Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Goal Posts (fixed), Part 1

55 days to the election, and the pace has picked up. With all the attention on the state polling, I decided to take a look and see how they balance out against the national polling.

I have been watching the polls all year long, and annoying my poor wife with piles of notes and calculations (hey, I think better on paper!). I found a problem early on, though, with the state polls. Although 81 different groups have done some sort of state polling, most have not done 3 states or more, and so their reliability or potential bias is difficult to measure. Also, state polling does not release demographics, for the most part, making them even less trustworthy. I wrote about this back on August 23.

Anyway, what I did to compensate for this, while still counting all the regular poll information, was to develop two measures. The first simply takes the 7 most recent polls for each state, and averages them. The second takes the average poll results for each 2-week period, gradually reducing the value of older weeks, so that a ‘trending’ average is determined. I then took the numbers from the first and second polls, averaged them between the 2 measures, to develop an overall position. Based on that, here are the state results based on the latest information and applying my system, ranked from most-favorable for Bush to least-favorable:

Utah 66.0-24.8
Wyoming 69.0-28.0
Idaho 55.8-24.3
Mississippi 61.0-30.0
Nebraska 61.0-32.0
North Dakota 61.0-33.0
Alaska 56.0-33.0
Oklahoma 57.0-36.0
Texas 56.3-35.9
Montana 53.0-33.0
Alabama 55.2-36.3
Kansas 56.0-37.1
Indiana 51.1-35.6
Louisiana 51.1-37.1
Kentucky 53.8-40.0
Georgia 53.0-39.9
South Carolina 51.7-41.0
South Dakota 49.9-36.6
North Carolina 49.8-43.3
Arizona 46.3-40.1
Tennessee 49.7-45.4
Colorado 47.8-43.6
Virginia 49.1-45.3
West Virginia 47.1-44.6
Missouri 48.1-46.1
Ohio 46.8-45.2
Arkansas 47.0-46.2
Florida 47.2-46.6
Nevada 46.0-45.9
Wisconsin 45.9-47.3
Pennsylvania 44.7-47.4
Iowa 45.9-48.7
Minnesota 44.4-48.4
Michigan 43.6-47.8
New Mexico 43.6-48.1
New Hampshire 43.1-47.9
Maine 41.8-48.5
Hawaii 41.0-48.0
New Jersey 40.4-49.5
Connecticut 36.3-47.4
Oregon 43.0-50.4
Washington 43.1-50.9
California 40.6-51.1
Maryland 40.1-51.9
Delaware 42.0-55.0
Illinois 38.7-52.2
Vermont 36.0-51.0
New York 33.2-54.0
Rhode Island 27.0-50.3
Massachusetts 31.3-57.5
District/Columbia 9.0-85.0

The good news for Kerry here, is that he is on track to gain 21 states plus D.C., one better than Gore did in 2000. The bad news for Kerry, is that with the shift in Electoral Votes for each state, Bush can afford to lose New Hampshire and still win re-election. It’s also worth noting, that there are 17 states where Bush tracks more than 50% of the vote, while Kerry has 11 states where he tracks more than 50%. The average Margin of Error in a poll is 3.1% and there are 9 states where the difference between Bush and Kerry is within that MoE. Also, when the number of undecideds is added to the MoE, a “shadow” is created, and President Bush has only 12 states which show a lead greater than that shadow. Kerry has only 8 states where his lead is greater than the shadow. Obviously, then, the race is still largely unresolved.

Also, if the percentage of each state is applied to the 2000 vote, and a national tally applied, this state-vote projection says Bush would win nationally, 46.2% to 45.3%. That’s a smidge low on both ends, because of the undecideds, and it occurs to me, that most state polls were before the GOP Convention. So, fiddling with the numbers to take into account the most recent polls when valid, and the national tally becomes 47.9% to 44.4%.

Now it gets interesting. National numbers are, if you think about it, derived from each state, so if I take the national poll numbers, and reverse them back to see what brings up the current 49.7-44.5 lead for Bush (according to RealClearPolitics), then Bush picks up Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

So, its seems reasonable to me to say, that Kerry still needs to push to take Florida and work in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. If it ends today, Dubya wins.

As I have said a number of times before, I expect President Bush to take about 55% of the Popular Vote in November. If this happens, here is how I expect the states to break down:

Kerry would take California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, for 172 Electoral Votes. President Bush would take the remaining 38 states, for 366 Electoral Votes. If 55% of the Popular Vote seems unrealistic to you, please review the historical averages of Presidents running for re-election, especially under comparable economic conditions, and note the measure of ‘undecided’ voters at this time.
Hang onfor the ride!

No comments: