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Turners

The following is not predictive, but presented as a reference.

I'd like you to take a mental walk with me, to explore the Electoral map from the historical perspective. The reason for it will become self-evident, I believe.

The race to the White House is actually 51 separate races, each of which awards between 1 and 55 electoral votes (the 1 comes from Nebraska and Maine, which award individual electoral votes according to results from the state's precincts. As Mister Gore found out in 2000, it is entirely possible for a candidate to lose the popular vote yet win the election, although because of the way states line up it is almost impossible for Obama to win the election without also winning the popular vote. Anyway, the finish line is set at 270 electoral votes, and the goal therefore is to reach or pass that line.

We've heard so much for so long about "blue" states and "red" states, that we start to miss the significance of those tags. First off, some states get tagged "red" or "blue" just because they went one way in the last election. But in some cases, the name is valid. What I want to do here, is separate the states which do not shift much, from the ones which truly are possible losses or gains, what I call "turners". Any state can be had, of course, under the right circumstances, but the history gives us a good look at how likely that really is to happen. Looking at the election results, we see the following:


"Locks" for Obama:

District of Columbia: Since 1960 D 51%+ 100.0%, R 51%+ 0.0%, Democrat last 12 elections, avg since 1960 83.2-13.8 D, 89-09 D in 2004. For McCain to win, would require a 92-point swing from 2004. [92.0% chance Obama]

Hawaii: Since 1960 D 51%+ 58.3%, R 51%+ 16.7%, Democrat last 5 elections, avg since 1960 53.2-43.0 D, 54-45 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require an 11-point swing from 2004. [73.4% chance Obama]

Massachusetts: Since 1948 D 51%+ 66.7%, R 51%+ 20.0%, Democrat last 5 elections, avg since 1948 55.1-48.2 R, 62-37 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require an 27-point swing from 2004. [70.1% chance Obama]

Minnesota: Since 1948 D 51%+ 53.3%, R 51%+ 20.0%, Democrat last 8 elections, avg since 1948 47.8-44.7 R, 51-48 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 5-point swing from 2004. [70.5% chance Obama]


- continued -

"Locks" for McCain:

Alaska: Since 1960 D 51%+ 8.3%, R 51%+ 75.0%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1960 56.0-40.7 R, 61-36 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 27-point swing from 2004. [80.0% chance McCain]

Arizona: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 80.0%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 54.8-40.6 R, 55-44 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 12-point swing from 2004. [82.8% chance McCain]

Colorado: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 73.3%, Republican last 3 elections, avg since 1948 52.3-42.7 R, 52-47 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 7-point swing from 2004. [75.0% chance McCain]

Florida: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 53.3%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 51.5-42.9 R, 52-47 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 7-point swing from 2004. [70.6% chance McCain]

Idaho: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 80.0%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 59.1-34.7 R, 68-30 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 40-point swing from 2004. [77.7% chance McCain]

Indiana: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 60.0%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 54.8-41.6 R, 60-40 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 22-point swing from 2004. [80.9% chance McCain]

Kansas: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 86.7%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 57.5-37.8 R, 62-37 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 27-point swing from 2004. [81.7% chance McCain]

Montana: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 73.3%, Republican last 3 elections, avg since 1948 52.7-42.5 R, 59-39 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 22-point swing from 2004. [73.6% chance McCain]

Nebraska: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 86.7%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 60.9-35.2 R, 66-33 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 35-point swing from 2004. [80.9% chance McCain]

New Hampshire: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 66.7%, Democrat last 1 election, avg since 1948 53.5-42.3 R, 50-49 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 2-point swing from 2004. [75.5% chance McCain]

North Dakota: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 80.0%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 56.8-38.3 R, 63-35 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 30-point swing from 2004. [81.2% chance McCain]

Ohio: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 53.3%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 50.5-45.1 R, 50-46 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 6-point swing from 2004. [71.7% chance McCain]

Oklahoma: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 60.3%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 55.1-40.7 R, 66-34 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 34-point swing from 2004. [74.0% chance McCain]

South Dakota: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 73.3%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 54.9-41.5 R, 60-38 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 24-point swing from 2004. [81.5% chance McCain]

Utah: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 80.0%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 60.5-34.4 R, 72-26 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 48-point swing from 2004. [74.2% chance McCain]

Virginia: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 60.0%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 52.3-42.1 R, 54-45 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require an 11-point swing from 2004. [79.4% chance McCain]

Wyoming: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 73.3%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 58.3-37.2 R, 69-29 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 42-point swing from 2004. [74.4% chance McCain]


States leaning Obama

California: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 48.1-47.3 R, 54-44 D in 2004. For McCain to win, would require an 11-point swing from 2004. [56.2% chance Obama]

Connecticut: Since 1948 D 51%+ 33.3%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 47.9-47.9 tie, 54-44 D in 2004. For McCain to win, would require an 11-point swing from 2004. [55.0% chance Obama]

Delaware: Since 1948 D 51%+ 40.0%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 48.0-47.9 D, 53-45 D in 2004. For McCain to win, would require a 10-point swing from 2004. [54.7% chance Obama]

Illinois: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 48.5-48.3 R, 55-45 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 12-point swing from 2004. [54.4% chance Obama]

Maryland: Since 1948 D 51%+ 40.0%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 49.6-46.8 D, 56-43 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 15-point swing from 2004. [57.2% chance Obama]

New York: Since 1948 D 51%+ 46.7%, R 51%+ 26.7%, Democrat last 5 elections, avg since 1948 50.9-45.5 D, 58-40 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 19-point swing from 2004. [57.7% chance Obama]

Rhode Island: Since 1948 D 51%+ 53.3%, R 51%+ 26.7%, Democrat last 5 elections, avg since 1948 54.8-39.6 D, 59-39 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 22-point swing from 2004. [61.3% chance Obama]

Vermont: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 60.0%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 50.9-44.2 D, 59-39 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 22-point swing from 2004. [66.2% chance Obama]

Washington: Since 1948 D 51%+ 46.7%, R 51%+ 20.0%, Democrat last 5 elections, avg since 1948 50.9-45.3 D, 53-46 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 9-point swing from 2004. [69.1% chance Obama]


States leaning McCain:

Alabama: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 46.7%, Republican last 7 elections, avg since 1948 56.8-33.5 R, 63-37 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 28-point swing from 2004. [56.8% chance McCain]

Arkansas: Since 1948 D 51%+ 46.7%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 48.6-45.1 D, 54-44 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 12-point swing from 2004. [55.4% chance McCain]

Georgia: Since 1948 D 51%+ 40.0%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Republican last 3 elections, avg since 1948 49.0-45.7 D, 57-41 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require an 18-point swing from 2004. [54.7% chance McCain]

Iowa: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 46.7%, Republican last 1 election, avg since 1948 50.1-46.3 R, 50-49 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 3-point swing from 2004. [67.4% chance McCain]

Kentucky: Since 1948 D 51%+ 20.0%, R 51%+ 46.7%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 50.4-46.1 R, 60-40 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 22-point swing from 2004. [62.5% chance McCain]

Louisiana: Since 1948 D 51%+ 20.0%, R 51%+ 53.3%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 46.4-42.6 R, 57-42 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 17-point swing from 2004. [58.8% chance McCain]

Mississippi: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Republican last 7 elections, avg since 1948 47.2-37.3 R, 59-40 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 20-point swing from 2004. [61.9% chance McCain]

Missouri: Since 1948 D 51%+ 20.0%, R 51%+ 73.3%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 49.1-48.1 R, 53-46 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 9-point swing from 2004. [59.8% chance McCain]

Nevada: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 52.3-42.4 R, 50-48 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 3-point swing from 2004. [69.0% chance McCain]

New Jersey: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 49.7-46.3 R, 53-46 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require an 8-point swing from 2004. [56.2% chance McCain]

New Mexico: Since 1948 D 51%+ 20.0%, R 51%+ 53.3%, Republican last 1 election, avg since 1948 50.3-46.2 R, 50-49 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 2-point swing from 2004. [62.8% chance McCain]

South Carolina: Since 1948 D 51%+ 20.0%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Republican last 7 elections, avg since 1948 48.4-41.5 R, 58-41 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 19-point swing from 2004. [61.5% chance McCain]

Tennessee: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 49.6-45.4 R, 57-43 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 16-point swing from 2004. [66.3% chance McCain]

Texas: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 46.7%, Republican last 7 elections, avg since 1948 50.5-44.9 R, 61-38 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 25-point swing from 2004. [59.7% chance McCain]

West Virginia: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 46.7%, Republican last 2 elections, avg since 1948 48.3-47.1 R, 56-43 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 15-point swing from 2004. [58.1% chance McCain]


Toss-up States:

Maine: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 49.8-45.5 R, 56-43 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 25-point swing from 2004. [51.6% chance Obama]

Michigan: Since 1948 D 51%+ 33.3%, R 51%+ 40.0%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 48.2-47.8 R, 51-48 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 5-point swing from 2004. [53.3% chance McCain]

North Carolina: Since 1948 D 51%+ 40.0%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Republican last 7 elections, avg since 1948 49.8-45.7 R, 56-44 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require a 14-point swing from 2004. [51.6% chance Obama]

Oregon: Since 1948 D 51%+ 13.3%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Democrat last 5 elections, avg since 1948 53.3-46.7 R, 51-47 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 6-point swing from 2004. [50.2% chance Obama]

Pennsylvania: Since 1948 D 51%+ 26.7%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Democrat last 4 elections, avg since 1948 48.8-48.0 D, 51-48 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 5-point swing from 2004. [51.5% chance Obama]

Wisconsin: Since 1948 D 51%+ 20.0%, R 51%+ 33.3%, Democrat last 5 elections, avg since 1948 48.7-46.9 R, 50-49 D in 2004. For McCain to win would require a 2-point swing from 2004. [52.3% chance McCain]


The percentage chance of a candidate taking a state is a formula incorporating the percentage of wins by a party in a state since 1948, the percentage of elections where a party candidate claims 51% or more of the vote, the average support for a party in a state since 1948, the lowest and highest support levels for a party in a state since 1948, the RCP average polling for each candidate, and the 2004 results by party.

Please note that these are historical patterns only, and do not take into account demographic changes. But it does lend some historical perspective on the situation. Take it as you will.


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Comments (38)

Umm . . . where's Maryland?... (Below threshold)
Lola Author Profile Page:

Umm . . . where's Maryland? Shouldn't that be a lock for Obama?

I think choosing 1948 as th... (Below threshold)
Carl Hardwick:

I think choosing 1948 as the starting point is going too far back. That's three generations ago, virtually no one alive who voted in 1948 will be voting tomorrow.

A more interesting probability analysis would be to start from 1968, two generations ago. Probably half the people who voted in 1968 will be voting in 2008. That might give a better indication of the chance of a state being a turner.

Can the party affiliation g... (Below threshold)
Lummox JR:

Can the party affiliation going back to 1948 really be relied on now? That's three generations back. As you mentioned that analysis doesn't take demographic swings into account, but party platform swings matter as well. Modern tags of "liberal" and "conservative" would have applied very differently 60 years ago, but then it's just as important to account for whether the people themselves have headed in a more liberal or conservative direction.

Sorry Lola, it's there now.... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Sorry Lola, it's there now. Carl, it's very difficult to pick one dat and say it is the best starting place. 1968, for example, was an unusual year, with Wallace splitting the Democrat vote. But if we start with 1964 or 1972, we start with landslide years and that could skew things. So, I start with post-FDR elections. It gives 12 or 15 elections for a decent number of years to consider (Hawaii, DC, and Alaska did not get to take part until 1960).

What ever happens tomorrow,... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

What ever happens tomorrow, my personal heartfelt thanks to DJ Drummond for his painstaking analysis during these last few weeks. I popped on here several times per day in hopes of finding something that made sense and calmed my nerves! I was glad when I would find your columns.

Thanks Again!

PL

Thanks Pretzel, it's been f... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Thanks Pretzel, it's been fun and I just hope I turn out to be right!

Where is Virginia, a toss-u... (Below threshold)
Rebecca:

Where is Virginia, a toss-up according to most media illuminati? I think it will break for McCain. We've been Republican-leaning historically. Lots of retired military, to boot.

Rebecca, from the text -</p... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Rebecca, from the text -

Virginia: Since 1948 D 51%+ 6.7%, R 51%+ 60.0%, Republican last 10 elections, avg since 1948 52.3-42.1 R, 54-45 R in 2004. For Obama to win would require an 11-point swing from 2004. [79.4% chance McCain]

DJ,You have NJ lea... (Below threshold)
RJMEagle:

DJ,

You have NJ leaning McCain, can that be right???

The real issue is not how w... (Below threshold)

The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn't have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote -- that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes-- 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

Historically yes, RJM. Rem... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Historically yes, RJM. Remember, I am not saying it will go to McCain, but that over history it leans more R than people might think. New Jersey went for Reagan 52-39 and 60-39, and in 1988 for Bush I 56-43. Even when Clinton won in 1992, it was only 43-41. If New Jersey sees McCain as another W, they will go hard for Obama, but if they see him like GW Bush or even Gerald Ford, they could make it close. Also, if Pennsylvania goes for McCain, that influences NJ as well. The two states track the same way in most elections.

Wrong, Susan. We're the <i... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Wrong, Susan. We're the United States of America, and the electoral college merely reflects that fact.

Oh, and by the way, that bi... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Oh, and by the way, that bill you like would be unconstitutional, anyway. The electoral college is set in the body of the Constitution, and therefore only a Constitutional amendment could abolish the EC. Good luck getting the necessary number of states to ratify that lousy idea.

On the subject of battlegro... (Below threshold)
Lummox JR:

On the subject of battlegrounds, Paul Marston has updated his prediction of a McCain win and is now calling the election 309-229 or higher McCain/Palin.

He's basing his numbers on the RCP averages (which as DJ will tell you, are just as suspect as any other polls, so take that part with a grain of salt), but modifying the results to account for the PUMA vote. Based on those numbers only about half a million PUMAs need to vote for McCain/Palin, and what I've been reading from PUMA bloggers--who are hugely fired up--suggests a 3% defection rate (out of 18 million) is a very low bar indeed.

Obviously this year I take nothing at face value, but I think anyone who's expecting an Obama win strictly based on the polls is not participating in reality. Actually, expecting anything specific, in either candidate's favor, might be a bit of a reach in this polling climate.

When I studied poly sci the... (Below threshold)
Claire Solt PhD:

When I studied poly sci the tradition of family was the most important determinant of political party, so 3 generations is fine. It is also why the enthusiasm of the Obama youth fizzled. Kids went home and were exposed to family and friends.

You are the best interprete... (Below threshold)
Eric Bradley:

You are the best interpreter of polls on the web today.
Just two minor corrections: Arizona voted Dem. in either 92 or 96, and Rhode island voted Dem. in 1988.

Well Eric, I went and looke... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Well Eric, I went and looked it up again:

Arizona: 1996 Clinton 46.52, Dole 44.29, so I corrected that typo to '2'. The support numbers stayed the same.

Rhode Island same mistake, the support numbers used Excel but I counted the winning streaks manually.

Thanks for spotting it.


You have a PhD and you can'... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

You have a PhD and you can't spell poli sci? Your quality of education is evident.

Anyway...

California leans Obama? Isn't that a bit of an understatement? Historical numbers must have some utility, granted, but when they produce predictions like that, you might want to reconsider the importance of 60 year old data. While obviously it would be a small sample, what would the figures look like if you went only as far back as... Reagan?

In reply to Susan on the El... (Below threshold)
Towne:

In reply to Susan on the Electoral College, please realize that the EC is in effect a safeguard, a second election even, to insure against mob rule. Or another way, the EC is a reflection of our structure as a republic (representative govt), rather than a true democracy (mob rule).

Hyperbolist, instead of sho... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Hyperbolist, instead of showing your arrogance to the room, do yourself a favor and read the text of the article and the comments, especially #2-4?

You were answered more than an hour before you even posted.

Susan -If such a t... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Susan -

If such a thing were enacted, states without a massive population would effectively cease to have any importance to politicians. You'd see them campaigning on the coasts, and maybe Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. Sure, there'd be a bit of lip service paid to the 'little' states, but any state with less than about 5 million population might as well not exist for all the attention it'll get.

(Heh. Not like Wyoming gets many campaigners now... but it'd get even fewer without the 3 EVs it has.)

Nice attempt to basically stack the deck though...

DJ,I agree with you ... (Below threshold)
MPR:

DJ,
I agree with you on the EC and I fully believe it was the intent of the founding fathers to avoid a flip flop back and forth of the electorate. Having said that, I would put nothing past Obambi and the liberal Democrats in control of the Congress. I'm sure there would be lots of redistricting in favor of Democrats. The District of Columbia will get Reps. in the House. Obambi may well try to put additional justices on the SCOTUS to make it more "fair" which would tip the balance liberal for a long time. He would have a free hand to do almost anything and with his views on the Constitution anything is possible.
BTW I have been hearing all day that PA. and even Minn. could go to McCain. Don't stay home.

DJMany thanks for ... (Below threshold)

DJ

Many thanks for the excellent work and great effort you put into analyzing this year's polls.

Polls and polling methods have always perplexed me but at least now I know how to look at the internal data and ask a few fundamental questions. I have you to thank for that.

You have a PhD and... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
You have a PhD and you can't spell poli sci?

It's an acronym, hyper, and she used it correctly. Wow. Rude, stupid, and ignorant. What a charmer you are.

DJ,Thanks for all ... (Below threshold)
Clint:

DJ,

Thanks for all of your excellent work exposing the many flaws in the current polls. Your posts have given me hope through a tough election cycle.

Re: Electoral College...

The most important benefit of the Electoral College is to dampen the incentives for mass electoral fraud. It would be easy in single-party cities to churn out massive numbers of fraudulent votes -- but under the Electoral College system this fraud can do fairly limited harm. For the most part, those states in which total control of state and local government is in the hands of one party are states that are considered "safe" for the candidate of that same party.

If we eliminate the Electoral College then every single dead voter in Chicago, New York, and L.A. cancels out a real vote somewhere else.

Unfortunately, however bad an idea direct popular election of the President is -- it is not remotely unconstitutional. The Constitution leaves it entirely up to the legislatures of the states to determine how their members of the Electoral College will be selected. If the great State of Nevada decided that its five electors would be the owners of the five largest casinos on the strip, that would be 100% Constitutional. (Though I suspect the voters of Nevada would elect new legislators at the next opportunity...)

Although the idea of a slat... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Although the idea of a slate of electors does seem weird and the basic idea may be outdated, keeping the electoral college means winning states. I still like the idea of winning states. As others have pointed out the candidates would simply fly from coast to coast with a stopover in Chicago or maybe Columbus or Detroit if we hadd a straight up popular vote. The issue with coal would get far fewer hits on Youtube. A candidate's position on coal may tip the balance in this election. Or maybe not, but the candidate must give it pause because it is a very important issue to flyover land.

I would think that if McCain gets the election but not the popular vote then we will really hear a cry for the popular vote.

I guess my point, DJ, was t... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I guess my point, DJ, was that the political climate in 1948, or 1968, was dissimilar enough from today's as to bring into question the utility of data from those years. And I realize the figures you have produced aren't meant to be predictive; but what are they meant to be, then? What has 1948 got to do with 2008, and why mention it if not in some predictive context?

Would 7 terms (back to 1980) be too small a sample to provide meaningful historical weight?

LaMedusa: it's poli sci. That's how it's spelled. Poli is short for political, whereas poly is a Latin prefix meaning plural. And I think you meant abbreviation, not acronym. I may be rude but I'm not the stupid/ignorant one here, you clown.

New jersey is not leaning t... (Below threshold)
RDOwens:

New jersey is not leaning towards McCain at all. It will be a decided win for Obama. The GOP in the Garden State is so feeble it cannot mount any challenge to the crooks.

Hypergirlie,Wrong,... (Below threshold)
Kenny:

Hypergirlie,

Wrong, you're not only rude and arrogant, you're just here to annoy, not to contribute to any meaningful discussions.

So why don't you run along to gaze lovingly at your backstreet boys poster and let the adults have a civil discussion.

hyper~Acronym D... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

hyper~

Acronym Definition
POLY SCI Political Science (course)

http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/POLY+SCI

Now you're an as*hole, too, loser.

Where does that website exp... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Where does that website explain what the word stands for? Acronyms are series of letters that each stand for another word, like NASA. What is POLY SCI? It might be a course code, but it's not an acronym.

According to Wikipedia, Poly Sci is a rap album from 1998, and Poli Sci is the study of Political Science. Type poly sci into Google and you are directed to that mistaken entry in Acronym Finder that you cited, and then to a journal dedicated to the study of polymers. Type in poli sci, and you are directed to thousands of pages pertaining to political science. Having reaffirmed your idiocy, you have also asserted yourself as a rude person who doesn't know how to use the internet as a reference.

Actually Hyperbolist, in st... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Actually Hyperbolist, in statistics the numbers are considered to be an effective sample only when they reach 32 or more (has to do with establishing a valid normal distribution curve). But 32 presidential election cycles would take us back to the 1880 election, and I think we can agree that demographics, issues, and communication mediums wer so different then as to invalidate what we could hope to find. So, there will always be disagreement about the most appropriate range. Too long and things are too different, but too short and you cannot tell if you are really seeing a trend. You mentioned 1980. Think about that range, which saw 5 republican wins against only 2 democrat wins, and both of those by the same man. Hardly works to reflect Obama's campaign this year, does it? I mean, sure I could use that to project a big McCain win, but it would miss the effectiveness of Obama's organization and GOTV effort.

1948 works for me for several reasons; it's 15 cycles, so it's a reasonably long period of time and should cover pretty much everyone voting, it includes almost all of the modern campaign strategies, like talk shows and polling and GOTV efforts and mass media (radio was everywhere back when it was the most modern medium, and TV's been around for the last 12 cycles). For illustrative purposes, 1948-2004 is as close to optimal as I can make work. At least, I have never seen a different range that works out better.

"Having reaffirmed your idi... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"Having reaffirmed your idiocy, you have also asserted yourself as a rude person who doesn't know how to use the internet as a reference."

poli-sci is hyphenated, Poly Sci is the acronym. You just go ahead and keep asserting yourself as the charmer that you are, canuck.

Thanks for the reply, DJ. I... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Thanks for the reply, DJ. I guess what I don't understand is the difference in impact that results from 1948 may have within your model as opposed to results from, say, 1996. Presumably they would bear the same weight, but in terms of predictive value, one would assume that the closer we come to the present, the better the results would reflect the contemporary political landscape. But then that begs the question as to whether or not certain data could/should somehow be privileged within a model (predictive or otherwise). And right around there I cease to know what I'm talking about.

Just curious: when you suggest that pollsters weight their data historically for party affiliation, do you mean according to aggregate census data, or how people vote?

I wasn't meaning to nitpick or suggest that you're wrong (though I have to believe Obama has a better than 57% chance at winning California), only looking for clarification. While of course I'd like to see a different outcome than you, and I'm only a spectator, I do appreciate the amount of work you put into your analysis.

You can click TN over into ... (Below threshold)
Tammy:

You can click TN over into the McCain/Palin column. I'm confidently sure of that.

You have a PhD and you c... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

You have a PhD and you can't spell poli sci?

Dipshit, it's an abbreviation, you know: POLItical SCIence, you know, like McBusHitler.

I'd say you are thick as two short planks, but that's insulting the trees that provided the wood.

Mr. Drummond,I jus... (Below threshold)
T:

Mr. Drummond,

I just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed your polling analysis over the past few months. The information your posts have provided has made me assess and listen to the media pundits in a different (and I hope more critical)way.

Thank you for your work.

Getting rid of the electora... (Below threshold)

Getting rid of the electoral college cedes rule to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, etc.

I don't feel comfortable with a few highly populated cities determining the fate of the entire nation.

What do the the people of these cities have in common with, say, those in Dierks, Arkansas? There's a lot of collective-thought in large cities that would undermine the individualism more prevalent in the larger part of the country.

Even states that have decided to split their electoral votes have diluted their influence in national politics. Unless ALL states do it, it hurts rather than helps them.




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