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August 02, 2008 06:48 PM UTC

How's the presidential race progressing?

  • by: DavidThi808


Ok, it takes 270 electoral votes to win. So if McCain gets every state that leans Republican, every state that is toss-up, and even a couple of leans Democratic states – Obama wins.

How on earth can this be viewed as a close race. Granted, a lot can happen over the next 3 months but right now – it looks like a slam-dunk.

How do you think it will play out?

Election results will be

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70 thoughts on “How’s the presidential race progressing?

  1.’s technique of averaging polls from a number of sources, thereby getting effectively a much smaller margin of error, just brings the numbers closer to reality.  And as Stephen Colvert noted, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    Now, back to cherry picking polls to make the race look closer, thereby getting higher ratings and selling more ads.

    1. I happen to agree that Obama is going to win easily, but averaging polls taken with radically different methodology holds no scientific weight. The reason being that the overall pool of respondents is no longer random (the same person can be a respondent in multiple polls in the average). So the MoE does not go down at all. It just becomes a non-normal sample, and to draw conclusions from that makes no sense statistically.

        1. because people not involved directly with a campaign don’t see real pollsters’ work, i.e. internal polls (the ones that don’t get released). I’ve been involved in too many campaigns to count, and the final polls of the internal pollsters are almost almost dead perfect, i.e. within the MoE. In contrast, public polls are done with often self-serving methodology, intended to draw attention to itself with noteworthy numbers. They are just bad polls. True, it’s more accurate to average all these public polls together than to rely on any one. But it’s still not good statistics. The only good statistics, and the only accurate polls, are not released publicly. The public pollsters give the profession a real black eye.

          1. Internal polls tend, on average, to be less accurate and less well done than public polls and more biased.  Some of this perception is because only outlier polls get leaked.  But, some of it is a product of the lack of resources to do it right in a small campaign.

            Public polls typically have a methodology used in dozens or hundred of races with no focus on any particular one, and hence are more neutral.

            1. It’s also worth noting, internal polls are conducted for very different reasons than polls for news organizations. What good is it spending $30,000 to find out what’s going to happen? If you’re spending that kind of money, you want to know what to do — which messages are working, where are your vulnerabilities, which slices of the population will take more convincing, whether it’s seniors or college students that need more help getting to the polls. Different purpose, different results, apples to oranges.

      1. So long as all of the polls are done in some semblance of random or quasi-random sampling (as opposed, e.g., to Zogby’s Internet polls) and are asking essentially the same polls, then combining polls is perfectly valid “meta-analysis”.  

        Straight averaging is not, strictly speaking, the right way to do meta-analysis.  Strictly speaking, one should add up the sample sizes in each poll, use a weighted average of the results and the combined sample, and calculate the MOE on that basis.  

        Given the small number of people polled relative to the total population from which the sample is drawn, the risk that the results will be skewed by repeat questioning of the same respondent is negligible.  Even if the same person does get asked twice, that doesn’t make any of the samples non-random.

        In practice, simply averaging polls comes quite close because the customary sample sizes in public polls of political races, and the questions asked are very similar.  To estimate the real life MOE, one should determine what the MOE would be a sample equal to the aggregate number of people polled.

        Also, averaging polls is in some ways superior to simply making one poll with a larger sample size.  The benefit of the average of the polls is that random sampling error (which larger survey samples address) is not the only kind of error that can exist.  

        You can also have problems with invisible biases that go into the specifics of how questions are asked (down to questioner demeanor), differences in non-response rates, and hidden biases in the list used to contact respondents.  All survey operations have these biases.  But, not all survey operations have the same biases.  Despite lingering worries about telephone survey accuracy due to cell phones, etc., on average telephone surveys match election results with no obvious biases one way or the other.  Using poll averages overcomes the non-sample size biases of individual polls, making the average a more robust mesure than the individual polls.  By averaging you make non-sample size error smaller and give yourself a larger sample at the same time.

        It is quick and dirty, but it is more accurate than you would expect.

  2. Arizona isn’t going for McCain? You’ve got to be kidding me, McCain is very popular in Arizona, RealClearPolitics has him winning by 10%.

      1.    Remember, there are still a lot of people who think like Gecko and are running around in the world today.  They may not hang out on our happy insular little blog, but they are still around, they hoist their Confederate flags, and they vote.

        1. While ignoring the fact that the racial divide in the Democratic primary was astounding.  90%+ blacks voting for Obama?  That, to me, was the non-story story.  Instead, Hillary getting around 60% of the white vote was the big deal.

      2.    I think it was more like 22 years ago (1986) that Bradley lost to Deukmejian in California.  

          19 years ago, David Dinkins and Douglas Wilder were showing substantial leads in polls going into the NYC mayoral and Virginia gubernatorial races.  Each guy won but just barely.  It was chalked up to the Tom Bradley factor.

          Obama still has an excellent chance of winning.  But if he’s 10% ahead in the polls come the end of Oct., it means that on Election Day, it will be within five points or less.

        1. Particularly in the last ones which Hillary won….no surprises and no Bradley effect…

          I think that the all out attack on Obama might work…I keep thinking of how the repubs destroyed Max Clellan…for fun and profit….did it very well……to quote Michelle Obama: “There are a lot of mean people out there.”

          I may be wrong, but even if McCain wins, there is a turning tied…and Obama will be in the Senate and will be a candidate again…

        2. I think it will be interesting to compare the polls vs the results as I think it will show differences – but regionally. And each region it will be different.

          You also have the fact that Obama is b-racial and I think that makes a lot of people on the fence more comfortable. His election might actually get this country past the “drop of blood” point of view. (And that’s gigantic because the vast majority of us must have some African-American blood in us.)

          1. It’s instructive to remember that in polling, which always includes a margin of error, a 3 point lead is considered a toss up, 4 points maybe leaning, whereas in  an actual presidential election if one candidate gets 53% of the popular vote and the other gets 47% (usually it wouldn’t be a combined 100% because of stray votes to others) that’s considered  a very strong win.  55% to 45% is considered a landslide.    

            It’s also instructive to remember just how rare it is for a candidate to win the popular vote and loose the electoral.   By the 2000 election it hadn’t happened for well over a hundred years and the popular vote margin was razor thin.  The chances of Obama winning the popular by as little as  2 or even 1.5 points but losing the electoral vote are historically almost negligible, though possible.

            Of course estimates of electoral OR popular votes on the basis of summer polls are  not going to be very reliable.  It just gives us nail-biters  something to either reassure or scare us, depending.

      3. it won’t be because he is black. Many people find him less than appealing with no reference at all to his skin color. Me included, but of course I’ll vote for him.  

  3. It’s still amazing that Mike Coffman can say with a straight face that the Sec. of State’s office has no bearing on the elections process.

    Is he a pathalogical liar or really that absent from reality?

    There’s a reason why Democrats are spending millions of dollars around the country trying to win SOS seats.  And there’s a reason why Republicans in Colorado worked their butts off to get Mike elected – in a recount.

    The  most guts he’s ever showed is giving the finger to those that helped him get to where he is today.  Disgusting.

    1.    Assuming Mike Coffman wins the primary (a probability, but not a certainty), he’s not leaving his day job until the end of Dec.  He’ll be in office through the Nov. and hopefully, McCain will lose by enough votes on Election Day so that there won’t be any statewide recount in Colorado, or God forbid, a court challenge.

    2. Coffman will still be secretary of state for the 2008 election, whatever happens in the primary, so if it “comes down” to Colorado, all those establishment Republicans who’ve gone out of their way to screw Coffman can rest assured, he’s on the job.

      But take a look at the map. If Obama wins the solid Blue states and takes the leaners, he’s got the election sewn up. If the toss-up states are in play, it’ll just be a difference between a solid win and a landslide. Republican hopes that Mike Coffman puts on too much makeup and screeches his way through a Katherine Harris impression may be futile. It won’t matter. (But would sure be fun to watch.)

        1. Over the last week, I’ve seen a couple 6th District debates on TV (oddly, one from April reran on KRMA last night, really late), and, from the sound of things, Coffman doesn’t have a Democratic bone in his body. I think his Trailhead-fueled opponents have created a misimpression that he’s a centrist (read: weak), and his last few jobs have been nominally nonpartisan. (Rarely does the state treasurer or secretary of state get the chance to sound very Republican or Democratic, the focus is just too narrow.) He’s a releatively reasonable Republican who avoids some of the more inflammatory baiting, but he’s definitely a Republican.

    3. I don’t think Kiki said that Coffman would be absent from what might be a very hot spotlight in Colorado this fall.

      The point here is that Mike is the only man in America who seriously believes that the position doesn’t matter.

      Or, to Kiki’s point, he really does know it but is too egotistical to care.  

      1. If you want the SoS office handled in a even-handed, non-partisian, and professional manner – why on earth would you be upset? Because Ritter will almost certainly appoint someone who will meet those guidelines.

        On the flip side, if you view the SoS office as a way to give the Republican’s an unfair advantage in the elections – poo on you.

        1. I see, so an SOS is non-partisan as long as they are Dem.  Typical.  Better tell your friends… to stop blowing their time and money.

          News Flash – Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on what is fair, balanced and non-partisan.  Why is this news to you David, et. al?

          I think that Katherine Harris, Donetta Davidson and Gigi Dennis all served honorably and fairly.

          If you, as a Democrat, agree with me then you agree with Mike.  If you disagree with me, then you are proving my point.

          1. I think Coffman has been pretty even-handed. I think he’s been incompetent on the technical details of electronic voting but that appears to be lack of knowledge, not a partisian effort.

            As to your list of the three above, they have all trumpted how they used the office to give Republicans an advantage. So, by their own words, they are both dishonorable & unfair.

            Case in point – it was Gigi or Donetta who stuffed a bunch of petitions for a marijuana initiative in her desk so it wouldn’t get on the ballot.

            I want better than that regardless of party.

            1.    Donetta actually found them after she was appointed and went through Buckley’s messy office.

                Donetta Davidson was a Republican but she was one of the better Republicans in Colorado.

              1. But if she hadn’t opened up the spot for Coffman, who knows what dominos would’ve fallen. Hillman, O’Donnell, Kennedy, Gordon … the whole landscape might be different.

                  1. she was appointed in 1999, so she’d only been elected to a full term once, in 2002. Could’ve run again.

                    Did you know, trivia buffs, she was elected Bent County clerk and recorder back in the ’70s, before her job with in the SoS office and subsequent election as Arapahoe County clerk and recorder a decade ago. Probably one of the few clerks to win election in two counties, two decades apart.

                    1. …she bequeath Tracy Baker to the good people of Arapahoe County as her heir to the clerkship.  We all remember how that turned out…

                    1. …knowing that she was going to have the job for only a short time, she tried to do as much as possible, legalities be damned.  God love her.

              2. I had her confused with Vicky Buckley (we’ve had what – 53 SoS in the last 4 years). Donetta did a fair job. And I think Coffman’s problem is more not having a clue about electronic voting systems than any nefarious purposes.

                Why do the good ones not stay in the office?

          2. While the stench from Donetta and Gigi don’t begin to match that of Ms. Harris, they were all very partisan.  Harris, at the least did NOT serve honorably.  Well, maybe her masters.

            I think it was Donetta that hired Durham, that disgrace from Austin to run the HAVA effort.  No one in CO qualified, apparently.  

  4. Ohio and Michigan leaning Obama?  That is my only question on this map…that’s 37 electoral votes that I think should be considered toss up at this point based on polling and what we know about those states.  In that case, Colorado could be a very important state for Obama in a close race.

      1. Without the purple.

        Which means Colorado is the only big state different from 04, and the linchpin of the election.

        Unless Michigan and Minnesota miraculously come into play.

            1.    I would expect McCain to talk ad naseam this fall in KY, WV, and southern OH about the remarks Obama made last winter about the bitter ones and their guns and churches.  

                There are some states in which that subject will still resonate.

  5. Gee the way you Liberals all look at it, “Why let the people vote, let this map elect the next President of the United States!”

    You are all a arrogant as Obama!

    This is why Obama will lose!

      1. We should let The Map decide. As a Liberal, I feel The Map has our best interests at heart and I like its colors! Lots of Red but the Blue is stronger! Thank you, sj, for pointing the way. Thank you, ma’am.

        1. At least you are being honest RedGreen that Democrats do not want the people to vote.  

          Democrats really want their “Obama=Hitler” elected, then Democrats will have their chance to NEVER let the people vote.

          Thank you for admitting Democrats believe in Dictatorships and Dictators.

          Vote For McCain to keep the Republic!

          1. We want the Maps to decide. No people voting, just Maps.

            You haven’t made a single coherent point, and the Hitler references are beyond laughable, they’re offensive.

          1. RG, for reinforcing the point that Sec. of State does indeed affect the elections process.  

            And it’s more than just recounts.  Per Natalie Meyer’s Op/Ed in the Rocky last month http://www.rockymountainnews.c… different SOS’s would handle campaign finance enforcement and voter ID requirements differently.

            Mike Coffman is insincere and a hypocrite.

              1. trying to say you agree with Mike that the SOS has no bearing on elections?  Many of us disagree.  Do you agree with Mike or do you agree with everyone else?

                No one has mentioned 2008 specifically.  It’s the principle that Mike is ignoring.  Not only could the SOS have an impact in 2008, but 2010, etc. as well.

                1.    To the extent that his office is involved in the elections (and it clearly does have an important role to play by law), maybe Coffman is also prepared to let his staff in the elections division do their jobs and oversee the county clerks counting the votes.

                    Wasn’t it Bonzo Reagan who mading delegating responsibility into a high art form for an executive?

                    Not every Sec. of State must arrogate power like Katherine Harris or Kenneth Blackwell did.

                  1. … can they be counted on to carry out the vital voter-suppression tactics Republicans want from their election officials? That’s just setting the whole thing up for failure.

                    Though it’s true, Coffman is in a unique position to enforce campaign finance laws regarding Protect Colorado Jobs and Curt Cerveny. Too bad he’s going to have to recuse himself. What were Republicans thinking?

      2. Liberals are the ones that do not want to let the people vote.  You all think these maps mean something.

        Of course I want the people to VOTE because you Liberals will be disappointed when NObama is the LOSER!

        1. If we let the Maps decide our Leaders, Liberals are no better than Map Readers. Then try to fold the map back into the Glove Compartment and watch our Country go Haywire.  

  6. Just like a Liberal when they can’t win they start calling people names and become insulting.  

    You really hurt my feelings calling me stupid. Boo Hoo, you scare me…NOT!

    You all sound like bully school boys on the play ground.  Grow up!  

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