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Stanford Predicts The Presidential Election

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the rolling-the-bones dept.

Politics 158

Can Sar writes "Today is the official launch of Stanford Predicts, a non partisan group trying to predict the 2004 Presidential Election. This project is led by and based on research by Professor Samuel S. Chiu of the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Stanford Predicts is solely interested in predicting the likelihood of either candidate winning, for purely scientific purposes. While the formulas themselves were developed in previous years by Professor Chiu all data analysis is being done by undergraduate students. Stanford Predicts will be continuously updated with new predictions until election day. Please check out Stanford Predicts for more information."

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158 comments

Keys to the White House (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10633880)

American University Professor Allan J. Lichtman, author of Keys to the White House [amazon.com] uses a 13 key system to predict the Presidential winner [commondreams.org] (popular vote), and right now, the keys system favors Bush (9 to 4 [commondreams.org] ). Gore won his analysis in 2000 and the popular vote, but not the Presidency. It's possible something similar could happen again.

Re:Keys to the White House (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10635241)

At first I read that as "Keyes to the White House." As an Illinois resident, that scares the hell out of me.

Re:Keys to the White House (1)

WhiteBandit (185659) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636087)

Interestingly enough, Lichtman's colleague in this Keys to the Whitehouse prediction system, was Dr. Keilis-Borok, who predicted two earthquakes in Central California and Japan, and failed to correctly predict an earthquake in Southern California.

Quite a bit of his research (both in geophysics and non-geophysics related subjects) has been devoted to the mathematics of pattern recognition.

Re:Keys to the White House (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636437)

Because of which states are going which way (small states with excess electoral votes going for Bush), I think it is virtually impossible for Bush to win the popular vote yet lose the election. He could lose the popular vote and win the election as with Gore, but not the other way around.

Wow... (-1, Offtopic)

HebrewToYou (644998) | more than 9 years ago | (#10633917)

Bush with 76.4% and Kerry with 21.0%?

I'm a Bush supporter and I cannot believe that'd he win by such a margin...

But, as expected, Kerry wins the West and East coast states while Bush wins in "flyover" states. I expect a GWB victory this November -- but I think it'll be more along the lines of 57% to 40% in terms of the popular vote with the third parties picking up the rest of the slack.

Re:Wow... (1)

HebrewToYou (644998) | more than 9 years ago | (#10633952)

Bah.

"I'm a Bush supporter and I cannot believe that'd he win by such a margin..."
This should read "I'm a Bush supporter and I cannot believe that he'd win by such a margin..."

Re:Wow... (4, Informative)

BTWR (540147) | more than 9 years ago | (#10633961)

RTFW (website)...

According to the site, there is a 76.4% chance Bush will win the required states. It does not state (or even imply) that Bush will get 76.4% of the vote. Basically, it's saying it's approximately 3:1 odds bush will win, but that is far from predicting Bush will win 3x as many votes as Kerry.

Re:Wow... (0)

HebrewToYou (644998) | more than 9 years ago | (#10633998)

"The numbers above represent the probabilities that either candidate wins enough votes on the Electoral College to be elected President, as of the latest available polls. They do not represent actual vote counts or direct poll results, but are inferred from poll results."

You're absolutely right.
I'm a fucking moron. Ignore this Jew from now on.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634429)

Interesting. Unlike the candidate you support, you can admit a mistake.

The electoral college is a big boost this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634003)

Bush is more likely to win the Presidency, even if he doesn't win the popular vote.

Re:Wow... (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634011)

Bush with 76.4% and Kerry with 21.0%?

That's a probability estimate, not vote %.

I'm a Bush supporter

You already told us that.

Re:Wow... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634180)

> I'm a Bush supporter

Ahh, so you are an idiot and eat babies?

Re:Wow... (4, Insightful)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634399)

Bush with 76.4% and Kerry with 21.0%?
I'm a Bush supporter and I cannot believe that'd he win by such a margin...

But, as expected, Kerry wins the West and East coast states while Bush wins in "flyover" states. I expect a GWB victory this November -- but I think it'll be more along the lines of 57% to 40% in terms of the popular vote with the third parties picking up the rest of the slack.



1. The site is predicting that Bush has a 76.4% chance of winning, not that he'd win with 76.4% of the vote.

2. 57 to 40? Are you on crack? Bush beat Dukakis 53-46 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_el ection,_1988), and that was considered a landslide. Reagan beat Mondale 59-40 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_el ection,_1984), which is an even bigger landslide, but George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan, and it's not the 80's.

You've forgotten what we've already learned... (3, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635050)

57 to 40? Are you on crack? Bush beat Dukakis 53-46 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_el ection,_1988), and that was considered a landslide. Reagan beat Mondale 59-40 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_el ection,_1984), which is an even bigger landslide, but George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan, and it's not the 80's.

This guy's clearly an example of an earlier story [slashdot.org] on slashdot.

(I kid, I kid.)

Stanford predicts the election? (4, Funny)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10633945)

Wasn't it a public knowledge that the election will take place? It was all over the news.

Re:Stanford predicts the election? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634026)

Are you a troll or something?

Re:Stanford predicts the election? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634203)

Are you humor-impared or something?

Re:Stanford predicts the election? (2, Funny)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634569)

A recent poll reveiled that if the election were held today most people would be confused because the election is normally held in November.

More later on the 11 o'clock news....

YES (-1, Troll)

redhotchil (44670) | more than 9 years ago | (#10633975)

I particularly hate both candidates but I'm rooting for Bush so I can watch as all the hippies and Kerry explode in anger and riot in the streets or something

Re:YES (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634071)

Can I come over for some red hot chili?

Re:YES (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635502)

I do hate both candidates. If there is a reason to vote for Bush, is that there is only 1 sector of the economy left for him to destroy "Real Estate".

If he's president for 4 more years, I am sure the interest rates will stay low. But because the unemployment will be so severely high, every other person will be forced to move. Forcing a drop in Real Estate prices because everyone is moving out forcefully. Afterwards, we are back to affordable housing when everyone is scaling down.

Re:YES (1, Interesting)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634150)

Sounds like my old sig, "Re-elect George W Bush because nothing is as amusing as angry liberals."

And it's true, for mouth-foaming incoherent rage, just wait till Bush wins. If Kerry wins, Bush supporters will be disappointed and concerned, but most of them won't be complaining about impeachment or disenfranchisement or how the election was rigged, blah, blah, blah. In fact, I'll be somewhat optimistic because Jimmy Carter made the country ready for Ronald Reagan. Kerry's a lot like Carter without the honesty, or southern charm, or pulse..., but I suspect his administration will be about as successful.

Re:YES (0, Flamebait)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634259)

Damnit! My mod points just expired this morning. Somebody please mod the moron flamer down.

Danke.

Re:YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10636496)

I can't mod, so I'm telling you what to think instead.

Re:YES (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634400)

I hope you're right- because whoever wins I'll be running against both major parties in 2008.

However- I disagree with your conclusion on what would happen with a Kerry Win. I agree that the Bush Supporters won't be complaining about disenfranchisement or rigged elections, because that's not their style. But nor do I think this will be a peacefull trasistion of power if Kerry wins- far more likely the Bush admin will do *something* to attempt to maintain power. I'm not sure what that something will look like- but it probably won't be a court challenge.

Re:YES (2, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635005)

far more likely the Bush admin will do *something* to attempt to maintain power.

I don't believe that any more than I did when they were saying it about Clinton. That would destroy the country.

It's bad enough the Democrats are doing everything they can to undermine our confidence in our election process, guaranteeing four more years of the stupid and loud complaining Bush isn't legitimate, should he win.

I don't see how anything you seem to be suggesting would do anything other than make 1968 look like a picnic.

Re:YES (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635219)

As a wise man said to me as we were standing in line at a job fair back in 2001- this ain't 1992, this ain't 1986, This ain't 1972, This ain't even 1968- This is 1929 baby- and this is the modern eqivalent of the soup line.

When it came to high tech, that guy was right. Completely right. This administration has already destroyed everything I liked about America- and showed me what a hollow shell puppet show our political process actually is.

Clinton had his 8 years and was worn out- quite litterally we found out this year. The people behind Bush are not the kind of people I'd want to meet in a dark alley. I'm convinced that something very much like organized crime is behind Bush- only slightly more legal, because they've manipulated our laws to make their schemes legal.

The division in this country over this election is far more violence prone than any I've ever seen before- or even can find anywhere in our history. It won't matter which man wins really- we'll either be tied up in court for a month or more, or we'll be sitting on a civil war, or most likely, both.

Re:YES (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635938)

You're not disillusioned a bit are you?

I'm convinced that something very much like organized crime is behind Bush

Um, the unions are still Democrat.

The division in this country over this election is far more violence prone than any I've ever seen before

I don't see it. I hope you're wrong.

Re:YES (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636154)

You're not disillusioned a bit are you?

Very- I voted FOR Bush in 2000.

Um, the unions are still Democrat.

I suspect that modern organized crime is on the other side of the paycheck. It's far more lucrative to skim off the top.

I don't see it. I hope you're wrong.

The sad part is that it's not limited to the Presidential race, to any one location, or to either side. The problem is nationwide, covers almost all races, and is getting uglier by the day. A few examples (so far, pre-election, it's pretty much been limited to PROPERTY damage as opposed to personal damage, but that could easily change quickly):
http://www.sungazette.com/letters/letter_details.a sp?letterID=2888&postdate=10/14/2004 [sungazette.com]
http://bakersfield.com/elections/story/4975842p-50 38992c.html [bakersfield.com]
http://www.coloradoan.com/news/stories/20041019/ne ws/1438518.html [coloradoan.com]
http://www.sullivan-county.com/nf0/june_2004/recal l5.htm [sullivan-county.com]
http://www.eagletribune.com/news/stories/20040326/ NH_004.htm [eagletribune.com]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1236613/p osts [freerepublic.com]
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf ?/base/front_page/1096459546252200.xml [oregonlive.com]

My area is in that last section- and is particularily bad across the rural/urban divide.

Re:YES (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635950)

if you truly believe bush & co. would do that, please state why
also, you said something about running in 2008, is that for real?
go you if it is, we could use more choices

Re:YES (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636007)

if you truly believe bush & co. would do that, please state why also, you said something about running in 2008, is that for real? go you if it is, we could use more choices

In hopes that a Kerry or a Bush presidency will get people pissed off enough for a real populist to get some traction again- my hero is Huey Long.

Re:YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10635149)

Like organizing a military coup? Yeah, I could see that.

Re:YES (4, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634426)

Sounds like my old sig, "Re-elect George W Bush because nothing is as amusing as angry liberals."

And it's true, for mouth-foaming incoherent rage, just wait till Bush wins. If Kerry wins, Bush supporters will be disappointed and concerned, but most of them won't be complaining about impeachment or disenfranchisement or how the election was rigged, blah, blah, blah.


Duuuude, you must be smoking crack. If Gore had won in 2000, the republicans would have made a much bigger fuss (at least in the media which would have seemed a lot larger than the democratic protests).

Hell hath no fury like a bunch of angry conservatives. That's the party that spent $50+ million dollars of taxpayer money to expose the fact that Clinton got a blowjob. If you think liberals are more whack than conservatives when it comes to getting uppity, you're nuts.

Re:YES (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634962)

Perhaps, but if Gore had won Florida, it would have been because the rules were changed mid-game. I wouldn't agree with that either.

Re:YES (1)

JayBat (617968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636145)

If Gore had won in Florida, it would have been because all the unambiguous votes in Florida were counted. That never happened.

(And Gore's team never fought for that, not that it would have made any difference if they had; the Supreme court disallowed anything resembling a full count.)

The Orlando Sentinel (not exactly a bunch of radical lefties) was among a group of news organizations that did real substantive work on what the results of a full vote count would be; for example, here [orlandosentinel.com] and here. [orlandosentinel.com] You do the math.

Ancient history now, I suppose, but those that do not remember history... :-)

Re:YES (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636402)

The recounts were done in accordance with State Law. A really bad state law that screwed Gore out of the election.

The Florida Supreme Court figured since the law was poorly made it should be changed in mid-stream which flies in the face of any sense of fairness.

The U.S. Supreme Court settled the matter, although the fact that it wasn't unanimous iis troubling to me. Cleary Rule of Law only counts sometimes.

All we can hope is that Florida got their act together, especially the county election officials (who are largely Democrat), who helped set up the screwed up system that caused 2000 in the first place. That the Secretary of State rubber stamped these butterfly ballots and other nonsense was irresponsible, but there is enough blame to go around.

Re:YES (1)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635393)

That's the party that spent $50+ million dollars of taxpayer money to expose the fact that Clinton got a blowjob.

This is the United States. If it were put to a general vote the people would have allowed any amount less than the defense budget to be spent learning about blowjobs in the Whitehouse.

Re:YES (1)

overunderunderdone (521462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635704)

Oh come! When was the last time you saw a big Republican protest? Thousands of white men in business attire marching down the street with giant paper maché puppets chanting slogans? It just doesn't happen.

Re:YES (2, Interesting)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634601)

In fact, I'll be somewhat optimistic because Jimmy Carter made the country ready for Ronald Reagan.

Does that mean Bush has made the country ready for another Jimmy Carter? Uh oh.

Seriously, I wish there were more Reagans and Carters around. They both were, in their hearts, genuinely good men.

Can you say the same about Bush and Kerry? I don't think so.

And yet Bush and Kerry were both nominated.

Something is wrong with the primaries when it produces these Bozos. There are better people out there. There have to be.

Re:YES (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634832)

I believe that Kerry is a "good person" in the same way that George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton are good people. They don't measure up to Jimmy Carter (or even Reagan), but I believe their faults come more from good convictions worn down by the years rather than malice. Kerry is a decent guy. He won't be a great President, but he'll get us by.

Our current President, George W. Bush, shares company with men like Richard Nixon. He is not a good man. I honestly doubt our country will survive another four years of him. [johntitor.com]

Re:YES (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635041)

Well, the incumbent is the incumbent, but the Democrats were clearly trying to find someone who could "beat Bush", not someone who would actually be a good candidate. What they ended up with is someone who almost nobody likes and whose standing in the polls is 80% from people who are opposed to the incumbent. The DNC just panicked when Dean started looking (more) like a fruitcake.

There are better candidates out there, and I hope see and vote for one of them someday soon.

Re:YES (1)

gi-tux (309771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635152)

Something is wrong with the primaries when it produces these Bozos. There are better people out there. There have to be.
You are certainly right in that there is something wrong with the primaries. They are very unfair in that if you happen to be one of the unlucky inhabitants of the states that vote toward the end, you don't even have a voice in the primaries. As a matter of fact, if you don't live in Iowa or New Hampshire, your voice is limited.
Once those first two states have made their choices, candidates start dropping like flies. By the time 5 or 6 states have voted there might be only 1 or 2 candidates left in each party. By the time half the states have voted, the decision has been made because if you aren't the leader, you get no press and no money.
I live in Alabama and our primary isn't until June. We had a choice on our ballot in that we could choose the Democratic or Republican primary, but there wasn't but one candidate on each ticket for us. Now how was I supposed to tell anyone how I felt?

Liberals should vote for Bush! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10636398)

Personally, I like Kerry better, but I'm voting for Bush so the Republicans can have the full opportunity to take responsibility when their last four years' work bears fruit.

After all, we don't hear much these days about Bush's promise [whitehouse.gov] in 2002 to "[balance] the budget by 2005 without endangering the war against terrorism and homeland security efforts and without raising taxes."

These days, he likes to blame his inability to keep this promise on the 2000 stock market correction and the 2001 terrorist attacks, neither of which he could reasonably have foreseen in 2002. I'd like to see Bush have four more years of opportunity to be a man and take responsibility for his stewardship over the federal budget.

Re:Liberals should vote for Bush! (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636562)

It's 2004, and we're not holding him to the promises he made in 2000, in 2001, or in 2003. What the hell makes you think anything will change in 2005?

Nothing special (3, Informative)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#10633981)

This guy [electoral-vote.com] has the same sort of daily predictions. Funny his prediction for today is the opposite that Stanford predicts. I sent him an excel file demonstrating the use of error estimates and probabilities to get a better prediction, but haven't heard back. Though even with that the prediction would still be in Kerry's favor, so I'm not sure what all Stanford is and isn't taking into account. He apparently gets a lot of crap in his email from opponents.

Re:Nothing special (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634445)

The guy lists NH as strong Kerry. NH is historically conservative, and most folks consider it a swing state. I think he's off (I wish he weren't, but I think he is).

Re:Nothing special (1)

Wraithlyn (133796) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634798)

What makes electoral-vote.com kind've special is that he's going out on a limb and declaring that "undecided voters" (currently something like 4%) will go out and vote for Kerry by a 2:1 ratio. This has the effect of tipping a number of crucial swing states to Kerry for his final prediction. He makes a pretty good case for this (undecided voters going 2:1 for the challenger) based on historical trends.

This Stanford analysis is based on current polls, and implicitly assumes that undecided voters will remain that way.

I frankly wish they'd ban polling for some period before the election. Might make people more inclined to vote based on issues rather than who they perceive will win.

Re:Nothing special (1)

TXG1112 (456055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634943)

This undecided breaking in a 2:1 ratio theory comes from this analysis at the Mystery Pollster:

The Incumbent Rule [mysterypollster.com]

A good quote from the link:

Voters typically know incumbents well and have strong opinions about their performance. Challengers are less familiar and invariably fall short on straightforward comparisons of experience and (in the presidential arena) command of foreign policy. Some voters find themselves conflicted -- dissatisfied with the incumbent yet also wary of the challenger -- and may carry that uncertainty through the final days of the campaign and sometimes right into the voting booth. Among the perpetually conflicted, the attitudes about the incumbent are usually more predictive of these conflicted voters' final decision than their lingering doubts about the challenger. Thus, in the campaign's last hours, we tend to see "undecided" voters "break" for the challenger.

Statistical analysis of previous elections appears to back up this theory.

Re:Nothing special (1)

overunderunderdone (521462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635235)

What makes electoral-vote.com kind've special is that he's going out on a limb and declaring that "undecided voters" (currently something like 4%) will go out and vote for Kerry by a 2:1 ratio

The problem with this "undecided's always break for the challenger" analysis is that generally it is ONLY true of the very last poll. Polls a few days out do not display such a consistent "break" to the challenger. In fact they just as often "break" towards the incumbent.

I don't think anyone knows which way this election will break in the closing week. The RCP poll average has been showing a surge towards Bush [realclearpolitics.com] . Perhaps this is just Bush regaining lost ground after the debates as Kerry regained his lost ground during them bringing us back to square one. Even more interesting is that while Bush has gained ground in the national polls some of the key battleground polls have shifted towards Kerry [realclearpolitics.com] . It looks like we might end up with a mirror image of 2000 with Bush winning the popular vote but losing the electoral vote. It will be amusing to see how the two parties would spin such a result.

Re:Nothing special (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635056)

Do you happen to have that excel file still on hand? I would appreciate it if you could send me a copy as part of a for-fun project I have been doing in trying to tabulate the electoral votes, more information(that is more accurate) the better...

maburns AT gmail dot com

Thank you.

You can't polish a turd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10635261)

The polling methodology is flawed. All of these predictions are based on data collected from these polls. You might as well just watch the Redskins this Sunday or check out Tradesports.com.

Re:Nothing special (1)

OneDeeTenTee (780300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636467)

Nice trick. You arn't pointing to the current prediction at all. His current prediction shows Bush winning.

Of course it's a moot point, the polls tend to bounce around quite a bit, and there's really only one poll that counts.

This vs. Electoral-Vote.com (4, Informative)

CtrlPhreak (226872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634018)

I've been following along the election with www.electoral-vote.com, and while it's good to have predictors, I wonder how much impact these have on the outcome, do sites like this have a detremental effect on the election by creating a self fulfilling prophecy? Have there been studies on this effect, say a voter sees that bush has a 72%chance of winning, and decides that the country can't be wrong and goes along with it.

Anyway, I like electoral-vote's way of going about it better, shouwing actual state polls and the number of electorial votes each candidate has rather than a straight up prediction of the outcome in a percentage. Lets you see how close the race is as far as votes and what your effect based on your state can be, it's a lot more empowering when you see your state is very close and has a lot of electorial votes, and how close the candidates are.

Yes and no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634057)

For everyone who says "I want to vote for a winner" there may be someone else who says "Well, I'll need to make sure I go out and vote for my guy so that doesn't happen!"

Re:Yes and no (1)

CtrlPhreak (226872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634152)

Yeah, I'd like to think that, but I'd like to know how many people out there are like that, just would be interesting to find out. We know the average voter is pretty stupid ( the recent UMD survey for example and others the same with the other side) if someone spoofed a lot of polls, and it got well known how many people would that sway?

Re:This vs. Electoral-Vote.com (3, Insightful)

br0ck (237309) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634582)

It can go the other way too, with voters thinking their guy is behind being more likely to trek to the polls while the voter that thinks their guy is ahead just stays home. I'm seeing this somewhat here in Illinois with people saying that since the state is going to Kerry no matter what that it isn't worth bothering to vote one way or the other.

Re:This vs. Electoral-Vote.com (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635013)


a voter sees that bush has a 72%chance of winning, and decides that the country can't be wrong and goes along with it.

The only wasted vote is a superfluous vote for the winner. Since I don't live in a swing state, I can vote my conscious (Libertarian Party) instead of holding my nose and voting for John Kerry (hoping for divided government to keep him and Congress in a political stalemate).

Re:This vs. Electoral-Vote.com (3, Interesting)

aralin (107264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635135)

I think the methodology of the stanford predicts is at best fishy. The problem is that they go for an immediate state, discarding previous results and this makes their predictions very sure. You can see that most of them are over 90%. Now tell me that Florida is anything further than 10% from draw? I don't think so.

The main problem is that he needs to take in account all the previous data and see how the state numbers vary and how far they swing up and down and take that in account when counting the chance that either candidate will win the election. I think it would reduce the probabilities and make all these numbers more realistic.

Re:This vs. Electoral-Vote.com (1)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635356)

The exact opposite happened in Florida last time around. The result was called in favor of Gore before half of the state's polls had closed. The people still left to vote, seeing that the news was saying Gore was the winner, either went out and voted against them as soon as they saw they needed to, or stayed home thinking they're vote for him was no longer needed. Ignore Michael Moore's take on it.

Re:This vs. Electoral-Vote.com (1)

overunderunderdone (521462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635573)

I wonder how much impact these have on the outcome, do sites like this have a detremental effect on the election by creating a self fulfilling prophecy?

With all the lawyers already filing lawsuits and the potential for another contested election I think it would be perfectly rational for undecideds to pick whoever looks like they are winning. Someone undecided at this point obviously doesn't have a strong preference about the candidates for their own sake... but they may want to avoid another constitutional crisis and a president hobbled by another contested election. Pile on at the end to put it out or contention.

Which polls? (2, Insightful)

stomv (80392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634160)

I couldn't find info on which polls they used. Of course, some pollsters do a better job than others, and some even engage in push polling?*

So, it seems to me that feeding a different subset of polls will garner different results, and that the equilibruim is very stable -- change the Ohio or Florida poll by two percentage points toward Kerry and I'd bet the odds go from 3:1 to 1:1 pretty damned quickly. Likewise, fudge the CO, NH, and MN results toward Bush 2 points, and it might go from 3:1 to 5:1.

Surely they could do a better job about releasing their data and their polling selection methodology...

* baiting an answer. For example: Would you vote for George Bush even though he lied about WMDs and his wife once killed a man? Clearly not a good idea if one seeks accurate polling, but it's done all the time nevertheless. Just ask wiki [wikipedia.org] about Sen. McCain's black baby born out of wedlock.

Re:Which polls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634730)

^

Um, I meant the equilibrium is unstable. Sorry about that.

Huh? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634192)

It amounts to a laborious book-keeping problem -- to figure out all collections of states that will give Kerry 282 votes, getting heads in those coin flips and tails for the remaining. Using a clever procedure, we are able to carry out these computations efficiently without having to explicitly consider all possible combinations of state outcomes.

I'm no computer scientist, but -- wouldn't a Monte Carlo technique do this reasonably well?

Simulation Based Prediction (1)

Intocabile (532593) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634237)

This site [umn.edu] does the same thing only they're much more trasparent about their methods. They have also started to use poll data from multiple sources to minimize bias.

Here's my prediction (1, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634352)

I predict that I may not be the only one that is completely fed up with people wasting too much time and energy on predictions, especially innocuous and chaotic issues such as the election a week before the fact. If you want to predict Earthquakes and weather patterns, cool, but no matter what you predict, things are still going to be chaos because it doesn't take a PhD to figure out one side is going to be unhappy about losing. Thank you professor Obvious.

Why don't you academics stop jerking off over week-early predictions and do something productive like research a cure for cancer, or at least see if you can predict the number of people who could possibly care about this big waste of resources and ask yourself if your time and talent are not better served elsewhere?

Re:Here's my prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634437)

There are different types of academics. Medical researchers, political science reserchers, engineering, etc. Not that I think finding a cure for cancer isn't a noble goal. I just feel that telling at statician of political scientist to do that seems really silly.

Re:Here's my prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634470)

There are different types of academics. Medical researchers, political science reserchers, engineering, etc. Not that I think finding a cure for cancer isn't a noble goal. I just feel that telling at economics academic or political scientist to do that seems really silly. fixed, the preview button is my friend.

Re:Here's my prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634491)

Well, once we magically turn a pile of $$$ into a "cure for cancer" by waving the Science wand over it... [/sarcasm]

we'll still need to figure out what the most effective way to distribute/manufacture this medicine will be. It's easy to overlook or scorn the contributions of management science, but prices would skyrocket (with invariable negative effects elsewhere) if they all quit working to pursue some pipe-dream magic.

As Aristotle said, political science is in a sense the master of all sciences, insofar as it is human need and desire which motivates their practices.

Halloween webcam "Vote for Hulk" Prediction (1)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636075)

According to the halloween webcam [komar.org] (which has been FARK'ed, Slashdotted, Ernie House of WhoopAss'ed, MajorGeek'ed, etc.), the current standings are:
HULK: 9,151 BUSH: 8,910 KERRY: 8,391

This is despite at least one "Kerry-Bot" which tried to stuff the ballot. [komar.org]

Re:Here's my prediction (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636489)

Why don't you academics stop jerking off over week-early predictions and do something productive like research a cure for cancer,

You know, I think I'm OK with Political Scientists not treating cancer.

(Sloppy Thinking Sign #4: Lumping all members of a group together and discarding relevant distinctions. In this case, the point is that all academics are not created equal. Accurate poll research is one of the more useful things a political scientist can be doing, considering the general uselessness of that branch of "science".)

I'm thinking that medical researchers should also, in general, avoid research into alternative fuels.

We're screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10634430)

In other words,
We, and the rest of the world, are screwd.

Re:We're screwed (2, Insightful)

citabjockey (624849) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636531)

Actually, we get what we deserve if the Stanford prediction comes to pass. Our kids will be left to cleanup the monumental mess Bush has made. The folks I really feel for are those outside our borders who will take the brunt of another 4 years of Bush and they had no say in their fate. Its all very sad. What a bunch of idiots we have as citizens.

Tax cuts only for the rich (well, bent very far in that direction), a war started over mistakes, a preemptive policy that will bankrupt us and leave (left?) our country with no credibility, Osama is still on the loose and quite capable of attacks around the world. I sure as hell don't feel safer and anyone with half a brain would not either.

4 more years of this nonsense? Wonderful.

Based On Polls (3, Insightful)

tid242 (540756) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634433)

The numbers above represent the probabilities that either candidate wins enough votes on the Electoral College to be elected President, as of the latest available polls. They do not represent actual vote counts or direct poll results, but are inferred from poll results.


This is my problem with these sorts of things. While the polls are always statistically sound i have a 800-lb gorilla-sized sneaking suspicion that the polls being conducted do not accurately represent the electorate, in which case the statistical rigor gives way to a sort of bias in these results.


I've thought for a long time (since last spring) that Bush will lose by a not unsizable margin and people may actually be surprised on election day by the way the polls had failed to capture the public's true intent.


This is all purely anecdotal of course but i just think that since all of these polls are via land-lines (at who knows what time of day), they no longer capture a validly random sample. After all a shrinking percentage of people i know (all of whom vote) even have a land-line, and far fewer actually talk to any pollsters or their ilk - the urge to hang-up on these sorts of callers is just too overwhelming...


Though it may very well be me who is surprised on election day this is what has been brewing in my head lately...


We'll see, although i would bet that there'll be partying in the streets around the world on Nov. 2nd/3rd should Bush lose.


-tid242

Dancing in the streets (3, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634816)

They use the results of a number of polls. Since these polls are more or less independent of each other, it's mathematically acceptable to aggregate them (provided you do the simple stuff like weighting the polls according to sample size, etc.).

You say that the polls themselves are all biased in the same direction, reflecting the viewpoint of likely voters who answer their landline. While I can't invalidate that completely, the fact that multiple polls find similar results tends to weaken the idea. The question is open whether people who don't answer their landline lean toward one side enough to change the results. Also, polls of kids, who usually tend to track their parents' viewpoints, agree with the telephone polls.

It's possible that your friends think the same way you do, so to you it feels like everybody hates the President, when in fact most people like him.

Re:Dancing in the streets (1)

tunah (530328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635445)

You say that the polls themselves are all biased in the same direction, reflecting the viewpoint of likely voters who answer their landline. While I can't invalidate that completely, the fact that multiple polls find similar results tends to weaken the idea.

Not at all. It means the polls are reliable, but quite possibly reliably biased in the same direction.

Re:Dancing in the streets (1)

rlwhite (219604) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635461)

We're not just talking about people "not answering their landline," we're talking about people who don't even have landlines. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence (from multiple sources) that this is common with the younger generation as the economics begin to tilt towards cell phones, and that demographic historically leans left. Maybe it's a large enough group to swing a crucial swing state like Florida, but I'm not so sure.

Also there's a widely-accepted historical trend to these polls underrepresenting the poor, who also lean left.

Kids tend to be influenced by their parents, and that's why they make a reasonable predictor. But look at the way the election's divided, with one candidate very loudly proclaiming himself as the family values candidate. Even in my very conservative state, I'm seeing a bigger division between parents and non-parents politically this election.

The grandparent post does seem to be looking too locally at the political winds. I don't need a poll to tell you Bush has a ton of support in the South and Midwest.

Re:Based On Polls (1)

overunderunderdone (521462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635420)

But do you have any reason to suspect that the cell-phone toting population is more inclined to vote for Kerry over Bush? Or that they might not have a tendency to be found in already solid "blue" states?

I do have a hunch that the election will not end up being as close as the polls are indicating right now. I'm just ambivalent about which way it goes. Either the polls are missing the extent anti-bush intensity and Bush loses all the battlegrounds, or all that anti-Bush rage does for Kerry what it did for Dean... I go back and forth on which way it's going.

My prediction: (2, Insightful)

Nafai7 (53671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634499)

Either Bush or Kerry will get into office. They will spend our federal tax money however they want, generally kissing the ass of big business. We will continue putting hundreds of thousands of people in jail for drug use. We will continue pushing a litigious society with no hope for tort reform. Illegal industry groups (MPAA, RIAA) will be given even more power. And no matter what, Bush's friends will become much richer, and Kerry's friends will become much richer.

Feel free to supply your own!

I predict: (1)

phyruxus (72649) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635150)

that partisan supporters on both sides will wage a vicious court battle, which will be cut off halfway through by the supremes, who will say, "Didn't you hear us four years ago? Any contestation of Bush's victory could do harm to Bush's presidency. Therefore, Bush is the victor." See p152, recursion adj.

I don't like these things (1)

dan_sdot (721837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634550)

These type of things are bad for two reasons:
1) They meddle with the elections. If a Kerry supporter sees this, it may discourage him to actually go and vote, because "awww... this scientific poll says that Kerry already lost, I don't even need to vote"
2) How can a poll really claim to be scientific when it gives 100% chance to any canditate for a state? Sure, its pretty safe to assume that Kerry will win CA, or Bush TX, but you really never know what could happen in a situation like this. Saying 100% percent means that there is no way that this could happen any other way under any conditions.

Re:I don't like these things (1)

hopemafia (155867) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635079)

I'll answer both parts:
1) It could also have the opposite effect...a Kerry supporters see Kerry is behind and get out the vote to try to make up the difference. Given the state of partisanship this election, I think this is more likely.
2) I doubt any state is really 100%, it's just a matter of rounding to the nearest integer.

What I find confusing about the Stanford page is their coloring of the map...why is MO red with only 77% and CO yellow with 100%? I'd think the line between red-yellow-blue should be something constant, like 95% or so....

Also it's interesting to see I'm in the second most up-for-grabs state (OH)...the Bush and Kerry ads every commercial break on TV could have told me that as well, but I like numbers. Personally, I'll be throwing a wrench in the works and voting for Badnarik. Take that pseudo-Democracy!

Election polls useless (2, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634599)

I've been following elections for over 20 years in over six countries and various states. In that time I've learned two things (a) generally polls are eerily accurate (ignore them at your own peril) and (b) every so often there are certain elections which one can tell, almost from the get go, that previous historical norms won't apply and hence polls will mispredict the outcome.

The 2004 presidential election is one of those elections in which participation rate of voters will be way out of the norm, on the coat-tails of the 2000 stalemate and the strong anti-Bush feeling from the democrats.

Using historical data, Bush is slightly ahead as reported by the Stanford poll or electoral-vote.com. If we correct the data assuming a slightly higher participation for the democrats, the polls give an edge to Kerry of 284 electoral votes vs 254 for Bush.

Re:Election polls useless (4, Insightful)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635018)

Except that there are as many Democrats defecting to Republicans as there are Republicans defecting to Democrats, at least in my experience. The Democrats are not particularly motivated, and a great many I know think Kerry is a pompous asshat, such that they really don't care who wins even though they do not like Bush. They despise Bush, but they don't like Kerry either even though they'll vote for him.

And in fact, that is why the Democrats will lose the election. Out of all the people they could have selected, they select a flagrantly elitist blowhard with no definable position and an obvious lack of charisma. Ugh. There really is nothing to get excited about there, and it is apparent that a lot of Democrats don't really believe in Kerry. Other than the libertarian wing of the Republican party (which is, sadly, fringe), the Republicans genuinely seem to like Bush, for better or worse. I've definitely noticed an erosion of support among the old school blue collar life-long Democrats, many who feel that Kerry is completely out of touch with their reality.

The Democrats had a real shot, right up until the point they selected Kerry. Mind you, I don't think it was obvious just how lousy of a candidate he was going to be before they selected him. Howard Dean would at least have been interesting, and even someone like Gephardt would have done better shoring up the base. Right now, they are chasing down votes they should have already owned.

Which kind of begs the question as to how we ended up with a couple of clowns to choose from in the first place. What happened to really great candidates that you could feel good about voting for?

Re:Election polls useless (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635222)

Except that there are as many Democrats defecting to Republicans as there are Republicans defecting to Democrats, at least in my experience.

Actually the polls say this is not the case. The core constituencies have moved little, with a bit more republicans moving democrat than the other way, but still the cores were remarkably static.

The Democrats are not particularly motivated,

On the contrary, democrats are particularly pissed since many of them believe either that Bush stole the election in 2000 or on the basis of the Iraq fiasco.

Which kind of begs the question as to how we ended up with a couple of clowns to choose from in the first place.

This might have been true in 2000, when it wasn't clear which candidate was less inspired: Bush or Gore. This time around Bush has had a chance at it and good or bad we know where he stands. The same can be said about Kerry with his long and distinguished record in Vietnam, in the antiwar protest, as a DA and a senator.

Kerry and Bush stand for two very different visions of how to make America safe for the next decade, and how much debt burden our children will have. Well meaning people might disagree about which one is the right one, but to claim that they are "similar clowns" is disingenous at best.

Re:Election polls useless (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635470)

From what I've seen about what they actually propose to do there is little difference in how much debt either will leave to our children, but on what the money got spent on in the creation of that debt. Security vs health care.

Similar clowns : yes they are (2, Insightful)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636086)

Both support the war in iraq.
Both have spending plans that are in the red and both say they'll cut their deficit spending in half within four years.
Both support the patriot act.
Both support curtailing the 2nd amendment.
Both have increased the size and scope of the federal government.

The differences are Kerry wants to tax and spend while Bush wants to borrow and spend.
Kerry - Pro choice, Bush - Pro Life

So in conclusion I'd say yes they are both asshats.

Re:Election polls useless (4, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636399)

The Democrats are not particularly motivated

Democrats aren't infatuated with John Kerry, but he's more than capable. And Dems are angry like I've never seen before: they feel that they won in 2000 and yet have had to endure four years of the most incompetent and arrogant presidency in generations. I had no great fondness for Bush Senior but you had to respect him. I have not a shred of respect for W.

In the debates, Kerry seemed like a president. Bush came off as arrogant and petulant. Bush can be charismatic, but if he was during those debates, I didn't see it. He struck me as a spoiled child who needs to be taught a lesson in responsibility. When confronted with all the failures of his administration, he had this whining tone of "You just need to see it from my perspective". No, I don't. You're the president, you're supposed to be responsible. He isn't. He's an alcoholic cokehead trying to tell other people how to live their lives, he's a failure as a president, and he serves only to make the rich more rich, and the powerful more powerful. I'll vote for a lobotomized chimp before I'll vote for George W. Bush.

Re:Election polls useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10635134)

Erm, yeah, just like it played out in 2002?

(Note: it didn't play out like that in 2002.)

Re:Election polls useless (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635255)

Erm, yeah, just like it played out in 2002?

I have no idea what specificially you are referring to, but certainly this political pundit did not consider the 2002 election in any way ahistorical.

Three great poll-related sites (4, Informative)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 9 years ago | (#10634741)

Besides the UMN site [umn.edu] already mentioned above, I highly recommend everyone regularly visit RealClear Politics [realclearpolitics.com] (whose rolling averages have become a de facto barometer for journalists), The Horserace Blog [blogspot.com] (Jay Cost crunches the numbers in a way that puts the mainstream press' attempts to shame, and explains every step of his analyses), and Daly Thoughts [dalythoughts.com] (the best single state-by-state analysis of poll trends).

Polling Data? (3, Interesting)

WarPresident (754535) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635313)

Where's the polling data to back these numbers up? Just clicking on the link to Wisconsin shows Bush with a 92% likelihood of winning, even though the headline states, "Kerry and Bush Remain Tied Among Likely Voters in Wisconsin". I wanna see sources, not magic numbers.

With the election being likely another 50/50 split, the real deciding factor is going to be how much voter fraud is going to occur, how much electoral fraud (Diebold is looking forward to delivering Ohio's votes to the President!), the margin of error with the voting machines, margin of error with the humans checking the voting machines, and the likelihood of another Florida.

Actually, if we can determine the probability of another Florida, we already know the outcome of the election (5 Bush, 4 Gor...er, Kerry) and we can all sleep in on Nov 2!

Re:Polling Data? (1)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635585)

the real deciding factor is going to be how much voter fraud is going to occur

If the election is going to be decided on voter fraud and electoral fraud the Democrats are far, far ahead. You've just paid attention to those few stories of Republican fraud. But Democrat fraud is much more organized, and much more prevalent. I'd encourage you to have an open mind and research the voter fraud that has been giong on this year.

-Brent

Re:Polling Data? (1)

Vexar (664860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636592)

I'll never forget the box of votes they "found" inside a closet in Miami-Dade county late that night when Dan Rather was telling us like it is (in his mind anyway), or the seeming popularity for Pat Buchanan in predominantly Latino districts.

Do they have statistics on fraudulent votes, though?

money now (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10635367)

Stanford predicts Bush will win the swing states, including New Mexico, and Kerry will win Colorado. Anyone want to bet?
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