What’s the best election analysis you have seen to date?

November 11th, 2008


I have been either trying to catch up on my real job at Underwood Partners or attending board meetings since the election and have not had time to post any thoughts about the Obama victory and McCain defeat.

If you have seen any particular good analysis – I am most interested in quantitiative analysis and strategic analysis of how the candidates used their strenghts and compensated for their weaknesses – please pass them along.  I will then share them with the group.


Ruby Bridges Quote

November 10th, 2008

“Each and every one of us is born with a clean heart. Our babies know nothing about hate or racism. But soon they begin to learn—and only from us. We keep racism alive. We pass it on to our children. We owe it to our children to help them keep their clean start.”—Ruby Bridges

Obama will win unless leakage is > 10% in majority of 12 “Swing States”

November 4th, 2008

I heard an amusing prediciton yesterday: “Either Obama will win big, or it will be very close and McCain could win.”  Reminds me of a politician’s response to “What’s your favotite color?”  Anwers “Plaid.”

Most of the “5 Reasons Obama could still lose” have not played out, although in a number of states, the undecideds have appeared to break McCain’s way. But not nearly enough.

About 8 weeks ago, we wrote about “Two views of the Polls and the Outcome” and talked about the 2 schools of thought at that time. One school was unless Obama was ahead by 5 or 10% in the swing states, then the Bradley effect would kick in and McCain could win.    The other school, armed with the country’s best data on youth voting and their 2008 intentions, held that the polls were under-weighting youth and minority votes and that Obama would win by a landslide.

Last night, we looked at the broadest definition of “swing states” possible and came up with 12 that total 153 Electoral Votes.  Without those, Obama has 237 of the 270 he needs; McCain only 142.  Obama can lose 120 of the Electoral votes, which could mean he only has to win as few as two, say Pennsylvania and Colorado. McCain can only lose 25 EV’s, which means if he loses Flordia, or Ohio and one other, or PA and one other, he loses.

Where it gets interesting is if you run scenarios where Obama must be either 5% or 10% ahead in the polls in these states to win.  We looked at 2 sets of poll numbers. The first was using pollster.com’s latest poll of polls.  The second we looked at the last poll recorded on the individual polling data for each state, also on Pollster.com. An admittedly flawed analysis, given there are several different pollsters and methodologies, but it does shift some more EV’s to McCain.  Results:

Using Pollster.com’s average of polls:

  • Obama wins 285 EV’s even if the polls are off in McCain’s favor by 5%
  • McCain wins 295 EV’s if the polls are off in McCain’s favor by more than 8%

Using the last poll registered by each state on Pollster.com:

  • Obama barely wins with 272 EV’s if the polls are off in McCain’s favor by 5% or less
  • McCain wins 301 EV’s if the polls are off in McCain’s favor by more than 8% or less

Interesting analysis, but I don’t see anyway McCain can win for one simple reason – Obama’s ground game is just too strong.  Obama’s staff advantage (e.g. 400:100 in Florida) and volunteer callers, drivers, organizers, etc. are huge and the ground game can easily be worth 5% or more over the latest polls.

But, it you are a supernerd, here are the spreadsheets.  For those of you on email, I will also attach.  See the next post for my Election Night Scorecard, which gives you the 12 states sorted by their poll closing times.

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Breaking News – Dixville Notch Votes Obama 15 to 6

November 4th, 2008

Good news for Obama fans – Dixville Notch, NH voted for Obama, the first time since 1968

Bad news for Obama fans – the Democrat they voted for was Hubert Humphrey, who lost to Nixon

Very interesting thoughts from a Pittsburgh Neighborhood

November 3rd, 2008

I have been 100% consumed with UP business today (probably a good thing) and will spend some time getting up to speed with latest news and data later tonight and send some final thoughts before taking off to New Hampshire to (definitely) take some election day photos and (hopefully) live blog as well.

In the meantime, here are some thoughtful reflections from my friend and fellow business and social entrepreneur Bill Hinchey on his weekend visit to Pittsburgh:

As a little background, I grew up in McKeesport, PA during the 70’s and 80’s.  My very blue collar neighborhood is dotted with red-brick ranch homes all built after WWII and populated by hard working families who teach their kids to study hard, eat their vegetables, and cheer for the Steelers.  It is a heavily Democratic area that view Republicans as the rich elite that have no interest in helping out the middle class.  Today, not much has changed.  The average four bedroom home sells for $125,000 (Steeler banner not included), both parents work, and the local cub scout troop has over 90 kids – three times the size of my day.

I spent the weekend in my hometown with my two young sons showing them how their dad celebrated Halloween “back in the day”.  I also took note of the attitude many of my old buddies and folks in the neighborhood.  The bottom line is that in this small spec of Western Pennsylvania, I guesstimate a 70:30 vote for McCain Palin.  And they will turn out.  Election day is a ritual in my hometown.  A chance to see the kids at the local elementary school, buy some baked goods, and catch up on town gossip.  No one is happy with the last eight years of George Bush, but these folks are not ready to line up behind a new comer like Barack Obama.  I sense that there was no connection between candidate Obama and this old steel town neighborhood.  I can say that the Democratic party itself is as much to blame here.  While Obama is a centrist, folks here view the party as way left on issues such as taxes/government spending and abortion and that is enough for these folks to embrace John McCain.

While it is accurate to say that Pennsylvania is “Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in the middle” I would amend that by saying the boarders of “Alabama” could be larger than one suspects.

Bill Hinchey

One thing he points out that we should all remember is that some voters don’t need a GOTV call or driver to get them to vote.

Although it appears to me that there has been little mainstream media (either mainstream old media as in NYT or mainstream new media as in Politico and XM’s Potus 08) coverage of the “moral issues” the abortion issue is stronger than many realize. Nationwide, the anti-abortion vote is relatively small, but in some states, like West Virginia, or regions of states like Central Florida, it is huge.  Politico covered this in an article yesterday entited “No Gain for Obama with Church goers.” Here’s a quote:

It was at that mid-August event at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., that Obama said it was “above my pay grade” to define when a fetus gains human rights, while McCain quickly replied, “At the moment of conception.”

For social conservative leader Richard Land, Obama’s response encapsulated why Democrats have failed to make inroads with highly religious white voters.

“It’s abortion,” Land replied when the Gallup data was read to him.

“I think pro-choice people in this culture have absolutely no idea of the depth and intensity of the moral outrage of the people who are pro-life,” Land said. “They think that conservatives use it only as a wedge issue.”

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Statement from Obama and his sister about their grandmother

November 3rd, 2008

Statement from Barrack Obama and his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng:

It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.


Obama’s Grandmother died tonight

November 3rd, 2008

Chris just called with the sad news.


Democrats for McCain

November 3rd, 2008

As a follow-up to Bill Hinchey’s report from visiting his old neighborhood over the weekend, here’s what the signs say:

Politico reported on the activities of the Democrats for McCain last week:

McCain political director Mike DuHaime told reporters aboard the campaign’s plane that internal campaign polling reflected a tighter race in Pennsylvania than other surveys, in part because public polling does not account for the extensive outreach the campaign has done with Democrats. Workers at Democrats for McCain headquarters in Scranton made 48,000 phone calls, and busloads of Democrats from New York and New Jersey have traveled to Pennsylvania on behalf of the McCain campaign, DuHaime said.

On a personal note, the “Another” is exactly the same word and font that my father used in his successful 1996 gubernatorial campaign.

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1 day to go: AP analysis vs an eye witness report from Pittsburgh

November 3rd, 2008

ANR sent this analysis from the AP this afternoon.  It shows that Obama has 286 electoral votes locked up without any of the battleground states.

On the other hand, Bill Hinchey went to his old Pittsburgh neighborhood to trick or treat on Friday night and called tonight to report.  He was surprised to find both more yard signs than he had seen in any other election and that 80% of the signs were for McCain. According to Bill, these are neighborhoods that were “Humphrey Democrats and Reagan Democrats.”

P.S. I voted today

November 1st, 2008

Very cool experience.  I had to go to the men’s room and turn my shirt inside out so as not to “influence the other voters.”

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