I follow elections for all the wrong reasons. I like obsessing over the tactics, strategy and gamesmanship. Give me the wonky stuff. For many years I used to run office pools during presidential elections. This usually included having to explain all the intricacies of Electoral College to coworkers who barely knew who the candidates were. Nowadays with the web and umpteen news channels with time to fill, that seems less of a problem.
There are dozens of websites that meticulously track the polling numbers and give day by day updates on the likely results. The most famous is FiveThirtyEight.com that has made a wonk celebrity out of Nate Silver, who I hope has a day job to fall back onto for Wednesday. It seems everybody in the blogosphere has a guess of who will win and how big.
So rather than an office pool, I’m taking it to the internet. It’s real easy. Just post in the comments who the winner will be and how many electoral votes they will win. For a tiebreaker, predict the total number of votes that will be cast (there were about 125 million in 2004).
Just in case you don’t know the electoral college rules, each state has electors equal to the number of Representatives and Senators the state has and DC gets three for the purpose of the electoral college. Every state except Nebraska and Maine is winner-take-all. There are a total of 538 and it takes 270 to win. I made my electoral prediction map at the CNN Electoral Map Calculator.
And to give you some feeling for how the pros are predicting them, here is a compilation of predictions gathered from the Washington Post Crystal Ball Contest and This Week With George Snuffleupagus. I’ve mixed and sorted them is ascending order of victory margin by Obama (and two did predict McCain). I’ve also colored a few of them by party-hackness so you can see that it’s not just Obamamaniacs that are predicting a landslide.
|Fred Barnes||McCain 286|
|Ed Morissey||McCain 273|
|Erick Erickson||Obama 311|
|Charles Mahtesian||Obama 311|
|Arianna Huffington||Obama 318|
|Chris Cillizza||Obama 312|
|Juan Williams||Obama 326|
|Chris Matthews||Obama 338|
|Matthew Dowd||Obama 338|
|Donna Brazille||Obama 343|
|Nate Silver||Obama 347|
|Eleanor Clift||Obama 349|
|Mark Halperin||Obama 349|
|George Stephanopoulis||Obama 353|
|Ed Rollins||Obama 353|
|Bill Maher||Obama 375|
|George Will||Obama 378|
|Morton Kondracke||Obama 379|
|Markos Moulitsas||Obama 390|
- Using Nate Silver as the seeding bracket, the polls are pretty close to the median pick of Donna Brazille.
- Barnes and Kos win the Biggest Cheerleader prizes for betting their hearts.
- The Biggest Pessimist award goes to Kondracke who just edges out George Will.
My pick: Obama with 333. The dead trees edition of the Washington Post today has a giant two-page map with the heading PoliticalGeography (which, oddly, is slightly different from their online 2008 Political Landscape Map) with all the states colored. I gave Obama all the states WaPo claims are solid or leaning Democratic. Those include Virginia and Pennsylvania that both went for Dubya in 2004. Of the toss-up states, I gave Obama North Carolina and Florida and assumed the Republicans would hold Ohio.
Tiebreaker: 137 million votes.
BlatantCommentWhoring™:Your pick and any accompanying explanation. Be sure to include the tiebreaker.