Archives: October 2008

Fri 31 Oct 2008

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.

Abulsme - Fri, 31 Oct 2008, 07:15:16 PDT
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Thu 30 Oct 2008

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.

Abulsme - Thu, 30 Oct 2008, 08:49:50 PDT
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Wed 29 Oct 2008

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.

Abulsme - Wed, 29 Oct 2008, 20:32:12 PDT
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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.

Abulsme - Wed, 29 Oct 2008, 18:10:40 PDT
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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. 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.

Abulsme - Wed, 29 Oct 2008, 10:44:05 PDT
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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.

Abulsme - Wed, 29 Oct 2008, 08:30:57 PDT
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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. :-)

Abulsme - Wed, 29 Oct 2008, 03:26:19 PDT
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Tue 28 Oct 2008

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.

Abulsme - Tue, 28 Oct 2008, 08:45:41 PDT
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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.

Abulsme - Tue, 28 Oct 2008, 07:24:42 PDT
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Puzzle the Third

Abulsme - Tue, 28 Oct 2008, 07:16:13 PDT
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Mon 27 Oct 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: He Hit His Face But Broke His Ankle

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Abulsme - Mon, 27 Oct 2008, 12:53:17 PDT
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Sun 26 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Virginia and Colorado Blue Again

Sundays are usually slow, but we still get some action and three states moving today.

Virginia (13 ev): After just two days below the line, Obama's lead in the five poll average in Virginia once again goes over 5%. It is still near the line, so it could go back with the next polls, but for now, Virginia is once again "Weak Obama" and no longer a swing state.

Colorado (9 ev): After five days as a swing state, Obama's lead in Colorado also goes back over 5%. So, like Virginia, Colorado once again goes into the "Weak Obama" category and out of swing state status.

Arkansas (6 ev): The one piece of good news for McCain today. McCain's lead in Arkansas once again goes over 10%, moving the state from "Weak McCain" to "Strong McCain". Unfortunately for John McCain, this is just a little strengthening in a state he was going to win anyway.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 306, McCain 232
Obama Best Case - Obama 393, McCain 145

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Not much new to report in terms of overall summary though.

McCain's best case is still to win every swing state... and still lose the election.

The only things that have been changing in the analysis lately are how badly McCain loses in his best case, and just how much of a landslide Obama gets in his best case.

The "everybody gets their leans" line hasn't moved in 11 days.


Edit 23:47 - Fixed numbers which were accidentally reversed as per comment.

Abulsme - Sun, 26 Oct 2008, 14:50:47 PDT
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Fri 24 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Georgia on my Mind (and Virginia)

Polls in a full 24 states today, but only changes in two... one good news for McCain, one good news for Obama.

Georgia (15 ev): McCain's lead in Georgia, which one month ago was almost 15%, has now fallen below 5%. This means Georgia is now "Lean McCain" and moves into the world of a swing state. McCain is still ahead, but it is within reach of Obama. Obama had targeted this state earlier in the campaign, but then pulled out when it seemed he was making no traction there and McCain would hold his lead. That lead has now evaporated, and Obama is putting resources back in the state. Could it actually tip to Obama? Maybe.

Virginia (13 ev): Obama's lead seemed to peak just under 8% a little over a week ago. Polls since then have shown weakening, and today Obama's lead falls below 5%, putting Virginia back into swing state status. This puts it once again within reach for McCain. If the trend of the last few days in Virginia holds, McCain could pull the state back into his column before the election.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 284, McCain 254
Obama Best Case - Obama 393, McCain 145

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

So, as usual, McCain's best case after winning all of the states that are currently close, would still be to lose by 30 electoral votes. Having Virginia as possible does make his best case loss not quite as bad a loss as without it of course.

Meanwhile, Obama's best case is now fully within landslide territory. Not everybody agrees on exactly what a landslide is, but one definition is getting over 375 electoral votes, and we're certainly there in Obama's best case. Even the "everybody gets their leans" is close to that mark.

If McCain manages to pull Ohio back to being competitive, he would have a potential path for victory. He would need to win all the states he is currently ahead in, plus Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada and Ohio. That would be a long and hard path, but it is his only path right now.

Of course, he's spending his time and money in Pennsylvania instead. You could potentially substitute Pennsylvania for Ohio in the scenario above and have almost the same math, but he is much farther behind in Pennsylvania than he is in Ohio at the moment. So who knows what he is thinking.

Abulsme - Fri, 24 Oct 2008, 10:18:14 PDT
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Thu 23 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Ohio and West Virginia Stop Swinging

Three states change status today:

Ohio (20 ev): The prototypical swing state is no longer a swing state, as Obama's lead in the last five poll average moves over 5% in Ohio. Ohio is now "Weak Obama". Could the next poll knock it back down into swing state status? Sure. It is close to the boundary between the categories. But for now, Ohio goes blue.

Minnesota (10 ev): Obama's lead moves over 10%, making Minnesota "Strong Obama" once again. It had been strong Obama up through mid-August, then got tighter until it was a swing state for a bit in September. Since then Obama's lead has been climbing until now it is once again Strong Obama.

West Virginia (5 ev): After having had McCain's lead weaken and becoming a "Lean McCain" swing state for most of October, McCain reopens the lead. Today his lead in the five poll average again goes over 5%, and West Virginia again turns red.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 297, McCain 241
Obama Best Case - Obama 378, McCain 160

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

So Obama's best case isn't quite as good as it was, and McCain's best case gets worse as well. Of course, Ohio is 20 electoral votes and West Virginia is only 5, so Obama wins on this exchange.

Of course, McCain's best case was already to lose. Today's change just means his best case is to lose by even more.

If Ohio does not immediately switch back with the next polls, it looks as if the progress McCain looked like he was making in the last week or so may have been reversed. The line that represents Obama's position with Strong+Weak states is now once again moving in Obama's direction.

Meanwhile though, the "Strong Obama" line just keeps moving further in Obama's direction. With ONLY HIS STRONG STATES Obama is now only 15 electoral college votes away from winning.

This may be a good time to point out that all the "Action" we have been talking about in these updates lately is related to the lines representing where Obama is WITHOUT ANY SWING STATES. The question we have been tracking is not if Obama is winning or losing, it is if he even needs any of the close states to do it. (And since October 3rd, the answer has been "no".)

But if you look at the line that represents everybody getting every state they are even slightly ahead in... McCain has only been in the lead for ONE DAY since May 23rd. (He managed a tie for 8 additional days.)

This line, the actual who is ahead line, has not had any moves in McCain's direction in OVER A MONTH. Since September 18th when McCain peaked, every single state that has actually had the lead switch has switched to Obama. Every single one.

This may change. Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada all have relatively slim Obama leads. But still... winning all of them seems like a big stretch. And even that would not be enough.

McCain has no time left.

The only questions at this point are about just how big Obama's win will be, not if he wins.

Absent a catastrophic event that changes everything of course. Those do sometimes happen. But there are only 12 days left.

Abulsme - Thu, 23 Oct 2008, 09:02:59 PDT
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Wed 22 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Obama gains more Strong States

Today Obama moves to leads greater than 10% in both Washingotn (11 ev) and Maine (4 ev). Those states thus become "Strong Obama" states. Since they were not swing states anyway, these changes do not affect my overall summary.


McCain Best Case - Obama 277, McCain 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 383, McCain 155

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

So where does that put us?

Well, McCain's best case if he wins every single swing state is still to lose.

Over the last week or so, McCain has been able to move a couple of states (Florida and Colorado) from being blue states back to being swing states. The lead hasn't flipped toward McCain in any of the swing states, but he has made them close again, which is of course the needed first step. He still however needs to pull at least 9 more electoral votes from "Weak Obama" to "Lean Obama" in order to have a possible path to victory.

Meanwhile, there is another line I hadn't paid much attention to lately. That is the "Strong Obama" line. That is, the number of electoral votes Obama has including ONLY the states where his lead is over 10%. Obama does not seem to have peaked yet on this metric. Obama now has 245 electoral votes with just these states. That means he only needs 25 electoral votes from his Weak or Lean states in order to win. There are 119 electoral votes in those categories at the moment that he can pick from to try to get those 25.

The question here is not if McCain can win. The question is if he can even pull enough states back out of Obama's world to even have an imaginable way to win.

Abulsme - Wed, 22 Oct 2008, 09:08:17 PDT
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Tue 21 Oct 2008

Electoral College: The Race Tightens

Today Obama's lead in Colorado drops below 5%, moving that state from "Weak Obama" back into swing state status. This expands the inventory of swing states, and improves McCain's best case that assumes he gets all the swing states.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 277, McCain 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 383, McCain 155

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Now, this still has McCain's best case being to lose. However, it has him losing by much less than he has been. Looking back at the last week, Florida finally stopped moving around, and seems to have stabilized as a "Lean Obama" swing state, but still a swing state, and within reach of McCain. It now looks clear that Obama peaked around October 15th (at least on the currently most important "Weak Obama" line) and we are now seeing the predicted tightening in the race.

Now, for McCain to actually have a path to victory, he needs to move at least 9 more electoral votes into swing state status out of "Weak Obama". That means he needs to get Obama's lead down to less than 5%. (And then of course he has to take the lead, but one step at a time.)

The current Weak Obama states are: Virginia (13 ev) 8.0% Obama lead, Washington (11 ev) 9.6% Obama lead, Minnesota (10 ev) 9.8% Obama lead, New Mexico (5 ev) 7.5% Obama lead, Maine (4 ev) 9.6% Obama lead, New Hampshire (4 ev) 8.4% Obama lead. You can work out for yourself possible plans for McCain to pull some of those down, but it looks like a long road.

(Additionally, a corrective note, I'm not sure how I missed it on the day it happened, but on October 14th New Jersey moved from Weak Obama to Strong Obama. I have retroactively corrected the charts as of today, but obviously not my comments from the days since then or the thumbnail charts in those comments. Since it does not change the swing states, this would not have affected any of the summary numbers. It does however make the charts look even stronger for Obama than they did with New Jersey as a "Weak Obama" state.)

Abulsme - Tue, 21 Oct 2008, 09:20:45 PDT
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Mon 20 Oct 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Can He Go Lower?

We're still adjusting our recording methods. Sorry in advance for the uneven volume levels at some points.

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Abulsme - Mon, 20 Oct 2008, 22:18:11 PDT
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Sun 19 Oct 2008


By my calculations... actually, by Amy's, she did the calculations while I watched... Amy will be thirteen years old at exactly 9:09:57 UTC tonight. So a little more than 9 hours from now. Thirteen is one of those big numbers, or so I hear. So if you know her, be sure to say Happy Birthday!

This means she is an actual teenager now. Gulp!

Abulsme - Sun, 19 Oct 2008, 17:00:25 PDT
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Smoking Pens

In response to a letter.

The following is an email I sent some friends back in 1998...

From: Samuel Minter
Date: 30 January 1998 23:34:30 GMT+00:00
To: [Removed for their protection]
Subject: Smoking Pens

So today when I got home from work I took all the pens I could find, put them in a frying pan and put the stove on high. Unlike other times, I did not remove the ink from the pens first. Within minutes my apartment was full of highly toxic white smoke as the pens melted and the ink burst out and started burning along with the plastic.

At this point I turned off the stove and filled the frying pan with water to make it stop smoking as I tried not to breathe.

Right now I have all the windows and dorrs wide open to try to suck out the smoke. But I still feel better breathing if I stay near the floor.

I put the frying pan, now filled with a black ink and water mix, with gobs of melted plastic on the bottom, onto the balcony. I'll leave it there until the water evaporates away and I can see what is really there.

I wish I had a big fan. It still smells really bad in here. And I'm sure these tocix fumes aren't good for you. Oh well!

Next time I'll do it in the oven and with no ink, the way I know works!
I have no shame about such episodes in my past, only amusement.

Abulsme - Sun, 19 Oct 2008, 11:50:40 PDT
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Sat 18 Oct 2008

Electoral College: North Dakota Swings Again

13 states, 1 change. McCain's lead in North Dakota slips to under 5%, so the state moves from "Weak McCain" to "Lean McCain" and it once again is a swing state. Now, the 3 electoral votes from North Dakota will most likely not make any difference. But North Dakota being in play again just shows the extent of Obama's current lead.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 286, McCain 252
Obama Best Case - Obama 383, McCain 155

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Overall, despite North Dakota's move, it seems that overall Obama's lead has peaked. Looking at some of the polls in states where the category did not change, there may be some additional moves toward McCain in the wings if more individual polls move in his direction. I certainly still expect some tightening before we get to election day. But we still don't really see it in the state by state analysis.

Abulsme - Sat, 18 Oct 2008, 14:29:06 PDT
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Fri 17 Oct 2008

Electoral College: New Hampshire Weakens for Obama Again

Polls in 17 states today, but once again, only one state changes status. And this time it is NOT Florida. Obama's lead in the last five poll average slips below 10% in New Hampshire. It has only moved into "Strong Obama" one week ago. Now it slips back to "Weak Obama". Since New Hampshire is still not even close to being a swing state, this makes no difference to the summaries.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 286, McCain 252
Obama Best Case - Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Between Florida staying in swing state territory for more than a day, and New Hampshire weakening a bit, if you choose to, you can look at this and start to see some movement toward McCain, perhaps indicating the start of the tightening in the race that one would generally expect in the last few weeks. I don't think we really have enough evidence for that quite yet though. If a few more states move in McCain's direction over the next few days, then we will be able to say that. But not yet.

For the moment, McCain is still in a very bad position, still giving Obama a victory even if McCain wins every single state that is close right now. To have a chance he needs to start pulling some Obama Weak states back down to Obama Lean, and some Obama Lean to McCain Lean. And he needs to do it fast.

Abulsme - Fri, 17 Oct 2008, 10:15:37 PDT
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Thu 16 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Can Florida Please Sit Still?

Polls in 14 states today. Only one changes. And yes, it is Florida flipping back once again from "Weak Obama" to "Lean Obama". Again, it seems like Florida is just hovering around my 5% Obama lead boundary line between these two categories, so it keeps bouncing back and forth. I am getting tired of moving it every day though, so I wish Florida would hurry up and make up its mind.

Having said that, it is bouncing around a 5% Obama lead, not bouncing around the 0% line, so while it makes the "Weak Obama" line on my chart look a little erratic, the state of the race doesn't really change. We have Florida in a bit of an unstable quantum superposition between the two categories. At some point, the election at the latest, the quantum state will collapse.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 286, McCain 252
Obama Best Case - Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Not much else to say. Once again I think we are pretty much at Obama's peak (or perhaps a bit below with Florida in the Lean category today). There are still a few states he might be able to pull in, but there are also some states that could easily swing back toward McCain...

Right now though, I think we are basically in a steady state. Of course if any events happen that actually start giving one or the other candidate some additional momentum, that could change.

And really, come on, I'd like at least a LITTLE suspense on election night. McCain needs to figure out some way to tighten this up a bit. Get to work on that John, OK? Thanks.

Abulsme - Thu, 16 Oct 2008, 09:04:38 PDT
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Wed 15 Oct 2008

Not Fair, But...

No idea if this is real or Photoshopped, and it is so unfair, but I nearly fell over laughing when I saw it.

(via Daily Kos)

Abulsme - Wed, 15 Oct 2008, 22:01:41 PDT
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Zero? What?

(via DemConWatchh)

Abulsme - Wed, 15 Oct 2008, 21:30:34 PDT
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Prez Debate #3 Reax

OK, this one will be quick I think. I think McCain held his own better than last time around, where it seemed like he got pummeled. There were actually a few decent exchanges, and they did both throw some punches. But I don't think there were any "game changing" moments, and McCain really needed one.

Once again, you'll see nobody who had already decided changing their minds, and perhaps a few more of the stupid people who are still undecided because they haven't been paying attention floating aimlessly to one side or another based on who looked best or whatnot.

But that will not be enough to make any difference. Obama is way ahead in all the polls right now. He must be close to his peak at this point, so the trend in that direction should be slowing and perhaps reversing a little any time now, regardless of the debate. But McCain really needed something big, that would convince people who had already decided on Obama to not be so sure any more.

I don't think that happened.

Absent one of the candidates having a major health issue, one of them completely self-destructing through a self-inflicted mistake, Osama bin Laden being captured or a major new terrorist attack... we already know the outcome of this election, the next few weeks are just going through the motions.

Those kinds of big game changing events can of course happen. But the closer we get to election day, the less likely they get.

Oh, or it could rain and all the young under 30 Obama supporters could decide to stay home and party since it was going to be a landslide anyway and suddenly McCain wins after all. :-)

Abulsme - Wed, 15 Oct 2008, 19:48:31 PDT
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Liveblogging Prez Debate #3

Once again I'll be liveblogging for anybody who cares. Timestamps will be in UTC. I will see IMs to "abulsme" on AIM. I will see comments added to this post. I may or may not see email to, depending on if I decide to look at the other screen. I am in my office, so you can see me on the AbulCam. The commentary will start shortly.

00:44 - I've mentioned the following to several people in person, so I figure I'll put it here on the record too. I think McCain's best shot here is to actually just apologize for his campaign up to this date, and promise to run the kind of positive campaign he originally promised from here on out. I think that would get him an instant 5% pop in the polls. Not enough to win, but perhaps enough so start work on saving his reputation.

00:46 - A lot of commentators are also saying he should go with the "do you really want to give the Democrats both the white house and congress" route. This has some appeal. I really like divided government as someone who leans libertarian and generally prefers the government to do less. However, the last couple of years have shown that a Democratic congress does absolutely nothing to restrain a Republican president. Various years in the Clinton administration show that a Republican congress CAN check a Democratic President. So that is the combination I would prefer. But it doesn't look like that will happen this year. Democrats in charge of everything DOES scare me. But John McCain as President is not better.

0:48 - Even though I said I wouldn't, I'm watching on CNN again. I didn't choose it, the Tivo did.

0:49 - It is very hot in my office. I'm going to open the window.

0:51 - Reb the stalker is here.

0:52 - Also, a lot of people are saying McCain should throw everything at Obama and go super negative. I think that would just backfire more.

0:53 - I don't really expect much from tonight. I think it will be as boring as the last two. It will be exciting only if McCain makes it exciting. At this point I don't think he has it in him. But he may prove me wrong.

0:54 - Going to go fill my water bottle before it starts. Should have made popcorn. But I did not.

0:55 - Someone I didn't recognize briefly looked at the camera, then left.

0:56 - Hillary is there. Woo! And McCain called her for advice. Wha?

0:58 - Can we start yet?

1:00 - Starting! Woo!

1:01 - Bob Sheiffer is OK, but doesn't excite me much. Wolf Blitzer just annoys me.

1:02 - Asian markets down 10% too right now. Which sucks. Please stop. Oh, here come the candidates.

1:03 - I like sitting better than standing for these things.

1:04 - Does McCain start every debate with a shout out to some elderly person in the hospital?

1:07 - Nothing big on this first question. Fairly standard answers. I should resist looking at the focus group chart.

1:08 - First attack from McCain. Something about Joe the Plumber. I see Mario.

1:10 - Can't... resist... the... focus... group... lines...

1:11 - McCain can never get his line more than halfway up.

1:13 - Flash of anger from McCain. Or was it frustration?

1:14 - CNN is showing the "Watch Parties". Please don't. I just want to see the debate.

1:16 - Obama is talking about going through the budget line by line again. As if the President can do that. I mean, he can go through it, but there is no line item veto.

1:17 - McCain makes the Clinton call out.

1:18 - McCain just topped out on the green line for Men. That is the first time in this debate or the last I've seen him peg either line. People like his answer on what he would cut.

1:19 - The overhead projector again? Really?

1:21 - Can either of them balance the budget? McCain actually said yes. Wow. That is delusional. He will have a Democratic Congress. "I am not Bush". Good shot from McCain.

1:23 - "Even Fox News Disputes it". Nice.

1:24 - Obama actually went negative on the little charts when he was attacking McCain. Watch it. He doesn't need to do that.

1:25 - I think these lines are bad. I really should change the channel. The affect my opinions too much.

1:26 - "Say it to his face". Here we go.

1:27 - McCain isn't repeating Ayers, and he is misrepresenting what John Lewis said. Odd.

1:28 - McCain spent most of the time attacking, just on new things. Obama is ...

1:29 - Crap, Amy came in and asked about dinner. I am completely thrown off. I am going to have to rewind several minutes, and then I'll be all upset about being behind real time.

1:30 - Screw it, I'll stay on real time, but I completely missed Obama's answer. Amy was in here less than 10 seconds, but it broke my concentration. It will take me several minutes to get back in the zone. Urgh. I may have to rewind after all. I've lost several exchanges now.

1:32 - Rewinding to 1:29.

1:33 - I can't stand being behind real time.

1:34 - Now Brandy interrupted too. I'm going to be more than 5 minutes behind now. Very unhappy Sam.

1:35 - Back to McCain before Obama. 1:27 or so. So I can get all of Obama.

1:36 - Obama is going after McCain for his negativity.

1:37 - Still very upset about being behind real time. Head is spinning.

1:38 - No commercials, so can't catch up. Maybe I'll try to fast forward through the questions.

1:39 - McCain is being calm as he says Obama is negative too.

1:40 - Obama is defending the Lewis statements. Complete non-reaction from the focus groups.

1:41 - McCain is proud of the people who come to his rallies, there will always be some wackos. Probably the best answer to the Lewis stuff.

1:42 - Ivan is here now too, and is further behind than me. That makes me feel better. McCain doesn't like the T-shirts at Obama rallies.

1:43 - This was probably the most sparks of the debate. If this is it, then there is nothing. Oh! McCain mentioned Ayers finally!!! And ACORN!

1:44 - Obama is just smiling. He has a response prepared.

1:45 - Straight, sober, just the facts answers to Ayers and ACORN, although neither with all the detail you can find online of course, especially on ACORN. It will probably be enough.

1:47 - McCain pushes it further. Focus group is flat. Oh, negative now. Getting no traction on this. Only hurting himself. Just like most people said would happen if he did this.

1:48 - Ivan mentions that Obama was not really talking about the line item veto, but going through the budget to propose cuts. But of course the way the budget works is that FIRST the president proposes a budget. He wouldn't have to propose cuts in that, he could just not include things in the first place. Of course, those budgets are almost always DOA. The budget that comes back is from congress, and Obama can go through it line by line all he wants, but it won't do anything. Damn, missed some again, rewinding more. My fault this time.

1:50 - Rewinded back to 1:39. 11 minutes behind now.

1:51 - Want to know about their cabinet via their running mates. Ha!

1:52 - Yeah, yeah, OK, semantics. Bottom line, the only proper role of the president on the budget is to sign it or veto it. The rest is up to congress. And yes, they can bully pulpit all they want, but it is still up to congress.

1:53 - While I was answering Ivan, Obama drifted from talking about Biden to talking about other things. Oh, back to Biden at the end.

1:54 - The men in the focus group like the defense of Palin.

1:55 - I agree Ivan, lets bring back Newt! That is one thing he did that I really liked!

1:56 - This is where they are attacking each other's Veeps, but even here there aren't really any big fireworks.

1:57 - New topic. Good. Oh, I haven't been fast forwarding through the questions. Oh well, too late.

1:58 - McCain: "Canadian oil is fine!"

1:59 - McCain just came close to pegging both the male and female meters on his energy independence answer. Too bad what both of them are saying is mostly fantasy.

2:00 - Just got an email from the McCain campaign, asking if I want to host a "Super Saturday" McCain event on October 25th. I'm thinking no.

2:02 - McCain rolls his eyes a lot.

2:03 - McCain points out weasel words from Obama. As if he doesn't do the same thing. Is there any politician who doesn't? Otherwise you can't say anything, because people will nail you for lying.

2:04 - McCain "Maybe you should travel down there". Obama starts answering showing that he knows the region even if he hasn't been there.

2:05 - BTW, no longer bothered by being behind real time. Even considering pausing for a bathroom break. Nah...

2:06 - So far this is a more even debate than the last one (I'm tainted by watching the focus group lines of course). But still nothing big that will make any difference in the race I don't think.

2:07 - McCain mentions Hoover. Because he remembers.

2:08 - Obama explains his health care plan again. ZZZzzz...

2:10 - Joe the plumber again? Is he in the audience?

2:11 - Obama says "Zero". McCain looks horribly confused. Doesn't understand the answer.

2:13 - Attack parried, makes McCain look stupid.

2:14 - Oh, and since Ivan mentioned the Newt Gingrich government shutdown... we all remember what happened on one of the days when the government was shut down and Clinton wanted a pizza, right?

2:15 - Or was that how it happened? I forget the details, so should not talk without checking my facts. :-)

2:16 - McCain just called Obama: Senator Government. It looks accidental. It would have been good if it was on purpose.

2:17 - They all talked to Joe a lot. Oh god, Roe v Wade. Bleh.

2:18 - I don't get the context of Ivan's latest comment. We're too far out of sync. Oh well!

2:20 - Pizza is here. Pausing for a second to sign the thingy.

2:23 - Got food. Did bathroom break. Now 15 minutes behind.

2:24 - The most important question on judges is NOT Roe v Wade. It is opinions on balance of power between the branches of government and the proper limits of executive authority.

2:26 - GH updated his facebook status to let us know he is not watching the debate.

2:27 - Ooo... McCain is going after him on the semi-aborted fetuses born alive thing.

2:28 - McCain eyerolls again.

2:30 - Both candidates got pretty positive results from the focus group on the abortion questions. These undecided voters really are the stupidest people in the country.

2:33 - If it ended on time, the real debate is over now. I'm still 15 minutes behind. Finished my pizza though.

2:35 - Education stuff for a last question. Bored again here.

2:36 - Reb says it ended on time. Still no word if McCain pulled down his pants as Reb keeps predicting.

2:37 - GH comments on the judge issue based on my comments, not the debate, since we know he did not watch. Yeah yeah, just qualified people, blind to knowledge of their actual thoughts on things. That would be nice, but doesn't happen in this world.

2:38 - Was it Joe?

2:39 - I haven't been paying too much attention to the education question. I probably should care more. My kid is in private school right now, but that won't be true for long if the economy keeps tanking.

2:40 - It started raining here.

2:41 - Don't actually disagree with Greg. So won't argue. :-)

2:42 - Final snarky comment and a snort from McCain before the closing statements.

2:46 - Pretty standard closing statements. It is over.

2:47 - Big obvious handshake this time.

2:48 - Pausing now to avoid hearing CNN commentary until after I post my own initial thoughts, unspoiled by anything other than those damn focus group lines and the commenters here on this post. This liveblog is now over. But feel free to keep commenting here if you would like. :-)

Abulsme - Wed, 15 Oct 2008, 17:41:52 PDT
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Electoral College: Fickle Florida

Only one change today. Florida once again flip flops and moves from "Lean Obama" to "Weak Obama" as the five poll average once again peeks above 5%. As I've mentioned the last few updates when Florida has switched, it looks like what is really happening is that Florida is hovering right around a 5% Obama lead. 5% just happens to be the boundaries between my categories. So it bounces back and forth. Since Florida has 27 electoral votes, this moves the "Weak Obama" line fairly significantly each time it happens. But the actual state of the race is not substantially different. If Florida switches status, and then stays there more than a few days, then maybe we could really say that it *is* a place where Obama has less than a 5% lead and therefore call it a swing state where McCain has a chance and Obama needs to worry, or that it *is* a place where Obama is ahead by more than 5% and is therefore relatively safe Obama territory. But really, at the moment anyway, it is right on the edge between those categories.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 313, McCain 225
Obama Best Case - Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Looking at the various trends line, and visually averaging out the effects of Florida bouncing back and forth, it appears that the movement toward Obama is *still* going on. We have not yet seen a peak and a start of a reversion back to McCain as we approach the election. I keep thinking that Obama *must* be close to his maximum possible support levels, but so far, we just haven't seen the movement actually stop.

And we now have McCain's best case scenario, where he sweeps all the remaining swing states (as per today's update, NOT including Florida), being that he loses by 88 electoral votes. This is his worst position yet.

Abulsme - Wed, 15 Oct 2008, 08:44:53 PDT
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Twelve Hours

Last night I got home from work, sat down in the bedroom, and woke up twelve hours later. Guess I was tired. Yawn! I'm up now though.

Abulsme - Wed, 15 Oct 2008, 06:26:20 PDT
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Tue 14 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Swapping Florida for Colorado. plus Missouri Flips

Four States change status today. 3 move in Obama's direction, 1 moves in McCain's direction.

Florida (27 ev): As I cautioned in previous updates, Florida was JUST in the "Weak Obama" category and a single poll could easily move it back to "Lean Obama". This has in fact happened. Florida has flipped back and forth between "Lean Obama" and "Weak Obama" several times in the last couple of weeks. This basically means that the state is hovering around an Obama lead of 5%, which is the boundary between those two categories. There has not yet been a sustained move that keeps the state in one or the other category for a longer period of time. We'll see if this time is different.

Missouri (11 ev): With the latest polls the five poll average moves from "Lean McCain" to "Lean Obama". The usual caution applies. We are moving from just barely McCain, to just barely Obama. Either way, it is really too close to call. This is a swing state. Not too much should be read into the state being on one side of the line or the other, because the random variations of polls, or an event in the news that changes a few people's minds, can very easily flip it back to the other side.

Wisconsin (10 ev): Obama's lead in the five poll average moves to more than 10%, so Wisconsin moves from "Weak Obama" to "Strong Obama".

Colorado (9 ev): Obama's lead in the five poll average moves to more than 5%, so it moves from "Lean Obama" to "Weak Obama" and thus Colorado is no longer a swing state by my classifications. Colorado is smaller than Florida obviously, so this does not make up completely for Florida's return to swing state status today, but it does mitigate it.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 286, McCain 252
Obama Best Case - Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans - 364 Obama, 174 McCain

So the net today is that McCain's best case gets better, as it once again looks like he might have a shot at Florida if he pushes really hard there... although even so, his best case is still to lose by 34 electoral votes... which indeed is a smaller loss than that metric showed yesterday, but it is still a loss.

Meanwhile, Obama increases his potential winning margin in the "everybody gets their leans" metric to 190 electoral votes.

All in all, despite today's weakening in Florida, overall trends continue to be toward Obama. Could the Florida change be the start of a movement back toward McCain that will make things tighter again? Maybe. But for the moment it looks more like just Florida bouncing around near a 5% Obama lead.

I keep expecting to see some tightening, and some amount of movement back toward McCain as election day gets closer. But as of yet, I don't see it.

Abulsme - Tue, 14 Oct 2008, 08:08:13 PDT
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Mon 13 Oct 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Bottles of Economic Ruin

First of all, an apology... While Ivan's is fine, the audio quality of my voice is pretty bad this week, especially in the first segment, where it is awful. It does get better in the second segment. We were trying something different... it did not work. Sorry bout that. Anyway...

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Glass Bottled Coke
  • Market Plunge
  • Republican Socialism
  • Obama and Fannie
  • The Kitchen Sink
  • Vicious Crowds
  • Election Roundup
  • 2009 Preview
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Abulsme - Mon, 13 Oct 2008, 22:11:21 PDT
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Sat 11 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Florida Goes Blue Again

Today Obama's lead in Florida (according to my "last five polls" average) once again hits 5%. This moves Florida once again out of "Lean Obama" to "Weak Obama" and out of swing state territory. I caution though that Florida is RIGHT at the 5% line. Depending on the next polls, it could just as easily slip back into being a swing state as pull further away. It is right on the edge. But the trend on the overall charts remain clear. Obama's strength continues to increase.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 304, McCain 234
Obama Best Case - Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

So now even McCain's best case has Obama getting over 300 electoral votes and winning by a 70 electoral vote margin. That is just... sad.

OK, I shouldn't say that. Lets put this in historical context. If everybody gets their leans, Obama will win by 168 electoral votes. Here are the last ten elections in order by how big a margin the winner won by, with the hypothetical Obama lead in the place it would be.

#1) 1984 - Reagan beats Mondale by 512 electoral votes
#2) 1972 - Nixon beats McGovern by 503 electoral votes
#3) 1980 - Reagan beats Carter by 440 electoral votes
#4) 1988 - GHW Bush beats Dukakis by 315 electoral votes
#5) 1996 - Clinton beats Dole by 220 electoral votes
#6) 1992 - Clinton beats GHW Bush by 202 electoral votes
(Hypothetical) 2008 - Obama beats McCain by 168 electoral votes
#7) 1968 - Nixon beats Humphrey by 110 electoral votes (Wallace also got 46 electoral votes)
#8) 1976 - Carter beats Ford by 57 electoral votes
#9) 2004 - GW Bush beats Kerry by 35 electoral votes
#10) 2000 - GW Bush beats Gore by 5 electoral votes

So this LOOKS like a big margin, because we remember 2000 and 2004... the two closest elections in the last 40 years. But really, the average winning margin over the last 10 elections has been 240 electoral votes or so. The median is more like 211. So the margins we are seeing here are not really unusual in any way.

So McCain doesn't have to feel like he is as big a loser as Mondale or McGovern.

More like as big a loser as GHW Bush or Humphrey. :-)

Abulsme - Sat, 11 Oct 2008, 13:11:45 PDT
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Fri 10 Oct 2008

Electoral College: West Virginia Swings... West Virginia?

Three changes today. All three are in Obama's favor.

First, Obama's lead goes over 10% in Michigan (17 ev) and New Hampshire (4 ev), making them both into "Strong Obama" states rather than "Weak Obama". Both of these states were swing states just a few weeks ago. McCain's support in both has just completely collapsed.

Second, McCain's lead in West Virginia drops to less than 5%, making West Virginia into a swing state. West Virginia has been very sparsely polled, but McCain's margin has been consistantly decreasing with each new poll. The new poll today in West Virginia actually shows Obama *ahead*, but we still keep the state Lean McCain based on the weight of the previous polls. In this particular election cycle, seeing West Virginia threatening to go for Obama seems somewhat shocking. You just don't think of West Virginia as a possible Obama state. Especially because of how well he got crushed there by Hillary in the primaries... and frankly, due to some of the stereotypes people tend to have about West Virginia. But we probably should not really be that surprised. West Virginia has gone Democrat for 6 out of the last 10 Presidential elections. It is the home of Robert Bryd, the longest serving Senator and a Democrat. There are more registered Democrats than Registered Republicans. The state is not actually one of the "always Republican in living memory" sort of states. Nevertheless, the fact that Obama is pulling "Weak McCain" states into swing state status shows just where we are in this race.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 277, McCain 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

Look at that. Not only is McCain's best case still to lose, but Obama's best case now has him winning by a 222 electoral vote margin. There is no standard definition of a landslide. defines it as 375 electoral votes or more. Obama's best case is now in that world. And even the "everybody gets their leans" number has a 168 electoral vote margin for Obama.

And that just deserves a "wow" when compared to the close elections of the last couple of cycles.

We saw a little bit of movement toward McCain when Florida dropped back into swing state status a few days ago, but for the most part, looking at the tends, we are STILL seeing Obama continue to strengthen his position.

Can it continue? Can Obama strengthen in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado or Nevada to make them NOT close? Maybe. Can Obama take the leads in Indiana, Missouri or West Virginia? Maybe. Can Obama start making it close again in Georgia, Arkansas, Montana or North Dakota? A week or two ago I would have said that was impossible. Now, I'm no longer so sure. Obama may not have reached his peak yet.

At this point I start to wonder if McCain has already internally resigned himself to the fact that he is going to lose, or if he really still thinks he can do this. And if he does, how does he thing he can do it? Because for that to happen, something major has to happen that completely changes the game.

And nothing McCain has been doing seems to be working. At all. In fact, it seems to be driving people toward Obama.

It almost makes me feel sorry for McCain.

Abulsme - Fri, 10 Oct 2008, 10:10:32 PDT
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Coral Infanto-Juvenil Santa Marcelina

This group was visiting Amy's chorus as part of their tour. We saw them last night. They were very good. If they are ever in your area, or you are in theirs, they are worth going to see. They will be at Blanchet High School in the Shoreline part of Seattle tomorrow at 7 PM for anybody in this part of the world. And then I think they go home.

Abulsme - Fri, 10 Oct 2008, 10:07:22 PDT
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In These Tough Times

The world needs some yip yips.

Abulsme - Fri, 10 Oct 2008, 07:19:43 PDT
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Thu 09 Oct 2008

Thing to Avoid

I really need to stop watching and listening to CNBC and CNBC World. The sense of... dread... is absolutely overwhelming. It is almost physically palpable. More so every day. The feeling is contagious. You feel the fear.

It would be nice to think that means we are near the bottom, but...

Abulsme - Thu, 9 Oct 2008, 21:37:52 PDT
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In the long run, Stocks go up

OK, so the phrase is referring to the market in aggregate, not individual stocks, but CNBC just finished talking about how stock in General Motors has just fallen to levels first seen in March of 1929. Yes, 1929. Wow.

Abulsme - Thu, 9 Oct 2008, 08:55:40 PDT
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Wed 08 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Pennsylvania strengthens for Obama

Only one status change today. Obama's lead in Pennsylvania heads north of 10%, moving that state from "Weak Obama" to "Strong Obama". This does not change the map, or affect our best or worst cases. It does mean that unless something changes, there is no need for Obama to waste too many more resources in Pennsylvania over the next few weeks.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 277, McCain 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

We still have McCain's best case scenario, sweeping all of the swing states, still giving an Obama win. The overall charts, despite Florida becoming a swing state again, look incredibly strong for Obama. Right now McCain winning is simply not a possibility... barring of course a major earthquake that changes the landscape of the campaign completely.

Looking at some of the internal numbers though... poll changes that have not yet caused changes to switch categories... there has been some movement toward McCain in a few states. I still expect some additional tightening before we are done here.

And, just for my own fun on election night, I'd rather go into election night NOT having a map that is completely determined. I am a news junkie. I want a tight race and some suspense here. 2000 is my ideal election, with the results unknown for weeks... that was fun! A map that looks like we already know the winner at the beginning of October? Not as much fun.

But it looks like that is what we have right now.

Again, barring some major event that has a quick and dramatic effect on the map. This is not the kind of thing McCain can orchestrate though. It almost needs to be an external event that happens. And as the days dwindle, the odds of such a dramatic event happening are dropping rapidly.

Abulsme - Wed, 8 Oct 2008, 08:52:34 PDT
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Tue 07 Oct 2008

Still Heading Down

Asian markets continuing the downward plunge we saw in the US Monday.


Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 22:37:06 PDT
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That One...

Since it is absolutely everywhere...

The other moment that everybody is saying shows McCain's lack of respect.

Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 21:28:47 PDT
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The Non-Handshake

(via Slog)

Edit a few moments later: There are reports though that they had shaken hands earlier... at the moment they were blocking Brokaw's teleprompter.

Edit 4:14 UTC: A picture of the handshake they DID have. McCain still blew him off later though, and many people only saw that.

Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 20:59:19 PDT
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I'm running more than half an hour behind on tape delay now because I was interrupted by other things for awhile, but the Instant Polls CNN is reporting are OVERWHELMING in Obama's favor in terms of how he did on the debate, but also in terms of improved Obama favorability ratings and ratings on various issues. It is looking like a complete blowout.

Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 20:53:40 PDT
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Oh, and McCain dissed Obama on the handshake right after it was over!


Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 19:51:43 PDT
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Prez Debate #2 Reax

This is my reaction immediately after the debate. I have yet to be spun by listening to anybody else talk about it... well, other than the handful of comments on the liveblog... and, well, by the focus group lines of the "Uncommitted Ohio Voters". And I will admit, that last is definitely spin and will have influenced my thoughts. For the last debate, I think I'll watch on C-Span... with no little focus group lines.

Look, basically this was a boring debate. Nobody did anything memorable at all. No attacks that stung. No inspiring moments. No nothing. Just pedestrian standard answers to predictable questions.

As such, it means that nobody who had already made up their mind will change their mind. At this point though, it is getting harder and harder to reach those people.

We are left with the small group of people who still haven't made up their minds. Which basically means people who don't pay much attention to politics and/or people who are just confused and have no idea who to trust or believe.

And this is where those focus group lines come in.

Without them, I would have said that Obama continued to be rock steady and to exude confidence and whatever quality is labeled "Presidential" while McCain for the most part did not. And just the mere fact that the two share a stage elevates Obama in the minds of people who may have had some doubts, and because of that it is a plus for Obama and I'd expect the trends toward Obama's direction from the past few weeks to just continue.

Having watched the lines though, I'd go even stronger. These were all "uncommitted" voters.

McCain was barely able to get his lines above the midpoint of the positive part of the graph. They peaked above there only a handful of times. Most of the time they just hovered around the neutral line, or barely above. The one exception was when he spoke about Russia. And the ONLY times I saw the lines dip below neutral were when McCain was speaking... and usually when he was attacking Obama... indicating that the undecideds were not going for that at all... and since his whole campaign is telegraphing that they are going negative, that does not bode well for McCain.

Meanwhile, Obama's lines were consistently in the top half of the positive range during the domestic questions, and around the mid-point of the positive range during most of the foreign policy questions. And they pegged the top of the meters on quite a few occasions. And they almost always were higher than McCain's responses on the same questions.

I think we don't just have a few undecideds moving toward Obama. I think we have undecideds breaking decisively toward Obama at this point.

If that goes beyond this little focus group, and is actually reflected in real polls in a variety of the remaining swing states, then we are just going to see Obama's lead grow, as McCain looks more and more helpless, ineffectual and lost next to him.

I guess we can only wait and see.

One more debate.

Unknown news events for a month.

And then election night.


Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 19:36:54 PDT
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Prez Debate #2 - Liveblog

Yes, I got home in time, and yes, I had fun last time, so yes, I'll be liveblogging tonight's debate again, starting momentarily.

Updates will be added to this posting as I make them. Timestamps in UTC.

0:51 - OK, I'm watching on CNN this time, so I can see the little focus group squiggles.

0:52 - If anybody is actually watching this live, I am on AIM, screen name "abulsme". If you send me comments I'll (possibly) include them in this. Or, of course, feel free to add comments in the blog.

0:53 - Switched to Safari so I can easily make my input box bigger for adding my comments.

0:54 - This time Brandy has other things to do, so instead of on the projector downstairs, I'm on the computer in the office. I have CNN on via Slingbox fullscreen on a laptop to my left.

0:55 - The format tonight will suck. Questions from "regular people". But not regular people. Specially chosen people, all "undecided" but yet forced to be demographically representative of the US, even though undecideds do not match the general population demographically. Also, questions must be submitted in advance. Brokaw and company decide who gets to ask a question based on the pre-submitted questions. The questioners are not allowed to change their questions or ask something else. They are not allowed to follow up. The camera will only show them answering the question, not reacting to the answer. Etc.

0:59 - It would be more interesting if only McCain supporters were allowed to ask questions of Obama, and only Obama supporters were allowed to ask questions of McCain, and both were allowed followups. And a big buzzer would go off if either candidate started talking about anything that was not a direct answer to the question.

1:00 - OK, here comes.

1:01 - Reb is here!

1:02 - Brokaw felt up Reb many years ago.

1:03 - McCain made a point of looking at Obama this time.

1:04 - I hate the thank you's at the beginning. I'd ring the off-topic buzzer.

1:06 - The little focus group squigglies are all high right now.

1:07 - Slight snark from McCain about Obama not accepting his town hall invites a couple of months ago.

1:08 - They are both fighting for who can have the government do more. I guess real conservatism is now long dead. "Take care of working Americans" but it isn't anybody's plan. What?

1:09 - Tom is asking a question. Is that allowed?

1:10 - Meg Whitman for Treasury? Isn't eBay having a lot of issues right now too? Is that really the example we want? It would have been Carly if she hadn't misspoken a few weeks back. The both like Buffet. He will not be Treasury Secretary.

1:11 - I thought McCain was going to go whole hog negative? Where is it? Obama rambled a bit about what the Treasury Secretary would need to do, but didn't name names.

1:12 - An excellent question? Really? It is asking about what the current plan will or will not do. How is that relevant for the person who will be President in January? It isn't. That plan is done, check online to see what it will do. Ask about what they will do next.

1:13 - Oh, now some attacks.

1:14 - McCain attacks and gets mad. Obama basically blows him off and goes back to answering the question.

1:15 - Oh, now he "corrects the history". "Not surprisingly." Counter-attack in play.

1:16 - Very defensive body language in McCain right now.

1:17 - The women set their dials back to zero when Brokaw talks. The men don't.

1:18 - The line... McCain is having trouble getting it up. (Sorry, had to.)

1:19 - Seriously, the focus group lines have gone up for both of them, but are often flat. I haven't seen them dip significantly below the line for either of them yet.

1:21 - Obama's meter was pegged a little while ago. I've seen that a couple of times for him so far. Not yet for McCain. Damn those things are distracting though. I find myself looking at them more than listening to what they say. Maybe I should switch channels. Nah, not yet.

1:22 - McCain is trying to convince us to trust him. He is talking about earmarks and attacking Obama. The lines are completely flat. This is not good for McCain.

1:24 - Brokaw wants them to prioritize. Does anyone doubt they will both say they are all important?

1:26 - Wait... Obama actually picked 1, 2, 3 and put them in order. I did not expect that. PS: What did McCain say earlier about the 700 Billion going partially to terrorists?

1:28 - Question from the Internet. Bleh.

1:29 - I want an overhead projector for my planetarium too.

1:30 - "We are not rifle shots, we are Americans". What? McCain is saying we don't have to choose. Obama is acknowledging that you have to actually make priorities and probably won't be able to do everything, at least not all at once.

1:33 - Bored so far. Yawn.

1:35 - McCain: Nailing jello... attacking Obama on taxes. The focus group lines just went negative for the first time.

1:37 - Promise them money though and the lines go back up. Well, at least the women.

1:38 - Obama asking to break the rules. Tom shuts him down.

1:39 - Straight Talk Express Lost a Wheel. GROAN... heard it too many times. Stop it.

1:40 - These focus group lines... so hard to look away... They are consistently much higher when Obama is talking. If these truly are chosen from the few remaining Ohio uncommitted votes in a representative way, that is pretty bad for McCain.

1:44 - Senator Obama says nuclear power has to be safe. Fuck that! Be a man! Who needs safe!

1:48 - Tom is reminding them about time and the lights they are supposed to follow. Screw that, let them talk.

1:51 - So far this is a calm sedate debate. Obama calm and controlled. McCain slightly more animated. If it continues this way, it will just once again be Obama showing he is "above the bar" for being president, and McCain is OK. More undecideds will move to Obama, and nobody who has already made up their mind will change in the slightest.

1:55 - Was that hair transplant thing a jibe at Biden? Really? Come on.

1:58 - I lost a few seconds on the Slingbox, but I don't think I missed anything that mattered. Obama is just talking about healthcare. The women in the focus group were pegged. Men were in the middle.

2:02 - Do you think McCain knows it is over? That he has lost the election? He needs a real game changer. So far, he is doing absolutely nothing here to change anything. Obama is talking right now. McCain is standing behind him looking resigned.

2:04 - The Obama Doctrine for the use of force is... well, he isn't really saying. Hmm, OK, maybe that was it at the end... "Only if we are supported by others" or something like that?

2:07 - "That requires a cool hand at the tiller." Did McCain just endorse Obama? Cause he certainly isn't talking about himself...

2:08 - This is almost over, right? I'm ready for a snack. And maybe a nap. ZZZzzz...

2:09 - The hot pursuit into Pakistan question... again... my god, this has been gone over time and time again since the primaries. Do we have to do it again?

2:11 - So McCain actually agrees with Obama, just thinks we should not say it out loud. This has been the position for awhile. This is not a change.

2:13 - So they both agree to change the rules and have followups. Woo!

2:14 - McCain rolling his eyes in the background.

2:19 - Ivan is here too now! Woo!

2:20 - The KGB Joke. Please. Stop. If I hear the joke about the bear next...

2:21 - The focus group lines are about as high as I've seen them for McCain while he is talking about Russia.

2:22 - Ivan says this has been a yawner. I completely agree. Brokaw just said we are "winding down". As far as I can see we have never been wound up.

2:24 - Is Russia an Evil Empire? Obama: They have done some evil things. McCain: Maybe.

2:25 - The commenters are going nuts! Reb wants Obama to pull down his pants to liven it up.

2:26 - To Ivan, if we had indeed had the 30 town halls, I really hope they would have been REAL town halls, with just people asking questions, no Tom Brokaw pre-picking questions, no time limits, etc. But they probably would not have been like that.

2:27 - Does anybody think of superheroes when McCain says "League of Democracies"?

2:29 - Are we talking about talking to Iran again? This is so boring to anybody who has been paying attention before this debate. This is another one of those things we have heard discussed from every angle since over a year ago. Please. Sigh.

2:30 - What don't you know and how will you learn it? OK. Fine. Obama says he will ask his wife. Then starts talking about what he DOES know and does his usual bit about his history. Bleh.

2:32 - McCain's answer is that he doesn't know what will happen. Or the unexpected. Hmmm. OK, fine. Now he talks about his history. Bleh.

2:34 - And we are done! Woo! They blocked Brokaw's script!

2:36 - I will pause it as soon as the CNN weenies start to talk. OK, there they go. Paused. This will now end this liveblog. I'll post my immediate thoughts in just a few minutes, before hearing everybody start to talk about what they thought about it.

Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 17:46:08 PDT
Permalink and Comments [6 comments]

Roomba Song

My old Roomba died many years ago. Maybe I want a new one now.

(via Boing Boing Gadgets)

Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 10:20:52 PDT
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Electoral College: Mixed Day, Race Tightens a Little

Three states flip status today, one good news for McCain, which has been rare the last couple of weeks... and it is a big one... and two with good news for Obama.

Florida (27 ev): As has been mentioned before, Florida was in "Weak Obama" territory, but the five poll average was just BARELY over 5%, and one poll could easily knock it down below that level again. This has indeed happened, and I once again classify Florida as "Lean Obama" and a swing state. This is the good news for McCain, since without Florida it is essentially impossible for him to see a path to victory. And in fact, if this had been the only change of the day, there would indeed now be a way for McCain to win, although it would involve him sweeping ALL of the swing states. But, there were other changes too.

Georgia (15 ev): McCain's lead slips to below 10% in the last five poll average. This moves Georgia from "Strong McCain" to "Weak McCain". McCain's lead in Georgia is still substantial. It is not about to become a swing state. But this means that McCain is even seeing some weakening in his base states.

Virginia (13 ev): Obama's lead in Virginia in the last five poll average now pokes above 5%. So Virginia moves from "Lean Obama" to "Weak Obama". Remember, it was not that long ago that this state was leaning toward McCain. Things have changed quickly. Virginia has voted Republican in all of the last ten elections. The last time Virginia voted Democratic was for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. So this is a big pick up.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 277, McCain 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

Swapping Virginia for Florida is not an even trade. Because Florida has more electoral votes, Obama loses some ground here. However, Virginia was big enough that despite Florida once again moving to be a swing state, John McCain's best case if he won every single swing state is still to LOSE. It would however be a closer loss than it would have been without Florida.

Is this the beginning of the narrowing I predicted in previous updates and in the podcast? I will refrain from saying so just yet. The one new poll in Florida that pulled the state back into being a swing state was from a new pollster. This is the first poll of theirs to show up, and it is a bit of an outlier from other recent polls (it actually showed McCain slightly ahead).

So while I do expect some tightening (basically, an increase in the inventory of swing states) over the next month, since I think Obama has to be near his realistically possible maximum... I'm not sure that this is evidence of this quite yet. We'll need to watch how things move over the rest of the week to see if this trend is confirmed by other movements.

Edit: 8 Oct 2008 22:42, fixed error where I accidentally said McCain in a couple places where I meant Obama.

Abulsme - Tue, 7 Oct 2008, 09:24:50 PDT
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Mon 06 Oct 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Doing It Twice

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Economic Implosion
  • Stocks and Internet Rumors
  • Ivan's Horrible Day
  • Veep Debate (Take One)
  • Veep Debate (Take Two)
  • Election Update
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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Abulsme - Mon, 6 Oct 2008, 18:46:55 PDT
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Dow 10,000

Wheeeee...... down we go....

Abulsme - Mon, 6 Oct 2008, 07:04:57 PDT
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Sun 05 Oct 2008

Electoral College: Another Day, Another State Strengthens for Obama

Today Minnesota, which has been flirting with the 5% Obama lead line, once again goes over 5%. So Minnesota stops being a swing state, and goes into the "Weak Obama" category. The effect, McCain's best case scenario moves even further from being a win.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 291, McCain 247
Obama Best Case - Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

Now, even with this, if Florida weakens back into a swing state, McCain will have a path to victory... a hard path, which would involve sweeping all the swing states, even those Obama is ahead in... but it would be a path.

But for the moment, we continue to have a situation where McCain's best case is losing.

Which is why he campaign has indicated that they are essentially about to enter into a scorched earth strategy. All negative, and with everything they have. It is about the only thing they can do at the moment. We'll see if it works.

Abulsme - Sun, 5 Oct 2008, 15:16:05 PDT
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Sat 04 Oct 2008

Bird in House

This little guy spent several hours in our house today. It would sit on various things, but fly around whenever anybody came too close to it. (Other than a few times it let us within inches before flying away.)

It finally accidentally flew outside a little bit ago. Then it hung around for several minutes and tried a couple of times to come back in, but we had closed the door. It liked it in here. Eventually though, it gave up and flew to the neighbors house.

Abulsme - Sat, 4 Oct 2008, 23:38:57 PDT
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Timelapse Sky

Abulsme - Sat, 4 Oct 2008, 22:33:55 PDT
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Electoral College: NH strengthens for Obama

Only one change today, one that continues the trend toward Obama.

Obama's lead in New Hampshire pops over 5%, thus once again making New Hampshire a "Lean Obama" state, and takes the state out of swing state status.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 281, McCain 257
Obama Best Case - Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

New England is once again fully blue, with New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland thrown in for good measure.

We continue to have a situation where John McCain's best case scenario is still a loss.

It is important to point out however that this situation hangs on the status of Florida, which is just BARELY over the 5% threshold in the five poll average. So even a slight variation in Florida polls could put us back into a situation where McCain has a path to victory. A hard path perhaps, but still a path.

Abulsme - Sat, 4 Oct 2008, 16:04:39 PDT
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Fri 03 Oct 2008

The Moment

From 0:42 to about 1:34. Especially around 1:21.

(via Talking Points Memo)

There is a couple seconds of delay where people seem to not know what to think when Biden chokes up, but watch the response lines of both men and women right after that. Women basically pegged the meter. And the men were not far behind.

Abulsme - Fri, 3 Oct 2008, 16:45:19 PDT
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Bailout Passed

Gavel just came down. Now it just needs W's signature.

Abulsme - Fri, 3 Oct 2008, 10:27:45 PDT
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Electoral College: FL Stops Swinging, It Is Over, Obama Wins, We Can All Go Home Now

I am of course kidding with the title. I would honestly be surprised if the situation today lasts through election day without the race tightening again somewhat. However, today's update is a very significant milestone for Barack Obama.

First, canceling each other out exactly, Wisconsin (10 ev) moves from Lean Obama to Weak Obama, and Minnesota (10 ev) moves from Weak Obama to Lean Obama. If Wisconsin had moved and Minnesota had not, this would contribute even more strongly to the result today, but because of Minnesota, it is a wash.

However... today the five poll average in Florida, for the very first time, shows an Obama lead of more than 5%. This makes Florida a "Weak Obama" state, and pulls it out of swing state status. So winning Florida is no longer considered in my "Best Case Scenario" for John McCain. And where does that leave us?

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - Obama 277, McCain 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

That's right. You saw it correctly.

As of right now, John McCain's best case scenario is TO LOSE. He could win EVERY SINGLE SWING STATE... and he would STILL LOSE.

Let me just let that sink in.

As of right now, John McCain's best case scenario is TO LOSE. He could win EVERY SINGLE SWING STATE... and he would STILL LOSE.

OK. Now perhaps a little reality. I fully expect some of the "Weak Obama" states may end up becoming swing states again before this is done. (Like Minnesota did today for instance.) So this situation will PROBABLY not last. Probably. Assuming that McCain is able to reverse some of his recent fortunes and is really near his bottom and can't go much lower.

On the other hand, if the McCain campaign continues to collapse, we may be on the way to a landslide.

Just over one month to go. Time is running out. If McCain managed to reverse this and win it would be an amazing comeback. We'll see if he can manage it.

Abulsme - Fri, 3 Oct 2008, 07:51:57 PDT
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First Veep Debate Reax

OK, we just finished watching the debate on Tivo delay... including hitting pause many times in the middle to spend some time reacting. I was spoiler free, and have not yet watched any commentary at all.

My thoughts:

Gwen Ifill was OK. She stumbled over some of her questions, and they were not always the best questions in the world, but they were OK.

Biden was basically Biden. He behaved exactly how I expected him to behave. You could tell at some points though that he was holding himself back a bit. He was a little annoying at times, and sometimes he just recited talking points, but for the most part he gave thoughtful answers that seemed sincere and showed his knowledge and expertise.

Palin... her basic mode of operation was one I saw recommended online somewhere earlier in the week. Give a quick one sentence answer to the actual question (if that) and then immediately pivot into standard talking points and prepared speeches. (To be fair, that is standard debate strategy for this kind of thing.) She would then start her talking points, and then circle around and around them, going in circles but not actually going anywhere for a minute or two until time was up. I would challenge anybody to try to diagram some of those sentences. There was often just a long stream of semi-related words and concepts, thrown together into things that could only loosely be called sentences. And more often than not, whatever she was babbling about had absolutely nothing to do with the question. I did not find it painful, but at times we had to pause because we were laughing too hard. It was indeed a mess.

Of course, expectations were so incredibly low for her appearance here that the mere fact that she did not spend the whole 90 minutes drooling on herself probably means that folks will say that she had an amazing success today. And indeed, while she once again showed herself to be pretty vapid to anyone who actually DOES follow the issues closely and knows some of the details of the policy questions at hand, will she come off as "sincere" and "likable" and such to the right people such that this performance does not actually hurt the ticket? Maybe. I don't know. I suspect that many of the people who would be seriously concerned by Palin have already jumped ship. I mean, her press can't get much worse than the last week, can it?

One more thing... for me there was only one moment of the entire debate that was actually memorable. That is when Joe Biden started speaking about how he knew what it was like to not know if a child would survive... and he choked up with emotion for a second... undoubtedly because of what happened to his wife and daughter back in 1972. That was striking.

Anyway, end results... the only reason I think this will not be an absolute disaster for the McCain campaign at this moment in time is that most of the reaction to Palin has already happened. The people who will be disturbed by her have already been disturbed and already made up their minds before tonight. The people who don't mind, well, this won't change anything.

At least I think so right now. If however all of a sudden even MORE people start abandoning McCain than before... then he is completely and totally done here.

Abulsme - Fri, 3 Oct 2008, 00:16:08 PDT
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Thu 02 Oct 2008

Veep Debate

I was looking forward to doing the liveblogging and popcorn thing again with tonight's Veep debate, but turns out I have a parent event at Amy's school I need to go to. So I'm going to have to be watching on Tivo significantly later in the evening. Kind of a bummer. And I'll have to be careful to avoid spoilers! I'll of course post thoughts later, but won't do a tape delayed liveblog or anything.

Abulsme - Thu, 2 Oct 2008, 08:06:48 PDT
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A Visit from Midnight

Yesterday while I was at work, I got this email from Brandy:

From: Brandy
Subject: um...
Date: 1 October 2008 18:36:35 GMT

So I was sitting on the couch, reading the thingie for English, and I heard a thump. I figured it was Roscoe or Amy. Then I saw something run by in the corner of my eye. I looked over expecting it to be one of my hallucinations, and there was a little black cat. In the living room. Looking right back at me, like, "what the hell are you doing here?" Who had come from our room or your office. I said hello, and it ran outside.

Is there something you forgot to tell me?
I am highly allergic to cats, but I still want one. I wish it had decided to stay!

Abulsme - Thu, 2 Oct 2008, 07:58:57 PDT
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Electoral College: MN strengthens for Obama, NV flips to Obama

The surge toward Obama continues today, with two more states moving in his direction:

Minnesota (10 ev): Obama's lead goes back above 5%, moving the state from Lean Obama to Weak Obama, and making it no longer a swing state.

Nevada (5 ev): The five poll average moves from Lean McCain to Lean Obama. The usual comments... either way, too close to call, don't read too much into it, blah blah blah.

OK, new summary:

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 288, Obama 250
Obama Best Case - Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain

So, the main thing is once again that the rapid movement of states in the Obama direction continues. The "everybody gets their leans" number continues to be an all time high for Obama. The "Strong+Weak" count for Obama is now 250, which isn't quite the 261 it was back in July, but it is pretty close.

Obama now only needs to flip 20 more electoral votes from "Lean" to "Weak" to be able to win without any swing states at all.

Right now in my last five poll averages we have Florida (27 ev) at a 4.6% Obama lead, Virginia (13 ev) at a 4.2% Obama lead and Wisconsin (10 ev) at a 4.6% Obama lead. Any of those three could easily move from "Lean" to "Weak" by going over 5% with even one more poll showing a better than 5% lead.

There is still over a month until the election, and much can happen, so I'm not ready to say anything about what things might look like on election eve. To be sure, any of those states could start heading the other direction at any moment... that is probably actually somewhat likely... but at the same time I would not be surprised at all if sometime within the next week we see a situation where McCain's best case is still a loss.

Abulsme - Thu, 2 Oct 2008, 07:13:20 PDT
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Wed 01 Oct 2008

Electoral College: FL and OH Flip to Obama, Biggest Obama Lead So Far

OK, let me start here with my usual warning, and a little bit bigger and up front than normal. When states move from "Leaning" to one candidate, to "Leaning" to the other candidate... really either way the state is still very very close. Some random comment made by one candidate that gets traction could easily move the state right back where it was. The details of who turns out and who does not on election day could also easily flip the state the other way. "Leaning" states are TOO CLOSE TO CALL. They could flip back the other way very easily. Observers should not get too excited (or upset) when states move toward (or away from) their candidate on this metric. It is actually much more important when a state moves from "Leaning" to "Weak", taking a state out of the realm of swing states.

Having said that... today in my last five poll averages... Florida (27 electoral votes) and Ohio (20 electoral votes) both flip over the line and move from "Leaning McCain" to "Leaning Obama". This makes a HUGE difference in the "everybody gets their leans" metric.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 298, Obama 240
Obama Best Case - Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans - 348 Obama, 190 McCain

This means that even though just a few weeks ago we were showing a slight McCain win, right now we are looking at Obama winning with a 158 electoral vote margin. That might not quite be a landslide yet, but it is the largest Obama lead so far... by quite a bit. The trends in the last few weeks have not been kind to John McCain.

In terms of where Obama stands WITHOUT swing states, he is still not quite as strong as he was in July. But he now has eight states leaning in his direction that he can work on trying to pull further in his direction. If he can pull 30 more electoral votes from "Lean" to "Weak" then he won't even need ANY swing states to win. Based on the current sizes of the leads in the states, and the number of electoral votes at stake, it looks like the quickest path to this would be pushing hard in Wisconsin and Florida.

McCain's position is now looking very precarious. His attempts to take control in the race seem to have backfired. Will this mean that there will be even more "Hail Mary"'s coming as he tries increasingly desperately to change the momentum of the race? Maybe so. But I suspect that actually calming down and trying to keep a more steady pace might be the better tactic for him. It may be too late for that though. We are running out of time.

Abulsme - Wed, 1 Oct 2008, 07:00:13 PDT
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