Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Entries from November 27th, 2008

Ties, damned ties, and statistics

November 27th, 2008, 12:30am by Sam Wang

Regarding the Minnesota recount, reader RC points out: “By any meaningful scientific standard of measurement, the vote in Minnesota is a tie, and the recount process is just a mechanism for adjudicating a tie rather than a way of determining overall voter preference.” If RC is correct, this gives a different way to think about [...]

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Tags: 2008 Election

Race and voting

November 25th, 2008, 8:23am by Sam Wang

Courtesy of reader FZ, an excellent map at the NYT. By hitting “voting shifts” you get a mapped county version of shifts not only comapred with 2004, but also earlier years. He also notes analysis by Chicago (formerly Princeton) political scientist Eric Oliver, who suggests that the racial element occurs in islands of white communities [...]

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Tags: 2008 Election

Guess the beans in the jar!

November 24th, 2008, 1:00am by Sam Wang

Are you any good at those contests in which you guess the number of beans in the jar? If so, I sense an opportunity in the Minnesota recount. The first entry comes from FiveThirtyEight: Franken by 27 votes. Several commentators have linked to it with great credulity. This seems like a classic setup for biased [...]

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Tags: 2008 Election

Tiebreaking, secret sauce, and the case of the missing cell phones

November 21st, 2008, 9:25pm by Sam Wang

On Election Eve I gave predictions that came very close to the final outcomes. However, I made an assumption about missed cell phone users. Today I will show you that the same prediction arises without this assumption if we use the tie-breaking “secret sauce” I mentioned on Election Eve. What’s left is just polls, with [...]

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Tags: 2008 Election

How simple meta-analysis did, 2004-2008

November 17th, 2008, 10:40am by Sam Wang

Here’s a summary performance, starting from 2004, of a meta-analytic approach based purely on available polls. The consistent finding in three elections: simple is best.

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Tags: 2004 Election · 2006 Elections · 2008 Election

The exuberance of likelier voters

November 12th, 2008, 10:44pm by Sam Wang

In today’s news, the circus continues: Sarah Palin is still looking for the real killer. Meanwhile, in real news: universal health care? Alaska Senate update: As I predicted from polls, Begich is pulling ahead. Andrew Sullivan is still clinging to the idea that turnout is suspiciously down from 2004, which I have pointed out is [...]

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Tags: 2008 Election

A long campaign

November 11th, 2008, 6:48pm by Sam Wang

Photo credit: Callie Shell/Aurora for Time.

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Tags: 2008 Election

How’d we do?

November 11th, 2008, 6:30pm by Sam Wang

For a scientist, a moment of truth for a hypothesis is the experiment. In this case the “experiment” is the election. Here’s a quick run-through comparing our predictions with outcomes so far. Performance is extremely good. As was the case in 2004 and 2006, the results are consistent with the idea that relatively pure polling [...]

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Tags: 2008 Election

The paranoid style in progressive vote-counting

November 11th, 2008, 12:17pm by Sam Wang

During a campaign I am avidly attentive to polls and tactical details. But I don’t enjoy Election Night itself. If I could resist the social draw, I’d make an early night of it, then wait until the next day to see the results. The basic problem is that returns are slow to come in and [...]

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Tags: 2008 Election

The power of polls: a protection against fraud?

November 7th, 2008, 10:52pm by Sam Wang

In a radio interview on Wednesday, I pointed out that averaged pre-election polls were very good predictors of final outcomes. Indeed, they are an underappreciated defense against fraud.

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Tags: 2008 Election