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Chicago LoCo / Election

November 4, 2008

Long time since I’ve updated.  In the Ubuntu world, the Chicago LoCo has been looking at ways to get ourselves meeting more.  We’ve hit a lull in our team as we’ve all been busy with work/school/still crying about the Cubs losing in the playoffs.  If you’re interested, send an email to the list.

I’ve attached my ideas about the election,  I’m focusing on how to interpret polling and what it means.  I’m a big supporter of Obama but I’m not focusing on either party.  If you live in the Colonies, don’t forget to go out and vote.

In the last week, there has been a lot of polling and discussion on what it means.  I’ve looked at most of the latest polls and try to explain what I see.  If you disagree, drop me a comment.  Since about the second debate, I feel we haven’t seen much movement on the national scale.  All the action is on the state level where McCain isn’t looking too good.

First, lets talk about the state level electoral maps:If you consider the polls from Nov 2nd, October 22nd or as far back as October 12th you can begin to see where McCain started losing the election.  As far back as 10/12 as see that VA is leaning Obama should have been serious flags to the McCain camp.  (There is something to be said about the small sampling sizes in that last poll but…). You’ll see that McCain is trailing significantly in areas that matter. In order to win now , McCain needs to flip PA and put a sort of sweep scenario, which is not going to happen. McCain/Palin made the error of trying to spend time in PA instead of staying competitive in locations like FL, OH or even MI. The fact that McCain has to even spend money in MT, ND or even AZ a is serious defensive move that shows a major problem.  Iowa is one state that barely went to Bush and Obama has double digit leads in some polls.  Assuming Iowa doesn’t matter so much (because of the narrow margins in 2004), we still see McCain missed a real opportunity to claim up CO, NV, NM, and lock away VA.  That being said, let’s turn to what we can interpret in recent polling.

The race isn’t tightening. Perhaps in the National level, perhaps in some places like OH, FL and a few places.  The races in MO, OH, FL, NC are pure toss ups.  Thats 84 electoral votes.  To say they are tightening is to underplay their value as tossups.  Late movement in the polls can be statistical noise, a product of history or late movement by independents.  However, to think that a PA flip could be an October surprise is fooling ourselves.  If CO and NV were within 1 or 2 points from the margin of error AND PA changed about 5 points to McCain in the last week, I would say that is significant tightening.  That isn’t the case. Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com wrote a great post on the race tightening. They have a great webpage too, I would suggest it for anyone interested polling and news on the campaigns.

- The independents are largely gone. I don’t think people will wake up tomorrow and suddenly make a choice over breakfast cereal or while standing in line.  The McCain camp suggests that independents will break to him in the last few days.  I don’t think we largely haven’t seen that. and if we have its not very visibly to me.

- Most models are wrong. I don’t mean they have it wrong but I think we are missing a large part of the actual pictures.  The cellphone/text message demographic, the Facebook crowd, the ground game on election day, early voting etc.  Obama has a very impressive ground game and would be highly suprised if it didn’t give him some large returns tomorrow.  I feel like we’ll see quite a few news stories about the unexpected factors on Tuesday night.  I’m expecting we will see similar stories all over  the nation.

- Action to watch. OH, NC and FL.  A strong performance by McCain would show real life in his campaign.  If NV, CO, and NM are close, we can expect a real shot.  I think that if NH and PA are within 5 points, we’ll see a real nail-biter tomorrow night. I don’t expect this to happen at all.

Let me know if you disagree and we can discuss it.

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One comment

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