Sunday, November 02, 2008

Final Prediction

UPDATE: below

Story continues here

My eighth and final election prediction. For the last few weeks, I've forecast a Democrat victory. Still do.

Before providing the poll numbers, a quick update.

It's now widely understood that Obama's Internet contribution system "invites fraud", as even the Washington Post reports:
Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited. . .

In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama's accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama's finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.
Still, the extent of phony donations remains impossible to know so long as the campaign sticks to the letter of election law (as opposed to corporate law) and doesn't disclose the identities of donors contributing $200 or less. It's not like preventing such shady donations is difficult: The non-partisan National Journal confirmed that McCain's website is more resistant to contribution fraud. (Having been snooped-out, the Obama campaign has vowed to return contributions from his aunt, who is an illegal alien.)

And Obama may bar some inside-the-beltway money, but big contributors get access to top advisors who may soon have senior government positions (or possibly election night face-time with the candidate himself). As Cheech and Chong might say, "good thing we didn't lobby."
There's plenty of evidence of erroneously expanded voter rolls. Some striking examples: An Ohio judge has ordered that the homeless be allowed to vote despite the impossibility of verifying Ohio is their home. And six Alabama counties have more registered voters than adults.1 Further, "a former employee of Acorn testified in a Pennsylvania state court that the group's quality-control efforts were 'minimal or nonexistent' and largely window dressing." Did you know ACORN largely is funded by Obama donors (Instapundit quips: "The ACORN didn't fall far from the tree," though McCain's cozied up to that organization too.) And Obama partisans aren't limited to registration fraud--they're also stealing McCain/Palin lawn signs.

I agree with Victor Davis Hanson:
Individually, the extra-electoral efforts are irrelevant. But in the aggregate, they start to add up.
It's practically non-existent. The Department of Justice has decided not to intervene before Tuesday. I'm sure that this had nothing to do with the fact that the Civil Rights division is home to DOJ's most liberal lawyers, several of whom are (lawful) Obama donors.
Fantasy island:
A political "fantasy league" remains the most likely location of a Republican victory. It would be a landslide in a "Starship Troopers" world--polls of the military showed the Republican ahead by more than 40 points (McCain 68/Obama 23). Vets too. And CEOs. Ann Althouse speculates on press bias in an alternative universe where Biden was a Republican and Palin a Democrat. And Iraqis prefer McCain. Finally, Scrappleface's Scott Ott imagines Obama's concession speech.

The biggest "what if" remains the fourth estate. If the press pulled for McCain, it might be morning in America rather than mourning for America. Instead, the Philadelphia Inquirer runs insane Op-Eds, several outlets implied the Pittsburgh phony hate crime was evidence of racism (as opposed the wisdom of "Never believe claims of racial bias until proved").

In short, the press is anything but objective about Obama. The LA Times let cheerleading trump objectivity. They were rewarded: The three newspapers that didn't endorse Obama were booted off the campaign airplane. Of major college papers, only Ole Miss. endorsed McCain. Emblematic of media liberalism, only one person out of 56 working for Slate plans to vote for McCain. But forget Tuesday day--I'm more worried about what the press might do Tuesday evening.
First Tuesday after the first Monday:
Back in the real world, the current polls seem to reflect, as Nate Silver says "stability in the race for the White House." (Bob Krumm thinks Gallup's results are correlated with the day of release.) Perhaps. Gallup started the week well, predicting only a 2 point race, but by week's end showed a trend away from McCain: Obama now leads by 8 points among traditional likely voters.

Zogby first said Obama by 4 but a one-day Friday survey dropped Obama's lead to 1 point which flipped to McCain by 1 on Saturday; Battleground says Obama's up by 4; Rasmussen and Cook also show Obama by 4. Forget Pew--which has Obama ahead 52-36. Intrade's worse: McCain bets are trading at around 17 cents on the dollar. FiveThirtyEight still sees a five point Obama lead:


I had thought independents and undecided voters would swing Republican. But's Nate Silver says polls no longer "lag" opinion shifts. Still, I wonder if the Obama trend comes from conservatives believing they don't have a horse in the race--only a handful of those on the right surveyed by American Conservative magazine are voting for McCain. Though IowaHawk's take on "butterfly" conservatives for Obama is a must read.

No wonder Republicans (and some Democrats) say polls are inaccurate. Publicly, the McCain campaign touts its more optimistic numbers.
Behind the eight ball:
Can McCain make up the ground? It would be tough: the Democrats "are on the air" (innacurate too), including the unprecedented 30 minute national ad last week. Obama's ad buys are swamping McCain, making delivery of the Republican message--if any--that much more difficult.

So it might be best to remember that national polls remain nearly irrelevant. What matters is eight battleground states:

source: Weekly Standard on dead tree

McCain has to take all eight states to win (McCain-274, Obama-264). He probably can count on West Virginia's 5 and Missouri's 11 electoral votes. And though it once looked tied, Indiana's now trending McCain (11 more votes).

But Obama's ahead in the other six states--representing 89 votes. However, his lead in North Carolina (demographics work for the Democrats there) is under the margin of error.

Among those states, Ohio will be tough for McCain to retain, given the additional evidence that state election officials are biased against Republicans. Virginia looks nearly impossible. McCain's still behind in Nevada (only 5 votes), but remains close. I'm pessimistic about Colorado, despite the early voter numbers (Given his decreasing ad buys, McCain appears to have conceded the state). And without Colorado, the math isn't good.

I still predict McCain wins North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana and Florida (Obama's still ahead in Fla.). But that only totals 227 electoral votes--which is 43 short of victory.
November surprise:
What about blue or purple states outside the critical eight? Could enough go red? Unlikely. McCain insiders and conservatives are positive about Pennsylvania, and McCain and Palin are campaigning there. But Rasmussen says Obama's ahead by 7 points, which my sources tend to confirm. New Hampshire increasingly polls like New York. Democrats still lead in once-red Iowa. McCain has pulled out of Minnesota, conceding the state. It speaks volumes that, in the last week of the campaign, Republicans have to spend money in Montana. Montana?! In some ways, this race is closer most thought it would be. Including Joe Biden. But apparently not Obama.
Final prediction:
Winning requires taking states with 270 or more electoral votes. Whether Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, I expect a clear Democratic victory:

source: RealClearPolitics

RealClearPolitics seems to agree with the 311 number
. Obama by 41 electoral votes will be called a landslide by the media, unless Obama actively reduces post-election expectations.

I know some on the right say McCain still could win. Yet, my most optimistic picture has McCain also taking Ohio (20 electoral votes)--McCain is campaigning hard there--and Nevada (5). But this translates to Obama-286, McCain-252: 18 votes shy. USA Election Polls gives Obama-334, McCain-185. The doomsday scenario (which is close to Rasmussen's prediction) is Obama winning seven out of eight battlegrounds (McCain prevailing in West Virginia), plus Indiana, which adds up to Obama-375, McCain-163: a true landslide. Democrat-leaning rates this latter vote distribution as the most likely outcome:


You can turn off the TV if McCain loses any two out of Virginia, Ohio and Florida.

By the way, I see enlarged Democratic majorities in Congress. I'm guessing Republicans will retain only between 40 and 42 Senate seats, meaning the filibuster survives. The House, though, is closer than I expected. And it will be interesting to see if California passes Proposition 8, reversing the right to gay marriage discovered by the state's highest court last spring.

A Seattle "alternative" paper "published the addresses of homes displaying Republican campaign signs" under the headline "Hell Houses." Not surprisingly, complaints poured in. After initially defending the decision, the paper removed the article from its web site (clicking on the former link now redirects to Drudge, and they've shutdown comments on the follow-up article). Blogger geobent reprints the piece, minus the addresses.

To be clear, the original article was lawful. But it's damned offensive. Remember this when progressives carry on about conservative conformists.

1 Not that Obama could win Alabama. The growing evidence of registration fraud in non-competitive states (red and blue) is an indication Democrat fundraising is so staggeringly successful that they have money to waste.

(via Instapundit, The Corner, Campaign Spot, Conservative Grapevine, RealClearPolitics, USA Election Polls, FiveThirtyEight, Confederate Yankee, Cheat Seeking Missiles)

1 comment:

OBloodyHell said...

I think, and hope, you're wrong. We'll see. In defense of my optimism:

Things That Make Polls Go D’Oh

My (Phone) Schlep to Florida (utterly anecdotal)

Funky Gallup Medina

Completely Anecdotal. Weight as you see fit

Now VA Swinging Towards McCain

Now, I'm not saying anyone is WINNING. I'm only saying, there's a LOT of evidence that it's not a DONE DEAL.

So make sure you GET OUT AND VOTE, especially if you live in one of the "swing" states -- PA, OH, VA, MO, NV, FL -- in those states, turnout will be key. And if you think "Ah, what's one vote gonna make?" I would remind you that the chief reason why Gore was not in charge on 9/11 was about 8000 voters in Florida.

Obama supporters: I'm just nuts. It's in the bag. Stay home. Drink a brew.