Saturday, November 3, 2012

No Tuesday's Election is Not a Toss-Up

        Last week-wow that Utopian time when I had all the accouterments of civilization seems a long time ago!-we had done a piece that argued that Obama was not a slight but a big favorite for this Tuesday. I had gotten the impetus for it in part by Sam Wang, no doubt that has had him for at least a 90% favorite for the last few weeks.

       This last week, however, has given considerably more breadth to this point-though, of course, I've largely missed this week. The good news today is that the Baldwin Public Library is finally up and running again so I actually will have much more regular access to the Internet even though we're still living in the dark ages at home.

        Overall, it's been a good week for the President. He's responded very well to our national disaster as even detractors like Chris Christy and Donald Trump admit.

        Trump kind of cut Romney off at the knees by making this comment:

         "Even Republican supporter and billionaire Donald Trump told CNBC's "Closing Bell" Thursday that the hurricane may have shifted the momentum towards Obama."

        "I think it would have absolutely been Mitt Romney except for the Hurricane," Trump said of Tuesday's election. "I think the Hurricane has had a profound effect and it's going to help President Obama a lot."

         Romney's been mostly pushed into assuring us that he loves Fema he really does, and he always has-he never suggested anything like cutting their funding or that they are a fiscal drag on the economy.

         Just like he never called for Detroit to go bankrupt: he advocated what the President had exactly-only better. Even if even the conservative Detroit Press doesn't see it this way.

        "Don't assume that it was a no-brainer for a conservative newspaper to endorse a conservative presidential candidate. We recognize and are grateful for the extraordinary contribution President Obama made to Michigan in leading the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler… "
         "We have said in past editorials that while Romney rightly advocated for structured bankruptcies in his infamous "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" New York Times op-ed, he was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets. In that article, Romney suggested government-backed loans to keep the companies afloat post bankruptcy. But what GM and Chrysler needed were bridge loans to get them through the process, and the private credit markets were unwilling to provide them...":
         "Had Obama done as well with the rest of the economy, it would be hard to deny him a second term."

          It doesn't get more damning for Romney's strained Michigan narrative than this supposed endorsement-that does much more harm than good coming from a conservative newspaper which would have endorsed him no matter what. Are you listening Governor? They needed bridge loans and the private markets were not available for them.

         This week has seen Obama's probability of winning the electoral college at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight Forecast rise from 73% to almost 84% in the last 3 days. At this point Silver's forecast is closing in on Sam Wang's at the Princeton Consortium.

          As Nate says, at this point, the only thing a Romney supporter can hang their hat on is that there is some systematic bias for Obama on the part of all the myriad, various state polls from different groups.

           "President Obama is now better than a 4-in-5 favorite to win the Electoral College, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast. His chances of winning it increased to 83.7 percent on Friday, his highest figure since the Denver debate and improved from 80.8 percent on Thursday."


           At 83.7%, the President has now made up virtually all the ground he had lost in the post-
Denver debate gains of Romney-that topped out on October 12, when the President saw his odds drop to 60% according the FiveThirtyEight.

           "Friday’s polling should make it easy to discern why Mr. Obama has the Electoral College advantage. There were 22 polls of swing states published Friday. Of these, Mr. Obama led in 19 polls, and two showed a tie. Mitt Romney led in just one of the surveys, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida."

            Even in that poll, while it showed Romney leading in Florida by 6, it's a total outlier-as both Maris and Ipsos showed the President actually leading in Florida by 2 points in each poll. Maris also showed Obama up by 6 in Ohio.

            So Nate is moving closer to Sam. And we have Nate's awesome challenge to Joe Scarborough this week for a bet on who wins Tuesday. Sam however wasn't about to be bested by Nate even here. He's now promised to eat a really big bug on camera if Obama loses Ohio, PA, or Minnesota.

             God, I love the "twilight of the horse race pundit elites."

             Don't get me wrong. I like horse races as Josh Marshall says he does. Yet, the beauty of the rise of poll analysts like Silver and Wang is it drives the pundit class crazy-and the Republican party. The pundits have lost their perch as the fount of received wisdom on what's going to happen election day. With the scientific approach of the analysts we can make an end run around the noise. In the past, we would have kind of been at the mercy of the media narrative that Romney continued to enjoy some earth shattering "momentum" 3 weeks after Denver.

             However, the poll analyses show us that in fact Romney's bounce ended on October 12. The pundits are kind of reduced to what they really are-spectators. Spectators with sometimes interesting opinions or analysis-but certainly there's nothing scientific about the way they cover elections.

             In the future we won't be at their mercy so much-and the GOP will have less ability to high jack the media narrative-as the polls can tell us where things really stand.


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