Intrade Predictions

For those not familiar, there is a website (actually a few of them) that is a cross between the stock market and a gambling website.  It’s called Intrade.  Basically, the way it works is they are an electronic exchange for buying and selling shares of different events.  One event that is particularly popular is the Presidential Election.  The site shows how ‘trading’ is going at the Electoral College level and the popular vote.  Obama is ahead 364/174 in Electoral Votes and a 93% chance of winning.

I really like this site as an indicator how the election is going.  It’s been a place I’ve turned all election season for a calibration of the races.  What I really like is the agreement between ‘investors’ to find the equilibrium in the chances of a candidate winning a state.  I believe investors are probably the most accurate predictors of the future outcome and the significant number of investors should do a good job of focusing to a reasonable percentage.  In fact, some of the aggregate pollsters use the results of Intrade to help determine the outcome of their polls.

The stock market sensitivity to events is usually extremely fine and relatively accurate as to where the economy or world events are going.  The Electronic Market extension (as is Intrade is considered) is a great way for cutting through Parisian rhetoric and getting to a real idea as to where the election stands.  I don’t have the stats from four years ago, but I believe the site was relatively accurate.  As the day and night drag on, I would suggest popping over to Intrade to see how they are projecting the different states.


The Liberal Crab’s Poll of “Poll of Polls” – 03 November 2008


Popular Vote

Obama – 51.5% +6.8%

McCain – 44.7%

Electoral College

Obama – 347

McCain – 191


Well here we are, the eve of the election and the final Poll of “Poll of Polls”.  The final popular vote total is 51.5% for Obama and 44.7% for McCain, giving Obama a 6.8% poll lead going into the election tomorrow. Oddly, after analyzing the remaining undecideds and adding the Barr/Nadar/Paul third party factor, my final prediction is – 51.5% Obama, 44.6% McCain, 3.9% third parties.  Am I saying the remaining ‘undecideds’ in my poll are actually voting third party?  No.  I actually gave McCain 62% of the 3.9% of undecideds, based on his performance with them in recent days.  However, he is impacted by about 1% more by the third party candidates based on my analysis of 2-way and 3-way polls.  As a result, the final prediction matches the final Poll of “Poll of Polls”.

There was some odd things going on with the national tracking polls.  Despite the pretty radical differences in each of them over the last few days, they all ended up centering between 5-9 points.  There are some games the pollsters can play to make the results trend to the mean such as changing party ID.  However, the important point is that the pollsters who have a stronger reputation – Rasmussen and Gallup, utilizing their ‘traditional’ belief in who makes up a likey voter still has Obama with a comfortable 5-6 point lead (and some even larger).

As the National vote was tightening, the state polls were increasing their margin for Obama.  Now that the national polls have been increasing their advantage for Obama, ironically we see a tightening at the state level.  While the idea of a lag has been widely discounted, even here, since the polls are coming out more frequently, the fact is that poll trends (which is what the other aggregators use) are based on the current polls as well as some of the older polls.  In effect, there is still some lag.  Since the national polls have only helped increase Obama’s lead over the last three or four days, it’s conceivable the minor tightening is a result of the slight lag.  What would that mean for Election Day?  It probably means Obama’s state leads are a bit larger than being projected.  The aggregators have a mean in their evaluation of 347 Electoral Votes.  Based on the latest national polls, I suspect their adjusted estimate (if given 2-3 more days) would be back in the 355-360 range.  Based on the latest polls and my analysis, my final prediction is Obama 302 and McCain 236.  My map is as follows:


My analysis was based on several factors.  First, the latest polling trends.  Second, only including pollsters with good reputations.  Third, past voting trends in the state.  Fourth, level of support for the candidate above/below 50%.  Fifth, a general thought on the GOTV efforts in the state.  Florida has been trending back to McCain.  Ohio was on the edge.  It’s been trending back, slightly to Obama.  It’s close enough that if there is any impact from Palin’s ‘coal’ comments today, I could see that pushing it over to McCain.  Regardless, it’s within the margin of error and a state the Democrats have previously lost twice.  Missouri is close, but the GOTV efforts by Obama, I think, will make a considerable difference for Obama.  Colorado and Nevada show strong trends toward Obama.  Virginia appears to have stabilized out at about 4-5 points. Obama should be able to hold that lead.

More to come about what to look for tomorrow, as well as additional analysis.

My analysis looked at se

A Grandmother’s Belief and Hope in Obama

Just wanted to add my two cents to this blog for anyone who is still nervous about this election, who still worry that we will be disappointed once again.

I remember four years ago, working for Kerry, going to Ohio the night before the election to volunteer, and watching the returns election evening, and believing Kerry was winning, and then to have the rug pulled out from under us, which left us with four more years of misery with George W. Bush. My daughter-in-law went with me to Ohio with such great expectations, and then we returned home on the bus in tears … Kerry lost, he lost Ohio, the state we worked so hard in. THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN THIS TIME!

Well, I am here to tell you I’ve felt like most of you, and I’ve been worried, and I’ve been anxious, because this election is the most important election in my lifetime. I remember when John Kennedy ran for president, an
Irish-Catholic running and winning … could never happen. Well, we know how that turned out. It was a tough race, and I remember finally going to bed at two in the morning believing he had lost, and that Nixon would be our next president. Then my dad came in to my room and said “we won, we won!!” I’ll never forget that morning. Kennedy’s chances were so slim, and his win was slim, but he won. Barak Obama is doing so much better and in a better place than Kennedy was all those years ago.

The excitement I saw around Kennedy, I’ve now seen happening with Senator Obama. Only this time, I’m all grown up, and I knew that this time I could do something to help him win, and perhaps to win big.

So, I got off my “you know what” because sitting around worrying was not going to elect Senator Obama to the presidency. I had a purpose. I’m up there in years, I’m not worried about my future, but I am worried about my 6 grandchildren, who I love more than anything in this world, and seeing another Republican become president to potentially make their world and their future questionable, I knew I had to do something. So, I’ve gone to Virginia three weeks in a row and I’ve knocked on doors. I’ve done phone banking as often as possible. Doing these kinds of things is not in my DNA, I don’t like to make blind phone calls, or knocking on stranger’s doors, it’s not easy, especially when a phone is slammed on your ear, or a door is slammed in your face, it can shake your confidence, but that doesn’t matter how I felt, I didn’t do it for me, I did it for my kids and their kids. I worry about what kind of world I will leave behind. This was my way to maybe make a difference. Leaving them a safe and secure world is the most important thing I can do, and I hope and believe that Senator Obama will give our children the world they deserve.

I was phone banking last night, every space that could be used to phone bank was used, and the majority of the folks, and I had some good results with more people saying they will vote for Senator Obama. A not too many saying they will vote for McCain, that made my night.

It is 6:37 p.m. on the eve of the most important election in our lifetime, which means there still is time to volunteer. You can make calls for Obama, you can volunteer to phone bank. You can drive people to the polls who have no way of getting there.

Tomorrow, after I vote, I will go back to the Obama campaign office and start matching people who cannot get to the polls on their own with folks who have volunteered to drive.

If you can’t do some of these things, then drag someone to the polls with you, remind people to get vote, do whatever it takes, and we will have a President Obama on Wednesday morning.

We will not have what happened four years ago happen again. This is the time for Barack Obama, let’s make it happen!

What Did Drudge Look like a Day before the 2004 Election?

Here’s a snapshot of Drudge the day before the 2004 election.  Just thought it would be fun to see how much has changed ,how much hasn’t.

Perhaps the Most Important Reason I am Voting for Barack Obama – My Children

Before you have children, you live your life for yourself.  The decisions you make are based in what’s best for you.  But that changes when you have children.  I should know, my wife and I have three beautiful young children.  Once you have them, everything changes.  Your life is not your own.  This isn’t simply about losing freedom for eighteen years why you raise your family.  It goes to the decisions you make.  All of a sudden you want to save the environment because you are worried about your children’s world.  You save more money because you want to make sure they have everything they need growing up.  You change the way you live your life because you want to make sure you are there for them and give them everything you can.

You also look at elections differently, particularly in the world in which we are living today.  Rather than look at the short-term, your view becomes longer.  Who is the candidate that is going to protect my kids the best – with social programs, preserving the environment, defending our home land, and ensuring that the next generation grows up with better opportunities than we had.  If you have kids, you understand where I am coming from.  If you don’t, trust me, when you do – these are the things you will think about when you vote.

I’ve always been a Democrat.  My hero when I was ten years was John Kennedy.  When I was 16, I remember listening to Mike Dukakis the morning before the election talk about moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and watching him lose the next day and being devastated.  In 1992 after Bill Clinton won, I remember taking a solitary walk on campus to ponder what it mean that Clinton won.  And in 2000, the last election before I had kids, I was beyond devastated after Bush stole the election.

But in 2004 and now in 2008, the election has meant so much more.  I am willing to cross party lines if it meant the best future for my children.  Voting for George Bush was not an option four years ago.  The ire the world had for his politics, the dangers he created, and the disregard for the condition of the planet made my decision easy to vote against him.  As a Democrat, Kerry also shared my core values that added to my convictions.

With this election, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter.  I believed she presented the best policy positions for this country.  It was a difficult decision, as I watched people I respected like Ted Kennedy and Bill Richardson support Barack Obama.  When Hillary lost, I finally found the time to get to know Barak Obama.  Looking back, I wished I would have supported him from the beginning.

This election and this time is very different from most of our history.  With the possible exceptions of 1860, 1932, and 1940, this might be the most important election we face.  Our challenges are daunting, the morale of the Country is down, and our respect around the world is at an all-time low.  It scares me that my children are living in a country that has fallen so far over the last eight years – further than anyone could have imagined when they said, “So Bush won.  How bad can he screw it up in the next four years?”.  We now know the answer to that question.  We need a president who not only can speak to policy, but can give us hope while we spend years repairing the damage that has been done to our Country.  This is not the time for a Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, or Lyndon Johnson – or my hero Bill Clinton (the White House version – not the ‘on the stump’ version).   This is a time for a Ronald Reagan or John Kennedy.  We need a president who can uplift us, sell us on our future, and bring people together.  At the same time, we need a president who can progress policy to fix this country.

Barack Obama is that man, John McCain is not.  For the moment, leave policies aside.  John McCain, while he may have made a decent president in the mold of Johnson, Nixon or Carter eight years ago, he does not have the ability to unify and transcend politics and policy.   His speeches on the stump are not awe inspiring, they are not positive, and they do not talk to the greatness of the American people or the country.  Yes, he talks about his love for the Country and that our best days are ahead.  But do you feel moved when he talks?

Obama has the ability to inspire, to give us hope, and make us believe that our future can still be bright.  This is the gift that Kennedy and Reagan had, and this is what the country needs now – more than ever.

A 47 year-old man with two young daughters provides me clear evidence his priorities are the same as mine.  A 72 year old man at the end of his political career does not provide me any belief that he’s got my interests (or my children’s) at heart.  I know why Obama wants to be president, I am not sure about McCain.

Looking at the policies of the two candidates, I can very much say that Obama’s take a much longer-term view.  He does not want to fix the economy with quick solutions that create more debt and problems that are pushed to our children.  Obama doesn’t believe in ‘drill baby drill’ as a quick solution.  He believes in an energy solution that fully frees us from foreign dependence and protects our environment.  It’s clear our allies around the world believe Obama will restore the good name of the United States. In a world that is becoming more interdependent, that is important.  His belief that we should talk to anyone and find a diplomatic solution verse McCain’s belief in hawkish foreign poicy is the right choice to protect my children.  Obama believes strengthening our aging infrastructure so that the next generation is safe and secure.  He believes in maintaining the social programs that protect us and have given millions of people (including my grand parents) the ability to live the American dream. 

To me, the choice is clear.  It’s time to make a change. It’s time feel like there is hope again.  It’s time to give my children the gift of an America to be proud of.  It’s time to elect Barack Obama as our 44th president.  One more day and our future will be bright again.

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.

The Liberal Crab’s Poll of “Poll of Polls” – 01 November 2008

Popular Vote

Obama – 50.9%  +6.2%

McCain – 44.7%

Electoral College

Obama – 354

McCain – 184

McCain and Obama both gained in the polls today, but McCain’s gain was slightly better, but nothing that changes the dynamic of the race.  The biggest change, and one that is extremely positive for Obama, is that undecideds dropped by 1% since yesterday.  The drop went 45% to Obama and 55% to McCain.  If you extrapolate that across the remaining undecideds, McCain would pick up a net gain of only .5%.  Accounting for all voters and using the algorithm just described, the vote total would be Obama 52.8% and McCain 47.1%.  That would still give Obama a 5.7% margin of victory.  However, Bob Barr and Ralph Nader will take votes away.  The analysis from reviewing Real Clear Politics from about a week ago, would take about 2% from Obama and 3% from McCain.

My best guess for election night, based on the latest information is – Obama 50.8%, McCain 44.1%.  That would give Obama a 6.7% win margin.  That is a significant win.  Keep in mind, if there is still a Bradley Effect, the pundits believe it would be a 2-6% effect.  Obama’s win margin would still be above that number.  Interesting, and perhaps giving credence to my current projection, this is about where the race stands right now.  Obama right at the 50% threshold and McCain still not breaking through the 46% ceiling.  Just for the heck of it, there are two days left – McCain needs to make up 3% per day to close the gap.

But that’s the popular vote.  It really doesn’t matter.  What matters is the Electoral College.  Depending how you define ‘tightening’, there may or may not be tightening in the Electoral College.  If you consider tightening states changing columns (e.g. from Obama to McCain or Toss-up), there hasn’t been any tightening.  If you consider tightening races getting closer, then there has been some tightening in Pennsylvania.  The state is still strong for Obama, but McCain has definitely made inroads and perhaps cutting Obama’s lead in half in the last week.  The good news is the state is strong for Obama and, if it took a week to get this close, he should still win it relatively easily.  The bad news could be if the polls are even a little tighter than they’ve been projected.  Keep in mind, in the Real Clear Politics final poll for 2004 Obama was up .9% and won by 2.5%.  Obama is up in their poll by 7.5%  Pennsylvania is polled every day so these results are current.  It’s very difficult to see how he’ll cut that lead close enough to make a difference in two days.

Now the real good news?  McCain still needs to win the following states, even with Pennsylvania (Obama’s lead follows each state): Florida (+4.1%), North Carolina (+1.3%), Ohio (+5.6%), and Colorado (+6.2%).  Those are very tough odds.  If he loses Pennsylvania, I believe it’s over.  If he loses Pennsylvania and Virginia (+6.0), it is over.  Keep in mind, he still needs to win a host of other states where they are still considered ‘toss-ups’ – Indiana (-.5%) and  Missouri (-.6%). There also a couple of states that are ‘leaning’ McCain, but McCain’s lead is still smaller than Obama’s in the States McCain is trying to win – Georgia (-3%), Montana (-3.8%), Arizona (-3.5%).  My best guess for election night, based on the latest information is – Obama 338 McCain 200.  Although, my brain and my heart are telling me that Obama will not win both Ohio and Florida.  So, I believe Obama’s range will be 311 to 338.

The last two lingering item is how Obama’s Aunt story plays out and the final smear assult.  There are vastly different opinions on the Aunt story, ranging from no effect, effecting Obama, to even effecting McCain (if GOP is implicated).  This story appears it might be even more dangerous to McCain, judging by the fact his campaign will not mention it.  As for the smears, it probably will affect those with a choice by a minimal amount and a little more with the undecideds.  I can’t imagine that it will shift the election more than 2%.