is all over but the final tally.
I expect the winner to be
announced soon after the West coast voting is closed.
The networks would all have you
believe the election is a toss-up.
For example, the Wall Street Journal just today reports Obama and Romney Deadlocked, Polls Show.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney crisscrossed the
country Sunday to energize
supporters in key states, as new polls forecast a down-to-the-wire election and both sides claimed they had the momentum to win.
The Romney camp, combing through
surveys taken in the waning days of the campaign, pointed to strength among independent voters, anxiety over the economy and greater enthusiasm among conservatives as signs that the Republican would win, potentially with victories in states such as Pennsylvania and
Minnesota that a GOP presidential
candidate hasn't carried
Obama aides exuded similar
confidence, citing polls showing the president remains resilient in potentially decisive states such as Ohio and Virginia.
Journal Tossup Map
The Wall Street Journal depicts an election map that looks like this.
Quite frankly that map is
complete nonsense. The idea
that Obama can carry North Carolina or Indiana is as
silly as the idea Romney can win Pennsylvania
To help understand why Obama's chances are much greater than people think, simply look at the latest polls
The Real Clear Politics
average projection is that Obama will carry Ohio by
2.8 percentage points. That is
within the margin of error of the polls so the media calls Ohio a tossup.
By the same reasoning,
the Wall Street Journal called Indiana, North Carolina and a grab bag
of other states a tossup.
Well they are not. I was on Coast-to-Coast live national radio last night and told George Noory the odds of an Obama win were about 90%.
The reason is while every one of those polls may
have a sampling error of say 3% the odds that all of the polls having a sampling error (in the same direction) of 3% is very small.
Only one poll out of 12
calls the election a tossup.
The election is only a tossup if you think that
is the one and only poll worth watching.
Similar analysis shows that Indiana and North Carolina
are not in play either.
This thought process should be easy
enough to understand, on
a state by state basis.
National polls show the election
to be very close. And on that score it is. Moreover, one thing Romney had in his favor recently
was a consistent lead in national polls.
This lent hope to Romney Supporters for the idea the state polls were wrong and overly biased for Obama.
Well that changed in the last couple days.
I believe it has to do with Obama's handling of
hurricane Sandy couple with some
really inept ads by Romney that were factually incorrect and
auto-makers called him on it.
Whatever the reason,
Obama is now ahead nationally.
I wrote about Virginia five days
ago in Governor Chris Christie Strongly Praises Obama's Response to Sandy; Could Christie's Comments Tip
Will Christie's Comments Tip the
New Jersey, Christie's home state is solidly in the Obama column. However, storm-damaged Virginia
is in a virtual dead heat. Praise
from Governor Christie certainly cannot hurt Obama's election chances.
Mathematically, I do not believe
Romney can win if he loses either
Ohio or Virginia. Romney certainly cannot win if he loses both
Here is question of the day: Is this genuine praise or is Christie looking to run for president in four years? I suggest both.
perception that Obama is doing a good job in response to
Sandy, fueled by gushing praise from Christie may be enough
to tip Virginia into the Obama column,
and the election right with
In email exchanges with several
readers who said I was off my rocker, I privately predicted Obama would carry
Indeed, the latest polls now show Obama to be slightly ahead
Media has a clear and persistent bias, not necessarily for one
candidate or the other (although
some networks are clearly
biased one way and others a different way). Rather, the bias I am taking
about is a bias to keep you interested.
Regardless of who you are for, or who they are for, they all want you to tune in on election night and watch. The
best way to do that is to pretend the election is a tossup when it's
It's like watching a football game where your team is down by 3 touchdowns with 5 minutes to go and the announcers
pretend there is a reasonable chance of a
Assessing the Odds
This is all easy enough to see, provided of course you have an
open mind on such things. The simple fact of the matter is most
people do not have an open mind.
In general, people believe
because they want to believe. They get mad
at you when you say
their candidate will lose, no matter how unrealistic the odds.
I am not a pollster, nor do I have a good way of assessing the odds. On my own
accord I would have rated
the odds about 2-1 last week
and I would have them at 3-1 now?
So where does 90% come from?
The answer is a slight adjustment to the analysis by Nate Silver in his Five Thirty Eight Political Calculus Blog for
the New York Times.
On November 3, Nate wrote For Romney to Win, State Polls Must
Be Statistically Biased.
President Obama is now better than
a 4-in-5 favorite to win the Electoral College, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast. His chances of winning it increased to 83.7 percent on
Friday, his highest
figure since the Denver debate
and improved from 80.8
percent on Thursday.
Although the fact that Mr. Obama held the lead in
so many polls is partly
coincidental — there
weren’t any polls of North Carolina on
Friday, for instance, which is
Mr. Romney’s strongest
battleground state — they
nevertheless represent powerful evidence against the idea that the race is a “tossup.” A tossup race isn’t likely to produce 19 leads for one candidate and one for the other — any more than a fair coin is likely to come up heads 19 times and tails just once in 20 tosses. (The probability of a fair coin doing so is
about 1 chance in 50,000.)
Instead, Mr. Romney will
have to hope that the
coin isn’t fair,
and instead has been weighted
to Mr. Obama’s advantage.
In other words, he’ll have to hope that the polls have been biased in Mr. Obama’s favor. (I recognize that ‘bias’ is a loaded term
in political contexts. I’ll explain what I mean by it in a moment.)
I encourage you to read that article because Nate discusses sampling error, margins of error, time-frames
Nate concluded But the
state polls may not be right. They could be biased.
Based on the historical reliability of polls, we put the chance that they will be
biased enough to elect Mr. Romney at 16 percent.
Nate had the odds at 84-16. I used that as my starting point and asked the question "which way is momentum
Right after the first debate
and for two weeks following momentum unmistakably shifted to Romney.
I was not reading Five Thirty Eight at the time but I thought the presidents chances dipped to
60% and he would lose if he messed
up another debate. He didn't mess up another debate, and momentum to Romney stalled.
Momentum changed back to
the president with
Hurricane Sandy. There is a
possibility that Sandy was just a coincidence
and the momentum towards
Romney simply played its course and shifted.
Nonetheless, and regardless
of reason, four news polls
show Obama in the lead in Virginia, and it is now conceivable
Obama could lose Ohio and
still win the election by picking up smaller
states like Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire (states
the president is actually favored to win).
Romney's only hope right now rests on three factors, all of which much be true
for him to win the election.
Romney Needs to Win
The state polls
The national polls
Momentum did not shift to Obama
With a tip of the hat to Nate Silver, I rate the odds of that parlay for Romney to be 10%.
Election Night Coverage With
Mish on National Radio
Regardless of the outcome,
I will be on Coast-to-Coast
national syndicated radio with
George Noory to discuss
the election results and
the impact on the stock market and jobs.
The broadcast starts at midnight Central, 10 PM
Click here for a station in your
area, many of which
have an internet broadcast feed,
even if none are close by.
Please tune in. And by the way,
don't blame me regardless of who wins, I am just
the messenger (and I am
not voting for either of them).