Election 2012

Don't Break Out the Sparkling Apple Cider Just Yet or, Two Strong Scenarios That Point to an Obama Win

First, from The Hill's Mark Mellman, who notes that most of the "fundamentals" (such as economic trends, demography, etc.) all favor a Barack Obama win.


First, from The Hill's Mark Mellman, who notes that most of the "fundamentals" (such as economic trends, demography, etc.) all favor a Barack Obama win. Snippet:

The president retains more routes to 270 electoral votes than does Mitt Romney, making it more likely he will succeed in getting there. Pundits love to identify one state as decisive and, as is often the case, they've picked Ohio. As an Ohioan I am delighted with all the attention to the Buckeye State, but it's overdrawn. Obama can win without Ohio, though Romney probably cannot. The good news: Just one of the last 11 polls in Ohio has shown a Romney lead, and the exception was the reliably Republican Rasmussen. While all these polls show the race close and even tied, the likelihood of Romney winning unless some other polls start to give him the lead is low.

Whole thing.

And here's RealClearPolitics' Sean Trende, who puzzles over the divergence in national polls (which are showing Mitt Romney up slightly over Obama) and state-level polls, which give Obama an edge. 

Given what we know about how individual states typically lean with respect to the popular vote, a Republican enjoying a one-point lead nationally should expect a three-to-four-point lead in Florida, a two-to-three-point lead in Ohio, and a tie in Iowa. Instead we see Romney ahead by roughly one point in Florida, and down by two in Ohio and Iowa….

If the state polls are right, even assuming Romney performs as well as Bush did in the states without polling, Obama should lead by 1.18 points in the national vote. Given the high collective samples in both the state and national polling, this is almost certainly a statistically significant difference. It's also a larger margin than all but one of the polls in the national RCP Average presently show.

But what if my assumptions about the states without polling are incorrect? To double-check this, I turned to Drew Linzer's "Votamatic" model. It provides estimates for all 50 states. While some of these seem a bit off (I would bet $10,000 of Mitt Romney's money that he will win Tennessee by more than 10 points), it still gives us a nice uniform data set. The result: When weighted by 2008 voting patterns, these data suggest that Romney should lose the popular vote by 2.5 points—more than any national poll is presently showing.

More here.

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  1. I understand that Obama’s flying to New Jersey today where he is prepared to officially announce that the immense damage was, in fact, caused by a hurricane…

    1. A bold and clever plan!

    2. He will, of course, find a way to sneak in “climate change.” and “stimulus” and “investments.” Not blatantly, of course, but I am sure the tone will be there.

      As Smarmy Rahm said about crises…

    3. Obama is caught in another lie: He was supposed to stop the seas from rising.

    4. Does anybody else find this “touring the disaster area” showmanship to be almost entirely wasteful? “With all due respect, Mr. President, GTFO with your security detail and television coverage. We’re trying to clean up from a hurricane here!” At least Bush had the decency to not land while watching Katrina.

      1. Yeah it’s complete bullshit. An artifact of the cult of Obama – the great man is going there to heal our psyches.

      2. I love the photo op with shovel or hammer, just as if he was doing actual labor. None of these guys has ever so much as changed a tire.

      3. Honestly, to be fair, he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He shows up and the scenario you describe is accurately wasteful and self-serving.

        If he pulled a Bush flyover, he would be excoriated as aloof and cold. The press would of course cover for him, but he would not be immune from the optical criticism.

        1. Honestly, to be fair, he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

          That strikes me as entirely fair.

          1. Considering the Dems led the charge on criticizing Bush for the flyover, I think it’s entirely fair to criticize Obama for mucking up the recovery with his PR stunts.

  2. Don’t blame me; I voted for Kodos.

    1. I voted for Kang! Abortions for some, tiny American Flags for all!!

  3. Yeah. The instant-gratification American in me really REALLY wants Romney to win (I mean of the two, obviously I want to win myself, then GayJay, then Ron Paul, but none of those are possible) solely for the delicious and nourishing salty ham tears.

    The long term thinker in me would rather have Obama win. Mittler winning will just perpetuate the Republican party ignoring what should be their key planks. And Obama isn’t going to screw anything up more than he already has or any less than Willard would. So while my hope for a palatable Repub candidate in 2016 would be smaller than Warty’s junk, it would still be extant.

    I guess “luckily” for me, I’ll get the healthier choice, since Obama is a lock.

    Either way, at least I don’t have to live there again until about 2015. Just in time for the next round of election ads! Yay!

    1. Obama isn’t going to screw anything up more than he already has or any less than Willard would.

      Citation needed.

      1. That’s just like, my opinion, man.

        And citation needed to refute it as well.

        1. Touch?.

          We’ll see.

          1. Nobody makes me bleed my own blood.

      2. agree with Rich. Obama’s ability to screw things up has been on display for four years. There is no reason to believe a turnaround is happening. At least Romney’s background has experience with turnarounds. No guarantee one would happen but, with him, the potential exists. With BO, not so much.

        1. I see where you’re coming from, but a Mitt win just turns the Republican party into a vortex of stupid that it can never claw its way out of, and to me that’s more important than a very slight potential for ‘improvement’ over the next 4 years.

          Again, just my opinion. I mean I didn’t vote, and Obama’s going to win anyway.

          1. I got you. Just saying the potential for much better results is greater with Romney. Long as the GOP considers the Boehner/McConnell wing as leadership, it is condemned to clusterhood.

    2. I mean of the two, obviously I want to win myself, then GayJay, then Ron Paul, but none of those are possible

      All 3 are still possible under the “Romney* gets 269-272” models. With enough faithless electors to push him down to 269, whoever finishes 3rd would still be in play for the House of Representatives.

      Obviously, Paul then Johnson then you is probably the order I would rank the chances of that happening, but that is why its important for you to run hard between election day and electoral college voting day.

      *technically, Obama too, but I dont see a reasonable faithless elector model with him. Especially since the House is controlled by the GOP.

      1. You think so?! Sounds like it’s time for a fundraising dinner! Someone break out the Zima and Steak-ums!

    3. SCOTUS.

      ‘Nuf said


        Yeah, yeah, better than more Kagans, but that isnt saying much.

        1. SCOTUS will only become more and more irrelevant as Executive fiat will become the “law” of the land.

  4. As an Ohioan I am delighted with all the attention to the Buckeye State…

    See, that’s your problem right there. A normal person would be disgusted by all the attention.

  5. “reliably Republican Rasmussen”

    Haven’t they had the closest/accurate calls 2008-present? If you don’t like the holding of a poll saying R is winning your state, go vote for O!

    “most of the “fundamentals” (such as economic trends, demography, etc.) all favor a Barack Obama”

    WTF? 4 years of shite economics at home, bad imagery from overseas…what ‘favors’ the current officeholder?

    1. I thought Rasmussen was just reliably accurate.

      1. I thought Italian geologists were reliably accurate.

    2. I read somewhere that Scott Rasmussen is a registered Democrat. Oddly, I also recall Frank Luntz admitting the same thing.

      1. No idea about Luntz, but I do recall seeing a few banners for the National Review cruise which included Scott Rasmussen. Even if he was liberal i don’t think it would effect his polling, their is way to much riding on a pollsters reputation for them to skew results one way or the other.

    3. WTF? 4 years of shite economics at home, bad imagery from overseas…what ‘favors’ the current officeholder?

      Not only that but he’s run a crappy creepy campaign.

      The only thing keeping him in the race is racism. From media douches that are afraid to criticize the black guy to certain minority groups that will vote for him irregardless of his policies to slef loathing ‘guilty’ whites that don’t want to vote out the first black president.

      Change his skin color to white and he’d be lucky to get 35% of the vote and carry a single state.

      1. What’s keeping him in the race is his opponent.

    4. Demographics.
      Growing hispanic population.
      More people on the dole. Takers outnumbering makers.

    5. When Nick phrases things like this it kinda makes it appear that he’s gonna vote for O, no matter what he said in the ‘how-are-we-gonna-vote’ article.

  6. When weighted by 2008 voting patterns, these data suggest that Romney should lose the popular vote by 2.5 points

    Anyone who thinks we’re going to match 2008 voting patterns is either Team Blue to the bone or has the last name of Van Winkle.

    1. Vanilla Ice?

    2. Yep. Most of the, um, reflective, young adults I know have soured considerably on Obama.

    3. That’s what jumped out to me as well.

    4. Weighted to 2010, Romney wins by 5.

      Historic averages put Romney up by 1 or 2.

  7. The numbing salve of a Romney Administration would be preferable to the rotten tooth of continued Obamism. On the other hand, Mitt sucks.

    1. Yep, the only two good things about a Romney reign would be the salty ham tears and that a small part of the mediacracy would start to do their jobs again.

  8. I always find Sean Trende’s number crunching interesting, but I’m not sure Romney running behind in a few battleground states well he is ahead nationally is as hard to explain as Trende makes it out to be.

    Just for a counter perspective


    1. An incumbent who cant poll above 50% is beat, unless there is a large 3rd party vote (Clinton 96).

      1. I never put much stock in statistics like that, their is always a first time for everything.

  9. Whoever wins will think they have a mandate to do whatever the fuck they want.

    Romney will be shitty in ways we can imagine, because the only drive and ingenuity any of them ever express is to be as shitty as possible in every situation.

    1. C’mon, he’s going to change the name of Obamacare to something less Obama-ish.

      1. Romnesiacare?

        1. Bingo!

          You win a Kewpie Doll.

    2. Mandate. I hate that fucking word. It takes a special kind of asshole to claim a mandate when half the country hates you.

      1. It takes a special kind of asshole to claim a mandate when half the country voting population hates you, and the rest can’t be bothered to even fill in a little black circle in your support.

      2. And “consent of the people” is gained by 26% of the population voting for you.

        We don’t even have a tyranny of the majority, we have tyranny of the pissant.

        1. I am a reasonable person. You know the social contract into which we’re all supposed to have entered? I would be willing to compromise and enter into an actual one, where the terms were that a) any new law could only be enacted by an absolute majority of 3/4, and b) any existing law could be repealed by an absolute minority of 1/4.

      3. And by the way, I especially hate that word too. If I recall correctly, it first came into heavy usage with Bill C’s landslide ’92 victory (where landslide means winning 43% of votes cast) over GHWB and Perot. I could be mistaken about that, though; it could also have been in ’96, when he came away with a slightly-more mandatey 49%.

  10. The good news…

    That line tells me that Mellman is masturbating while writing of an Obama win. I take things written by masturbators with a grain of salt.

    1. You know these little toads are out there hoping that Sandy has given their guy a chance to look “Presidential”.

      “Please Lord Buddha, just one week without an embarassing clusterfuck. Just one…”

    2. Feel free to ignore my comments then!

      1. We’ve been doing that for a long time. :-p

        1. Who’s RighNut?

    3. Like your Links salty?

    4. I don’t think salt is as antiseptic as you think it is.

  11. Gallup is the long-time established gold standard when it comes to this sort of thing, and if their numbers on independents and early voters are even close to accurate, Obama doesn’t have a chance in hell. No challenger has ever put up these kinds of numbers this close to Election Day in the history of the Gallup poll and lost.

    1. Gallup sometimes starts being an outlier, and when it disagrees so much with all the rest of the national polling, it tends to be wrong. I suggest Nate Silver’s Cherry Picking 101.

      1. Nate Silver, the so-called “professional” poker player who has never cashed in a single meaningful tournament in his life, and who refuses to divulge his methodology whether it’s PECOTA or his 538 work. You guys need a better secondary Messiah.

        1. 538’s methodology.

          (PETCOTA’s formulas are proprietary, but I’m sure that’s just because Nate Silver’s in the tank for Obama.)

        2. I saw you mention this on another post too late to comment and I’d just like to add that it’s entirely possible that he’s almost entirely cash-game focused–glancing around quickly I just see references to him being mostly an online player and one WSOP entry, no winnings, but that’s hardly damning at all. Tournaments aren’t for everyone.

          On the other hand, I know and have known a few rich trust fund kids and the like who do nothing but lose, but they can afford to do it and it’s more chic to claim you’re a professional poker player than somebody who just wants to constantly indulge in partying, drugs, and gambling, so that’s what they do.

          1. The thing about poker players is that, generally speaking, they tend to be full of shit. I don’t think I’ve ever met one guy who told me that he tried his hand at playing full time and lost everything; I meet one of these guys every other week and they always tell me they’re a big-time career winner.

            The relatively small number of guys who are truly good enough to do it for a living and survive are never cash game only guys; they play in tournaments also because you get way more fish in the tournaments than you do at mid to high level cash games, and it takes endless hours of grinding to eke out a living playing nothing but low stakes.

            Any time a guy tells you that he made hundreds of thousands of dollars playing, but he has a full time job and no tournament record to speak of, there’s a 99% chance that’s he’s a bullshitter.

            1. You could always sharkscope him, or ask to see his HEM (or whatever software he uses) EV stats.

              That said, my understanding is that EV is higher for cash games than tournaments, not withstanding the much larger variance for tournaments. Many cash games guys do so-so in tourneys compared to their cash game winnings (e.g., Durrrrrr, Antonius, etc… or at least I’m not familiar with any large tournament cashes they’ve had.)

              Agreed that the rake is usually the only winner at low stakes. Then again, I wouldn’t consider someone “making a living at poker” until the 5-10 mark live (maybe NL100 with rakeback/bonuses/etc…, assuming we ever get u.s. online poker again?) which is not what I would consider low stakes.

              FWIW, my understanding is that Nate Silver posted at 2+2 as “nate the great”, so you could search for his posts and determine for yourself his skill.

              As to the election, I think Silver’s way offbase by suggesting that Obama is a 2-1 favorite to win. (Unless he knows about some large scale election-day fraud.) Most polls, when corrected to historical Dem turnout, show WI and OH to be damned near ties. IA, NH, NV are too. With those in the air, you can’t say who’s going to win.

  12. Whoever wins, I’m going to bitch and moan about it.

  13. as of a few minutes ago, at intrade:

    Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012 64.5% CHANCE

    1. The morning that the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare came out, InTrade had it as 75% likely that Obamacare would be overturned. How did that work out?

      InTrade is just the political version of the Las Vegas Hilton sports book. Who people are betting on says absolutely nothing whatsoever about the ultimate outcome.

      1. Correct. I find InTrade pretty much worthless as a predictor and more of a lagging indicator.

        And that is not sour grapes over the upholding of ObamneyCare.

        1. Perhaps you do not understand how odds markets work.

          Intrade and sports betting just reveal information about probabilities, likelihoods of what will be zero-one observations. By definition, if odds are being formed by bettors taking positions, then there has to be somebody correct and somebody wrong. The odds are a weighting of bettors’ information, and the “market” is signalling that team o will likely win, just as Mellman and Trende are signalling. Nothing more. If your assessment of the odds are to the contrary, and you are confident, then go and do some betting and sit waiting happily in anticipation of the coming millions in winnings. If intrade is “lagging” then you can get ahead of it and make money – arbitrage is a wonderful thing. If you are not willing to bet, then one has to rethink what “lagging” means.

          Aside: That intrade had odds more than 50 percent of a certain supreme court decision, which turned out the opposite, means absolutely nothing. The essence of probability is that unlikely events have to occur sometimes.

          1. I think the problem is that markets tend to be flooded with repeat bettors who have no new information, but are just “echoing” back the information the market is signalling to them. The market will eventually correct itself, but only after reality “punishes” enough market actors to drive the echoing bettors out of the market. Which sort of means the market will often lag, any time there are a lot of echoers participating.

            That said, I do think Obama is likely to win.

        2. There are some lessons about the stock market to be learned here.

          Is the stock market ever really a leading indicator of anything?

      2. It seems to me that intrade is just a type of high tech bookie.

        And the thing about bookies is that if they set the odds correctly they will get an equal amount of money on each side of the bet. So all inTrade’s line is telling you is that 75% of their action is coming from Obama supporters.

        1. ^This is how betting pools work. If anything, Intrade is serving as a megaphone for Nate Solver because that is where most of the confidence in betting positions is coming from.

  14. Don’t worry — I’ve been watching the “expert” commenters here assure us for years that it’s absolutely 100% impossible that Obama will win. Indeed, many of these people have repeatedly promised that Obama will crushed in the most epic election blowout in years, if not ever in the history of the American republic. (I mean, the fact that every betting and statistical forecasting site, except for one — Unskewed Polls — specially created for the purpose of proving that Obama would lose, has been consistently forecasting an Obama win just proves that gamblers and statisticians have a well-known liberal bias.)

    1. Where did this article get reposted to bring in all the new pro-Obama trolls?

      1. Balloon Juice? Some Kos poster put it up? A HuffPo link?

      2. How can you call him new? He claims to have been here for years!

      3. There was nothing pro- or anti-Obama about that post.

        Is all this crap about how merely stating facts about the odds of the outcome of the election means you’re in the tank for Obama just a set up so you can suckle on some conspiracy theory after he wins?

    2. Those sites are all going off of the polls that, until very recently, showed Obama leading nationwide, and with commanding leads in swing states.

      Old data is old.

  15. It’s possible that Romney is ahead in the national vote because he has very large majorities in a handful of “red” states. Sort of the way Democratic voters used to be concentrated on the coastlines and in the northeast, allowing Republicans to sweep the electoral college easier.

    What really mystifies me is why voters in places like Iowa and Minnesota vote Democratic. They aren’t exactly the home of trendy leftists, or packed with unionized factory workers.

    1. How big is Obama’s lead in California and New York? I’ll bet it’s close to 20 in each case.

      The pros like Gallup know how to properly weight their results to keep any one state or region from overly dominating a sample. The deep red and deep blue states largely balance each other out.

    2. Minnesota’s democratic party is the DFL: the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party. About a quarter of the state is in the Iron Range. Around 2/3 of the population resides in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. So in many cases, your above characterization is simply incorrect with respect to why the Democratic party is able to find support. In others, through residual party affiliation, the Democrats still garner the votes of lots of old-school DFLers, whose actual personal views might be found to align with those of more traditional Democratic parties of yore. As for the GOP, this contingent has been largely made up of small-business types, and fundies who go for the likes of Bachmann and Santorum, though Ron Paul actually did very well this year, showing that there may be some significant shift occurring within this group. Clearly, I am being overly general here, but that should give you the gist.

      1. It’s definitely an old-school version of the Democratic Party. I don’t see farmers having all that much influence in the modern Democratic Party. Obama is thoroughly cosmopolitain. It’s all about labor unions and the minority vote with him.

        The only explanation I can see for Iowa is farm subsidy pork and even that isn’t a huge issue for Democrats anymore.

        1. Consider who works in most of the agricultural industries that make up a lot of Iowa jobs. It’s usually poorer and increasingly-Hispanic, two pools of people who traditionally skew Democratic.

          That said, why and how the Republicans screwed up reaching out to a group as socially conservative as your average Latin American, is one of the greatest mysteries of recent American politics.

    3. What really mystifies me is why voters in places like Iowa and Minnesota vote Democratic. They aren’t exactly the home of trendy leftists

      The big cities, most anywhere, have lots of leftists. The countryside is generally right-wing.

      Those little blue dots on a partisan by county basis have a crapload of people packed in them.

  16. Romney will win, maybe in a landslide. The national and state polls in places like OH, PA, VA, FL, IA, and NC that favor Obama are assuming a party ID turnout essentially the same as 2008 which was a banner year for Democrats with a D+7 party ID advantage. No way that happens again. Additionally, Romney is winning independents by something like 10% in the vast, vast majority of national and battleground state polls. Finally, undecided voters tend to go to challenger in something like a 3:1 ratio. These three factors combined are Romney’s trump cards. Take a look at existing polls and you can see that buried in the pollsters skewed assumptions are good news for Romney. Take the Survey USA Ohio poll released yesterday that shows Obama winning 48-45 with 2% going to other candidates and 6% undecided. Romney is winning Rep with 90%, Obama with Dems with 88%, and Romney is winning Inds 48-37. The poll shows an adjusted Party ID of 38% Democrat, 32% Republican, 26% Independent and 4% Other/Did Not Answer. In CNN’s 2008 exit polls, the OH Party ID was Dem +8 and (39/31/30). Let’s assume that party ID will actually be just D+4, i.e. 37/33/28/2, then Romney wins 46.3% to 46.2% with 5.6% undecided. If Romney gets just 60% of that 5.6% ends up winning 49.7% to 48.5%.

    1. The only way Romney wins is if just about all polling has been systematically wrong somehow in favor of Obama.

      Reputable polls don’t “assume” a particular party ID turnout; they ask for party ID in the survey itself. If that shows a high D advantage, that’s just because that’s what respondents are telling them.

      1. Reputable polls don’t “assume” a particular party ID turnout; they ask for party ID in the survey itself.

        So tony think Rasmussen is the only reputable poll?


      2. The only way Romney wins is if just about all polling has been systematically wrong somehow in favor of Obama.

        It’s called groupthink. The election will be decided by turnout, and it’s possible that most of the polls assume a certain level of turnout that may not be comporting with objective reality, or that they miss people who don’t care to talk to them but intend to vote.

  17. Thanks for confirming my logic. Romney in a landslide it is.

    Do you really believe in that dark, little heart of yours that the 2012 party ID is going to end up as or more favorable for the Democrats than 2008? That defies logic.

    These firms might be “reputable” in your mind, but they are implicitly assuming an unreasonable Party ID that highly favors Obama.

    Let me ask you this: does Romney’s lead with Independents scare you? It should.

    1. It’s possible all polls are systematically overestimating Obama’s chances. But this meme about party ID doesn’t make it so–the fact is Democratic ID has remained pretty stable since 2008, while Republican ID has dropped. That’s why you see the high D IDs in these polls. These are self-reported, so whatever your common sense says, the polling methodology is sound unless you can provide a specific reason it’s not.

      1. the fact is Democratic ID has remained pretty stable since 2008, while Republican ID has dropped.


        In more than 13,000 interviews conducted so far in 2012, 35% of registered voters identify with the Democratic Party, 28% with the Republican Party and 33% as independents. The share of Democrats has fallen three points since 2008, while the proportion of Republicans has remained steady.

        When the leanings of independent voters are taken into account, the closing of the Democratic advantage is even more noticeable. Currently, independents lean slightly more toward the Republican Party than the Democratic Party (15% vs. 13%). Four years ago, the reverse was true (13% leaned Democratic, 11% Republican).


        And that’s before the race began trending Romney’s way.

        1. As I do the math, in 2008, Dems plus leaners was 51% v. Republicans plus leaners was 39%. Before the conventions, Dems plus leaners was 45%, Repubs plus leaners was 42%.

  18. But this meme about party ID doesn’t make it so–the fact is Democratic ID has remained pretty stable since 2008, while Republican ID has dropped.

    And amazingly in the middle of that time frame (2010) the republican party had it’s greatest electoral success since the 1920s.

  19. Meh. I’m allergic to apple cider anyhow.

  20. By 2008 voting patterns Obama would win against the Almighty Lard/Lord him/her/it/self. Newsflash–it ain’t 2008. If Obama wins then the people (i.e. everyone with the exception of those who voted for Romney) deserve what they will get good and hard!

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