Open Thread

The State of Play

I believe that Obama will retain all the Kerry states, including New Hampshire. I also believe he will win Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. Read on to discover how Barack Obama will capture 310 electorial votes against 228 for John McCain.

With the current state of the polls and people’s interpretations of what the polls say is going to happen in 8 weeks varying by a large amount, I thought I would state just what is required to win in November, and what I personally believe will happen.

The Numbers

The results in 2004 were Kerry 251, Bush 286. The states that Obama can possibly take from McCain according to the polls are Colorado (9), Florida (27), Indiana (11), Iowa (7), Missouri (11), Montana (3), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15), North Dakota (3), Nevada (5), Ohio (20), South Dakota (3) and Virginia (13). The states McCain can possibly take are Michigan (17), New Hampshire (4), Pennsylvania (21) and Wisconsin (10).

This gives Obama and McCain absolute maximums of 383 and 338 respectively.

Now to be more realistic about the candidate’s chances, the only state that McCain can reasonably believe he can take is New Hampshire. Obama on the other hand is almost guaranteed Iowa, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia are all very much in play.

This means that Obama’s likely maximum is 333 while McCain’s is 290.

Barack Obama needs 19 electoral votes more than Kerry to win, or 23 if McCain takes New Hampshire.

Oletko pystynyt nauttimaan reissuista samalla lailla kuin ennenkin tai onko pitänyt jättää jokin reissu tekemättä. Yhdessä nämä haittavaikutukset useimmiten eivät vaikeuta työtä, joten luultavasti tulee olemaan paikka, verkkosivusto johon ensin huomaat ne. Ei ole mun juttu vetää kloorin hajuista kemikaalia.”.

By GhostWhoVotes

An Australian political observer.

542 replies on “The State of Play”

Hey all!
Does anyone else watch THE VIEW on Channel 9 at 12PM(weekdays)?
They have a good discussion on the election/U.S politics every day, and the vast majority of the ladies are Democrats, only one Republican on the panel! Whoopi Goldberg is the host!

I wonder if Sarah Palin will come on their show?
The Republicans are certainly shielding her from too much scrutiny.

Chris B at 344, and others,

On the sampling issue, I suggest that you read Nate on fivethirtyeight.

No pollster rigs their data. All they do is randomly sample, and then publish the raw numbers – including the number of Republicans and Democrats. As it is a random sample, sometimes they will get more Republicans than there are; sometimes they will get more Democrats than there are. Over time, and across multiple polling companies, these random samples will even out to reflect the US population. That is why the RCP average is so useful – it smooths out these kinds of things.

In state polling, with lower sample sizes, the margins of error are obviously greater. Again, that is why using an average of polls is a very good idea, as they reduce this.

Rasmussen is an interesting exception. They continually survey to work out what percentage of the US are Republican, Democrat or Independent. Then when they poll they weight the replies according to those numbers. In other words, if there surveys are showing them that there are 40 per cent Democrats, 30 per cent Republicans and 30 per cent Independent, and they do a poll that gives them 40/40/20, they weight the Democrat and Independent responses more than the Republican ones.

What this all means is that any individual poll may be suspect, because it is randomly sampled. But over time we build up an accurate picture. When you add to that the fact that Rasmussen weights according to known party identification figures – they would agree with 11 million more Democrats – we can have relative confidence that the polling is indeed giving us an accurate picture of what is happening in the electorate.

There is no conspiracy going on here, despite all the fantasies. Sorry.

“Like all polling firms, Rasmussen Reports weights its data to reflect the population at large. Among other targets, Rasmussen Reports weights data by political party affiliation using a dynamic weighting process. Our baseline targets are established based upon survey interviews with a sample of adults nationwide completed during the preceding three months (a total of 45,000 interviews). For September, the targets are 39.7% Democrat, 32.1% Republican, and 28.2% unaffiliated (see party trends and analysis). For the month of August, the targets were 40.6% Democrat, 31.6% Republican, and 27.8% unaffiliated. ”

From Rasmussen.

416 David Gould There are 11 million more Democrats than Republicans. They do not take this into account.

Nationwide, there are about 42 million registered Democrats and about 31 million Republicans, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.Nationwide, there are about 42 million registered Democrats and about 31 million Republicans, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.Nationwide, there are about 42 million registered Democrats and about 31 million Republicans, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.

That’s why the polls are wrong.

Chris B,

Rasmussen does. Look at the percentages from Rasmussen that I just quoted.

Further, as I said, all other polls are random samples. As such, over time they will show the correct numbers. Any single poll is going to be in error. An aggregate of them will not be.

For example, let us say that the population is 40, 30, 30 for D, R and I. And let us say that the population is splitting 52 to 48 for Obama.

If we randomly sample 1000 people, the poll will be within around three per cent of the correct result 95 per cent of the time – for both party identification and voting intention.

Seems like Turdblossoms protege is reading Jezebel!

If there’s one good thing to come from this new obsession, it’s this: clearly someone in the McCain camp — I’m guessing Tucker Bounds — is reading Jezebel. How do I know this? Well, in this morning’s edition of Crappy Hour, Megan Carpentier joked:

Anyway, what I want to know is how come since Obama’s next line was about stinky rotten fish, no former female Massachusetts governor is calling out Obama for making inappropriate comments about the smell of Sarah Palin’s vagina? Huh, Jane Swift? Did you miss that? Because I really think commenting on vaginal odor is, like, totally worse than saying she looks pig-like, not that he said that either but if this is taking-fake-offense day, that’s the fake offense I’m taking.
When I read this earlier, I thought to myself, “Ha ha! Good one, Megan! That would indeed be THE STUPIDEST THING IN THE WORLD.” But I’m not laughing anymore! Because “fish in a wrapper” is precisely the fake offense the McCain camp is faking being offended by now!

The mean spirited McShame party intends to cage black voters in Michigan who have been foreclosed on.

Lose your house-Lose your vote

“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed

only if they are really married – as in, none of that fake same-sex kind of marriage like Ellen and Portia. And only if they go to church and are fit to raise the nippers in the One True Faith. Otherwise, can’t see a problem.

430 Enemy Combatant It’s interesting to note that the polls are saying one thing and the cartoons are saying exactly the opposite. If you read into them.

Chris at 431:
“It’s interesting to note that the polls are saying one thing and the cartoons are saying exactly the opposite.”

Chris, I’m biased mate. Only put the occasional right wing ‘toony in if it’s a really good cartoon. In such instances, expertise in the artform transcends one’s political preference. With a few notable exceptions, most RW cartoonists lack wit.
Unlike Drill Baby Yup-Yup, all my cartoons are thoroughly vetted and in a selection process as fussy as John West’s, a lot of “fish” are rejected. They are them summararily shredded at my cyber-staion, then disseminated via the inter-tubes as downscale troll fodder:)

Edward Norton and Elliot Gould in a scene from American History X.

Attitudes held by the Norton character are endemic in the Appalachians and The South. “Deer Hunting for Jesus” territory like Virginia was always going to be a tall order for a candidate propagandistically perceived as slighting them for “clinging to guns and religion”. Not impossible, just a hard ask.

This election will be won in the West where bigotry is not as entrenched as in States that bought The Imbecile in 04:
IA (7 ECVs)
NM (5ECVs)
CO (9ECVs)

The Kid will need to defend hard in MI, MN, WI, WA and OR. He has the ground game to do it , except in MI due to the primaries fiasco. Expect Barry’s Michigan TV ads to be on high rotation and expect a surge in his personal appearances. He spent a good deal of yesterday in MI.

After Drill Baby Yup-Yup makes her first couple of mega-gaffes and as her past begins to unfurl into the national conversation, there will be Ads.

A Colorado night-fill manager and family are motoring along a scenic Rocky Mountain road on their way to Sunday church. The driver flicks on the radio……

(Woman’s voice; Mid-Western working class accent, deeply concerned but not whiney):

Can America afford to have Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from The Presidency?

We’ve lived through eight years of Bush/Cheney Republicanism….

McCain/ Palin are offering nothing but more of the same.

(Man’s voice; cowboy accent, firm measured):

Enough is Enough!

For eight long years John McCain voted 90% with George Bush and America is broken!

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will put America back together again.


I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message

Just as a matter of interest, what were the polls saying about Bush/Kerry 2 months out from the 04 election? If I remember rightly Kerry was a mile (well….around 10 points) in front.

Thanks Cat. According to those figures, the impact of the swiftboaters is debateable. Other than that, what these figures tell us is that looking at figures this far out tells us very little at all.

So I see the “lipstick” comment has now become a controversy. Anyone who thinks this was a gaffe by Obama rather than a deliberate comment is kidding themselves. It was a great way to make his point and the attention he has gotten proves that. More, please!!!

Andrew at 439

Anyone who thinks this was a gaffe by Obama rather than a deliberate comment is kidding themselves.

I agree. The word “lipstick” is now synonymous with “pig” which in turn is synonymous with “Bush”, the “Republican Party”, “McCain” and “Palin”. It’s brilliant!


Info on the Obama Campaign thinking on Hillary/Palin ..

Here’s the deal. The Obama campaign is in the driver’s seat on this kind of stuff. I’m told reliably by people in both the Obama and Clinton camps that there were discussions this weekend — in advance of Hillary’s appearance on Monday — on how to proceed. Both Obama and Hillary advisers were in agreement that having Hillary personally attack Palin would result in a distraction and media circus that would create more problems than it would solve and would take the focus off McCain and the issues.

I was thinking last night that Jon Stewart picked a hell of a time to go on holiday. This lipstick on a pig thing is comedy gold. Luckily we have EC to fill the void. 🙂

And who is this “White Women” voter block???
Does it include:
Women under 50?.
Atheist White women?
Women who Run with the Wolves (instead of shooting them from planes?)
Women Who Detest Republicans?
Women who Wouldn’t Vote for Hillary Just Because She’s a woman But Who would Give Her Their Preference any Day Over Sarah Palin?
Women Who Love Their Kids And Therefore Don’t Want Them To witness The Senseless slaughtering Of Wildlife?
Women who Think Abortion Is Sad But Don’t Think Every Act Of Unprotected Sex should Result In 25 Years Of Parenting, espacially If You Are 16?
Women Who Think We Should Protect the Wilderness areas Left To Us and Lessen Our Dependancvy On OIL?
Women Who Would Rather Die Than Send Their Child To A Senseless Immoral War?

and…(most importantly)
Women Who love George Clooney???
If that’s Sarah – she’s got my vote.

Actually, she hasn’t because I can’t vote in the US election. So I’ll give it to Pauline in her honour.

A rather pointer article over on the Huffington Post:
While Rome Burned…They Talked About Lipstick

Some key points about what is actually happening in the real world:
* U.S. global leadership is dwindling
* Market diving, another massive bank may collapse
* Fear of violence, terrorism slows Iraq withdrawal
* Iraqi parliament gridlocked
* Economy weakening
* On 9/11 anniversary, aviation still vulnerable
* Unemployment rising
* Federal deficit ballooning
* U.S. ‘running out of time’ in Afghanistan
* Military suicides reaching record levels
* U.S.-Russia relations worsening
* OPEC trying to prevent oil prices from falling

433 Enemy Combatant. Your biased? Well, I never.
I assume you mean by that, that there are a lot more cartoons the other way.

This is why the Democrats are going to clean up big time.

For the next month, the Obama campaign’s ground focus is on finishing up the stunning gains in voter registration that it and the Democratic Party have made. Since January alone more than 3.5 million new voters have been registered in 17 of the 23 states tracked closely by the Obama campaign where information is available. Three states — Florida, Michigan and North Carolina — have seen increases of more than 400,000 new voters, and 10 more states have recorded new registrations of more than 100,000. Though these numbers include registrants to all parties, in 14 of the states at least half of the new voters are under 35, a key demographic for Obama.

Hillary lost because she under estimated the enrollment of new voters, the same way David is under estimating them.

Underestimating a surge of new voters was, in some ways, Hillary Clinton’s downfall in the primaries. In Iowa, the Clinton campaign expected 150,000 people to caucus, but they came in third place when more than 230,000 people ultimately participated.

EC just in case you haven’t picked it up, I a biased too. 😈

Morning all –

Analysis of the state of play in Philadelphia

But a new Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday shows that Mr. Obama’s lead over Mr. McCain in Pennsylvania has shrunk to three percentage points (48-45) from seven percentage points on Aug. 26. (The sampling was taken Sept. 5-9 of 1,001 likely Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, making the results statistically a dead heat.)

Mr. McCain has narrowed the gap in Pennsylvania by wiping out Mr. Obama’s lead among independent voters, said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Mr. Obama still holds a three-point edge “by convincing previously uncommitted Hillary Clinton primary voters and Catholics to move into his camp — the Catholics perhaps because of some help from running mate Joe Biden, a Catholic from Scranton,” Mr. Richards said.

Catrina @ 453

As an avid watcher of Colbert and the Daily Show, I think Mike Huckabee is a very likeable person – a decent guy with his heart in the right place, even if he has weird religious views.

Colbert commented recently that he should have been the VP candidate, because despite wanting to change the Constitution to make it reflect Christian principles, everyone still liked him.

And he’s been very funny on those shows.

Chris B,

The polls take into account people who are already signed up, for Pete’s sake. Obviously, they cannot predict the numbers of people who will sign up in the future.

Seriously, what about the Rasmussen analysis, which shows that the Democrats have millions more registered than the Republicans, do you disagree with?

Fukuda resignation shakes up Japan’s ruling party.

Over the past 20 years, Japan has had 13 prime ministers. In a pattern rarely seen outside the communist world, individual leaders have come and gone, but the ruling party has remained the same.

Now, Japan is once again looking for a leader, its third in two years. But this time, the party could be in trouble, too.

Unable to deal with inconclusive battles in parliament, chronically low support ratings and repeated beatings from a surging opposition, Japan’s last two prime ministers have simply thrown in the towel — raising questions over whether Japan’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party still has the stomach for leadership.

A defeat for the conservative government here would be almost as big as a clean sweep for Obama.

CIA launches offensive against Al Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan.

The CIA is launching a major blitz into Pakistan against top Al Qaeda and Taliban targets as the U.S. death toll in neighboring Afghanistan reached an all-time high.

Two G.I.s were slain in Afghanistan Wednesday, bringing the total to 113, plus 101 other foreign troops who have died. Last year’s U.S. death toll was 111.

To beat back Al Qaeda and an resurgent Taliban, the CIA has unleashed a series of missile strikes by unmanned drones in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt.

“When you hit the Haqqanis, what you hope for is a phone call from a grieving relative to somebody else you want to kill,” said Al Qaeda expert Peter Bergen.

The “signals intelligence” intercepts “lead you to the next target,” said Bergen, who once interviewed Osama Bin Laden.

Who’s the guy in front of Sarah Palin’s face in the ABC interview?

In addition to its much-touted broadcast interview with Sarah Palin, ABC News posted several excerpts from Charles Gibson’s interview online, including an uncut shot of Palin in profile as the interview begins. In the TV version, this particular camera angle — the viewer can barely see Palin’s face, and her body language looks ever so slightly constricted — is only partly used.

Analysis: McCain’s claims skirt facts, test voters.

John McCain’s campaign keeps telling voters that Sarah Palin opposed a federally funded Bridge to Nowhere that, in fact, she originally supported. It accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen.

Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain’s skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Barack Obama’s campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.

That voter reaction could help determine who wins this presidential election and influence the strategies of future campaigns.

kerneels at 486

Sent him an email just the other day asking for his input on his obituary. He sent me an email back suggesting we hold off from that for the moment. Seems like a slight fever has knocked him about a bit. I.e. down but not out.

Ex-Sen. Chafee, Member of ‘Republicans for Obama,’ Calls Palin a ‘Cocky Wacko’

Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-RI, called Sen. John McCain’s running mate a “cocky wacko” at an event in Washington, DC, earlier today, the AP reports.

Chafee said that Palin’s speech at the GOP convention energized Democrats. “People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, ‘I just sent money to Obama, I couldn’t sleep last night’ — from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there.

The audience at the liberal New America Foundation reportedly laughed.

Ferny Grover

Sarah Palin says she’s ready to be President

Did you read that drivel?… can somebody tell me what the f#(k blinking has to do with anything?

Spam Inbox at 475

I hope your not suggesting the the American media is anything less than a hard hitting, fact based, in depth, critical instrument of American free speech and democratic process.

Back to the 11 million more voters that the Democrats have over the Repugs.

I think the truth or Barack’s true representation, lies somewhere in the middle. I think Obama has a natural 5-8% lead out of the 15% Democratic cushion (+11 million out of 73million Dems, Repubs while splitting Indies). You may think his cushion is a little bit more or less (if you feel he has one at all). That’s what I think. But if you follow these polls closely, it almost seems they cycle party ID regularly as if on a whim or some periodic schedule.

This figure must be underestimated because… only 26 states have registration data.

Among the 26 states with registration data, the share who have signed on with Democrats has risen in 15 states since 2004, and the percentage for Republicans has risen in six, according to state data.

So if the polls are right as of now, Obama must have started well behind John Kerry’s 2004 figures. Yeah right.

That’s three, very negative stories in a row from MSNBC. They are developing some backbone. Wonder how long before the others start?

MSNBC have always been pro-Obama, though. That was what all the controversy was about. It makes me wonder how FOX survives being pro-McCain, when any news agency pro-Obama ends up running into problems. Is it because the right are more organised than the left in the US? Are the right’s lobby groups simply slicker than the left’s?

If, unlike me, you have any money, now is the time to buy contracts on Obama to win on Intrade. When the McCain bounce peters out next week – Tuesday, our time, is my pick for Obama to have a firm lead – the Intrade number will zoom back up again.

Intrade has already begun to move back towards Obama in the last few hours. It was neck and neck yesterday.

I know the mention of the name will give some of you nightmares but…Whatever happened tro Ralph Nader??

The polls are a bounce at the moment, Chris. What you need to do is compare Obama being 2-3 points up in the polls (which is where he will soon be, and probably a touch higher) with Kerry. Kerry lost by 2 per cent out of 120 million votes, which is a loss by 2.4 million. If we change the figure to around 130 million voters – there will likely be larger turnout this time – and, then Obama being 2.6 per cent in front gives him a 3.4 million lead in the popular vote, a turnaround of 5.8 million votes.

Bush won by two per cent of the vote, and one state.

Obama winning by 2.6 per cent, or a little more – my prediction is by a bit over three per cent – fits nicely with my two state prediction.

Indeed, if we look at an even swing of five per cent across the electoral college, there are only four states that are within reach for Obama that are not in my projection – Florida, Virginia, Arizona and Missouri. It is obvious why Arizona can be ruled out of contention.

Virginia is very close, and my model puts it on a knife’s edge, just giving the coin flip to McCain.

As for Florida and Missouri, they seem to be defying the trend. But given Obama’s large gains in solid red and solid blue states, some states must defy the trend.

The lipstick on a pig has helped Obama, I think. Palin has gone from the pitbull with lipstick to little red riding hood, pursued by the big bad wolves.

I like this comment on HuffPost about the republicans using political correctness to defend Palin.

“…there may have been good ways to take shots at Obama over the “lipstick on a pig” comment. But the Republicans are coming across as whiny grievance-mongers. Don’t they realize that this harping on ambiguous slights is what people hate about political correctness? It was bad enough when liberals were trying to destroy Palin. Now Republicans are trashing her brand. They’re undermining the basis of her appeal as a different, tougher kind of female politician. Today has been worse than wasted.”

I think the talented, clean-living young candidate needs to keep knuckling up to the old man and the hokey mom.


I have to disagree. Any minute of the campaign that is not spent talking about the economy is a victory for the Republican campaign. Spending even more time on this Obama versus Palin thing is a very bad thing for Obama. He cannot win in a fight with a vice-presidential candidate. Palin has completely dominated the news for two weeks now. There are only 8 weeks to go. It has to stop.

David, you seem to have the impression that Americans are interested in real issues when they are showing every indication of being a nation in complete denial.

Not saying that he shouldn’t keep talking about the economy, David. The economy is Obama’s strong point, but there are many ways of talking about the economy. Obama spends hours everyday talking about the economy and none of it gets to the eyes or ears of voters, outside of the rent-a-crowds, because it’s dry, boring policy talk. He’s not a lecturer, he’s a politician. He needs to be less Steve Erkel and more Chris Rock.

Not saying it’s right, just saying how it is.

Ferny Grover,

They are not interested in economic policy abstracts. But they are interested in how much money they have in their pocket. People generally vote their economic self-interest.

In other words, if I am unemployed in Ohio, but I passionately oppose abortion, I am still more likely to vote for Obama rather than Palin.

Someone made an earlier comment about the SwiftBoating of Kerry starting in the last two weeks of the election campaign.

The SwiftBoating – ie, ads run by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth – of Kerry actually took place during August.

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