Sunday, October 21, 2012

My take on the electoral college as of Oct. 21, 2012

On both Facebook and Twitter, I have been following the electoral college situation day by day.  I will still put up posts here every Sunday.

Right now, the crucial swing states are as follows.

Ohio: 18 electoral votes, currently 61%-39% in favor of Obama
New Hampshire: 4 electoral votes, currently 50%-50% tie
Virginia: 13 electoral votes, currently 60%-40% in favor of Romney
Florida: 29 electoral votes, currently 60%-40% in favor of Romney

If everything other state goes according to form, Romney needs to win all four of these contests. Obama needs only win one to get re-elected. This is why he is still the favorite.

Each state has its own story as to how it gets to where it stands now.

Ohio: Ohio is getting surveyed a lot. In the past ten days, there have been eleven polls released, including two by Rasmussen and two by Gravis.  Obama leads in nine of eleven polls. The earlier Gravis poll put Obama behind and the more recent has it a tie. All the rest give Obama an advantage. Because I only use polls that are no more than one week older than the most recent poll, there are five polls being used and the median has Obama ahead by one point.  Depending on the size of the sample, a one point lead usually translates into about a 60%-40% Confidence of Victory (CoV), this time 61%-41% because of a slightly larger than usual sample size of 750. (500 to 600 is pretty common, but some busy beavers get 1,000 to 1,200.)

New Hampshire: Three polls. Rasmussen, usually conservative, says Obama is ahead by a point, PPP, usually liberal, says Romney has a one point lead. Suffolk sits in the middle and says it's tied.  My system goes with Suffolk, so 50%-50%.

Virginia: PPP says Obama by 2%, Rasmussen says Romney by 3%. The monkey in the middle is ARG, with Romney by 1%.  This translates into a 60%-40% CoV.

Florida: Only Florida surpasses Ohio in number of polls.  In the past ten days, fourteen polls have been taken, including two by Rasmussen and PPP, so only their most recent count, bringing us down to twelve. One has "timed out", so the poll I use is the median of eleven polls.  Six polls say Romney leads, five say Obama, so yet again the median says it's a one point race, this time for Romney and another 60%-40% CoV.

The less likely swing states.

North Carolina: This state is currently at 75%-25% Romney.  Nine polls have been taken this month, only two show Obama with a lead.  If Romney runs the table on the middle four, Obama's best bet is to win everywhere else he needs and pull off a win in North Carolina with its 15 electoral votes.

Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa:  All these states are about 75%-25% for Obama.  If Obama wins in Ohio, Romney needs Colorado and Wisconsin to make up for it.  If Obama pulls off Ohio and New Hampshire, Romney's easiest path to sweep Colorado, Wisconsin and Iowa.

If you have 25% chance to win a game, you have only a 6.25% chance to win two games in a row and about a 1.56% chance to win three.

It would boil down to New Hampshire and Ohio if the election were held today, and this is a large part of why Obama's chance to win right now is at about 86%, barring new polling data today.

Full results this evening.

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