(This is an open thread)
Some of us will be there early to watch coverage of the Florida primary election. The early results show it too close to call between Sen. John McCain and Gov. Willard Mitt Romney. Either way, tonight’s theme song will be War Pigs by Deep Purple.
Perhaps we will make a drinking game out of Mayor 9iu11iani’s concession speech.
Not in Seattle? Check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.
Tonight’s theme song, in support of the Mitt for Michigan movement: Free for all by the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent.
Not in Seattle? Check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.
In case you didn’t catch the short story (published in 2001)…now it’s out on video: Jane and the Metro Bus…a silent film.
The official event begins at 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Some of us will show up around 5PM to catch the early returns out of New Hampshire.
Tonight’s theme song: Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and Wings, with a mash-up of a song by Free. (Definitely not All Right Now, however.)
If you find yourself in the Tri-Cities area this evening, check out McCranium for the local Drinking Liberally. Otherwise, check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.
New Yorker Political columnist Hendrik Hertzberg writes about the National Popular Vote plan.
The National Popular Vote plan is the state compact that, if enacted by enough states, would have member states award all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Essentially, the plan is a constitutional way of creating a national popular vote without the difficulties of amending the U.S. Constitution. The National Popular Vote plan has been championed by Dr. John R. Koza, who is Chairman of National Popular Vote Inc.
Hertzberg looks at Koza’s research into the “wrong winner” problem, in which the winner of the electoral college vote loses the popular vote (like happened in 2000). Koza uses national head-to-head general election polls and compares them to state head-to-head polls. Hertzberg writes:
A 2000-style disaster for democracy could easily befall us again this year, as Koza has just written an interesting analysis to show.
By compiling state-by-state polling data, Darryl Holman, a University of Washington social scientist, has run eight mock general-election pair-ups between Democratic and Republican candidates, showing who would win and who would lose in the Electoral College if the election were held today. What Koza has done is to compare Holman’s findings with a calculation of what the national popular vote would be, using national polls taken in the same time periods.
Koza’s startling finding: In three out of Holman’s eight head-to-head face-offs, the national popular-vote winner loses the electoral vote—and with it, of course, the mock election.
(Hey…I’m glad someone found those analyses useful!)
Hertzberg provides Koza’s entire analysis.
It is hard to argue in favor of our current system of electing our Presidents via the winner-take-all Electoral College approach. (Well…ignoring the “It’s how we’ve always done it!” argument, anyway.) Two hundred years ago the system might have made some sense, but today we really should be electing the President through a popular vote.
One thing is certain though…the Electoral College is not going to go away anytime soon. But since the Constitution give the states control over how electors are selected, the National Popular Vote compact (if enacted by enough states to control the majority of the Electoral College votes) would effectively and legally create a popular vote for President. And with no need to amend the U.S. Constitution.
Think of the advantages to this system…. First, candidates will no longer spend the vast majority of their time pandering to a few important swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Right now, a voter in Ohio has far more influence in electing the President than you have. It just shouldn’t be so. In an ideal democracy, every person’s vote should carry the same weight.
A popular vote would encourage candidates to campaign more broadly so as to reach as many voters as possible. It would mean that candidates visiting Washington for fundraising would actually engage in this activity called campaigning. Imagine that…Washington state no longer being treated like an ATM machine!
Finally, a popular vote gets rid of the embarrassing (albeit rare) situation—like we saw in 2000—where the loser of the popular vote ends up being President.
The Washington state legislature is about to take up work on a National Popular Vote bill:
The 10 legislative sponsors of the National Popular Vote bill in Washington State include Representatives Joe McDermott, Shirley Hankins, Mark Miloscia, Mike Armstrong, Fred Jarrett, and Tom Campbell and Senators Eric Oemig, Darlene Fairley, Craig Pridemore, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles. The House bill is HB 1750 (Status of HB 1750), and the Senate bill is SB 5628 (Status of SB 5628).
If you like the idea of Washington state participating in the compact, contact your Washington state Senator and Representatives. Here is a good place to start.
To learn more about the progress of the compact in other states, visit the National Popular Vote web site.
(Cross-posted at Hominid Views.)
Some firefighters are actually for Giuliani:
(This and some 70 other media clips from the past week in Politics are now posted at Hominid Views.)
I’m afraid I have to take exception to this statement by Goldy:
Oh… and the fact that polls generally show Edwards as being the toughest Democrat to beat… that doesn’t hurt him in my book either.
I suppose Goldy is relying on national head-to-head polls like these. The problem with such national polls is that they don’t reflect the way we elect our Presidents.
Rather than looking at the national head-to-head polls, we should be examining state head-to-head polls and take into consideration the number of votes each state gets in the Electoral College.
In fact, I have been doing just that for a number of months. Essentially, I’ve collected the state head-to-head polls taken in 2007 and have been analyzing the polls as a way of evaluating the relative strength of candidates.
Now I am going to switch into statistical wonk mode and explain my analyses. If you just want to see the results, skip over the Methods section and pick up from the Results.
To analyze the poll data I take the last month of polls for each state as a way to increase the certainty and (hopefully) minimize biases inherent in individual polls. If there is no polls taken in the last month, I use the most recent poll available in 2007. The analysis could stop at this stage after simply tallying the number of Electoral College votes each candidate would receive for each state based on the poll data.
The one problem with this approach is that it doesn’t account for the uncertainty in the polls. For example, suppose a poll in Pennsylvania of 500 individuals gives Clinton 51% and Giuliani 49% of the vote. Clinton’s lead comes from only five individuals who went for Clinton instead of Giuliani. In fact, statisticians would tell us that there is substantial sampling error because of the small sample size and the very close percentages. The statistician would do some calculations (or simulations) and tell us that the poll indicates that Clinton has only a 69.9% chance of winning, and Giuliani has a 30.1% chance of winning.
In simulating a national election, I do this same evaluation over all states. Here is how it works. I simulate elections using only information from state head-to-head polls (with one exception discussed below). Each single election proceeds state by state, pooling polls from the last month (or the most recent poll if no polls were taken in the last month). For each person polled in the state, I randomly draw votes according to the observed probabilities found by the state’s poll(s).
After conducting such elections in all fifty states (plus Washington D.C.), the electoral vote is totaled and a winner determined from the electoral vote count.
This process is repeated 10,000 times. The result is a distribution of electoral votes for the pair of candidates that fully accounts for the sampling error in the polls used. For example, here is the distribution of electoral votes for a Clinton—McCain match-up from a few days ago:
In this example Clinton won 9,167 simulated elections and McCain won 779 simulated elections. (There were also 54 ties that would go to the House of Representatives and almost certainly result in a Clinton victory.) Thus, the poll data suggests that, if the election were held today, Clinton would have a 92.2% chance of beating McCain.
Oh…about that exception I mentioned above. Some states have had no polls taken at all. In that case, I always assign the electoral votes for the state according to the 2004 presidential election outcome. For the most part, states that have had no polls taken are not likely to hold any surprises. In any case, this procedure slightly favors the Republican candidate (since Bush won in 2004).
Here are the results after simulating a variety of match-ups. (Additionally, I provide a link to my most recent analysis. In most cases the published analysis is slightly older than the analysis from today given in the table below, but the numbers are close.)
|Republican||Democrat||Probability the Democrat wins||Average electoral votes for Democrat||Link|
Right now Clinton does better against Republican challengers—she beats every one of them with a high degree of certainty. Edwards does very poorly against Giuliani, although he does a little bit better than Clinton against McCain. Obama doesn’t do well against either Giuliani or McCain right now.
Keep in mind that the analysis only suggests what would happen if the election were held right now. (Interpret this the way you might the speedometer on a long trip—it gives you some idea of your progress even though you know your speed is going to change along the way.)
Things will certainly change in the next ten months, but what we can say now is that Clinton has some advantage over both Obama and Edwards in a general election. Is Clinton’s advantage right now important in the long run? It’s hard to say. It’s not even clear to me that her advantage should be considered over more fundamental characteristics like political philosophy and policy positions. Perhaps some readers will use this information as a tie-breaker.
As for me? I still have no idea who I will support at tonight’s straw caucus. Maybe I’ll pretend to be a Republican….
If you are going to drink, take a cab or hop on a bus to get home. Under no circumstances should you do what this person did:
The headline says it all: Fatal crash, new DUI record prompt WSP to step up patrol.
This month alone King County has had over 500 DUI arrests and Snohomish County has had 370 DUI arrests.
I wonder which county will end up with more convictions? Here in King County, while the police step up enforcement of the drunk driving laws, King County District Court Judge Peter Nault is working hard to reduce the number of successful prosecutions. Woodinville is fighting back, but it is not clear a victory will really change Judge Nault’s courtroom standards.
Ultimately the voters will have a say about Judge Nault’s fitness to serve. I am not a big fan of judicial elections, but as long as we have them, let’s put ’em to good use.
Yesterday I wrote about three Washington state politicians working to overturn FCC Chairman and all around punk Kevin Martin’s changes to media ownership rules. Here is another Washington state politician who took a strong stand on the issue:
This and some 70 other media clips from the past week in politics are now posted at Hominid Views.
Also, check out Lee’s (still unsolved) Bird’s Eye View Contest.
(Yep…this would be an official Open Thread, too.)
UPDATE (Lee): Rather than add another open thread, I’ll just post a link to this week’s Birds Eye View Contest from here.