Thursday, October 30, 2008

Presidential Predictions

I wouldn't be a good blogger with out wildly guessing at the outcome of the election right? In 2004 there was no blog, but fair to say I guessed really really wrong. I thought that "momentum" in the polls was going to some how push Kerry over the top in the intervening hours between the last poll and election day. But look at the graph showing the aggregate race four years ago:

You can see that last minute surge that gave me hope, but looking at the big picture it was futile. Much of what is called "momentum" in polling (and the stock market) is really just a random, statistical walk one way or the other. Polling that happened yesterday does not affect polling done today! So, lets look at where things are right now nationally including the McCain "momentum" that he has been talking about all month:

On the state by state level, it looks even worse for McCain. If you assume that McCain wins all of the states labeled "toss up" and wins all the "lean democratic" states (less than +8 for Obama) on the web page, you get this:

McCain is still losing! He would have to flip either VA (+8.1) or PA (+10.7) or NH (+11) to win. This is the more likely outcome:

The only ones on that list I am not sure about are Missouri, where it will be very very close, and North Carolina and Florida where turn-out will be key. If it is a big Obama win, you can add: Indiana, Georgia, North Dakota, Montana, and even McCain's home state of Arizona to places where it will be close.

One thing about these maps is that we will probably know very early on election night if McCain has any chance. If Obama wins any set of two big east cost states from within Florida, Virginia, or Pennsylvania, it will be numerically over right away. If Obama wins North Carolina, it will be effectively over.

The rest of the night will be looking at house and senate races, along with Prop 8 in CA. I am hopeful about Bachman loosing to Tinklenberg but not betting on it. Incumbents are hard to beat even if they are as crazy awful as Bachman. And Franken's odds are now not looking good either after a breif surge of support. The best hope both Tinklenberg and Franken have is that Obama's coat tails will be large enough to pull them over the top on election day!

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