The Real Contest Tomorrow: Bradley v. Cell Phone v. Ground

Assuming the presidential election ends up being the blow-out it currently looks like, there are still some fairly interesting races tomorrow: Will we get to 60? (I doubt it, not even with a likely GA run-off.) How many of the Blue America candidates will win? (I’m guessing around 28–but a number of those folks are incumbents.) Will Michigan replace the odious Cliff Taylor with Diane Hathaway in the State Supreme Court? (I’m guessing yes, based on enthusiastic Dem turnout.) Will gay men and women in California retain the right to marry? (I’m optimistic they will.)

But I’m particularly interested in what we’ll learn tomorrow about the purported Bradley, cell phone, and ground game effects.

With all the aggregation of polls this year, we’ve got a pretty good sense of where polls have the race. So the actual results may give a reasonably good read on several questions that have been raised this race.

Bradley Effect

For example, one of the only ways McCain is going to win even a few of the states he needs is if Scottish Haggis is correct that some people have lied to pollsters about how they will vote–he’s simply too far behind on all the polling. And in Pennsylvania, which has become a make or break state for McCain, Obama is above 50% in all but two out of the 13 polls conducted in the last week, with few undecideds remaining. So if McCain is going to win, he going to win by getting support from people who are currently telling pollsters they are going to vote Obama.

Nate has pretty much debunked the Bradley effect here and here, though the only place he found a hint of Obama underperforming was in the Northeast, so it might be a concern for Pennsylvania. And my gut feel–from seeing white working class people who once supported Obama blare their support for McCain–is that if people were going to flip because of McCain’s fear-mongering, they already would have. 

Still, I think the pundits are still factoring in a Brady effect in their fairly conservative calls on EV predictions. Without a Brady effect–assuming polling averages are at all indicative of the true state of the race–then McCain’s going to be blown out. 

Cell Phone Effect

This morning, Nate showed that national polls that include cell phones in their sample show a a 4.4 higher lead for Obama, on average (9.4 versus 5), than those polls that don’t include cell phones (this is an even greater margin than the 2.8 point margin Nate has calculated before, so it probably also reflects a likely voter model that incorporates early voting).  If Nate is right, then Obama is going to have one hell of a blow-out tomorrow. Even the lower 2.8 point difference would put Georgia and Indiana over the top (Obama is currently behind 2.2 in Georgia and 0.9 in Indiana in the Pollster averages), and the higher numbers might put Arizona (Obama’s behind by 5.2) over the top–though of course the numbers may be lower if many of these polls are also including cell phones in their samples.

Ground Game

Most interesting, though, is the possibility that the polls are predicting Obama’s results too conservatively because they’re not taking into account ground game. Not all pollsters are even adjusting their likely voter models to account for the huge number of people–significantly weighted to Democratic turnout in every swing state but Colorado–who have already voted. One that has, though, is Gallup; it’s two likely voter models have converged, partly because of the large number of African-American voters who have already voted. It’s worth noting, then, that Gallup has the most optimistic numbers for Obama of all of Pollster’s recent polls: 53% to 42%.

But taking the Democratic advantage in early voting accounts for just one part of the equation. For example, Gallup shows the race among registered voters–rather than likely voters–to be 53% to 40%.

The gap in voter support for Obama versus McCain is slightly wider (53% to 40%) when the vote preferences of all registered voters are taken into account. The likely voter model typically shows a reduction in the Democratic candidate’s advantage, as has been the case with Obama this year. Nevertheless, Obama has been able to maintain a significant lead over McCain in recent days, ending in the 11-point lead in the final poll. It would take an improbable last minute shift in voter preferences or a huge Republican advantage in Election Day turnout for McCain to improve enough upon his predicted share of the vote in Gallup’s traditional likely voter model to overcome his deficit to Obama.

In other words, even with its huge margin for Obama, Gallup is calculating that Obama will lose a significant number of voters to either not voting or not having their vote count, and assuming that McCain will be able to improve on his relative weakness through the greater reliability of Republican voters. 

Now, I’m not suggesting that Obama’s going to improve his turnout tomorrow over what they’ve already done in early voting, except perhaps among youth voters. But I think likely voter models that presume Republicans will reliably turn out may turn out to be wrong, particularly since McCain’s rallies today are attracting one tenth of the crowd they expected, since Republicans are underperforming Dems in early voting (though still voting early at higher rates than in 2004), and since McCain has cannibalized his GOTV funds to dump into advertising.  

In other words, though Gallup’s likely voter models converged, its model(s) still assume healthy GOP turnout. But there are lots of reasons to think fewer people who say they’re support McCain will show up than Gallup and other pollsters think.

Don’t get me wrong–I think even the 11% Gallup is predicting is larger than Obama’s lead will be. I certainly don’t think Obama’s going to beat McCain by 13% or more. 

But I do think pollsters may be using overoptimistic numbers for GOP turnout, particularly at the state level. Which, again, might make the difference in states like Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, and North Dakota (where Obama slightly leads in the polls), and Georgia,Indiana, and Montana, where McCain has slight leads in the polls. (To say nothing of Arizona… Update: Jeebus, even AK is closing, though ground game won’t affect it.) On ground game, I’ll be watching Indiana particularly closely.  Ann Selzer, the pollster that accurately predicted the Iowa primaries this year, polled the state at 45.9% Obama and 45.3% McCain last week–basically a tie (and her polls do include cell phones). While Zogby and Big Ten have both had much bigger margins recently, it otherwise appears to be virtually tied in IN. So I’ll be very curious to see whether McCain can get his voters out to win the close one there. 

74 replies
  1. randiego says:

    The post-election analysis is going to be the best part of this. I really can’t wait to find out the answers to these questions. 538 has been a godsend this time around.

  2. Leen says:

    I was going to drive to Columbus today to drive voters to precincts but our local Obama office needed folks to go back up to Glouster Ohio this morning and then on Ohio University’s campus( a bad sign out of 40 students who were supposed to show for some work only 13 showed up) Hope that does not roll over to how many show up tomorrow. So many of the folks I was able to talk with today have all ready voted (a good sign)

    It feels like a blow out for Obama but every one is still pushing hard in this neck of the woods. Back out on the campus at 3:oo

  3. TobyWollin says:

    Has anyone looked at the issue of ‘lack of enthusiasm among GOP-registered voters”? In my area, the total lack of McCain Palin signage on lawns is just amazing. This is an area where my lawn was the only lawn within 3 miles in both directions that did NOT have a Bush/Cheney sign on it 4 years and 8 years ago.

  4. BillE says:

    from the last thread…

    I used to believe that the Darth/Chimperor admin would never let go of power. It looks now the might just slink out of town with a scalding hot pardon pen in hand.

    That said, I really hope Obama wins by such large margins that this election doesn’t end up in court, cause then JSM III will win. There have been a number of ACORN/Voting decisions going agains’t the Gopper’s but when the chips are down they will not let go of power without a huge struggle. Rick Davis has as much as admitted the real election begins Wednesday.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m confident it won’t for two reasons. First, I think they intended to steal the election. But they didn’t calculate on VA and CO and IN and those other states, all of which will get Obama there. You can steal one or two states, but not 10.

      Also, they don’t have the manpower this time around to steal lots of elections. It’s hard work, stealing elections.

        • emptywheel says:

          But with the exception of just a few states (CO and GA, plus WI’s AG) we don’t.

          My point is that still leaves several other states to win in–and CO and WI Obama probably has too big a lead to steal.

      • BillE says:

        Hope you are right. I write code for fun and profit and it only takes a couple of people in the right places to alter the election outcomes digitally. Did they ever depose the GOP tech guy Connell or McConnell?

        A question, after the Ohio 2004 fiasco where the SOS Blackwell outsourced the vote count servers to the same outfit that hosted, has any protection been put in place to prevent that kind of thing. And if not everywhere, then where its not protected are the servers outsourced? Is that info public domain. I tried to google, but couldn’t figure out a good query that didn’t return chaff.


    • BillE says:

      Marge is an old time city machine dem from philly who along with our DA Lynn Abraham are all about the white flight times in the city. They are old school and haven’t seen a good reason to change their outlook. You won’t see them helping Obama if they can help it.

  5. Loo Hoo. says:

    I wonder if republicans are on fire enough to wait in the long lines Rachel Maddow described last night. My republican co-workers are disgusted enough with Sarah, but Joe the Plumber has them to the point of not even wanting to vote.

  6. brendanx says:

    I hope he wins by large margins, but if not, bring ‘em on. I’d like to see the GOP crushed in the legal arena, too, and their suppression tricks exposed and thwarted for all time. Davis is bluffing, though. It’s the same morale boosting combativeness you saw when Clinton talked about fighting through the convention.

  7. bobschacht says:

    I voted “early,” on November 1, here in Honolulu. The EV site that I went to was on the Univ of Hawaii campus, which was deserted– except for the polling site. There was a line of 60+ people, and a 2 hour wait, and although this was during the noon hour, I didn’t notice much change in the length of the line from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Everyone was patient. Voting was electronic, with a paper trail for verification. I heard that the lines were similar on other days.

    I am really encouraged by the number of early in-person voting. I had intended to vote “absentee,” so that I would have the luxury of voting at home, where I could check up on the down-list candidates and issues, but I had forgotten to mail the request for EV form.

    Bob in HI

  8. Mary says:

    I don’t think getting to 60 will mean much with weak sisters like Reid and pro-torture pocket boys like Schumer leading the newly minted part-time GOPers like Lunsford.

    OT – you could not make this up. The Steven’s trial juror who told the judge her father died and she had to go to the funera – notsomuch

    Instead, Hinnant had a plane ticket to see the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park and didn’t want to miss it, she told the judge Monday, in what sounded like completely irrational and perhaps even delusional remarks.

    “I just wanted to go to the Breeders’ Cup,” she told reporters after a hearing the judge held to find out why she’d left town and lost contact with him, forcing him to replace her just hours before the jury found Stevens guilty.

    • LabDancer says:

      I think in all the circumstances, the “60″ line may well turn out an establishment shibboleth. A presidential candidate who wins say 53% or more of the National Popular Vote, with a Congress in which the leadership is hobbled to some extent by a rump that leans to the opposition, has a lot of room to install programs and reforms that don’t strain the party bonds of those rumps, and meanwhile gain another form of national mandate through performance. If Obama were to stay popular through the midterms of his first term, he’d have at least a year on either side of the second term election to put in the sort of aggressive programs FDR did, without much in the way of serious political risk.

      I don’t think we’ll get to see all this fellow really holds most dear in terms of ambitions for the nation unless he’s able to avoid a major disabling distraction, external or self-induced, and he gets through year 7.

  9. EdwardTeller says:

    Newest Alaska poll, last night by the reputable Hays Group (I don’t have a link, but it is correct):

    If the election for United States President and Vice President were held today and the candidates were: John McCain and Sarah Palin, or Barack Obama and Joe Biden, for whom would you vote?

    (IF UNDECIDED:) Well, toward whom do you lean?
    McCain/Palin 46.6%
    Undecided – Lean McCain/Palin 1.7%
    Obama/Biden 43.9%
    Undecided – Lean Obama/Biden 0.7%
    Other Candidate 2.0%
    Don’t Know / Refused 5.1%

  10. LabDancer says:

    The responses by TobyWollin at 3 and LooHoo at 9 [”enthusiasm” in turning up & “persistence” in waiting respectively] could be included under GROUND GAME suggest the legitimacy of a “Fourth Branch” of interest to the size of mandate Obama gains by tomorrow night.

    The Obama ground game complements their effects, but they are not strictly the same thing, and I would say also both more important and enduring.

    Firstly, both present as two edged swords to McCain.

    There are a number of states in which the Republican GOTV machine has been so well developed and tended over the years, that much of the Obama GOTV efforts have had to be extended to simply matching or blunting it.

    However, consistent with the Republican Warranty, IE the capacity to deliver the Base reliably to the benefit of corporate investors, there are states and areas within states in which Rove never bothered to build a Repod GOTV, either because it seemed pointless [NYC, Philly, the Hub, the District, The City] or because the reward for the effort seemed or has been too elusive [Montana, Iowa, in both of which what pays off best is not “message” at all – but instead a lot of face time PLUS trustworthiness, or at least no disingenuity]. For reasons going to the candidate, IMO, McCain didn’t bother with either, leaving Obama with a huge up-side.

    But in the states where the GOP machine has been well-tended AND the Obama ground troops have been there for some time and in numbers, ie the “real” battlegrounds, I would expect the TobyWollin and LooHoo effects to be critical in increasing the size of the victory.

    Because the bigger the victory, the less vulnerable is Obama to the “stabbed in the back by Acorn & the MSM” theory, and the more likely he will be able to carry out the several transformative and reformative programs that are required to be set in motion.

  11. LabDancer says:

    The lovely attraction of the Bradley Effect is that, despite its never having been proven to exist in proper polling and interpretation of poll results; and despite it’s not making any sense in a country in which its First constitutional Amendment is about free speech and its biggest personal soapbox is YouTube; there’s a certain un-provability/un-disprovability factor which will always be appreciated by some as making it worthy to care for, mostly by those with some vested interest: in these days, the MSM and the Winger Machine.

    Crikey, this nation’s still no better than tied with Turkey in accepting Darwin.

  12. masaccio says:

    I went to voter protection training in Athens, OH today (I also did phones in the office for an hour this morning, hello Leen). I thought I was a Democrat, but it appears that I am actually a member of an organized party. The training was excellent. There were people from everywhere, San Francisco, Nashville (not just me), Massachusetts, New York and Texas, from the group I talked to, many lawyers and legal assistants. Later, we’ll go to our precinct on the Ohio University campus, and decide how to distribute ourselves for maximum effect. Tomorrow we are expected at 5:45 am for a 13.5 hour day.

    We have a clear chain of reporting, with the usual Obama rule: fix it yourself, this is your campaign. Only if you can’t fix it do you call up your chain. We were instructed to be ambassadors, and not adversaries. “Channel your inner Barack.” I’m not sure how that works.

    There’s a separate GOTV group. We cooperate with them in several ways. I’ll write more about that when I see them in action. This is fun.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Wow! Your inner Barack. Have fun, and we’ll look forward to hearing about how it all went. (After you get some rest.)

    • foothillsmike says:

      I just got back from a five hour GOTV stint. I have been trained as a poll checker. Last coordination meeting tomorrow. There will be one of us credentialed and inside the polling place keeping track of who voted and looking for problems. If there is a problem we bring it to the outside contact who will relay it up the chain if an attorney is not on site (most will have on site attorney’s). We will all have color coded buttons. Every few hours we will pass a list of voters outside where it will be sent to computers by phone and within 15 – 20 minutes a new printouts will bew delivered to canvassers going to houses of supporters.

    • Leen says:

      Did I give you directions to the city building this afternoon? I was out in front of the college gates handing out Obama posters and encouraging folks to go on down to the Board of elections. I introduced one of the attorneys who have come to town to help to one of my good pals retired History Professor Bob Whealey (hard core life long still volunteering Demcorat, he is in his late 70’s early 80’s) Are you from Amherst Mass?

      The election watch party for Athens will be at Skippers Bar and Grill on Union. I will come back there after I return from Columbus.

      • masaccio says:

        I may have seen you there, handing out the pizzas, but I got directions from the tall guy. I’m from Nashville. I’ll be at that party.

    • Leen says:

      Our Democratic Party Chair Person Susan Gwinn has been organizing the Ohio University student bloc vote for a long long time. She is devoted to the Dems and works her ass off. Ted Strickland realizes (I have heard him say it) that he owes a great deal to Gwinns ability to move that vote. Strickland knows that this is the way he became a congressperson.

  13. Loo Hoo. says:

    From Americablog:

    A McCain-backing law student in Charlottesville emails, slightly demoralized:
    I’ve been called by the Obama Campaign 20 times in the past week, along with at least one mailer on the door every day and several personal visits. Not a single thing from the McCain campaign.

    I’m hoping that the law of diminishing returns means that the excess of GOTV’ing is having a net negative effect. ….

    I’m as solid a McCain voter as one can be, but it’s wearing to have to keep explaining to enthusiastic volunteers why I could possibly oppose Hope and Change — the repetition certainly creates an aura of inevitability. A single phone call or door knock from a Republican would be enormously encouraging.

  14. bobschacht says:

    I don’t think there is any question that there will be a Bradley effect. The only interesting question is how big will it be? If the Bradley effect is, say, .01% in an election in which the victor wins by an 8% margin, who cares?

    IIRC, the Bradley effect used to be calculated at about 5% or so.
    Most reports I’ve heard say that it is still present, but the likely difference is down to 1 or 2%. In states like FL in 2000, and Ohio in 2004, that’s enough to make a difference.

    I think that those who claim that there’s “no” Bradley effect this year really mean that it’s down to maybe .5% or less.

    Bob in HI

    • LabDancer says:

      Can’t figure where you get that last part. I don’t buy into Magic Bunnies, God Swill, or the Bradley Effect, and I think that if:

      [a] every person eligible to vote under the Constitution in fact voted, and
      [b] there was no vote suppression at all,


      [1] the Republican Party as well know it would be a third party, ranking with the Fundies, White Gunnies, Flat Taxers and Neocons, each closer to the Greens and the Libertarians, but all 3 well above Naturals, Socialists, Naderites, Communits, Marxist-Leninists, and every single on of them behind the Farm Party, the Labor Party, and of course the Nudists.

      [2] the Dem party would be no more, having splintering into Liberals, Moderate MOR NP Centrists, Hispanic Pride, African-Americans, with Progressives in between, and

      [3] the current battle for the White House would be a second stage run off between the two highest vote getters among Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, [replacing John Edwards], Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson

      which could end up that same as now, but more likely not.

      and if the current situation prevailed [which it would not of course],

      Actually, the way things are now, I think the real Obama lead is closer to 9%.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think you need to look more closely.

      Is race affecting peoples’ choices? Absolutely–and that number is likely around 5% or more.

      But if you look at the actual outcomes in the election this year, there simply is no Bradley effect. The data is there, but it doesn’t support the argument. And add in that there was a reverse Bradley effect in places in the south.

      Just as importantly, Bradley’s pollster is on the record this year as saying there wasn’t a Bradley effect when it got named–that the poll everyone uses to claim there was one didn’t match Bradley’s own polling.

      • Leen says:

        I have been convinced by Bmaz and several others that the Bradley effect and the outright gun, guy, gay, race vote will be trumped by the youth vote. If they show up (and they are) it is all Obama/Biden. LTBB (leave the bigots behind)

        Much better strategy than banging your head against a brick wall.

      • bobschacht says:

        I am simply thinking of the so-called Bradley effect in its simplest terms–

        some voters tend to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his white opponent.


        All I am saying is that how people vote does not always square up with how they tell people they are going to vote. Some people may say they’re going to vote for the Black person, having every intention to do so, but by the time they step into the voting booth, they change their minds and vote for someone else. Others never intend to vote for the Black guy, but may feel obligated to say that they’ll vote for him for any of a number of reasons. Are you saying that no one ever does this? Or does the Bradley effect also *require* purposive deception?

        You know quantitative modeling. You know about population distributions (in the statistical sense). Just due to random processes, I’d expect a small amount of difference between what voters say they’ll do, and what they wind up doing.

        What may be at issue here is not what is happening at the level of the individual (because we can’t generally know that), but how we measure what happens to an aggregate. Since we can’t open up the ballot boxes and certify which way a voter voted, all we can do is look at the aggregate result. If 5 voters say that they’ll vote for Candidate A, but then vote for Candidate B, and 5 other voters say that they’ll vote for Candidate B but then vote for Candidate A, the net result will be that the totals will match what the pollsters were told, and no “Bradley effect” will be visible, because the differences will cancel each other out. As for the original data, I’m OK with the idea that the analyst drew an unwarranted conclusion from a faulty analysis.

        I’m happy with conceding the point that the Bradley effect may be “insignificant,” or even “undetectable.” If that’s what you mean by “no” Bradley effect, then fine. But if you’re asserting that voters always tell pollsters exactly how they’re going to vote, and then always vote as they said they would vote, I would be surprised.

        Bob in HI

        • emptywheel says:


          The Bradley effect specifically describes a process by which pollsters overestimate the performance of black candidates.

          If it is true that pollsters overestimate the performance of black candidates, it is valid to argue that the Bradley effect exists.

          But if there is no data to show that pollsters overestimate the performance of black candidates, then no Bradley effect exists.

          Not every case where pollsters are wrong is attributable to the Bradley effect. You’d have to look for something that was consistent across elections and pollsters.

          But in general, across the entire primary, the only thing that was SORT of consistent was that in the south, pollsters fairly consistently under-estimated Obama’s performance (reverse Bradley effect).

          Sure, individuals may lie in both directions. But unless it causes polls to CONSISTENTLY being wrong (in which case the error is attributable to voter dishonesty and not polling error), it’s not the Bradley effect.

          • bobschacht says:


            The Bradley effect specifically describes a process by which pollsters overestimate the performance of black candidates.

            [Emphasis added]

            Thanks for the clarification. ISTM that the issue between us here is that I understood the Bradley effect to be about voter behavior, but you are construing it to be about pollster behavior.

            Is that correct?

            Bob in HI

            • emptywheel says:

              Not really. Obviously, we’re assuming the pollsters are just recording what they’ve been told. BUt I’m saying if there is no evidence of the Bradley effect in polls (presumably because–using your model of 5 people lying in one way and 5 lying in the opposite way), there is no Bradley effect.

              • bobschacht says:

                Thanks for patience in pursuing this with me. I’m trying to understand where all of the hullabaloo about the “Bradley effect” went wrong.

                Now, first of all, Nate Silver does not say that the Bradly Effect never existed; instead, he is saying that “there’s no proof that the Bradley effect still exists.”

                He also cites a study by Hopkins that concluded that
                Hopkins found that the Bradley effect did exist during the ’80s and early ’90s. But it dissipated sometime thereafter

                I misread your comments on the Bradley Effect to imply that the whole idea of it was wrong to begin with.

                Bob in HI

                • emptywheel says:

                  True. But as I said (and I’m sorry I can’t find the link) Brandley’s OWN pollster has corrected some of the misunderstandings about the race–he says there was no Bradley effect, even with Bradley, based on his own polling.

                  So in that case, the Bradley effect did not hold true across both internal and the one external poll that has been used to claim a Bradley effect.

  15. cbl2 says:

    shut up Karl! here’s the math on the Senate

    we are currently at 51 (including Sanders and Lieberweasel)

    we are expected to pick up: VA. CO. NM. OR. NH. = 56

    we are likely to pick up AK. and NC = 58

    MN. MS. GA. KY. in the balance, any 2 would give us 60, and let’s not forget Noriega in TX.

    Just wanted to show the possibilities

    • sojourner says:

      “and let’s not forget Noriega in TX.”

      Oh how I wish that would happen! I realize at this point that it is pretty far-fetched, but maybe lightning will strike… I just can’t stand the thought of six more years of Cornyn.

    • bobschacht says:

      OT Its true. The source is an AP story, claiming Obama himself as the source. What we had planned in his grandmother’s apt building for tomorrow as an “Election Watch” party will, I hope, turn into a memorial for “Toots”.

      Its like the passing of an era. She got him to the brink of the presidency, and now he’s no longer the Grandson. Of course he has other significant family here in Hawaii to return to, but the torch has been passed to a new generation.

      With aloha for Toots,
      Bob in HI

  16. WilliamOckham says:

    I’m going to quote some predictions I made earlier. On Sept. 12th, I got into a bit of an argument with Ian Welsh at the mothership about Obama’s chances. I said this:

    Obama will win in an electoral landslide (350+ electoral votes). The pollsters will spend a couple of months wondering why their likely voter models were so wrong, even though they saw the movement towards Obama in the final two weeks.

    The financial crisis pushed things Obama’s way earlier than I expected, but I stand by the outcome prediction.

    On Sept. 18, I made this prediction in a comment at

    The election won’t be that close. Obama will win and the only thing in doubt is the size of his victory. I’m putting this prediction in a comment so that I can point you all to it on Nov. 5.

    Obama will win by at least 7 points more than his national poll lead two weeks before the election (unless he’s already ahead by 10 points by then). This will happen because the remaining undecideds will break his way and the +3% due to his ground game that the polls are missing. Undecideds will break his way because the economy sucks.

    Best case for McCain: he polls 45% and third-party candidates get 5%.

    Best case for Obama: he gets 57%, McCain 40% and third-party 3%.

    Likely outcome: Obama 54%, McCain 43%, Others 3%.

    Again, the financial crisis pushed people towards Obama earlier than I expected.

    On Oct. 1, I sent my son an email with an optimistic electoral college map that showed Obama 376 – McCain 162. Obama carrying Kerry states plus Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Nebraska CD 2. Today, I’m doubting he’ll pick up that 1 EV from Nebraska. On the other hand, if things really break his way, he picks up Georgia and North Dakota. Arizona would be just too much to ask for.

    Now take a look at Sam Wang’s meta-analysis of state polls and realize that I made those first two predictions when things looked pretty much dead even in the polls and Obama was trending down. You can say I got lucky because the financial crash or McCain screwed up or whatever. Maybe you’re right. On the other hand, I’ll assert that it is possible to build a theory of how presidential elections work that allows one to differentiate between events that have transitory effects and those that move the polls in substantive ways. I called this election over on August 29th after McCain picked Palin. There was simply no way for McCain to win after that. It was pretty obvious that Palin would kill him in the states he needed to win.

    • LabDancer says:

      Oop – didn’t see this before posting at 44. I agree with all but the EV total. I’m thinking between 371 and 411 – the latter depending on Georgia.

      But I’d rather he lose Georgia than that A-hole Westmoreland get re-elected to the House.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well done–we’ll check back with you tomorrow. I was very optimistic back in September, too, though never went on the record. For me, it was the organization. People who havent’ worked a campaign may not realize the difference but people who have know how much the field work will net tomorrow.

      Like massacio I had a fleeting sad moment when I realized Obama is making Will Rogers cry. But just for a moment.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        For me, it’s not about optimism. I have a strong (perhaps unhealthly) need to understand how complex systems work. In 2004, I was completely baffled by the course of the presidential campaign. I decided to make a real effort to figure out how general elections are won in this country. Fortunately, there’s a lot more and better information available this go-round.

        The first thing to realize is that everybody who has a megaphone has an incentive to make the race seem closer than it is. The media needs a close race to get viewers. The trailing candidate needs to keep his voters engaged so as to not collapse completely and really hurt his party. The candidate with the big lead wants bring out as many of his voters as possible. Even the pollsters tend to start shying away from reporting big leads because they’re afraid to look silly if they get it wrong. It’s more acceptable to underreport a blowout than miss a closer-than-expected race.

    • Neil says:

      With all the work Letterman did, nightly, you’d think McCain might lose Indiana. I’d love to see it go for Obama. Nate has McCain at 49.6% up by 1.1%… within the margin of error.

  17. eyesonthestreet says:

    About that youth vote:

    The college students in Montreal Canada, where my daughter is, did not receive their absentee ballots from their home towns all across the US.

    • bobschacht says:

      This kind of thing worries me. Having ordered absentee ballot, if it doesn’t arrive and you go to your polling place to vote, can you be prevented from voting by some drone who claims you already voted?

      Bob in HI

      • eyesonthestreet says:

        Most of the students in Montreal from the US are away from home, that is why they were relying on absentee ballots. Most will not be able to vote. My daughter, after much scrambling on my part today was able to legally vote by signing-on at our local election office website, downloading a ballot and then hightailing it to a FEDEX office in downtown Montreal where she paid $40 CAD to send her ballot to California.

        It was a small glimpse for me into what can go wrong. Why were those ballots not delivered in Montreal to all of those US students. My California Secretary of States office is going to send a letter to Canada in hopes of finding out. We shall see.

        Aloha and yes it bothers me too, a lot.

  18. stryder says:

    Maybe Connell’s deposition today in Ohio about Rove’s roll in flipping the votes in 2004 will slow these bastards doen alittle.
    Taking the sworn deposition of Connell, the man who set up the computers for reporting election results, and re-routing them through his company’s own Tennessee servers late on the night of the ‘04 election, has been a high priority for Election Integrity advocates and attorneys in Ohio.

    While this story is still breaking and developing, from what we’ve been able to learn so far, sources tell us that Monday’s depo will have a time limit of two hours. Any information gathered regarding trade secrets related to Connell’s company, GovTech Solutions, will be under seal, as per the judge’s order today.

    Also under seal will be any and all information gathered about allegations that Connell has been the victim of witness intimidation by Karl Rove and/or Rove’s associates. As reported on by The BRAD BLOG reported last Summer, plaintiff’s lead attorney in the case, Clifford A. Arnebeck, had sent an email to Attorney General Michael Mukasey on July 24, 2008, stating in part:

    “We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have identified in our King Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, that if he does not agree to ‘take the fall’ for election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed lobby law violations.”
    In related news, our friends at RAW STORY have an article today headlined “Documents reveal how Ohio routed 2004 voting data through company that hosted external Bush Administration email accounts.” That company was SmarTech, Inc., and the architecture for the 2004 election results reporting system in Ohio has been at the heart of this case.

    As reported by RAW’s Larisa Alexandrovna today:

    Newly obtained computer schematics provide further detail of how electronic voting data was routed during the 2004 election from Ohio’s Secretary of State’s office through a partisan Tennessee web hosting company. … The flow chart shows how voting information was transferred from Ohio to SmarTech Inc., a Chattanooga Tennessee IT company known for its close association with the Republican Party, before the 2004 election results were displayed online.
    See her story for more, including the schematics for both the ‘04 and ‘06 web servers in Ohio. Of course, we’ll continue to update this story as the case proceeds…

    Additional reporting by Brad Friedman

    The BRAD BLOG covers your

  19. eyesonthestreet says:

    Also Bob, in answer to your question- you should still be able to vote because the record would show that your absentee ballot was not returned. That is my understanding, that a absentee voter is not obligated to vote absentee, they can just walk in on election day regardless of their status and vote in person.

    • Hmmm says:

      Huh. Wouldn’t that mean that you could mail your Absentee ballot in and go Early Vote in person on the same day? The AB wouldn’t have been received yet. Or is your name on the AB envelope checked against the “They Voted” roll from your polling place?

  20. randiego says:

    It seems intuitive to me that both conditions would exist:
    a) the voter who lies about voting for a black Democratic candidate because he doesn’t want to seem racist; and
    b) the voter who lies about voting for a white Republican candidate because he doesn’t want to be seen as ‘voting for the other team’.

  21. timbo says:

    What bothers me about all this is how America’s politicos worry much more about the accuracy of polls than they do about the appropriateness of actual policy is. We see the results in the war in Iraq and the unregulated financial system that has hurt the wealth of millions, if not billions, of people around the world. So, um, let’s worry a little less about the inaccuracy of polls and more about the inaccuracy of the idiots who caused us to pay more attention to who is winning…than what those self-same politicians are winning for.

  22. skippy says:

    i believe it was matt stoller @ openleft who dismisses the entire concept of “the bradley effect,” saying that bradley campaign’s internal polls showed a tie right before the election. ie, the polls didn’t show a disconnect between what people said to pollsters and how they voted.

  23. cinnamonape says:

    “I wonder if republicans are on fire enough to wait in the long lines Rachel Maddow described last night. My republican co-workers are disgusted enough with Sarah, but Joe the Plumber has them to the point of not even wanting to vote.”

    Do we tell the Republicans on their blogs that no one is voting in the conservative districts…or that there are long lines?

    I say we go to little green footballs, redstate, freerepublic, etc. and report massive turnouts in Democratic areas
    “I’m disgusted! It seems that I’m the only relunctant McCain supporter in Bloomfield,IND and when I arrived at the polls in my heavily Obama polling area at 7AM there was already a line around the block! And all these folks were singing Kumbayaa songs and sharing coffee! It’s horrible! If it’s lower in the evening I’ll come back and vote for Ron Paul as a protest vote! Why should I wait hours in line to vote for a loser!”

    For the Republican precincts we can respond “Well that’s a Dim area. In my precinct there was no wait at all. I was the only one there at 8 AM…and chatted with the poll workers who seemed bored. They said I was their third voter since &AM. I told them I expected the big rush to come after 5 PM when people get out of work. Still where are all the retired people, or don’t they get up early?”

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