Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fun with polls

I designed a quick and easy game for the election that focuses on the battleground states. I don't particularly follow the polls, but since I have to participate in my own game, I wanted a quick and easy method for making predictions I can at least pretend are more than WAG (wild ass guesses).

Battleground states (5): Virginia, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania
Close states (5): North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, Montana, Nevada
Popular Vote (1)

For each state, you must pick the winner and the margin of victory. I decided to simply rely on the average polling data, with one minor adjustment. Thanks to RealClearPolitics, I was able to quickly grab the last polling data from 2004 for each state as well as the eventual results. I then compared the polling forecast with the results, and looked to see if the polling data erred for/against Bush/Kerry.

The polling data for Colorado, Ohio, and Montana was virtually the same as the eventual voting outcomes. So I let Obama (CO, OH) and McCain (MT) keep their forecasted victories.

The 2004 Pennsylvania and Nevada forecasts, meanwhile, underestimated Kerry's eventual wins, so that secured Obama's W's in those states.

Bush outperformed his forecasted margins of victory in North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, Virginia, and Florida. This solidified NC, MO, and IN as McCain victories in my book. In VA, Obama is +3.8, and Bush only outperformed his expected margin by +2, so I'm calling it for the gentleman from Illinois.

The toughest nut to crack is Florida. Obama is up big (+4.2), but Bush was only up +0.6 and ended up +5. It's a tossup according to my unscientific method, but I am going to go Obama with a slim margin.

For the popular vote, Bush outperformed his forecasted margin by a bit, so I am just taking a bit of shine off Obama (currently, +6.3) and leaving him +5.5

According to these predictions, Obama will bring home the victory with 338 votes: 311 if he comes up short in Florida.

VA: Obama +2
CO: Obama +6
OH: Obama +4
FL: Obama +0.5
PA: Obama +7
NC: McCain +2
MO: McCain +2
IN: McCain +3
MT: McCain +3
NV: Obama +6
Popular: Obama +5.5

After the election, I'll recap how everyone did in the prediction game. If you haven't entered yet, Click Here to take survey.

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