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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

 
All over but the party-switching, part 2
I argued two weeks ago that the presidential race is essentially over. After two weeks, I am still very confident in that absurdly cocky statement, and I have at least 270 reasons to feel that way. Three good sites are closely following the electoral college race, and all of their projections show massive wins for Bush.

Electoral-Vote.com: Bush 327, Kerry 211
This site simply takes the most recent poll for each state and plugs it into the map. The site is run by a Kerry supporter who has recently put up a lengthy treatise on why polls don't matter (which may be true, if the race is close--this one isn't). This is also the least reliable of the three, as the overal projection is subject to whatever quirks the most recent poll in a certain state may have had--this is the only site projecting NJ for Bush. But this massive lead certainly cannot be discounted.

Real Clear Politics: Bush 284, Kerry 214, Tie 40
This site takes the average of all recent polls in a state--but I'm not sure what constitutes a "tie" here. Obviously, there are no ties in elections, so this is a bit less emphatic than other projections. But it's worth noting that, even if Kerry were to take all the "tied" states, Bush would still win--and it's also worth noting that it appears not to be as up to date as the other two sites. Though this is not the most helpful state-by-state projection, RCP remains the best site on the web for keeping track of polls, hands down. And, as the man who runs the site notes, "The simple answer is Senator Kerry is losing."

ElectionProjection.Com: Bush 328, Kerry 210
This is an interesting site, using a complex formula to derive its result in each state. I have thought it was very good in the past, but I believe one of its weaknesses is showing through at the moment. The formula begins with the results in 2000, which makes sense, and keeps it from giving states like New Jersey to Bush despite encouraging polling there. To that, it adds two adjustments, one based on national polling and another based on state polling. The use of national polling to derive a state's vote makes some sense, as the national mood is certainly going to affect turnout, if nothing else, in each state. The weakness is that the national adjustment is weighted just as heavily as the state's polling! This hasn't been a problem until now that the President is pulling away nationally. This has led to it giving states like New Mexico and Oregon to Bush, despite the fact that I can't find any polls that say the same (The raw data hasn't yet been updated, so I may update this post once I've seen it. UPDATE: I have indeed updated it, see below). But these states were close enough in 2000 that the national polling is pulling them over the edge. I am skeptical, but perhaps this will turn out to be a better predictor than the polls. Either way, Bush has a crushing advantage.
Suffice it to say, this race is over. This hardly means that you shouldn't vote, volunteer and pursuade, however! You must do all those things, and more. There are still very important senate races and governor races, and barring those, it is very important to make sure that this race isn't close, to avoid any more Florida-like debacles.

Of course, if you're a Kerry supporter, you really needn't bother--unless Florida-like debacles appeal to you. Your best bet is to vote in a way that will actually have an effect in the future: namely, for the Green Party.

UPDATE: Mea culpa! May I be forgiven for doubting the Blogging Caesar! The polls today do indeed show Bush up in Oregon and New Mexico. Presumably, the Votemaster at Electoral-Vote.com will shortly update his own totals... unless he just can't handle bringing Kerry down below 200. And he'll be well behind at that site, considering the two are tied in Maryland, of all places! Things are worse for Kerry than I thought!
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!
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