Sunday, November 11, 2012

Obama wins - how did the Prof do?

My predictions and actual results from Tuesday...

The Prof's final grade on his previous predictions:  C+

Well, at least I called the winner correctly, but missed the call in the critical states of FL, VA, CO, and NH. In all of the swing states, I under-predicted Obama's vote.  Most of the polling was correct, but with a slight Republican bias.  Kudos to Nate Silver at 538 for nailing it exactly - he went 50 for 50.  Gallup has a lot of egg on its face along with Rasmussen.  However, if about a half million votes were reallocated in the swing states Romney would have won so some really were coin flips - at least in the predicting!

Pundits like Michael Barone, Dick Morris, and Karl Rove have a lot of 'splaining to do as each predicted a Romney victory with over 300 Electoral Votes, so I don't feel that bad...

In my next post, I will explore what happened, why it broke the way it did, and what it means for future elections (GOP, it ain't pretty!).

Electoral Vote Prediction:
Obama   277
Romney 261

Electoral Vote Actual:
Obama   332
Romney 206

National Vote Prediction: (two person)

Romney  50.2%
Obama    49.8%

National Vote Actual: (two person)
Obama    51.3%
Romney  48.7%

Swing States Predictions vs.Actual results 
(Actual Results do not add to 100% due to minor party candidates)

North Carolina - 15 EVs: 
November: Well let's start with the easiest call.  Turnout as in all places will matter.  Early voting shows a smaller advantage for Obama than in 2008 and a heavy Romney vote on Tuesday will swamp this.
North Carolina Final Prediction: Romney 52-48
Actual Result Romney 50.5% - 48.3%

Romney did better with white voters than did McCain in 2008, but massive African-American and younger turnout almost kept this state in Obama's column.  This ought to be very worrying for the GOP as NC was a lock as recently as 2004 - no more.

Nevada - 6 EVs:
November: Early voting and the President's wide lead among hispanics deliver the state for Obama.  The substantial Mormon and rural population will keep it closer than last time, but Clark County (Las Vegas area) will put Obama over the top.  He won by 15 points in 2008 and Romney simply won't be able to make that up.
Nevada Final Prediction: Obama 53-47
Actual Result Obama 52.3% - 45.7%

I was pretty good on this one - as I predicted, union and Hispanic turnout won it for the President.  This is swing state that is getting bluer by the year.

Iowa - 6 EVs: 
November: Polls are still showing it neck and neck.  This will be about turnout and independent voters.  Early voting shows an advantage for the President, but my sense is it will be a late evening as Republican registrations are now on par with Democrats, unlike in 2008, but the counting may be late into the night.  Watch the turnout in the pro-Obama Quad Cities and in conservative western Iowa. Last batch of polls show Obama gaining momentum so I am flipping it to him.
Iowa Final Prediction: Obama 51-49
Actual Result Obama 51.9% - 46.3%

As with many states, I underestimated the Obama turnout machine.  Obama did better among working class whites in the Midwest and this is evident in Iowa.

Colorado - 9 EVs: 
November: Early voting figures (based on registered voters casting ballots) are continuing to favor Romney.  As everywhere, turnout is key.  If Denver and Boulder do not come out in massive numbers, Romney will win this by a whisker helped by the large number of active  military and retired veterans who reside in the state.
Colorado Final Prediction: Romney 51-49
Actual Result Obama 51.2% - 46.4%

Blew this one totally.  Most polling showed it neck and neck, but as with Nevada, younger voters and Hispanics (big college turnout in Boulder) gave the President a decent win in Colorado.  Another swing state that is getting bluer...

Florida - 29 EVs: 
November: Romney has spent time in Florida this week which shows that he does not have Florida nailed down yet. Watch returns from the critical I-4 corridor from Orlando to Tampa and is turnout in hyper-conservative North Florida is high (some of these counties lean Republican 75-25). Do Hispanics stay with Obama in the Miami suburbs?  This will be close, but the over 65 vote looks to be a lock for Romney (ObamaCare is not popular with this crowd) and this put him over the top.  I also believe that the Jewish vote in South Florida will not be as pro-Obama as it was in 2008 due to differences over US policy toward Israel.
Final Prediction: Romney 53-47
Actual Result Obama 50.0% - 49.1%

Mea Maxima Culpa - not many people foresaw the Hispanic, including the Cuban turnout to go so against Romney.  The Puerto Rican vote in Florida went overwhelmingly to Obama. Early in the evening I was looking at Hillsborough and Polk counties which Romney needed and saw them closer than anticipated.  In fact, Obama carried Polk outside of Tampa which traditionally was GOP friendly.  Florida, obviously is not an easy state to call.  If these trends continue, this state could drift to the blue team as well.

Virginia - 13 EVs:  
November:  This is a must win state for Romney and he has poured an incredible amount of resources into it.  The President's team has done the same thing so again, this will be all about who turns out their voters.  Early voting numbers suggest that Republican leaning counties are outperforming their 2008 turnout while turnout in the DC suburbs is slightly lower than 2008.If Obama outperforms in Northern VA and the DC suburbs he will win.  However, I think Romney will do just well enough in these areas coupled with a strong vote elsewhere in the state (especially coal country) to win another late night squeaker - assuming that Goode of the Constitution Party does not steal more than a few votes.
Final Prediction: Romney 51-49
Actual Result Obama 50.7% - 47.7%

This was a coin toss and my coin landed on the wrong side.  Obama won where he needed to and although Romney did better in traditional conservative areas, the DC suburbs broke heavily to the President.  Like North Carolina, Virginia is another previously safe GOP state that is now gone.

Pennsylvania - 20 EVs: 
November: Big news here is that in the past week Romney has poured a ton of resources here late in the game.  This would not be happening and he would not be personally campaigning here if something in their internal numbers did not show them with a legitimate shot here.  Romney will do very well in rural areas, but I still think Obama wins PA with overwhelming urban support, but if Philly doesn't turnout like it did in 2008, this is a call I may end up missing thus causing Obama campaign manager David Axelrod to shave his legendary mustache. Calling it for the President based upon past state performance in close races (2000 and 2004) where Republicans fell just short and the Democrats nearly million person advantage among registered voters.  But I think this is the place where Romney is most likely to surprise.
Final Prediction - Obama 51-49
Actual Result Obama 52.0% - 46.8%

Objects in the mirror are further than they appear.  Romney's PA gamble was not a much better showing than McCain in 2008.  White working class counties came out heavily for Romney, but were utterly swamped by the President's turnout machine in Philadelphia.  The Philly suburbs were also areas where Obama was able to hold his own - thus another year that PA has remained a dream for the GOP.

Ohio - 18 EVs:   
November:  Rasmussen has the only poll out this week showing Romney with a 2 point lead, but every other poll still has Obama up by a few. All are within the margin of error making this yet another tough call.  Enthusiasm seems to be on Romney's side especially with a 30,000 person turnout at a Friday evening rally near Cincinnati. In the end however, I think that the successful attacks on Romney, the auto bailout, and superior organization keeps Ohio in the Obama column, but 'twill be another late evening.
Final Prediction - Obama 51-49
Actual Result Obama 50.3% - 48.3%

The auto bailout was indeed key in Ohio.  It was close, but again here, working class whites came out in just enough support of Obama to put him over the top.  Obama's far superior ground game was a major factor as well.

Michigan - 16 EVs: 
November: I concur with my last prediction, this will be close, but it is telling that neither Romney nor Ryan is visiting here over the past week.  Both candidates have launched limited advertising in the past ten day, but this is just a bridge too far for Romney.
Final Prediction - Obama 53-47
Actual Result Obama 54.3% - 44.8%
Never that close.  Like PA, MI is simply out of reach for the GOP for the foreseeable future.

Wisconsin - 10 EVs: 
November:  Both campaigns are fighting tooth and nail here.  Obama won WI by 14% in 2008, but it is as close as they come and is vital for Romney if he loses OH.  Republicans benefit from a strong ground operation as evidenced in the successful defense of Gov, Scott Walker in last spring's recall.  Democrats benefit from Wisconsin's presidential vote for Democrats since 1988. But...the 2000 and 2004 margins were Democrat victories by less then a single percentage point.  Like with Iowa, the last few surveys show a bounce for the President, therefore:
Final Prediction: Obama 52-48
Actual Result Obama 52.8% - 46.1%

At least I was close here. WI has a progressive tradition which along with college students and working class votes, kept this state in the Democrat's column.  Yet another state which has a decided Democratic lean unless there is a very viable GOP candidate.  Paul Ryan probably kept it closer than it otherwise would have been.

New Hampshire - 4 EVs: 
November: This is a very tough call. Polling this week is showing a tie.  However, if Romney is indeed leading among independents by several points, this may be the same in NH.  Also, Romney is wrapping up his campaign with two stops here in the last three days.  On the other hand Obama has carried a reservoir of good will in this state with a relatively low unemployment rate and NH voters are more liberal on social issues than the national GOP.. I think Romney makes it by the skin of his teeth.
Final Prediction: Romney 51-49
Actual Result Romney 52.0% - 46.4%

NH has changed a lot in the past ten years pure and simple.  Gone is flinty Yankee Republicanism, replaced by a fiscally moderate and socially liberal electorate.  Immigration from Massachusetts has contributed greatly to this.  Notable that other major offices went Democratic as well.


These are the "stretch goal" states that either side which may be contestable...
in a perfect storm (like we saw in 2008)! It is highly unlikely that any of these are seriously contested on Tuesday, but let's have some numbers fun anyway.

                     Prediction          Actual (numbers do not add to 100% due to minor party candidates)

Minnesota:    Obama 53-47          53-45
Arizona:        Romney 54-46        54-44
Indiana:        Romney  56-44        54-44
New Jersey:   Obama 55-45          58-41
Georgia:        Romney 55-45        53-45
Oregon:         Obama 53-47         54-43
Missouri:       Romney 55-45       54-44
New Mexico:  Obama 54-46        53-43

The two polls out this weekend showing both Minnesota and Michigan tied are outliers...I think!

Five Best Romney States
       Prediction                  Actual

  1. Utah              72%       73%
  2. Oklahoma      70%       67%
  3. Idaho             69%      65%
  4. Arkansas        64%      61%
  5. Wyoming       63%      69%
  6. West VA         N/A      62%
Five Best Obama States
       Prediction                  Actual
  1. Vermont         67%       67%
  2. Hawaii           64%       71%
  3. New York      62%       63%
  4. Rhode Island  61%       63%
  5. Maryland       61%       62%
For my (and Romney's) home state of Massachusetts, Obama romps 59-41. 
The actual result was 61-38, pretty close!

In depth analysis next time as there is a tremendous amount of dissecting to do.  One thing that is indeed notable, senior Republican leaders are calling for the party to more moderate stances, while the Tea Party faction is calling for a more conservative shift.  Which side will win - pragmnatism or ideology?


The Prof

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