This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



February 2012

@abulsme Updates from 2012-02-29 (UTC)

  • Reading – Olympia Snowe delivers stunning rebuke in decision to leave Senate (Gail Russell Chaddock) #
  • Reading – Ron Paul poll shocker: He beats Obama head-to-head (Peter Grier) #
  • RT @FHQ: And with one simple call, Romney wins the evening's delegate race. #azprimary #
  • RT @daveweigel: Mitt has now won 3 of the 4 states that have actually assigned delegates so far. (NH, AZ, FL) #MIprimary #
  • RT @dceiver: GENTLE REMINDER: The only thing worth knowing in MI is who wins what Congressional District. #
  • RT @EdEspinoza: Bad news for Romney: 24 primaries in March, 23 are proportional. Only 1 winner-take-all (Puerto Rico). #
  • RT @daveweigel: BREAKING: Buddy Roemer in dead heat with Rick Perry for 6th place, 682-641 votes #MIprimary #
  • RT @CenteredPols: RT @daveweigel: BREAKING: In a couple of days Romney will lose a bunch of primaries to Santorum anyway. #MIprimary #
  • RT @SeanTrende: Romney could well win MI, but get fewer delegates. His vote is really heavily concentrated in the Detroit area. #
  • RT @FHQ: Delegates. Focus on the (CD) delegates. #miprimary #
  • RT @ebertchicago: Santorum asks, do we want the smart to lead us in this country? He implies the correct answer is "no." #
  • MT @DemConWatch: RT @FixAaron: Right now I've got Romney winning 7 congressional disricts, Santorum 3, 4 too close to call. #
  • RT @chucktodd: Romney won Mackinac County by 1 vote. 667 votes to Santorum's, wait for it, 666 votes. #
  • RT @chucktodd: Santorum leads in 9 of 14 MI CDs, but leads are thin in a few. Still POSSIBLE for Santorum to win majority of delegates in MI #
  • RT @wilw: BREAKING NEWS: Barack Obama wins Michigan GOP primary. #
  • @DemConWatch Flx? #
  • RT @DemConWatch: CNN: Romney 9 delegates, Santorum 7. AP: 5-5 GreenPapers : 8-8 #
  • RT @DemConWatch: CNN: Romney 9 delegates, Santorum 7. AP: 5-5 GreenPapers : 8-8, 538: 11-9, NBC 11(R)-13 (S) #
  • RT @DemConWatch: CNN: Romney 9 delegates, Santorum 7. AP: 5-5 GreenPapers : 15-13 538: 11-9, NBC 11(R)-13 (S) #
  • RT @DemConWatch: CNN: Romney 9 delegates, Santorum 7. AP: 5-5 GreenPapers : 15-13 538: 11-9, NBC 11(R)-13 (S), Fix: 15-7 #
  • MT @FHQ: Romney is only one who can get to 1144. Rest are playing losing game to keep him from getting there #
  • RT @daveweigel: Ron Paul has now won more votes in the 2012 primary than he won as the 1988 Libertarian candidate. #
  • MT @FHQ: Beat me to it, but yep. RT @slc_scott: In Wyoming, Romney won straw poll in 5 delegate-awarding counties, Santorum 4, and Paul 3 #
  • MT @FHQ: So because Romney is going to lose in places we expect him to lose next week, the odds of a contested election have increased? Huh? #

2012 Republican Delegate Count: Arizona and Michigan (Mostly)

Chart from the 2012 Republican Delegate Count Graphs page. When a candidate gets down to 0%, they have cinched the nomination. If they get up past 100%, they have been mathematically eliminated.

The chart above is now the chart using the “% of delegates already allocated” as the x-axis rather than the date, because I think it more clearly shows what is actually going on at this point.

Romney picks up all 29 delegates from Arizona. As of this update the best estimates at The Green Papers gives Romney 15 delegates from Michigan, Santorum 13, and 2 delegates still too close to call. Those of you who read my Gaming Out Arizona and Michigan post will recognize Scenario 2, which at the time I said was the most likely result, and indeed, that is what happened. If the last outstanding congressional district ends up going for Santorum, then it will actually match Scenario 2 exactly. Regardless though, the general outlines of Scenario 2 are met, and I’ll just quote my analysis from that earlier post:

Romney is still the only winner here. It is clearly not as big a win [as if he had won nearly all of Michigan’s delegates through a more geographically even win], but Romney still makes his “% of remaining delegates needed to win” go DOWN, and go down to under 50%. Santorum, despite getting some delegates, is still in a worse position than when he started the night. Before he needed 54.1% of the remaining delegates to catch up and win the nomination, now he needs 54.9% [actually 55.0% pending disposition of those last 2 delegates]. Santorum does pull ahead of Gingrich though, and put himself clearly into second place. But the three non-Romney’s in this situation are still all heading upward (toward being mathematically eliminated), none of them has started to actually move down toward catching up and winning. Romney in this situation does improve a bit here, but also still isn’t breaking out downward yet. He is still hovering in the zone where his opponents (collectively) only have to do a little bit better to block him from getting the nomination. Note that they do have to do better though. Paul, Gingrich and Santorum could keep getting delegates at the same rate, and Romney would still get the nomination, it would just take awhile.

Attention now moves to first Wyoming and Washington (although they are not getting much attention) and then of course Super Tuesday. Super Tuesday is not as super as it was in 2008, but there are still a big chunk of delegates at stake, and after it is over, we should have a better view of what the rest of the race looks like, and specifically if Romney is able to break out and start closing on 1144, or if the non-Romney’s still have a real shot at blocking him from getting there. (Let alone actually catching up and winning, which is a much further stretch.)

@abulsme Updates from 2012-02-28 (UTC)

  • MT @mathowie: The theme of the Oscars this year is "Please for the love of god go to an actual theater like we did when we were kids" #
  • RT @fivethirtyeight: Michigan looking a little more tossup-y and less lean-Romney-ish than it did last night. #
  • RT @kkondik: Doing some looking at Super Tuesday — looks like Santorum will be hard-pressed to even tie Romney in delegates on March 6 #
  • RT @BuzzFeed: RIP 'Berenstain Bears' creator Jan Berenstain. She died Friday at age 88. #
  • Reading – Late Move in Santorum’s Favor (Josh Marshall) #
  • Watching – All Alone in the Night – Time-lapse footage of the Earth as seen from the ISS (Bitmeizer) #
  • Reading – Leave our net alone (Jeff Jarvis) #
  • Reading – Israel and Proxy Terrorism (Robert Wright) #
  • Reading – Santorum Exposes The Real Republican Party (Andrew Sullivan) #
  • RT @fivethirtyeight: Plausible that Ron Paul could win the 12th Congressional district in Michigan and pick up 2 delegates there. #
  • Split. RT @fivethirtyeight: I get 5 lean/likely Romney districts in Michigan, 4 lean/likely Santorums, and 5 toss-ups. #
  • RT @ppppolls: Romney leads among Republicans in Michigan. It's Democrats putting Santorum over the top. We'll see if they really show up… #
  • RT @LarrySabato: Remember–if MI popular vote is tight, then Santorum prob wins more delegates than Romney because of allocation structure. #
  • RT @LarrySabato: A loss in MI delegate race will be embarrassing for Mitt. A loss in popular vote? Well, not spin-able, friends. A disaster. #
  • RT @FHQ: .@LarrySabato OH will be key on Super Tuesday regardless, but becomes near must win for Romney w/MI loss. #
  • Reading – U.S. Rule Set for Cameras at Cars’ Rear (Nick Bunkley) #

Convention Chaos?

I was asked a few hours ago about the possibilities of nobody getting enough delegates to wrap up the Republican nomination and somebody who isn’t running today jumping in. I answered by email, but thought it was worth posting as well. Also, I’d be remiss to not point out that Ivan and I also discussed how the next bit of the race might play out on this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, so take a listen to that too. Anyway, my answer:

The most likely scenario is still that Romney gets to 1144, and does so without any special shenanigans. However…

A) The calendar is extremely spread out this year. We need to get to the end of March just to be where we were at the beginning of February in 2008. McCain pulled ahead by an uncatchable margin on Super Tuesday in 2008. We won’t have a comparable number of delegates selected for many more weeks now. So the story will be all about how Romney is having trouble closing, even though really we just aren’t as far along in the process yet.

B) So far Romney has been chugging along at a pace that will get him to 1144, but essentially at the last possible moment. We’re talking well into the Spring before he mathematically actually gets the magic number. If he continues at that pace, he will limp into the convention wounded and weak, and challenges may well be possible, causing fun drama. He desperately needs to start winning delegates by a wider margin than he has been, because…

C) While each of the non-Romney’s alone are not doing very well in the delegate race, collectively they just have to do SLIGHTLY better than they have been so far, not to win, but to block Romney from getting to 1144. For this to happen though, the collective non-Romney numbers have to improve… just a tiny bit, but they have to improve. So you have to have Santorum or Gingrich (and Paul) continue to pull delegates and just plain not collapse or run out of steam. Note, at this point some of the few Super Tuesday polls out there show this is a non-Trivial possibility. I’ve seen polls for Georgia (Newt ahead), Ohio (Santorum ahead), and Tennessee (Santorum ahead). And is it hard to believe that Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming won’t include a decent delegate haul for Santorum and/or Newt or Paul? (Even if we give Romney Massachussetts, Vermont and Virginia?) There has been light or non-existant polling in those places so far, but I look at them and think it is more than possible that even if Romney “wins” that night, he might do so with a plurality of the delegates rather a decisive over 50% margin. In that case, he’d still be way ahead in delegates, but the other three will have once again succeeded in not letting him get enough to be closing toward 1144 fast enough to get there. (Detailed gaming out of this from FHQ here: and here: )

D) Given the above, my actual position is what it has been for the last month or so… it will PROBABLY still be Romney, and he will PROBABLY win it outright, but the picture will be a lot clearer after Super Tuesday. We will then have over 35% of the delegates allocated, as opposed to only 11% like we do today. If after Super Tuesday, Romney’s “% of remaining delegates needed to win” number (the one I’ve been posting graphs about regularly) isn’t heading dramatically downward, then it will be very legitimate to start talking about the possibilities of him not getting to 1144. Right now it is fun to think about, but still unlikely. (Let alone the possibility of one of the others actually being on pace to catch up and win, which CAN STILL HAPPEN, but requires a complete Romney collapse.)

E) Unless Romney does a blow out win on Super Tuesday and crushes everybody else, assume that the press will make it out to be a race as long as anybody else is standing at all. Just like they did with Clinton vs Obama, they will pump it up and act like whoever is in 2nd has a chance to catch up long after they really don’t have any real chance of doing so at all. Watch my graphs. If after each contest Romney’s “% to win” goes down, and everybody else’s goes up, then Romney is walking toward the nomination, don’t let any of the hype delude you.

F) OK, lets say that Romney does NOT get to 1144, what then? Well, chances are, as long as he is way ahead in delegates compared to the others, he will probably still be the nominee. Deals will be made. Maybe none of the others actually drop out and throw their support before the convention, they get to get their votes in the roll call and make a big speech, but in the end, the deal is made. One or more of the other guys instruct their delegates to go for Romney on the 2nd or 3rd ballot or whatever in exchange for “something” and Romney gets it. This deal will probably be made before the convention, but worst case scenario, the deal is made by appealing directly to the delegates at the convention, and it ends up being Romney.

G) If the convention is indeed deadlocked, and decides to go with none of the four currently in the race, well, that would just be crazy fun chaos. But the big name candidates that everybody wanted to get in but didn’t will be running away from it as fast as they can. There are good reasons they decided to sit out 2008. Are they going to suddenly decide to want to come into that situation starting way late, starting way from behind, and inheriting a divided and discouraged party? Any reasons they had not to run earlier will be even stronger then. Maybe one could be “called to duty” and reluctantly accept, but would they really be doing anything other than making themselves weaker for 2016? And would a third or fourth tier possibility really be any better to all the assembled delegates? It would be a delightful mess to watch though. Still very unlikely though. There is a path to get to this, but it is very narrow, and all of the above are much more likely…

H) Oh, and of course the only thing even more fun than that kind of chaos, would be the convention not being able to select a candidate even after many ballots, breaking up into multiple conventions selecting different candidates… and splitting the party into two or more pieces. Of course, there are even MORE things that would prevent that, so that is too crazy for even me to contemplate right now. :-)

Curmudgeon’s Corner: A Lot of People Were Confused

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner…

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Michigan and Arizona / Stupid things Candidates Say
  • Decline of the PC / Windows 8
  • Google and Privacy

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 26 Feb 2012″]


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@abulsme Updates from 2012-02-27 (UTC)

Electoral College: Pennsylvania Goes Blue

Chart from the 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Lines represent how many more electoral votes a candidate has than is needed to tie under several different scenarios. This chart reflects Obama vs Romney. If any other candidate takes the lead in the Republican delegate race we’ll switch to making charts for them.

This is a big one today. Obama’s 5 poll average in Pennsylvania is now more than a 5% lead. This means I take Pennsylvania out of swing state status. It is no longer “too close to call”, it is blue. This reduces Romney’s best case (win all the swing states scenario) to only a 291 to 241 win. It is still a win, but his best case is now a vey narrow win, only 22 electoral votes past the 269 needed to tie. That turns Florida into a “Must Win”, as without winning Florida, there is no longer a way to get to 269. (At least without reaching past the swing states and pulling back states where Obama is even further ahead.)

New summary:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 291 247
Current Status 210 328
Obama Best Case 170 368

And new map…

Map from the 2012 Electoral College Prediction page.

@abulsme Updates from 2012-02-26 (UTC)

  • RT @freesyria74: 100 people were killed today in #Syria by Assad's forces. This has been the daily average over last 7 days. 3000/month :( #
  • RT @rajskub: 3yr old quote of the day while trying to fix a toy computer, 'I know! we should put some butter on it!' #
  • MT @GovGaryJohnson: Gov Johnson to the @LPGeorgia conv: “I WILL CONTINUE THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION” if @RonPaul doesn't get the GOP nom. #
  • Reading – Caboose (Wikipedia) #
  • Reading – The G.O.P.’s Fuzzy Delegate Math (Nate Silver) #
  • Kyzyl! RT @BreakingNews: Update: 6.8-magnitude quake centered 58 miles east of Kyzyl, Russia, at depth of 33.2 miles – USGS via Reuters #
  • Reading – The myth of the eight-hour sleep (Stephanie Hegarty) #
  • Reading – Mitt Romney’s budget in about 150 words (Ezra Klein) #
  • RT @joshtpm: Santorum building new GOP with voters who don't want to go to college or have sex. #
  • MT @thinkprogress "I had the opptnty to read the speech & I almost threw up." Santorum on JFK speech about the separation btwn church/state #
  • RT @CenteredPols: Talking heads have called every primary “make or break” but none have been. Hint: Michigan will not be either. #
  • Reading – Santorum: Higher Education a Plot to Secularize America (Kevin Drum) #
  • MT @UKProgressive Quote of the YEAR! "Republicans being against sex is not good. Sex is popular." GOP strtgst Alex Castellanos via MoDowd #
  • Reading – Everything is Connected (Sean Carroll) #
  • Reading – Michigan Tea Partiers Share Rick Santorum’s Fears Over Obama’s College Push (Evan McMorris-Santoro) #
  • RT @radleybalko: Heh. How to make hard-to-obtain Sudafed from everyday street meth. (PDF) (via @curiouser_georg) #
  • Reading – On the Nature of 2012 RNC Rules Changes (Josh Putnam) #
  • @FHQ Def calendar. Today ~11% of dels. Feb 26 2008, ~63%. (Inc caucus ests.) 63% not till Apr in 2012. More 2008 comp: #
  • Reading – This is how far human radio broadcasts have reached into the galaxy (Emily Lakdawalla) #
  • RT @TPMLiveWire: Romney Surpasses Santorum In National Gallup Tracking Poll via @kyleleighton #
  • RT @wikileaks: WikiLeaks mystery press conference Monday 12 noon, Frontline Club, Paddington, London, 13 Norfolk place W2 1QJ. #
  • Reading – Studies Refute Santorum’s Claim That College Makes People Less Religious (Sahil Kapur) #
  • Reading – What if The Final Countdown Had Ended Differently? (John Farrier) #
  • Reading – Mountain Lion threatens Facebook and Microsoft (Edward Aten) #
  • Reading – What Happens to the Coke in Coca-Cola? (Dan Lewis) #

Electoral College: Easy Come, Easy Go (WA dark blue again)

Map from the 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. This map reflects Obama vs Romney. If any other candidate takes the lead in the Republican delegate race we’ll switch to making maps for them.

So on February 19th our five poll average for Washington state had Obama’s lead dip below 10%, moving them from Strong Obama to Weak Obama. Today another poll puts Obama’s 5 poll average back over 10%, so we put the state back in the Strong Obama category. Either way, just above or just below 10%, Washington is nowhere near being a swing state.

Since this doesn’t affect the inventory of swing states, the overall summary is the same:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 311 227
Current Status 210 328
Obama Best Case 170 368

And the chart over time…

Chart from the 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Lines represent how many more electoral votes a candidate has than is needed to tie under several different scenarios.

@abulsme Updates from 2012-02-25 (UTC)