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



November 2012

Electoral College: The Penultimate Update

Today was by far the biggest update I’ve ever done. New polls in 31 states plus the Maine congressional districts. Absolutely exhausting checking all my sources and entering in all the data today. After all that though, the result is three states changing status, with none of those status changes making a big difference in the race. Time for a quick look before we get to the meatier stuff:

On Saturday Romney’s lead in the South Dakota five poll average dropped below 10%. With today’s update is is once again slightly more than 10%. Romney’s going to win South Dakota. (Graph shows a year since polling has been so sparse here.)

Some story in Missouri. Just yesterday Romney’s lead in the five poll average dipped below 10%. Today it is above 10% again. Romney will win Missouri.

Finally Florida. While the other two don’t really matter much to the state of the race because Romney is clearly going to win both, Florida isn’t all that significant right now because the fact that Florida has once again bounced across the line, and now has Romney narrowly ahead, does not actually give any additional insight into the state of the race in Florida. Florida has been bouncing back and forth close to the line. Small fluctuations up and down are just sampling noise. The best we can say about Florida is that it is tied, and there is no indication that the state is breaking one way or another. As I’ve said several times before, we’ll know which way Florida goes once all the votes are counted. We may not even know on election night depending how it goes.

So, the current state of the race with just about a day to go before the polls start closing:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 338 200
Current Status 235 303
Obama Best Case 190 348

So goodbye to 332-206 for the moment, and perhaps for good. There isn’t that much time left after all.

Fundamentally, we have no significant change to the race today in terms of the three main lines in my summary. Obama is still heavily favored, but Romney can still win if he manages to defy expectation and win in a bunch of the close states.

So, here we go again, looking at those close states.

With just the states he is ahead in by more than 5%, Romney starts at 190 electoral votes. Then if we go in order…

  • Nebraska 2nd (1): Romney ahead by 3.8%
  • North Carolina (15): Romney ahead by 1.4%
  • Florida (29): Romney ahead by 0.4%

That is all the states (and CDs) Romney is actually ahead in based on my five poll average. That gets him to 235 electoral votes. 34 electoral votes short. If you continue to bring the states in order of Romney’s support level…

  • Colorado (9): Obama ahead by 1.2%
  • Virginia (13): Obama ahead by 1.6%
  • Iowa (6): Obama ahead by 2.0%
  • New Hampshire (4): Obama ahead by 2.8%
  • Maine 2nd (1): Obama ahead by 2.8%
  • Ohio (18): Obama ahead by 3.1%

Ohio is once again the tipping state. If Romney pulled all of these in, he would have 286 electoral votes and therefore win the presidency. Now, if Romney does indeed win Ohio, he could then afford to actually lose Iowa, New Hampshire and Maine’s 2nd.

This leaves Romney’s current “easiest path to victory” to be holding on to the three states he is ahead in, and then pulling ahead and winning in Colorado, Virginia and Ohio.

There are other paths involving the remaining close states, which are:

  • Pennsylvania (20): Obama ahead by 4.2%
  • Wisconsin (10): Obama ahead by 4.3%
  • Michigan (16): Obama ahead by 4.5%
  • Nevada (6): Obama ahead by 4.8%

There are certainly ways some of those states could be part of a path to 270 (or 269) for Romney, but since Obama is even further ahead in those states, that kind of movement seems even more unlikely.

So looking at the tipping point margin graph:

The race has been stable for the last week.

Romney is out of time. If there was going to be a last minute move toward Romney in the swing states, it needed to have been happening over the last few days. There is nothing. States appear to be jiggling around a bit due to the sheer volume of polling that is happening right now, but there is no real indication of any movement that makes any sort of difference to this race.

The best bet for the Romney team remains that all the polls are just systematically wrong, and the reality is that a lot of the states I listed above are actually at least 3% better for Romney than they look from the polling. There HAVE been presidential election years where the state polls were off by that much. So this is not impossible….

…just pretty unlikely.

Absent a miracle for the Romney folks, this looks like Obama getting reelected.

Before I close for the day, just a quick note.

The plans for for the next 48 hours had been one final update to these polling charts before the polls start to close less than 24 hours from now. After that I was planning to do what I did in 2008, which was updates to the website every 15 minutes or so as states get called one way or the other by the major networks. The networks usually only call the election itself when one candidate actually gets to 270 electoral votes, but really, you will probably know well in advance of that, as one can already assume how many states will go. You do not have to wait for the polls to close in California to know that Obama will win California for instance.

The plan above may still happen, but life may get in the way. I just got word within the last two hours that my mother-in-law is getting released to go home after having had major surgery a couple of weeks ago… which is great, because it means she is doing well, but my wife needs to be there when she gets discharged, and to help her during the first week or two home. So my wife may need to be flying out of here, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Is she does, depending on exact schedules, I may not be able to do “election night coverage” after all as I’ll be needing to deal with things at home. If so, I might post the occasional comment on twitter, but won’t be furiously updating graphs all night long.

I should know better about what my plans will be by the time I post my final update tomorrow. Thanks for you patience!

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

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