Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election day

A couple of thoughts as we head to the polls...

  • If the electorate is as Democratic as it was in 2008, Barack Obama will win a second term.  Many of the polls are suggesting that that will be the case.
  • I can't believe it.
  • Either way, I'm more than ready for it to be over.
  • We really have two different electorates in this country, with very different assumptions and expectations.  Someone is going to be not only disappointed, but shocked tomorrow morning.  Certainly, there are many on the right who have looked at all of the data and really believe that Romney will win.  And I get the impression that many of Obama's supporters have not even considered that possibility.
  • The polls cannot all be right.  Maybe none of them are.  But for the past month, or more, they've been telling two different stories.  With the topline results, they've been saying that it's a very tight race, with Romney possibly slightly ahead in the popular vote and Obama clearly ahead in the electoral college vote.  But the internals have suggested that Romney has a huge lead with independent voters.  Those two stories are only reconcilable if there is a massive majority of people voting who claim to be Democrats, a bigger Democrat majority than we actually saw in 2008.  Given what's happened since then, how likely is that?  Well, it's obviously preposterous.  
  • And, as much as I hate - hate! - to be in the position of arguing that the polls are wrong (I'd much rather my candidate had a big lead than to be arguing that the polls are wrong, which feels like sophistry and rationalization [and the next time I engage in either of those won't be the first]), there's another part of it.  The response rate on political polls is actually down to 9%.  That is, for every 100 houses or phone numbers that a pollster chooses as part of its sample, it ends up with just 9 valid responses.  Even if they are doing a perfect job of choosing their initial dataset, there's just no way of knowing how representative of the actual electorate the final response set is.  They've got all kinds of techniques and data to weight the results, but all of the results rest on assumptions that may or may not be true.  Are there some kinds of voters who are more likely to be missed?  Are the 6% that the pollsters reach that won't answer the questions more likely to support one candidate than the other?
  • There's a possibility that Obama's Sandy-related photo-ops actually changed the trajectory of this campaign.  In which case, his re-election would qualify as an act of God, because there's nothing he could have done to change it on his own.
  • My emotional investment is more than adequate evidence for me that the Federal Government is far too big and obtrusive. If the Federal Government were kept within its Constitutional boundaries, the average citizen should have little to no contact with it from year to year.  Instead, it is a constant, overwhelming presence, influencing all that we see and do.

I've been hesitant to make a prediction.  Yes, I've been telling people for months that I expected Romney to win an election that ended up being not particularly close.  But I'm so emotionally invested that it's difficult for me to tell where the analysis ends and the wishful thinking begins. 

But here it is anyway...

Romney wins the popular vote 51-48.  And the electoral college vote 315-223.

Romney states that are likeliest to be lost if Obama wins:  OH, PA, WI, IA
Obama states that are likeliest to be won if there's a Romney landslide:  MI, MN, NV, OR

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