About

I’m a political junkie living in Manhattan.  My vote never counts so I thought I’d blog about votes that do count … YOURS!

As I wrote in my first post, if you live in one of a handful of Battleground states you will determine the winner in this year’s election.  Hence, Battleground Watch.

Ground zero for this election is Ohio and Virginia.  Should one candidate win both states they almost certainly win the election.

The next wave of actually contestable states are: Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.  These states are both genuine Battlegrounds and would be the likely states to put a candidate officially over the 270 threshold for victory.

The final wave of states are Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada.  Despite these states mostly high electoral values, this last wave of states are likely already accounted for with the GOP carrying Florida and Nevada and the Democrats carrying Michigan and Pennsylvania regardless of what current polling or generally misleading campaign rhetoric would have you believe.

For anyone looking for North Carolina thinking it’s a Battleground State, it’s not.

That said, expect to see plenty of blogging about the first two waves and diminishing blogging about the last wave absent a meaningful shift in polling away from the projected winner.

My email is: battlegroundwatch “at” gmail.com

[Note: the above assessment is from May 23.  Today Nevada is not accounted for by any stretch of the imagination]

33 Comments

  1. e.rueda@att.net
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    Your site is great. I need to go beneath the analysis given on RCP. Based on your information I think Mitt will take Ohio, Virginia. MI and a very good shot at PA. But PA will at least draw serious resources from BOH. What information do you have to support your skepticism on the MI and PA for Mitt? Both states went all GOP, and the GOP/Tea Partiers are super energized now that the Supreme Court has decided to allow electoral majorities actually exercise self government.

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      My skepticism on Pennsylvania was based on the Romney campaign originally not competing in the state at all. Their ad focus and field office commitment was zero for the first half of 2012. This was one of the reasons they pressured Rick Santorum to drop out ahead of the PA primary. The campaign did not want to commit resources to a state they did not intend to compete in. This however, has changed over the last few weeks with Romney making a financial commitment to the state — opening field offices, the three visits on his bus tour etc. This is translating into fundraising success (see my post today) but we will have to wait and see if that translates into polling success over the next month or two. I believe Romney has a real shot in PA but the state always teases the Republicans before voting with the Democrats. This year may well be different but it will be a tough battle.

      I thought Michigan would be a much tougher battle for two reasons. First, the auto bailout was a straight giveaway of taxpayer dollars to workers in Michigan (and Ohio). That buys a lot of loyalty so I expect the Democrats to come out in force there. Second Michigan’s economy is also recovering thanks to the natural resources boom in the upper peninsula. The mining boom there has dramatically changed the fortunes of residents in that part of the state. This is normally a Republican strong-hold but with their business success, they may be less inclined to change horses midstream since things are booming there for the first time in decades. Polls show the state a dead heat, so I think Romney’s commitment to the state is justified. While I was skeptical of Romney’s chances in Michigan (among the Battleground possibilities), today I can only make Obama a very slight favorite.

  2. A Munchak
    Posted July 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I come to your website several times a day. Thanks for all the great work!!!

  3. Posted August 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I am also a conservative in NYC so I know suffering! Thank you for this blog. Please feel free to visit mine at http://www.sualma.com.

    • Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the compliment. We’re all just fighting the good fight any way we can. Keep up the good work on your end. All the best.

  4. Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    we need a twitter link under the main page material not just the about page to facilitate sending it out.

    • Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink | Reply

      If you click on any individual post, the twitter link to tweet it out comes up. Thanks

  5. Nick
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s what I fail to understand about such prognostication sites like this: why is everything that happened the last time just “taken for granted”, or assumed to be unchanged, or has been deemed but “pundits” as “givens” for the next time? Why are states that voted one way just presumed to continue to respond the same way? History is replete with examples of “experts” being humiliated into silence by what We The People ACTUALLY DO on Election Day. Ronald Reagan trailed in just about every poll in 1980 all the way up until votes were cast, yet on Election Day (which is the ONLY poll that matters), the verdict was quite different from what we were told by “experts” would be likely to happen. And for any “expert” who used 1980 as a model for 1984 was further humiliated into nothingness if they made the presumption that Carter states in 1980 were immovable from Mondale in 1984 – on the basis that they went for Carter 4 years before. We all know what a load of crap that was. So much time is wasted trying to “predict” outcomes – and all for what? Is there some kind of Academy Award equivalent for Prognosticator of the Year?? Is it necessary to go to the lengths of poring over data all for the benefit of aggrandizing one’s own ego – to Chest Beat ad infinitum that you “had predicted the outcome spot on” to justify your own presumed genius status? Who, for example, had the correct “models” for the 2010 washout of Democrats as a whole? Where were those little political seers to tell us in exactitudes about the 2010 Democrat Cleansing BEFORE it happened?? There were no successful prognostications or “models” showing what actually happened: 682 Seats in State Legislatures FLIPPED from Democrat to Republican. In four states supposedly locked down for Democrats, we saw not only the Governorship but BOTH Chambers of the State Legislature FLIP from Democrat to Republican – Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These junkie pundits would have had us believe there would be NO way such an actuality was ever possible to happen. But..it did. In addition to a near record flipping in the US House of Representatives. And where is the “model” taking such a cataclysmic devastation of Democrats into account now? What drove this 2010 onslaught? Visceral reaction to POLICIES. The TEA Party formed in 2009 as a reaction to two policy decisions, and they have remained unified because of them: ObamaCare’s passage and the unrelenting government spending into bankruptcy. Is it presumed – as it was in almost all 2010 “models” that the gutting of Democrats would have stopped had..Obama himself been on the ballots??? This is insane. Anyone who thinks that the TEA Party is made up of a bunch of religious zealots who only care about outlawing abortions and outlawing gay marriage are seriously underestimating them. It’s the TEA Party members who are supremely motivated to get to their respective polling places; it’s not the micromanaged ObamaBots of 2008. If anything it’s the Obama 2008 supporters who have deserted him in huge numbers. The math simply isn’t there for Obama to win much of anything. These over-hyped, vague, amorphous voting block of “Independents” (which is a code word for Political Cowardice – no guts to identify yourself as a true believer in either real Conservatism or real Socialism for fear of being laughed at) have rejected him wholesale – in huge margins. They will either vote Romney or not at all. They will NOT vote Obama. If Barack Obama has to count on Democrats alone – he cannot win. For the fist time in generations, Registered Republican Voters outnumber Registered Democrat voters by a huge margin. To give you an idea, the 2010 registration disparity by Election Day was in favor of Republicans by 1.3%. As of August 2012, that percentage in favor of Republicans is almost 4%. If that holds for the next 45 days – good luck to ANY Democrat winning anything. It’s a huge hill to climb for any “D” on a ballot anywhere.

  6. Chris
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I find your site to be incredibly biased. Amazingly so. Accuracy in political polling is difficult and prone to error, so you need to rely on aggregating data from non-partisan groups who have a proven track record of getting it right. You do the opposite by cherry picking individual results that agree with your ideology. I hope you don’t really believe everything you write. Good luck to you.

    • Posted September 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry you feel that way Chris. I blog good and bad polls for Romney (see the Michigan section). Thanks for visiting.

  7. David Weed
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    First of all, congratulations on getting linked by RealClearPolitics. It’s how I found battlegroundwatch.com. The work you’ve done is impressive, even if I disagree with your apparent methods. And your politics.

    Your site IS incredibly biased, though. You’re obviously and unapologetically a Romney supporter. But I have to agree with Chris (who posted above) that it does seem that you cherry pick data to fit your belief system. You look ALL of the poll results, and because you don’t personally like those results, you dismiss some, while you search for whatever data that might be available to bolster up stronger numbers for Romney/Ryan. You seem to favor the 2004 numbers to try and guess 2012 results. Perhaps that’s correct, but I find it unlikely. Even if those numbers end up similar, in terms of turnout,

    To be honest, I don’t fully understand how pollsters determine their samples. Is it as simple as them deciding to poll X number of Dems, Y number of GOP, and Z number of Independents? Is there any randomness to whom they call? You’ve obviously given this much more thought and spent time researching the subject. I realize that each polling firm likely works a bit differently.

    I have a few questions for you:
    1. WHY do you think that every major poll seems to oversample Democrats? What do they have to gain? It would seem to me that accuracy would be the goal by all or most of these firms and agencies. And if there’s an agenda, you’d think that most pollsters would PREFER the appearance of a closer race. Wouldn’t such a result, a more competitive race, make future polls more relevant for the next 40+ days?

    2. Are you suggesting that your data is more accurate than what’s available to the Romney campaign? That your analysis is somehow correct, while everyone else’s is incomplete? I’m talking about States like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which by and large Romney/Ryan are ceding to the President. Your numbers and analysis seem to suggest that these states are still competitive. I disagree. Nate Silver disagrees. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama disagree.

    3. Do you feel like your “numbers” are as in-depth or more correct than 538.com? While Nate Silver’s numbers seem to contradict your analysis at every turn, and certainly don’t currently favor Romney, do you find his articles and math to be incorrect?

    _______________

    Again, while I don’t agree with your conclusions, I admire the amount of work you put into this site. I’ve got to say that it’s a shame you hadn’t put a slightly more professional face on your site before now. I get that you’re more interested content over style, but you’ve likely missed an opportunity to widen your impact. A more professional look and feel could have gone a LONG way towards making YOU the next Nate Silver. The 538.com of the Conservatives. With your RCP link, I’m sure your traffic has spiked. Alas, while many people will seek out your message, my guess is that quite a few people will be lost due to the simplicity of the “packaging”.

    Anyway, I’VE bookmarked your site. Good luck to you.

    Oh. ONE MORE QUESTION. Or suggestion.

    How about an October 1, 2012 Electoral Map. I’d like to see your projections and predictions. “If the election was held today” sort of thing. I’d truly be interested. Would you paint PA and OH red or blue? Virginia? What would the count be?

    – Dave

  8. David Weed
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thank YOU, Keith, for a prompt response. I meant no disrespect regarding the look of the site. It was a suggestion based on reaching the most people. Forgive me. I’m in marketing. You’ve spent a TON of time putting together thoughtful articles, and my assumption was that you would be trying to reach the most people. I wasn’t suggesting that you consider ads, but I guess I was assuming that you’d prefer to get your message out to more people. It’s what I believe. But this is your site.

    As I stated before, I’m very new to your site, and I haven’t scoured every word. Thanks for answering my questions. I’ll make sure to read each article.

    – Dave

    • Posted September 27, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink | Reply

      Not at all Dave. As you could guess I am the anti-marketer. Thanks again for visiting.

  9. Posted October 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    So this site is editorializing by selective sampling and conjecture-infused analysis of polling data. Nothing new there. What is the value of “battlegroundwatch.com”? What do you do better than fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com or pollster.com or electoral-vote.com? Seems like another partisan hack to me.

    • Posted October 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for visiting Mike. Hope your day gets better.

    • MattWestfall
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I find tremendously insightful data here. I appreciate the deeper dig of sample make up and the calibration of disparate polling results through voter-ID make up. Thank you for your great analysis.

      Of course, it’s funny how commenter disagreement with value correlates so highly with political views. For those leaning left, pointing out the man behind the curtain is only fun when its not their man.

  10. Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Could you do a blog posting about “October Surprises” and do they really work? Thanks

    • Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The problems with an October Surprise post is the evidence is sketchy to use a prominent word of the day. Gore’s October surprise clearly helped him when Bush should have won by 2-3%, suddenly the race was a toss-up. Even that is speculation based on Karl Rove’s internal #s which I believe. Away from that you get more speculation than verifiable data on the impact.

  11. jcf
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just came upon your site today-I wish I would have found it sooner in the election cycle. Thanks for the in-depth analysis and honest appraisal. Am Republican and living in the Socialist Republic of Maryland (where the governor never ever shows on the Eastern Shore and have Mikulski and Cardin for senators) but as a transplant from Pennsylvania we are going to keep trying.

  12. Joe Sell
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    First I’d like to say I do admire your work. No ads or filler distractions is not only refreshing, it indicates integrity. Not integrity in a non-partisan sense, but integrity as in being what you are. As Luigi Zingales puts it in “A Capitalism for the People,” your expertise is much less likely to be “captured” by outside interest. I thoroughly enjoy the rawness of your site.

    In the spectrum of the battlegrounds, do you think Ohio is the purest toss up right now, and if so, is it feasible for Romney to win without it? In doing so, wouldn’t he have to win a couple states that are further toward Obama’s end of that spectrum than Ohio, namely IA and NV?

    Thanks,

    -Joe

    • Posted October 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the compliments. Ohio or Iowa are the purest toss-ups. As for Romney winning without Iowa it is certainly mathematically possible however were he to not win Ohio it is harder to credibly argue he would carry an Iowa or Wisconsin that would be necessary to offset Ohio’s electoral votes. It should be easier for Romney to win Ohio than it is for him to win the other two so if he comes up short there, it’s a tortured arguments that he’d carry the more difficult states mentioned. Nevada is a tricky state with a horrific state party that greatly hurts candidates with a lack of infrastructure, voter database, get out the vote effort etc. Romney and the RNC tried to circumvent that by forming a group called Team Nevada that you can find in my search engine but the reality is Romney will almost certainly underperform in Nevada relative to his national average. IF he wins the national vote by 4% he probably carries Nevada. If he wins the National vote by 1% he probably loses Nevada.

  13. Bunker It Up
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Most informative battleground site out there- thanks, frustrated and living in Blue New Jersey.

  14. Terry
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great Site Keith… You are doing a magnificent job… I am very much a numbers guy and I have been interested in polling for a long time… The Dem over sampling in many of these polls is very perplexing unless it is intentional… I don’t think it is a coincidence that this over sampling occurs in the ABC, NBC and CBS polls… It is hard to believe that 7-10% more Dems will turnout on election day.

    I have a question for you… I have noticed that the generic congressional preferences in many of the polls have pretty much been even between Reps and Dems…. I was wondering what you would think this means in terms of turnout?… I am speculating that it would mean that turn out would be pretty much even on election day and with the enthusiasm level included would favor Reps to have an even higher turnout… I would love to know what you think about this.

    • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      There’s a lot of evidence that turnout on election day will skew more Republican than most every poll out there. When I look at national #s I view the electorate as D +2. I restrict myself between the 2004 election which was dead even and 2008 which was D +7. I do this because not only are they the two most recent but strangely enough they are the two extremes between the best turnout for Republicans (04) and the best turnout for Democrats (08) in any election in a generation. I’m conservative with my estimations by nature, I enjoy good surprises. So I don’t want to go overboard with expecting best-in-a-generation turnout for Republicans like you’re seeing in the generic Congressional ballot. Is it possible? Absolutely. There is a ton of evidence that the GOP turnout will be incredible and the Democrats lack of enthusiasm will really haunt them on election day. But for now, I’m sticking with my conservative estimates and would do the dance of joy if turnout is better than I expect.

  15. Bunker It Up
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    Keith- I think you need to ad Minnesota to your battleground scoreboard.

    • Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink | Reply

      I’d love to be forced to do that! It’s not there yet though

  16. ecmnyc
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYcqToQzzGY

    Really enjoy the blog and glad you’re ok. My UWS apartment was spared as well, and I haven’t ventured far from home, but it looks pretty rough down there.

  17. Posted November 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I just discovered your site today. As a fellow conservative and politics (and polls) junkie, I am definitely enjoying it. Thanks.

  18. Ken
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This site is like crack.

  19. Posted November 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    LOVE this site. I’d be a new reader you’ve gotten from RCP exposure. Nice thorough analysis! Keep it up! And I hope you plan on continuing the blog past the election! 🙂

  20. shs28078
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Will you check this article out?

    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21914514/poll-obama-romney-still-essentially-tied-colorado

    It says “Most significant in the results, the poll shows Obama winning among people who say they have already cast a ballot, 49 percent to 46 percent. ”

    Later it says”In turnout results from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office updated through Thursday voting, Republicans are outpacing Democrats in voting early this year, by about 38,000 votes.”

    I’m not a poll conspiracy guy, but that’s impossible.

  21. Posted November 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Keith, I am a great admirer of what you’ve done here. Yes, you’re biased, as I am, to hope the capitalist system, which has given Americans the most wealth of any people in history, will continue to provide for its people. I believe socialism is simply feeding off the seed corn & wealth of a system till the system collapses. (Russia, China, South America, etc.) However, I’m also interested in an intellectual way, in polls & statistics, as I am a succesful stock-market trader and use statistics with which to trade in order to find an edge in trading.

    Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

    Winston Churchhill: “A five-minute conversation with an average voter will discourage anyone in believing in democracy.”

    Could you create another discussion post here as an intellectual discussion of polls in general? I am coming to the belief that (a) all too many polls are biased for whatever reason, be it sloppiness, political blindness, mathematical stupidity, or hope and (b) we don’t have the intellectual tools to know what about them to believe. You site is a valiant attempt to correct this.

    Schopenhauer: “Hope is the enemy of the businessman.” I think all too many of us live in hope, not facts. T. S. Elliot: “Human beings cannot bear very much reality.”

    If you like, this post can be the first post in the new discussion. Here are the ideas & questions I have about polls and the subjects I’d like to see your intelligent readers opine upon:

    1 – Regarding the controversy over designing the model (D+what?) what is the intellectually most honest way of presenting the data? Is it necessary to use the voting patterns of 2004 or 2008 or 2010? Or is it best to average the last 2 elections as the best reflection of current reality? How necessary is it to massage the results of the poll? And how much massaging is the necessary? Message men/women, black/white/Hispanic, Catholics/non-Catholics, regions of the country, young/old–where does this stop? And in 1,000 responses (the typical number in a national poll) once you split up into catagories of the electoriate, each segment is statistically not terribly valid.

    2 – Should any poll that doesn’t publish cross-tabs be believed? Which do and which don’t?

    3 – Unskewed.com – how much more accurate a reflection of current reality are Dean’s unskewed figures? Or is he living in hope?

    4 – What are the proper portion of cell phones & land lines today? What is the effect of cell phones on polls?

    5 – Whose questions are best? What is an unbiased question?

    6 – How much better are the aggregate state polls over national polls at describing the electorate? The presidential race is 50 state races. In a country with 160 million voters, how accurate are 1,000 random voters across the fruited plain? Yes, yes, I know the statistical theory–but that’s 20 voters per state, and I think it’s all too easy to bypass evangelicals, Catholics, black people, etc. That is, if blacks are 13% of the population, when you’re ideally talking to precisely 130 black people–so that is not much of a sample for 16 million blacks. Not enough in any textbook I know. Despite my background in statistics, I think 1,000 phone calls is inadequate as a method of taking the temperature of 160 million voters.

    7 – Given the Reagan surprise in his first election, do polls tell us much? If yes, what?

    8 – Twenty years ago it took 4,000 calls to achieve 1,000 voters. Today it takes 10,000. What is the effect of such an increasingly difficult effort? Do the “smarter” voters decline to be interviewed? Or the dumber? (In my house we don’t take any unknown calls, or robo calls–assuming we’re being sold something. I guess all pollsters use autodialing, in which 20 seconds before a pollster is finished with one responder, he hits a button which starts dialing the next caller as in collection calls–a robo-call. We’re clever enough to recognize them when they come in and don’t answer.)

    9 – Rasmussen provides a rolling 3-day average, and Gallup a rolling 7-day average. These are larger samples than most, and done over several days: as an intellectual concept, surely this is the most accurate we can do with limited funds. Yes? No? Discuss. Would even larger samples work much better? Would targeting pockets of voters (blacks, Hispanics, whites, gays, etc.) tell us anything more?

    10 – There is a suggestion that the question: “Who do you think will win the election?” is a better question than “Who are you going to vote for?” the notion being that each responder is an “anthropologist” of his neighborhood. Under this scenario the answer today (Nov 3rd, 2012) is that 55-60% of the answers are Obama. What is the difference, and do we think this is a better question?

    Again, thanks for your hard work. I’ve come to rely on the site for the bulk of my political news!

    Donald Porter

2 Trackbacks

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