Thursday, November 1, 2012

Five Days to 2012 US Election

The state of the race has moved very little from three weeks ago - so little that a few times, I thought about writing an update, but gave up since there was basically nothing to add.

In the past few days, things seem to have shifted marginally - maybe 0.5-1% - towards Obama: the latest national polls give him an ever so slight edge (roughly 0.5%), while Romney arguably had the advantage (by 0.5% or less) last week. To my knowledge, 24 different pollsters have released a national poll of likely voters since the Oct. 3 debate that shook up the race. Here are their most recent results, expressed in "Obama minus Romney" terms, from highest to lowest:

5.46, 5, 3, 3, 2, 1.3
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0.1
0.07, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
-1, -2, -2, -2, -3, -5

Average: Obama +0.41
Median: Obama +0.085

Listing only the 18 polls that started on or after October 20 (or, equivalently, that ended on or after October 24) gives us:

5.46, 5, 2, 1.3, 1, 1
1, 1, 1, 0.1, 0.07, 0
0, 0, 0, -1, -2, -5

Average: Obama +0.61
Median: Obama +0.55

Sixteen of these have updated over the past week. By this I mean that as of a week ago, they had released a post-first-debate poll, and they released another one in the past 7 days. The changes in the Obama-Romney gap are:

-2.3, -2, -1.7, -1
-1, -1, -0.7, +1
+1, +1, +1.44, +2
+2, +3, +3.07, +4

Average: Obama +0.55
Median: Obama +1

This national movement was reproduced in many of the swing states. In particular, Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire, which were virtually perfectly tied as of my last post, now all appear to have an ever so slight Obama lean. Obama may not win all three, but Romney is even less likely to sweep them.

Similarly, in Florida, Romney's already slight advantage has eroded to the point that the state is almost a virtual tie again. The state is definitely in play, and if Obama wins Florida, it's game over for Romney. However, it's unlikely to be the decisive state since there are 303 electoral votes that appear easier to get for Obama than Florida's 29 electoral votes.

Obama's most likely path to 270 is still through Wisconsin, Nevada and Ohio. This trio puts Obama at 271, barring a huge upset in a state like Pennsylvania, Minnesota or Michigan.

Something to keep in mind: in 2008, the polls grossly overestimated Obama's margin in Iowa. Therefore, even though Obama appears to have a small but stubborn lead there, I'm not too confident that he will win. On the other hand, the 2008 polls grossly underestimated Obama's margin in Nevada (as they did Harry Reid's in 2010), so it seems very likely that he'll carry that state even though his polling lead there is also slight. In Colorado as well, the Democrats were underestimated in both 2008 and 2010, though the effect wasn't as big as Nevada.

1 comment:

Baylee said...

The American voting system always confuses me.