Nov 03 2008

More And More The States Go Toss-Up

Published by at 12:27 pm under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

At RCP the state polls are definitely showing a last minute surge to McCain. The country is going gray as more and more states head to the toss-up category – too close to call. Some folks just don’t want to admit this is happening, but it is and in  some surprising states. But I count 10 states with 128 EC votes in the toss-up category, and another 8 states in the ‘lean’ category just waiting to tip into the ‘toss up’ group. That is a total of 18 states and 172 EC votes on the cusp right now. Who really knows which way these will go?

Let’s look at MN first. Survey USA just dropped a poll that shows a statistical tie with Obama +3% and at 49%. But to understand what this means one needs to look at the trend in this poll.  In mid October Survey USA had Obama up +6%. That is a shift folks. Same trend is in the Rasmussen numbers. The RCP average of more stable (and democrat optimistic) polls show a much larger lead, but if the Survey USA poll is as accurate has it has been in the past, Minnesota is in play. Recall these late polls can only sample a bit of any last minute surge, not all of it.

Let’s look at PA. The Morning Call daily tracking poll for PA had Obama up +14% in early October, today that lead is now down to +6%, and one has to assume still falling as of today. And Morning Call is one of those heavily tilted polls which allow for unprecedented advantages for the Dems in their turnout model.

Look at VA, OH, FL, CO, NV at RCP and look at the trend lines – all of them are showing a striking movement towards McCain-Palin in the last two weeks. There is a wave out there building. How big is it? Don’t have a clue. What I do know is this election will test the two camps of pollsters – those who let irrational exuberance filter into their turnout models, and those who stayed anchored in historical trends.

At NASA we have seen people so enamored with their math or perspectives they never check to see if their assumptions are correct. We saw bad math models crash a satellite into mars. We saw people ignore historical trends and data, which led to the destruction of two shuttles. NASA performs millions of detailed and complex calculations a day, and we still need to make sure we aren’t seeing what we want to see in our math models. We assess them against independent data which should indicate concurrence.

Right now the data on polls is mixed and diverging. One group will be right tomorrow night. I cannot tell you which one, but I can tell you there is a battle of theories going on no less complex and emotional as the battle over what caused Global Warming.

I tend to think we are not breaking history to the point of wild speculation. It happens, but rarely. And the fact both camps are mobilized and voting makes me think the traditional ratios of voters will not be all that different. We will make history on turnout in general, but I do not see one side gaining a history shattering edge. In fact, I do not think the two can happen simultaneously. To get a historic edge means a large number of voters from the center to the right stay home, which means turnout could not be at historic levels as well.

We shall see tomorrow, but I my guess is when I do the last Bi-Poller report this afternoon we will have a final estimate for the two families of polls which will be quite divergent from each other. And only one family will have been right come tomorrow night.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “More And More The States Go Toss-Up”

  1. crosspatch says:

    Just remember, no Democrat presidential candidate has taken 50% or better of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter and we know what happened that time.

  2. jmgarciajr says:

    …and Carter only took 50.1% of the vote.

    More interestingly, with the exception of 1964, no Democrat has taken more than 51% since FDR did in 1944.


  3. pjo says:

    My wife and I did our part. Go McCain! Oops! Did I give away a secret?

  4. Good Captain says:

    You are right AJ! Tomorrow we will all see which pollster(s) were on and which pollster(s) should have taken a sabbatical. My best guess is that the “conservative” method pollsters will be vindicated.

    Why? I believe the increasing and constant stream of negative information associated w/ Obama has tilted the table in McCain’s favor. The only remaining reason for most undecideds to vote in Obama’s favor would be for change sake itself.

    While we know that change remains a powerful force in this election cycle, I believe most undecideds are undecideds because they remain leery of the unknown and Obama remains largely unknown. To the extent Obama becomes better known through the disclosure of past writings or past interviews, an undecided’s natural leeriness can only increase.

  5. clintsf says:

    I can’t wait for tomorrow night.

    I splurged on a bottle of scotch that’s old enough to vote.

  6. crosspatch says:

    Hmmm. This seems interesting.

    Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

    “Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

  7. bush_is_best says:

    Its True.

    You wingnuts might cut into the landslide a little bit… a teeny weenie bit… you MIGHT get Missouri or Indiana or one or two of those little states… maybe… and then where will you be, only losing by a hundred or so electoral votes…

    I know that most of us were hoping for Obama to take ALL the swingers plus Arizona, even Georgia and Montana… really drive the point home… but its looking like you might hold some traditional ones… congratulations!

    Good luck tomorrow! Try and try to hold on, as tight as you can! Hold on to those outdated values! Fear change! Deny the obvious! Bitch and moan while progressives and intellectuals take the country back!



  8. […] ‘traditional’ family of polls show a tight race, which traces well with the state polls showing a late surge to McCain-Palin. But the average for this group did move towards Obama today.  The overly optimistic […]

  9. Redteam says:

    b is b
    progressives and intellectuals
    progressives(another word for communist, adopted in the late 40’s)
    intellectuals(another word for those that have graduated with advanced degrees from Ivy league schools? G. W. Bush?)

    Fear change!
    The people in Russia didn’t ‘fear’ change when they went to communism. They didn’t know what it was all about. That’s the same group voting for the Socialist.

  10. Redteam says:

    crosspatch, I assumed everyone already knew that the ‘new deal’ was responsible for the prolonged depression. It isn’t a secret.
    of course you will never hear that from the MSM.

  11. bush_is_best says:

    redmeat –

    You will be pleased to know that there is no communist on the ballot, nor is there a socialist. This is a certifiable fact. If it were true, and not just angry name calling and emotional exaggeration, then it would have been exposed by now.

    If the best you can do is compare Obama and cold war Russia, then you deserve to lose, because it is not the most accurate and truthful comparison you can make. If you want to make a compelling argument against a candidate, then it would be advisable to make one that people can actually believe.

    If you are uncomfortable with the term ‘progressive’ then we will not use it. What we mean to describe by this is a person interested in PROGRESS. Moving forward into the future, embracing the change that occurs naturally and governing in accordance with it.

    Intellectualism is not exclusive to Ivy league schools. This is a very strange definition you provide. The first of its kind I have heard. What we mean by intellectualism is thoughtful leadership demonstrated by articulate speech and explanations. It our minds, Bush represents anti-intellectualism, regardless of the source of his education. We strive to move beyond this.

    Hopefully this has cleared up some misconceptions.

  12. RickE says:

    I also have an engineering degree and have split my professional time between technical work/technical management and sales. Working in the nuclear industry, I understand the problems of models and validating them. I have worked at 4 different companies, and each had their own saying. Some examples:
    -Let’s validate and make sure we are not believing our own bullshit.
    -Do I believe it and can I defend it.
    -Make sure you are ready to hit the “I believe” button.

    I have seen the experts be wrong numerous times, especially when trying to reconcile lab data with field data (I was arguing the field data was the ultimate test, not what we thought from the lab). When there were problems, it is because we didn’t set the experiment up correctly.

    I have the same concern as you on the polls, and coincidentally this am, authored a note to some of my friends entitled, “Irrational Exuberance”. It was before I saw your note, and I know you didn’t see mine.

    All I can say is ditto. It is possible that all the new models and turnout will be heavily Democratic…and if so, I will be dead wrong. But, history is on a different side. Time and turnout will be the ultimate arbiters of truth.