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The Suddenly Exciting Presidential Election

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    NOTE: I wrote this two weeks ago, and things have changed quite a bit. Notably, Romney pretty much saw his numbers flip in Florida, from being an underdog to being the favorite. When it looked like he was going to lose Florida, it was vitually impossible to win the election. Now, with his projected odds of about 2 in 3, while he's still the underdog in the race, his outlook went from being fairly hopeless to genuinely contending. I'm not going to go through and completely edit the post below, but just pointing out things have changed.

    OK, maybe that distinction goes to the 1984 Reagan/Mondale election. But really, this is so anti-climatic especailly considering what we had going on in 2008. The presidential debates start this week, but I'm left to wonder if that will even matter? It seems that nothing that has taken place in the last several months has been able to move the needle much in terms of voter preference. I'd wager about 90% of the populace fall into one of three categories: 1) Will vote for Obama no matter what 2) Will vote for Obama because Romney is a below average presidential candidate or 3) Will vote for anyone who isn't named Barack Obama.

    It's because of those factors that no matter what has happened in the race thus far, we haven't seen much movement at all in the polls. It's obviously not possible for Obama and Romney to cease to be Obama and Romney, and it seems like most of their support (regardless of which side we're talking about) is about how you feel about each candidate as a person - not specifically what that candidate stands for or what his platform happens to be.

    The one bad point about that from Romney's camp is that there doesn't seem any means of changing the status quo, and the status quo certainly put him in a position where he's most likely going to lose. Not that Obama has been exactly killing it in the polls himself - most of them put him at around a 3-4 point advantage, so right around the margin of error within the polls. (It should be pointed out though that the margin for error is +/-, so if you're thinking maybe the race is actually tied, it's just as likely that Obama is really up by 7 or 8 points.)

    That said though, Obama does seem to hold a more substantial advantage in the electoral college. which is why 538 projects Obama with an 85% chance to win. The thinking behind that projection involves a computer model that runs 25,000 simulations a day, but the basic premise is pretty simple. First thing you do is you look at all of the states where one candidate has a 95% or greater chance of victory and call those states "safe" for that candidate. Adding up those electoral votes you come up with Obama 237, Romney 178. You need 270 electoral votes to win.

    The states that don't meet the 95% confidence criteria account for 123 electoral votes. Alphabetically they are:

    Colorado (9)
    Florida (29)
    Iowa (6)
    Missouri (10)
    Montana (3)
    Nevada (6)
    New Hampshire (4)
    North Carolina (15)
    Ohio (18)
    Virginia (13)
    Wisconsin (10)

    And that's why things look rather bleak for Mr. Romney right now. The only states on that list where Romney has a lead in state polls are Missouri, Montana, and North Carolina. If we put those in Romney's column, his total rises to 206. But it's hard to see where the other 64 are going to come from. In the past few elections, it's been all about Florida and Ohio. They are still important in this election as well, but the difference here is that Romney pretty much has to win both of them to have any reasonable chance at winning the election.

    If Obama wins Florida, Romney's goose is pretty much cooked. Florida, combined with any other state on that list (even just 4 from New Hampshire), and Obama wins. It's hard to envision a scenario where Obama wins a very tight race in Florida, and loses every other swing state, some of which he has a 90% projected chance at victory.

    But winning Florida for Romney isn't nearly enough if he loses Ohio (Romney is a slight underdog in Florida - 30% projected chance at victory, but a significant underdog in Ohio - 15% chance of victory). If Obama loses Florida and wins Ohio, there are still all sorts of ways for him to win the election. Virginia and New Hampshire works and losing all the rest on the list. Wisconsin and Iowa work while losing the rest of the list. Or winning Colorado and Nevada and losing the rest of the list.

    All of those scenarios result in an Obama victory, and that's just three examples. Mixing and matching those combinations above give you a whole bunch of possibilities, but I deliberately chose my examples because you tend to see regional similarities in elections. For example, it's somewhat plausible for Obama to win Wisconsin and lose Iowa, but he almost certainly wouldn't win Iowa and lose Wisconsin (the voters are similar in many ways, but Obama has a sginifcantly larger lead in the Wisconsin polls). It's also implausible to envision Obama winning Colorado while simultaneously losing Nevada.

    But even if Romney pulls out Ohio and Florida, he still has work to do. Wins by Obama in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada give him a victory in that scenario, which means Romney also wins Virginia, and still loses the election. And that's why I feel this campaign isn't particularly inspiring. It doesn't even begin to get interesting unless Romney starts making a push in the polls in both Ohio and Florida. It looks like this is Obama's election to lose. It seems like Obama would have to make a big gaffe in one of the debates, and have some crisis not of his making strike in the next month or so to lose at this point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  2. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    My Facebook news feed seems to be jam packed with anti-Obama cartoons. If I was to base my forecast purely on that, it would seem that Romney is going to win by a landslide. Unless Facebook isn't a scientific way of predicting elections. Which surely can't be true.
     
  3. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    As I have said before, if Romney wins this election I'll eat my hat and the hats of every SP member.
     
  4. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Were the other elections exciting?
     
  5. Susipaisti

    Susipaisti Maybe if I just sleep... Veteran

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    Are you friends with Snook?
     
    Death Rabbit likes this.
  6. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Great, now I have to buy a really big hat.

    Am I being stalked by Susipaisti??
     
  7. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    In comparison with this election yes. I tried to find out what the Republican agenda is and all I could track down is that Obama is evil, it is alright to beat up gay Marines who have fought for our country and that rape is no big deal.

    So far the most exciting things I have heard were at the Democratic Convention; Clinton's speech was good and a couple of the women made good speeches.
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Perhaps they didn't rise to a standard of "positively riveting", but they certainly were at least more interesting to follow than this. Truth be told, this election (IMO) is even less exciting that the one in 2004. At least there were periods leading up to the election when Kerry lead in the polls. (In fact he held his biggest lead in the polls immediately after the first debate - hmmm.... that sounds familiar....)

    Anyway, everything I wrote in the OP stands - Romney needs to draw in inside straight. (And just as a disclaimer for the repeated poker references, I'm not a fan of Texas Hold'Em, even though I have played thousands - if not tens of thousands of hands of poker in my life. If I'm playing that kind of poker game, I'll take Omaha over Hold'Em any day of the week.)
     
  9. Susipaisti

    Susipaisti Maybe if I just sleep... Veteran

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    You know we're meant for each other. Don't fight it.
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Well, things have certainly tightened up. Obama is still a 2-1 favorite, but now his projected chance of winning has dropped from 85% to about 65%. And there is one very specific reason for this: Romney is ahead in the polling in Florida. As I stated in the OP, there aren't too many ways for Romney to win the election, but all involve him winning Florida. So we can say that Romney looks well on his way of accomplishing the first necessary step in forging a comeback.

    His lead has also grown in the polls in Montana, Missouri, and North Carolina - all three are looking very safe for him. The polling in Colorado and Virginia indicates a true tossup in each of those states, and who is "ahead" is more a function of which poll you read. Those are pretty much dead even.

    Obama still holds substantial, but not insurmountable leads in Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa. And that combination is plenty enough for him to win re-election. The downside here is that if he loses Florida, Virginia, and Colorado, then his margin for error becomes a lot less. In that scenario, he needs to win most of those that he is currently ahead. In fact, he can't afford to lose more than one of those and win the election, and the one he loses can't be Ohio.

    It's by no means time to push the panic button on the Obama campaign, but the last two weeks haven't been anything short of very good for Romney.
     
  11. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I am watching the complete second debate on Youtube now.

    This is not a debate. This is two cd's on repeat. Terrible.

    Obama: means best, but is not powerfull enough to push trough the walls.
    Romney: means just a bit less. Pulls up walls. Lies.

    I favour Obama so you can say my opinion is biased.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  12. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I have seen a few polls recently, and I'm surprised how well the Romney team has been doing in the last week or so - even a bit confused. It is not so shocking that they had a major bump in the first debate, but I expected it to wane somewhat with the VP and second debates. Instead, it seems they are leading in a lot of key states, and I don't see any other major hits they made or big blunders by the Obama campaign, unless it's all the follow-up of the Benghazi attack.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  13. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Shaman,

    One rather odd thing about polling is that it isn't done in real time. Generally speaking it takes about a week after something happens for it to be polled, processed, and released by any of the major polling firms. So the numbers in the polls today aren't really what the voters answered today or yesterday - it's what they answered last week. So there is a built in lag time with the polls. It's most obvious during the party conventions, where you see a big bounce in numbers the week after the convention is over.

    Some people are saying that Obama didn't get any bounce from the second debate, and while that very well may be true, we can't conclude that he hasn't simply because his numbers haven't improved in the polls yet. All of the polling you have seen released in the last couple of days since the debate was from data gathered prior to the debate taking place. Any effect of a bounce from the second debate won't be shown in the polls until next week.
     
  14. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Couldn't really watch the last debate. Before it started, I decided that I would watch until I started yelling at the screen for them to actually answer the question asked. Needless to say, it didn't last very long for me.
     
  15. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Can someone explain to me why Romney's statement about "binders of women" is so hysterical to Obama supporters? I'm wondering if they don't know that a binder is just a notebook and in this case he was talking about stacks of resumes and recommendations he received for women suitable to join his Cabinet. I just don't get it.
     
  16. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The "Notebook of Binders" comes from his Governor days Snook. Women's Lib groups shoved them down his throat in order to get him to bring women into his political machine in Mass. They're pointing out that his disconnect to women back then and are now trying to connect it to show he is still the same way.

    Not saying that I agree with the internet junkies who are playing it for all it's worth. It's pretty silly to be honest. But, in today's world, when either side makes a comment that can be taken in various ways, the opposition always jumps on it. You should know all of this already...;)
     
  17. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I did a Google search and found this:

    CNN Link

    Seems to demonstrate this woman's viewpoint with a Democratic slant, so I suspect this is as good an answer as any to your question.

    I think the comment sounds worse than he meant it, but the implication of the "binder" comment is to somewhat dehumanize women and, specifically in the context of his statement, almost give it a mail order bride sort of feeling.

    That last bit is, of course, just my opinion on the issue.
     
  18. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I have to say that I disagree with the name of this thread, IF the IP is insinuating that it is actually less exciting than the previous 5 or 6 elections let alone "ever". This election could be more important than any other in recent history. We are still in a economic postion of possible future recession. The winner of this election will be impactful. The election of Bush was the complete opposite when looking at it from an economic slant as we had a ton of loot in our backpacks...
     
  19. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Wow, that couldn't be further from the truth. It was Romney who asked for a list of qualified women as he was the one who wanted to get more women in his cabinet. Good Grief!
     
  20. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Hmm, still seems pretty unexciting to me.
     
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