WA-Gov, which won’t go to a recount

Early this morning, Darryl presented a brief discussion of yesterday’s results in the gubernatorial race. He introduced a model of its eventual outcome:

  • take the actual county-by-county D-R percentages from November 6
  • apply county-specific 2008 turnout percentages
  • estimate the final outcome between Inslee and McKenna

This may be, as he explains, a conservative model, in that recent elections have demonstrated a generalized increase in Democratic percentages over the days of post-Election Day tabulations. As I explained in a DailyKos diary about the 2010 Murray-Rossi Senate race (posted on the Friday after Election Day:

During the day on Thursday, 22 of the 39 counties added ballots to their totals, counting a total of 207,170 votes in the Senate race. Patty Murray received 113,085 (54.6%) of those votes, with smarmy huckster Dino Rossi pulling down the remaining 94,085 votes, 45.4% of the day’s total.

As she did on Wednesday, Patty increased her percentage of the vote in most of the reporting counties, 16 of the 22. But that doesn’t come close to describing how she dominated the day. You see, the counties in which Murray did worse on Thursday than she had been doing theretofore (Asotin, Clark, Cowlitz, Grant, Lewis, and Pend Oreille) tallied only 27,836 of the day’s ballots. That is, a mere 13.4% of the Thursday votes were from counties where Patty underperformed. Counties where she outperformed her previous level comprised 86.6% of the day’s counted ballots.

Patty even won the day in several red counties. For instance, she took 50.7% of Island County’s 4031 Wednesday ballots, though her overall votes percentage there is 49.7%. Pierce always seems to hover near the break-even point, and Patty’s 50.6% on Wednesday (22,891 ballots) hardly budged her cumulative 49.7% mark. And then there’s Klickitat County, where Murray’s 52.9% (359 of 688 ballots) was shockingly high. It raised her cumulative share of the small county’s overall vote from 41.4% to 42.3%.

For context, Murray won 50.5% statewide on Tuesday night, 53.4% on Wednesday (cumulatively 50.8%), and 54.6% on Thursday (reaching a cumulative 51.3% over the three days). Two nights after the election, her overall share of the vote had increased by almost a full percent.

So Darryl’s model, wherein the D-R percentage doesn’t change over time, is a conservative one.

I too have developed a model for estimating the eventual outcome of the election. It’s rather different from Darryl’s. What I do is to “believe” what the counties report to the Secretary of State. By which I mean that on each night I assume (pretend might be a better word) that the total number of ballots that will be processed by a county equals the sum of their Total Ballots Counted to Date and their Estimated Ballots on Hand to be Processed, as reported on the SoS’s Voter Turnout page. My estimate consists of combining each county’s current D-R percentages with the sum defined above.

By capturing the SoS’s output at the end of every day, I can also examine that day’s counting activity. That’s how I was able to make the quoted observations about the 2010 Senate race, as well as my extended series (28 diaries) on the epic 2004 gubernatorial battle.

Because more ballots continue to be received by county elections offices, my model is clearly incomplete after the first day. To illustrate, consider that the “expected” statewide turnout after last night’s ballot drop comes to a mere 65.7%. That’s because the counties can’t possibly know how many more ballots they’ll be processing over the next week or so. I’m looking only at the already-reported numbers, making no assumptions at all about what the next batch of reports will say, nor about the eventual turnout figures. I know full well that a county might process more ballots today than they said they had as of yesterday, and that they might report more to-be-processed ballots tonight than they did last night.

That said, my estimate after last night’s report is that the Inslee-McKenna margin will change very little, moving only slightly in the GOP direction … the projected percentages come to 51.2% Inslee and 48.8% McKenna.

I’ll have updated numbers after today’s reports to the SoS are completed.

Oh, and I’ve also started building spreadsheets for R-74 and the really close race for Secretary of State.


  1. 4



    I’m working on it as we speak. I’ll have to keep an eye out, though, because the SoS seems to think that Pierce will have another drop late tonight.

  2. 5

    Real American spews:

    It’s sad that the trolls aren’t here.

    I so want to kick them in the nuts a few more times.

  3. 7

    proud leftist spews:

    Bob, predictably, has disappeared. 6–no, they do not have nuts. Conservatives are, in fact, neutered.

  4. 8

    rhp6033 spews:

    I still keep coming back to the same question:

    (a) If a “mild mannered family man” like McKenna, with roots in the central Puget Sound, can’t win the governor’s mansion, what Republican could?

    (b) Why does it always have to be this close? Shouldn’t we have at least a five-point spread in each guvenatorial election?

  5. 9

    rhp6033 spews:

    By the way, the King County elections computers seem have have crashed late yesterday afternoon, holding up the count for an hour and a half.

    As most people who work in a modern office can attest, having a network crash at an inopportune time is pretty much something you expect from time to time. When it happens, you catch up on your filing, do more of your work by telephone instead of e-mail, and soon the computers will be back up.

    But I was fully expecting the trolls this morning to be claiming it was some evidence of election manipulation in the King County elections office. But so far, not a peep – even on other subjects.

    Where did they all go? Does a “crying in your beer” hangover really last two days? Or did they just pack up shop and leave?

    At least Serial was around on Wednesday morning to explain himself a bit, but not so much after that.

  6. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    So, how do we go about recruiting some decent trolls?

    The problem is, as I see it, is like Jeff Foxworthy’s take on the southern-style prayer to open the Atlanta Olympics:

    “Dear Lord, look out for our visitors, and prepare them for the ass-whooping they are about to receive”.