Category Archives: General

Congratulations to President Obama

I know Karl Rove is saying it’s not over, but if it is, I toasted you four years ago and I hope no matter what happens the next four years are better than the last.

If the turnout was unprecedented and in your favor I concede defeat honorably.

Guess the Blogger

My $0.02.  Everything is fine so far.  Stay off the ledge.  We’ll know a lot more in 30 minutes (9:00pm ET). I’m watching the turnout % in Dem precincts.  We know Republicans will show up, the question is how many Dems are still left out there and will they show up.  Anecdotal things look really good right now but I know how the #s ebb and flow and then suddenly in a deep urban precinct 120% of votes come in and everything you were modeling goes out the window.  The only states I’m watching are Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin — the acknowledge Obama firewall.  Biden chasing the RR planes is funny.  I love their bravado. Such phonies. I keep thinking Romney is stronger in Ohio than most realize and Obama’s early vote margin was surprisingly weak.  If the cannibalizing was true then it’s over in that state.  Iowa is going to be close no matter who wins.  And Wisconsin is round 3 of the Walker recall.  We’ll see how that plays out.  I loved that in Obama’s phone bank stop he was calling WI #s.

Below is the photo of the first drink.  We randomly picked up drinks to not give away identities, I’ll only promise I’m one of them:

Open Thread

It has been great fun and I hope everyone has a good night.  Be nice win or lose.  Don’t take the worst from either side and make that the norm.

Have at it guys.

First drink in 11 weeks.  Here’s to whomever wins tonight:

 

Election Night Tips

I’ll update this post over the next 18-24 hours and bump it as needed. Regardless of the outcome, celebrate democracy and the privilege we share. At 7pm on election night in 2008 I opened one of my best bottles of wine, toasted Barack Obama and wished him well in his Presidency. The outcome was obvious beyond an election day miracle and I’m not the biggest fan of deceiving myself. I hope both sides of the aisle will do the same Tuesday night whenever the winner is announced. We are all better off under those circumstances. Tomorrow’s going to be really interesting and a lot of fun. Enjoy the moment, it only comes around every four years.

Below are various tips from myself or others where noted:

  • Beware false stories of unprecedented lines at some precincts and desolate lines at other precincts. They may well all be true but voting patterns shift every election and getting too despondent or overjoyed based on random and possibly inaccurate anecdotes will make you crazy.  Both sides have quite possibly the strongest ground games in election history so anything is possible on election day.  Let it play out.
  • Ignore the “too close to call” game. If the media doesn’t have enough precincts reporting in a Republican state they will say the race is “too close to call.” If they don’t have enough precincts reporting in a Democrat state they will say the polls just closed so it’s too early to say anything. They do this EVERY election.
  • I put this on my Facebook page election night 4 years ago and have left it there.  It’s as true today as it was then and is a good thing to remember no matter the outcome. “A prophet is the one who, when everyone else
    despairs, hopes. And when everyone else hopes, he despairs. You’ll ask me why. It’s because he has mastered the Great Secret: that the Wheel turns.”








I Don’t Know or Care if This is Fake

But this is awesome:

(h/t Steupz (@Bourgy)

 

If Media Don’t Like Poll Results, They Have the Results Changed

Since NBC/WSJ/CBS/New York Times/ABC pay for the poll why should they have to report results running counter to their politics?  John Podhoretz at Commentary Magazine has the scoop:

A stunning tale today in the Salt Lake Tribune, however, reveals the dirty little secret of polls paid for by the media. The results are, in effect, owned by the media, and the media can insist that they be rejiggered.

The Tribune published a poll done by the respected Mason-Dixon firm that showed a 10-point lead for the county’s Republican candidate for mayor. The poll was released on Thursday. Later, editors for the paper objected to the results on the grounds that the poll had an insufficient number of Democrats in its sample:

Tribune editor Nancy Conway acknowledged the problem. “We are as concerned about this as anyone,” she said Monday. “As soon as we understood there was a problem we worked to correct it. “We had no reason to doubt the poll until we saw others conducted over the same period and could see differences in the numbers. That raised questions,” Conway said. “We contacted our pollster who did additional research on Salt Lake County demographics and found there was indeed a flaw. “We knew right then that we needed to correct our mistake and that’s what we are doing,” Conway said.

And so it was done, as the story explains.

These are stunning admissions:

To recap: A newspaper pays for a poll. It doesn’t like the look of the results. So it asks the pollster to reexamine them and alter them by changing his “weights.” He does so; he may agree with the call (as the Mason Dixon pollster says he does in the story) or he may be simply serving the interests of his paying client.

And it will do so based on the partisan split—the very controversy that is dismissed so cavalierly by media types. We only know about this one because of the highly unusual circumstances of its revision. The question you have to ask yourself now is: How many times does this happen before a poll is published?

But people like myself have been called every conspiratorial wacko name in the book for looking at the data, saying it is obviously wrong and charging the polling organizations with either incompetence or bias.  Turns out it is both.

The Most Important Tweet of the Day (for Me)

This is why I have taken up residence in The Coffee Bean.  Tonight I will be blogging from the satellite office in midtown and try to share things not readily available on the Networks.  Also at the request of multiple people we’ll have an Open Thread around 6 or 7pm.  I may even throw in an “Ask Keith” post this afternoon where you can ask me any question with minor restrictions (only one question, no follow-ups, if multiple questions I choose one and no repeats).  Major Garrett used to do this on Twitter and I always thought it was fun.  Anyway those are my thoughts as I exit The Bean for a bit.

Get It Out of the Way Early

The sooner the better.

Here is the front of the line at 6:45-7am:

All while the college kids sleep the day away…

This message is brought to you by The Coffee Bean (free wi-fi! — damn you Verizon)

Vote!

It all comes down to that.  Stay safe everyone. I’m going to bed.

Electoral Vote Prediction: What Will Happen Tomorrow?

About one week after this blog began its 5+ month odyssey (when I still could not walk and ate pain killers like they were candy) I wrote: “If the poll shows the Democrat with a slight lead, it’s tied.  If the poll shows the race tied, the Republican is winning.  And if the poll shows the Republican winning? well then the race is over.”

Sadly I thought by this point Romney would be up a point or two in the polls and could confidently predict a 330 electoral vote win. But Hurricane Sandy changed the dynamic of the race.  President Obama was “Presidential” for once and appeared in a bi-partisan light with a great assist from Chris Christie. Had his first term been more bi-partisan like he showed during the Hurricane he would have a far better shot at re-election. But his recent political deathbed conversion runs contrary to what this country has lived through over the last four years.  The most divisive President since the disgraced Richard Nixon can give a good speech and wears the genial veneer of a uniter, but his four-year record of division has left the country worse off from his choices.

You can’t swing a dead cat today without hitting a national poll showing the race a dead heat between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. But the polling today and political commentary reminds me so much of two mid-term elections: 1994 and 2010 — admittedly non-Presidential years.  The press consensus was a “status quo” election in 1994 while they mocked firebrands who were talking about a revolution. The result was historic drubbings in the House and Senate flipping control of both to Republicans. The same press more recently tried the same dodge in 2010 focusing on likely Republican failures Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle rather than the transformative Republicans like Kristi Noem, Tim Scott, Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio. The arrogant Obama consoled Democrats ahead of this mid-term saying the difference between 1994 and 2010 was that this time they had him. Of course Republicans famously delivered a “shellacking” at the voting booth.  My favorite gawd-awful pollster, Marist, had the Congressional race dead even ahead of the greatest drubbing ever. As the Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone wrote “you could argue that this is the best Republican showing ever.” Rather odd they seem to always underestimate Republican performance, don’t you think?

Today the press write 50 stories on Missouri’s Todd Akin and barely acknowledge Nebraska’s Deb Fischer.  If Fischer were a Democrat, the upstart Senator-in-waiting would be paraded around Sunday talk-shows like Cleopatra but you see nary a passing mention of Fischer taking down the formidable Bob Kerrey.  The Tea Party of 2010 was misrepresented, relentlessly smeared with false accusations of racist behavior and ultimately dismissed by the press until they kicked the door in. Instead of trying to coalesce into a national movement  they retrenched locally and have been planting the political mustard seeds in Battleground districts across this country.  You already see the fruits of their labors in the great voter registration changes and early voting of low-propensity Republicans. They don’t talk big or preen for the cameras, they just go about their business changing the entire dynamic of American politics. Today’s polls capture none of this and represent an electorate much the same as the dynamic 2008 Democrat wave when there is no evidence to support such enthusiasm or turnout.

Democrats still have to explain away Obama and his plan for the future because he has yet to offer one. The national polls say despite his poor first term record and lack of a second term agenda he is tied nationally but more importantly leading among the Battleground State polls. But as Bob Krumm writes: “The last two times that a Republican challenged a Democratic incumbent (1996 and 1980) the polls overestimated Democratic support by 5.1 and 7.2 points.  And ‘96 was not even in bad economic times.”  (h/t @JohnEkdahl). Add to that the majority of this blog relentlessly focused on breaking down state poll internals demonstrating time and again those same polls were over-representing Democrat voters and misrepresenting the various state electorates. When you combine these two, the reality is that yes, the polls are wrong and this is not a new phenomenon. The major difference in this election is the sheer volume and relentless use of these polls as political advocacy for a preferred candidate.

In those same polls Mitt Romney has consistently led by double digits among Independent voters while locking down Republican partisans. But Independents are not always the greatest indicator in Presidential elections. John Kerry won Independents nationally by ~1% and by double digits in Ohio ~19 points and still lost the election by 3 points. and Ohio by 2-points.  It is this statistic Democrats cling to while Republicans, including myself, scoff at tied polls with Romney leading with Independents by 20-points. George Bush overcame that Independent deficit because he had a historic turnout of Republicans that had never been seen before. Barack Obama also achieved a historic partisan advantage for modern elections in the 2008 turnout but also carried Independents by 8-points and won overall by 7-points. In 2012 his entire re-election is staked on achieving this again but under far less advantageous circumstances. The greatest difference between 2004 and 2012 is George Bush had a passionate following on the most prominent issue of the day–national security–while today Obama is at his weakest on the most prominent issue of the day–the economy–with passion inspired only in the cult of Obama. This is why Obama is so consistently capped at 47 or 48% in nearly every poll. His impassioned followers won’t abandon him but he attracts few others.

This means the only way Obama wins is a turnout superior to his historic 2008 election when his greatest assets, insurmountable early voting leads and enthusiasm unparalleled in American history, are absent. Maybe he’ll pull it off, but the evidence says he will not. Mitt Romney has run a competent campaign and caught fire in the first debate when President Obama’s lack of vision stood in stark contrast to the energized and vibrant Romney. Since that juncture the enthusiasm, initiative and momentum have all been on one side of the contest.  Today the Romney ground game does no worse than match the vaunted Obama ground game with evidence that Team Obama is desperately robbing Peter (cannibalizing election day high propensity voters) to pay Paul (boost weak early voting).

If political directors at ABC, NBC and CBS were told 6-months ago President Obama’s final days would be spent defending Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin (to crowds far smaller than even John Kerry) while Romney is drawing 30k in Philadelphia suburbs in near unanimity they would conclude Obama is losing the race. Today states like Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania show up in political discussions the way Indiana and North Carolina were in 2008. It doesn’t take much more to know which way the wind is blowing. The Obama campaign’s ground game is a strong operation and plenty of states will be won by less than 1% of the vote, much like 2000 and 2004 so his ability to pull of an election night surprise should not be underestimated. But too many fundamental problems exist for Obama: stubbornly awful economy, eroding trust on foreign policy, formidable opponent, enthusiastic opposition and potentially fatal concerns with the turnout of key demographics (Hispanics and youth) for him to likely win tomorrow.

All of this adds up to the following states falling into Romney’s column: Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. The only rain on Romney’s parade is his inability to carry his “home state” of Michigan but it will be close. The billions in tax-payer losses on the auto bailout at least bought Obama something.

Final electoral prediction, Romney 331, Obama 207. I guess the fundamentals of the race overwhelmed even Hurricane Sandy.


Special thanks to Matt Margolis at Blogs4Victory for the map.

If Rasmussen is Correct (and he has been in the last two Presidential elections)

Then we’re looking at the Scott Walker recall night all over again.

Rasmussen Reports’s Party Affiliation for October is R +5.8.  Below is Rasmussen’s month-end party ID for each October in Presidential years. We compared that with the exit polling party ID provided by the Winston Group:

Year Rasmussen Actual
2004 D +1.5 (Dem 38.7, Rep 37.2) D +0 (Dem 38, Rep 38)
2008 D +7.1 (Dem 40.3, Rep 33.3) D +7 (Dem 40, Rep 33)
2012 R +5.8 (Dem 33.3, Rep 39.1) ?????

In the two prior Presidential election years Rasmussen essentially called the party identification and accurately captured the ground swell in favor of Democrats in 2008. Not coincidentally Rasmussen called the 2004 election within 1% and hit the bullseye in the 2008 election.  I don’t know exactly the why behind Rasmussen’s methodology but his affiliation has been consistently R +whatever but he’s been running his polls at D +whatever. I’m assuming D +2 so if we get R +2 (I refuse to even consider R +6) then it is blowout city.

And if that happens we could see a rerun of two of our favorite clips from the Scott Walker recall, delusional Democrats in disbelief and MSNBC anchors live re-enactment of the movie Scanners.

Undecided Voter Pretty Sure He’s Some Kind Of Idiot

This essay on the Undecided voter may not be Shakespearian in a Herbert Kornfeld sense, but it is fantastic.  It should be read in conjunction with the brilliant Saturday Night Live skit on Undecided voters:

With just one day to go before the presidential election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, undecided voter Andrew Mueller is pretty sure he’s some kind of idiot, the 37-year-old Seattle resident told reporters today.

According to Mueller, he’s “had a feeling for a while” that he is a total imbecile and hopelessly stupid human being, and this sentiment has gained more traction in recent days as his political sympathies have remained divided between two candidates with drastically different views on the economy, health care, social issues, and the environment.

“I have to say, the fact that I’m still undecided a day before the election has started to make me think I must be a complete and utter moron,” Mueller said in a rare moment of insight and clarity. “I mean, this presidential campaign has essentially been going on for two years, during which the clearly divergent platforms of both parties have been articulated in attack ads, campaign appearances, debates, interviews, and thousands of articles online and in newspapers. So the fact that I can’t decide between candidates at this point can really only mean that I’m some sort of bumbling half-wit with little to no capacity for critical thought.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what it is—I’m like a dumbshit or something,” he continued. “How else can you explain the fact that 24 hours before the election, I basically have no idea what’s going on? You can’t.”

According to Mueller, his newfound realization that he is an undeniable idiot or at least “a very, very dumb person” comes after years of ambivalence about the Democratic and Republican parties, during which he often misattributed his political uncertainty to factors other than being an indescribably thickheaded imbecile.

Before the midterm elections in 2010, Mueller switched his political affiliation from Democrat to Independent because he wanted to “vote on candidates and issues, not on political parties,” a decision he said “doesn’t necessarily make a person a moron, but certainly did in my case.” However, as the election draws near and Mueller remains no surer whom to vote for than he was a year ago, the undecided voter is increasingly convinced that his ambivalence is due not to his affiliation as a political independent and its attendant ideologies, but to the fact that he is, quite simply, an entirely brainless dimwit.

“Before now, I felt I was just being thoughtful, carefully weighing each candidate’s statements and making sure I was informed on the important issues, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Mueller, adding that he once even thought that being undecided lent him a sort of mystique, a notion he now considers “almost as fucking dumb as I am.” “In reality, I’m actually just a spectacular dolt who doesn’t have the remotest understanding of how this country’s political system works, or really what the hell I’m doing in general.”

“However, I do care about the issues, in my way,” he added. “I’m just really, really stupid. Like, really stupid.”

At press time, Mueller said he had nearly made up his mind in favor of Romney before seeing an Obama attack ad, which made him consider supporting the president.

(giggling)

The final CNN/ORC International national poll shows the Presidential race tied at 49 between Barack Obama and  Mitt Romney.  NO ONE KNOWS WHO WILL WIN!?!?!?

Oh by the way, Mitt Romney leads by 22-points with Independent voters and the survey sampled 11 percentage points more Democrats than Republicans (Dem 41, Rep 30, Ind 29).  The modern record for partisan differential was 7 percentage points more Democrats in 2008. Obama gets 40% of the White vote despite massive over-sampling of Democrats.

I’m on pins and needles with no idea who is actually winning this race.

/sarcasm

Minnesota Staying Top of Mind with Team Romney

6500 at Paul Ryan Rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota

A few friends decided to stop by and say hello:

 

Images from Alex Moe at NBC who called the rally “massive:

Have you guys noticed the on-line ads showing up when you click on posts?

They’re not supposed to be there but if wordpress is going to spam my readers with their crap ads I’m going to make then pay me for them while they take them down. If I could move the site immediately I would. I highly doubt this is an “accident” since they have bugged me before about putting ads on the site. Wanted to know what you are seeing. Thanks

UPDATE: I’m seeing a lot of “no” responses. I just want to make certain we are talking about the same thing.

In this post below:
http://battlegroundwatch.com/2012/11/03/oh-marist-you-scamp-obama-wins-36-of-37-battleground-polls/

Words like “press releases” at the end of the first paragraph, and words like “survey” and “sample” in the Ohio paragraph all get a double-underline causing pop-up ads to show up if my cursor runs over them.

Is that just me? And as one commenter says may be a function of spyware?

Ryan Rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota Today! (Nov 4) 3:30pm

Putting their money where my mouth is, the next Vice President is heading into the Democrat stronghold of Minneapolis, Minnesota to rally the Romney-Ryan troops. Let’s pull off the election night shocker and paint this purple state red!

Paul Ryan & the Republican Team in Minneapolis!

When: Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Doors Open 1:30 PM | Event Begins 3:30 PM

Where: Sun Country Airlines, Minneapolis — St. Paul International Airport, 2005 Cargo Road, Minneapolis, MN 55111

The Sun Country Airlines hangar is located just off Hwy 77 (Cedar Road)on the west side of Terminal 2-Humphrey at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

To register for the event, click here.

Additional parking with shuttle service to the event site will be available at the corner of 24th Avenue and East 82nd Street across from the Mall of America

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

Questions: TeamMN@MittRomney.com | (612) 547-9841
For Important Campaign Updates: Text (MN) to GOMITT (466488)

Bigger, Better America

Romney +1 in Minnesota (Not a Typo) — NMB Research (Glen Bolger)

We’ve blogged Bolger’s polls a few times on this site and a couple things bear repeating every time.

First, Bolger is a a partisan pollster for Republican candidates.  Second, his reputation for accuracy, however, is well-documented. In 2010 Bolger was one of the only people who had Harry Reid up in his Senate re-election bid:

Bolger’s work generally has been spot-on in Nevada — for example, he had Harry Reid ahead of Sharron Angle by 5 percentage points late in the 2010 Senate race, just off the final margin.

We know what happens when you dismiss smart pollsters telling you things may be different on the ground  in Battleground (?) States than the conventional wisdom from Washington DC.

The latest from Glen Bolger shows Mitt Romney leading by 1-point in Minnesota, 46 to 45. This is a 5-point swing from the 4-point lead Obama enjoyed in the October 13 poll by Bolger. In both polls the most troubling thing for the President is his deficit below the 50% mark. As we have shown, Undecideds break strongly for the challenger at rates upwards of 80%.  If Obama hasn’t closed this out by now my election night surprise may just be the cherry on top of an election night dessert:

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are separated by just 1 point in Minnesota, effectively making the race there a toss-up, according to polling taken for the conservative American Future Fund. Romney takes 46 percent of the vote to Obama’s 45 percent in the poll, which was conducted by the GOP firm NMB Research and shared with POLITICO. The Republican presidential nominee is up 13 points among independents, ahead of Obama 49 percent to 36 percent. They survey breaks with recent public data, which has shown Obama maintaining a single-digit edge over Romney, but gives Republicans reason to hope for an upset. Democrats aren’t taking the state for granted at this point, with Obama countering pro-Romney ads (including AFF advertising) and deploying Bill Clinton to campaign there.

In a polling memo, pollster Glen Bolger attributes the closeness of the race to Minnesota’s overwhelmingly white population. “Minnesota is very much a battleground state due the low minority population of the state and President Obama’s problems with white voters. Romney has a good chance to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the election cycle in this state,” Bolger writes. The poll tested 500 likely voters on Oct. 30 and 31 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points

For President Percent
Barack Obama 45
Mitt Romney 46
Other na
Undecided na

Half-Time Poll Time:

Obama Campaign Acknowledges Early Vote Might Be Cannibalized

This is huge.  I’ve avoided this topic because quite honestly I don’t really trust the data.  But Major Garrett has yet another incredible scoop direct from the Obama campaign.  Guys, if this is true  . . . we’re going to really like November 6:

 

Senator Sharon Angle Agrees With Nate Silver: Barack Obama has an 84% Chance of Winning

Nate Silver has his usual spin on outrageously absurd election outcome odds:

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.

He shows a bunch of polls from a murder’s row of bad polling where Obama is leading and maps out three arguments where they could be wrong.  After arguing and dismissing the first two he concludes:

That leaves only the final source of polling error, which is the potential that the polls might simply have been wrong all along because of statistical bias.

You don’t say!

The FiveThirtyEight forecast accounts for this possibility…I do not mean to imply that the polls are biased in Mr. Obama’s favor. But there is the chance that they could be biased in either direction…My argument, rather, is this: we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.

Silver makes such pronouncements with outlandish statistical weights as if it is nearly unbelievable that the poll results could be wrong.  One of the main purposes of this blog was to look at the exact same polls, analyze the internal data and test whether the poll data match up with the poll results.  We found that time after time after time the results unequivocally do not match up with the internal data.  Thanks to Sean Davis, we are reminded this was the identical situation only 2 years ago is probably the highest profile race where a deeply unpopular Senate Majority leader was behind in nearly every poll yet still won.

Out of 14 polls between October 1 and election day, Sharon Angle led in 12 of those polls.  Her average lead on election day according to Real Clear Politics was +2.6.  She lost by -5.6 points — an 8.2 point swing.  The polls were not just wrong, but WAY wrong.  Could anyone analyzing the internals of these polls see this?  Why yes they could. But even in the highest profile contest of the cycle, almost no one did such an analysis. The few who did, Democrat pollster Mark Mellman, Republican pollster Glen Bolger and liberal reporter/columnist Jon Ralston, all consistently said the polls were wrong — and each was largely ignored until proven correct on election day.  Why did they know this?  Because they looked at the data in the polls and said the internal information does not reflect the top-line results and the Nevada electorate on election day will not reflect what these polls are indicating. They were right and the polls were wrong … by A LOT.

Today we have an identical dichotomy where the stat gurus like Nate Silver say Obama has an 84% chance of winning because that is what the top-line poll numbers tell him.  Nate Silver called the Nevada Senate race incorrectly because the poll data was wrong.  His accuracy is predicated on accurate polls.  Mountains of evidence says today’s Presidential polls are equally as wrong as the Nevada Senate polls.

Critics of the polls on the Right, like myself, of whom even Silver concedes offer “intellectually coherent” critiques say the results on November 6 will be very different. Maybe Nate Silver is correct and Barack Obama will be re-elected President on November 6.  But any analysis of the data in those same state polls he relies on says the voting preference of Independents, the increased turnout of Republicans, the decreased turnout of Democrats, the change in favor of Republicans in early voting, Romney’s favorability on the election’s top issue (economy) and numerous other factors will result in President Romney on November 6.  United States Senator Sharon Angle from Nevada may disagree.

Revenge Or Love Of Country

Home.

The Choice

Minnesota … Just Sayin’

If You’re Thinking of Volunteering, Do It

BenK over at Ace of Spades has a great post for those considering on volunteering down the stretch. Do what you can to win this race beyond the margin of fraud:

This is it. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday is all that stands between us and a second Obama term. I stopped by my local victory center last night to pick up literature. The place was packed with people making calls. At this point in 2008 the place was empty. People do not show up to volunteer if they think a candidate is going to lose. Our victory centers are packed. It is not too late to help the Romney campaign. Actually, this is the best time to get out and volunteer. This is when the election will be won or lost. This is when the undecided or lazy voters are making their final decisions.

People like you and I would get naked and run ass backwards through a cornfield to vote for Mitt Romney. It’s the sometimes voters that we need to turn out. Don’t like talking to other meat puppets? Then do a literature drop. Simply stop by your local victory center which you can find here. You don’t even have to call ahead of time. Just show up. They’re normally open from 9am to 9pm. Ask them for some literature. Then walk around your neighborhood and stick them in between the flag and the mailbox. Don’t put them in the mailbox as that is illegal. Anything helps. Just do your neighborhood if that’s all you’re willing to do.

If you don’t have a problem interacting with people, then knock on their door when you do the lit drop. Introduce yourself. Tell them why you are voting for Mitt Romney and explain to them why they should vote for Mitt Romney. Remember, don’t be insulting, condescending or a dick. Most people aren’t like you and I. They don’t hate Obama, but they’re open to voting against them. It helps to pretend you’re Sherlock Holmes when walking up to their house. Use whatever information you can glean from looking at their house, car, etc to help you formulate an argument that might sway them. If they have a massive SUV in their drive, then talk about gas prices under Obama. If they have a large house, then talk about the rising costs of utilities. If they have toys in their front yard, then talk about the national debt our children will be left paying off. If their car has a my kid is an honor student bumper sticker, then talk about the rising cost of college education.

Don’t read off a script. Treat each person you talk to differently. Try your best to tailor your argument to the concerns of the person you are speaking with. You can also make calls at the victory centers. Just show up. Tell them you want to make calls and they’ll set you up with a phone. If you don’t want to leave your home, but you are willing to make calls then do it from home. Find out how here.

It is not enough to vote and donate in this election. You have to do something. It is close. Romney is either slightly up, tied, or slightly down in Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. If you live in one of those states you have no excuse to be sitting on your duff this weekend. Your time is the most valuable asset you can offer for the campaign.

If you are in any of those state and can volunteer to poll watch, then please click the link in the sidebar and volunteer to poll watch. This is especially true if you are in a large county. If you are not in a swing state, they may not call you back. All of their efforts are focused on the close races. They need people to watch polls to help prevent fraud. If you live in Cleveland, Las Vegas, Denver, Boulder, etc, then you need to poll watch to help prevent fraud. Those living in Republican leaning counties need to poll watch and work strike list to help turnout the vote.

We’re winning with independents, but there are far more registered Democrats than Republicans. We’re at a natural disadvantage because we are fewer in number. We have to outwork them if we want to win. Please, do something to help.

Today’s Jobs Report Unlikely to Change Election Trajectory

In August, I wrote the following regarding the monthly jobs reports:

Not much to see here. Really. The full takeaway is an improved report compared to the poor prior months but there is softness underneath the top-line results in a continuing weak economy. Regarding political implications, due to the current weak state in the economy, this jobs report and the next three before the election will only confirm preconceived views on the economy and/or the President absent a breakout report (high or low) above 200-250k or below 0.

Today’s non-farm payrolls number was 177k jobs added but the unemployment rate rode to 7.9%.  Republicans will spin that the unemployment rate is higher than when Obama took office and even worse if you factor in those who dropped out of the workforce.  Democrats will spin the recovery continues apace, albeit slow. Bottom line: jobs, economics, recovery all all fully baked into the cake. At this late juncture voter enthusiasm, turnout and avoiding a meltdown (Bush DUI, Benghazi?) are likely the only things that will affect Tuesday’s results.

Here are some smart takes on the jobs report:

It’s hard to write about this report and not have it seen through a political prism, and, yes, these numbers were pretty good, but the difference between 125,000 jobs added and 171,000 added, in a work force of 155 million someodd people, is statistically insignificant. What matters are wages. Our David Wessel just pointed out that over the past year, wages are up 1.6%, consumer prices are up 2%. — Paul Vigna, Wall Street Journal

September payrolls were revised to a gain of 148,000 from an initially reported 114,000, and August to 192,000 from 142,000. The U6, which is a broader measure of unemployment including job seekers as well as those stuck in part-time jobs, fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 14.6% in October. — Steven Russolillo

Challenging the Polls: What is Everyone Fighting Over?

There have been some fantastic pieces the last couple of days analyzing the divergent polls and how partisans seem to be choosing whichever data supports their candidate and arguing for its veracity over the contrary. Today, a great many Republicans look at Mitt Romney’s lead in national polls and point to that as the reason for his expected election victory.  Democrats look at the state polling (since that is where the actual electoral votes come from) and say Obama still has the electoral college advantage regardless of any deficit in national polls.  Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics had a great non-partisan column on national polls versus state polls and how looking at each can lead to opposite conclusions:

The RCP Average currently has Mitt Romney up by 0.8 points nationally. He has held this lead fairly consistently ever since the first presidential debate. Given what we know about how individual states typically lean with respect to the popular vote, a Republican enjoying a one-point lead nationally should expect a three-to-four-point lead in Florida, a two-to-three-point lead in Ohio, and a tie in Iowa. Instead we see Romney ahead by roughly one point in Florida, and down by two in Ohio and Iowa.

That would give the Presidency to Mitt Romney.  But if you reverse engineer the state polls to a national turnout you arrive at a different conclusion:

Since the national vote is a collection of state votes, polls of all states should collectively approximate the national vote (since errors should be randomly distributed, they should cancel out). This is done by a simple weighted average…[T]here are several good arguments for favoring the state polling: (1) you have more polls — a much larger collective “n”; (2) you compartmentalize sampling issues — pollsters focused exclusively on Colorado, for example, seem less likely to overlook downscale Latinos than pollsters with a national focus; and (3) the state pollsters were better in 1996 and 2000, two years that the national pollsters missed (although the truly final national pollsters in 2000 got it right, suggesting that perhaps there was a late shift in the race)…After adding the totals up, the results were plain: If the state polls are right, even assuming Romney performs as well as Bush 2004 did in the states without polling, Obama should lead by 1.18 points in the national vote. Given the high collective samples in both the state and national polling, this is almost certainly a statistically significant difference. It’s also a larger margin than all but one of the polls in the national RCP Average presently show.

But national versus state polls isn’t the only debate. Actual poll results versus the data within those same polls may even be the more contentious (and valuable) debate this cycle. Enter Baseball Crank with a fantastic look at modeling election outcomes based on polls versus looking at the actual data that makes up the polls to forecast election winners:

Mathematical models are all the rage these days, but you need to start with the most basic of facts: a model is only as good as the underlying data, and that data comes in two varieties: (1) actual raw data about the current and recent past, and (2) historical evidence from which the future is projected from the raw data, on the assumption that the future will behave like the past.

[A]n argument Michael Lewis makes in his book The Big Short: nearly everybody involved in the mortgage-backed securities market (buy-side, sell-side, ratings agencies, regulators) bought into mathematical models valuing MBS as low-risk based on models whose historical data didn’t go back far enough to capture a collapse in housing prices. And it was precisely such a collapse that destroyed all the assumptions on which the models rested. But the people who saw the collapse coming weren’t people who built better models; they were people who questioned the assumptions in the existing models and figured out how dependent they were on those unquestioned assumptions. Something similar is what I believe is going on today with poll averages and the polling models on which they are based. The 2008 electorate that put Barack Obama in the White House is the 2005 housing market, the Dow 36,000 of politics. And any model that directly or indirectly assumes its continuation in 2012 is – no matter how diligently applied – combining bad raw data with a flawed reading of the historical evidence.

Nate Silver’s much-celebrated model is, like other poll averages, based simply on analyzing the toplines of public polls…My thesis, and that of a good many conservative skeptics of the 538 model, is that these internals are telling an entirely different story than some of the toplines: that Obama is getting clobbered with independent voters, traditionally the largest variable in any election and especially in a presidential election, where both sides will usually have sophisticated, well-funded turnout operations in the field. He’s on track to lose independents by double digits nationally, and the last three candidates to do that were Dukakis, Mondale and Carter in 1980. And he’s not balancing that with any particular crossover advantage (i.e., drawing more crossover Republican voters than Romney is drawing crossover Democratic voters). Similar trends are apparent throughout the state-by-state polls, not in every single poll but in enough of them to show a clear trend all over the battleground states.

If you averaged Obama’s standing in all the internals, you’d capture a profile of a candidate that looks an awful lot like a whole lot of people who have gone down to defeat in the past, and nearly nobody who has won. Under such circumstances, Obama can only win if the electorate features a historically decisive turnout advantage for Democrats – an advantage that none of the historically predictive turnout metrics are seeing, with the sole exception of the poll samples used by some (but not all) pollsters. Thus, Obama’s position in the toplines depends entirely on whether those pollsters are correctly sampling the partisan turnout.

Battlegroundwatch clearly falls into the Baseball Crank category of looking at the internals and taking the conclusions wherever they lead us.  Following this methodology Baseball Crank concludes thusly with which we have no disagreement:

I stand by my view that Obama is losing independent voters decisively, because the national and state polls both support that thesis. I stand by my view that Republican turnout will be up significantly from recent-historic lows in 2008 in the key swing states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado) and nationally, because the post-2008 elections, the party registration data, the early-voting and absentee-ballot numbers, and the Rasmussen and Gallup national party-ID surveys (both of which have solid track records) all point to this conclusion. I stand by my view that no countervailing evidence outside of poll samples shows a similar surge above 2008 levels in Democratic voter turnout, as would be needed to offset Romney’s advantage with independents and increased GOP voter turnout. And I stand by the view that a mechanical reading of polling averages is an inadequate basis to project an event unprecedented in American history: the re-election of a sitting president without a clear-cut victory in the national popular vote. Perhaps, despite the paucity of evidence to the contrary, these assumptions are wrong. But if they are correct, no mathematical model can provide a convincing explanation of how Obama is going to win re-election. He remains toast.

Not That I’m Counting or Anything