Thursday, November 04, 2004

Lagniappe: The New Post-Election Map of North America

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Lagniappe: Spinning RealClearPolitics - As many of you poll watchers are probably aware, RealClearPolitics is a conservative leaning site that gathers national polling data (as well as state and local polling data) and tallies an average of such polling data to indicate the favored candidate. This "meta-poll" averaging methodology has consistently indicated that George Bush maintains a consistent, though small, lead over John Kerry. In fact, George Bush has NEVER trailed Kerry in any of these daily tallies. Consequently, as you might imagine, many conservative bloggers and pundits often refer to RealClearPolitics for some "comfort" and reinforcement in their hopes of a Bush victory.

However, there is an interesting trend in at least one aspect of RealClearPolitics' poll tracking and averaging methodology that portends bad news for George Bush. And it's the trend that never gets mentioned or analyzed at RealClearPolitics, but the one trend that is perhaps the most relevant and likely to predict the outcome of the election. What is this trend? Let me explain ...

In addition to averaging national polling data, RealClearPolitics also breaks down this polling data by state and uses these state polling averages to work up an state-based, electoral college vote-mapping scenario. It is ultimately this state-based, electoral college vote-mapping scenario that should garner the most attention, because that's how presidents are determined, after all. Furthermore, RealClearPolitics has been mapping its state-based averages daily for a while. As of today, their website lists these daily average since September 21 up to today. And because of shifts in these averages, adjusts its electoral college mapping predictions accordingly. So, in other words, as the race dynamics change in each state, the results force the folks at RealClearPolitics to adjust their predictions of who each state will go for.

Here's where the troubling trend for Bush comes into play. If you look at these trends, you'll see that RCP's (RealClearPolitics) state-based poll averaging methodology has George Bush's predictable (according to their averaging methodology) electoral college vote lead dwindling from a high of 291 in late September to a low of 227 as of today - a dramatic loss of 64 likely electoral college votes. And as this number declines, so too does George Bush's margin of victory in national polls decline (from a high of 5+ percentage points in late September to a thin 1-2 percentage points as of today). But, while the former trend shows Bush losing critically at the state-level and in electoral college votes, the latter trend shows Bush just slightly dipping at the national level, but still always ahead.

Conversely, RCP's state-based, poll averaging methodology shows John Kerry's predictable electoral college vote tally consistently in the range of 200+, with a high of 228, but, with the exception of a one-day low of 189 (October 21), never dipping below the 200 mark.

Electoral votes not allocated to either candidate by RCP come from those states whose poll averages fall within a margin of "too-close-to-call."

All of RCP's daily tallies and electoral vote allocations are supposedly based on a consistent and objective standard of measuring state polling data. Let's assume that its method is fair and objective. Given that assumption, what do we know?

Well, what we know from RCP is that Bush has experienced a significant and consistent decline in battleground states, so much so that states once considered by polling averages to be in his corner are now either toss-ups or trending towards Kerry. Kerry, on the other hand, seems to be holding his own and, if not gaining states out of the toss-up category, at least not losing the states that lean his way to the toss-up column as George Bush has done.

In a nutshell, Bush's once solid footing in battleground states has been consistently slipping and eroding, and thus the electoral votes of these states are now up for grabs. And Kerry's footing remains the same, with more of the previously Bush-leaning toss-ups now his for the taking. It is this trend, heading into the elecion booths today, that should have the Bush folks worried. And, even though RCP, given its pro-Bush leanings, doesn't comment on this trend, we Kerry-supporters have RCP to thank for such hopeful and good news.

Lagniappe: FOX News - Fair and Balanced? - I report, you decide: Is FOX News really "fair and balanced"? Check out the following Headlines:

Oct. 30, 2004 - FOX News Election Poll: Bush 47, Kerry 45. (Bush shows a 2 point lead.)
Article Headline: "10/30/04 Poll: Bush Up By Two Points Over Kerry"

Nov. 1, 2004 - FOX News Election Poll: Kerry 48, Bush 46. (Kerry shows a 2 point lead.)
Article Headline: "FOX National Poll: Voters Split"

Fair and balanced my a**! Kerry/Edwards!!! (Hat tip to
Andew Sullivan.)