This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

Categories

Calendar

October 2008
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Electoral College: Indiana Back to McCain, Wisconsin Restrengthens for Obama

Two states change categories today.

Indiana (11 ev): After two days in Obama’s column, the five poll average for Indiana once again falls on the McCain side of the line. As usual, I should point out that the difference between “Lean Obama” and “Lean McCain” is slight. States in either category should really be considered too close to call, which is why in our summaries we show the whole range of possibilities with those states going either way.

Wisconsin (10 ev): After a single day as a “Weak Obama” state the five poll average once again indicates an Obama lead more than 10%, so the state moves back to “Strong Obama”.

New summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 311, McCain 227
Obama Best Case – Obama 396, McCain 142

If everybody gets their leans – 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Without Indiana, Obama’s “everybody gets their leans” count is no longer a 375 electoral vote landslide. However, just as every day since October 3rd, McCain’s best case (winning all swing states) is still to lose.

To change that and make the McCain best case actually a McCain win, he needs to reduce Obama’s lead to less than 5% in enough states to get 43 more electoral votes in the swing state group. The current “Weak Obama” states that McCain could be targeting look like this right now:

  • Pennsylvania (21 ev) – 9.4% Obama lead
  • Ohio (20 ev) – 5.6% Obama lead
  • Virginia (13 ev) – 6.0% Obama lead
  • Colorado (9 ev) – 7.0% Obama lead
  • Nevada (5 ev) – 7.6% Obama lead
  • New Mexico (5 ev) – 7.5% Obama lead

If McCain can get 43 of those electoral votes to less than a 5% Obama lead, then he would once again be in a situation where if he won all of his strong and week states, and then won ALL of the swing states, then he would win.

He has four days left to do it.

Electoral College: And Now a Bad Polling Day for Obama

So after the massive wave of states moving toward Obama yesterday, today we have three move in the other direction.

Pennsylvania (21 ev): McCain’s decision to spend lots and lots of time and effort in Pennsylvania these last couple of weeks starts to bear fruit. He has managed to take Obama’s lead from its peak a couple of weeks ago at 14.1% and has now pulled it to below 10%. As such, the state moves from “Strong Obama” to “Weak Obama”. Unfortunately for McCain, since the state is still quite a long way from being a swing state, it makes no difference to the summary of possible results.

Arizona (10 ev): After a brief one day flirtation with being a swing state, McCain’s lead in Arizona once again goes over 5%, taking his home state back out of that category, and back into “Weak McCain” status.

Wisconsin (10 ev): After a couple of weeks as a strong state, Obama’s lead in Wisconsin once again falls below 10% and becomes a “Weak Obama” state. As with Pennsylvania, it makes no difference to the overall summary.

All of these changes together mean we have this new summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 311, McCain 227
Obama Best Case – Obama 396, McCain 142

If everybody gets their leans – 375 Obama, 163 McCain

Prior to today, Obama had been very close to being able to win this election with only states he was ahead in by more than 10%, not only not needing the swing states, but not needing his weak states either. With Pennsylvania and Wisconsin both dipping back into “Weak” territory, that scenario now seems hard to reach given we only have a few days left. (Unless of course both states bounce right back tomorrow, which is always possible.)

Having said that though, the fundamentals don’t change. “Weak” states are states the candidate actually can feel relatively safe in, but which the other candidate might have a chance if they push really really hard, or if some major event suddenly changes the dynamics of the race. This kind of thing can of course still happen, but there is now very very little time for such dramatic changes.

The basics have been the same as they have been almost all month. McCain can win every state he is ahead in, plus every state Obama is ahead in by less than 5%, and he would still lose.

Right now, to actually win, McCain needs to win all of the states he is ahead in, all of the states Obama is ahead in by less than 5%, and then he needs to collect at least 43 electoral votes from the states Obama is ahead in by more than 5%… most likely from the weak states… as of today, here is what he has to choose from… Pennsylvania (21 ev), Ohio (20 ev), Virginia (13 ev), Wisconsin (10 ev), Colorado (9 ev), Nevada (5 ev), New Mexico (5 ev). There are several ways to get 43 electoral votes out of that mix.

But given that to even have any of those states matter, McCain has to have already managed to hold all his own states, plus win Florida, North Carolina, Indiana and Missouri, all of which Obama is currently ahead in (although not by much), and then pull a minimum of three of these weak states where Obama is now ahead by significant margins… it is a very hard road.

Infomercial Thoughts

Really not much to say. It was OK, although it didn’t do much for me. Other Obama presentations have been better. The 2004 speech was still his best so far, with maybe the one after Iowa next. I guess it was fine though, and will get a lot of attention. The audacity of the half hour infomercial. No flip charts like Perot though. And I wasn’t into all the little profiles of normal people. I never have liked that sort of stunt.

One critical observation though.

McCain was not mentioned even once.

Three Dead Hours

The Obama infomercial aired at 00:00 UTC on the East Coast. It won’t air where I am until 03:00 UTC. That is really annoying to me. I’m sure I could probably find it online by now, but instead, I’ll wait until it actually airs on my local station. I wasn’t at home yet at 00:00 UTC anyway. In the mean time, I’ll try to avoid my usual news feeds as I don’t want spoilers and such.

I think, perhaps, I’ll eat.

Electoral College: Very Very Bad Polling Day for McCain

Polls in 20 states today. Category changes in seven states. ALL SEVEN move toward Obama.

This was a very bad day in the polls for John McCain.

In order of electoral vote weight:

Ohio (20 ev): Obama’s lead in Ohio once again goes over 5%. Ohio is again out of swing state territory. It has bounced back and forth over the past few days though, so it would be no surprise if it moves again.

Indiana (11 ev): Indiana flips to Obama as he takes the lead in the last five poll average of the state for the very first time.

Arizona (10 ev): As more polls come in for Arizona, John McCain’s lead in his own state drops below 5% and Arizona becomes a swing state.

Mississippi (6 ev): John McCain’s lead in Mississippi drops below 10%. This is a long way from being a swing state, but it shows even McCain’s strong states are weakening.

Nevada (5 ev): Obama’s lead goes above 5%, making the state no longer a swing state.

New Hampshire (4 ev): Obama’s lead goes above 10%, moving the state from “Weak Obama” to “Strong Obama”.

Montana (3 ev): McCain’s lead in Montana in the five poll average drops below 5%, making this once again a swing state.

All of these changes together mean we have this new summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 311, McCain 227
Obama Best Case – Obama 406, McCain 132

If everybody gets their leans – 375 Obama, 163 McCain

This is frankly just stunning. Lets look at this.

If John McCain wins every single swing state… that is, every state he is ahead in, plus every state Obama is ahead in by less than 5%… then he still loses by 84 electoral votes.

If everybody just gets every state they are currently ahead in, then Obama gets 375 electoral votes, which is one common definition of a landslide.

If Obama actually wins all of the states McCain is ahead by less than 5% in as well, he will top 400 electoral votes.

A quick recap here…

All Obama has to do is hold the states he is ahead in today, and he wins by a landslide, and he has the opportunity to make that win even bigger if he steals some McCain states.

And even if he doesn’t win Florida, North Carolina, Indiana and Missouri… which are all indeed very close and could go either way… he still wins by a substantial margin.

McCain’s only hope is that basically EVERY swing state (plus some Weak Obama states) pull a New Hampshire. As a reminder, if you had categorized the Democratic Primary between Obama and Clinton in New Hampshire by my Weak/Strong/Lean categories, Obama was ahead based on a “last five poll average” by 8.6%, which would have made New Hampshire “Weak Obama”. But Obama lost that primary. So it does happen. It is not impossible. And you would expect that every once in awhile that would happen just by poll error alone, but you also had significant events happen in the last couple of days before that primary which happened too late for the polls to reflect them. That could happen again.

But… it would have to happen not just in one state, but in a LOT of states. The chances of that happening are not zero, but they are very small. fivethirtyeight.com actually puts a number on that in their simulations. As of today, they give a 3.8% chance of McCain managing upsets in enough states to win.

I’ll stick with my methods and categories though, and say that at the moment McCain has no path to victory. If he manages to move a bunch of states before election day, that may change. But so far, there does not seem to be any trend in his direction. In fact, the trend toward Obama is continuing. States that seemed to be absolutely impossible for Obama are now in play. It really does seem that we now are just debating just how massive Obama’s win will be. McCain winning is not a possibility that is seriously in play at the moment.

There is only one word for where we are now: Wow.

Edit 18:49 – Fixed a typo and a miscopied McCain total in the everybody gets their leans case.

The Distraction

The above is what initially distracted me last night from falling asleep. Of course, like most things on the internet, it let me to click on another thing, and another, and read about other things, then try other things, etc. Next thing I knew it was four hours later.

Up and Down

I hate it when when one feels tied, so one heads to bed early, but then sees something online that distracts one, which causes one to not only not go to sleep, but to be up many hours later, after which one finally goes to sleep, only to wake up in the middle of the night for no reason, not able to get back to sleep, with only a couple hours left until one has to get up early in order to do one’s election update stuff before an early morning conference call with Europe.

Oh, in this case, “one” is me. I probably wouldn’t really hate it as much if the “one” in the above was someone else. :-)

Electoral College: Ohio Swings Again, Arizona Weakens

Polls in 23 states today. Category changes in only 2.

Ohio (20 ev): After a few days as a “Weak Obama” state, Obama’s lead in Ohio once again drops below 5%. That makes Ohio a swing state again. Woo! This change puts Ohio in reach for McCain again, which substantially boosts his best case scenario.

Arizona (10 ev): John McCain’s lead in his home state of Arizona, which has been above 10% since September, once again falls below 10% in the last five poll average. This moves Arizona from “Strong McCain” to “Weak McCain”. Since we aren’t changing the list of swing states, this has no effect on the overall situation summary.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 286, McCain 252
Obama Best Case – Obama 393, McCain 145

If everybody gets their leans – 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Really, not much has changed for the last several weeks. Several states have bounced back and forth between “Lean Obama” and “Weak Obama” and thus in and out of swing state status. But since October 3rd, we have continued to have a situation where McCain winning all of his own leaning states, then stealing all of Obama’s leaning states, would still not have enough electoral votes to win. The only thing that has really been changing has been just how much of a loss McCain’s “best case” is.

To win right now, McCain has to do better than the “best case” that I describe. He not only has to hold all of his strong and weak states, win EVERY swing state he is ahead in (Georgia, Indiana and North Dakota), and ALL of the swing states Obama is ahead in (Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri and Nevada). He also has to win at least 18 electoral votes from states that Obama is more than 5% ahead in. That means he must take Virginia and then either Colorado or New Mexico.

Or, yes, Pennsylvania would do it too rather than the combinations above. But Obama’s lead in Pennsylvania is much larger than in the states above. John McCain seems to think Pennsylvania is an easier state to move though. So far, the polls have not supported that idea. But maybe he knows something we don’t.

Lack of Other Stuff

Yeah, I know I haven’t posted much lately other than the electoral college updates and the podcasts, and perhaps every once in awhile a random thing. I’ve been bad. I see more each more I want to post links to or comment on, but usually not at times I have time to do it. Sometimes I mark them to come back later, but usually I do not. Bad me. But time has just not allowed. Just keeping up with the election stuff takes most of my available time for such things. One week left. Then maybe there will be more other stuff again. We shall see.

Puzzle the Third