I haven’t written anything about the US elections yet this cycle. This is for two reasons, first because there are vast amounts of US polling to get on top of in order to say anything sensible, secondly because there are already some very good US polling sites that I couldn’t hope to better. If you want to read wise and sensible analysis of US polling don’t hang around here, go and read Mark Blumenthal and Simon Jackman.

However, since we are now within a week of the election I thought I may as well put some threads up if only for discussion.

First, all things I complain about in coverage of UK polling are the same in US polling. Most notably warnings about cherry picking, comparing like to like and being aware of methodological differences and house effects from different pollsters. For example, I keep seeing people cherry picking out Rasmussen polls and Gallup polls to claim that Romney is doing better. Rasmussen are one of the most prolific polling outfits in the US, but also tend to produce some of the most Republican results. Gallup use a very tight screen for likely voters that also tends to produce favourable figures for the republicans. Look at most other polls and Obama is doing better.

Secondly, remember that the person who gets the most votes doesn’t necessarily win, it is who wins states with enough electoral votes to win a majority (270) of the electoral college. The average picture across all the national polls in the US has Romney and Obama very much neck and neck. However, polls from the key swing states, which themselves have become very regular as the election approaches, have Obama clearly ahead in terms of electoral votes.

There are various US websites (I’ve already mentioned Pollster.com, though fivethirtyeight tends to be the best known these days) that make projections based on state polling, and these all show Barack Obama with large leads in terms of electoral votes.

This has, in turn, produced some (generally pretty poorly informed) criticism of the projection sites, normally based around what sort of weights they give to different polls, what polls they include and so on. I don’t think these criticisms carry any weight, however even if one is sceptical about the weightings, filters, trends, house effect adjustments or whatever that the various projection sites make, the bottom line is that even if one takes just a crude average of state polls, Obama is still ahead.

As I write, Obama is almost undoubtedly ahead in states worth 243 votes. He needs to pick up another 27 electoral votes to win – looking at the recent polling in states that are in play:

  • In Wisconsin (10 votes) Rasmussen has the candidates equal in their last poll, but all three polls done in the last week have Obama significantly ahead
  • There have been four Iowa (6 votes) polls in the last week, three have had Obama ahead, the other had Romney one point ahead (but had a very small sample size)
  • In Ohio (18 votes), which is very likely to be the deciding state, there have been 11 polls in the last week, ten showed Obama ahead, one had Romney ahead
  • In New Hampshire (4 votes) there have been three polls in the last week, all showing Obama ahead.
  • In Colorado (9 votes) the four polls in the last week have been evenly split, 2 showing Obama ahead, 2 Romney ahead (though the Obama polls had bigger leads)
  • In Virginia (13 votes) there have been 9 polls in the last week, 2 showed Romney ahead, 1 a tie, 6 Obama ahead.
  • Florida (28 votes) is really neck-and-neck, the last week had three Romney leads, four Obama leads, two ties

Whatever you think of complicated projections, just on the raw averaged polling numbers Obama would get in excess of 290 electoral votes and win the Presidency. If the polls are correct, then Obama is on the way to winning, with very little time indeed to turn it around.


282 Responses to “US Presidential election”

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  1. Read the comments on that Huffington Post arcticle – the Staten Island residents are getting far less sympathy than on here. And the HP leans very heavily Democrat.

    Fox is covering the story but not as a means of attacking Obama. There main story is voting machines that always vote for Obama :-)

    BTW – The Marathon is cancelled

  2. Apparently Alessandra_Mussolini is running to replace Berlusconi! If you hadn’t guessed by the name, yes that’s Benito Mussolini’s grand daughter.

  3. Could Tom Watson name the Paedophile under parliamentary privilege? How far does parliamentary privilege extend?

  4. @Couper2802

    Not sure though what Obama can do. He’s promised Bloomberg practically all the resources he needs. As President, all he can do is support the local.Governer.

    Although, I agree with Colin that he returned to the campaign trail too early,

  5. I too have just looked at the Fox page which bears out all I said about them earlier. Can one be vicariously partisan?

    If so, then I think Fox is a pathetic organisation. I suspect that even Mr Burns would jib at the nonsense put out on it.

  6. Not long till News Night troops. Toot toot!! :)

  7. Probably all just a ploy to drum up Newsnight viewings. All this buzz created by leaking details on twitter, then likely not to say anything.

    According to twitter, there’s 2 possibilities, one I’ve not heard of, and one who’s in cabinet still.

  8. In the little coming up segment, they mention a victim will allege a senior tory molested him, but they don’t name names. They just mention he’s a senior tory, no names!

  9. NEWSNIGHT BOTTLED IT!!!

  10. Any links to the Northern Ireland home and the Jersey home?

  11. So much for that then…….Sheeeeeeeeeeesh!!

  12. SoCalLiberal

    You may enjoy this description of where you guys went so badly wrong.

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/george-kerevan-american-independence-that-would-be-folly-1-2610834

  13. I should add (and not before time) that Huffington post (Dem) is at the same level as Fox. Both appalling and do not deserve to be named as ‘news’ pages.

    So no partisanship from me after all, phew!

    What was that gratuitously partisan, inappropriate and inaccurate comment about NY marathons for? Who is impressed on here with such nonsense?

  14. Does anyone know about what happens next then on the abuse allegations?

  15. @Couper2802

    “BTW – The Marathon is cancelled”

    Bloomberg was under intense pressure to do so ever since he was accused of being too quick to confirm that it would go ahead only the day after the storm wrought its havoc. Probably the right decision in the light of the damage to Staten Island, although I understand his wish to get the city back to normality as soon as possible. He’s probably aware too of the vast amount of money the race raises for a wide range of charities and was loathe to cancel what has become the world’s most popular and iconic Marathon.

    However, if it was going to get in the way of the clear up and rescue efforts, then he’s quite obviously made the right decision.

    By the way, what’s all this Newsnight kerfuffle about? Have I missed something?

  16. Will the PM have to speak to the gentleman who witnessed to his abuse on Newsnight?

  17. minm

    “newsnight bottled it”

    How so? They should name someone on national tv without evidence behing properly heard and examined?

    That is not the way our legal system works – as I’m sure you know.

  18. great way to increase viewing figures,certainly worked with me. you little tease newsnight.

  19. @Howard

    “What was that gratuitously partisan, inappropriate and inaccurate comment about NY marathons for? Who is impressed on here with such nonsense?”

    Must have missed it. Can you enlighten me?

  20. CL

    Interesting question. Possibly with very senior police present.. Surely not just a one-to-one?

  21. Is that it?

  22. Paul.
    Thanks for reminding me of the name of Kincora, the home for children in the north of Ireland.

    I genuinely hope that any wrong doers do actually confess their sins and crimes.

  23. @Oldnat

    Good article. So would US devomax have kept the empire together?

  24. STATGEEK

    Would Devo Max (to nations or states) keep the EU together?

  25. @MITM

    As far as I can glean, the Newsnight piece was based on allegations from two of the alleged victims. That the alleged incidents took place in the 70s and 80s suggests it would be highly unlikely to relate to a current senior figure.

    The best thing would be for the police to investigate the allegations and the alleged individual can be named if charged.

    Newsnight had to assess whether naming the individual was in the public interest, rather than just of interest to the public. I’m not pursuaded it is in the, public interest to disclose at this stage. It should be, noted that, no other news organisation has disclosed it either.

  26. Did I miss the new legislation that got rid of the ‘innocent until proven guilty’, concept?

  27. wasn’t innocent until proven guilty exactly how savile got away with it for so many years? i guess we’ll have to wait until this aging politician dies until the press say anything.

  28. Rob if you still believe Saville and Co are innocent you’re on another planet, even his family confess they are probably true.

    The general rule of thumb is to believe the victims. Otherwise you perpetuate the abuse.

  29. abusing children ,mostly voluntarily using rent boys and girls,not violent coercive abuse, probably cuts across political parties. i don’t think anyone would want to open that can of worms.

  30. MiM

    There have been abusers of various kinds in every political party, just as there are in any section of society that you choose to define.

    As with any such scandal, it is any attempt to cover up that is politically damaging, not that the abuser is a member of various groups in society by itself.

  31. Again, no speculation please about who it might be, what the effect might be if X, Y or Z etc. It is not going to be conducive to non-partisan discussion.

    This is the third time I’ve asked, further speculation will result in IP banning people. That’s your warning.

  32. Sorry Anthony didnt say your comment until after I posted

  33. MiM

    If the allegations are true, and a cover up happened, then there will be political fall out.

    Many of those of us old enough to remember Watergate, knew of the allegations of cover up even before the Presidential election. Nixon still got elected.

    Never underestimate the ability of voters to disbelieve what they don’t want to believe (and vice versa).

  34. Newsnight had two witnesses, one they interviewed this week who is prepared to name the individual. The second was interviewed by the BBC in 1994 – his words were voiced by an actor.

    I’m guessing that if Newsnight had sucessfully tracked down the second witness, and he was still willing to name the person, then it would have gone public.

  35. Anthony

    Apologies from me too, if general discussion of “ifs” crosses a line.

    A great benefit of being in the USA is that I see neither Newsnight or QT!

  36. “Did I miss the new legislation that got rid of the ‘innocent until proven guilty’, concept?”

    Stephen King was right. The Running Man may yet happen.

  37. STATGEEK

    I didn’t know The Running Man was a Stephen King creation.

    Great place UKPR!

  38. The Green Mile too (some folk didn’t know he did that).

  39. @ Old Nat

    “Many of those of us old enough to remember Watergate, knew of the allegations of cover up even before the Presidential election. Nixon still got elected.

    Never underestimate the ability of voters to disbelieve what they don’t want to believe (and vice versa).”

    Well by many, I think you mean highly intelligent, slightly cynical, political liberals who disliked Richard Nixon. I wonder if at the time it happenned, I would have believed that Nixon had something to do with it. Maybe.

    Frankly, the whole thing was beyond stupid. Nixon was going to win reelection handily. He gained absolutely nothing from the break-in. But when it was learned, it ended his Presidency and sullied his reputation for eternity (notwithstanding the fact that future Presidents including Bill Clinton would later use him from time to time).

    I’m not sure how much ever really gets through to voters.

  40. @ Lefty Lampton

    “Polarised and entrenched? Discuss.”

    I think it’s a cultural thing. I like your politicians far more than you do (and that includes politicians of your same parties).

    @ Man in the Middle

    “(Not such a fan of toblerone)”

    Well of all the disagreements you and I have had, this is the biggest! Toberlones are amazing! How dare you impugn their integrity!! (Snark). :)

    @ Nick P

    “I think there is still a risk to Obama over the storm. Things won’t have been cleaned up before next week, and if the picture starts to look like Katrina, we could still see late movements away from him.”

    The numbers are moving in his direction actually. PPP’s national tracking poll shows a massive improvement in his approval rating. They also have pointed out that Obama is now taking the lead among Independents with a major late breaking swing to him. I think it is the response to Sandy that is doing this. I’m a little leery because of Anthony’s warnings about small sample sizes and I don’t know what the sample size of Independents in their poll is. But if so, it’s significant and the final polls this week may not be picking up on movement.

    @ Crossbat11

    “I’ve run the NY Marathon and it starts in Statten Island. Do you think they would even think of running it if the situation was as bad as Fox News is claiming. Maybe they’re building up to a bulletin showing Romney, dressed as Superman, descending from the sky to rescue everyone – timed for Monday night, of course!”

    FOX News left journalism long ago. They are basically a mouthpeice for the Romney campaign and the Republican Party.

    As for this marathon business, I have NO idea why Bloomberg didn’t cancel it sooner and postpone it immediately. I think maybe he wanted it to go on to show the strength of New Yorkers. But when you can’t operate your city’s subway system and are forcing people to go three at a time into cars and a large chunk of your city is without power……you really can’t have a marathon, which btw is MAJOR DISRUPTIVE event in and of itself.

  41. “I’m not sure how much ever really gets through to voters.”

    Think about 2005 and Tony Blair. A third win, with a fairly decent majority of 66. I think he would have won in 2010 had he stuck around. He wasn’t as toxic as Brown became.

    Some people will keep voting for one bad lot to prevent the other (perceived) worse lot from getting in.

    Right now you have Denis MacShane in the news here for expenses fiddling. His constituency of Rotherham has a Labour majority of 10,000+ and I will jog to London and bare my best bits at Buckingham Palace if Labour don’t win it in the by-election.

    The Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election is another example. In the 2010 GE, the Labour MP did a smear campaign, and won by 103 votes. The runner up took him to court and won a by-election, which was lost by 3,600 votes.

    The smear campaign arguably worked, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why those who voted Labour did again. Nor can I understand why anyone would keep voting in the same party manner if their MP was an expenses criminal.

    The voters keep voting for Christmas, like the turkeys they are. :)

    Maybe some parliamentary rule that if an MP is found guilty of a crime or a breach of parliamentary rules, the party they represent cannot run if there’s a by-election from the MP’s acts. That would make things more interesting, and it would at least penalise the party system a little.

  42. I should clear up some misconceptions here about Staten Island:

    1. The damage on Staten Island is devastating and tragic. No one is saying or pretending otherwise. In some cases people weren’t aware.

    2. Obama is not ignoring Staten Island. To the contrary, he dispatched Janet Napolitano (Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security) there today to supervise disaster relief efforts. Btw, Obama did not personally cause or ignore the devastation on Staten Island. Nor can he fix it all at the snap of a finger.

    3. Staten Island is complaining loudly because they are the stepchild of New York City. Detached from NYC and often ignorred politically by the city. Their complaint is not with the Obama administration, it’s with the city for ignoring them.

    4. Staten Island is a Republican bastion even in otherwise Democratic New York.

    @ RAF

    “Although, I agree with Colin that he returned to the campaign trail too early”

    Considering that Romney never stopped campaigning, I don’t think that criticism has any credibility or validity.

    Obama’s handling of the storm and it’s aftermath has been exemplary and extraordinary. Trust me, if Obama wasn’t doing his job, Chris Christie, Michael Bloomberg, and Andrew Cuomo would be letting him have it. These are loudmouthed, self-adoring, egomaniacs who absolutely have no hesistation to speak their minds and deliver angry criticism. They would not be lavishing him with praise for all but moving heaven and earth to help him.

    If any of the Romney sympathizers here (and I think that if they’re Tories, they need to listen to what their leader, David Cameron, has to say) think they’re somehow going to use this tragedy to go after Obama, they’re barking up the wrong tree. Even most of the Teabaggers have shut up about it (most are directing their ire towards Chris Christie).

  43. @SocalLiberal

    “How dare you impugn their integrity!! (Snark).”

    Mis-attribution, I think.

    The actual quotation is: “What I tell you three times is true.” A president (¿Wilson?) said this to a staffer, who, ignorant of the quotation, replied: “Mr President, I did not intend to impugn your integrity!”

  44. @ Statgeek

    “Think about 2005 and Tony Blair. A third win, with a fairly decent majority of 66. I think he would have won in 2010 had he stuck around. He wasn’t as toxic as Brown became.”

    Well I was getting my hair done today and my hairstylist asked me who I was voting for. I told her and she was kinda expressionless. And so I went in depth into why I was so supportive of the President and went into some of the most persuasive reasons I could. But I just felt like I didn’t get through to her.

    As I stood in line at MickeyD’s to grab my lunch afterwards, I felt kinda melancholy, wondering if this Latina immigrant (a Mexican American) who cared about the Dream Act, about healthcare discrimination against women and pre-existing communities, would vote for Mitt Romney who basically insulted her in his 47% comments. Then it hit me that she doesn’t speak English very well, it’s at least her second language (quite possibly her third). It’s likely that all I had said probably didn’t get through.

  45. @ Robin Hood

    “Getting back to the subject of the thread, I can see the seeds of trouble for Obama in the next few days. Reports coming in from Statin Island (New York) show a scene of devastation, with residents feeling as though they’ve been let down by the federal government.

    Earlier Obama appeared very upbeat at a rally in Ohio. Is there a danger he might be looking too smug? Don’t get me wrong, I like the bloke – but he needs to get over to New York and start looking concerned or the whole thing could just unravel.”

    He’s already been in New York. Janet Napolitano was dispatched to Staten Island and she was there personally supervising relief efforts to get people food, water, and warm clothing to victims. FEMA workers are on the ground in full force in the disaster areas. The federal government is moving 22 million barrels of fuel into these areas to deal with the gas shortages. They’ve got the power back on in lower Manhattan, they’ve got the army corps of engineers in to pump the NYC subway system and underground infrastructure of its water, they’ve got the army corps rebuilding dunes on the Jersey shore, and they’ve got the Port of New York reopened so they can get the emergency gas back into NY and NJ. Among other things.

    @ Colin

    “But Mayor Bloomberg , Obama, FEMA & the rest need a serious reality check.

    Staten Island is a disaster zone-and there appears to be no help there at all.”

    May I suggest that you watch a different channel with some actual journalistic content. If Winston Churchill came back from the dead and endorsed Obama’s reelection bid, FOX News would accuse Churchill of having been a weak willed leader who knew nothing about how to fight real wars. Also, if Maggie Thatcher was cured of her dementia and endorsed Obama’s reelection, FOX News would accuse her of being pro-union and against private sector industry.

    @ Old Nat

    “A great benefit of being in the USA is that I see neither Newsnight or QT!”

    May I suggest the Rachel Maddow Show instead? I think you would really enjoy it! (I can’t go to sleep without it at night).

    Oh btw, President Obama is not making a final campaign swing in North Carolina BUT Michelle Obama is going to be doing a final campaign swing through the state (let’s face it, she’s far more popular). The state is definitely still in play and your son should carefully consider voting tactictally.

    “You may enjoy this description of where you guys went so badly wrong.”

    Lol, kinda funny. I feel like that if I had been around at the time, I probably would have been one of the Delegates in Philadelphia and I probably would have been opposed to Independence but would have been wholeheartedly behind it out of pure loyalty and realization that once we were crushed I’d be killed anyway for treason (I can imagine myself at Valley Forge….quietly kvetching about what a bad idea this was).

  46. @ Billy Bob

    Some exciting news. For the first time ever, Democrats have taken a voter registration edge in CA-36 (or the Congressional District that now is CA-36). It’s less than 200 voters but that’s still significant. 10 years ago, Republicans had a 12% voter registration edge in the District. It bodes well. Clinton’s personal endorsement helps.

  47. SOCAL

    @”May I suggest that you watch a different channel with some actual journalistic content. ”

    A strange accusation to make of the BBC.

    Mind you-after recent events you may have a point.

  48. If I understood the legal bloke on Newsnight correctly.the 2000 Waterhouse Enquiry had terms of reference which did not include abuse outside the Care Homes in N. Wales being investigated.

    The allegations made last night refer to abuse carried out in local hotels & other locations , after children were transported to those sites from their Care Home.

    That these allegations have not been investigated is scandalous.

    The local Police must do what the Police have done in respect of Savile.

    DC should seriously consider reconvening Waterhouse with an unencumbered brief.

  49. There are two Independent candidates for North Wales P&CC.

    One is a barristers and was Wales’ first Counsel General, the most senior legal adviser to the Welsh assembly.He began his career as a police constable in Liverpool before becoming a barrister in Wales and London. He was a Recorder in the Crown Court at Caernarfon, Mold and Chester and has recently stepped down as Honorary Recorder of Caernarfon.

  50. Colin

    Re: Terms of reference of inquiries.

    So, at around the same time, both the Waterhouse Inquiry and the Hillsborough Coroner’s inquest arbitrarily set themselves terms if reference which obviated even any mention of events surrounding potentially avoidable deaths in one case, and allegations of bestial child abuse by rich, powerful and well connected men in another.

    Maybe David Peace has been right all along in his novels.

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