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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday numbers, 10/31, the final showdown:
The electoral college

Another day rolls by and the election gets closer. There was an anomaly that happened after I posted last night in the polls, but before I posted tonight it had vanished.

For a hot minute, Michigan was a battleground state.  Polling there has been scarce and a single poll from last night that had Obama leading but close timed out a bunch of polls that showed him with a big lead.  Today, more polls came in and the median now gives him a 93% Confidence of Victory instead of a 75% Confidence of Victory.

So much for the OMG! MICHIGAN!1!  kerfuffle.

Here are the five states that currently make a difference. Romney needs to sweep them for his easiest path to victory and Obama only needs one.  If the one Obama gets is Colorado, Romney has a few chances that aren't beyond the realm of possibility, but they are much tougher than the five listed. Red means Republican leaning, Purple means tossup at 50%-50%, Blue means Democratic leaning and a Gold Background means the state with the golden spike.  Win that state and all easier states and it's game over for either side.

North Carolina
============
Most recent poll: October 31
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 6
Obama leads: 2
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 3
Confidence of victory: 74.3% Romney
North Carolina looks slightly better for Romney than it did yesterday. In the five swing states, that's the extent of his good news.

Virginia
============
Most recent poll: October 31
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 9
Obama leads: 3
Tie: 2
Romney leads: 4
Confidence of victory: 50% for both Romney and Obama

Florida
======
Most recent poll: October 29
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 11
Obama leads: 5
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 5
Confidence of victory: 50% for both Romney and Obama
Three new polls, but the median is now a tie, a small loss for Romney. His people say he's going to win Florida by double digits. There is no poll that agrees with him, but this wouldn't be the first time Romney spokespeople pull facts out of… thin air.


Ohio
====
Most recent poll: October 29
Number of polls within one week of most recent:14
Obama leads: 10
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 1
Confidence of victory: 75.8% Obama
Obama leads in Ohio by slightly more today, but he also leads Colorado by slightly more, so the Golden Spike stays where it was yesterday.

Colorado
=======
Most recent poll: October 30
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 8
Obama leads: 6
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 0
Confidence of victory: 75.9% Obama
Note: This is currently the state with The Golden Spike. If Obama wins Colorado and every state that has a better Confidence of Victory for him, he wins. The same is true for Romney.


And then there is the scenario where Obama wins Colorado but loses the other four. This puts him at a tenuous 272-266 lead in the electoral college if all the states more likely than Colorado also go his way.  In that instance, New Hampshire (75.9%) OR Iowa (82.4%) OR Nevada (84.0%) can give Romney enough.


If all this speculation is making the Halloween candy you've been snacking on grumble in your tummy, let's look at today's numbers, remarkably similar to yesterday's numbers.


The median result stays at 301 for Obama and 237 for Romney.  This nothing like the beatdown Obama gave McCain, but it's much larger than the margin for Bush over Kerry.

The single most likely result is at 319-219, with another strong contender at 320-218.  the results come in pairs one EV apart because the current model has the electoral vote of Omaha as a toss-up.  That is based on very old polling and Nebraska has been trending for Romney, so I may shade that prediction slightly before election day. The best of all possible worlds is some polling company actually having another poll specific to Omaha, but I'm not holding my breath.


The Confidence Of Victory slides down ever so slightly to 91.9%, down from 92.6% yesterday. These tiny wobbles are exactly what Romney does NOT want to see at this juncture.  He needs something very big to happen in this last week that is clearly in his favor, something on the scale of the 47% tape or Obama's weak performance in the first debate. So far, Sandy appears to be in Obama's favor, as he gets to look presidential and have nice photo ops with a Republican that needs his help like Chris Christie, while Romney is forced to listen to questions about his desire to scrap FEMA. I say "listen to" because so far, he has shown no desire to answer them.

More numbers tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday numbers, 10/30, the final showdown:
The electoral college

Okay. Like yesterday, it's really about five states, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado.

The difference today is they changed order.  This difference is trouble for Romney.

Florida
======
Most recent poll: October 29
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 8
Obama leads: 3
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 4
Confidence of victory: 55.7% for Romney
 

North Carolina
============
Most recent poll: October 26
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 6
Obama leads: 2
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 3
Confidence of victory: 54.5% Romney
 

Virginia
============
Most recent poll: October 29
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 7
Obama leads: 2
Tie: 2
Romney leads: 3
Confidence of victory: 50% for both Romney and Obama
 

Ohio
====
Most recent poll: October 29
Number of polls within one week of most recent:12
Obama leads: 10
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 1
Confidence of victory: 74.2% Obama
 

Colorado
=======
Most recent poll: October 29
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 7
Obama leads: 6
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 0
Confidence of victory: 75.7% Obama
Note: This is currently the state with The Golden Spike. If Obama wins Colorado and every state that has a better Confidence of Victory for him, he wins. The same is true for Romney.

Just like yesterday, Obama can lose Ohio and go home president if he wins Colorado. The difference is the odds of Colorado jumped from about 60%-40% to 75%-25%.

 I don't watch any cable TV news, so I have to hear about the alleged controversies secondhand. Joe Scarborough, who is still a conservative though he talks a lot of smack about most of them, thinks Nate Silver must be insane because he thinks Obama is still favored when "everyone he knows" on the left is in a panic.

I don't say yet what will happen seven days from now, though Silver does.  He thinks he can use mathematical modeling to do this. Personally, I think mathematical modeling works great for some problems in physics, most of computer science and a few cute examples in biology.

Otherwise, I just leave it be.

If the election were held today, the median result is 301-237 Obama. Romney would need to pick up 31 electoral votes, and the only state where he trails that has that many is California.

I'll go out on a limb and sat Romney AIN'T winning California.

If any Republican reading this wants worse news, the most likely result if the election were held today is the most likely result right now is either 319 or 320 electoral votes for Obama, depending on the single electoral vote produced by Omaha.

  
Obama gains in the Confidence of Victory to 92.2% to 8.8% if the election were held today.  No poll is completed on election day, so the last week of polls goes from today to next Monday. These are the polls I'm going to grade on their closeness to the true result.

When it comes to grading, I'm firm but fair.

New update tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday numbers one day late, 10/29: Part b
The Senate


This week was a big gain for the Democrats in the Senate. If the polls are to be believed, they are a stone cold lock to get 51 seats before Angus King chooses sides, most likely in the Democratic caucus given his position on filibuster abuse.

That first phase "if the polls are to be believed" is the central point. Partisan polls are working overtime on the Senate races. (Some may call me biased, but I do not count PPP as just another Democratic poll.  Since Rasmussen does NOT call itself a Republican poll even with its fairly consistent conservative bias largely caused by ignoring cell phone only voters, I invoke the Fox News rule and consider both of the workhorse polling companies unaffiliated.

If Rasmussen won't admit it's a Republican poll, just like Fox News won't admit it's a Republican propaganda channel, I will claim PPP is just another polling company.

This is Fair and Balanced.

I will report back on the Senate on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, bringing update earlier only if something drastic happens.

Stay tuned.

Sunday numbers one day late, Oct. 29: Part a
The Electoral College


I sometimes forget I am a blogger first and post a lot info to my Facebook page.  For this last week until the election, this will be my main post and the Facebook and Twitter feeds will be links to this.

Here's the electoral college situation, through all the swing states and some that really aren't.


Florida======
Most recent poll: October 28
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 8
Obama leads: 3
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 4
Confidence of victory: 55.6% for Romney

North Carolina============
Most recent poll: October 26
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 6
Obama leads: 2
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 3
Confidence of victory: 54.5% Romney 


Virginia============
Most recent poll: October 26
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 9
Obama leads: 3
Tie: 3
Romney leads: 3
Confidence of victory: 50% for both Romney and Obama


Colorado=======
Most recent poll: October 28
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 7
Obama leads: 5
Tie: 1
Romney leads: 1
Confidence of victory: 60.0% Obama

Ohio====
Most recent poll: October 28
Number of polls within one week of most recent:12
Obama leads: 8
Tie: 3
Romney leads: 1
Confidence of victory: 69.4% Obama
Note: This is currently the state with The Golden Spike. If Obama wins Ohio and every state that has a better Confidence of Victory for him, he wins. The same is true for Romney.

 

New Hampshire=============
Most recent poll: October 28
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 5
Obama leads: 4
Tie: 0
Romney leads: 1
Confidence of victory: 76.9%
Note: The two companies on Romney's side of the median are Rasmussen and PPP, the two workhorses

Nevada
======
Most recent poll: October 25
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 5
Obama leads: 5
Tie: 0
Romney leads: 0
Confidence of victory: 83.7% Obama

Pennsylvania======
Most recent poll: October 25
Number of polls within one week of most recent: 6
Obama leads: 6
Tie: 0
Romney leads: 0
Confidence of victory: 87.0% Obama


Here's the color coding.
Red means likely Republican
Purple means toss-up
Light blue means likely Democratic
Light blue with gold background means likely Democratic and the state with the Golden Spike. Both sides need this state for sure
Dark blue means very likely Democratic and not a swing state under my system

The current Confidence of Victory for Obama is 90.5%, down from yesterday's 91.2%. There has been some movement from day to day, but since Obama hit 92% on October 18, the movement has been minimal.

What makes this really bad for Romeny/Ryan is that every day that passes is another day lost.The cannot afford to be so far behind day after day.

The big problem mathematically is not winning Ohio, but winning Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado and Ohio. If they lose just one of those, New Hampshire won't help/

Unless some poll shows Romney ahead in Nevada or Pennsylvania in the last week, I have a very hard time believing either of those can really switch sides.



And then there's the median result, 299 to 239.  The most likely result is 291 to 247.  I wish I had more recent information about the Omaha electoral vote, which was dead even the last time anyone reported. Since recent polls say all of Nebraska has swung closer to Romney, I assume Romney also leads now in Omaha, though I can't be sure.

Next update tomorrow, one until next Monday and plenty of post mortem after.

Say tuned.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Today's EV situation as of 4:00 PM PT.


States that matter today.

OH 59.3% Obama
NH 54.5% Obama
VA 59.9% Romney
FL 60.0% Romney

Romney needs to sweep these. Obama needs any one of them to win.

Plan B.
If Romney sweeps the four main battleground states, Obama's best option is to win NC, about a 25.1% chance if election held today.

If Obama wins just OH, Romney's best chance is to make combinations of the following states that add up to 20 EV

IA 38.2% 6 EV
CO 24.1% 9 EV
WI 20% 10 EVNV 16.5% 6 EV

If Obama wins NH but loses OH, VA and FL, any one of the plan B states can win for Romney.

Sunday numbers, 10/21, Part b:
The senate


I'm changing the presentation style on the Senate numbers. Instead of looking at a month's data week by week with overlapping bell-shaped curves, here is information for two weeks in side-by-side columns.  The newest week is in red because the numbers were good for the Republicans, the median changing to 53 Democratic seats instead of 54. The big change came in the little sampled race in North Dakota, which looked to be a toss-up and now leans strongly Republican.

If I had a voice on the national level, I would chastise the polling companies for their choices of what races are important. Most notably, five companies have decided to let us know about the Senate and presidential races in New Jersey, where there has been very little movement and the Democrats look to be massive favorites. I would much rather see more polls in the more contested races in Nebraska, North Dakota and Montana. Just sayin'.

More numbers next week. Stay tuned.

The Sunday numbers, 10/21, Part a:
The Electoral College


I am now tracking the numbers day by day for the Electoral College, but the changes I mark are from Sunday to Sunday.

Solidly Republican.
AK 3 AL 9 AR 6 ID 4 KS 6 KY 8 LA 8 MS 6 ND 3 OK 7 SC 9 TX 38 UT 6 WV 5 WY 3
EV total = 121

===
Leaning Republican.
NE 4    0.9995
SD 3    0.9988
IN 11    0.9988
MT 3    0.9940
GA 16    0.9875
TN 11    0.9794
AZ 11    0.9777
MO 10    0.9753
NC 15    0.7493
FL 29    0.5996
VA 13    0.5992
EV total = 126

===
Coin flips.
NH 4    .5000
N2 1    .5000
EV total = 5

===
Leaning Democratic.
OH 18    0.6095 GOLD
WI 10    0.7592
CO 9    0.7625 was leaning Republican
IA 6    0.7943
NV 6    0.8345
PA 20    0.9479
OR 7    0.9617
MI 16    0.9721
MN 10    0.9882
NM 5    0.9958
WA 12    0.9959 was Solidly Democratic
ME 4    0.9988
CT 7    0.9996 was Solidly Democratic
NJ 14    0.9998
EV total = 144

===
Solidly Democratic.
CA 55 DC 3 DE 3 HI 4 IL 20 MA 11 MD 10 NY 29 RI 4 VT 3
EV total = 142



The biggest move of the week was in Obama's favor, with Colorado switching sides. With that, The median result electoral college result edges up from 285-253 to 293-245. This means that the easiest path for victory for Romney needs both New Hampshire and Ohio.


The general daily trend has been upward for Obama since October 12 with a single day that moved in Romney's favor, which was this Saturday.  If the election were held today, Obama has a Confidence of Victory number of 87.2%.

This election is completely different from 2008, when mid-October showed Obama ahead of McCain 347 to 171.

This is more like 2004, though Obama's position is a little stronger than Bush's was. I no longer have a link to the data I put up that year, but Kerry and Bush traded off being the favorite and being the underdog. As of October 21, Romney has not been the favorite yet.

Stay tuned.


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.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Sunday numbers, 10/14, part b:
The Senate


It's a little hard to make out the information in this graph because the numbers haven't changed much since September 30. Suffice it to say the median result right now is 54 Democratic seats and the probability of at least 50 in the Democratic caucus before Angus King makes up his mind is well over 99%.

Since there has been so little change, I will continue just posting the Senate info on Sundays, while I will post the presidential numbers daily.

Stay tuned.

Sunday Numbers, 10/14, part a:
The electoral college

Romney-Ryan makes gains again this week to their strongest position yet, but they still trail. here are the numbers.

Solidly Republican.
AK 3 AL 9 AR 6 ID 4 KS 6 KY 8 MS 6 OK 7 SC 9 TX 38 UT 6 WV 5 WY 3
ND 3 was Leaning Republican
LA 8 was Leaning Republican
EV total = 121

===
Leaning Republican.
IN 11    0.9998
NE 4    0.9995
MT 3    0.9991
SD 3    0.9988 was Solidly Republican
GA 16    0.9861 was Solidly Republican
TN 11    0.9806
AZ 11    0.9490
MO 10    0.8704
NC 15    0.7460
FL 29    0.6918 was leaning Democratic
VA 13    0.6670 was leaning Democratic
CO 9    0.5098
EV total = 135

===
Coin flips.
NH 4    .5000 was Leaning Democratic
N2 1    .5000
EV total = 5

===
Leaning Democratic.
OH 18    0.6155 GOLD
NV 6    0.6415
IA 6    0.6760
WI 10    0.8133
PA 20    0.8304
MI 16    0.9445
OR 7    0.9870
NM 5    0.9958
NJ 14    0.9978 was Solidly Democratic
ME 4    0.9988 was Solidly Democratic
MN 10    0.9992
EV total = 116

===
Solidly Democratic.
CA 55 CT 7 DC 3 DE 3 HI 4 IL 20 MA 11 MD 10 NY 29 RI 4 VT 3 WA 12
EV total = 161



And now for the first time, one more switch of a single state can put Romney in the lead and that state is Ohio.


The Confidence of Victory number is now only 76.3% for Obama, the lowest it has ever been on a Sunday.


Since the race became tighter, I started to keep track of numbers day by day and post them on Twitter - follow @ConfidenceOfVic by clicking on the button at the upper right - and on Facebook on the Confidence of Victory page. The best days for Romney were just after the first debate and over the past few days things have been picking up for Obama-Biden. The next debate could be crucial.


As you can see, this Friday was the best day for Romney-Ryan, but since the vice presidential debate the numbers have been moving slowly in the other direction.

The other thing besides the fact that Romney still trails is how precarious is current easiest path is.  Right now, if he can win all the states where he is favored, all he needs to do is win the toss-up New Hampshire and Ohio where he only trails slightly.  The problem with this scenario is that gets him exactly over the goal line, either 269 without the Omaha electoral vote or 270 with it. If any state slips away, like New Hampshire or Colorado or Virginia, winning becomes much more difficult.

I will start posting the electoral college stuff daily here. The Senate races are much more stable right now, so I'll just post those on Sundays.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Numbers, 10/7, part b:
The Senate Races


This week is the best week in a month for the Republicans, but only because they didn't really lose any ground. The median and most likely result is still 54 Democratic seats, with a probability of a Democratic majority at about 99.94%

Of course, these change week by week and with all these numbers, I make no claim of being able to predict the future, just to take a reasonably accurate snapshot of what would happen if the election were held today.

More numbers next week. Stay tuned.

Sunday Numbers, 10/7, part a:
The Electoral College

As you might expect, this was a good week for Romney-Ryan.  Here's just how good.

Solidly Republican.
AK 3 AL 9 AR 6 GA 16 ID 4 KS 6 KY 8 MS 6 OK 7 SC 9 SD 3 TX 38 UT 6 WV 5 WY 3
EV total = 129

===
Leaning Republican.
IN 11    0.9998
NE 4    0.9995
ND 3    0.9991
LA 8    0.9980 was Solidly Republican
MT 3    0.9905
AZ 11    0.9874
TN 11    0.9806
MO 10    0.8704
NC 15    0.8171 was Leaning Democratic
CO 9    0.7604 was Leaning Democratic
EV total = 85

===
Coin flips.
N2 1    .5000
EV total = 1

===
Leaning Democratic.
FL 29    0.5729
OH 18    0.5889
NV 6    0.6265
VA 13    0.7941 GOLD
IA 6    0.9223
PA 20    0.9669
WI 10    0.9856
OR 7    0.9870
NH 4    0.9885
MN 10    0.9922
NM 5    0.9952
MI 16    0.9971
EV total = 144

===
Solidly Democratic.
CA 55 CT 7 DC 3 DE 3 HI 4 IL 20 MA 11 MD 10 ME 4 NJ 14 NY 29 RI 4 VT 3 WA 12
EV total = 179


The brightest news for the Republicans is getting Colorado and North Carolina to switch from the Democratic side to the Republican. Their fondest hope is the trend continues and Florida and Ohio move over as well. But to get their first lead this year, they also need to dislodge two states like Nevada and Virginia or a big prize like Pennsylvania.  There's no telling yet whether the debate advantage was a bounce or a surge just yet, and more debates are coming, as well as other news stories that could capture the public imagination.

The median result now is 305-233 for Obama-Biden.  Because Omaha's electoral vote is still considered a flat-out coin flip based on only one poll mid-September, the most likely results come in pairs one electoral vote apart.

323 or 324: 8.0%
304 or 305: 6.5%
294 or 295: 6.5%


If the election were held today, it would still be a steep uphill climb for Romney-Ryan, but another good week like this coupled with an ability not to slip backwards could make a race of this yet.

More polls next week. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stupid as a super power:
This week, starring Glenn Beck.


I have several people of faith on blog buddies list. I am not a person of faith, but these are my face-to-face friends or among my first blog buddies. I only take people off if we have a major falling out or they stop blogging entirely.

Glenn Beck, bless his heart, is a person of faith. He is not on my blog buddy list. No surprise there.

Glenn is self-educated. If his teacher was fired immediately, the level of American education would improve overnight.

Glenn thinks he understands the American Revolution. It is his field of expertise, much as Sanskrit poetry is a field of expertise of mine.

I know nothing about Sanskrit poetry.

Even in this, I have a leg up on Glenn Beck, because I KNOW I know nothing about Sanskrit poetry. He thinks his self-education on the American Revolution and the early days of the new Republic make him expert.

He loves comparing modern political figures he admires to George Washington. Rick Santorum reminds him of Washington. Romney now reminds him of Washington.

Easy lesson: nobody today is like George Washington. There is no universally admired national military hero, the most important thing in Washington's resume. Other presidents who are something like Washington are Grant and Eisenhower, and Grant of course is not universally admired, especially south of the Mason-Dixon.

Neither Santorum or Romney served. For Santorum, because of his youth, it wasn't even something he had to worry about. Romney did have to be concerned, but his college years and his work as a Mormon missionary in France gave him a free pass when others his age served in Vietnam, many paying the ultimate price.

I bring this up because Glenn has decided because his most serene friends are still serene that Romney is going to win, and the level of certainty that the media shows to the inevitability of Romney's eventual loss is a sign that his victory will show that it is a true miracle.

I can't see inside Glenn Beck's heart or mind. I don't know if he is an incredibly cruel huckster or a stunningly deranged true believer.

Either way, it hurts my heart to think of the people still listening to him, much in the same way I am sorry for the people who stuck with Dr. Harold Camping.

If they are just doing it for the cash, this is a level of evil I have a hard time comprehending.

If it is just garden variety stupidity, I understand it. Sometimes, people are so stupid they don't even realize they are stupid. This is what I call Stupidity As A Super Power.

Who knows? Maybe Glenn Beck is Aquaman and Sarah Palin is Shrinking Violet.