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



September 2012

@abulsme Updates from 2012-09-22 (UTC)

  • RT @DemFromCT: RAND poll (often overlooked) #
  • Reading – In 2011, Romney made $14 million while being unemployed (Ezra Klein) #
  • Reading – Mitt Romney is paying… too much in taxes? (Brad Plumer) #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign: @abulsme What r the chances that this is an oversight? #
  • .@ThoughtnDesign Oversight? No. The statement today said it was specifically done to stay above the 13% Romney promised a few months ago. #
  • MT @ThoughtnDesign: @abulsme In my opinion totally misses the point. Actual rate is between 9 & 11, but he plays with the #s to make it 13. #
  • MT @fivethirtyeight: There’s actually not much sign that O’s lead is declining if you look at all 4 tracking polls. Just been in Gallup. #
  • Reading – Are Judges finally Standing up to Secretive Drone Assassinations? (Jack Searle) #
  • RT @fivethirtyeight: Possible, however, that Obama lead was declining, and now 47% is causing problems for Romney. #
  • Reading – Benghazi Reelects Obama (Charles Mudede) #
  • MT @fleetadmiralj: If O wins, will be 1st time 3 straight presidents elected to two terms since Jefferson, Madison, & Monroe, 1801-1825 #
  • Reading – Has Apple Peaked? (Joe Nocera) #
  • Reading – Discovery of huge mosaic in Turkey proves Romans had long lasting influence on the region (Eddie Wrenn) #
  • Reading – Romney Shambles, Income Tax Edition (Oliver Willis) #
  • Reading – Romney May Be the End of the Line for the Republican Establishment (Scott Rasmussen) #
  • Reading – Expert: Romney may have paid less in taxes over 20 years than it appears (Greg Sargent) #
  • Reading – Obama’s Convention Bounce May Not Be Receding (Nate Silver) #
  • Reading – ‘Free Libya’ Crowds in Benghazi rally against Militias, Drive al-Qaeda out of City (Juan Cole) #
  • MT @CarrieNBCNews: MT @mmurraypolitics: By tomorrow, voters in 25 states will be casting ballots (absentee/ early in person). #
  • Reading – Mitt Romney’s Cynical Tax Ruse (Kevin Drum) #
  • Reading – White House narrative on Libya all but collapsed (Ed Morrissey) #
  • Reading – Romney’s Tax Release: No Big Surprises (Andrew Sullivan) #
  • Did the iOS 6 thing overnight. Alex will be mad later when he discovers his “Trainios” are gone. No other thoughts yet. Just started. #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign: @abulsme Let’s see if he gets away with this. #
  • .@ThoughtnDesign Suspect this will result in a bit of a brush up as people discuss it this weekend… (Cont) #
  • .@ThoughtnDesign But then I suspect it will die down with issue mostly defused. Ds will look petty if keep harping on other years, details. #
  • .@ThoughtnDesign People get that he is rich & paid low tax rate. Knew that already. Absent bombshell of something unexpected, nothing new. #
  • Reading – Mauled NY man: I wanted to be one with the tiger (Tom Hays) #
  • EC Update for Sat Sep 22 Done. Marathon update. Polls added in 15 states. 3 states change categories. Blog post soon. #

Electoral College: NC flips to Obama, VA in play again, SD strengthens for Romney

Big day, lots of changes in polls behind the scenes aided by the fact I’ve now added PollTracker as a source. They seem to be picking up and including some polls left out by my other sources. The big batch of new polls today led to three category changes. So lets get to them in order of electoral college size from small to large:

First up, South Dakota with 3 electoral votes. It has been very sparsely polled, but it is easy to see why. This state is not even remotely in contention. It is a Romney state. Back in August a new poll had brought the five poll average down to a Romney lead of less than 10%, moving it to “Weak Romney” instead of “Strong Romney”. Now the first poll since then moves it back to “Strong Romney”. Either way, South Dakota is not a state we imagine Obama winning even in his best possible scenario.


Next up is Virginia with 13 electoral votes. On Thursday Obama’s lead in the state tipped just barely over 5%. With a new poll today, it dips back just barely below 5%. So once again it goes into my “Lean Obama” category and it is once again considered one of the states Romney *could* win, even though he is currently behind in the state. So this improves Romney’s best case and opens up more possible “paths to victory” that one can mathematically imagine given the polling.

Finally, North Carolina with 15 electoral votes. Never once in the last year has this state not been “close”. Most of the time it has leaned toward Romney though, with just a few bounces toward Obama. Today’s batch of new polls are all favorable to Obama though, and the five poll average tips toward Obama, barely, at a 0.8% lead for Obama.

Now, there is some oddness in how I count polls here. When a poll includes results in more than one way (Likely Votes vs Registered, or with our without Leaners) rather than picking one version of the poll based on some criteria I make up, I count those as separate polls if they are reported differently by the sources I use. This will potentially overweight the one poll with multiple reports. I count on this effect being washed out over time. This state is close enough that it can make a difference though.

But the difference is between just barely leaning one way, and just barely leaning the other way. These two situations are barely distinguishable from each other. So, for instance, in the case of North Carolina, while the new polls tip the state over the center line, it should be kept front of mind that a 0.8% lead is NOTHING and is close enough that it can easily just be statistical or methodological noise, and even if it isn’t, is close enough it can be wiped out overnight by the events in a news cycle.

So while this does move the “everybody gets every state they are ahead in” line in my models, do keep in mind that ALL of the “close” states should be considered to be states that easily could go either way.

So, with all of these, the new model summary:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 291 247
Current Status 191 347
Obama Best Case 180 358

With this the “Current Status” where everybody gets every state they are ahead in is back up to matching Obama’s previous highs in April and May. Even with Obama’s best case, he isn’t matching his 2008 performance. But he is at what has so far been his ceiling in this race. To move beyond this he needs to start pulling ahead in states like Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina and Montana. All of these have so far seemed way out of reach this time around. And they still do. We would need a major Romney collapse to start bringing these states over to Obama.

As I said though, this lead in North Carolina is by the slimmest of margins, and is helped along slightly by my methodology. It would not be surprising at all for this to flip back to the “normal” 332 to 206 Obama victory margin we’ve been seeing most of the year in my model.

In the mean time, Virginia getting a bit closer again is good news for Romney. If he can’t bring states like Virginia back to being at least close, it is really hard to see how he pulls off a win. Having said that though, the recent trend in Virginia has been against him. We’ll need more polls (I’m sure we’ll have them soon) to know if Romney is really making Virginia close again, or if it will slip back away from him with the next batch of polls.

Note: Chart and map from the 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Both assume Obama vs Romney with no strong third party candidate and show polling as it currently exists. Things will change before election day. On the map red is Romney, blue is Obama, gold states are too close to call. Lines on the chart represent how many more electoral votes a candidate would have than is needed to tie under several different scenarios. Up is good for Obama, Down is good for Romney.

(Edited 2012 Sep 22 23:50 to add some final thoughts and do some cleanup.)