Jonathan's Prediction Thread

Well, it's about that time again folks. I'm always a little reluctant to write down my electoral predictions, both out of a desire not to jinx anything and because posterity isn't always terribly kind to these things. Looking back, for instance, my picks from 2004 haven't really withstood the test of time (though my picks in 2006, 2007 and earlier this year were significantly more on the mark). But without further ado, this is what I'm seeing.

On the presidential level, I see Barack Obama taking home the popular vote by roughly a 52 percent to 46 percent margin. In the electoral college, I see a 357 to 181 split for Obama that works out as follows: Obama taking all of the Kerry states, plus the Gore states of Iowa and New Mexico; Obama picking up the traditional swing states of Ohio and Florida; Obama winning the emerging swing states of Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado; Obama picking off a single electoral vote in Nebraska; and Obama gaining three more electoral votes by carrying either either North Dakota or Montana.

In the Senate, I see the Democrats coming up just short of their goal of 60 seats, picking up eight instead of nine this fall. Under this scenario, the first five seats picked up would be Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Alaska and Colorado, followed by Oregon and North Carolina. The eighth seat is a little less clear, either coming from a tough win for Al Franken in Minnesota or a December special election victory by Jim Martin in Georgia, where a runoff election is held in the event that no candidate receives 50 percent plus one of the vote.

On to the House, I see the Democrats gaining 39 seats to grow their majority to 274 -- or more than a 100-seat advantage over the Republicans. The Democrats won't be able to repeat their unprecedented feat from 2006, holding on to each of the seats they were holding coming into election day, but by and large the few Democrats in tough reelection campaigns will hold their seats.

In Governors races, which I haven't been watching as closely as I did in 2006, it appears to me that Jay Nixon (D) should win Missouri's governorship, the only party switch of the night. The Republicans should hold Indiana's governorship in a tough contest, and the Democrats should hold the governorships of North Carolina and Washington in very tight races. After tonight, then, the Democratic advantage in governorships would sit at 29 to 21 over the Republicans.

That's what I've got. Your thoughts?

Josh and I are up in Las Vegas through election day blogging about the campaign, and our coverage has graciously been sponsored by SEIU.

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Cell Phone Only Voters and the Electoral College

Writing today over at Pollster.com, Brian Schaffner notes the real difference between those national polls that include in their samples cell phone only voters (CPO voters, or the landline-less) and those that don't include such voters. In short, Schaffner writes, "As of Monday morning, Obama's lead was 4.2% larger in the national trend accounting for the CPO population than it was among the landline-only polls."

Schaffner then goes a step further in applying this difference to the individual states, the polling in which for the most part excludes the CPO population. The results are quite interesting.

If you make no CPO adjustment and give each state to the candidate currently leading, Obama wins 367 electoral votes, narrowly losing Indiana, Montana, and Georgia and narrowly winning North Carolina and Missouri. Making a conservative CPO adjustment by adding 2% to Obama's margin in each state pushes Indiana and Montana into Obama's column, giving him 381 electoral votes. Finally, if you make a 4% CPO adjustment to Obama's margins in each state (based on the differences in the national trends), Georgia suddenly shifts into Obama's column, giving him 396 electoral votes. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that the cell phone only population is not evenly distributed across the 50 states so not all states will be affected in the same way. But if you believe that there is a cell phone only effect that the state trends are not capturing, then states like Virginia, Nevada, and Ohio are not even that close right now and Obama has a good chance of winning in Indiana, Montana, Georgia, and possibly even Arizona.

This might be the type of study that is better left until after the election than to predict tomorrow's results, but it does raise some interesting questions. I, for one, count myself among the landline-less, as does Josh. I'd imagine that we're not the only two here in the MyDD community who only use cell phones (if there are others out there, please do chime in in the comments section). Given that this demographic does appear to lean Democratic, perhaps all pollsters -- not just those in the field nationwide but also those polling the states -- are going to have to take a real hard look at how to account for the preferences of the CPO population. And while I'm not certain that the exclusion of these voters from traditional polls is worth 30 electoral votes for Barack Obama, it could very well be that it's worth something meaningful nonetheless.

Josh and I are up in Las Vegas through election day blogging about the campaign, and our coverage has graciously been sponsored by SEIU.

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The Last Month

Take a look at the national polling the last month of the campaign, pulling out a few of the more spurious surveys and turning down the sensitivity of the smoothing so as not to overstate the importance in minor blips:

As you can see, Barack Obama's lead is actually larger today than it was a month ago. While Obama has seen a slow but steady increase in his level of support during this time frame, John McCain's performance has been a bit more erratic, losing a bit of support during the middle of the month before subsequently gaining it back, plus a bit more (perhaps a point or two). No real tightening in the campaign, no matter what the McCain campaign says; even if McCain ended up netting a point on Obama in the last week or two, the fact that Obama clearly crossed the 50 percent threshold is significantly more meaningful. While Obama might have built his lead during the final 26 days of September, when the story of the election is told, McCain's inability to do much of anything to eat away at Obama's lead during the final month of the election just may be the most important development to point to.

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Final Tracking Poll Update: A 7-8 Point Lead for Obama

Here are today's numbers:

ObamaMcCain
Diageo/Hotline5045
Gallup (Trad)5342
Gallup (Exp)5342
Rasmussen Reports5246
Research 2000/dKos5145
Composite:51.5044.50

There's a lot more polling than just the tracking polls this morning:

When you throw all of this data together in the mix, Barack Obama's average lead over John McCain is 51.77 percent to 43.85 percent, a slightly wider margin than seen just in the four daily tracking polls above. Obama's median advantage across these surveys is a similar 52.00 percent to 44.00 percent, suggesting a fairly even distribution of results in the final round of polling. [Adding in the Ipsos poll into the mix marginally moves the average while keeping the median stable.]

Does this mean that Obama will win by 7 or 8 points tomorrow in the popular vote, or even that he is assured of winning tomorrow? No. But it has to be disheartening to the McCain campaign to still be unable to crack 45 percent a day before the election and see the polling unanimously show Obama at or above 50 percent across the nation. Throw on top of it the fact that, according to First Read, 111 straight reputable national surveys have shown Obama leading and you get the sense that it will be very difficult for McCain to capture the popular vote tomorrow.

We are 1 day out from election day. What are you doing to help enact progressive change in this country?

Josh and I are up in Las Vegas through election day blogging about the campaign, and our coverage has graciously been sponsored by SEIU.

Tracking Poll Update: Still No Movement

Josh and I are up in Las Vegas through election day blogging about the campaign, and our coverage has graciously been sponsored by SEIU, whose organizing on the ground in the state we'll be writing about a little later today.

Here are today's numbers:

ObamaMcCain
Diageo/Hotline5045
Gallup (Trad)5143
Gallup (Exp)5243
Rasmussen Reports5146
Research 2000/dKos5144
Composite:50.87544.50

The composite of these polls has looked remarkably stable over the last two and a half to three weeks since Gallup moved from reporting just numbers on registered voters to reporting numbers on likely voters. During this time period, Barack Obama's level of support has ranged from 49.50 percent to 51.25 percent, while John McCain's level of support has ranged from 43.00 percent to 44.50 percent. In other words, the race has been, and continues to be, stable, with Obama leading by about 6 points and McCain struggling to top 45 percent.

In other polling, CNN's final survey of likely voters finds Obama leading 53 percent to 46 percent, and CBS News polling gives Obama a 54 percent to 41 percent lead -- including an 57 percent to 38 percent edge among those already voting.

We are 2 days out from election day. What are you doing to help enact progressive change in this country?

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