Saturday, November 1, 2008

Okay, I'm Ready to Say It: Barack Obama Will Be President

(Obama up 0.2%, McCain down 0.2%)

Barack Obama is going to win the election -- we are just projecting the margin at this point.
Here are my reasons for making this call:
(1) Obama's popular vote lead is insurmountable at this point -- no one has ever come close to closing 6.4% in under 3 days
(2) There is no evidence of movement towards McCain in the battleground states Obama leads
(3) Early voting has locked in a very high percentage of the total vote in many states
(4) There was no October surprise
(5) Obama has all the money going into the last two days to run ads
(6) Obama has the superior ground organization
(7) As I discussed in my last post, national polls have been pretty rock solid in the past few decades in predicting the outcome
(8) Even if McCain pulls off his Pennsylvania and Ohio miracle, where he is investing all his time, he will still lose Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa and Virginia and that gives Obama 270.

Let me list (and rebut) the reasons McCain might win:
(1) The Bradley Effect -- largely debunked in recent if you look at recent data (Harold Ford Jr's run in Tennessee) and even disputed in the Bradley election. Even if it is worth 2 or 3%, McCain still doesn't win.
(2) A late-stage surprise -- if the McCain camp had anything, they'd have fired the bullet by now. The leak today that Obama's aunt was illegally overstaying a visa in the Boston area will have zero effect and this is the best McCain has (and make no doubt that was the source of the leak.)
(3) Undecided having "decided against Obama" and breaking to McCain -- there is almost no history of a 100% undecided break in a presidential race -- besides, Obama is already up over 49% (the number he needs assuming 2% independent vote between Nader/Barr/Mckinney/others) in enough battleground states to win

Having said this you should still vote! You should vote because:
(1) Margin matters. If you are a Republican, you want to diminish Obama's mandate. If you are a Democrat, you want to enhance it.
(2) Downticket is important -- important House and Senate seats are up, whether the Democrats get to 60 seats in the Senate will have a material impact on how policy is conducted in the next 2 years.
(3) There could still be a bombshell -- you never know -- maybe McCain is just waiting until Monday
(4) I could be wrong about everything above -- this election cycle has certainly proved I am a long way from infallible.

At any rate, there will be two more updates to our projection -- one published tomorrow evening, and one published on Monday, which will be the final projection. This site is competing with dozens of others for accuracy -- check after the election to see how we did. There have been fewer new polls both today and yesterday, and I expect Sunday to be a relatively slow day as well. Monday, we will see tons of new polls (my guess is close to 100), so don't be surprised if we see a few late changes to the map on Monday.

Also, Monday, I'll compare our calls with those of other respected sites (,, and a few others.)

Here are the changes for today:

North Carolina -- upgraded from serious to key -- this will definitely be razor-close on election night
Indiana, North Dakota and Missouri also remain as key battlegrounds
(still REALLY need new polling from ND!)

Montana -- downgraded from key to serious -- Mac probably holds on here
Georgia -- upgraded from substantial to serious -- we have to consider the very real possibility based on early voting that Obama will win here, although McCain still leads
Arizona -- upgraded from substantial to serious -- anybody remember Al Gore in 2000?
Florida remains as a serious battleground

Ohio remains as a substantial battleground

Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico and South Dakota all remain as fringe battlegrounds

Battleground Early Voting Update (or is everyone else just voting late?)
Here are the latest numbers:
(# voted, % of 2004 early vote, % Democratic edge, % African-American)
Colorado -- 1.5M, 144%, 2%, N/A
Florida -- 3.8M, 130%, 8%, N/A
Georgia -- 2.0M, 298%, N/A, 35%
Indiana -- 0.5M, 174%, N/A, N/A
Nevada -- 0.5M, 113%, N/A, N/A
New Mexico -- data not available
North Carolina -- 2.4M, 215%, 22%, 26%
Ohio -- incomplete data but at least: 0.6M, 97%, N/A, N/A

A few notes on the numbers. Everywhere with complete numbers is WAY up. In many states, over half the general election ballots have already been cast (Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina already are there, Florida is at 48% and will probably get there.) Florida early voters are 11% more Democratic than in 2004, North Carolina 10%. Huge black turnout in Georgia and North Carolina. We don't know how anyone actually voted, but we sure know that a lot of people from demographics favorable to Obama have already voted.

Trail Dust, Part 1 has a great feature on their website that allows you to look at where the candidates have visited throughout the campaign.

So where have they visited most (more than 40 times)?
Obama: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia
McCain: Ohio and Pennsylvania

Not very surprising, is it?

Trail Dust, Part 2
Obama -- Colorado and Nevada today. Ohio tomorrow.
Biden -- Indiana and Ohio
McCain -- Pennsylvania and Virginia
Palin -- Florida, North Carolina and Virginia

Has any presidential election been this much fun? Stay tuned -- only a few days left!

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