Poll Update (10/31)

Today's polls:

RacePollsterEndDateDemRepOther
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:

RacePollsterEndDateDemRepOther
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:

RacePollsterEndDateDemRepOther
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 1,578,662 55.78 32.64 274,056 0.255
Massachusetts (12) Safe Dem 2,905,360 55.35 34.34 454,979 0.264
Michigan (17) Safe Dem 4,839,247 55.16 37.65 597,647 0.284
Washington (11) Safe Dem 2,859,084 54.41 35.84 404,846 0.272
Oregon (7) Safe Dem 1,827,826 53.84 36.22 251,874 0.278
Vermont (3) Safe Dem 312,309 53.8 27.93 68,927 0.435
New Hampshire (4) Safe Dem 676,227 53.34 38.75 76,076 0.526
Maine (4) Safe Dem 740,748 53.25 32.41 130,298 0.307
Pennsylvania (21) Core Dem 5,765,764 52.76 45.01 287,712 0.730
Iowa (7) Safe Dem 1,505,814 51.68 41.94 121,369 0.577
Wisconsin (10) Core Dem 2,997,007 51.42 44.68 159,441 0.627
Colorado (9) Weak Dem 2,130,330 51.17 45.87 87,983 1.023
Virginia (13) Core Dem 3,192,894 50.99 43.27 214,882 0.605
Minnesota (10) Safe Dem 2,825,866 50.78 39.22 304,628 0.328
New Mexico (5) Core Dem 756,304 50.24 42.16 59,294 0.843
Nevada (5) Weak Dem 825,899 50.11 44.71 43,690 1.144
Florida (27) Core Dem 7,609,810 49.94 42.95 536,492 0.503
Ohio (20) Core Dem 5,627,903 49.81 43.36 373,693 0.535
North Carolina (15) Toss Up 3,498,746 48.15 47.9 73,474 2.042
Missouri (11) Toss Up 2,731,364 46.91 46.46 96,690 1.138
Rhode Island (4) Safe Dem 437,134 46.56 25.11 108,803 0.368
Georgia (15) Toss Up 3,298,790 45.9 48.19 135,250 1.109
Montana (3) Toss Up 450,434 45.29 44.32 25,585 1.173
Indiana (11) Weak Rep 2,468,002 45.16 49.11 119,451 0.921
North Dakota (3) Toss Up 312,833 44.54 42.8 22,524 1.332
Arizona (10) Weak Rep 2,012,585 43.62 48.15 128,403 0.779
Texas (34) Safe Rep 7,410,749 42.56 55.27 551,360 0.617
Kansas (6) Core Rep 1,187,709 42.22 51.19 92,404 0.649
Kentucky (8) Safe Rep 1,795,882 42.19 52.05 140,258 0.667
Mississippi (6) Core Rep 1,152,145 42.19 49.92 89,983 0.570
Alaska (3) Safe Rep 311,808 41.91 53.06 25,225 1.189
Arkansas (6) Safe Rep 1,053,694 41.67 53.06 87,773 0.684
Tennessee (11) Safe Rep 2,437,319 41.23 54.83 213,753 0.515
South Carolina (8) Safe Rep 1,615,606 40.84 53.98 147,990 0.541
West Virginia (5) Safe Rep 755,887 40.35 50.83 72,943 0.685
South Dakota (3) Core Rep 388,215 40.29 48.95 37,696 0.796
Louisiana (9) Safe Rep 1,943,106 38.63 51.65 220,931 0.407
Nebraska (5) Safe Rep 777,255 36.84 57.15 102,287 0.489
Wyoming (3) Safe Rep 242,948 36.36 57.58 33,138 0.905
Alabama (9) Safe Rep 1,883,415 35.8 56.29 267,445 0.337
Oklahoma (7) Safe Rep 1,463,758 34.56 61.84 226,004 0.310
Utah (5) Safe Rep 912,728 27.75 64.93 203,082 0.246
Idaho (4) Safe Rep 597,261 24.9 69.6 149,913 0.267

If you order the results by EVs per Voter the twelve most contested states fall within the top fifteen. This would be great news for McCain if eleven of these twelve states weren't states previously carried by Bush in 2004; Pennsylvania is the exception and ranks fifteenth. Within the eleven he must win, McCain is currently trailing in seven; North Carolina, North Dakota, Montana, Nevada, Missouri, Colorado and New Mexico. If we total the Votes Needed column for these seven states the result is 409,239; this is the absolute minimum number of additional votes (beyond our projection) McCain needs to win the Election.

McCain needs 409,239 votes in seven states to win the election, whereas John Kerry needed 118,599 votes in Ohio.

Published on October 29th at 12:21 AM CT :: 33 Comments

Poll Update (10/28)

In our national non-tracking polling projection, Barack Obama has surpassed the 50% threshold for the first time:

Georgia Projection Graph

Anyways, there was a plethora of state polling today:

RacePollsterEndDateDemRepOther
Arkansas (6)Rasmussen Reports10/27/200844542
Colorado (9)InsiderAdvantage, Politico10/26/200852453
Florida (27)LA Times, Bloomberg10/27/200850437
Georgia (15)InsiderAdvantage10/27/200847485
Georgia SenateInsiderAdvantage10/27/2008444610
Indiana (11)Research 2000, IndyStar10/25/200848475
Indiana (11)Howey Politics10/24/200845478
Louisiana SenateSoutheastern Louisiana University10/23/2008533413
Louisiana (9)Southeastern Louisiana University10/23/200838.350.611
Maine (4)Market Decisions10/27/200852.433.315
Maine SenateMarket Decisions10/27/200836.6549
Mississippi (6)Rasmussen Reports10/27/200845532
Mississippi-B SenateRasmussen Reports10/27/200843543
Montana (3)NBC News, Mason Dixon10/25/200844488
National (538)Ipsos10/27/200850455
National (538)American Research Group10/27/200850455
National (538)Pew Research Center10/26/200853389
Nevada (5)Rasmussen Reports10/27/200850464
Nevada (5)Suffolk University10/26/2008504010
New Hampshire (4)WMUR, UNH Tracking10/26/200855396
New Hampshire (4)NBC News, Mason Dixon10/25/2008503911
New Jersey (15)Strategic Vision (R)10/26/200853389
New Jersey SenateStrategic Vision (R)10/26/2008494110
North Carolina (15)NBC News, Mason Dixon10/25/200847476
Ohio (20)SurveyUSA10/27/200849456
Ohio (20)LA Times, Bloomberg10/27/2008494011
Pennsylvania (21)Rasmussen Reports10/27/200853461
Pennsylvania (21)InsiderAdvantage10/26/200851427
Virginia (13)Roanoke College10/26/2008483913
Virginia SenateRoanoke College10/26/2008572221
Wisconsin (10)Strategic Vision (R)10/26/200850419

The most notable result today probably comes from Mississippi-B's Senate race. The new Rasmussen poll shows a once competitive race, essentially beyond reach for Musgrove (D), the Democratic challenger who trails the incumbent by 11%. Granted this is a single result, but its not something you hope for if you're in the Musgrove campaign. But there still may be hope for his candidacy. Yesterday saw the expansion of our Senate Coattails Calculation and from that result reads: "Our little conclusion may give hope yet to Musgrove (D), the Democratic challenger in Mississippi-B. Musgrove's coefficient is below both 1 and his competitors coefficient, but recent polling has shown Wicker (R) with a significantly large lead." Musgrove has nothing going for him right now with the exception of this historically accurate trend.

Published on October 28th at 10:07 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Senate Coattail Coefficients Continued

Let me start by saying this was a gauntlet. I started by collecting election data for the Presidential Election of 2004 and the Senate Elections of 2004 and 2006. I then parsed the results and created a massive table while incorporating our projections into a 2008 metaset. From here I just did the simple division necessary to compute the Coattail Coefficient.

The table below illustrates the outcome of our study. The "XXX Pres Coefficient" column represents the calculation previously prescribed in our previous article on coattails; if the result of the simple division is greater than 1, the Senate candidate is over performing relative to that party's Presidential nominee. A number below 1 implies the opposite. For Senate races that occurred in 2006 I used the 2004 Presidential result from that state as the comparator. The 2008 data is drawn from our projections, and the 2004 data is provided by the Federal Election Committee.

The furthest column to the right, Winner's Coattail, corresponds to the Coattail Coefficient of the party that won the given Senate Election. The "<" and ">" illustrate whether the eventual winner of the given Senate seat had a larger coefficient than the competition. The "<" is used when the victor did in fact have a larger coefficient, while the ">" implies the opposite. I have bolded all races in which the actual or projected margin ranged between zero and six percent. I encourage you to take a detailed look at the table below, but when you're done don't forget to continue reading.

State           Year    Dem Pres     Rep Pres     Winner's
                       Coefficient  Coefficient   Coattail
Nebraska        2006       1.95        0.55      < 1.95 (D)
North Dakota    2004       1.92        0.50      < 1.92 (D)
Maine           2006       0.38        1.66      < 1.66 (R)
North Carolina  2006       1.58        0.53      < 1.58 (D)
Indiana         2004       1.57        0.62      < 1.57 (D)
Rhode Island    2008       1.55        0.80      < 1.55 (D)
Maine           2008       0.77        1.53      < 1.53 (R)
West Virginia   2008       1.51        0.65      < 1.51 (D)
Arkansas        2008       1.49        0.93      < 1.49 (D)
West Virginia   2006       1.49        0.60      < 1.49 (D)
South Dakota    2008       1.49        0.72      < 1.49 (D)
Indiana         2006       0.00        1.46      < 1.46 (R)
Idaho           2004       0.00        1.45      < 1.45 (R)
New Mexico      2006       1.44        0.59      < 1.44 (D)
Montana         2006       1.41        0.74      < 1.41 (D)
Iowa            2004       0.57        1.41      < 1.41 (R)
Arizona         2004       0.46        1.40      < 1.40 (R)
Hawaii          2004       1.40        0.46      < 1.40 (D)
Wisconsin       2006       1.35        0.60      < 1.35 (D)
New Hampshire   2004       0.67        1.35      < 1.35 (R)
Mississippi-A   2008       0.92        1.29      < 1.29 (R)
Louisiana       2008       1.28        0.77      < 1.28 (D)
West Virginia   2004       1.28        0.79      < 1.28 (D)
Florida         2006       1.28        0.73      < 1.28 (D)
Illinois        2004       1.28        0.61      < 1.28 (D)
Nevada          2004       1.28        0.70      < 1.28 (D)
Montana         2006       1.27        0.82      < 1.27 (D)
Wyoming-A       2008       0.75        1.27      < 1.27 (R)
Delaware        2006       1.26        0.60      < 1.26 (D)
Ohio            2004       0.74        1.26      < 1.26 (R)
Arkansas        2004       1.25        0.81      < 1.25 (D)
Oregon          2004       1.23        0.67      < 1.23 (D)
Connecticut     2004       1.22        0.73      < 1.22 (D)
Wyoming-B       2008       0.82        1.22      < 1.22 (R)
Virginia        2004       1.21        0.80      < 1.21 (D)
Vermont         2004       1.20        0.63      < 1.20 (D)
Virginia        2008       1.19        0.72      < 1.19 (D)
Maryland        2004       1.16        0.79      < 1.16 (D)
Ohio            2006       1.15        0.86      < 1.15 (D)
Pennsylvania    2006       1.15        0.85      < 1.15 (D)
Vermont         2006       1.15        0.83      < 1.15 (D)
Tennessee       2008       0.84        1.14      < 1.14 (R)
Delaware        2008       1.14        0.74      < 1.14 (D)
Minnesota       2006       1.14        0.80      < 1.14 (D)
Hawaii          2006       1.14        0.81      < 1.14 (D)
Alabama         2008       0.90        1.12      < 1.12 (R)
New York        2004       1.12        0.60      < 1.12 (D)
Massachusetts   2006       1.12        0.83      < 1.12 (D)
New Mexico      2008       1.12        0.86      < 1.12 (D)
Kansas          2004       0.75        1.12      < 1.12 (R)
Alaska          2008       1.11        0.86      < 1.11 (D)
Michigan        2006       1.11        0.86      < 1.11 (D)
Iowa            2006       1.11        0.92      < 1.11 (D)
Kansas          2008       0.83        1.10      < 1.10 (R)
Nevada          2006       0.86        1.10      < 1.10 (R)
California      2006       1.09        0.79      < 1.09 (D)
Colorado        2004       1.09        0.90      < 1.09 (D)
Virginia        2006       1.09        0.92      < 1.09 (D)
Pennsylvania    2004       0.82        1.09      < 1.09 (R)
Alabama         2004       0.88        1.08      < 1.08 (R)
Washington      2006       1.08        0.87      < 1.08 (D)
Michigan        2008       1.08        0.84      < 1.08 (D)
Missouri        2006       1.08        0.89      < 1.08 (D)
Mississippi-B   2006       0.88        1.07      < 1.07 (R)
California      2004       1.06        0.85      < 1.06 (D)
New Hampshire   2006       1.06        0.91      < 1.06 (D)
Missouri        2004       0.93        1.05      < 1.05 (R)
South Carolina  2008       0.98        1.04      < 1.04 (R)
New York        2006       1.03        0.67      < 1.03 (D)
Wyoming-A       2006       1.03        1.02      > 1.02 (R)
Massachusetts   2008       1.01        0.58      < 1.01 (D)
Texas           2006       0.94        1.01      < 1.01 (R)
Georgia         2004       0.96        1.00      < 1.00 (R)
New Hampshire   2008       1.00        0.85      < 1.00 (D)
Illinois        2008       0.99        0.98      < 0.99 (D)
Colorado        2008       0.99        0.87      < 0.99 (D)
Mississippi-B   2008       0.97        0.99      < 0.99 (R)
Texas           2008       0.96        0.98      < 0.98 (R)
Minnesota       2008       0.72        0.98      < 0.98 (R)
Arizona         2006       0.98        0.97      > 0.97 (R)
Maryland        2006       0.97        1.03      > 0.97 (D)
Nebraska        2008       0.96        0.97      < 0.97 (R)
Florida         2004       1.03        0.95      > 0.95 (R)
Kentucky        2008       1.06        0.93      > 0.93 (R)
South Carolina  2004       1.08        0.93      > 0.93 (R)
North Carolina  2004       1.08        0.92      > 0.92 (R)
Georgia         2008       0.99        0.92      > 0.92 (R)
Rhode Island    2006       0.90        1.20      > 0.90 (D)
Louisiana       2004       1.12        0.90      > 0.90 (R)
North Carolina  2008       0.90        0.88      < 0.90 (D)
Tennessee       2006       1.13        0.89      > 0.89 (R)
Utah            2006       1.20        0.87      > 0.87 (R)
New Jersey      2008       0.86        1.02      > 0.86 (D)
Kentucky        2004       1.24        0.85      > 0.85 (R)
Oregon          2008       0.84        1.08      > 0.84 (D)
Oklahoma        2008       1.17        0.84      > 0.84 (R)
Idaho           2008       1.20        0.83      > 0.83 (R)
Oklahoma        2004       1.20        0.80      > 0.80 (R)
Alaska          2004       1.28        0.80      > 0.80 (R) 
Connecticut     2006     0.73/0.93     0.22    < 0.73/0.93 (D)

What does this massive compilation of data mean? The result is surprisingly straightforward and allows for a nice generalization. Focusing our attention towards the bottom of the table reveals that the winner, in a competitive race, rarely garnered a coefficient greater than 1. This result appears to be counterintuitive but just wait, it gets stranger; notice the large quantity of ">" signs towards the bottom of the table. Under this interpretation the candidate who can win more votes from the opposite party is the likely victory; its actually better to abandon your own party and run across the aisle. Using this result, a succinct postulate can be formed: if candidate A has a coefficient less than 1 and their opponent, candidate B, has a coefficient greater than 1, candidate A has the historic advantage.

Using the above postulate, what can then be said about the 2008 Senate races?

We'll start from the bottom and work our way up through the bolded races happening this year. Our first stop is Oregon. Oregon seems to be safely in Democratic hands, Smith (R) has a coefficient greater than 1 at 1.08, while his challenger Markley (D), is repping a 0.84. Merkley has also opened up a healthy four to five point lead in recent polling.

Moving on up; North Carolina is our next stop. Hagan (D) is currently leading our projection, but the coefficients in this race favor the incumbent Dole (R).

Georgia's like North Carolina, but the opposite. Martin (D) is trailing in the polls, but he's got the better coefficients.

Kentucky exemplifies our rule and seems to be safely in McConnell's (R) court.

Minnesota features a competitive three way race so I'm not exactly sure how our generalization applies, but here it goes. Franken's (D) coefficient is significantly below 1, in fact its the lowest coefficient in the field, but Coleman (R) is still maintaining a slight lead; in large part due to a very suspect St. Cloud State poll that showed 21% of the Minnesota electorate as undecided. Barkley could still make a run too, its impossible to tell.

Our little conclusion may give hope yet to Musgrove (D), the Democratic challenger in Mississippi-B. Musgrove's coefficient is below both 1 and his competitors coefficient, but recent polling has shown Wicker (R) with a significantly large lead.

The last on the list is Alaska, but after today's news of the Stevens' conviction, Begich (D) seems destined to the Senate.

Using just the conclusion of this report as a predictor, the Democratic Party stands to pickup Oregon, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi-B and Alaska. By my count that would put the Democratic caucus at the magical 60 Senator, filibuster proof majority.

Published on October 28th at 1:43 AM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (10/27)

Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was convicted on seven felony counts relating to his corruption trial. After the verdict was read Steven continued to profess his innocence and went on to say that "this verdict is the result of the unconscionable manner in which the Justice Department lawyers conducted this trial. I ask that Alaskans and my Senate colleagues stand with me as I pursue my rights. I remain a candidate for the United States Senate." If you truly believe that a federal trial was carried out in an "unconscionable manner," you have defied your obligation as a US Senator to uphold the Constitution of the United States' fifth and fourteenth amendment, and thus, you are unfit to hold the office which you seek. The mere absurdity of your reasoning justifies your conviction. Now onto the polls.

Obama now has an outside shot at hitting 400 Electoral Votes. A new poll by Rasmussen places Arizona in the Lean Rep category. If in the next eight days Obama takes the lead in Arizona the election is over. Here were the rest of today's polls:

RacePollsterEndDateDemRepOther
Arizona (10)Northern Arizona University, U of WA10/27/2008414910
Arizona (10)Rasmussen Reports10/26/200846513
Arizona (10)Zimmeran & Associates 10/19/200841.543.514
Colorado (9)FOX News, Rasmussen Reports10/26/200850464
Colorado SenatePublic Opinion Strategies (R)10/23/2008513811
Connecticut (7)University of Connecticut10/22/2008563113
Florida (27)Suffolk University, 7News10/26/2008474310
Florida (27)Datamar Inc10/26/200849.244.47
Florida (27)Reuters, Zogby10/26/200847476
Florida (27)FOX News, Rasmussen Reports10/26/200851472
Illinois SenateResearch 2000, Post-Dispatch10/23/200859347
Indiana (11)Reuters, Zogby10/26/200844506
Iowa (7)Marist College10/24/200852426
Mississippi (6)Press Register, U of Alabama10/23/2008334621
Mississippi-B SenatePress Register, U of Alabama10/23/2008324523
Missouri (11)SurveyUSA10/26/200848484
Missouri (11)FOX News, Rasmussen Reports10/26/200848475
Missouri (11)Reuters, Zogby10/26/200848466
Nevada (5)Reuters, Zogby10/26/200848448
New Hampshire (4)Marist College10/23/200850455
New York (31)Siena10/21/200862317
North Carolina (15)FOX News, Rasmussen Reports10/26/200848493
North Carolina SenatePublic Policy Polling (D)10/26/200848457
North Carolina (15)Public Policy Polling (D)10/26/200849483
North Carolina (15)Reuters, Zogby10/26/200850464
Ohio (20)FOX News, Rasmussen Reports10/26/200849456
Ohio (20)Reuters, Zogby10/26/200850455
Ohio (20)University of Akron10/15/200844.640.914
Oklahoma SenateTVPoll.com10/26/200841518
Oklahoma (7)TVPoll.com10/26/200834.861.63
Oregon SenateSurveyUSA10/26/200849429
Oregon (7)SurveyUSA10/26/200857385
Pennsylvania (21)Temple University10/26/200850419
Pennsylvania (21)Morning Call Tracking10/25/200853416
Virginia (13)SurveyUSA10/26/200852435
Virginia (13)FOX News, Rasmussen Reports10/26/200851472
Virginia (13)Reuters, Zogby