Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Final Election and Projection Review

A Landslide That Was Not a Landslide
Barring a swift reverse in Florida following what is set up to be a mandatory recount; Obama's electoral vote count will end up at 332. Yet, the popular vote sits at the slimmest of margins...1.2. This total is likely to grow slightly when the final results have been certified, but it will likely be no greater then a 1.5 margin. He has only received 50.3 percent of the vote, yet the liberal media talking heads are talking about Obama getting a mandate. However, this is what we all know about our President...He always thinks he has a mandate and will continue to govern accordingly. We are now seeing a real possibility of the electoral system being totally different then the popular vote margin as it has been for three out of the last four elections.

The gridlock will continue in Washington. Americans as a whole still want Obamacare repealed, but now our health care system will forever be run by the government. Americans by a rather overwhelming margin do not favor raising taxes on the job creators to pay down the debt, yet this will be the next item that Obama has vowed to pursue. Evidently having the largest tax rate on Corporations in the world is not enough and republicans will continue to be coined as the party for the rich for opposing new taxes on anyone right now.

Hispanics and Evangelicals...One Group Votes and the Other...
The two biggest story lines of this election was the record Hispanic turnout and the overwhelming margin in which they voted for Obama. Romney did much worse with this voting block then even McCain and this will continue to haunt the GOP in future elections until we realize this. I expected the African American vote to once again be large and it was, but I was hoping against all hopes that Hispanics would turn out in similar numbers as 2008 and that Romney could at least get a reasonable percentage. If this would have happened...we would be saying president elect Romney.

The other story line is the lack of Evangelical turnout. This was indicated not only in exit polls, but also in the  real vote. Hamilton County in Ohio is considered by some to be the Evangelical hub of the country and also coincides with the city of Cincinnati. This is a county that Bush won in both 2000 and 2004 by at least five points both times. The Obama team made it very clear that they were not expecting another five point victory in this county and that all they could hope for is a draw. With all the votes in...Obama once again won this county by five points. When Evangelicals decide to come out in full force it always shows up in this county and clearly the exit polls were right about this voting block once again staying home.

Romney Better then McCain?
The margin was much closer, but that was due to Obama getting around 10 million less votes then 2008. Actually, more people voted for McCain in 2008 then voted for Romney in 2012 by around 2 millions voters when it is all said and done probably. So much for the logic that Romney would do a better job at getting the base out to vote. The republican party is going to have to stop having 7-10 candidates, most of which agree on almost everything, fighting among themselves in primary season. In the process we end up splitting the base vote and having a moderate forced down our throats. The bottom line: A moderate to liberal republican will likely never win a presidential election unless they appeal to the base of the party in the process. Perhaps, people could not get past Romney's Mormomism and the daily flip flops on the issues. Whatever the is over now for another three years.

My Erroneous Statement about GOP House Gains
Last night I said it appeared that the Republicans would end up gaining some seats in the House and that is not the case whatsoever. I did a quick glance and that is how it appeared at the time. Sorry...The final results seem to indicate a democrat gain of six seats.

The Polls and My Projections
When I started this blog I received a lot of heat for what I was doing among my fellow conservatives. I lost track of how many times I heard...Don't I know that polls mean nothing? Don't I know that polls no longer work? Don't I know that polls have a tremendous liberal bias? Don't I know that Rasmussen (when they are showing positive results) is the only poll that can be trusted? Let me look at these statements in retrospect now that another election has it the books.

  • "Don't I know that polls mean nothing?" I have continued to argue that while any one poll means very little the consensus of the polls are very good indicators of the final outcome as it was in this election. If polls do not mean anything then they sure do a really great job guessing every election season. This is what I always heard when someone was making the case of why Romney was going to win Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Minnesota. How could I be 90% confident in these states, because don't I know the polls don't mean anything there, well except for the one showing Romney tied or in the lead. I kept insisting that the poll margins in these states and the past track record told me there was virtually no possible way of winning these states.
  • "Don't I know that polls no longer work?" At times I began to wonder if due to the changing demographics of this country if we had seen the end incredible accuracy in polls. Yet, I refused to change my formula or change the numbers when I disagreed with their system as tempting as what it was. Why? Polls have to prove that they can no longer gauge the views of the American people and they once again proved contrary. Actually, an argument could be made that polls are doing better then they ever have. I also was impressed with the ways polls were changing in order to deal with changing voter behavior.
  • "Don't I know that polls have a tremendous liberal bias?" The problem is that this has never been the case. Are there years that a party has been biased in the polling? Absolutely. In 2008 polls were biased against Obama and the democrats and it appears like this is going to be the case again in 2012. People forget that regardless of the personal views of the pollster they continue to exist only if they show a level of accuracy.
  •  "Don't I know that Rasmussen is the only poll that can be trusted?" Their state polls were once again clearly biased in favor of republicans in 2012. In fact their polls will continue to get more scrutiny in coming years unless they change their system that lends itself to be extremely republican biased. However, their margins in which they were off were still not that bad in several swing states. 

I learned a long time ago to never trust my feelings or my instincts when it comes to projecting elections. When I started this formula in 2004 I was not really for sure that I trusted it fully, because it sometimes diverged heavily from the RCP average I used to rely on exclusively. While it always receives some slight tweaking in between elections it is the same basic system that was so accurate in 2004. With the 50 out of 51 that have been called I was right on the winner of all of them, but I assume that following the Florida recount that I will miss this one. Here are some of my best and worst predictions...

Best Predictions

  • My final popular vote projection was 1.4. Just as I was about to say that the margin was currently 1.2 and likely to grow a little more, it jumped all the way to 2.2. I was going to say that I beat out all of the major prognosticators on this, but Nate Silver is likely to get me on this too. (he went with 2.5) However, this projection was far closer then the RCP final of Obama by 0.7 and the election projection site that went with 0.5.
  • Ohio is one state that I can feel very good about projection wise. I said 2.5 which was lower then the RCP of 2.9 and far lower then Nate Silver at 3.7. The final margin for Obama was 1.9.
  • My final margin was closer then the RCP in Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Among the toss-up states I was closer in four out of the five states we diverged in.
Worst Predictions
  • My numbers varied dramatically in Iowa and I was the one off. I continued to show the race as very close at the end and missed it badly in this case. I was also off by a reasonable margin in Wisconsin. I have theories as to why this occurred and will do some hypotheticals some time to see if this was the case.
  • My final margin was also off by a greater margin then the RCP in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, but our margins were very similar in both states.
  • I missed two Senate in North Dakota and the other in Montana. I confess that I did not follow these races very closely until the end, which made it very difficult to draw conclusions from the limited polling in these states.
This Blog Going Forward
The same moment this blog was starting to take off my projections turned more sour for Romney and I immediately lost a lot of traffic and heard various ones tell me that polls and my projections were a massive waste of time. I knew coming into this that many of my fellow conservatives would not appreciate this line of work regardless of how accurate I came. Sadly, many conservatives would rather listen to Fox News and hear all of their talking heads predict a republican landslide every four years then read what the facts are showing. I am also keenly aware that very few people reading about polls and polling methodologies, and state and poll trend lines Therefore, I am weighing these things out in my mind going forward. I will continue to post my predictions every general election for those who would rather look at the laws of probability rather then conspiracy theories. As to what I will do with this blog in between elections, that will depend upon my traffic. My latest prediction is that very, very few people will read this entire post. I will try and have at least one post every few days and do have some ideas that I think will be entertaining to many, even my democrat readers. However, if very few are checking this out then it is just not worth the time and energy. Thank you once again for the large group of people who joined us last night it was a little joy and encouragement  in the midst of mourning.

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't too far off. I missed 3 states: VA, FL (assuming it goes blue), and CO. My mistake was the assumption that Republicans would show up in higher numbers than the polls predicted. My faith in the conservative people has been shaken, but not destroyed.