Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday numbers for 4/29/12:
The electoral college

Daily tracking of Obama%-Romney% on Gallup and Rasmussen
According to the media, the general election has begun. Both Gallup and Rasmussen have started their daily tracking polls, and every Sunday I will be showing the results.  Above the 0% means a poll says Obama is leading nationally, which Gallup has considered true for about a week.  Rasmussen has had Romney as the leader for most of the past two weeks, though there were a few days this week when both polls agreed Obama was in the lead. Rasmussen says they are polling likely voters, while Gallup only promises there sample is taken from registered voters. A likely voter sample should be more reliable, but Rasmussen has as their basic model a much higher percentage of Republican voters than any of the other major companies.

Electoral vote split by Confidence of Victory

Anyone who has not slept through the last three presidential elections knows that it's the electoral college that gives us a president, not the popular vote.  Not every state has been polled yet, but using polls from 2012 or the results from 2000, 2004 and 2008, the split of the 538 electors is as follows.

230 Solidly Democratic electors
181 Solidly Republican electors
127 electors "in the mix"

I define a state as being solid if the Confidence of Victory number is over 95% for one party or the other.  For my fellow number nerds, I have written out my methodology for 2012.

Odds of winning using CoV in purple states as of 4/29

I take the probabilities for the "in play states" created by the Confidence of Victory method and figure out all possible outcomes, assuming the solid states, both Republican and Democratic, will be won by the favored party. As of the polling so far, the states that are between 95% Confidence for Republicans and 95% Confidence for Democrats are:

Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania

Assigning probabilities to the 256 possible outcomes for these eight races, if the election were held now, Obama would have about a 70% chance of victory and Romney about 30%.  Of course, these numbers will change over time with new polling data and new stories in the press that favor one side of the other.  As time goes by, the pictures that are now bar graphs or pie charts will switch to line graphs showing the changes over time.

For anyone who feels it's far too early to start this sort of thing, I can only agree.  In 2008, I started my Sunday Numbers series just after Labor Day and the introduction to the general public of Sarah Palin.  This is what the media thinks the public wants, so I as a lowly blogger have decided to go with the current. I will also be including numbers for the Senate races once all the primaries are over.

1 comment:

toto said...

Presidential elections don't have to be this way.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the primaries.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

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