Oct 27 2008

3rd Early Voting Indicator National Polls May Be Way Off – Now 4th!

Published by at 12:30 pm under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

Major Update: DJ Drummond (another poll skeptic like me) has discovered another indication that the poll weighting of party for party ID are nonsensical and Obama may be in some serious trouble. Before I get to DJ’s analysis I want to address comments about early voting typically being led by Republicans. While true, early voting is not stagnant but a growing phenomena. In some states it is approaching 30-40% of the electorate. As early voting expands the GOP edge will disappear and the early voting results will simply mirror the state as a whole. This is pure mathematics and obvious to anyone who thinks about it.

While early voting my have been at one time only 10% of the voting population, it would be dominated by GOP friendly groups who use it (military and older voters). But when it approaches 40% of the vote, the early voting will reflect the general population – it has to. Just as 1% of precincts will not give a good estimate of the final state wide vote, when you get 40% of precincts in you can tell how the race will end up. It either favors one candidate or is too close to call. Right now early voting looks to show ‘too close to call’.

Now, onto DJ Drummond’s 4th indicator the polls are critically flawed:

I found serious problems in their fundamental assumptions, not the least being the heavy weighting of democrats in the polls (and let’s not mince words – any poll weights by party affiliation, the ones which simply accept what is called in are just accepting the raw data as demographically accurate, which is just as absurd in terms of party affiliation, as it would be if they assumed that race, gender, age, or educational demographics did not need to be reweighted)

This is what many call as circular logic. This is a statistical no-no, so from the start we know the polls have gone from scientific to fantasy. But DJ notes something else in the Gallup early voting data that belies a large differential in democrat turnout:

Says Gallup; “Early voting ranges from 14% of voters 55 and older (in aggregated data from Friday through Wednesday) to 5% of those under age 35. Plus, another 22% of voters aged 55 and up say they plan to vote early, meaning that by Election Day, over a third of voters in this older age group may already have cast their ballots.”

The last two statements are very good news for McCain and bad news for Obama. This is because it demonstrates that enthusiasm to actually vote by republicans is equal to enthusiasm to vote by democrats. This runs directly against claims made in polling up to now, demonstrating that participation in polls is not directly related to voting this year.

Clearly the older, reliable McCain voters are getting out and voting, while those new, unreliable younger voters are NOT getting out and voting. So much for the vaunted Democrat Obama wave. – end update

I have been noting that national polls and some state polls may be way off based on optimistic voter turnout models which are historically nonsense (see posts here and here). One of the first indicators of whether Obama really is enjoying some massive lead is the early voting opportunities, which have not shown what Obama and the media have been saying is a huge democrat wave, like 2006.

First there was early voting and registration in Ohio, where Obama’s campaign promised to make huge gains – only to fall 80% short of their mark. All the hype in Ohio was pure fantasy when it came to Obama getting out the vote with this massive wave, which turned out to be barely a ripple.

Second, Gallup came out with poll numbers showing the amount of early voters between Obama and McCain show no huge wave for Obama, but actually a dead even race. Even though Gallup’s own national poll models showed a huge lead for Obama, it was not showing up in the early voting.

But today there is a 3rd indicator from early voting that things are just not going Obama’s way, and this time it is from deep blue California:

The results are simply shocking. The polls showed Barack Obama with an 18 point lead in California just a few days ago. The results thus far are the complete opposite. In the most liberal state in the entire country,the results are that 99,000 Republicans have voted and 96,000 Democrats voted. In the mail-in balloting the results so far are that 9,000 Democrats sent in their ballots and that 5,000 Republicans did so. So with nearly 210,000 people having voted,the Democrats have only a 1,000 vote advantage !

If we take the liberty of assuming that all Republicans will vote for John McCain and all Democrats will vote for Obama,then the race is incredibly close. I’m sure that Obama will eventually win in California,but if he is struggling here after he pushed so hard for early voting,then he will lose the election ! Everybody thought he would win California in a landslide,but so far anyway,it’s very tight. That means that in the less liberal states he is in real trouble.

This election is all about turnout. And I confess Obama’s crowds of 150,000 in MO and 100,000 in Denver has me worried he might pull this off. But there may be an equal force out there, a very quiet but very large and very much determined to vote against Obama. And if that is true, then Obama will not win. If there is a fight in CA in early voting, then there will be a fight across this land.

45 responses so far

45 Responses to “3rd Early Voting Indicator National Polls May Be Way Off – Now 4th!”

  1. robert c verdi says:

    Well see, Republicans will show up an vote and it will be a very tight race. By the way AJ, John Kerry was able to get 80,000 in St Louis in 2004, don’t let democratic party rock concerts dismay you. Look, the dems have pretty good headwinds this year, but they can lose and we sure as hell can make them sweat it out. A tight race, even loss is the first step to making gains 2010. Go vote, and a victory in two weeks will be sweet.

  2. ordi says:


    I am not worried about the large crowds Obama is bring in. Dems and Unions are FAMOUS for BUSING rent a crowds in. I am sure you have noticed the MSM is not telegraphing the crowds McCain and more specific Palin are drawing. This is just another slight of hand aka trick the Obama camp and the MSM are playing on us to make the world believe he will be coronated on Nov 4th.

  3. crosspatch says:

    First I must take issue with the notion that California is “deep blue” or even “the most liberal state in the entire country”. We have a couple of very liberal regions such as Los Angeles and San Francisco but the rest of the state is pretty conservative. The fastest growing areas of California such as the “Inland Empire” of Riverside and San Bernardino counties are decidedly Republican country.

    Look this map. Most of Calfornia was “red” in the 2004 election. Now compare that to Massachusetts or Connecticut or Vermont. I believe those would most likely be “the most liberal” in the country.

    I can’t understand this assumption people have that California is so Liberal. They see Hollywood or San Francisco and lump the entire state in with them. And San Francisco is seeing their political power wane. The city is not “family friendly”, the schools are bad, it is too expensive to live in the city for most average families. While more conservative areas East of San Francisco are gaining political clout as their populations increase.

    And many of the counties were “blue” by only a slim margin. California turnout tends to be poor. Maybe this year will make a difference if the Republicans get off their duffs and actually vote.

  4. crosspatch says:

    In my county in 2004 Bush lost by about 10,000 votes. Voter turnout was 41%. Of 781,890 eligible voters, only 321,788 showed up at the polls. Assuming for a moment that the no-shows were evenly divided between the parties, lets say that 220,000 Republicans didn’t go to the poll that day. In other words, MORE Republicans probably stayed home than went to the poll. If only 10% of those staying home could have voted that day, the election result for the county would have been the exact opposite. There would have been 20,000 more votes for Bush who would have then won the county by 10,000 votes.

    If you are doing GOTV work, make sure people know where their polling place is. Do they need a ride to the poll because their car isn’t running? Can you get a group of ladies together to watch a stay at home mom’s kids or elderly relative while she goes to vote? Can you fill in for a co-worker for a few minutes so they can go vote? There is a lot more to getting the vote out than just reminding people. Sometimes a person needs a little help to get to the poll.

  5. perdogg says:

    More Obama on redistribution of wealth


  6. A fight in California…

    One of the touchstones of this election year, I thought, was that California would vote for Obama. It’s been a mainly Blue state since Earl Warren became governor, going Republican only a few times since then. If I had a……

  7. Phineas says:

    A tight race here in California would explain why I’ve seen so many of what have to be expensive Obama commercials. Maybe their internal polls show a worrisome weakness?

    To Crosspatch: I’ll agree with you that California isn’t as nutty-liberal as stereotypes in other parts of the nation make us out to be. But we are dominated by Los Angeles and the Bay Area, both of which are heavily Democratic/liberal, and we have a gerrymandered legislature that gives control to the most left-wing faction of the Democrats. The way I describe the state overall is socially moderate-liberal and fiscally moderate, but our cultural and political elites give the rest of the country a skewed perception.

    Fascinating news, AJ. You’ve given this lonely Los Angeles conservative a ray of hope. 😀

  8. perdogg says:

    Check the 8 minute mark of this one.

    He says that the Constitution ‘represents the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this very day’.


  9. breschau says:

    Awww.. it’s so *CUTE* that you’re trying to convince yourself that McCain actually has a chance.

    For an alleged NASA engineer, AJ – I am amazed at the number of mathematical inconsistencies you ignored for this post:

    What is the history of CA early voting?

    On that same vein – what’s the chance that McCain wins CA? 0%? Less than 0%?

    Why are you applying national “when do you plan to vote” numbers when evaluating voting numbers for a specific state, when the rules about early voting vary wildly from state to state?

    Isn’t it just a bit silly to “take the liberty of assuming that all Republicans will vote for John McCain and all Democrats will vote for Obama”? Colin Powell, Ken Adelman, William Weld, Charles Fried? (Do you know of any recent Obama advisors that have publically proclaimed they are voting for McCain?)

    Where are the Independant numbers?

    This is, honestly, sloppy partisan nonsense.

  10. Stix says:

    You have to remember St Louis is right next to one of the most Democrat held counties in Illinois. we here have not elected a republican in 50 years. This is Chicago-lite. E St Louis, Brooklyn, Alorton, Venice and many other communities can bus them in by the tons. I live in Liberal Hell right across the river from St. Louis. And Remember only St. Louis and Kansas City are Dem holds in Missouri, the rest are either Conservative or Reagan Democrats and they are not going to vote for Obama.

    And ACORN is doing their best to register Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys in Missouri.

  11. Cobalt Shiva says:

    And breschau/norm/conman, the walking advertisement for birth control and abortion, is heard from.

    On that same vein – what’s the chance that McCain wins CA? 0%? Less than 0%?

    Given that Obama has pissed off some of the Democrat bigwigs out here, including a fair number of Latinos . . . if he’s lucky, he only gets benign neglect, and California’s only closer than it should be. If he’s unlucky, the Latino community may decide to say “Somos la raza, nos escuchará rugir,” and he can kiss 55 electoral votes good-bye, along with any prayer of winning the election.

    One thing worth noting: Hillary Clinton won Los Angeles County by an even more convincing margin than she did statewide (and her statewide margin was very comfortable, something like 54-42 over Obama).

    I usually only see or hear political ads when they get news coverage–most sensible presidential campaigns simply do not bother to buy airtime in this reliably blue state.

    Obama is saturating the airwaves out here, including Spanish-language stations. Now, either (a) this executive experience that he cites (i.e., running his campaign) is a clue as to how he will govern (namely, very wastefully, throwing money at everything in sight without concern for the larger picture), or (b) he is really, really, freakin’ worried about this state for some unknown reason.

    BTW . . . how come we never, ever see a survey that addresses the PUMA issue? Am I to believe that it’s obviously a complete non-issue? Or have such surveys been done . . . and immediately suppressed because the results are not in line with the media’s obvious bias toward The One (PBUH)?

  12. crosspatch says:

    I live near San Jose where we have a significant Latino population. While I live in a mostly Asian neighborhood, I do travel downtown once in a while. I am not seeing any kind of overwhelming Obama support. A few bumper stickers, a few signs, but nothing like what I saw for Kerry or Gore. On the surface it would look like Obama isn’t going to get much of the Latino vote by historical standards.

    My guess is that Obama is going to get a surprise and it seems that people are playing their cards close to their vest this election. To put it another way, if there are that many Obama supporters, they don’t seem to be proud of the fact because they aren’t putting out signs or slapping on the stickers.

  13. breschau says:

    So… some of you think that Obama might actually lose CA in the general?

    Hmm. Well, you all seem… wait, what’s the term? Oh, right – batshit crazy.

    I will bet you all $10,000 that Obama wins CA in the general election. I will give you all 10-1 odds.

    Any takers?

  14. crosspatch says:

    Breshau, yeah, it is a major flaw with our electoral system. What we need to do is have the electoral votes be done the way they are supposed to be. You get two electoral votes for carrying the state, and one for each congressional district you take. That would make the electoral vote reflect the popular vote and that was originally the way it was intended until states started going “winner take all” with electoral votes.

    If you got a vote for each congressional district you took, the elections would be much more interesting.

  15. Cobalt Shiva says:

    So… some of you think that Obama might actually lose CA in the general?

    1. He’s either (a) acting as if he is worried about the possibility or (b) wasting a boatload of money on advertising in a state he’s supposed to be guaranteed. I guess you’re asserting that, as far as you can tell, Senator Obama is a wasteful fool. A fine sentiment to have for a candidate you allegedly support.

    2. The visible support is simply not there as it was for Clinton, Gore, and Kerry–and I’ve lived in this particular neighborhood since 1996, and at my current address since 2002. I know who in my neighborhood is a Democrat, and less than 20% of them have a yard sign out, compared to damn near 100% for Gore, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. Now, given that Obama’s supporters tend to have the sort of visible self-reinforcement usually only attributed to Moonies and Hare Krishnas, I find the lack of visible support . . . interesting.

    I am not saying that California will go to McCain with certainty. All I can say is that the present zeitgeist around here isn’t as pro-Obama as it was pro-Clinton, pro-Gore, pro-Kerry, and pro-Hillary . . . and that Obama is acting as if my observation is not a local hiccup, but rather a real phenomenon.

    Like I said, maybe Obama is merely a fool, and a spendthrift one at that.

    Then again, maybe not.

  16. crosspatch says:

    “Winner take all” was designed to allow large political machines to “deliver” entire states by tinkering with the vote in a large metro under their control such as Chicago, NYC, or LA. With “winner take all” a corrupt machine can rig the ballot in that city and the immediately surrounding area to the extent that it carries an entire state’s electoral vote. If you only got two “at large” electoral votes and one per district, such rigging would be nearly impossible, require a huge organization, cooperation of large numbers of people in rural areas, and be much more at risk of being discovered. AND the result would more accurately reflect the will of the people in that state. And it would be just as fair or unfair for each party.

    Look at this map and check out the “solidly blue” state of Illinois and see what the result is. By far most of Illinois votes Republican but the voices of those people are never heard and never reflected in the national power balance. “Winner take all” electoral votes disenfranchises everyone outside of the major cities and puts political races into the hands of powerful machines.

    We need to change that and it can be changed very easily.

  17. breschau says:


    “Yeah, it is a major flaw with our electoral system. ”

    Why do you hate our Founding Fathers?

  18. breschau says:

    “I am not saying that California will go to McCain with certainty.”

    Oh – well, I am glad to hear that you are just not ready to go that way “with certainty”. Because, hey – going by the recent Presidential election history of CA, who *knows* which way it might lean, right?

    Tell you what – I will give you 1,000:1 odds, on a $1,000 bet. If Obama wins CA, you owe me $1,000. If McCain wins CA, I owe you $1,000,000.

    You good with that?

  19. crosspatch says:

    No, our founding fathers had the right idea. The concept of the electoral college was critical to getting rural states to sign on. What has happend SINCE then is that states have gone to “winner take all” which means the votes in the large metros are the only ones that count.

    The electoral college was designed to ensure that the people in the rural states would have their voices heard and that Boston and Philadelphia wouldn’t run the country.

    The idea was that every congressional district got one electoral vote. A candidate got two electoral votes for carrying the overall state. But what started to happen under (I believe) the Roosevelt administration was that corrupt Democrat political machines (mainly in New York and Chicago) decided to change state laws to make them “winner take all”. That is how Kennedy was elected. Daley “delivered” Illinois by tinkering with the Chicago vote.

    I want it to go BACK to how the founders had it to begin with. Not what the corrupt Democrats have turned it into. The Democrats would even want to abolish the electoral college altogether which would give only the people in the cities any say in government and make the entire country “flyover country”.

    Breshau, you don’t know very much about politics, do you? Or history, for that matter.

  20. crosspatch says:

    And changing the Senate from election by State Legislatures to election by popular vote did the same thing, it disenfranchises millions of rural voters. Instead of each district in the state having one vote as would happen when legislators voted for senators and coalitions of rural districts could carry some weight, we end up with a situation where, like in California, the populations of two cities decides the vote for the entire state. It doesn’t matter what the people outside of LA and San Francisco want, there isn’t enough votes there (if everyone eligible voted) to make a difference. The only way we can win now is by voter turn out. We have to get 60% or more of the Republicans to the polls. At that point, all the opinion polls are wrong.

    An opinion poll is different from an election because an opinion poll always has 100% turnout. They call you, if you don’t answer, they call someone else. An election depends on who shows up to vote, which might be completely different from who answers the phone.