Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday numbers, Volume 5: Oct. 5, 2008

Yes, it's grainy abacus time again. I'd like to start the week by giving all the good news I can to John Sidney McCain. Are you sitting down, John?

1. McCain picked up one state into the Solidly McCain column, as he now shows a very strong lead in Montana. The total strongly Republican electoral vote count is now 158, up from 155.

2. Almost all this polling happened before Sarah Palin's stronger than expected vice presidential debate performance.

3. If the election were held today, McCain would get more electoral votes than either fellow fighter pilot George H.W. Bush in 1992 or fellow disabled war hero Bob Dole in 1996.

4. If the election were held today according my method of counting the most valid, Barack Obama would get 343 electoral votes, 73 more than he needs to become the 44th President of the United States.

How is #4 good news for John Sidney McCain? I'm pretty sure one of the polls I'm using is an outlier, and the real count for Obama is 353 electoral votes.

The week before last was some trouble for McCain, and last week was a complete disaster. One could argue that he suspended his campaign for the same reason that Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney suspended theirs, because they no longer had a hope in H-E-double hockey sticks of winning. Here's the split according to the latest numbers using the Confidence of Victory method, where strong means a probability of over 90% and leaning means a probability between 50% and 90%. There were new polling results from 24 states last week.

States strong for Obama: WI, VA, ME, PA, NJ, NH, WA, MI, OR, CA, CT, IL, MA, NY, RI, VT, MD, DE, IA, HI, DC
262 electors
State leaning towards Obama: CO, NC, OH, FL, NV, NM
81 electors
Total electoral votes for Obama if the election were held today: 343

States strong for McCain: WY, UT, ID, OK, SC, AL, NE, TN, AZ, AK, SD, KS, AR, ND, KY, TX, MS, MT, LA, GA
158 electors
States leaning for McCain: WV, MO, MN, IN
37 electors
Total electoral votes for McCain if the election were held today: 195

By my rules, if there are three polls or more all taken within a week of the most recent, I use the median of the three to avoid outliers. If it is less than three polls taken within the week threshold, I use the most recent. The most recent Minnesota poll has McCain up by one point, so I put Minnesota in the leaning McCain column this week. 31 polls have been taken in Minnesota this year, and McCain has had the lead three times, the last time in March. A poll later in the week had just the result in the senatorial race, and Al Franken was crushing Norm Coleman. There is no way that Franken becomes a senator and Obama does not take Minnesota.

By my way of counting, no state is a dead heat right now, so the toss-up total goes to zero.

Like John McCain and Bill Bennett, I'm a gambler. McCain plays craps, which I consider to be like going to a very expensive party. Bennett prefers high stakes slot machines, which I consider to be like masturbating in public. I play poker and backgammon, games where my decisions play a part in how well or poorly I do. I tend to do okay, but I'm certainly not a professional nor do I plan to become one when I grow up.

I blush to publish these next numbers, because I have a rule about celebrating early during a game.


Last week, I ran about 33,000,000 simulations of how the election could turn out, and Obama was about an 8 to 1 favorite to win. This week, I ran the same number of simulations with the new poll numbers. If the election were held today, Obama's odds of winning would be about a 158 to 1 favorite.


If you support Barack Obama, go out and get involved. Send money to the campaign if you can afford it. I did just this week. Volunteer if you have the free time. I will next week.

If you support John McCain, sit around the house, mutter to yourself and drink heavily, because you put your money on a guy who loses a lot, if you can read between the lines of a tax return.

New numbers next Sunday.


BobManDo said...

Ok, No "overt" celebration... AND I'm feeling better... and it sure was fun to watch the SNL take on the VP debates!

It is interesting that McCain is going to put more resources in my state of Maine.. THe northern part. and Nebraska too.. These are the only states that can split their electoral votes.

Here is the Globe news about Maine (a bit like Alaska) and McCain:

"It's [Northern Maine] not a slam dunk for Republicans. It's more of a hard slog....Amy Fried, UMaine...


BobManDo said...

Hmmm, I thought -- what about Me! (And isn't it all about ME?)...while looking at the ECollege map at

I'm 58 and have visited alot of the USA states... I discovered that I have visited 88% of the BLUE 23/26 states and 25% of the RED 6/24 states. Seems to match my political bent...left leaning independent mostly choosing dem candidates.

My Rules for the above calculation
is that one needs to have stayed in a state for at least 2 consecutive nites... so as to discount "stops for refueling in Shannon, Ireland" or stuck in an airport due to weather or just an Interstate drive thru.

MattyBoy, Here's the math quetion... How can I reduce these two numbers Blue% Red% to one number that communicates the same point?

Karen Zipdrive said...

I was thrilled to learn recently that Texas has gone from "solidly Republican" to "barely Republican."
I hope McCain, Bush and Palin keep talking.
I'd like to see Texas slide on over to, "fuck you, Republicans."

Matty Boy said...

Bob: Since the number blue states to red states is roughly equal, and I'm guessing you might have spent some time in Dark Blue D.C., the simplest thing to say would be that you have visited four times as many blue states as red states at 24 to 6.

KZ: By my way of counting things, Texas was at 99% odds for going red last week, and 98% odds this week. I still count that as strongly Republican.

DCup said...

I'm guardedly optimistic. Wow - how conditioned we Dems are to losing at that last minute.

As for McCain, time to pull out all the mud that's fit for flinging! The vitriol machine was in full force today.

Distributorcap said...

i think minnesota is just playing games with us -- it is generally a dem state (it voted for home boy mondale after all!) ---

my thoughts after reading way too much

the "in play" states are
Ohio, Virginia, NC, Florida, Missouri, Nevada. Indiana

i think Obama has Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin and New Hampshire - Wisconsin is a pretty liberal state and the media just wants us to think it is in play

the surprises are Montana, West Virginia and maybe even Mississippi -- the voter registration drives have been huge -- it all depends on turnout

i think we might see some surprises (short of a diebold take over) - but unless the oct surprise is a major attack and the stock market goes up 6,000 pts in a month --- this could be a blowout. but i only tell you that

no konyahoras. (my yiddish is bad)

dguzman said...

GOD, how I would love a blowout.