Monday, September 22, 2008

2008 Election: State Rankings - Intro

As we are under two months away from the Nov 4th election and a few days away from the first debate, I thought I would take a try at some statistical predictions.

Question: What state is most likely to be this years Florida (2000) or Ohio (2004)? Which one will be the "tipping point" state that decides a very close election. Several sites such as 538 have similar analyses but seem overly convoluted attempting to adjust for all confounders that are difficult to measure. I will provide a crude analysis that could be less biased than the other on the web. (I prefer the 538 one, but it is nice to having something to compare it too)

The rankings are based off of two measures:

1. States Difference from National Average
based on composites from Pollster (a popular ranking which combines all data from several pollsters - gallup, rasmussen, cnn, etc). I excluded a state more than 10 points away from national average, assuming they would not be a tipping state. We are also assuming that the election will be closely contested in terms of popular vote, or there will not be a tipping point state.

X=State's difference from national average
*therefore a state that is exactly equal to natural average = 1*
-given .50 weight

2. # of Electoral Votes - (538 total in nation, 270 needed to be elected president)

=(State X's # of Electoral Votes)/(Largest State of Interest Electoral Votes)
*therefore Largest state in question ratio = 1*
-given .50 weight (In 2004 - New Mexico and Iowa were actually closer contested than Ohio, but did not have enough EV to "tip" the election)

-State data is following same trend as National data (not lagging behind)
-Confounders such as ground game, similarities to other swing states (demographics), and nation/state lag time are not involved in model
-Arbitrary weighting of state average (.5) , electoral average (.5)


Bo said...

That's an interesting idea.

I think one problem that is likely to occur is that Obama will win by more than a 1 state margin. With polls pointing that the "tipping states" will go to Obama, he could win by a large electoral vote margin.

I think you could even lessen the amount for state difference from national average in the first part of the formula. I doubt any state will vary by 10% from current polling.

P.S. I'll be pretty pissed off if I get cancer from a cell phone 30 years from now.

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