Nov 03 2008

Will PUMAs Save McCain-Palin?

Published by at 8:10 am under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

Reader ‘peakspike‘ pointed to a very interesting analysis on the current polls in the battleground states and what is required of the PUMAs to swing McCain-Palin over the top and on to victory. It is by Paul Marston (biography) and the analysis basically uses historic voting trends and current poll averages from RCP to determine how many PUMAs it takes to win each battleground state. 

As expected, his numbers for needed PUMA voters have been shrinking over the last few days as all the battleground races tightened into the ‘toss up’ column. Also as expected, if there is not a huge Obama edge in the GOTV results (and there is no reason to believe there will be a huge edge, if any) the number of PUMA voters needed is not all that large with shrinking racehorse numbers.

For example, Paul Marston shows Ohio needs to see 103,788 PUMA voters for McCain-Palin to win. Let’s put some error bars on that and say it is +/- 20%, which gives a conservative estimate of 124,456. Now I have no idea if Mr. Marstons calculations are correct – none. I am not vouching for his math.

Now let’s look at this year’s Democrat Primary in Ohio and see how many people voted for Hillary – and we find it is 1,207,806. 10% of this number is 120,780, which is about how much Mr. Marston claims can put McCain over the top. OK, that seems like it might be in the ballpark because Obama lost Ohio pretty badly to Mrs Clinton.

Now we take a look at one of those wildly optimistic polls for the Democrats and see what they say about Ohio – and of course it is an easy win for Obama who is allegedly leading 52-46% or +6% (margin of error is +/-2%). However, if we look inside the internals we find an interesting statistic on the PUMA vote. The poll claims Obama is losing 22% of the Clinton voters, or twice what Mr. Marston claims is needed for McCain-Palin to win. And I find it very hard to believe Obama’s voters will so out match McCain-Palin’s that he can easily handle a 22% defection rate from those 1.2 million Clinton voters from the primaries. If I had to suspect someone’s math right now the poll would be the place I would start.

So let’s finally look at the 2004 election and see how much Bush won by. He took the state with 2% win (opposite of Kerry’s 2% win in PA), which translates into 118,599 votes. This is not so coincidentally in the same range as the PUMA votes required from Mr. Marston’s calculations, and half of the support the poll claims McCain will get from the PUMAs.

So, without really validating the math itself and giving ourselves a 20% margin on the calculation and then 100% margin from the polls I would say McCain-Palin have a shot at winning Ohio. If their supporters get out and vote. And all indications are people across the political spectrum are getting out and voting.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Will PUMAs Save McCain-Palin?”

  1. peakspike says:

    Good article.

    This brings to my mind of all those Democrats out there like my aunt who has pulling the dem lever for 40+ years. She is every has bit has conservative as I am, even more so church wise. She also belonged to the Sheet Metals Union for 40 years and they also reinforced her to vote democrat. She only watches the network news and maybe CNN and reads the local liberal newspaper and she was un aware that her party was taken over by the far left radicals. Guess what? She woke up this year and is voting for McCain.

    I believe that the democrat party is finally breaking apart into two groups and the more conservative portion of the group is joining McCain.

    It will be the conservative’s job to keep the conservative republicans and the conservative democrats together and build a new conservative movement. I hear this is happening from the likes of Mark Levin, Rush, Hannity, Laura Ingrahm, ect.

  2. WWS says:

    I feel the same going into this election as I felt headed into my last root canal.

    The good news is that the root canal ended up being not nearly as painful as I feared it would be.

  3. Birdalone says:

    Read about the not-organized PUMAs in South Philadelphia at:

    “Obama has too many socialist policies, and he doesn’t have enough experience,” Mr. Klemash, a retired pressman, said Sunday as he walked his miniature poodle in Marconi Park in South Philadelphia, a largely white, Catholic, ethnic neighborhood. …
    As part of the Obama campaign’s get-out-the-vote operation, scores of volunteers were hustling in and out of the new branch office here on Sunday.

    Many were from out of state, including two women from New York who said they had expected to be sent to more rural environs and were surprised when they were sent to Philadelphia.

    “We thought, oh, it’s an urban area, it’s done,” said Marian Masone, 57, a film curator who lives in Brooklyn.

    They said they were also surprised by the negative reaction to them in South Philadelphia. Ms. Masone and her friend, Eileen Newman, 62, who works in film management and lives in Manhattan, said that some people said “no way” to them about Mr. Obama and that one told them, “Get off this block.” …

    The whole article is very illuminating. Multiply these stories throughout MA, NH, CT, NY, NJ, OH, and maybe even MI where ethnic Catholics dominate the electorate.

    Peakespike is correct about the division within the Democratic Party, and his aunt is not the only Dem who woke up this year.

  4. crosspatch says:

    It seems a shame that the Democrats For McCain got organized so late in the game. They could have had a lot more impact earlier on.. Still, bless their hearts!

  5. Fai Mao says:


    If McCain/Palin win this election and it can be shown that the Hillary Democrats were what put him over the edge, will the democratic party do to her what they did to Lieberman?

    A lot of the P.U.M.A. vote is banking on her being the democratic candidate in 2012. I kind of think that if McCain wins this thing the only way that would happen is if she runs as a liberal Republican and I can’t see that happening.

    Just curious.

  6. antimedia says:

    There’s something you need to think about wrt the PUMA vote. If a PUMA votes for McCain, that’s a two vote loss for Obama. He loses the vote of the PUMA, but McCain also gains the vote of the PUMA. I’ve been watching this phenomenon closely. Here’s what I think will happen. Liberal PUMAs will either vote for Nader or McKinney or they will sit out the election. Moderate and conservative PUMAs will vote for McCain.

    What is very interesting to me is that I have read the comments of many PUMAs who claim they will vote a straight Republican ticket, because they want to punish the Democrats for the way they treated Hillary. This could affect down ballot races in ways not imagined by the so-called experts.

  7. | MJJ's blog says:

    […] to swing McCain-Palin over the top and on to victory. It is by Paul Marston (biography) and the Read More|||Read more: Exit Polls 2008, Exit Polls, Election Tracker, Presidential Election Results, Live […]