Monday, November 3, 2008

Final Projection with Complete Analysis


Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida

Montana, Ohio

Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado


Final Analysis of Each Battleground
What the Polls Say: Final Zogby poll shows McCain up by 5%, final Rasumussen shows McCain by by 3%, ARG poll has it even, Indy Star Seltzer poll has Obama up by 1%
Prediction: McCain holds off the Obama assault in this previously dark red state and wins in a close battle with huge margins in rural vote off-setting big win for Obama in Chicago area

What the Polls Say: Rasmussen, ARG and Survey USA have it even, Zogby has Obama up by 1%, Mason-Dixon has McCain up by 1%, Insider Advantage has McCain up by 3%
Prediction: McCain wins by a hair in a recount-worthy state

North Dakota
What the Polls Say: Not much! Most recent Research 2000 poll from 10/29 has McCain up by 1%, all other polls are 10/14 or earlier
Prediction: Obama's ad buy at the end pays off and he wins in a squeaker

North Carolina
What the Polls Say: Final polls have it anywhere from McCain +2% to Obama +6%
Prediction: Massive early voting from African-American pays off and Obama pulls it off by a narrow margin

What the Polls Say: All the final polls have Obama up by 2 to 4% except Rasmussen which has McCain up by 1%
Prediction: Again early voting pays off and Obama wins a close victory

What the Polls Say: Final polls have it anywhere from Obama +7% to McCain +2%
Prediction: McCain's late charge falls just short and Obama wins by a couple of points

What the Polls Say: Final polls all have McCain up by 3 to 4%
Prediction: The polls prove right -- McCain wins by 3 to 4%

What the Polls Say: McCain up by 1 to 5% in the final polls
Prediction: It's a good thing McCain had his last stop planned for Arizona -- he wins it but it is uncomfortably close

What the Polls Say: McCain by 1 to 7%
Prediction: Obama's early voting surge of African-Americans falls just short and McCain holds on to win it

What the Polls Say: Obama by 3 to 6%
Prediction: Northern Virginia and Richmond turn out and deliver the state for Obama

What the Polls Say: Obama by 4 to 10%
Prediction: Early voting and heavy campaigning pay off for Obama and he wins by a decent margin

What the Polls Say: Obama by 4 to 7%
Prediction: Democratic convention in Denver pays off and Obama wins

Missing the cut barely: Pennsylvania (yes it missed making our battleground list), New Mexico, South Dakota, West Virginia. For those of you following PA, the final polls are between 4% and 14% for Obama.

Popular Vote Final Polls
Here are the spreads in all the final polls
First Our Tracking Polls:
Gallup -- Obama +11%
Rasmussen -- Obama +6%
Zogby -- Obama +7%
Hotline -- Obama +5%
Battleground -- Obama +6%
IBD/TIPP -- Obama +5%

Other National Polls:
Marist -- Obama +9%
Fox News -- Obama +7%
NBC/WSJ -- Obama +8%
CBS -- Obama +9%
ABC/WP -- Obama +9%
Ipsos -- Obama +7%
CNN -- Obama +7%
Pew Research -- Obama +6%

Note: Obama at least 50% in every poll

Our prediction seems pretty reasonable, no?

Comparison with Other Major Sites
Here's what the respected sites are saying: -- Obama 338, McCain 200

Difference: North Dakota and North Carolina for McCain, other 48 states called the same -- Obama 353, McCain 185
Difference: North Dakota for McCain, other 49 states called the same -- Obama 353, McCain 185
Difference: North Dakota for McCain, other 49 states called the same -- Obama 367, McCain 171
Difference: Missouri for Obama, other 49 states called the same

Intrade (the gambling money) -- Obama 364, McCain 174
Difference: North Dakota for McCain, Missouri for Obama, other 48 states called the same

There are many, many others, but the key points are:
(1) I am in the vast minority calling North Dakota for Obama (only makes the same call) and I admit that I don't feel like I have enough data to make the call, but I go with what I've got
(2) North Carolina and Missouri are true toss-ups which is why you see them called differently on different sites
(3) There is pretty broad agreement on most everything else.

McCain's Best Case
I do not think McCain has a realistic shot in Pennsylvania -- he is behind by more than 8% in our projection. The final tally may prove closer than that, but he won't win there.

That being the case, McCain needs to win every single battleground state:
Georgia, Arizona, Montana, Indiana and Missouri (where we show him leading)
North Dakota, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado

Let's generously say he has an 90% shot in the states we show him leading and a 50% shot in the states that we show him behind. His combined probability for wining all of the states? 0.5% -- 1 in 200. And I don't think he has a 50% shot in the states he is behind in.

If he somehow does all that, he gets to 274 electoral votes and wins.

Obama's Best Case
On the flip side, if Obama runs the table and wins all the aforementioned states, he scores 406 electoral votes. This would be a crushing defeat to the GOP and the biggest margin of victory since 1984 when Reagan scorched Mondale.

Complete Guide to the Coverage
Before 7 PM it is all pointless blather. You may get some early cues on exit poll results since all the anchors will have seen them and have really bad poker faces. But, as we've seen from 2004, the early exit polls are not necessarily great indicators of the final outcome.

So here are the real things to watch (all times are Eastern):
7 PM -- Polls close in Kentucky, South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Virginia and Vermont.
Kentucky, Souch Carolina and Vermont are no brainer calls.
If Obama wins any of the 3 from Indiana, Georgia or Virginia, McCain has probably already lost. He would need Pennsylvania to recover at this point.

7:30 PM -- Polls close in West Virginia and Ohio. West Virginia SHOULD break for McCain. If McCain doesn't win Ohio, he's done, regardless of the outcome in Pennsylvania.

8:00 PM -- Polls close in 17 states but the only 3 worth watching are Missouri, Florida and Pennsylvania. If McCain somehow pulls the upset in Pennsylvania (and hasn't already lost a couple of other battleground states), we have a race. If not, even if he has won all the other battlegrounds, he needs Missouri and Florida.

8:30 PM -- Arkansas and North Carolina close. Arkansas should be a quick call for McCain. North Carolina will be a bellweather for if Obama is going to win huge.

9 PM -- Polls close in 12 states, the only notable ones being Colorado and New Mexico. New Mexico should break easily for Obama. If Obama hasn't wrapped it up with an earlier battleground state, Colorado is probably the key.

10 PM -- Polls close in 6 states -- see if I'm right with my unorthodox call of North Dakota for Obama. Nevada is the other key state here. If McCain has somehow run the table in all the other battleground states, this one will decide the election.

11 PM -- Polls close in 5 states -- 4 will break for Obama (the west coast and Hawaii), Idaho will break for McCain by a huge margin

1 AM -- Polls close in Alaska -- hopefully we are all in bed by then, but McCain should coast here

So, basically all the important states close by 10 PM and many close as early as 7 PM.

Haven't had an early night in the past two elections, maybe it will be one this time. Or maybe we will be counting votes in Florida for a month and a half -- who really knows?

Senate and House Watcher
The two key senate races to watch are in North Carolina and Minneosta. Both could legitimately break either way. If the Democrats win both, they will have 57 seats. The only other race that could break their way is in Georgia, but I suspect Saxby Chambliss will hold on. Running the table on these races would give the Dems 58 seats to 40 for the GOP, meaning that a fillibuster could be stopped with the vote of Bernie Sanders (Socialist from Vermont) and Joe Lieberman (Independent from Connecticut.) If Republicans sweep these 3, the count will be 55 to 43 and the fillibuster will still be a real option in many cases.

In the house, I expect Democrats to pick up about 25 seats, but it is so hard to project with 435 races happening.
Key races to watch are:
AL-2, AL-5, CA-4, CO-4, CT-4 (the last GOP seat in New England), FL-8, FL-21, FL-25, GA-8, ID-1, IL-10, IN-3, KS-2, KY-2, LA-4, LA-6, MD-1, MI-7, MI-9, MN-3, MN-6, MS-1, MO-9, NE-2, NV-3, NH-1, NJ-3, NJ-7, NM-1, NM-2, NY-26, NY-29, NC-8, OH-1, OH-15, PA-3, PA-11, WA-8, WY-1

If everything breaks well for the Dem's, they could pick up as many as many as 40 seats or as few as 15 if it breaks more for the GOP. But pick up seats they will.

That's all for this election season...follow my live blog tomorrow night as results come in.

Thanks for reading this election season and if you have not done so already, please vote tomorrow.

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