Friday, April 30, 2010
Coming up: Arkansas
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Charlie, the Dark Horse, Crist
Looking at the four most recent polls and using the Florida electorate calculator created by my boss Mark Blumenthal, it is very difficult for me to see the path for Crist to win... even in his best case scenario.
As Nate Silver has noted, Marco Rubio is well on his way to earning 70-80% of the Republican vote in a general election. Rubio's net favorable split among Republicans was an astronomical 66/8 in the latest Quinnipiac poll. Only one of last four polls has registered Crist's support among Republicans above 30%, while the average is in the upper 20's. Expect that number to fall or stay level once Crist declares an Independent candidacy. Does anyone think undecided Republicans will flock to the candidate who deserted the party (Crist) and not the Republican they like (Rubio)?
Since 1998, no Democratic candidate for major statewide office has earned less than 78% of the Democratic vote. Even in the Jeb Bush romp of Buddy MacKay in 1998, Bush only took 21% of the Democratic vote. Crist only got 14% of Democrats in 2006. Now you may say Crist running as an independent candidate will be different. Maybe. Remember Meek, an African-American, will almost certainly win all the approximately 20% of African-American Democrats. But for arguments sake, we will say that does Crist holds the nearly 30% of Democrats polls claim he will get come November (and those polls will change as Meek brings up his very low name recognition with advertising).
Independents. Crist is in the mid to upper 30's in all the polls among his "base". So said number may rise on declaration of an independent run, but they probably will not. Why? Most independents usually lean strongly to one party or the other. It is the reason that Lieberman's numbers stayed steady among independents even after he declared an independent run in 2006.
So where does that leave us? Using the 2006 midterm electorate as a model (it worked quite well in Virginia and New Jersey in 2009 and Massachusetts in 2010) and giving Crist his most favorable electoral breakdown (30-R, 30-D, 50-I), he only gets 35% of the vote. That means, he would have to pray that Rubio and Meek literally split the rest of the vote down the middle.
Just to show you how tenuous this prayer is give Meek 2% of Republican support and understand Meek will probably take at least that much. All of a sudden, Crist takes only 34.2% of the overall vote.
It is literally a straw house that the big bad wolf is ready to blow over.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Dem Doom on Generic Ballot Still
For those that do not remember, I plugged in the current Pollster.com generic vote estimate into a midterm House national vote model brought to us by Joseph Bafumi, Robert Erikson, and Chris Wlezien. Two months ago, the model predicted the Republicans would win the National House vote by around 8% and almost certainly win control of the House. What I love about the model is that it is the only one I know of that is not based off of the notion of "if the election were held today". Rather, the model takes into account how far out you are from a midterm election. This time adjustment gives the model an extra degree of accuracy because it turns out that the generic ballot tends to have a Democratic as well as current party of the president bias this far out from an election. That is, the Democratic party and the party of the president almost always do better on the generic ballot this far out than they do in November.
As we are now "only" 189 days until the election, I thought it was time to re-examine my initial post and see where we stand according to the model. The purpose here is not to not predict the exact percentage of the National House vote the Republicans will get OR the exact amount of House seats they will win. If I could do that, I'd be heading to Vegas. What I want to show is the chance Republicans win at least a majority of the national vote and seats in the House of Representatives.
Before we begin, let us lay down some ground rules. First, since this model was based of what I believe was entirely live interview polls (as opposed to those conducted using a computer or automated voice), I am only going to use those. That means I will not be using Public Policy Polling, Rasmussen, or YouGov/Polimetrix. This exclusion does not mean these pollsters are inaccurate (and lord knows I have defended automated voice polls to the high heavens), but these polls may have a bias on the generic ballot that this model does not take into account. Second, I will also be taking out all Republican firm polls because I want to illustrate that the result the model outputs is not due to some Republican bias in the polling data.
The question that should be running through your mind is how accurate is this forecast? The root mean square error is 1.82% for the Democratic share of the two way National vote. If we double the root mean square error, we will essentially (not perfectly) have your standard 95% confidence interval. So if we add 2*1.82 to our models estimate of 45.7, we end up with an upper threshold for the Democratic share of the two-way National House vote of a little less than 49.4%. Of course, 2.5% of the region outside of our 95% confidence is on the lower end (meaning actually below our estimate for the Democratic two way vote). Thus, there is only a 2.5% chance that the actual Democratic vote ends up being greater 49.4%. The model would have to be really, really off the mark for the Democrats to win the National House vote.
What about actual House seats? Each House election has a different popular vote to seats curve, which makes projecting control of the House more difficult than forecasting the National House vote. Later this year when it becomes clear how many incumbents are running for re-election and the quality of their challengers, we will be to use more precise votes to seat measurements as Bafumi et al. did in 2006 and Jonathan Kastellec, Andrew Gelman, and Jamie Chandler did in 2006 and 2008.
For now, we can use a less precise generic vote to seats estimate that Bafumi et al. supply (see page 9). Taking the current two way generic vote and allocating undecideds as we did above, we find that the model predicts that Democrats will win only 44% (or 191) of the House seats. Now personally I do not believe a 66 seat lost for the Democrats is likely. I think it will likely be lower. Still, the standard error of the estimate of this projection is +/-3.70%. That is, we can be 68% confident that the ultimate percentage of seats controlled by the Democrats in the House will be +/-3.70 of 44%. Remember half of the 32% (100 - 68) of the uncertainty can be relegated to Democrats garnering lower than what is within our confidence interval. Only 16% of the time would we expect Democrats to do better than winning 47.70% of the House seats.
Now does mean the Democrats are dead in the water? Not automatically. Keep in mind this data is based off of only 15 elections (though the inclusion of the 2006 midterm makes no substantive difference in the model's accuracy, see page 41). For all we know, something that really shakes up the political atmosphere may happen. But to ignore what are some pretty clear historical signs would be crazy.
As I said two months ago, I have a very hard time believing the Democrats maintain control of the House.
For the nerds out there who will actually look at the Bafumi, Erikson, and Wlezien paper, you will know that I did something slightly different than what they did. If I did use just a general average (weighting by sample size) as Bafumi et al. did and take into account not weighting by likely voters (see page 18), I would still be projecting with the same certainty that the Democrats lose the national House vote and control of the House.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Generic Vote: Update
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Test: Campaign Finance Calculator
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Florida Calculator test
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Post in Progress: Is Crist the new Lieberman
Comparing a poll three weeks before Lieberman became an independent in 2006 and the last Quinnipiac poll from Florida (three weeks before deadline).
http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1297.xml?ReleaseID=1445 and http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1296.xml?ReleaseID=940
1. Lieberman had a 20% net approval (Crist's is only +10). His approval was +3 among
Dems (only +15 for Crist), +48 among Reps (+7 for Crist), and +16 among Indies (only
+13 for Crist). In other words, Lieberman doing significantly better in his crossover
appeal and among indies. Lieberman's favorable among Reps was +43 among Reps (+7 for
Crist), +11 among Dems (+20 among Dems), and +19 among Indies (+15 among for Crist).
2. Schlesinger, like Meek, is unknown, but Schelsinger was even more unknown. Only 9%
were able to form an opinion. 24% can form an opinion about Meek, and unlike
Schlesinger, Meek's response has been overwhelmingly positive.
3. Lieberman led in the last pre-primary three poll by 24% over Lamont and was over
50%. Crist only leads by 2% over Rubio and is only at 32%. As you said, an indie's best
day is before he declares.
4. Money. MEEK HAS ALREADY RAISED $4.7 MILLION. Schelsinger raised $221,000 for the entire election.
Crist's only raised $1.1 million in the second quarter. Rubio raised $3.6 million. Although Crist currently holds a 4 million dollar edge in fundraising (and cash-on-hand), Rubio should easily be able to make that up and probably exceed Crist with the netroots and party infrastructure behind him.
Crist won't be able to boot Meek from the race, and he won't be able to outspend Rubio.
Exit poll make up in 2006. Not that many indies in Florida who are Crist's strongest group.
38 Democrats, 26 Republican, 36 independent - Connecticut
36 Democrats, 39 Republican, 25 independents - Florida
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
To believe or not, Rasmussen on PA's Dem Sen Primary
Rasmussen: Generic Ballot Right or Wrong?
The latest Rasmussen poll has Republicans winning on the generic ballot by 9 points (47%-38%). Is Rasmussen right? Could they be even under-doing a Republican romp as Nate Silver suggests they may?
The answer is maybe.
Since 2002, when Rasmussen first asked the generic ballot question, they underestimated, nailed, and overestimated the Republican vs. Democratic margin. As the table above illustrates, Rasmussen's final pre-election poll low-balled the Republican margin in 2004 by 8.2%, but did the exact opposite in 2008, overshooting it by over 4%.
It should be noted that Rasmussen adopted its currently dynamic weighting process in 2006, which helped them perfectly predict the spread between the two parties in the national house vote in 2006. Yet, this same dynamic weighting led to Rasmussen under-predicting the Democratic victory in 2008.
Interestingly, the spread between the two parties on the generic ballot barely budged from April to Election Day from 2004-2008 . That is, Rasmussen's polling was very stable, which can likely be contributed to Rasmussen's weighting by party. Of course, in only 2006 could the stability be seen as a sign of accuracy.
So what does all of this information tell us about Rasmussen's generic ballot polling 2010?
Basically, it may be accurate or it may not be, but it will most likely be consistent.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Senate Update: Republicans right on the edge
You heard it here first
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