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Today's Electoral College News

Guest Juanky

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Bush 281, Kerry 236


News from the Votemaster

Another bumper crop of polls, 36 of them in 17 states to be exact. And as usual, the bottom line is that it is still a statistical tie. In the Zogby tracking polls, Bush has taken a 2% lead in Michigan, although in Rasmussen's tracking poll, Kerry has a 2% lead. Research 2000 give Kerry a 4% lead there. Since Zogby's poll is 4 days ending yesterday, Rasmussen's poll is 7 days ending yesterday, and Research 2000's poll is 3 days ending Wednesday, Zogby has the most recent middle date and goes in the spreadsheet.


According to Zogby, Pennsylvania is now a tie at 47% each. Strategic Vision ® also says it is a tie, but Quinnipiac puts Kerry 1% ahead and Rasmussen puts Kerry 3% ahead. Remember that Zogby saying PA is a tie means the pollster is predicting that there is a 95% chance that the true score for each candidate falls in the range 43% to 51%, no more and no less. All the battleground states are statistical ties. A couple of percent lead means nothing. According to Zogby, Kerry has increased his lead in Ohio to 3%, but that also means nothing. Turnout will determine who wins.


Zogby now puts Kerry ahead in Iowa, but Strategic Vision ® and ARG have it the other way slightly. Again, a statistical tie.


Many readers have noticed that because Zogby gets his numbers out the door faster than anyone, all the battleground states contain just Zogby numbers. While I have faith in Zogby, I also have faith in ARG, Rasmussen, Quinnipiac, and some (but not all) of the others. During the weekend I will produce yet more software :-( to make a map averaging recent polls, in addition to keeping the most-recent-poll-wins map.


I have decided to come out of the closet before the election. Be sure to come back Monday. Some of you will be quite surprised, I can assure you.


Examining the Zogby national tracking polls is an interesting exercise because I found the comparable Zogby tracking poll data for 2000. The table below presents the last few days of national tracking data. E-6 is the data released 6 days before election day, that is the data through Oct. 27. E-7 is the day prior to that (data through Oct 26), etc. On E-6, Bush had a 2% lead, well within the poll's 3% MoE.


Candidate E-10 E-9 E-8 E-7 E-6 Final

Kerry 46% 45% 46% 47% 46%

Bush 48% 48% 49% 48% 48%

Nader 1% 1% 1% 1% 1%

Other 1% 1% 1% 0% 1%

Undecided 4% 5% 3% 3% 4%


Now look at the same time period for the 2000 election, plus the final results.


Candidate E-10 E-9 E-8 E-7 E-6 Final

Gore 43% 42% 42% 41% 42% 48.38%

Bush 44% 45% 45% 46% 45% 47.87%

Nader 5% 5% 5% 4% 5% 2.74%

Other 1% 1% 1% 2% 1% 1.01%

Undecided 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 0%


The conclusion is that Gore was down at this point in 2000 by slightly more than Kerry is, yet he ultimately won the popular vote. On the other hand, there are fewer Nader supporters and fewer undecideds this year. Finally, note that other national polls are all over the map. The Economist has Kerry ahead by 4%, Greenberg has Kerry ahead by 3%, Leger says it is a tie, ICR has Bush ahead by 2%, the LA Times says it is a tie, Gallup puts Bush ahead by 2% and on and on. A good, free, polling source is NowChannel.com


Stupidity news revisited: Yesterday I pointed out that one of Kerry's Ohio electors, Rep. Sherrod Brown, is constitutionally ineligible to be an elector because he is a federal officeholder. He resigned yesterday as elector, undoubtedly due to my pointing this out to 650,000 people. Suppose he had stayed on and Kerry won the popular vote and Ohio and the electoral college 270 to 268. If the Republicans had gone to the Supreme Court and gotten Brown declared ineligible and also gotten a ruling saying that Ohio could not replace him with someone the voters had not selected, the score would be Kerry 269, Bush 268. Since Kerry would no longer have the required 270 electoral votes needed to win, the House, controlled by the Republicans, would then choose Bush. We could have had a situation in which Kerry won the popular vote, Kerry won the electoral vote, and Bush became president. I don't think that would have been good for the country.


Even more unlikely news: A reader pointed this out to be. Suppose the EC is tied 269 to 269 and the House deadlocks 25 states to 25 states. This is exceedingly unlikely, but just suppose. Then the Senate gets to choose the vice president. Also suppose the new Senate is divided 50-50, a very real possibility. Then the sitting vice president, d*** Cheney, gets to cast the deciding vote, electing himself as the new vice president. In the absence of a president, Cheney would be acting president for four years. This is not likely to happen because the Republicans are virtually certain of controlling at least 26 state delegations in the House. Still, scenarios like this one support the case for electoral college reform.


Beat the rush. Find out about the woman who replaced Katherine Harris, now a member of Congress, as Florida's secretary of state. In the aftermath of 2000, Florida decided to make the secretary of state a gubernatorial appointee, rather than an elected official, although it is hard for me to see how this makes it less partisan. In 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Glenda Hood secretary of state. Ms. Hood, a popular former mayor of Orlando, was a Bush elector in 2000. You will no doubt get to hear a lot about Ms. Hood in the coming days.


Thank you for donating all your used pixels to Hawaii. The white ones were especially helpful. The Big Island is now colored properly (a little help from Eric Paulson, the web designer who did the mouseovers didn't hurt either). The other islands are just too small to color properly.




Projected Senate: 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, 1 independent, 1 tossup

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