The Liberal Crab’s Poll of “Poll of Polls” – 02 November 2008

Popular Vote

Obama – 51.1% +6%

McCain – 45%

Electoral College

Obama – 352

McCain – 186

Well, the most obvious thing to notice over the last two days is the increase in support for both candidates.  This makes sense as you’d expect some of the undecideds to quickly begin focusing in on their choice.  While the movement was nominal away from the undecided column (only .5%), the perceived trends continues with McCain picking up a larger share of that support.  McCain picked up 67% of the undecideds after picking up 56% yesterday.  Keep in mind, with the minimal reduction of undecideds (pool for analysis is small), the support will fluctuate.  Based on the latest polls and analysis, my election day prediction is that Obama will garner 50.7%, McCain 44.3%, Barr/Nader 5%.  The best news is even if the undecideds break to McCain, Obama’s continued ability to remain over 50% really means that the undecideds will not affect the popular vote winner.  Keep in mind, the biggest flaws in the polls is that they continue to measure against a two candidate race.   The third parties will garner 3-5% of the vote overall.  I continue to believe Barr is a more serious threat to McCain than Nader is to Obama.  The Real Clear Politics averages back that theory up.  I supect there will be a net -1% affect to McCain.  McCain’s got one day to make up 6%.  I do not think that’s going to happen.

Looking at the Electoral College, Obama lost a little support for the seventh of eight days.  All pollsters remained relatively stable except for  Nate Silver reduced his estimate from 344 down to 332.  However, based on the latest polls and projections and some analysis I’ve done via, I believe the final Electoral total will be much closer than most aggregators are predicting.  My final count now is Obama 291, McCain 247.  Why the big change from yesterday?  I’ve moved Ohio and Florida back to McCain.  Remember yesterday when my gut told me that those may not go for Obama?  Well after further analysis and thought, I believe they will be going to McCain.  I had a good conversation back and forth with Sam Wang from The Princeton via his comments section today.  I pointed to the fact that these aggregate models are great, but too much focus is put on the quantitative aspects and not enough on the qualitative.  I’d like to think to get ahead of curve here because we’ve been able to put an analytical spin on the metrics.  This is the same methodology I use in my ‘day job’ to analysis Earned Value metrics.  These candidate polls are all lagging indicators, I’ve always believed you need a little qualitative input to determine where things are going, when you are predicting the future.  This decision was as much a quantitative as qualitative.  Why did I make this change?  First, the polls have been closing (some rapidly).  In fact, if you turn up the sensitivity on the models from Pollster, the margins are very close.  These states all went to Bush in 2004 and there is very little to show that these statistically insignificant leads will hold up for Obama.  He may win one of them, but I am going to be conservative in my estimates.  I also have questions with Virgina, as those polls have been closing too.  However, there still a statistically significant lead for Obama and when pairing down the polls to the four or five with the best rep (leaving out Zogby), his lead is maintained.  If you were to take Virginia away, Obama would still be at 278 over the 270 he needs.  None of the other states appear to even be close.  Of course, McCain continues to play hard in Pennsylvania and the polls are tightening.  The difference in Pennsylvania and why I am not nearly as nervous, is Obama’s support is still at 51% and McCain has not been able to chip away from that number.  McCain is picking up undecideds.  He can pick up all the undecideds and still fall short.

Two final points.  First, I come from the school of being conservative.  The point is to understand the chances that a particular candidate will win.  This is a safe projection of the final tally.  Why give Obama the benefit of the doubt in states that went to Bush in the last two elections, the polls have been closing, and we don’t know how a ‘Bradley Effect’ may affect the vote.  Second, if Obama wins by the 6% projected here and in other polls, he will probably garner a lot more than the 291 EV’s.  I still believe there is a slight disconnect between the popular vote and Electoral College.  I tend to think the popular vote might be closer.  I didn’t move my estimates, though, because there is no data to suggest the national polls are wrong. Again, if they are right, then Obama will probably clear 300 EV’s.


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