Poll Update (10/26)

Nine new polls as the elections loom a week away:

2009 New Jersey GovernorSuffolk University10/25/2009423325
2009 New Jersey GovernorSurveyUSA10/21/2009394120
2009 New Jersey GovernorDemocracy Corps (D)10/21/2009423919
2009 New Jersey GovernorRutgers University10/20/2009393625
2009 New Jersey GovernorRasmussen Reports10/19/2009394120
2009 Virginia GovernorWashington Post10/25/200944551
2009 Virginia GovernorPublic Policy Polling (D)10/19/200940528
2009 Virginia GovernorSurveyUSA10/19/200940591
2009 Virginia GovernorChristopher Newport University, Virginian-Pilot10/13/2009314524

I know I mentioned this last week, but the New Jersey graph looks almost identical to the 2008 Minnesota Senate Election and the addition of a Daggett (I) trendline to the New Jersey Graph below solidifies my point:

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

Christie's (R) decline seems to be linearly associated with Daggett's surge while Corzine's (D) support has remained consistent. The most recent sample points do however illustrate a departure from this correlation; Dagget's and Christie's numbers have declined in the last week while Corzine's have increased. Christie's earlier support seems to have migrated to Daggett, and now that Corzine is back in the race, some Daggett voters are shifting to their second choice, Corzine.

In the next week I expect a minor Christie resurgence, and a solidification of Daggett's support around the 15% threshold. I expect both major party candidates to head into next Tuesday's election hovering around the 40% mark.

Virginia is another story, Deeds (D) has all but lost:

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

Deeds was dominated in the money race, and had perception issues during the debates; the last of which occurred on Tuesday, October 20th:

Deeds and McDonnell were generally polite, although they interrupted each other several times in a series of feisty exchanges made possible by an open-ended format.

When the moderator asked Deeds which taxes he would support increasing, McDonnell tried to jump in: "I can answer that!"

"No, you can't!" Deeds responded, glaring at McDonnell before saying that he would consider raising any tax tied to transportation funding.

Still, the lively 60-minute debate appeared to do little to change the dynamics of a race in which Deeds trails McDonnell in public opinion polls, fundraising and advertising. The questions covered mostly familiar ground, and there seemed to be no game-changing moments.

Source: Washington Post

The last pre-election fundraising reports were due on Wednesday; the highlights are below:

                 Deeds (D)       McDonnell (R)
Receipts      $ 16,264,941.15   $ 21,466,447.67
Expenditures  $ 15,327,168.54   $ 19,633,513.91
Cash on Hand  $    937,772.61   $  1,832,933.76

Filing Period: 10/01/2009 - 10/21/2009

Source: Virginia State Board of Elections

Deeds was basically defeated in every aspect of the campaign, and his polling numbers reflect these various deficiencies. Our mathematical projection gives Deeds less than a 1% chance of victory, and from a purely logical standpoint, this seems realistic. Deeds has lost, unless something absurd happens.

New Jersey also conducted their final debate last week on Thursday, October 22nd:

The third and final debate in the tightening New Jersey governor's race turned into something of a free-for-all on Thursday night as Gov. Jon S. Corzine tried to portray the state's battered economy as poised for a slingshotlike recovery, while his Republican rival, Christopher J. Christie, depicted him as lamentably out of touch.

But the two were constantly harassed by a pesky Christopher J. Daggett, the independent candidate, who pointed to a new poll that showed him within striking distance, and who taunted Mr. Corzine and Mr. Christie over property taxes, corruption and the environment.

The hourlong debate, broadcast on the jazz station WBGO in Newark, broke little new ground, but allowed the three men to deliver their closing arguments.

Source: New York Times

The latest fundraising filings from New Jersey have not yet been posted, although the 11 day deadline has passed. Hopefully the data will be available next week. In the meantime you can read through last period's reports at the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Corzine bankrolled his own campaign, while Christie and Daggett relied upon matching public funds. As a result Corzine had the capability to out raise his opponents, which he has done up to this point and I see no reason why this trend when end with the release of the new data.

More in a week for our probably last polling update. I'll also, hopefully, have a few other surprises.

Published on October 26th at 10:20 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (10/19)

A number of polls out of New Jersey, and a single from Virgina:

2009 New Jersey GovernorSurveyUSA10/14/2009394021
2009 New Jersey GovernorNew York Times10/14/2009403723
2009 New Jersey GovernorRasmussen Reports10/14/2009414514
2009 New Jersey GovernorQuinnipiac University10/12/2009404119
2009 New Jersey GovernorPublic Policy Polling (D)10/12/2009394021
2009 Virginia GovernorRasmussen Reports10/12/200943507

Based upon the frequency of new surveys, most pollsters seem to have given up on the Virginia Gubernatorial election. Deeds (D) has led in just two polls since January, and currently trails by about seven points. Corzine, on the other hand, has done a much more effect job of closing his summer gap.

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

Both states had debates in the last week, but they're unlikely to make or break November's voting. I'll start with the Virginia debate which took place last Monday evening. The debate appears to have been fairly boring, with little fanfare. Bloomberg provided a pretty good round up, from which I've excerpted below:

During the debate, McDonnell (R) sought to tie Deeds (D) to the push by the Obama administration to reduce emissions blamed for global warming through a limited number of permits that companies could trade and sell. McDonnell said the plan would raise utility costs by $1,700 per family, a claim that the Annenberg Public Policy Center's Factcheck.org has said is "not true."

Deeds said McDonnell "wants this campaign to be decided on issues he's going to lie about."

Source: Bloomberg

The issue of taxes seemed to have been largely ignored as was McDonnell's old graduate thesis. The focus of the debate was the state's economy; Deeds stated that Clinton and Obama better served the state's economy while McDonnell stated that the Bush's had done a better job. It's interesting that McDonnell explicitly stated that he support Bush era policies even though the state in which he is seeking has office voted against Bush's party for the first time in 44 years.

The New Jersey candidates participated in a recorded debate last Friday, which was later broadcast on Saturday. The New York Times published an excellent synopsis of the debate:

Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) chastised his two rivals (Christopher J. Christie, the Republican, and Christopher J. Daggett, the independent) for "trying to pretend that the recession is only in New Jersey," and warned that Mr. Christie would offer tax cuts to wealthy individuals and big businesses at the expense of middle-class families.

Mr. Daggett criticized the governor's policies on taxes and spending and ridiculed Mr. Christie for proposing a variety of tax cuts without explaining what budget cuts he would use to pay for them.


Mr. Christie, who focused most of his critique on Mr. Corzine, was not about to be upstaged by Mr. Daggett, who put in a strong performance in the first debate and has seen his poll numbers rise while Mr. Christie has seen his drop.

Source: NY Times

Corzine appears to be aptly positioned to take the lead heading into the final weeks as Dagget continues to poll strongly. It's neck and neck, but Christie is trending in the wrong direction. The New Jersey race strongly mirrors Minnesota's 2008 Senate contest based upon the trend lines and the emergence of a legitimate third party candidate.

There is tentatively one more Virginia debate, and the potential for two more New Jersey debates; the next of which will be on Thursday.

More in a week.

Published on October 14th at 2:03 AM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (10/12)

Numerous polls from this week, and a few last releases from last:

2009 New Jersey GovernorNeighborhood Research (R)10/8/2009353629
2009 New Jersey GovernorDemocracy Corps (D)10/7/2009413821
2009 New Jersey GovernorSurveyUSA10/7/2009404317
2009 New Jersey GovernorNJ Assoc of State Colleges & Univ.10/5/2009384319
2009 New Jersey GovernorRasmussen Reports10/5/200944479
2009 New Jersey GovernorFairleigh Dickinson10/5/2009383725
2009 New Jersey GovernorResearch 2000, DailyKos (D)9/30/2009424612
2009 Virginia GovernorRichmond Times, Mason Dixon10/8/2009404812
2009 Virginia GovernorWashington Post10/7/200944533
2009 Virginia GovernorSurveyUSA10/4/200943543

Nothing fundamentally changed; Corzine (D) still modestly trails while, Deeds (D) remains further behind:

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

I first want to talk about the upcoming debate in Virginia. The debate started at 8 PM ET today, and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters and AARP. If you live in the Virginia viewing area, the debate should be broadcast on the NBC affiliate.

This is a big stage for Deeds; he needs to directly address the issue of taxing as it relates to his transportation plan. He stumbled last debate and it appears to have hurt him in the polls. He must clarify his position if he still hopes to emerge victorious in just three short weeks.

Moving North up the Atlantic Coast, the Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey debated last Thursday. NJ.com has a brisk recap if you're interested. The discussion was apparently very heated and at times focused on Christie's (R) heavy set physique. I don't think this debate matters in any way shape or form. It's an off year election where most of the voting population probably hasn't tuned into the top of the ticket debates, to think that the Lieutenant Governor's debate affects public opinion is probably a step too far.

Then on Saturday, the New Jersey Star-Ledger endorsed their candidate:

The Star-Ledger today endorses independent candidate Chris Daggett and recommends his election as the next governor of New Jersey.

The newspaper's decision is less a rejection of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie than a repudiation of the parties they represent, both of which have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state's current plight.

Source: Star-Ledger Editorial Board at NJ.com

This is excellent news for Corzine, perhaps better than had he himself been endorsed. Dagget (I) appears to be drawing a fair amount of support away from Christie, while Corzine's baseline has remained steady. Dagget's (I) support seems to have consolidated after his esteemed debate performance on the first of the month. The next NJ debate takes place this Friday, October 16th. The three leading candidates will again take the stage, but this time at William Patterson University. The debate will be broadcast on TV and online through the NJ Network (PBS).

I'll try and update the graphs to reflect Dagget's numbers but I'm not making any promises. More in a week.

Published on October 12nd at 6:37 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (10/5)

The latest round of Virginia polling accounts for September 18th's gubernatorial debate, while New Jersey's candidates hosted their first debate last Thursday:

2009 New Jersey GovernorMonmouth University, Gannett9/29/2009404317
2009 New Jersey GovernorQuinnipiac University9/28/2009394318
2009 Virginia GovernorRasmussen Reports9/29/200942517
2009 Virginia GovernorSurveyUSA9/29/200941554
2009 Virginia GovernorPublic Policy Polling (D)9/28/200943489

The current NJ projection will likely change when the public reaction from the first debate is factored into the polling; but for now Christie (R) still leads:

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

I haven't watched the entire NJ debate, but a complete video is available [NJ Network] as well as a summary from the Washington Post. From what I have watched, the following exchange, as summarized by the Washington Post, reflects the dynamics of each candidate and the three main choices New Jerseyans will have come November 3rd:

If the race turned only on Corzine's record, he would probably lose. But Christie has vulnerabilities as well. He is a former U.S. attorney who made his reputation prosecuting politicians of both parties, and he has used those skills to prosecute the case against the incumbent. But he has yet to offer a credible plan to solve the budget woes.

The next governor will face a budget deficit estimated at $8 billion. Christie has pledged he will not raise taxes, but cannot say how he would balance the budget without new revenue. He has identified possible areas, to cut but they fall short of what is necessary to get the job done. Corzine and independent candidate Chris Daggett scoffed at Christie's remedies.

"Mr. Christie has no plan," Corzine said. "It's a fantasy." Daggett, who would cut some taxes but also significantly expand the state sales tax, chimed in: "It's easy to criticize when you have no plan of your own. . . . The tooth fairy is not going to come to solve this problem."

Source: Washington Post

The New Jersey election seems to have been reduced to the following question: Would you rather stay on the current path, or try something completely new and unquantifiable? In the 2008 presidential election, New Jerseyans choose the later, by electing Obama, but will they remain loyal to the incumbent Democrat?

This week we've seen a big change in Virginia polling. Last week the race was within two points, now there's a thirteen point spread:

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

The National Review Online seems to attribute this sudden rise by McDonnell (R), and subsequent decline by Deeds (D) to a post-debate press conference. During the debate Deeds stated that he would "not raise taxes" to pay for his transportation plan, but afterward he appeared to flounder on the issue as evidenced in the following video:

Creigh Deeds simply needed to take a position on whether to raise taxes to pay for his transportation plan, and he imploded. I don't think either position would have necessarily hurt him politically, but choosing and then changing his position definitely wasn't a good idea. The next debate is October 12th, and he better be prepared to clarify his position, by simply choosing a position, or he will lose this election.

More in a week.

Published on October 5th at 11:36 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (10/31)

Today's polls:

Alaska SenateResearch 2000, DailyKos (D)10/30/200858366
Alaska (3)Research 2000, DailyKos (D)10/30/200839583
Arizona (10)American Research Group10/30/200846504
Arizona (10)Research 2000, DailyKos (D)10/30/200847485
Colorado SenatePublic Policy Polling (D)10/30/200856413
Colorado (9)Public Policy Polling (D)10/30/200854442
Colorado (9)American Research Group10/30/200852453
Colorado SenateTime, CNN10/28/200853434
Georgia SenateRasmussen Reports10/30/200843489
Georgia (15)Rasmussen Reports10/30/200847521
Georgia (15)Research 2000, DailyKos (D)10/30/200844479
Georgia SenateResearch 2000, DailyKos (D)10/30/200846477
Georgia SenateTime, CNN10/28/200844533
Indiana (11)SurveyUSA10/30/200847476
Kentucky SenateCourier-Journal Bluegrass Poll10/29/200842499
Michigan SenatePublic Policy Polling (D)10/30/200858366
Michigan (17)Public Policy Polling (D)10/30/200855423
Michigan SenateStrategic Vision (R)10/29/2008563311
Michigan (17)Strategic Vision (R)10/29/200854415
Michigan (17)EPIC-MRA10/28/2008503812
Minnesota (10)Public Policy Polling (D)10/30/200857412
Minnesota SenatePublic Policy Polling (D)10/30/2008454015
Minnesota SenateMPR, Humphrey Institute (U of MN)10/28/2008413722
Missouri (11)American Research Group10/30/200848484
Missouri (11)InsiderAdvantage, Politico10/29/200847503
Montana (3)American Research Group10/30/200846495
Montana (3)Research 2000, DailyKos (D)10/30/200844488
National (538)Marist College10/29/200850437
New Hampshire (4)Research 2000, Concord Monitor10/30/200851445
New Hampshire SenateRasmussen Reports10/30/200852444
New Hampshire (4)SurveyUSA10/30/200853425
New Hampshire SenateSurveyUSA10/30/200853407
New Hampshire (4)American Research Group10/30/200856413
New Hampshire SenateAmerican Research Group10/30/200853416
New Hampshire (4)Rasmussen Reports10/30/200851445
New Hampshire SenateResearch 2000, Concord Monitor10/30/200852426
New Hampshire (4)Strategic Vision (R)10/29/200850419
New Hampshire SenateStrategic Vision (R)10/29/2008484111
New Jersey (15)SurveyUSA10/30/200852426
New Jersey (15)Fairleigh Dickinson University10/29/2008533512
New Mexico SenatePublic Policy Polling (D)10/30/200858393
New Mexico (5)Public Policy Polling (D)10/30/200858411
North Carolina (15)InsiderAdvantage, Politico10/29/200848484
North Carolina SenateTime, CNN10/28/200853443
North Dakota (3)Research 2000, DailyKos (D)10/29/200846477
Oregon SenatePublic Policy Polling (D)10/30/200851436
Oregon (7)Public Policy Polling (D)10/30/200857421
Oregon SenateRasmussen Reports10/30/200849465
Pennsylvania (21)Strategic Vision (R)10/29/200849447
West Virginia (5)Public Policy Polling (D)10/30/200842553
West Virginia SenatePublic Policy Polling (D)10/30/200858402

Minnesota and Georgia remain the most closely contested Senates races. The Democrats appear to have North Carolina and Oregon under wraps, but that only leaves them at 58; two shy of the magical 60 needed to override a filibuster. Below is the Minnesota Senate graph:

Minnesota Senate Projection Graph

As you can see Barkley remains a distant third, but don't count him out. The final debate for this race is November 2nd and could very well decide the outcome. I'll be doing a live analysis of this debate on Sunday.

Published on October 31st at 11:46 PM CT :: 0 Comments

A Voter Suppression Model

I've already discussed various electoral scenarios associated with the Bradley Effect, but I have yet to look at voter suppression. Using foreclosure data from 2007, the only data set I could find, a suppression model was devised.

It's quite simple, but gives a good result; I take the number of foreclosures in 2007 and divide that by the 2004 popular vote total in a given state. The result represents the percentage of eligible voters [based on 2004] under foreclosure. The table below illustrates the ten states with the greatest percentage of foreclosures relative to the 2004 turnout:

State Status 2004 Votes Foreclosures %
Nevada (5) Weak Dem 825,899 66,316 8.030
California (55) Safe Dem 12,419,857 481,392 3.876
Florida (27) Core Dem 7,609,810 279,325 3.671
Arizona (10) Weak Rep 2,012,585 69,970 3.477
Colorado (9) Weak Dem 2,130,330 71,149 3.340
Georgia (15) Toss Up 3,298,790 99,578 3.019
Michigan (17) Safe Dem 4,839,247 136,205 2.815
Ohio (20) Core Dem 5,627,903 153,196 2.722
Indiana (11) Weak Rep 2,468,002 52,930 2.145
Texas (34) Safe Rep 7,410,749 149,703 2.020

Using this foreclosure percentage allows us to model a potential source of voter suppression. If we assume that all people currently under foreclosure are voting for Obama, we can simulate what would happen if these voters were suddenly prevented from voting in their home state. I've taken the current projection for Obama and subtracted from that the foreclosure percentage in the given state. The result of this calculation projects the following electoral outcome:

Suppression Model

Notice that Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and Indiana all shifted towards McCain, which is to be expected given that we subtracted from Obama, but the model serves to verify the affect voter suppression could have on this election. I should also mention that this "foreclosure effect" will be larger in theory than in practice due to the likely increase in voter turnout over the 2004 result.

While I was messing with the model I went ahead and ran the current Bradley Effect and Independent Slide scenarios. We'll start with the Bradley Effect model:

Bradley Effect

This week Obama gained 14 Electoral votes over last week's Bradley Effect model. Moving on to the Independent Slide model; if all currently undecided voters suddenly moved to McCain en masse:

Independents Rush to McCain

Obama still wins, just like last week but this time he's added 77 Electoral Votes to his total. Its starting to look more and more like voter suppression is the only avenue by which McCain can win.

Update: A reader asked what would happen if the Bradley Effect model were to be combined with the suppression model. Here's the result:

Suppression And Bradley Effect

Any other suggestions?

Published on October 30th at 4:00 PM CT :: 6 Comments

Poll Update (10/30)

I've added all the polls that are going to be added today and still the only change was in Montana; this is consistency. There was an number of new senate polls today, but the Democrats were unable to squeak closer to 60; our projection still stands at 58-42.

Today's polls:

Arizona (10)NBC News, Mason Dixon10/28/200844488
Arizona (10)Time, CNN10/28/200846531
California (55)Field10/28/2008553312
Colorado SenateRasmussen Reports10/29/200856413
Colorado (9)Marist College10/28/200851454
Colorado (9)Allstate, National Journal10/27/200848448
Delaware (3)SurveyUSA10/28/200863334
Delaware SenateSurveyUSA10/28/200866322
Florida (27)Allstate, National Journal10/27/2008454411
Idaho (4)Harstad Strategic Research (D)10/22/2008325513
Indiana (11)Rasmussen Reports10/29/200846495
Indiana (11)Selzer, Indianapolis Star10/28/200846459
Iowa (7)SurveyUSA, KAAL-TV, WHO-TV10/29/200855405
Iowa SenateSur, KAAL-TV, WHO-TV10/29/200861354
Kansas SenateSurveyUSA, KCTV-TV, KWCH-TV10/28/200832653
Kansas (6)SurveyUSA, KCTV-TV, KWCH-TV10/28/200837585
Kentucky SenateRasmussen Reports10/29/200844515
Kentucky (8)Rasmussen Reports10/29/200843552
Louisiana (9) Ed Renwick, WWL-TV10/26/2008404317
Massachusetts SenateSurveyUSA, WBZ-TV Boston10/28/200858348
Massachusetts (12)SurveyUSA, WBZ-TV Boston10/28/200856395
Minnesota (10)NBC News, Mason Dixon10/28/2008484012
Minnesota (10)MPR, Humphrey Institute (U of MN)10/28/200856377
Minnesota SenateNBC News, Mason Dixon10/28/2008364222
Montana (3)Rasmussen Reports10/29/200846504
National (538)FOX News, Opinion Dynamics10/29/200847449
National (538)CBS News, New York Times10/29/200852399
National (538)YouGov, Economist (D)10/27/200849429
Nevada (5)Time, CNN10/28/200852453
Nevada (5)Research 2000, Reno Gazette-Journal10/28/200850455
New Hampshire SenateSuffolk University10/29/2008483913
New Hampshire (4)Suffolk University10/29/200853407
New Hampshire SenateWMUR, UNH Tracking10/28/2008484012
New Hampshire (4)WMUR, UNH Tracking10/28/200858348
New Jersey SenateResearch 2000, Bergen Record10/28/200856395
New Jersey (15)Research 2000, Bergen Record10/28/200854388
New York (31)SurveyUSA10/28/200862335
North Carolina (15)Civitas Institute (R)10/29/200847467
North Carolina SenateRasmussen Reports10/29/200852462
North Carolina (15)Rasmussen Reports10/29/200850482
North Carolina SenateCivitas Institute (R)10/29/2008454312
North Carolina (15)Time, CNN10/28/200852462
North Carolina (15)Allstate, National Journal10/27/2008474310
Ohio (20)Time, CNN10/28/200851472
Ohio (20)Allstate, National Journal10/27/2008484111
Pennsylvania (21)Time, CNN10/28/200855432
Pennsylvania (21)NBC News, Mason Dixon10/28/2008474310
South Carolina (8)SurveyUSA, WCSC-TV10/29/200839583
South Carolina (8)SurveyUSA, WCSC-TV10/29/200844524
South Carolina (8)NBC, PSRA10/28/200842535
South Dakota (3)Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D)10/28/2008404515
Texas SenateUniversity of Texas Austin10/22/2008364519
Texas (34)University of Texas Austin10/22/200840519
Utah (5)Mason-Dixon10/25/2008325513
Vermont (3)Research 2000, WCAX-TV10/26/200857367
Virginia (13)Marist College10/27/200851472
Virginia (13)Allstate, National Journal10/27/200848448
Wisconsin (10)SurveyUSA, KSTP-TV, WDIO-TV, WGBA-TV10/29/200855396
Wisconsin (10)Research 2000, WISC-TV10/28/200853425

The Minnesota poll conducted by the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota will likely release their Senate supplement later tonight or tomorrow. There are also a few other polls in the field today that may have yet to publish a Senate result. I'll update the polling database upon the public release of this information.

Published on October 30th at 3:27 PM CT :: 0 Comments

A More Perfect Democracy

The defining characteristic of any democratic government should be the continual pursuit of citizen participation. I often question whether our government truly strives to meet this ideal. From a historical perspective there are few occasions in which our government has pursued democracy first and politics second.

Our nation was founded some 232 years ago on the principle that "all men are created equal," but still to this day not all men are treated to equal rights. The root of this problem lies deep within the fabric of American consciousness and the Constitution provides no further assistance. Each state is allowed to implement voting procedure however it deems necessary; as the Constitution makes no explicit reference to voting, the cornerstone of its very existence.

For most of America's childhood, states reserved the right to limit eligible voters to property owning, white males. On the first day of January, 1863 Abraham Lincoln stated within his Emancipation Proclamation "that all persons held as slaves [within the rebellious states] are, and henceforward shall be free." This famous declaration paved the way for the 14th Amendment in 1866. The 14th Amendment elevated previously indentured servants from 3/5 of a person into full blown citizens. This momentous event laid the foundation for the 15th Amendment in 1870: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

In order to further my dialogue, I must dispel a commonly held and misconstrued belief. Despite what the Republicans may want you to believe, their current platform does not derive their existence from Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln would almost certainly be a New England Lefty if he were around today; need proof: "In 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed a bill that imposed a 3% tax on incomes between $600 and $10,000 and a 5% tax on higher incomes." Lincoln was the father of the income tax, a policy the current Republican Party supposedly detests; yet they hypocritically continue to trumpet the man from Illinois.

While Lincoln definitely leaned to the left, he was not single highhandedly responsible for enacting the first major addition to America's democratic model; that task was left to the states.

The next major piece of legislation came in the form of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson played an integral role in securing the amendment's passage. The amendment failed on several occasions prompting Wilson to call a special congressional session in advance of the Presidential election of 1920. Although a member of the Democratic Party, by today's standards he would likely be considered socially conservative. Wilson played a more direct role in the resolution of Woman's Suffrage when compared to Lincoln's aforementioned accomplishments but he still does not deserve all the credit.

The third and final amendment arrived on July 7, 1971. The twenty-sixth amendment was certified by the Administrator of General Services granting anybody aged eighteen or older the right to vote. The amendment was proposed by Senator Jennings Randolph (D) of West Virginia in response to procedural matters within the Selective Service Draft of 1969. Anybody aged eighteen or older could be drafted and fight America's War, but they could not vote. The amendment was ratified by thirty-nine states (eventually forty-two) thus making Randolph's amendment law.

Throughout history, each ideology has helped expand our democracy; regardless of motivation, in these three instances, the people won. If the amendment trend continues, our democracy should expand in some fashion within the next generation despite the forever growing partisanship this country faces.

Published on October 30th at 5:40 AM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (10/29): The Ad

A new poll by Arizona State University now shows Obama within the margin of error in Arizona. Based on this result, the rest of today's polls suddenly seem comparatively irrelevant:

Alaska SenateRasmussen Reports10/28/200852444
Alaska (3)Rasmussen Reports10/28/200841572
Arizona (10)Arizona State University10/26/2008444610
Colorado (9)Time, CNN10/28/200853452
Colorado (9)Associated Press-GfK10/26/200850419
Florida (27)Time, CNN10/28/200851472
Florida (27)Quinnipiac University10/26/200847458
Georgia (15)Time, CNN10/28/200847521
Michigan (17)Rasmussen Reports10/28/200853434
Minnesota (10)Rasmussen Reports10/28/200855432
Minnesota SenateRasmussen Reports10/28/2008394318
Missouri (11)Time, CNN10/28/200848502
Nevada (5)Associated Press-GfK10/26/200852408
New Hampshire (4)Associated Press-GfK10/26/200855378
New Mexico (5)Rasmussen Reports10/28/200854442
North Carolina (15)Associated Press-GfK10/26/200848466
Ohio (20)Associated Press-GfK10/26/2008484111
Ohio (20)Quinnipiac University10/26/200851427
Ohio (20)Marist College10/26/200848457
Pennsylvania (21)Quinnipiac University10/26/200853416
Pennsylvania (21)Associated Press-GfK10/26/200852408
Pennsylvania (21)Marist College10/26/200855414
Pennsylvania (21)Franklin & Marshall College10/26/200853407
Virginia (13)Time, CNN10/28/200853443
Virginia (13)Associated Press-GfK10/26/200849429
Washington (11)SurveyUSA10/27/200856395
Washington (11)Strategic Vision (R)10/26/200854424

On other unrelated notes, Obama's 30 minute television ad was aired on seven different TV networks today at 7 PM CT. The ad was a mix of policy and story telling; of the personal stories that were highlighted, one came from Kentucky and another from Missouri. Obama is targeting two deeply red states six days before the election. Obama currently has a 33.66% chance of winning Missouri and a 2.63% chance in Kentucky. The Kentucky spot is likely an appeal to the Senate race while Missouri seems to be legitimately in play.

There was also a new Rasmussen Poll released from Alaska showing Sen. Stevens (R) in a significant amount of trouble; our model now gives Stevens a 99.03% chance of losing.

Published on October 29th at 7:27 PM CT :: 0 Comments

A McCain Victory Requires What?

I'm going to keep this simple because the results speak for themselves. I've taken the Presidential vote totals from 2004 and calculated the number of additional votes needed, beyond what our projection dictates, for the trailing candidate to reach the 50% threshold. The result of this arithmetic can be seen in the Votes Needed column. The EVs Per Voter (10^-4) column takes the Votes Needed and divides by the voting population of the given state in 2004. The results of this calculation are very small, with four zeros directly after the decimal point, but their meaning is very large.

Take a look at the data before I explain its significance; the results are ordered based on Obama's projection percentage in descending order.

State Status Total Votes Obama % McCain % Votes Needed EVs Per Voter (10^-4)
DC (3) Safe Dem 227,586 82 13 84,207 0.356
Hawaii (4) Safe Dem 428,989 67.5 28 94,378 0.424
New York (31) Safe Dem 7,448,266 63.39 29.36 1,537,322 0.202
Maryland (10) Safe Dem 2,384,206 59.79 36.87 313,046 0.319
Illinois (21) Safe Dem 5,274,727 59.3 34.56 814,418 0.258
New Jersey (15) Safe Dem 3,609,691 57.88 37.99 433,524 0.346
California (55) Safe Dem 12,419,857 57.08 33.05 2,105,166 0.261
Delaware (3) Safe Dem 375,190 56.07 41.33 32,529 0.922
Connecticut (7) Safe Dem