Wessex
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[To Aris:] Yes, I agree with them all. To your comments:

1. Why would the names of electors matter? It's all about proportional representation of states.

2/3. We don't have a parliamentary system, but use semi-sovereign state representation to elect the President. For purposes of electing the President Alabama's electoral votes matter, but we already know who they will vote for. They should still go to the polls as a matter of formality and because they have other things to vote on, like in California.

4. You're arguing for a different system than we have if you think winner-take-all (popular) and balanced representation (electoral college) are bad things. You'll have to wait for the revolution.

5. Yes, they are bad things if they are gamed and ours surely would be. It would be good if they were held that they take place a week after the general election so there would be a compressed advertising cycle. I'd like the general election to have restrictions like that, where no political ads are allowed until 6 weeks before the conventions or the election.

[ November 13, 2012, 09:27 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
WE certainly don’t want that. You may. If there is a near equal vote for extreme left as there is to the extreme right I want the winners to act like a damn centrist. THAT is representative.
You don't indicate how higher turnout will lead to winners acting like a "damn centrist", compared to a lower turnout.

quote:
You're arguing for a different system than we have
...I don't know what system you think I have been arguing for.

Right now I think I have just been arguing against the particular points that this particular list is making.

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D.W.
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quote:
You don't indicate how higher turnout will lead to winners acting like a "damn centrist", compared to a lower turnout.
I wasn't trying to. I want a higher turn out because it means people actually care about who represents them.

In addition to that I want the elected officials to try and represent all their constituents. If they campaigned as leaning in one direction but win by a narrow margin they should act as a slightly leaning centrist. If they win by a landslide then they should push their agenda all the more.

One is not a prescription for the other. They are two separate desires.


It also matters who they ran against. If an extreme left runs against a moderate and barely wins their agenda should be more left than if that same left candidate won narrowly against an extreme right candidate. In that case he should pursue a moderate agenda. I don’t think this is likely but it’s what I would love to see happen.

I don't like 29 people pushing around 28 people while 43 people look on with dissintrest.

[ November 13, 2012, 09:56 AM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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AI Wessex
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"I don't like 29 people pushing around 28 people while 43 people look on with dissintrest."

It can be hard to justify our system logically, given that about half of us don't vote. Some don't because they think government is evil, but I bet more don't because they figure it doesn't matter what they do. That can be either because they recognize that they can't control how the election turns out, but probably more because they think it doesn't matter who is President. It may not matter because the government is like an ocean liner that keeps steaming ahead or because the two parties are so similar that neither would change course in any meaningful way even if they could.

Ideology is the only real differentiator these days, so elections are vicious battles -- not for hearts and minds -- but to see whose hearts and minds get to decide and impose social policy.

The Founders didn't think women or slaves should vote and didn't require that states hold popular elections for President at all, but could appoint the electors (and did appoint Senators) in whatever fashion they wanted. To vote at all in most states you further had to own property, so in the end only about 10% or so of lifelong inhabitants here could vote. Each state could enact further restrictions and most did.

Things are "looser" now, but federal representation hasn't changed all that much since the beginning.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
1. Certainty. There have never been any "voting irregularities" in the electoral college. The electors vote for the candidate they are obligated to. The popular vote can be contested (Florida 2000) or subjected to a recount if the difference between the candidates is less than a certain amount. That's expensive and very time-consuming. It took 8 months after the 2008 election for Minnesota to declare Al Franken the winner and take his seat in the Senate.
The basic argument is false here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_elector

There have been 150 cases where electors have changed their votes to someone other than who they were nominally pledged to.

I think the system would be a little more interesting if we actually allowed electors to campaign directly and were able to select them as earnest representatives to pick the president, rather than simply making them essentially partisan functionaries.

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AI Wessex
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OK, I didn't read about them wascally electors. My understanding is that that is how it used to be done in Alabama and that popular votes were then allocated based on the ultimately selected electors' affiliations. This article argues that Kennedy should have lost the popular vote in 1960 because of that.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
1. Certainty. There have never been any "voting irregularities" in the electoral college. The electors vote for the candidate they are obligated to. The popular vote can be contested (Florida 2000) or subjected to a recount if the difference between the candidates is less than a certain amount. That's expensive and very time-consuming. It took 8 months after the 2008 election for Minnesota to declare Al Franken the winner and take his seat in the Senate.
The basic argument is false here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_elector

There have been 150 cases where electors have changed their votes to someone other than who they were nominally pledged to.

Yes, but -- correct me if I'm wrong -- no election outcome in the last 120 years has ever been swung by a Faithless Elector.

Also, the 150 number is inflated by the 63 electors who refused to vote for Horace Greeley, on the not-so-wascally grounds that HORACE GREELEY WAS DEAD. Damned necrophobes. [Big Grin]

In the last 120 years, there have only been 9 faithless electors, and one of them appears to have been a "brainless elector" in Minnesota, i.e. it was clearly an error.

[ November 13, 2012, 11:20 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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