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  1. #1
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    Default Obama vs. Romney

    Careful readers of this space may recall this from me:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach
    A huge political pet peeve of mine: national polls showing Presidential Candidate X against Presidential Candidate Y. Obama 46, McCain 44, that sort of thing.

    Those polls are meaningless in the general election. Rather, if you want to report something meaningful (although even this is debatable given the recent validity of polls), it makes more sense to project electoral votes using state by state polls. Fortunately, www.electoral-vote.com does exactly that.
    For the 2004 election, I'd done a similar analysis for Kerry v. Bush. I was planning to do the same for the current race, but found that Five Thirty Eight (whom I'd also examined in 2004 and 2008; and yes, I'm aware of Rasmussen, but no, I don't give it as much credence) now presents the race in almost exactly the way that I'd been thinking. Rather than reinvent their wheel, I'll simply link to their work.

    The right column of the Five Thirty Eight blog shows electoral vote projections over time, starting in June and ranging through the present. Obama's lead hovered in the 290 to 250 range for the first two months, then began to widen to its current margin of roughly 320 to 220.

    For Romney to close this gap, he'll need to steal on the order of 50 electoral votes (EVs) from Obama's column. Five Thirty Eight gives Romney the best chance of doing so in FL (29 EVs, 30% of winning), CO (9 EVs, 25%), IA (6 EVs, 25%), and VA (13 EVs, 25%). What happens if Romney pulls off this unlikely quadfecta? He'd steal 57 Electoral Votes, bringing his total to 275 and eeking out a victory. What odds does Five Thirty Eight put on Romney pulling off this or a similar coup? About 16%.

  2. #2
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    I didn't record the EV vote projection from last time, but I think that it was on the order of 319 to 219 in favor of President Obama. Following Governor Romney's better performance in debate 1 (of 3), that margin has dropped to 314.4 to 223.6. The President's odds of winning dropped correspondingly, from on the order of 84% to 83.6%.

    As far as I can tell, no states actually flipped from the President to the former MA Governor--rather, the odds within each state changed.

    OBAMA
    90%+ chance of winning: HI, WA, OR, CA, NM, MN, WI, IL, MI, PA, NY, MD, DE, CT, RI, MA, VT, ME
    80%+: NV, OH, NH
    70%+: IA, VA
    60%+: CO, FL

    ROMNEY
    90%+: AK, ID, UT (100%!), AZ, MT, WY, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, TX, MO, AR, LA, IN, KY, TN, MS, AL, GA, SC, WV
    60%+: NC

    It's interesting that Governor Romney has only one remotely weak state (NC at 65.3%).

  3. #3
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    Based on the latest Pew poll (which takes into account post-debate opinions), Romney has gained (although no states have changed hands):

    ELECTORAL VOTES
    Obama: 307.6
    Romney: 230.4

    CHANCE OF WINNING
    Obama: 78.4%
    Romney: 21.6%

  4. #4
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    I haven't dug in to see how 538 converts its blue vs. red state map to electoral vote projections. Clearly, it's not a one-to-one correspondence, since the map hasn't changed color (only shade, indicating strength in each state) while the EV projection has changed.

    If you add up the EVs on the 538 map, Obama gets 303 vs. 235 for Romney. This differs from 538's EV projection of 296.7 to 241.3. Perhaps the latter takes trending into account?

    For Romney to get to 270, he needs to add 35. To do that, he'd have to take 3 of the larger states in play: OH, VA, and CO, for instance.

    The NY Times election map puts states into solid, leaning, and toss-up. Of the 110 tossup EVs, Romney would need to take 79. To do that, he'd have to take FL and NC (both of which 538 gives him) in addition to OH, VA, and CO.

  5. #5
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    Governor Romney's gains nationally may not be translating as strongly to the swing states, according to this The New Republic article.

  6. #6
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    538 now has Romney ahead in CO and VA, puts Obama's EV lead at 285.4 to 252.6, and shows Obama's chance of winning to be 62.9%.

    The more "black and white" (ha!) examination of tallying EVs for the Obama vs. Romney states based on the 538 map gives Obama 281 to Romney's 252.

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