Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday numbers, Volume 6: Oct. 12, 2008

Another week goes by, and the numbers keep changing. None of the changes are good John Sidney McCain and Sarah Forecheck Palin. They keep talking about William Ayers when the markets are having the worst week ever. Only crazy people are listening to them, and while the stupid vote is big enough to win an election, the crazy vote is not.

23 days from now, we will be electing a new president. If the election were held today, the ticket of Barack Hussein Obama and Joseph Creditlimit Biden would have 99 more electors than they need to become the next president and vice president of the United States.

Here is how the state races are looking as of the most recent polls. The order goes from the most solidly Obama, Washington, DC, to the most solidly McCain, Oklahoma.

Strong for Obama (over 90% confidence of victory): DC, HI, VT, DE, MD, RI, NY, MA, IL, CT, CA, PA, IA, OR, MI, WA, WI, VA, NH, WV, NJ, MN, CO, FL
309 electors
Leaning for Obama (between 51% and 89% confidence of victory):NM, ME, NV, OH, MO, NC
60 electors
Total electors for Obama if the election were held today: 369

Strong for McCain (0ver 90% confidence of victory): MT, IN, LA, MS, GA, KY, ND, AR, KS, AK, SD, AZ, TN, NE, TX, SC, AL, ID, UT, WY, OK
Total electors for McCain if the election were held today: 169

There were new polls in 22 states this week. McCain made gains to raise his solid total from 158 to 169, but everything else that was leaning McCain last week now leans Obama. Obama's solid numbers from these polls include Florida, and like any adult, I'm having a hard time thinking Florida is solidly anything, except solidly corrupt. But even without Florida, the solidly Obama states have 282 electors, 12 more than necessary for Barack to win, and he's very likely to carry some of the states that are leaning his way now.

I keep having to stretch this graph, as Obama's totals keep going higher than I thought they would. The only way for McCain to go lower as far as I can tell is if Indiana or Montana goes Democratic. The rest of the states look like solid locks.

Here are some warnings from Matty Boy the gambler not to celebrate early.

The New York Yankees were ahead three games to none in a series in 2004, only needing to win one more game against the Boston Red Sox. The Yanks were ahead in the ninth inning of the fourth game with Mariano Rivera, A.K.A. The Hammer of God, pitching. The Red Sox scored a run and won in extra innings. The Red Sox won the next three games as well, then went on to be World Series champs.

Appalachian State beat Michigan last year in college football.

The heavily favored New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl earlier this year.

So you understand about not celebrating early? Good.

Two weeks ago, McCain was an 8-1 underdog. Last week, it was 158-1 against. As the numbers stand today, McCain is more than a 3,000-1 longshot.

If a horse was that much of a longshot at the track, it probably wouldn't have four legs.

To put these numbers in terms McCain can understand. Senator, go to a casino, step up to the craps table, take the dice and from your first roll, win on the pass line eleven straight times.

Got that in your head, senator? Winning this election looks to be a little harder than that.


DCup said...

Come on, November!

Karen Zipdrive said...

Even a lot of the Texans I speak to at work are going with Obama.
I think people have had enough of the GOP clowns and liars.
Even in Texas.

BobManDo said...

I LOVE those ODDs. "3,000 to 1 Longshot"..... I'm using my inner strength to *resist* celebrating early! AND you know what the Borg collective has to say about resistance!

Tara Mobley said...

It's really hard to not celebrate, but these numbers give me so much hope.

Karlacita! said...

Yes, hope.

Is anyone concerned about Sarah going on SNL and McCain going on Letterman?

I remember Clinton on Arsenio Hall....

I'm just concerned about the thinking processes in our country, how quickly they change, and what TV does to the electorate.

Mauigirl said...

Agree, no early celebrations allowed. The Red Sox learned the hard way - in 1986 during Game 6 vs. the Mets, they OPENED the CHAMPAGNE. OPENED IT. And then came the ball that rolled through Bill Buckner's legs and the rest is history.

Zoey & Me said...

Forget the Red Sox, the Redskins just lost to an 0-4 team. I just read the Rolling Stones article on McInsane . . . WOW. Required reading for everyone but the crazies. How much a man like Bush? Very much, cut from the same mold. But it also shows his erratic behavior all his life. A Good Read, Matty Boy, I highly recommend it.

KELSO'S NUTS said...

Damn, you're good! I was going to use the Appalachian State analogy.

How do you make Obama 1/3000?

In terms of the general public it's all silliness and we're discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I get it.

"538" has OBAMA (not updated)at 1/18, but with slightly fewer electors than we give him.

So, let's say that now he'd make it OBAMA 1/25. That sounds about right to me. But 1/25 = 98.15%.


We're arguing over 182 basis points. When you're laying -700 or -800 putting the right price at 1/25 or 1/3000, you're out of the efficiency argument and into utility theory and how fat you think the tail is. Because we're looking to make ~10-11c here which is fine, but if we lose laying -700for a fair amount it's going to sting. I don't see much weight in the other tail to offset. McCain dying and their picking Palin as nominee would give Obama some weight in the tail. McCain dying and them picking Romney would be a big problem for Obama. Can you make Obama bigger than -250 over Romney? I don't think so.

There are a lot of freak scenarios which hurt Obama. They all kind of do because he's such a substantial favorite from here. You can imagine almost anything from an al-Qaida tape to virtually anything violent in Russia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, or North Korea.

Even worsening financial markets could play to McCain given that weird red-baiting in the debate. Could easily hit a note with "see why we need tax cuts and especially capital gains tax cuts, you commie?"

I don't think it's likely but they could get Rezko to falsely implicate Obama in something. They've killed 100,000 or more Iraqis for grins. What's so hard about suborning Rezko's perjury?

We just don't know how fat the tail is.

Matty Boy said...

Kelso: There are 2^51 possible ways for the electoral college to turn out, ignoring the split possibilities in states like Maine and Nebraska. My method gives a Confidence of Victory number (CoV) for every state and the District of Columbia. If the CoV is over 99.5% for either side, I consider that state to be solid, and thereby cut the number of possible outcomes in half for every state I can so designate. Right now, removing the solid red and solid blue states, there are still many states "in play", somewhere between 20 and 30, so that means there are somewhere between a million and a billion possibilities, each of which has a probability attached to it. The program adds up the electoral votes and determines if an outcome is a win for Obama or McCain or a tie, and adds the probability to the corresponding total.

As you correctly calculated, last week the total Obama victorious outcomes had a probability of .9997, while McCain's wins and the ties added up to .0003, hence about 3,000 to 1.

This week should show some improvement for McCain, because Ohio is back in play by my account. Still, the numbers as they stand right now say McCain will lose the election even if he wins Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, and Obama holds on to everyplace else he is currently leading.