Election prediction: John Kerry

I wanted to post an election prediction with about a week to go, but internet connectivity on Saltspring Island turned out to be problematic. Ah well, I guess that’s why they call it a "vacation."

By now it must be obvious to everyone that the popular vote polls really are deadlocked, and whether an individual poll shows Bush or Kerry slightly ahead, it’s within the margin of error. Statistics buffs will know that this really does mean that you can’t falsify the null hypothesis that the two data series have identical means, so small variations in the percentages don’t mean a thing.

I’m a partisan in this election, so take this with a grain of salt, but I do believe that since the final debate, the evidence has shown that Kerry has been in a strong position to win this election.

Popular vote polls notwithstanding, my prediction is that Kerry is going to win the electoral college, and likely the popular vote by a small percentage. The electoral college will be 295 +/- 5 for Kerry, as GOTV efforts and the incumbent effect solidify his position in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. New Hampshire and New Mexico really could go either way, and turnout there will likely decide things. Today’s final Gallup poll and Zogby tracking polls confirm this for me; following Chris Bower’s reasoning, if the popular polls are in a dead heat, the challenger will likely win.

The above would suggest that the race should not going to drag on past Nov. 2nd — there may be some challenges in individual states, but depending upon which state is involved in a vote challenge, the electoral college count may already have decided the race. Only a significant challenge in Florida, Ohio, or Pennsylvania would likely stall our knowledge of the final outcome.

At any rate, I wanted to get a prediction posted. On Wednesday we’ll see whether it held up.


20 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
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  14. Ok, so I’ve been churning this idea for some time, but yesterday was sort of a catalyst. I really am looking into starting a think tank that would explore ways to frame a progressive vision in a way that doesn’t fall prey to the sorts of critiques you and I were making regarding democrats and the media. In other words, it would attempt to provide a new vocabulary and with it, a new vision. I’ve begun talking about it with some friends and colleagues, and as I’ve been quite a fan of what I’ve read here, I’m curious as to whether you might like to be a part of it. I’m still formulating ideas and concepts, but I expect to have something more detailed by the end of November. There’s no real hope for glory here, but if we can help, I want to do so. If you’re interested at all, let me know.

  15. I think we need to start a thinktank. And start figuring out how we managed to be so completely wrong about the numbers…turnout especially seems lower than expected. We failed to mobilize the youth in large numbers, it appears.

    But ultimately, half the country voted out of fear — a manufactured and cultivated fear, to be sure, but effective all the same.

    Probably our biggest job is to inject some rationality into the discourse on Islam, terrorism, and how we deal with both. Because we’ve demonstrated that if we allow Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” to be the model, xenophobia will trump all other considerations.

    I still find it difficult to believe that 51% of the country really buys the socially conservative agenda, so the reality is that many people should be susceptible to an alternative IF we can moderate the artifically elevated fear factor.

    Dunno. We’ve got a couple of years to talk about it. Back to weeping in my coffee cup…

  16. Ok, so I was more than a bit off. Depressing.

    I think I’m going to start a thinktank.

  17. Same, we’ve got campagne and a syrah from Garretson if things go well, and we’re shooting tequila if things go poorly. Tomorrow’s students are either going to see a very happy or a very angry prof :)

  18. Mark,

    Hey, I’ve got a bottle of champagne chilling for tomorrow night! God knows what I’ll drink if things go south, however…. :)

  19. I’m with you, and I’ll also highlight a win in the big 4: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Kerry could clear 300 if a few things go his way and the early returns dissuade Republicans in Nevada and New Mexico. It’s a long shot, and I still have my doubts, but I’m feeling pretty positive (still nervous, but positive) as I make dinner (TVP meatloaf!).