Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

The 1-point Sandy bounce?

November 5th, 2012, 10:02pm by Sam Wang


(Today’s our all-time high of traffic – over 300,000 350,000 views. That’s three times our 2008 traffic. Welcome, readers of Andrew Sullivan, Paul Krugman, Wired, Deadspin,Kevin DrumPeter Norvig, The BlazeThe Blaze? ZOMG!!! I thought you were PECer-heads! Seriously…everyone go read that piece. Alternate reality.)

Some of you expressed concern at an “unnerving” drop in the EV estimator today. I’ll make a confession: part of that was a recent data glitch. Pollster.com was feeding us the rolling daily Ipsos/Reuters  averages, which were redundant, especially in North Carolina. It’s fixed now. After the dust clears we’ll scour for similar earlier mistakes.
>>>
Where I live, Halloween was postponed until tonight because of Sandy. The last of the trick-or-treaters have trickled by.

Judging from the return toward semi-normal life here in hard-hit New Jersey, voting mechanics should only be affected in some regions, and less so in other (less blue) states. So the direct physical effect of Sandy is probably small. But what about indirect political effects?

Pundits on the right have claimed that Sandy “stopped Romney’s momentum.” Hmmm. First, let’s point out yet agaain that in terms of state polls, Ro-mentum stopped on October 13th or earlier, the week after Debate #1. The pattern was one we’ve seen before: a force drives opinion away from a Meta-Margin “set point” of Obama +3.0%, then relaxes back – like what happens after you pull on a spring. We’ve been seeing a version of this in the form of steady movement toward President Obama.

This recovery has not been visible in national polls, which until this week have been flat. I am puzzled about why they would differ from state polls in this way. Maybe nonswing state voters were less attentive to political events after Debate #1.

However, Sandy certainly caught everyone’s attention. Maybe that’s why national polls (which, although of questionable absolute accuracy, are still good for detecting relative change) have done this:

That appears to be a 1.0-point swing toward President Obama. This will require further analysis. But it suggests that as I prepare final predictions, November 1st is a date to look for late-breaking trends. This is a challenge for prediction, since I had hoped to integrate data over a longer period using a secret sauce (did you click on that? secret no more).

>>>

Tonight I’m preparing final predictions, as well as collecting useful links for Election Night – a Geek’s Guide. Regular readers, I seek your help. In comments, could you please cite your favorite places for various bits of information:

  • election returns as they come in;
  • early voting;
  • liveblogging;
  • what you’ll be watching for; and
  • other useful information?

Tags: 2012 Election · President

167 Comments so far ↓

  • Khan

    It has begun. May whatever man in the sky you follow have mercy on your possibly existing transient consciousness.

  • Tess

    Many thanks for the blog!

    What I’m watching for:

    The Puerto Rican FL vote

    Turn out numbers/percentages in NC

    Curious about the Af Am vote turn out in VA; Generally will be watching the vote in the VA northern suburbs, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Richmond, Newport News area.

    I guess a lot of Colorado will come in about 15 min after the vote closes. Watching those numbers.

    Sites I look at:

    Early Vote Numbers: http://elections.gmu.edu/early_vote_2012.html

    • Reason

      Look for Loudoun and Prince William Counties here in VA. at 7pm. If they are ahead for O, then he more than likely wins the state.

  • don in fl

    isnt there a town in maine that has voting at midnight?

    • Mike

      New Hampshire… Thanks for reminding me!

    • pechmerle

      Dixville Notch, NH

      Pop.in the 2010 census: 10
      Not exactly a bellwether.

      Tthere are a few other nearby NH towns and counties that have got into the act and try to compete with Dixville for who has their voting completed and announced most quuickly after midnight on election day.

      Hmmm – that result should already be just about out!

    • Mike

      5-5 tied. Wolf Blitzer would be so happy.

      In 2008, it was 16-5 Obama which created a collective freakout on the right, since Dixville Notch usually is very Republican.

      Hard to compare the two with the significant loss of population.

    • Steve16748

      1. I think it might have been in NH.
      2. I think they quit it.
      3. I wish we all voted in the comfort of our own homes when ever we wanted in the weeks before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November on a paper ballot that kept a paper trail record of our intentions.

  • Suja

    Nate’s on Colbert!

  • Michael Worley

    As to your question,

    I would link to google politics. I think they will likely have dynamic, continuous updating.

    Liveblogging, you can’t beat New York Times

    on the hours, CNN will have live TV projection.

  • Stephanie

    Thanks Sam – great info!

  • Michael H.

    Hi Sam: I will ask here what I asked in another thread.

    1) When will your final prediction be complete and posted?

    2) Do you think that recent developments in the land phone line vs. cell phone line has overthrown all polling models and that therefore your models that are based on those polls will no longer be accurate? Or have you accounted for these developments some how in your model?

    That said, I DO hope that your predictions are correct. The thought of a Romney presidency just is unimaginal.

    Thanks for all the work that you put into this site. We are all very grateful!!

  • LTM

    I’ve voted for the President and I’m feeling good about Nevada, but tomorrow, my TV is off. My stress bubble is just about to pop. I’ll check in on the computer now and then as the East coast results come in, then if things are looking good, turn on MSNBC as well as switch over to Jon Stewart to get a bit of a relief laugh. Then, when I feel confident that it’s a done deal for President Obama, I’ll switch over to Fox news just to see their faces. Then after that, I’ll just get hammered and pass out and read the newspapers the next morning.

    I just don’t have the strength to watch the election as it happens. Crossing my fingers folks and hoping Sam and Nate have been right all along. If they are, then they’ll have my utmost respect for keeping me sane through this whole election, because right now I’m a wreck.

    • Jen

      “Then, when I feel confident that it’s a done deal for President Obama, I’ll switch over to Fox news just to see their faces. Then after that, I’ll just get hammered and pass out and read the newspapers the next morning.”

      LTM, I am going to copy that itinerary!

      My stress level has actually faded today, for the first time since the Denver debate.

      I really do think everything will turn out fine (with an Obama win). And I can’t wait to enjoy it for a couple of days… and then take a really long break, completely tuning out out of politics.

  • Jack - a former P-Townie

    Prof. Wang: whoa nellie! Your final EV shows 309 but I’m not sure how that corresponds to a real world EV final count. Seems like EV 303 is a more accurate final prediction, assuming Romney wins N.C. and FL. and Obama otherwise runs the table (including VA and CO). Does EV 309 correspond to a partial FL win? How can one arrive at 309?

    • Matt McIrvin

      By assuming that some less-likely states flip. This value is a median, not a mode, so the headline value doesn’t necessarily correspond to any of the most likely scenarios.

      In this case, Florida seems balanced on a knife edge in Sam’s model, and it’s causing the doubling you see in the probability distribution, with superimposed duplicate spectra for the Florida-to-Obama scenario and the Florida-to-Romney scenario. They’re well-balanced enough that neither one of the tall spikes captures the median value, and it’s down in the grass between them instead.

    • BrianTH

      As I noted above, 309 is the total if Obama gets FL, CO, and only one of NV/IA, losing NH, VA, and the other of NV/IA. These two scenarios are not particularly likely, but they happen to fall in the middle of the more likely scenarios.

  • CobaltinSF

    Sam and Andrew: Thanks for your benevolent and always useful public service here…

  • Paul C

    Obama is up to 92% in latest 538. It looks like a lot of movement in the last few days. I would think this becomes something of a rout, as demoralization becomes a factor. I wonder if there has ever been a trend this strong, this late, without a decisive victory.

    • Matt McIrvin

      The aggregators’ predicted EV numbers are all starting to converge somewhere around the 303 EV scenario, but they still differ quite a lot in stated uncertainty. I think Pollster’s model still has the probability of an Obama win below 70%, they’ve got so much uncertainty built in (even though their snapshot distribution looks a lot like 538′s).

      It’s hard to judge these numbers because there have been so few elections that have been projected this way. But if everyone’s bang-on with the EV count again, like they more or less were in 2004 and 2008, I’m going to become more confident that some of those error bars are unreasonably inflated in size.

      On the other hand, if Florida is really on a knife-edge it could create major uncertainty on the high side for Obama.

  • Rickey

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work….hope you do not have to eat a bug . You, Nate and others represent a sane voice amid the chorus of hate mongers, cheerleaders and MSM horserace promoters.

  • Osso

    Sam,

    AS I wrote before, the key development since last week is that the two consistent outlier Polls by Gallup and Rasmussen have moved to the center by five points or so in favor of the President…..

    That combined with Early Voting 2:1 in Obama’s favor leads me to forecast a 54-46 Win for Obama.

    • Matt McIrvin

      While this has nothing to do with actual public opinion, I suspect that Hurricane Sandy significantly shifted pundit chatter just by taking out the Gallup daily tracker.

    • Osso

      Matt McIrvin,

      Whatever the effect, it moved their particular sampling method towards Obama by over 5 points all things being equal….

      I think the GOP still has “momentum”, only it is in an alternate reality!

  • pechmerle

    Here is Dick Morris this evening:

    Romney 325 / Obama 213

    “Romney will win the states McCain carried in 2008, plus: Florida, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

    Let’s see, that’s two large bugs (Ohio, Penn.) and at least two small bugs (Wis., Minn.) that should be on his breakfast plate on Wednesday morning.

    No math (polling data) for Dick of course; it’s all about his subjective reaction to a bunch of things. (He’s right about a few of them; they just didn’t move the polls.)

    • Mike

      Did he at least get the electoral vote count right? Last time, he was totally off on the numbers.

      Anyways, Morris’ return to insanity is most reassuring. He’s the most wrong pundit ever!

    • Osso

      He forgot Canada!

  • Torrey

    Thank you, Sam and Andrew, for all your hard work. It’s really refreshing to see hard numbers and sound reasoning form the basis for election forecasting. You cut through the chaos and noise to give me something worth holding on to. You have helped me stay calm and taught me a lot. I’m glad I found your site.

  • Jon V

    The Associated Press usually has a very good site that gives real time election results by precinct. I have not book marked the site, and it is always a pain to find, but it is awesome for real time results

  • Stacey

    Nerds! (She said with love, affection, and even reverence) Talk me down! I spent an hour and a half watching CNN and local news. Talk me down. Remind me why math is better, why the media has a motive to make things seem closer than they are, and how the polls have borne out the predictions in elections past, and why they are going to, this time.

    • Sam Wang

      Stacey, you’ve said it so well. Type it a few more times. No copy and paste, type the words…

      Pollsters are professionals. They didn’t suddenly lose their mojo in the last four years. Their job is harder now, but still, they get similar answers.

      Watch New Hampshire tomorrow. If Obama wins by 1-3%, that would be a sign that the pollsters – and the nerds – were about right.

    • Matt McIrvin

      TV turns out to be a really bad place to get election news. It probably always was, but it’s especially clear now.

    • E L

      Look at the numbers on the top of this page. Then look at the margin on the right in the state by state column. How much blue do you see and how much red do you see? Now put on The Beach Boys and think about blue ocean waves.

    • Steve16748

      Super funny Stacey!
      Somehow I’m move to appropriate and slightly change, J. Giles it was, I believe, “Democrat girls are red hot, Republican girls aren’t didly squat”

    • Stacey

      Dr. Wang and fellow math people, thank you from the bottom of my heart. As some one with humanities brain power and a rationalist’s soul, my mantra, since the first debate, has been “I believe in math, I believe in math, I believe in math!” (hush! I’m not dumb, it’s just that math and I aren’t, you know, tight. I think of myself like an air guitarist or fan fiction author, I have the heart, just lack the skills).

      At any rate, sites like this one have been a refuge for me, and laugh if you like, I read your replies last night, and immediately, rolled over and went to sleep. You talked me off the ledge!

  • pechmerle

    If James Fallows live blogs the returns, he would be very much worth following. I’ve not seen any indication from him that he is going to be doing it though.

  • Josh

    The Reuters/Ipsos polls made the meta margin artificially inflated? Will be interesting to see who is more accurate, PEC or 538. You both are almost exactly the same as of right now. He is a little bit higher in the PV for Obama surprisingly.

  • Roshan

    Dear Sam and team, It was so refreshing to read your election analysis that was based on facts and figures and not just based on irrational thoughts and emotions (that includes most of the political pundits this elections cycle). It might be me, but I felt even Mark Halperin(usually pretty decent and bi-partisan) was sucking up to GOP this time and tried his best to shoot down the momentum that the President had received. (probably because he is still not happy with the fact that he had to apologize to the president after making the lame duck comment few months ago or may be going to morning Joe influenced him). I have already, to show my appreciation, orderd both the books that you have authored. Once again, great Job Sam and team!!!

  • Matt McIrvin

    Things I’ll be watching for:

    - Presidential election in: NH, VA, FL, OH, CO. I have personal associations with all of these states except FL, which makes them even more interesting to me. Colorado is puzzling me, since the polls seem to be leaning Obama but early-voting reports suggest a Romney win.

    - Senate contest in Massachusetts, of course; my home state is a safe blue state in presidential elections, but Warren v. Brown has been close and Warren is a national political celebrity at this point. If she wins (she is favored), I’ll be thrilled to have her in the Senate.

    - Ballot questions in Massachusetts (right to repair/death with dignity/medical marijuana).

    - Same-sex-marriage-related ballot questions in Maine, Maryland, Washington state, and Minnesota. The Minnesota one is the grim situation we’ve seen many times before, yet another anti-SSM constitutional amendment in a state that does not already have SSM. The other three, however, would affirmatively legalize same-sex marriage, and all three have a fair shot at passing, though by no means a guaranteed one. Same-sex-marriage opponents like to crow that SSM has never won a popular referendum in the US; while advocates usually deny that a popular vote on marriage rights is a good idea, it’d nevertheless be nice to break that streak.

  • Howie Weiner

    Thanks Dr. Wang for this amazing site! Polls are breaking sharply for the President today. Michelle Obama speaking now in Iowa introducing the President at his last campaign rally of his career. Tomorrow is a big day, the most important election of our lives. Go vote everyone, get everyone to vote and sit back and watch our President win a great victory. An election for the ages!

  • BJL

    Dr. Wang,

    NY Times and WaPo have great election materials. Twitter will also be indispensable.

    Love the site!

  • jharp

    “what you’ll be watching for”

    Virginia.

    And I’ll watch the Ball State Toledo football game whilst waiting.

    I’m really enjoying watching the Mid America Conference.

    And then I’ll be watching to see Richard Mourdock get beat.

  • Richard Vance

    Assuming Iowa stays blue the only interest needed is we need the small EV states of NH, CO, NV. If that happens we don’t need Ohio or VA or FL .

    I’ll be very discouraged if NH goes red as that sets up a harder scenario plus an indication that the turnout enthusiasm for Democrats is poor which bodes poorly for the rest of the swing states.

    • Jay Bryant

      Sam said yesterday that NH is a good early result to use as “a canary in the coal mine” (my words, not Sam’s). I’ll definitely be looking for that result early tomorrow evening.

    • Trim

      @Richard

      Nate Silver mentioned the other day that NH tends to be a bit more volatile and independent in its voting that other states (e.g. PA) due to its strong independent leaning. I do believe that it’ll go Obama, but I think that NH is probably the likely contender for a surprise of the swing states.

  • Michael Levinsohn

    Re: Early Voting

    Some say Romney is actually winning the early vote, by outperforming McCain from ’08, while Obama is underperforming his own ’08 numbers. True?

    Also, how does early voting factor into your poll analysis, if polls are taken after actual voting has started?

  • Greg Benage

    I wonder if they live-blog at the Blaze.

    Yikes.

    • Dylan Wasserman

      You know whats really sad about the way Republicans are acting right now, is that they are already giving up hope. When I see Karl Rove already blaming the election on the hurricane, I know what their internal polls say, O+ 2 – 4. I was hoping for an election win with a reality check for the GOP tomarrow, but I think that may be fantasy. I want the real conservatives back, they wern’t that bad compared to the neocons

  • Hal

    this entire campaign has been one big media fail. I think this is the mainstream media’s “waterloo.” Their need to keep the horse race going by cherry picking polls to further a narrative has become so obvious.

    Ironically, it will the mainstream media, an institution that wingnuts usually rail against for what they consider a left-wing bias, that will be most responsible for conservative disillusionment.

    Today Andrea Mitchell actually said, “If Pennsylvania is in play then this is all over for the President.”

    This kind of captures the disconnect not only the right has from reality but also our mainstream press. They are really really bad at what they do.

    • Dylan Wasserman

      I actually used to believe the liberal bias thing before this election in terms of the media, but now its obvious to me that they just want a tie game. Every day for weeks CNN has a story saying its tied and it drives me crazy. 50 – 47 is not tied, last time I checked that means O+3. Its almost of if they are trying so hard not to be biased toawrds liberals, that they are actually becoming biased the other way.

    • RocketDoctor

      There is a silver lining to the “it is all tied” nonsense in that it makes it more likely that voters who might blow off the long lines or inconvenience if they thought it was a done deal, to actually make sure that they vote.

    • Dylan Wasserman

      Good Point Rocket Doctor. I know down in FL the Voter Supression tactics have had zero effect in terms of voting. In terms of annoying a whole lot of people, oh yea. Rick Scott needs to be recalled, When the people are asking for one measly day of early voting extra because he made the ballot twice as long as it needs to be and he says no without a second thought, it just proves that he could care less about floridians. So much for Public Servant.

    • Doug Griffith

      Exactly right, Hal. The MSM covers the election in the way that attracts the most attention, and therefore, ratings. Thus, the neck-and-neck meme. A wise citizen would no more watch the MSM for accurate election coverage, than he would watch prime-time TV for fulfilling drama.

  • Matt McIrvin

    In 2008, I mostly watched results come in on CNN.com, and, I think, chatted about it on LiveJournal.

    TV coverage of these things drives me crazy from all the ignorant things being said, and I usually don’t watch it.

    • Fred

      I totally stopped watching all tv coverage for the same reason. Same thing, the stupidity and ignorance drove me crazy. Life is too short. Even during the debates I just read updates on the blogs and the selective clips they posted afterwards.

  • Leomund's Tiny Hut

    I’m looking forward to the reaction of the “unskewed polls” website. Hilarity will ensue.

  • R4

    Sam (and Andrew!), thanks so much for all your hard work and dedication these last few months- it’s going to be strange not checking here every few hours after this is all done!

  • PAG

    Great site! I’m interested in your thoughts on Obama’s seemingly small early vote lead relative to 2008. Articles like these (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/11/05/final-early-vote-numbers-suggest-a-very-close-race/ and http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83248.html) have me a little worried, especially in light of the long lines in Democrat-leaning precincts in Ohio.

    • Dylan Wasserman

      I have been wondering this too. There is some good news from the early voting for Obama though. Nevada is in the bag. I saw some numbers earlier on how large of a turnout Romney would need plus the amount of Indy’s he would need and it just wasnt realistic. The other good news is that people like me in Florida, have toughed the lines out and are still voting. I will let you know right now that the lines have very little to do with the days cut, and more to do with the lenth of the ballot. I voted in Tampa and it was 7 pages, President, Senate, House, about 4 others, 3 Supreme Court Justices, 12 Amendments, and 2 other country referendums. Only 1 Amendment has a chance of passing and the Supreme Court thing is ridiculous, tampering with the justices = opening pandoras box. I would imagine it is taking every voter 3 – 6 min longer to fill this thing out, therefore massive lines.

    • mediaglyphic

      Pag, the early voting thing worries me too. Dr. Wang has earlier replied, that he is unsure of what the early vote means. And things have changed a lot in early voting this time from last. I wonder if the lines will be so long on voting day that a lot of Red types won’t have time to vote.

    • Corrupted

      Republicans vote no matter what. They just shifted some of their election day voters to early voters. Democrats are more fickle. As long as their early voter numbers are high (they are higher than 2008 in many battlegrounds), then that is incredibly good news. That means Democrats are getting out and voting, which is all it takes for them to win elections given the demographics in this country.

    • Steve16748

      At the risk of bringing others to doubt him, I declare that I totally agree with Corrupted.

    • RDT

      This is a helpful look at early voting:
      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/11/whos-really-winning-early-voting/264436/

      My take from it is that Obama’s not as far ahead in early voting as in 2008, but its about in line with estimates that he won’t win by as large a margin as in 2008.

  • John Q

    Well, I visited The Blaze post you linked to. Reading the comments on the post was similarly entertaining and depressing – those deluded people get to vote!

    But I did enjoy this suggestion: “If Donald Trump would offer to shave his head for the next 4 years if Romney wins I’m sure he could swing the election.”

  • John B

    Another election cycle, another cycle of obsessive attention to PEC. I don’t pretend to understand the math (history major, lawyer). Dr. Wang, you make it so that math phobic types can understand. Thanks.

  • Dylan Wasserman

    Anyone else here tired of the “Tied Game” story, because I know I am. Silver put it best the other day by saying there was 2 minutes to go and Obama is up by a field goal, except I think that right now Obama is up by a touchdown with 30 seconds left and Romney needs a hail mary to send the game to overtime (recount…that word is freaking me out just typing it)

    • wheelers cat

      Actually they just rounded the clubhouse turn and are pounding down the homestretch and Romney just pulled a suspensory.

    • RocketDoctor

      Go look at Nate’s latest numbers, it is no longer a field goal. It is more like a 10 points. Romney has the ball but with no timeouts. He’ll need to score and then recover an on-side kick.

  • Zmoneygrip

    Talking points memo, daily kos are favorites for live blogging. kos for early voting and AP is still the gold standard for results nationally , kos provides great links to State Newspaper/State media outlets for best individual state results. Basically, camping out a DKos Elections page while watching CNN/Cspan/current tv/PBS and MSNBC and Fox for a heaping helping of schadenfreude

    • Dylan Wasserman

      I think I am going to have to roll with Indecision 2012 with Stewart and Colbert, while having my computer handy too. I am going to need them to keep the mood light. If there are any other gamers on here Halo 4 is out tomarrow, so if you need a mental break from the election stress, the best game to come out in a while will be released.

  • Brian C.

    Sam: you said the EV data glitch is fixed now, but it’s still showing 2.34% as of the 8pm EST update, which I believe is the last automatic update of the day. If there was another update (ran, say, now) would it reflect an MM closer to the 2.8% we were seeing yesterday?

    • Fred

      I believe he is talking about much earlier today when he was showing 303 EV. Actually it happened last night I think.

    • Brian C.

      Oh. Ok.

    • Andrew Ferguson

      the glitch was fixed-up yesterday afternoon. it did not have an effect on the median expected EV (which we report at the top), but could explain the changes in the meta-margin.

  • Ken Camper

    Sam, thank you so very much for all the work you have been doing and helping many of us to stave off the specter of insanity if left to our own devices!
    I’ve shared your site with most of my (congruent) friends and they have been grateful for your site. Kudos!!!

  • scottinnj

    Daily Kos usually has live # and links to the state polling sites. Your milage may vary on their opinions.

    CNN is usually par excellence as to raw data feeds as well, more timely than the NY Times

    • mediaglyphic

      Dr. Wong, the link below is for early voting.
      http://elections.gmu.edu/early_vote_2012.html

      (in answer to your Request for links above).

    • RocketDoctor

      I hate Daily Kos for live blogging anything. They keep flipping diaries and you have to keep refreshing to get new comments.

      I wish a political site had the SBN Nation blogging platform which handles live comments in a much nicer fashion.

    • Joel

      Balloon-juice.com has a cool new liveblogging widget RocketDoctor, you might want to check out. It’s more of a live chat thing, but still pretty neat.

    • RocketDoctor

      thanks Joel, I will!

    • Matt McIrvin

      The live blog/chat on Balloon Juice did a great job during the debates. The site was rendered useless during the first debate, so they switched over to that thing starting with the VP debate, and it was great! I preferred reading the liveblogging to watching the actual debates, which always give me embarrassment-squick.

  • David

    Those comment threads over at the blaze are terrifying. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen people that delusional.

    • wheelers cat

      and yet no one here believes me about red phenotypes.
      >:(

    • Jordan

      Those comments were painful to read. Alternate reality.

    • Fred

      Pretty normal anywhere wingnuts hang out. I never read them but tomorrow is a special day for me. I will be all over the red sites rubbing salt in the wound.

    • Dylan Wasserman

      I really want to rub salt in their wounds, but if Obama wins, they will be in enough pain. They have been banking on this election for 4 years, and they arn’t going to get it plus with the changing demographics of our nation, the GOP may be dying, like the Whigs of the 1800′s. I see the Libertarians taking their spot sooner then later.

    • Andrew

      My thoughts exactly, there are some plenty stupid conspiracy theorists on both sides but those folks are like a hot tub full of the most terrible people you ever met.

    • Daniel

      Have you ever been to http://www.FreeRepublic.com ?

      There’s no group of people more delusional than the “FReepers.” Should Obama win, that’s the site at which I’m going to hang out to indulge in some schadenfreude.

      Here’s a great blog that excerpts the choicest bits of crazy from FreeRepublic.
      http://vikingkitties.blogspot.com/

    • Shawn Huckaby

      I’ve posted once before about supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center; don’t underestimate the potential (hopefully remote) for some very bad events if things play out as the projections here indicate. Bush was reportedly ready to challenge the legitimacy of the 2000 election if it had been the opposite outcome. I can only imagine how much worse it will be for a certain hateful fringe element after marinating in a non-stop echo chamber of Romney-in-a-landslide, save our democracy hysteria. I don’t think their 1st reaction will be, “why have all those people been lying to me?” I
      think it will be more like, “They stole the election!”

      There’s plenty of violent talk already, and Nov. 6th is “National Buy a Gun Day”. I hope and pray that cool heads will prevail no matter what happens, but I do worry…

  • Fred

    I will post so that all the people who gave me heck for questioning the unusual drop can apologize. Tick tock tick tock.

    • Steve16748

      Fred, I gave you heck because you suggested Dr. Wang had an intentional thumb on the scale. That is different than a glitch he was unaware of.

      As for things that could be referenced in the guide I thought Professor Simon Jackman’s chart dump, I think he called it on huffingtonpost.com was excellent, interesting, and informative work on par with your efforts. The chart that draws lines from the 2008 state results to the same state poll averages in 2012 gives visual reassurance that the polls are likely not systematically biased. It also points out that Romney has a particular problem in Ohio. In fact, Ohio this time around is Obama’s rock. It seems a certain politician who at some time or another has said almost everything said let the entire North American auto industry and its jobs go to heck, no government deficit spending for you. Opinion polls suggest the voters of Ohio noticed.

    • Fred

      I didn’t know the site was automated that way. I shouldn’t have to remind you the comments blindly all defended the numbers. As it turns out my suspicions were true. The only thing I was wrong about was Automated (glitch) vs manual (finger on scale)

  • bks

    During the GOP primaries I found that Google was very good for numbers and maps.
    http://www.google.com/elections/ed/us

    For live-blogging, you must go to _The Guardian_. Americans just cannot do justice to American elections like the Brits can. Often hilarious.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/richardadams
    Live blog URL will differ on election eve.

    –bks

  • Dylan Wasserman

    Thanks for all the awesome updates. I was wondering if you had an opinion on all of the early voting data that we have. At first look it seems that the Republicans have made up alot of ground since 2008, but I cant help but think that the there are quite a few Republicans who normally would vote on election day that voted early this time around. Last Election McCain had almost zero early GOTV efforts, so the fact that Obama beat him in early voting so bad really was not that suprising. The Gary Johnson factor will be an interesting one too because with the overall mood about our 2 party system, I wouldnt be shocked if he racked in a few million votes.

  • Kinky Beats

    Sam….I appreciate all of the hard work you and Mr. Ferguson have put into this site. It’s been a place of serenity for me over the last couple of months. To show my appreciation, I’ll be purchasing a copy of “Welcome to Your Child’s Brain”. I’m interested to see what it says about my 18-month old rug rat.

  • Tim

    I’m new to your site. I saw your name in an article and googled you. Excellent site. Very informative. Keep up the good work. Why don’t the right-wing go after you like they do Nate Silver?

    • Anbruch

      because Sam is “criminally underrated.”

    • Dylan Wasserman

      Silver works for the NY Times and Republicans instantly assume he is biased. Dr. Wang though is an academic and attacking education is part of the reason there is so much disdain for the GOP these days. I am a 22 year old student, and Romney/Ryans attitude towards the reforms that Obama has made in the area of education disturb me. They say they are for education, yet are in favor of cutting Pell Grants (which I do not receive, but my girlfriend does), and eliminating the law that allows people who need an education for a field where pay isnt all that great ( Grade School, Environmental Law, etc.) to have their loan repayment be a percentage of their income.

  • B. Phi

    i hope that you prove all the republilcan pundits wrong, and then rub their faces in it. silvers won’t do that, so i hope that you will, prof. wang.

  • Anbruch

    So is it the traffic that broke the site?

    On your queries, I like your suggestion of watching NH. I will also be watching how quickly after polls close the states are being called, which will be a good index to how reliable the networks believe the exit polls to be as well as how large the margins in the exit polls are.

    I will also be watching the spokespeople of the campaigns, who generally have difficulty looking chipper if they believe the night will bring bad news.

  • Alan Houston

    Thanks for your hard work. Your electoral college map predicts 303 electoral votes, which is very possibly right on the nose. But, your chart is showing 309 electoral votes for the President, which is an impossible result. There is no state in play that would boost the President from 303 up to 309.

    But, I am curious…why is the chart so obviously wrong?

    • Anbruch

      I was wondering about this earlier tonight, as I was working through combinations and not finding what the model was giving as its prediction.

    • BrianTH

      FL and CO, but no VA, NH, and one of NV/IA.

      Not particularly likely, but in the middle of the more likely scenarios.

    • Aaron Mayorga

      Probably, because it is an average, and it sometimes the outcome shows the President winning Florida (332) and others were he does not (303), but I could be wrong.

    • Matt McIrvin

      The result at the top is, I believe, a median value, not a mode. Right now, most of the probability is dominated by two spikes corresponding to the obvious maps with Florida going to either Romney or Obama.

      But I think what’s happening is that they’re so equal in height that neither of them captures the median prediction, and it instead falls to some very unlikely scenario in between in which some safer state flips to the unlikely guy, and the remaining wins add up to Obama 309.

    • Neil S

      Half of Florida

    • Martin

      Hey you’re not the A. Houston that used to play for the Knicks are you???

  • Ohio Voter

    Sullivan, for as much grief as I (we) give, is a great live blogging source.

    • E L

      I agree. He write well on the fly and, although he can be overwrought, he is passionate about politics. He really draws me into the event.

    • StratMan

      Another vote for Sullivan in this department. I understand he’ll be live blogging while on TV with Colbert tomorrow night – BONUS.

  • Jon V

    I think 100k of those hits are from me alone… jk, congrats! An excellent site, thank you for all your effort

    • Mike P

      I think another 100k were mine!! Indeed an amazing site – it’s been a pleasure, and such a welcome alternative to the mainstream talking heads, to return here throughout the course of a maddening campaign season.