the polls, and what to pay attention to

The following comes from our resident poll watcher, the Democratic strategist Robert, who has for the last several days been trying to get me to check out the polling site of polling sites, FiveThirtyEight.com, which presently gives Team McMaverick at 2.8% chance of winning. (And, yes, that’s out of the traditional 100%.) Anyway, here are Robert’s notes on 538, followed by his breakdown as to what we should be watching for on Tuesday night.

…The guy at 538.com now has Obama’s odds of capturing Indiana at 44%. He has Obama’s chances of capturing Kentucky at 0%. On Virginia he has 96%, Georgia = 9%, Florida = 74%, Vermont = 100%, South Carolina = 0%, Ohio = 86%, West Virginia = 1%. These percentages will change slightly between now and Tuesday. Unlike what McCain has been saying, I don’t think we’ll be up too late on election night. If we are, the election is being fixed. I, however, don’t see how they could do it at this point. I expect Florida is likely to be fixed, but Ohio and Pennsylvania will be tough to manipulate much this year. I think the same thing about Virginia and Colorado…

In terms of vote-fixing, it very much matters who runs the executive branch in any given state, because that determines if state law enforcement can be stood down while shenanigans are carried out. Ohio was the perfect example of that in 2004, and Florida has been for over a decade. In the same sense that through the 50s 60s and 70s many southern states which were more Republican, still happened to be run by a government of entrenched Democrats, Florida is a state that has long since shifted majority Democrat but is run by an entrenched Republican power elite. They’ve been fixing things for a while. It’s like a third world country in that way…

On election night, we’ll all know if Obama has won by watching these states:

Indiana – Split time zone / polls close at 6pm and 7pm EST.
If it is not called immediately for McCain, Obama has won the whole enchilada and is our next president. Enough of the state’s results come in at 6pm to know, but the press may not do any more than hint at what the exit polls show them. They’ve agreed not to reveal results until polls in the Central Time Zone have closed. Watch the poker faces of certain partisan reporters and you should know if Obama’s won it. If the jackasses on Fox start talking about what bad shape the country is in, Obama has won.

Kentucky – split time zone / polls close at 6pm and 7pm EST.
Also if not called immediately for McCain, Obama has won the presidency. Similar story to Indiana.

Virginia – all polls close at 7pm EST.
This will be close regardless. If it is called for Obama, he has won the presidency. However, this state may be too close to call for a while and one of the other early indicator states may beat it to the punch in revealing the almost certain winner.

Georgia – all polls close at 7pm EST.
If this state isn’t immediately called for McCain, he’s lost the whole election. Even a close race here means Obama’s won overall.

Florida – split time zone / polls close at 7pm and 8pm EST.
This could be a mess again and even if it’s not called for McCain right away it doesn’t mean Obama has lost. However, it might be called immediately for Obama, and in that case Obama has won the presidency.

Vermont – all polls close at 7pm EST.
It will be called right at 7pm. If Obama hasn’t won it by a landslide, he is likely in trouble. His margin of victory here should be well over 20 points.

South Carolina – all polls close at 7pm EST.
McCain should win this easily. If it’s not called for McCain right at 7pm, Obama has won by a huge landslide nationwide.

Ohio – all polls close at 7:30pm EST.
This is expected to be close and not to be called early. Therefore, if Ohio is called before 8pm EST for either candidate, that candidate has won the presidency.

West Virginia – all poles close at 7:30pm EST.
This is expected to go for McCain but is getting closer. If it is not called for McCain immediately, Obama has won the national election, regardless of who wins this state.

The last that I heard, Arizona, Senator McCain’s home state, was too close to call. I take some comfort in that. And, today, it was encouraging to hear people discussing the possibility of a Reverse Bradley effect, wherein white rural voters tell pollsters that they plan to vote for McCain only to pull the lever for Obama once they’re in the voting booth. Hell, it looks like even racists and white supremacists support Obama… In spite of all that, however, I’m finding it hard to be optimistic. The memory of Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 just looms too large. Hopefully, however, this time will be different. Hopefully, Obama wins in such a landslide that no amount of fraud can hide it.

This entry was posted in Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

14 Comments

  1. Sierra
    Posted November 1, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    George Bush and Dick Cheney are heading out to campaign for John McCain in these closing days before this election. Is the Obama campaign funneling money to them?

  2. mark
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, that’s hilarious. I saw Cheney’s endorsement. He’s got to hate McCain’s guts. There’s no other explanation for it.

  3. Robert
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    EVt % (EV) State
    ———————————————————————-
    234 100% states comfortibly in Obama column
    ———————————————————————-
    239 99% (05) New Mexico
    243 98% (04) New Hampshire
    264 98% (21) Pennsylvania
    277 94% (13) Virginia state crossing 270
    ———————————————————————-
    286 94% (09) Colorado
    306 83% (20) Ohio
    311 83% (05) Nevada states >50% toward Obama
    326 66% (15) North Carolina
    353 64% (27) Florida
    ———————————————————————-
    364 43% (11) Missouri
    375 34% (11) Indiana
    378 26% (03) North Dakota states <50% toward Obama
    381 10% (03) Montana
    396 09% (15) Georgia
    406 04% (10) Arizona
    409 01% (03) South Dakota
    ———————————————————————-
    00% states comfortibly in McCain column
    ———————————————————————-

  4. Robert
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    EVt % (EV) State
    ——————————————————————————–
    234 100% states comfortibly in Obama column
    ——————————————————————————–
    239 99% (05) New Mexico
    243 99% (04) New Hampshire
    264 98% (21) Pennsylvania
    273 96% (09) Colorado………state crossing 270
    ——————————————————————————–
    286 93% (13) Virginia
    291 85% (05) Nevada
    311 80% (20) Ohio
    338 64% (27) Florida
    353 53% (15) North Carolina…>50% toward Obama
    ——————————————————————————–
    364 39% (11) Missouri………<50% toward Obama
    375 27% (11) Indiana
    378 25% (03) North Dakota
    381 19% (03) Montana
    396 05% (15) Georgia
    406 03% (10) Arizona
    409 01% (03) South Dakota
    ——————————————————————————–
    states comfortibly in McCain column
    ——————————————————————————–

    Odds on Colorado going for Obama are up slightly while on Virginia odds are slightly down. Colorado is now a more likely win than Virginia and the two states have switched places on the list.

    Similarly, Ohio is own slightly while Nevada is up, so those two states have exchanged positions on the list.

    North Carolina has slipped below Florida and now is just narrowly favored for an Obama win.

    (XX)=Electoral Votes allocated to that state
    %=odds on Obama winning that state
    EVt=Electoral Vote total

  5. Robert
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    VERY GOOD NEWS TO REPORT

    The polls you’re seeing on the networks showing the race tightening are lagging behind the true movement in this race.

    It appears this evening that late deciders are NOT going for McCain the way many, including myself, have predicted.

    The slight tightening which occurred over the last week or so appears to have ended and now McCain is again losing ground almost everywhere.

    New Mexico is now essentially “in the bag” for Obama.

    NH, AZ, & SD are remaining stable, while every other swing state is trending toward Obama now. Most dramatic gains are occurring in MO, IN, ND, & NV.

    EVt % (EV) State
    ——————————————————————————–
    239 100% states comfortably in Obama column
    ——————————————————————————–
    243 99% (04) New Hampshire
    264 99% (21) Pennsylvania
    273 97% (09) Colorado………state crossing 270
    ——————————————————————————–
    286 95% (13) Virginia
    291 95% (05) Nevada
    311 86% (20) Ohio
    338 67% (27) Florida
    353 59% (15) North Carolina…>50% toward Obama
    ——————————————————————————–
    364 47% (11) Missouri………<50% toward Obama
    375 36% (11) Indiana
    378 34% (03) North Dakota
    381 23% (03) Montana
    396 07% (15) Georgia
    406 03% (10) Arizona
    409 01% (03) South Dakota
    418 01% (09) Louisiana
    ——————————————————————————–
    States comfortably in McCain column
    ——————————————————————————–

    McCain would have to win every state below Colorado in this list AND he’d have to pick off one of the states above Virginia on the list. It essentially can’t happen at this point without very effective voter suppression, and they are certainly trying.

    It looks as though the suppression efforts of the GOP are most intensely focused on Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, & Missouri. Other states are being targeted to degree which is less effective, and is less likely to change the final outcomes.

    Evidence that electronic vote fixing is more difficult to spot, but there are some indications suggesting that New Hampshire, Georgia, & West Virginia have been targeted.

    This election is almost purely a battle between Obama’s get-out-the-vote operation and the GOP’s vote suppression and electronic fixing operation.

    In 2004, individual state races were close enough in a half dozen states to allow vote suppression and electronic fixing to flip at least a half dozen states (FL,OH,MO,IA,NM,NV) to Bush. This time, even if the GOP is successful in again stealing all these six states, they would still be six electoral votes short of 270. I think they CAN fix Florida, and potentially Nevada, but I think they are shit out of luck in the other four I mentioned. This is one of the reasons they’re shooting for Pennsylvania.

  6. jean
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Re: the ‘reverse Bradley effect.’ I have a very old school Republican, very well-educated, very well-off brother-in-law who had to leave the room when Sarah Palin spoke during the VP debate. While he is too competitive to ever admit it, my sister (liberal as the day is long) believes he will be pulling the lever for Obama.

    I don’t agree with my brother-in-law about much, but I know he really believes in fiscally conservative principles. No doubt he feels his party has been hijacked by social conservatives. Republicans made a devil’s bargain in the Reagan era when they courted Christian conservatives. Now they have to live with the consequences.

    So there may be a whole bunch of not-at-all working class Republicans secretly voting Obama. They haven’t given up on their party, but they don’t want to see Sarah Palin and her followers have their way with it either.

  7. Robert
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Noon exit polls suggest voter suppression efforts in Pennsylvania are failing. Obama is well on his way to winning the state.

    McCain appears to have only very narrow leads in Indiana and Missouri. If the Obama campaign turns up the get-out-the-vote efforts in these states this afternoon, he may still have a chance to take them.

  8. Robert
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, Obama’s campaign realizes they need to turn up the heat in Indiana in these last three/four hours of voting there. Obama himself is heading down from Chicago to further energize the turnout.

  9. Robert
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Persons privy to exit poll information are not leaking much. They say much more info will be available at 5pm (2 hours from now). I’ll see if I can get any more of it then.

  10. mark
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the update, Robert. I know that you’re busy today, and I appreciate your taking the time to check in.

  11. Robert
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Obama has won!

  12. Robert
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Obama has 284 Electoral Votes!

    EVt % (EV) State
    ——————————————————————————–
    239 100% states comfortably in Obama column
    ——————————————————————————–
    243 won (04) New Hampshire
    264 won (21) Pennsylvania
    273 97% (09) Colorado………state crossing 270
    ——————————————————————————–
    286 95% (13) Virginia
    291 95% (05) Nevada
    311 won (20) Ohio
    338 67% (27) Florida
    353 59% (15) North Carolina…>50% toward Obama
    ——————————————————————————–
    364 47% (11) Missouri………<50% toward Obama
    375 36% (11) Indiana
    378 34% (03) North Dakota
    381 23% (03) Montana
    396 07% (15) Georgia
    406 03% (10) Arizona
    409 01% (03) South Dakota
    418 01% (09) Louisiana
    ——————————————————————————–
    States comfortably in McCain column
    ——————————————————————————–

  13. Robert
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The fact that Indiana wasn’t called right after 7pm last night indicated that it was going to be close race in that state. A close race there meant an almost certain win in Ohio, and a close race in Missouri. Each of those situations indicated an overall win for Obama.

    Indiana not being called right away also provided a strong indication of the true effectiveness of the Obama campaign’s strategies. That effectiveness would also certainly play out in other states which were more closer to the tipping point, like Virginia and Colorado.

    It’s interesting to note that the odds on Obama wins in states predicted by FiveThirtyEight.com were right on, with one very narrow acception, Indiana. The win there shows the strength of the Obama get-out-the-vote organization and the shift toward Obama that was occuring still through election day.

    You can see how closely to what 538.com’s odds estimates things played out:

    ——————————————————————————–
    239 odds% States comfortably in Obama column
    ——————————————————————————–
    243 99% WON (04) New Hampshire
    264 99% WON (21) Pennsylvania
    273 97% WON (09) Colorado
    ——————————————————————————–
    286 95% WON (13) Virginia
    291 95% WON (05) Nevada
    311 86% WON (20) Ohio
    338 67% WON (27) Florida
    353 59% WON (15) North Carolina…>50% toward Obama
    ——————————————————————————–
    000 47% lost(11) Missouri………..<50% toward Obama
    364 36% WON (11) Indiana
    000 34% lost(03) North Dakota
    000 23% lost(03) Montana
    000 07% lost(15) Georgia
    000 03% lost(10) Arizona
    000 01% lost(03) South Dakota
    000 01% lost(09) Louisiana
    ——————————————————————————–
    States comfortably in McCain column
    ——————————————————————————–

  14. Posted November 6, 2008 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Just for the record, I want everyone to take note of the fact that I called the final electoral tally 36 hours before the networks did, under marks heading “live blogging the election.” CNN just now called North Carolina for Obama, 43 hours after the first polls closed. I called the full tally at 1am based on exit polls. And I only waited that long because of Montana, which was surging toward Obama in late pre-election polling. Obama’s position there was improving so fast, the ground campaign probably could have pulled it off had they had just a few more hours of time pulling identified supporters out to vote.

    Had it not been for that possibility I would have been able to give the final EV totals by just after midnight.

    This is how accurate exit polls are. For all of you who buy this bullshit that they are not, take a look at the ones which were done right all through the 90s and late 80s. They just need to be done right with sophisticated sampling. Many of the idiots that say they’re doing exit polling these days are just randomly asking people who they voted for as they come out of the polling locations. They don’t do any calculating beyond that. That’s idiotic.

    Had I not been fucking around at 7:30 on election night, I could have posted here that Obama had exceeded the 270 elector votes he needed. The exit polls from Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as several other states which serve as indicators proved it.

    I could have said it at 5pm if I wasn’t paranoid about what might happen in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and maybe some surprise states. But once the first official results started trickling in and they matched the exit polls, it was clear that the voter suppression was not enough of a factor.

    I’ve already promised myself I will stay at a computer on election afternoon in 2010 and report to mark’s blog what the exit polls are showing, so you all can see how incredibly accurate the one’s which are done right are. I apologize for not doing it this past Tuesday. I could have been the Karl Rove to Mark’s Brit Hume.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Connect

BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Steve