This blog is still alive, just in semi-hibernation.
When I want to write something longer than a tweet about something other than math or sci-fi, here is where I'll write it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday numbers, Volume 8: Oct. 26, 2008

Nine days. Really, that's all the time that's left.

Okay, it's early Sunday morning, and we probably won't know until late evening on Tuesday a week from now, so maybe it's more like ten days, but still, we can count the days on our fingers. Yay!

Oh, yeah, I forgot. Daylight savings time is next weekend, so there's an extra hour. Yeesh.


Let me type a few words guaranteed to make anyone to the left of George W. Bush grind their teeth.

Florida. Ohio.

In both of those states, polls have swung around a lot this week. Some polls have had Obama leading and others showed McCain with a lead. Same thing has happened in Nevada, where the median poll is a flat-footed tie, 47% to 47%.

Here's something to calm down those nervous people who don't want to see four more years of Republican rule. McCain could win Ohio, Florida and Nevada, and Obama could still have more than 300 electoral votes.

Strong for Obama (90% confidence of victory or higher): DC, HI, CA, VT, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, ME, CT, OR, DE, MN, WI, MI, PA, WA, OH, IA, NM, MO, VA, CO
313 electors
Leaning Obama (confidence of victory between 51% and 89%): NH, IN, ND, NC, FL
60 electors
Total for Obama if the election were held today: 373 electors

Toss-up states: NV - 5 electors

Strong for McCain (90% confidence of victory or higher): WV, TX, SC, AK, MS, KY, KS, LA, TN, SD, NE, AZ, AL, WY, OK, AR, ID, UT
142 electors
Leaning McCain (confidence of victory between 51% and 89%): MT, GA
18 electors
Total for McCain if the election were held today: 160 electors

McCain needed to follow up on the momentum he had last week and make it even bigger. Instead, things are churning around, and the general direction is for Obama. One could argue that the news story that helped him most early this week was the endorsement from Colin Powell, but really, that was ages ago. What are we talking about now? Sarah Palin's wardrobe and make-up, a crazy girl beating herself up and blaming an imaginary big scary black guy, who is not only a mugger but politically involved.

And, oh yeah, Joe Biden told us a terrible crisis awaits Barack Obama as soon as he gets in office. Thanks for the heads up, Joe!

Besides the tally 373 to 160 with 5 toss-up, there is also the expected value. Right now, because Obama has more states in the leaning category, his lead in the expected value is only 357 to 181, or about 2 to 1.

Here's where I'm supposed to write about there still being time and this thing isn't over.

Honestly, I'll leave that to the campaigns and the news media. Obama's people won't say it's over because they still want contributions. McCain's people won't say it's over because conceding would kill the chances of other Republicans running. The media won't say it's over because they love the horse race aspect of the thing, and will over-report anything that makes it look close. But if numbers mean anything, it's not close and it's not getting closer.

I always write "if the election were held today". In some ways, with early voting and voting by mail, the election IS being held today. No matter what happens in the next nine days, there are folks like me whose vote will not change, because I've already signed the envelope, stuck the stamp on it and put it in the mailbox.

If the numbers alone were not enough to convince me, the press reports coming out of the Palin-McCain camp make me think that they have some math nerd inside their team, and he or she is telling them the same things I'm telling you, or the same things you can read on any of a number of electoral college sites. The New York Times is reporting on the chaos inside the Republican camp, and we are seeing sniping and back-biting that usually doesn't happen until after the votes are counted, especially from McCain staffers about the "diva" Sarah Palin. The Telegraph U.K. has senior Republican officials talking about a civil war inside the party if this thing is a rout.

Don't stop working. Don't forget to vote. If Barack Obama has given you hope, that's a good thing, because there are plenty of reasons to have hope.

Last report on this blog is seven days from now. Election Day is two days after that.

I can't wait, though I suppose I'll have to.

8 comments:

FranIAm said...

It is great to read this. I am starting to obsess about election fraud.

I hate my paranoid and darker nature sometimes.

Matty Boy said...

It has to be close enough to be stolen. The electoral vote has to be in range of one state on way or the other tipping the balance. These numbers say it isn't that close, and my numbers are in general agreement with sites like fivethirtyeight.com and realclearpolitics.com.

fivethirtyeight.com, with their "ten of thousands of simulations" has the probability of an Obama win at 95.7%, or about 22 to 1. My method, running about 16 million possibilities and assigning a probability to each, has it at about 16,000 to 1.

I like Nate Silver and I'm glad to see his blog is getting such play, but I know a little more math than he does, and I think my numbers are closer to correct.

Of course, that is if the election were held today.

DCup said...

Here's my prediction - the coming nine days will see an uptick in alcoholic beverage consumption, domestic disputes, road rage, hang up calls, jaywalking, campaign yard sign stealing, assaults on campaign workers by aliens from outer space, visits to prostitutes and strip clubs, candy sales, UFO sightings, the pitch of Pat Buchanan's voice, witches and ghost roaming the streets, adult women dressing in revealing clothing, school fights, Osama bin Laden video and tape releases and angst from all sides of the political spectrum.

DCup said...

But I like your prediction best of all, Matty Boy.

Matty Boy said...

I can't agree with everything you predicted, D-Cup. Hookers and strip clubs cost a lot, and we are in a recession.

As for candy and booze, you are completely on the money.

For the frugal boozers who stop by, let me give you a tip. Two Buck Chuck and a forty of Steel Reserve are your best buys for drinkable alcohol per dollar. Personally, I prefer the Two Buck Chuck Shiraz, and like most of the folks I know who like it, we do not think of it as the single serving size.

BobManDo said...

MattyBoy, your graph is looking 'mo betta" each week. YES! I have been spending way to much time obsessing about this... I just don't know what I'm gonna do with all that extra time I'll have after Nov 2nd. :-)

Just heard this week's ThisAmericanLife.org "Ground Game". and was amazed at how easy it was for "Dems for McCain" people to flip democrats... Not all bad... becase Obama better organized...

Glad we're in single digit days.

dguzman said...

Ditto what Fran said. I'm getting really nervous, especially after hearing that McGross "guarantees" a narrow victory.

Matty Boy said...

Hey, dg, you might notice that McCain plays craps, and not poker. That's because he sucks at lying. You can always tell when his heart isn't in it.

As my friend Rob Fulop would say when I would beat him at poker by getting massively lucky, "All I want is you and me on a desert island, a deck of cards and pile of coconuts."