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.
Tags: election day, leakage, swing states