Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Getting away from Sandy?

October 29th, 2012, 8:50am by Sam Wang


Other than Virginia, Sandy is a blue-state hurricane. If you are looking for a place to go, might I suggest canvassing? District options are listed here. PA-12 looks good, and far upstate New York. And of course there is always Ohio.

Getting kind of breezy around here.

Tags: 2012 Election · House · President

32 Comments so far ↓

  • Frank Katz

    My sis lives in Freehold and told me that there’s no early voting in NJ. Would NJ, and other blue states in the NE have to go to paper ballots on Nov 6, thus delaying the count? Also, how skewed will polling between now and election day be because of Sandy? Considering that only VA and NH really “count” right now, will it have any effects on polling and your model between now and the 6th.

    • Sam Wang

      I think it won’t matter. Somewhere on a recent thread it was pointed out that VA has now opened early voting.

    • Nancy

      There’s early voting in NJ if you vote by mail–it’s no longer an absentee ballot, so anyone can vote by mail for any reason. I sent my ballot in weeks ago. (The side benefit is that my vote’s on paper, not in an electronic, non-recountable format.)

  • Steven J. Wangsness

    Yay! MM at 2.20 and the bottom of the yellow confidence almost — tantalizingly almost — completely out of the strike zone for the Mittster.

  • victory furniture

    I also live in NJ and my family has already voted! You can vote early via absentee ballot and many have!

  • Ohio Voter

    Word in Franklin County, Ohio (where Columbus located) is that early voting is already DOUBLE what it was in 2008.

    Ohio also has early voting over the weekend, and the weather appears to be pretty nice, so even if early voting stalls the next 24 hours, it has time to pick up.

    • Prairie Pundit

      I lived in Columbus for many years and still have many friends there, most of them members of the city’s large and active LGBT community. Each time I log onto Facebook, I am greeted with a torrent of status updates from my Buckeye pals, fervidly attacking Romney, supporting Obama, and entreating anyone who is even remotely like-minded to get off their butts and vote. If there were a gay meta-margin, this election would be over and done with. Go, Ohio!

  • Elizabeth Duvert

    Be safe, Sam. You’ve done a wonderful job for all of us who are so anxiety prone about this election. I’ve sent so many to this site, even if we don’t all understand what sigma-1 or mega-what exactly means. Thanks again.

    • Sam Wang

      Thank you, Elizabeth. Cooped up today – expect more entries (perhaps followed by an outage!).

      As to the nerdery, ultimately the graph and the headline above should allow you to skip the sigmas and so on…at least I hope so!

    • Amitabh Lath

      Elizabeth,
      The 1-sigma curve is one of the reasons why some of us (well, maybe just me) prefer the PEC.

      That, and Sam’s winning personality.

      A 4th grader can calculate averages. It takes some sophistication to estimate the uncertainty in your measurement. Not everyone does it, or does it properly. Sam does.

      This is why scientists are never 100% certain about anything. Once you learn about uncertainties, your world-view changes.

      I wish I knew of a well-written book on probability and statistics for the general public that I could recommend. Maybe some of the other commenters can help.

    • wheelers cat

      Elizabeth!
      Read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan.
      I promise you will love it.
      ;)

  • Pat

    Sam,
    Just a small request, since you don’t have much else to do or worry about right now ;)
    It is great to see that the MM is now over 2% and to see that we are reaching the final election date. However, Nov. 6 is not reached at the edge of the chart frame: could you indicate the position of election day with a (dashed) line on the graph to make it easier to see how close we are to the end… Or, even better, would it be possible/feasible/interesting for you to draw a prediction zone for the final MM value just like you do for the EV estimator? (yes, i know the MM is not equal to the popular vote margin, and therefore we would not have any real post-election verification of your prediction: still, it would be reassuring to see to what extent the MM is likely to drift from its current value)

  • Amitabh Lath

    Looks like Sandy has tracked a bit south, but NJ03 is still in the blue cone of danger in google crisismap.

    Maybe post-storm some of the “all govt is bad” groupthink that seems to rule in hard red areas will give way to common sense, at least where FEMA is concerned.

    • wheelers cat

      Hardly. Pat Robertson other stalwarts will say Sandy is a judgement on the heathen blue states.
      We need a good hurricane smiting in Georgia and South Carolina.
      But the Frankenstorm may convert many to belief in global warming.

    • G. Camp III

      The reactionary fringe is already blaming Hurricane Sandy on teh libruls. Living in the epicenter of the landfall, I wonder how many of the 71-mph winds I can personally take credit for.

  • A New Jersey Farmer

    A question about 538′s methodology. By including economic figures in his model, is Nate Silver effectively counting those figures twice? Don’t the figures necessarily affect people’s choices in the polls? I teach history, so the math is somewhat new. Thanks for any guidance anyone can give me.

    • Sam Wang

      You are correct. In my view it is better to leave out that information, since direct measurement of opinion trumps loose predictors. I’ve written on this. Here is one example.

  • Joey Bagadonitz

    Hang in there Sam! I grew up in Monmouth County and still have family there, I know they’re battening down the hatches.

  • Olav Grinde

    I guess New Englanders who are intent on swinging swing states in the desired direction will soon have a good tail wind to Ohio — if they can find a flight that’s not grounded!

  • Rudy-S

    Sam, First time commenter! For such a nerdy subject you succinctly lay out why Meta Analysis of polls is the only reliable technique and explain it as simply as possible. And as you have stated elsewhere why major networks do not adopt this, it is the lack of color commentary where one can endlessly drone from day to day on how a swing state is swinging due to the whimm of one poll or the other!

    Keep up the good work!

  • E L

    Stay safe, Dr. Wang. This election just keps getting better. For your amusement, the Quants/Geeks/Nerds are causing a separate but equal hurricane of outrage on the right: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/10/people-who-cant-do-math-are-so-mad-nate-silver/58460/ Of course, such boiling outrage only makes the Quants/Geeks/Nerds look more powerful.

  • Rick in Miami

    Best wishes sent to all of you up in the northeast! I’ve been through a few Cat 1 hurricanes: the most important thing to remember is to stay home as long as you can after – you don’t want a personal encounter with a downed power line, and you don’t want to drive through water that may be deeper than you realize.

    • Rick in Miami

      Should be obvious, but “stay home as long as possible after” assumes you’re inland, not on the coast … hopefully, if your home is on or near the coast in the region threatened by storm surge, you’re already evacuated.

  • WastedVTvote

    I’m concerned about the effects of Sandy on PA. They have NO early voting, and the Philly area looks like it will be clobbered. Granted, the red counties in central PA will also take a hit, but is there a non-trivial possibility that the Philly effect could flip PA? That’s 20EV out the window. Sorry to be worrying about politics when people’s lives and livelihoods are on the line, but…

    • Jim

      The latest estimates have Philly getting 4-8 inches of rain and sustained winds around 40mph, gusting up to 70. This isn’t much different than Irene was last year, and the ground isn’t saturated this year like it was then.

      The only thing that differentiates this storm from a typical Noreaster is the amount of time it will rain. Central PA (red country) will have a much harder time with power problems than the Philly metro area will.

  • Karen Carroll

    Dr. Wang,
    I’m very relieved to hear that you don’t think the storm will affect the outcome. I’m concerned, however, because in Virginia, Obama needs NoVa votes to counteract the western/southern parts of the state. Northern Virginia of course is where the storm is hitting. Does this not concern you?
    Thanks so much for your work here.
    p.s. I also enjoyed your book about children’s brains.

  • Olav Grinde

    Getting away from Sandy?

    There are others who feel compelled to get away from Sandy as well. Here’s a light-hearted take from the New Yorker…

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/10/weather-forces-romney-to-shift-lying-to-other-states.html?mbid=social_retweet

  • Frank Katz

    Sam, I guess I should have rephrased my previous question into something like – how reliable will various polls be in the next few days that you use to create your model? Especially since no pollster will be able to call anyone in the affected areas. Will the fact that the only swing states in the affected areas are really NH and VA affect your model?

  • DrOrbit

    What happened with Iowa? Do not tell me the Register actually affected the polls there. It never has.

  • Ms. Jay Sheckley

    Hurricanes can be a huge emotional issue to those who have been through them, and those who have feared them this week. The candidates have widely divergent attitudes about the use of federal funds for natural disasters. Landfall may not be necessary for the Frankenstorm to blow some blue ink onto states with the most hurricane experience, namely Florida and North Carolina. The fact that aid is going largely to blue states just shows this is no election stunt. It also looks -because it is- very Presidential, very fatherly, very “I got your back.”

    A contrast to the contender. Here’s an article from Atlanta today: http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2012/10/29/romney-on-disaster-relief-we-cant-afford-to-do-those-things/

    ==> Doesn’t anyone else see this having an affect?

    ==> Does anyone know if Sam will still be using polls that are up to a week old in the last week of the election? (I’m guessing there will be plenty of newer ones…) If not, when does this shift?

    ==> I see the metamargin jiggled down a bit, but the projection numbers at top are holding. Because of the mean?

    PS The 6th is my birthday this year, so I have special powers. When a storm approaches I can feel it in Sam’s knee.

  • Ms. Jay Sheckley

    Sandy is affecting Ohio with high winds and rain, maybe snow. Romney has cancelled Ohio appearances due to storm. Obama, actually needed to guide relief efforts , cancelled Florida appearance and sent Biden and Clinton to speak in Ohio.

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/public/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-ohio-public

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