Monday, November 5, 2012

It's mouth and money time:
The predictions for the Senate and electoral college

Enough of the calculations, it's time for prognostication. No more probabilities, it's time to put money on the table.

The Senate.

Republican wins: MS NE* TN TX UT WY AZ NV

Nebraska's Ben Nelson is retiring and the race looks good for the Republicans there, so a net Republican gain of 1.


The three marked with asterisks will be changes from Republican to Democratic. The double asterisk is Connecticut switching from the independence of Joe Lieberman to a real Democrat.  Technically, this would be a gain of 3, so the Democrats get an overall gain of 2.

Independent wins: ME*

This is a switch from Republican to an Independent who sounds like he'll caucus with the Dems, which makes for a net gain of 3 for the Democrats.

As for differences with Nate Silver, he has the Republicans winning in Montana and North Dakota.

Here's my prediction for the electoral college as a picture.

My system says the most likely result is Obama 303, Romney 235.  Plenty of other people have come to this conclusion as well. I haven't seen him put his numbers in black and white, but it looks like the only disagreement I have with  Nate Silver is Florida, which he thinks Obama will win for a final total of 332 to 206.

Nate Silver isn't a crazy person. His system has just a glimmer of an advantage in Florida. After some moving around today, Florida is a flat footed tie in my system, but my computer program also spits out the probability for every possible combination and slightly favors 303 to 332, 3.65% to 2.86%. That's what the numbers of my system say and that's where I'll make my stand.

As for the popular vote, I've only done some back of the envelope calculations, less than an hour fiddling with an idea in Excel. I'm not as convinced as I am with the winners and losers I've picked, but I'm going with 49.6% Obama, 48.4% Romney and 2.0% for the other candidates. Silver has it as 50.9% for Obama, 48.3% Romney and  0.8% Other.  That means against Silver, I'm bullish on Mitt and Gary Johnson while he's bullish on Obama.

Now all we have to do is wait for the votes to be tallied.  I'll be live tweeting tomorrow night under the name @ConfidenceOfVic.

Thanks to everyone for all your kind words. Make sure you get out and vote. If you have the time and inclination, do what you can to get out the vote as well.

Soon enough, we will get the proof of the pudding.  This is an exciting time for me. After months collecting and analyzing data, I can no longer hide behind the previously valid excuse of "if the polls are taken on the day the election is held". With early and absentee ballots, the election is being held now and has been going on for weeks.

I will be back here doing post mortems for most of the week.


csimmons said...

You said 303 electoral votes, Nate said 313. Actual result, 313. Looks like Nate got the popular vote margin better than you to.

How exactly is your simpler but not as correct algorithm better?

Matthew Hubbard said...

Hi, csimmons. A couple mistakes in your post.

Right now the number is 303-206, so as it stands I'm right on the money as far as Obama is concerned.

Don't look at his 313.0-225.0 number, look at the colors of the states in the State-by-State Probabilities. He has Florida light blue, which means he makes Obama a favorite there, which will change the count to 332-206, which means Nate got it right and I missed a state.

Why I win the game is in the Senate races. Nate had both North Dakota and Montana going Republican, but my system had both going Democratic.

That means Nate and I agreed on 81 races and we got all of them right. On the three disagreements, I'm ahead 2-0, and even if Florida goes the way it looks to be going (and as a partisan, the way I hope it goes), I still win 2-1, or 83-82 if we add the 81 predictions we both got right.

As for the popular vote rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, I'm at


Nate's at

The last count I can find is


I'm off by .8% + .4% = .4% for 1.6% in error.

Nate is off by .4% + .3% + .7% for a 1.4% error. Nate beats me here.

Hope this helps.