by Carl, 08/31/2012, 5:18 PM

Labor Day weekend is here once again. And while we can all enjoy the barbeques, the sales, and Bumbershoot, it’s important to remember what this season is all about.

That’s right it’s LABOR Day. So when co-workers, shop clerks, and bank tellers tell me to “have a good weekend” or a “good long weekend” without mentioning labor, I let them know what’s up. When that well intentioned acquaintance wishes me the wrong words, I have no choice to tell them: “It’s Labor day. Labor. Labor. Don’t you celebrate LABOR DAY?”

You see, there’s a war on Labor Day in this country, and make no mistake about it, we are a laboring country. This country was founded by people who labored, and if it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for the rest of us. And you know, most Americans still labor today. The silent majority shouldn’t take it any longer. We need to boldly proclaim LABOR day.

by Carl, 08/31/2012, 7:57 AM

Before the Republican convention, I’d have said that the GOP ID card requirements to vote in various states were mostly going after minorities and the poor. And that the suppression of the elderly that goes along with it is a side effect against a group of people who generally vote for them: Suppress more black votes than elderly votes, and you still get a more Republican electorate.

But after hearing Clint Eastwood’s speech* I think they want to suppress them because the elderly people they’re around have lost it. Now, don’t get me wrong, Clint Eastwood has had a fantastic career as an actor and a director. And I think he deserves the right vote.

But if you’re a Republican, and all of the old people around you are yelling at “Obama” in an empty chair, well, at a certain point, you don’t want them voting either. I see it now. My advice would be to spend time with a wider array of the elderly.

* And for serious, I just listened to it on the radio, so I didn’t realize he was talking to an empty chair. I’m not sure if that makes it worse or better, but at least it fills in some gaps.

by Carl, 08/30/2012, 7:33 PM

7:30: I’m listening to it on NPR, but you can watch it here too.

7:36: He accepts the nomination for president. Phew.

7:37: If you say you’re humble, you aren’t.

7:38: First wrong thing: Janesville is not a small town. He’s making references to Ryan’s speech that I didn’t see. Whatever.

7:40: If you have to say you’re being positive, you’re probably not being positive.

7:41: He says nobody who came here doubted they would do better. Um, remember when your family fled the country because as you said “religious persecution“?

7:43: He’s listing all the problems after Obama got into office, not noting that the economy went to shit before Obama got there.

7:44: He says “I wish President Obama had succeeded” but maybe he should have urged his party to work with the president when they said defeating him was their top priority.

7:45: By the way, wasn’t Clint Eastwood awful? Was he drunk?

7:45: God Bless Neil Armstrong. I agree.

7:46: “When the world needs you to do really big stuff, you need an American.” Diplomacy will be fun under him.

7:48: Parents are more important than government. Um, sure, but we can have both.

7:50: Mitt Romney likes his parents. OK.

7:50: He thinks he made it on his own because he wasn’t in Michigan. Um, no.

7:52: Anne’s “job was a lot harder and more important than mine.” All right. Maybe make a little less money and spend more time having helped with her job.

7:52: God God God God Family Community God. God.

7:55: “Jobs to (Obama) are about government.” What?

7:58: He’s waxing poetic about commerce. Says we should encourage taking risks, but doesn’t say how maybe a safety net would get people more willing to take risks.

8:00: Romney says Obama can’t say you’re better off than when he took office. Um, the economy was in free fall when Obama took office. We are doing better. There’s still a long way to go, but yes, things are better.

8:01: “What America needs are jobs, lots of jobs.” Well, we need good jobs.

8:03: He says the military creates jobs. Those ARE GOVERNMENT JOBS.

8:06: “I have a plan to create 12 Million new jobs.”

- Drill the shit out of everything
- Education
- Make trade work. When nations cheat, there will be consequences. Yet, he doesn’t say how he’s going to do that.
- Cut the deficit. That isn’t a plan (also, it won’t work).
- Champion small businesses. Says he’ll repeal and replace Obama care, but doesn’t say with what.

8:07: We need a president who will respect women. Then by the time I finish typing that sentence, he attacks women’s ability to control their own bodies.

8:08: Now he’s making fun of the fact that Obama thinks global warming is a thing (will help turn back the rise of the oceans). I guess that whole global warming thing is no longer operative.

8:09: He’s lied about the apology tour, so naturally the crowd is chanting USA!

8:11: Now he says we need 23 Million more jobs. But he just said his plan is only half that.

8:12: Is he cribbing Obama’s 2004 convention speech? I mean I know there were a lot of cliches in that, but it really sounds like a poor man’s version of it.

8:13: We’re done.

by Carl, 08/30/2012, 7:57 AM

- There was a debate last night between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna.

- Fuck all of these hurdles to the Burke-Gillman Trail missing link. It might make it harder to get to 0 road fatalities.

- Family values.

- Seattle parks’ computer labs will be open during the rest of the library closure.

- Scab refs will be trouble.

- Park(ing) Day is coming up.

by Darryl, 08/29/2012, 4:00 PM
Obama Romney
96.9% probability of winning 3.1% probability of winning
Mean of 302 electoral votes Mean of 236 electoral votes

The previous analysis showed G.O.P. presidential candidate Mitt Romney edging up to almost a 1% probability of winning an election held now. Romney lagged in expected electoral votes to President Barack Obama by 230 to 308.

Since then, 15 new polls covering 12 states have been released.

start end sample % % %
st poll date date size MOE O R diff
CO Keating 21-Aug 22-Aug 500 4.4 48 44 O+4
CT Quinnipiac 22-Aug 26-Aug 1472 2.6 52 45 O+7
CT PPP 22-Aug 23-Aug 881 53 40 O+13
FL CNN/TIME 22-Aug 26-Aug 895 3.5 50 46 O+4
IA PPP 23-Aug 26-Aug 1244 2.8 47 45 O+2
MI Mitchell 23-Aug 23-Aug 1277 2.7 46.6 46.7 R+0.1
MO Mason-Dixon 22-Aug 23-Aug 625 4.0 43 50 R+7
MO Rasmussen 22-Aug 22-Aug 500 4.5 47 46 O+1
NV PPP 23-Aug 26-Aug 831 3.4 50 47 O+3
NJ Eagleton-Rutgers 23-Aug 25-Aug 710 3.5 51 37 O+14
NC CNN/Time 22-Aug 26-Aug 766 3.5 47 48 R+1
NC SurveyUSA 18-Aug 23-Aug 540 4.3 43 43 tie
OH Columbus Dispatch 15-Aug 25-Aug 1758 2.1 45 45 tie
PA Philadelphia Inquirer 21-Aug 23-Aug 601 4.0 51 42 O+9
VA Rasmussen 23-Aug 23-Aug 500 4.5 47 47 tie

Obama takes the latest Colorado poll by +4% over Romney, and he leads in four of the five current polls for the state.

Two polls in Connecticut both go to Obama. The Quinnipiac poll has Obama up by a modest +7%. A slightly older PPP poll has Obama up by +13%.

The latest Florida poll has Obama leading Romney by +4%. The current Florida polls go 4 to 2 for Romney, and Romney is given a 97% chance of winning the state right now.

Obama is up by +2% in the new Iowa poll. The candidates split the two current polls, but the poll that has Obama up is the much larger of the two: ObamaRomney29Jul12-29Aug12Iowa

In Michigan, Romney leads Obama by a weak +0.1%. The candidates split the four current polls, but the weight of the evidence has Obama up slightly with a 57% probability of winning an election held now.

The candidates split the two Missouri polls, with Romney up by +7% in one and Obama up by +1% in another. Obama has only led in this one poll out of the 6 current Missouri polls: ObamaRomney29Jul12-29Aug12Missouri

Nevada has Obama up by a slender +3% over Romney, slightly beating the +2% he had in the other current poll: ObamaRomney29Jul12-29Aug12Nevada

Little surprise that New Jersey has Obama up by a double-digit lead (+14%) over Romney.

In North Carolina, Romney has a +1% lead over Obama in one poll and the candidates are tied in another. The weight of evidence in the five current polls has Romney up by the slightest margin and a 56% probability of taking the state in an election held now:
ObamaRomney29Jul12-29Aug12North Carolina

Ohio is a tie at 45% each in the new poll. But Obama has led in three of the current six polls (with two ties), so the weight of evidence gives him an 87% probability of taking the state right now:
ObamaRomney29Jul12-29Aug12Ohio

Another Pennsylvania poll gives Obama a +9% lead over Romney. Obama take all three of the current polls and would be expected to win an election now with a 99% probability.

Virginia is all tied up at 47% in the newest poll. Overall, Obama takes 4 of the six current polls, so he ends up with a 90% probability of winning an election held now.

Now, after 100,000 simulated elections, Obama wins 96,863 times and Romney wins 3,137 times (including the 449 ties). Obama receives (on average) 302 (-6) to Romney’s 236 (+6) electoral votes. In an election held now, we would expect Obama to win with a 96.9% (-2.3%) probability and Romney with a 3.1% (+2.3%) probability.

Electoral College Map

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Lousiana Maine Maryland Massachusettes Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia D.C. Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Electoral College Map

Georgia Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Delaware Connecticut Florida Mississippi Alabama Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia D.C. Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

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by Carl, 08/29/2012, 8:00 AM

I know, I know. Everyone will tell you nothing of note happens at the conventions. They’re theater and the most newsworthy thing that happened, aside from the weather, is a few supporters of one person yelled things during the vote and someone did something that might be racist.

And so we’re left with the speeches, the videos, and the rest of the theater. But, you know what: the theater is important. The speeches are important. The parties, and especially the presidential candidates, set the tone of the rest of their campaigns at the convention. They lock themselves into policies. They showcase rising stars. They get people paying attention.

by Darryl, 08/28/2012, 3:10 PM

DLBottle

Please join us tonight for an evening of politics and conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally. Material for tonight’s discussions: The hurricane that is the G.O.P. convention, Rob McKenna’s refusal to release his tax returns, and, perhaps, today’s Arizona, Vermont, Alaska and Oklahoma elections ….

We meet every Tuesday at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Starting time is 8:00pm. Some people show up earlier for Dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle’s DL tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings over the next week. The Tri-Cities chapter also meets tonight. And on Monday, the Yakima, South Bellevue and Olympia chapters meet.

With 235 chapters of Living Liberally, including thirteen in Washington state four in Oregon and three more in Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter near you.

by Darryl, 08/28/2012, 1:19 PM

Rob McKenna is refusing to release his tax returns:

Washington gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna said Tuesday he will not release any of his tax returns, dismissing the matter as a distraction from important policy discussions.

McKenna, the state’s attorney general, said he has disclosed enough information in the personal financial forms that candidates file with the state. He called the tax-return debate – both here and nationally – a “phony issue.”

McKenna, a Republican, said his political rivals are attempting “to change the subject away from the real issues of the state.”

Democratic rival Jay Inslee, a former congressman, released five years of tax returns last week, and his campaign had called on McKenna to do the same.

I’m sure McKenna wants you to believe that he is taking a principled stand in refusing to release his tax returns, but his recalcitrance is problematic for the gubernatorial wannabe.

First, even if the “principled stand” hypothesis is true, standing tall with Mitt Romney isn’t going to endear him to Washingtonians. The state is just not that into Mittens. In other words, if McKenna wants to peddle himself as a “different kind of Republican,” one that is palatable to the voters of our state, he shouldn’t emulate, pretend to be, or come off as, in any way, an entitled one-percenter.

Romney has good reason to hide his tax returns. He’s done the political calculation. Releasing his tax returns would be much more damaging than disclosure. And it really is understandable—the fabulously wealthy have more opportunity to dodge taxes in ways that, if disclosed to the rest of us, would induce a bout of severe vertigo followed by repulsion-induced wrenching.

But McKenna…not so many tax dodging options. So if McKenna is “standing on principle,” he takes all the damage of non-discosure without any of the benefits.

(And he will take damage from this. Washingtonians are big on transparency. Don’t think for a moment that McKenna’s non-disclosure is going to be swept under the rug.)

So, really, if McKenna is merely standing on “principle”, he’s foolishly hurting himself.

On the other hand, maybe Rob isn’t a fool. Maybe he has done the calculation of relative political damage from disclosure versus non-disclosure. And he came down on the side of hiding his tax returns. If so, what is Rob McKenna hiding?

Is McKenna being foolish here? Or does he really have something to hide in his tax returns?

Intelligent voters want to know.

by Carl, 08/28/2012, 8:01 AM

- I haven’t finished this piece on Obama and race yet, but so far it’s quite interesting.

- These are my favorite protesters at the RNC so far (may be NSFW).

- I realize the problems are worse in California, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a governor who could rally businesses behind raising taxes?

- Giving away the store.

- I’m not thrilled that super PAC’s are setting the agenda, but that’s a dumb resolution that Koster sponsored.

- Make him seem not stiff or mechanical.

by Carl, 08/27/2012, 9:22 PM

A hearty congrats to everyone who worked the fire.

Firefighters have extinguished nearly all of the Taylor Bridge Fire between Cle Elum and Ellensburg, except for a few hotspots, within 40 miles of fire line built around the burn area.

Containment was at 91 percent on Saturday morning, according to a news release issued as command of the firefighting effort was transferred to a smaller, regional incident management team from Southwest Washington. Members of the original incident management team continued to work with the regional team that took command Saturday.

Restrictions were lifted Saturday in areas of Kittitas County previously under level 1 evacuation orders. Hidden Valley Road remains closed at its intersection with Lambert Road, and Lambert Road is closed 1.5 miles east of its intersection with Taylor Road. State Route 10 remains closed at Taylor Bridge for construction.

by Darryl, 08/27/2012, 2:56 PM

by Carl, 08/27/2012, 8:02 AM
by Darryl, 08/26/2012, 10:52 PM

by Lee, 08/26/2012, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won milwhcky, with an assist from Roger Rabbit. It was Sammamish.

This week’s is related to something in the news from August, good luck!

Last week’s contest was #200, so here’s the winner tally from the last 100 contests (the winners from the first 100 were announced here). Everyone with more than 1 win is listed. Contests can have multiple winners, so the total will be over 100:

wes.in.wa – 24
milwhcky – 16
Liberal Scientist – 11
Brian – 5
Siberian Dog – 4
Darryl – 3
Poster Child – 3
waguy – 3
Deathfrogg – 2
Blue John – 2
Geoduck – 2
Coosboy – 2
Budget Wonk – 2
Roger Rabbit – 2
2cents – 2
Luigi Giovanni – 2
uptown – 2
16 people won 1 contest

Thanks for playing!

by Goldy, 08/26/2012, 7:00 AM

Isaiah 28:2
Only the Lord is strong
and powerful!
His mighty hand
will strike them down
with the force of a hailstorm
or a mighty whirlwind
or an overwhelming flood.

Discuss.

by Darryl, 08/24/2012, 11:58 PM

Sam Seder and Ari Berman: Fighting back against Republican led voter suppression efforts.

Willard!

Kimmel: This week in unnecessary censorship.

Obama: They drove the economy into a ditch.

Thom with even more Good, Bad, and Very, Very Ugly.

White House: West Wing Week.

The G.O.P. Convention:

Roy Zimmerman: Vote Republican, Tennessee version.

Thom with The Good, the Bad, and the Very, Very Ugly.

Completely honest political debate.

Ed: Republicans are stealing the election in Ohio.

Young Turks: We have found the terrorists and it is us.

The Republican War on Lady Parts:

Roy Zimmerman: Vote Republican, Massachusetts edition

Gov. Jan Brewer introduces the Self Deportation Station:

Thom with more The Good, the Bad, and the Very, Very Ugly.

Roy Zimmerman: Vote Republican, Nevada edition.

Obama’s Secret UN Takeover and the Texas Insurgency!

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

by Carl, 08/24/2012, 8:37 PM

[I'm reading and doing some metacommentary on Mitt Romney's book. Enjoy, or skip over it: it's a free country.]

We’re now at Chapter 3 of Mitt Romney’s book, and if you’ve read the title of this post, you already know it’s called “The Pursuit of Power.” Today we’ll learn about Romney’s general thoughts on nations getting power and China a case study. Next time* Russia and Jihad. He starts the chapter:

The best ally peace has ever known is a strong America.

I agree that a strong America is better than a strong his other examples in this chapter. But when Romney wrote this, we were at no-end-in-sight wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. I think we’re stronger and better as a nation because we got out of Iraq and are slowly, slowly, too damn slowly figuring out how to get ourselves out of Afghanistan. I doubt that’s what Romney meant.

After this statement, he spends several paragraphs saying that America is good. He talks in general about how America promotes human rights and peace but always in generalities. The only specific thing he mentions is after the 2004 Tsunami, the relief efforts. And, of course, we all support keeping America strong when it does those things. But the section doesn’t mention when America doesn’t live up to those things. It doesn’t talk about how we’re often selective in what human rights we enforce. Additionally, he admits that countries that are good may stop being good, but he doesn’t say how he’ll make sure America stays on the right path.

Then he starts the section “The Middle Kingdom Flexes its Muscles.” There’s a Cliff Notes version of China’s history in the 20th century. Mostly losing ground to the Japanese** but also the British make an appearance. And then Mao and the Korean war. After that war ended:

Mao never really took to modernity and technology, and his military continued to reflect that prejudice, maintaining a massive four-million solder army as only a weak compensation for the nation’s obsolete or nonexistent weapons systems and logistical support. It wasn’t until approximately twenty years ago that China decided to build a modern world-class military. Since the mid 1980s, the People’s Liberation Army has been reduced by two million soldiers, cutting its size in half even as military spending was doubled time and again. The new funds went to programs designed to professionalize and train Chinese soldiers as well as toward the purchase of modern arms from Russia: fighter aircraft, helicopters, destroyers, submarines, and antiship missiles.

Then he talks about China’s submarines and their cyber war capabilities. And he draws two conclusions from this. “First, China is catching up” to America. “Second, they have not yet built their military to challenge us heat-to-head around the globe. Instead, they have shaped it to deter us, to match us, or even to defeat us in the specific theaters that are most important to them.” Look, if you’re going to characterize China’s cyber war as mostly deterrent, then that makes it seem reasonable.***

“China has very little interest today in constructing a military capable of fighting us in Africa, Europe, the Americas of the Middle East.” God, I hope we don’t fight their military anywhere. That would be terrible. He gets into some specifics of America’s capabilities, and then, “they build submarines capable of checkmating our battle groups and they invest in cyber- and space-warefare that can blind or at least blinker our navy and air force. And if they become capable of declawing America’s military in Asia, they will gain freedom of action to do whatever they choose in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.” Look, they make a lot of aggressive moves in the South China Sea, and that’s pretty terrible. But I’m not sure it follows that they’ve stopped America (and our allies (?)) from responding in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Or that the other players in the region are just going to let China do anything they want without responding.

Also, other than the we’re good thing earlier, there’s no real reason why Romney thinks America should be the major player in that part of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. I mean China is there and we aren’t. And it’s not that difficult of a thing to come up with something: stability of commerce around the world yada, yada, commitments to our allies, blah blah blah. The point isn’t that there isn’t an argument to be made about why America has a role in the region, especially over China, but it would be nice if Romeny would actually make the argument.

Then there’s a discussion of Taiwan that will (if the Chinese take this book seriously) probably give him headaches.

Taiwan is not China. It is an independent democratic country of 23 million people–more than Australia and more than four times the population of Israel. Taiwan holds free and fair elections, guards its citizens’ civil rights and political liberties, and is also a model of free enterprise, having the twentieth largest economy in the world. If the people of Taiwan were to unite with China, that would be their right, but that has never been the choice of a modern, free Taiwan.

To be clear, I think that’s largely true (except for the fact that Taiwan still largely sees itself as representative of all of China). But it’s always been the sort of thing that Americans with diplomatic power tend to finesse.

Anyway, then Romney is worried that if China takes over Taiwan (as if anyone is saying they should do that) then the next step is maybe Korea and Japan. Then the section ends with Romney saying we still have a lot of influence, and we should keep a strong military presence in the region and support our allies.

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by Darryl, 08/24/2012, 6:32 PM

On Tuesday I mentioned that progressive comedian Dean Obeidallah is coming to Seattle. Dean is not only a comedian, but he is a frequent commentator on those talking head shows.

Well, today he has a CNN Opinion piece that looks at political gaffes, rape and other fun topics:

Politicians make gaffes almost daily. Some they can overcome. Some are fodder for late-night comedians. Some are deadly to their campaigns. Republican congressman Todd Akin’s recent gaffe was so toxic, he may not only have killed his campaign, he may be the political equivalent of a zombie who also infects the Romney/Ryan ticket with his deadly virus.

Read the whole thing here.

by Carl, 08/24/2012, 7:49 AM

Another day, another horrendous shooting.

Several people were shot, one of them fatally, by a gunman outside the Empire State Building shortly after 9 a.m. on Friday, according to the police and city officials. The gunman was killed by the police, officials said.

One city official said that eight people were wounded.

“There are two people on site dead, a civilian and the gunman,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to provide information to the media.

While the details are still murky, I think we can all agree that the shooter knew exactly what the founders were going for when they wrote the Second Amendment.

by Darryl, 08/23/2012, 1:42 PM
Obama Romney
99.2% probability of winning 0.8% probability of winning
Mean of 308 electoral votes Mean of 230 electoral votes

The previous analysis showed President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by a mean of 325 to 213 electoral votes. In an election held then, we would have expected Obama to win with a 99.8% and Romney with a 0.2% probability.

In the last two days there have been a plethora of polls released—16 covering 13 states. Here’s what I’ve found:

start end sample % % %
st poll date date size MOE O R diff
CT Rasmussen 21-Aug 21-Aug 500 4.5 51 43 O+8
FL Quinnipiac 15-Aug 21-Aug 1241 3.0 49 46 O+3
FL Foster McCollum White 17-Aug 17-Aug 1503 2.5 39.1 53.3 R+14.3
GA 20/20 Insight 15-Aug 18-Aug 1158 2.9 44 47 R+3
MA PPP 16-Aug 19-Aug 1115 2.9 55 39 O+16
MI Glengariff Group 18-Aug 20-Aug 600 4.0 47.5 42.0 O+5.5
MO PPP 20-Aug 20-Aug 500 4.4 42 52 R+10
MT Rasmussen 20-Aug 20-Aug 500 4.5 38 55 R+17
NV SurveyUSA 16-Aug 21-Aug 869 3.4 47 45 O+2
NM Rasmussen 21-Aug 21-Aug 500 4.5 52 38 O+14
OH Ohio Poll 16-Aug 21-Aug 847 3.4 49 46 O+3
OH Quinnipiac 15-Aug 21-Aug 1253 3.0 50 44 O+6
PA Muhlenberg 20-Aug 22-Aug 422 5.0 49 40 O+9
VT Castleton Poll 11-Aug 21-Aug 477 62 25 O+37
WI Quinnipiac 15-Aug 21-Aug 1190 3.0 49 47 O+2
WI Marquette 16-Aug 19-Aug 576 4.2 49.8 44.3 O+5.5

The unsurprising Obama polls are from Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Likewise, Romney makes a strong showing in Montana and Missouri.

Romney makes a surprisingly weak +3% showing in Georgia, where he has been typically been doing high single digit or double digit leads.

There is a big surprise in Florida. A Quinnipiac poll gives Obama a +3% edge over Romney. That’s not the surprise. A second poll by Foster McCollum White has Romney up by an amazing (unbelievable?) +14%. This poll requires some discussion.

This poll has triggered a lot of chatter among poll collectors. Is it real? Is it honest? Is it an “outlier.” One of the thing I noticed is that the raw tallies in the poll add up to more than 100%—102.13%, to be exact!

I went to the source; I had a chat with the firm’s pollster Eric Foster. Eric was friendly and most helpful. The poll is not sponsored by anyone. Rather, they firm did the poll on their own, as a way to get their feet wet in Florida (so to speak). It is an independent poll. I asked about the percentages summing to greater than 100%, he suggested this is a result of their weighting. I proposed renormalizing the numbers to proportionately reduce them to 100%, and he agreed this was a good strategy.

We then had a discussion about their weighting method. They went to each county to get voter turn-out information by age group and race/ethnicity and used that to weigh the poll (some of the details were lost in our lousy cell phone to cell phone connection). He stands by the numbers.

In other words, a polling firm that is new to Florida used an elaborate and unorthodox turnout model to weight the poll, and ended up with some kind of error that resulted in percentages totaling greater than 100%. I cannot say that I am convinced that what they have done was done correctly. Even so, it meets my poll criteria and it could be correct. (They’ll look like geniuses if Florida goes double digits for Romney!) So I include it here, and recognize that Florida will be reddish for the next month. But Georgia is not quite red enough and we still need a new poll in South Carolina! That’s the way the polls roll.

Earlier this week two polls in Michigan split between the candidates. The new poll swings back in Obama’s favor (+5.5%).

Nevada has Obama up by a fragile +2%, but Obama has maintained the edge since the start of the year:

ObamaRomney23Jul12-23Aug12Nevada

New Mexico loves Obama, giving him a +14% lead over Romney this poll.

Two new Ohio polls both go for Obama by +3% and +6%. Likewise, Pennsylvania seems to prefer Obama over Romney by +9%.

Finally, Ryan may have had a small effect on Wisconsin, where Obama scored a +2% in one poll and +5.5% in another. The race has certainly tightened but a lasting effect is not obvious based on these newest polls:
ObamaRomney23Jul12-23Aug12Wisconsin

Today, after 100,000 simulated elections, Obama wins 99,173 times and Romney wins 827 times (including the 175 ties). Obama receives (on average) 308 (-17) to Romney’s 230 (+17) electoral votes. In an election held now, Obama would be expected to win with a 99.2% (-0.6%) probability; Romney would have about a 0.8% (+0.6%) probability of winning.

Electoral College Map

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Lousiana Maine Maryland Massachusettes Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia D.C. Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Electoral College Map

Georgia Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Delaware Connecticut Florida Mississippi Alabama Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia D.C. Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

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