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I rec'd you out of European solidarity - but I think that Nate Silver will turn out to be right - but in a particular way.

Silver's basic (unspoken) thesis is that absent a live boy or a dead girl, nothing much changes the fundamentals - and a large scale averaging tells us that the fundamentals in this era are:

47% Dem : 47% Repub

These voters are basically fixed, they aren't changing without major internal realignment of the parties.

So there's 6% swingable and this year they are basically 2% Romney, 4% Obama. That's how it looked back in June and all the campaign has done is introduce some blips and noise, but after all the convention bounces and Mittmentum, it's settled back to that. And already before Sandy there are virtually no "undecideds" - most people with the motivation to vote know who they are going to vote for.

So you're right that after all is said and done with Sandy, Obama will likely win 51 to 49. But Nate is right that this is likely what was going to happen anyway.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mostly agreed. There are structural factors which are almost out of play - race, religion, class, generational issues, peer group pressure, ideological infrastructure, suggestibility, economic interests, social self identification, brand awareness etc. - and which change only very slowly over time.

But there are other variables which can impact most of the 100% - not just the 6%.  Chief of these is turnout. A 100% voter - e.g. an early voter - is worth a lot more than a "likely" voter with a 75% probability of making it to the polls. I am not convinced most pollsters weight this factor adequately.

This is where political organisation, ground game, intensity, the last minute news cycle and semi random factors can come into play. In a game of very narrow margins, these can have a wildly disproportionate effect. The number of "battleground" states within 2-3% is quite amazing  - Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin - and represent 110 electoral college votes or over a 20% swing one way or the other in the EC.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, while the 47% / 47% bases won't flip their vote, they can flex based on turnout, with the Republican 47% more stable and the Democratic 47% more volatile.

If Obama were to barely lose the popular vote and barely win the Electoral College, it would be due to the ground game in nine swing states increasing Obama-supporter turnout in those states over turnout in the "safe Red/Blue" states.

However, it looks like we are most probably heading to a +1% to +2% Obama popular vote win, so that the electoral college would be a slightly larger margin.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 08:46:48 PM EST
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