Princeton Election Consortium

Innovations in democracy since 2004

Outcome: Biden 306 EV (D+1.2% from toss-up), Senate 50 D (D+1.0%)
Nov 3 polls: Biden 342 EV (D+5.3%), Senate 50-55 D (D+3.9%), House control D+4.6%
Moneyball states: President AZ NE-2 NV, Senate MT ME AK, Legislatures KS TX NC

Sunday 9:45am – on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki

October 18th, 2014, 7:21pm by Sam Wang

OK, we rescheduled from last week. The topic tomorrow: elections and poll nerdery. The Senate obviously, but perhaps the House and governorships too. Tune in tomorrow!

…and, here’s the video. It was fun, fairly substantive, I described the incredible power of Iowa voters compared with my puny vote in New Jersey (at the moment, 1 Iowa vote > 100 Jerseyvotes). Best of all, there was hardly any nerdfighting!

Tags: 2014 Election · Senate

11 Comments so far ↓

  • JayBoy2k

    Excellent presentation!! You and Steve were both really good at explaining complex topics in simple English and you fed nicely off of each other. I intended to think of a question to put into this post, but maybr just an observation.
    I believe that there are polls that have D, R, and zero house effects, we just do not know with certainty which are which right now. PEC processes decide that biased polls will tend to bump each other off, and we will be left with a poll in the middle that may have zero bias.
    This works as long as we do not have a bigger set of polls at one extreme versus the other.

    If the 2014 election has a large polling error compared to results, then a few of the polling houses that looked like they were biased compared to other pre-election polling groups, may be able to claim the accuracy prediction prize. Just thinking out loud. Is there a summary of which Polling House was most accurate, say in the 2010 Election?

  • Alex

    Professor Wang,

    Could you make a brief post on the need to pay attention to municipal candidates and choices?

    I voted this morning shortly after polls opened and think this is useful advice, because it confounded me.

    tl;dr not only does your vote count more in a municipal election, it is more likely to lead to significant policies and/or policy changes that match your preferences.

    Unlike state and federal races, local candidates do not have party affiliations, so a straight-party vote will not affect them. Most of the most immediately tangible policies will be on the municipal level: the municipal issues are likelier to actually affect your day-to-day life.

    In addition, state and federal levels have a much more diluted effect thanks to something called checks and balances. Less attention is paid to them, so many may randomly guess (like I did) or skip that part of the ballot altogether.

    Finally, because it is on a local level, there will be less total potential voters, so the smaller denominator works in your favor.

    • Sean Donahue

      Great point Alex. There have been elections locally where a recall candidate had won on the basis of under 50 votes. The impact that a municipal election has is even more important because the ability of that local official to handle daily events as garbage collection, street maintenance and other things that are beneath a house or senate member.

      Even more important when it concerns the races for your state house / senate who in coordination with the Gov can allow voter ID laws to pass.

      I particularly love the local elections here in West Texas because it becomes a race to who is the first to show themselves with a gun, a hat or a ranch fence.

    • Olav Grinde

      Interesting. There is a reason the Koch Brothers have invested heavily in local elections: they get a high return on their investment. Clearly that can work both ways!

  • SFBay

    Just watched the MSNBC clip. Thanks for the clear and unbiased discussion of the current state of polls and predications. While this is a quite suspenseful election, as a more liberal voter I’ll be glad when it’s over. I am spending way too much time being shocked at the lack of knowledge of–in the voting public. It’s enough to make me lose sleep.

  • Joe

    Great job as always Sam, but a question regarding today’s power rankings…GA has flipped to Nunn +1, while polling average sites, including HuffPo still have Perdue ahead by 2. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and whether you believe Nunn can get to 50% on Election day at the rate her vote share seems to be increasing in polling.

  • tfitz


    Nice job with Brooke on CNN. Clearly a brief, ‘get a foot in the door’ interview, but its a start! You even got the governors’ races in.

  • Alan Koczela


    It was informative for such a short piece. I liked the unconditional prediction in the MN race. A bit risky, but I don’t think it will come back to haunt you. It’s good to know your hard work is being rewarded.

  • Juli

    First-time commenter, long-time fan :-)

    I watched and appreciated the MSNBC clip, but as a Minnesotan, I have one request for when you talk about voting here in MN or in other states where the top-ticket races may not be close. Addressing Iowa, you said that MN voters could be most effective by heading to Iowa to GOTV, after first voting “if we want” (I’m paraphrasing) – the idea being that Franken is sure to win. Some of us in MN are concerned about/commmitted to down-ticket races that ARE expected to be very competitive (eg, our Secretary of State race – an open race this year w/a great Democratic candidate without statewide name recognition) and worried that some MN Democrats might feel complacent and stay home. I hope you won’t encourage that in any way (and I know that was not your meaning or intent). Thank you!

  • wendy fleet

    Sam, One IA Vote = A Zillion CA votes?
    I’d love CA/NY/& PA equivs so I can use them on my calls to voters (not IN those states, but so I can tell them HOW impt their vote is — a lot of them have not heard of New Jersey — “What state’s that in?”)

  • securecare

    “…a lot of them have not heard of New Jersey…”

    Now that is scary. Maybe they are putting you on (I hope).

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