Tag Archives: Electoral College

The End Of America The Free, America The Brave

Putin probably owns Trump. In the past, Trump has spent enough high profile time traveling in and out of Russia, that any smart intelligence agency would have long ago gotten the goods on such a sloppy self absorbed person. Assume there are movies. Young girls. Whatever. Putin probably owns Trump. The ex KGB officer probably owns a lot of people, a lot of foreign rich or influential individuals. That’s how these things work.

Trump is a man that relies on the image of great personal wealth. But, if he has great personal wealth it is a mere couple of billion or so. Alternatively, he may have mostly debt and a few hundred million handy. Nobody knows, and he’s not releasing that information. The point is, he views himself as righteously rich, but he may not be as rich as he considered his right. There are a lot of hungry people in this world, and he is not one of them. But he probably thinks he is.

Putin is the richest person on the planet now or ever. He beats second place Bill Gates by several billion. Putin has gotten this rich by exploiting his position as the permanent leader of Russia (despite a democracy there).

Did I mention that Putin probably owns Trump?

Trump is going to separate his business interests from his activities as president using the following procedure:

1) Put the offspring in charge of the business.

2) Place the offspring in the room at all important presidential meetings.

3) Claim that he is keeping his business holdings and his job as president separate.

Did I mention that Putin probably owns Trump? And that Trump wants to garner great wealth?

Dots, connect thyselves:

Trump is driven to become more wealthy than he is. This is his personality, and it may even be financially necessary for him. Putin has owned Trump for a long time. One question we have now is this: How long ago did Putin approach Trump with the idea that, with Russian help, Trump could become president, piles of money could flow into the Trump coffers, and all Trump had to do is to allow Putin carry out certain geopolitical acts that, after all, might even be good for business?

Do American intelligence agencies have a record of Trump-Putin communication, direct or indirect, over a long period of time? Have they been talking? For how long? About what?

It would make sense to Trump to help Putin carry out one of Russia’s greatest long term goals, a goal held since the 17th century, assuming Trump comes out of the deal rich, not in debt. Russia has always had a landlocked problem. Sure, Russia has vast coastal regions but they are mostly in the Arctic or nearly so. Russia has always lusted for a route to the Indian Ocean, a route to the Mediterranean, and a better route to the Atlantic. And, breadbaskets and buffer zones and mining resources and all of that. What has kept Russia from doing this?

Well, initially, not much, and that is why the Soviet Union was so big. But the expansion of the Soviet Union was hampered by the Americans who, for example, carried out a proxy war with the USSR in Afghanistan. NATO has kept Russia from re-expanding its direct influence across Europe. Various coalitions have kept Russia from invading West Asian territories such as Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The United States is a, if not the, prime mover behind all of that.

And where I say “is” I think we will soon be saying “was.” Why?

Did I mention that Putin probably owns Trump?

With Trump in Putin’s pocket, Russia will take territory in the Middle East and Europe. Russia and the United States together, under Putin and Trump, will try to destabilize the sleeping dragon, China. We may be looking at new places to have proxy wars, but the proxy wars will not be between the US and Russia. They will be between Russia and NATO or others, with the US interfering on Russia’s behalf, maybe pulling out of Nato, and maybe even joining Russian troops in places like the Middle East or Africa. Perhaps they will be between the US as a Russian proxy and China in Africa where China has been exerting influence for a long time now, or Russia and various European forces in West Asia, or between Russia and some combination of powerful South Asian countries in Afghanistan.

(Note to Trump: Do pull out of Afghanistan as soon as possible so Vlad can get in there. Thanks.)

In January the United States is going to be taken over by a coalition of two oligarchs: Putin and Trump (but Putin probably owns Trump).

So, that’s the America the Free part gone. What about the America the Brave part?

Starting in a few days, we will be led by a coalition of cowards and morons. They are known collectively as the Republicans.

The Republican Party has spent the last few decades training itself to be the most ignorant group of know nothings that ever held power anywhere, beyond the level that could be parodied by the most extreme Monty Python script.

The American GOP will be the ironic hobgoblin of the Russian Patriarch, after decades of consolidating power as the “national security” party. The Party of Reagan will be the Party of Putin. We are already seeing Putin love among Republicans in polls. Republicans like Putin more than they like members of the Democratic Party.

This will be achieved mainly because the core of that party consists of angry anti-intellectual anti-liberal anti-environment hippie punchers, and as long as hippies are being punched, and gays bashed, and people of color intimidated through regular state sponsored or allowed executions, they’re fine with this.

America the Brave is now America the Spiteful Idiot.

Monday, the Electors meet. Is it possible that every single one of the Trump Republican Electors is a blind Trump supporter? No. Many electors were actually elevated to that position earlier in the process, and were supporters of other Republican candidates. It it the case that every single Republican is a Putin Pushing no know-nothing? No, not all of them. Just a large majority of them. Among the Electors there must be some who are not. There must be some Republicans among the electors who understand that Russia is a nice country and all, and that we love the Russian people and all, but that the Putin government is not our friend.

Today, Friday, the Obama administration will do what it should have done months ago, but elected not to for what seemed like good reasons at the time. The President will, essentially, give that CIA briefing that some people got on Friday, to the rest of the country, about Putin’s involvement in the US election.

There will be people who become outraged, a lot of them. Some of them may be influential Republicans. A friend of mine pointed out the ideal scenario: One or more members of the presumed Trump cadre of Cabinet appointees walks off the job, forsakes the Trump administration, in outrage. Imagine Marine General James Mattis publicly noting that he has sworn an oath to protect the United States from all enemies domestic and foreign. Indeed, General Mattis has to do this. He is known to be a very smart guy, one of the more intellectual generals. At the same time, he is known to be fiercely patriotic. He must have figured this out by now. He must have figured out by now that he will be dumping his career of patriotic service to America right into the crapper if he serves in the Trump administration. I assume that he initially figured he should be in there doing what needs to be done with competence. But hopefully he will now, and maybe others proposed for the cabinet as well, realize that this day, this weekend, is the only opportunity to ask the electors to not vote for Trump, to do anything but vote for Trump, in order to stop a Russian takeover of the United States.

Only about 10% of the electors have to do this.

If Trump is not elected, and if the highly unlikely event of the electors simply electing Clinton does not happen, then the US House has a shot at deciding who will be President of the United States. They must choose among the top vote getting three names that the Electors consider. Thusly, the Electors can hand the US house a list of three people, including Clinton, Trump, and one other person, probably a Republicans, for them to chose among.

If that third name is a reasonable individual (for a Republican) or, at least, an established Republican, then perhaps the House will have the bravery, and the love of freedom, to chose that person as the next president.

Half this country is ready to go to the mat to keep Trump, and thus the Russians and who knows who or what else, in power. The other half of this country is willing to go to the mat to stop Trump from doing all that he has promised to do for months. The third half seems to have no interest in any of this. No matter what happens, there is going to be a fight.

People in the middle and on the left are brave, and ready to take on whatever happens. People on the Right are Putin loving Russia-symps who just want to punch some hippies and piss in the lake. And now, we get to find out which of those themes best represents our country. Now, this weekend, Monday.

Holy crap America, what have you done?

How to avoid nuclear apocalypse: this will only take you a few minutes.

Right now the number one problem we face in the US is the fact that a) the president of the United States can not be stopped or deterred from launching nuclear missiles if he choses to do so, by design; and b) Donald Trump will be inaugurated, if the electoral college so decides, in January.

If you are in a state that has electors slated to vote for Trump. send your city and state name to this email address:


You will then receive instructions as to what to do next.

Pass it on.

You think this year’s election is strange?

Clinton beat Trump by a large margin, by electoral standards. A couple of percent is actually a lot these days. Yet so far it appears that Trump won the electoral vote, even though those votes are not yet cast and who knows what is actually going to happen.

But this year, strange as it it and stranger thought it may become, is not the strangest ever. That goes to 1876.


#TheFirstMonday Movement: How to stop Trump right now

Secretary Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The way the current Electoral College works, Trump won the Electoral Vote.

However, from the point of view of Federal Law, he didn’t win anything yet. The Electors who gather in each state, with each state’s Secretary of State, to vote on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December are not bound by Federal rule to vote for Trump. They could cast their vote for Clinton.

Those organizing protests may want to consider having some of those protests at the Secretary of State’s office, with the idea of having a very large protest on the First Monday after the Second Wednesday in December, at the time of the casting of the electoral votes.

State laws that govern the way voting works require, in various and sundry manners, those electors to vote en masse (in most states) for the winner of that state’s popular vote. But these are state laws, not federal laws. So called “Faithless Electors” who do not do what the state law specifies may be subject to fines or other punishment. But, their vote, the vote that might get them in trouble in their own states, will still be valid votes that will help determine who wins.

If faithless electors vote for third party candidates or other random individuals, and enough do that, and the Electoral College fails to achieve the 270 or higher majority for any one candidate, then the Electoral College’s results are thrown out and the names of the top three Electoral Vote getters are sent to the House of Representatives, who then have the opportunity to pick a candidate.

They would pick Trump, and we would be back to the situation where the person who won the vote, Hillary Clinton, would not be the president elect.

#TheFirstMonday movement calls on the electors in all states to cast their vote for the person who won the national popular vote, Hillary Clinton. Every elector votes independently, though perhaps on pain of punishment from their state.

Twenty-one electors need to do this, given the current Electoral Vote count of 228 – 290.

There are a few possible unfaithful electors in Washington and elsewhere who may vote for a third party, who were otherwise going to vote for Clinton, so in order to avoid that situation making the Electoral College vote irrelevant, more than twenty-one electors must be unfaithful.

I call for the initiation of fund raising, perhaps through “go fund me” pages and such (I am not experienced with this, I hope others will do this) to pay for the legal fees and perhaps to take care of the families of faithless electors who are punished by their states, and for petitions in those states to insist that the legal authorities there do not take legal action against any faithless electors that may emerge.

Here is some interesting commentary on the Electoral College by Lawrence O’Donnell:

The Electoral College Vote Three Days Before The Election

Who will win the electoral vote on Tuesday, November 8th?

It is not what you say, but how you say it. For several days now, I’ve been told by some how totally wrong I am in my various analyses of the electoral map. Half the naysayers say “But but FiveThirtyEight says this, so you are wrong” and the other half say “No, no, Sam Wang at Princeton says that, so you are wrong!” But all along, we’ve all three been saying something very similar. The difference in how we say it is, Sam Wang says something like “I’ll eat my shorts if Clinton doesn’t win” and I say “I think Clinton will win, but Trump has a small chance.” But really, we have very similar estimates as to what the situation is. And, that is:

1) Hillary Clinton is more likely to win this election than is Donald Trump.

2) Regardless of the initial probability distribution one might have been imagining, this has changed over time so that the chance of a Trump win has been increasing a bit.

3) A number of states are in play, and broadly speaking, the list of states can not be robustly assigned to either candidate is similar.

I myself have been avoiding making specific probability statements because I think that the necessary assumptions to talk about behavior of the electorate out at the margins are unknown or unreliable.

As you know I developed a model that I used during the primaries, that I’m applying to the electoral college vote, with modifications. In short, the model, as used here, reflects whatever polling data are used to seed it, but modifies the outcome to reflect general patterns of behavior. This, I suspect, removes strange results that the polls sometimes give. But it may also miss strange thing the electorate sometimes does. Which is happening in a particular case, for a particular state? Nobody knows. If we knew that, we wouldn’t need to do the actual voting.

So, here, I’m giving you two separate sets of results, initially. First, as in my previous post, a distillation of what the polls themselves are actually saying, using this approach.

First from the polls only:


As noted in the figure, the polls give Secretary Clinton enough electoral votes to win, barely, with Nevada being exactly split between the two candidates. We’ll look at swing states more closely below, but for now, this is my suggestion for the best guess based on the polls. So, if Clinton takes Nevada, she’ll win by 8 electoral votes.

As I had noted earlier, my model should converge on the polls by this point in time, but since there are so many states within a percentage point either way of the 50%-50% line, my model and the polls tend to differ a bit. Overall, my model is more favorable to Clinton because it give her Florida and Nevada.

At this time, this is my best prediction of what I think will happen on Tuesday, unless there are secret unmeasurable forces having to do with unspoken voting behavior or get out the vote efforts.


This result, my model, is very similar to Sam Wang’s result.

One scary possibility is that Trump is gaining ground on Clinton. Looking at just the polls, there was a gaining of ground going on for a while, but it seemed to stop a few days ago. FiveThirtyEight agrees with that. But, what if all the polls end up being one percent off from what they say now, by the time Tuesday comes around? Can Trump then win?

The following moves all the states over by one point, from my modeled results (which I regard as more reliable than the polls) which, oddly, puts Pennsylvania right in the middle. Trump could win. Or Clinton could win.


It has been said that the Democrats may have a ground game, a GOTV plan, that is much superior to that of the Republicans. A good estimate of how that would change things is to add 2.5% to the Democrat’s votes, effectively for the swing states. In this case, Clinton is shown here to do about as well as anyone expected her to do. Don’t expect this, it will never happen, but this is more or less the maximum limit on where Clinton can go. Notice that Trump still takes Texas and Georgia, but may be a bit weak in Georgia.


Finally, by way of summary, here is a map that shows which states are either recognized by one analysis or another as a tossup, or that move back and forth across analyses or over short times scales or, as in the case of Georgia and Colorado, don’t change their color under those conditions but remain very close in percent distribution to those that do. (Note, for Maine, we are only talking about one electoral vote moving back and forth.) Regardless of which column these states actually end up in, they are states you want to watch to measure the strength of each candidate. Obviously, the eastern time zone states will be the most helpful in this regard early in the evening.


The Electoral College Map One Week Out: Clinton Victory Likely But Not Assured

A couple of weeks ago, it was impossible to find a pundit or poll maven who saw a Trump victory as a possibility. I made the audacious claim at the time that this was incorrect, and I’ve been taking heat from it since then. Much of this widespread misunderstanding is ironically caused by the good work of the folks at FiveThirtyEight and their imitators such as the New York Times, who have been publishing probability statements about the outcome.

If I know for near certain that Mary is going to beat Joe in an election, then I can say something like this:

Probability of winning

Mary: 97%
Joe: 3%

But, it is quite possible that I can say that with the following as my estimate for the vote distribution in in this race:

Mary: 50%
Joe: 50%

(Rounded off to the nearest percent. Not rounded, the values are Mary: 50.1%, Joe: 49.9%.)

So, statements like “Clinton has a 75.6% chance of winning, Trump has a 24.2% chance” can go along with an estimate of the popular vote of 49:44.5, and electoral vote estimate of 310.2:226.4 (those numbers are taken right off the FiveThirtyEight site at the moment I’m writing this, Monday AM).

This, in combination with a lot of happy arm waving during a period of about five days, when many very strong Clinton numbers were coming out of Poll Land, has resulted in widespread incredulity over any suggestion that Trump may win.

Let’s have a look at some sobering facts. The following are major source projections of the outcome of the race, giving only Clinton and Trump’s certain numbers. These are the states that those making the projections are putting in the strong Blue or the strong Red column.

Source Clinton Trump
CNN 200 157
NBC 182 71
NPR 190 98
538 187 154
AP 213 106
ABC 197 157

Here is a map I produced, using my model, providing my estimate of these numbers:


You will notice that my numbers are higher than the major outlets for both candidates. I guess I have more certainty in my model than they do. But, I imagine you do as well, dear reader, because those of you who have kindly commented here or on Facebook have generally been saying that you think certain states will a certain wahy, for sure. States like Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, even Minnesota are given less certainly in those mainstream models than most of us seem to think.

In all cases, of course, neither candidate has the requisite minimum of 270 electoral votes, so in theory, either candidate can lose. “No, wait, that’s not true,” you say. “Clinton has way more votes to start with than Trump, so that’s just not true.”

And you may be right, but not for any good reason. It is totally possible for one candidate to have a base set of states, states that can not be lost, that totals to more electoral votes than another candidate, but for the remaining states to lean towards the second, smaller-base candidate. This is especially true in a heterogenous environment, like this one.

However, in this case, it does happen to be true that the remaining states tend to fall out in a way that favors Clinton on average, but not in all cases.

I’ve descried my model many times. It is calibrated with polling data that is most recent and from the highest quality sources. The presumed outcome in some states, based on that polling data, is the dependent variable in a multi-variable regression analysis where the independent variables are the ethnic breakdown of each state, and the relative Romney vote for each state in that election, to indicate Republican vs. Democratic trend. For the first time, because of a LOT of recent polling, and in a few cases using FiveThityEight’s estimate to stand in for some mediocre polling, I have used most of the states rather than fewer than half. One would think that this would simply spit back out the same polling numbers others have used, but it does not, because of the ethnic and Republicanosity factors, and some of the results are a bit surprising. For example, my model is not that happy about North Carolina voting for Clinton, and it is not that happy about Iowa voting for Trump.

Nor does my model have to be happy. The whole point of doing this model is to include a perspective that, while linked to polling, glosses over low quality or old polls (by not using them) and is not slave to a state-by-state analysis of polls, but rather, heeds lager scale and more general trends that we know are reasonable. The fact that my model puts the same states near the 50%-50% line as the polls do suggests (unsurprisingly) that we are all on the same page, but the fact that some details are different … well, that’s why they invented popcorn.

Anyway, having said that, I have a projection for the entire country based on my model, which I offer in competition (but subject to change before election day) against all the other models. Here it is:


There are a few things to notice here. First, as discussed elsewhere, there is no Clinton Landslide. This is mainly because Democrats can’t have landslides, because there are so many Yahoo states like Kansas and Oklahoma, and much of the deep south. Another thing to note is that I’ve left off three states. Much to my surprise, New Hampshire is not predictable. I thought it was going to fall out blue this year. Many people will complain about North Carolina not being blue, but face it: nobody had North Carolina as certain. Only one of the above cited (in the table) predictions has North Carolina leaning blue, the others all say nothing. Notice that Ohio is uncertain.

These three states leave a mere 37 electoral votes off the table, and give Clinton a resounding win with 310 Electoral votes.

But what if the Democrats end up putting into effect the greatest ever Get Out The Vote scheme, besting even those done by Obama? “Not likely,” you say? “Because people were more excited about Obama than Clinton,” you say?

You may be wrong. First, people are excited about Clinton. But people have more ways to comfortably be openly opposed to a woman than they have ways to comfortably be openly opposed to a black man. That, and the GOP hate machine has been running longer on Clinton than on Obama. So, yes, this will effect overall feelings but it does not effect the ground game, which is being run, on the ground, by people who don’t really care about those messages. They are busy being excited Democrats.

Another reason you might be wrong for thinking that is that the Clinton GOTV effort will be better than the Obama GOTV effort, all else being equal, because it is not based on excitement, but rather, methodology, data, and professional strategy. And, these things get better every election. So, it is quite possible that the Democrats will outperform the the Republicans in relation to the polls.

After consulting my advisors, I decided that a two point advantage could be given to the Democrats if they do the best they can do on the ground to trounce the Republicans. When we re-calculate on this basis, we get this map:


Sorry, Democrats, you don’t get Texas. But you do get Georgia and all the swing states! And a respectable win. Almost, but not quite, an arguable mandate. What you’ve got here, really, is a map of future wildlife refuge takeovers. And, a respectable Electoral College win.

But what if it goes the other way, the same amount? What if the monster under the bed (more accusations about email?) comes out. And at the same time, what if there is a real turnout among angry white males, energized by a victory in Idaho? What if men who are really worried about someone taking away their guns and locker room talk make their move?

There’s a map for that:


Ruh roh.

In this case, Trump wins. Trump wins by taking the swing states, all of them.

Notice that if all this happens, BUT Clinton takes Pennsylvania, OR, North Carolina OR Ohio, OR Florida, Trump loses. The chance of the map shown here being realized is very small. But possible.

Also, remember, that somewhere between this Trump win map and the smallest possible victory for Clinton (270) is that one odd combination where each candidate gets 269 votes, and the Electoral College ends the day having selected no one as president. In that case, the House of Representatives decides, and the way that is done, in combination with the way the numbers are (even if the Democrats actually take the House) is such that a Republican majority will prevail in that decision.

That would be the Republican Party’s last chance to stop Trump. But, will they allow a woman to be president as the only alternative that will be open to them?

Of course not. They’ll select the nuclear option, elect trump, and anyone who is still guessing at their motivations will know what the Republican Party is really all about. Ending civilization, because civilization can not exist without taxes and regulation.

Will 2016 see a landslide in the POTUS election?


Many many people, well intended, smart people, keep talking about the rout, the landslide, that will happen. They may be basing this on the new trend started by FiveThirtyEight and picked up by the New York Times and others of deriving a probability statement about the race. But when you see something like “87%” for Clinton in such an estimate, that does not mean that Clinton will get 87% of the votes. It means that it is very likely that Clinton will get 270 or more electoral votes. There is, for example, a zero chance that Clinton will get a single electoral electoral from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, either Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia or Indiana.

There are versions of this election where the Virgin Mary descends form heaven on a Unicorn and causes Trump to lose in Texas, Georgia, a few other states that he is not going to lose in, and then there are tossup states.

A great outcome for Clinton is winning all the tossups, including New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, North Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, etc. But there is no version of the election in which she wins even one of the 108 electoral votes found among the afore mentioned states.

Now, the total number of electoral votes that Trump can not possibly lose is just over 100. The total number of electoral votes that Clinton can’t possibly lose is just under 200 (including, I think, Washington, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, DC). Either candidate losing any of those states involves the Virgin Mary on the Unicorn. If you make any map of any kind with those states in place, as specified, per candidate, then nether candidate can win by a true landslide.

And we know what a true landslide is because there have been many of them. A very conservative estimate of Trump’s electoral take would be about 147 votes. The lowest actual estimate I’ve seen is, I think, 153. Very few put him below the 170s, and these all assume that he’ll get more, but with many states left in limbo. In other words, Trump losing badly gives him something like 25% to 30% of the electoral votes.

There have been 56 elections.

10 elections have been won by 90% or more of the electoral vote. The were won by George Washington, James Monroe, FDR, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. The weakest of those was Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and this is what his map looked like:


28 of the elections were won by 70% or more. The weakest of those was Bill Clinton in 1996. This is what that year looked like:


Hillary Clinton’s electoral map is going to look a lot more like Bill Clinton’s map, and that is not a rout.

There have been many landslides in recent years. Reagan and Nixon as mentioned (Reagan twice), Johnson and Roosevelt as mentioned. Even Wilson, 1912, with just over 80% of the electoral vote looks like a rout on the map:


A major victory for Clinton will be taking all of the major swing states, and one or two of the formerly red states, such as Georgia, South Carolina, any Deep South state, Texas, or Utah. Any one of them. Plus the swing states (esp. Ohio and Florida, both, as well as Pennsylvania). That will feel like a rout, a landslide. But it won’t be.

The Current Trump-Clinton Electoral Prediction

There are some interesting, and in some cases, potentially disturbing, things going on with the state by state numbers in the current election. Most of this has to do with third party candidates, and most of it with Gary Johnson.

First, I’ll note, that despite fears among liberals and progressives that a lot of Bernie Bots would flock to third party candidates and eschew Clinton, there is no strong evidence that Clinton is losing much to any third party candidates. However, in some states, especially those with libertarian tendencies, Gary Johnson is doing fairly well. And, this had been hurting Trump.

However, lately, there has been a shift backwards in at least one state, New Hampshire. Johnson supporters are abandoning Johnson and switching to Trump, as though they were trying to shore up his position there. This has brought the Trump-Clinton numbers to within the margin of error.

In other words, Libertarian White Males in the “Live Free or Die” state are flocking to Misogynist Racist Trump’s aid rather than “voting on principle” which is what, I assume, they were formally pretending to do. And, this could cost Clinton a couple of electoral votes if the trend continues.

Meanwhile, something like this may be happening in Virginia, but in the opposite direction, where Johnson appears to be getting a lot of Trump votes, maybe more as time goes on.

I don’t have time to do any of this right now, but when this is all over, it would be very interesting to look at the third party effects in this race.

OK, now on to the model. Let me explain the basic approach I take, which is different from other predictors (though 538 may have quietly adopted part of my approach for the general, as they’ve added something that looks a lot like my primary methods to their analysis).

Assume that all polls are good, and that all states are recently sampled with high quality polls with good methods and good samples.

OK, after you’ve stopped laughing, work with this assumption for a minutes. If this was the case, then you could use those polls to predict the electoral outcome, and unless the electoral outcome was really close, or something major went wrong, your prediction would be clear as two who won, and very close if not spot on as to how many electoral votes ultimately go to each candidate.

Now assume that we don’t have polls at all, but we have some numbers indicating how people in a given state are likely to vote (like, if they went for Romney, they are likely to go GOP) or numbers indicating how people will vote based on ethnicity (like, African Americans are not likely to vote for any of the candidates other than Clinton, or among whites there is a certain percentage of White Supremacists, so they’ll vote for Johnson or Trump, etc.) If these numbers are accurate, you can predict the state by state outcome.

We don’t have either of these, but we do have a little of each.

My method uses only a subset of polls, hopefully across a range of states (geographically, politically, etc.), that are taken by higher end polling agencies and recently. These are then combined with data on percentage of voters in that state that voted for Romney, and the classically defined ethnic breakdown for that state, to come up with a muliti-variable regression model. This model uses the percent of the vote that Trump gets out of Trump vs Clinton as the dependent variable, and a Romney number, and the ethnic breakdowns, as the independent variables.

I exclude some states that have recent data but that are beating to their own drums. In this case, Iowa is doing something different, and nobody understands it. Also, Virginia is doing something different and has not been analyses yet. So, even though I have recent data from those two states, they are excluded.

The polls need to be mostly or entirely after the famous “bus tape” and most are after the second presidential debate. These polls come from Utah, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Alaska, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Maine, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Michigan, and Washington.

So, good polls are assumed to be nearly perfect, and they show the relationship between available prior voting patterns and demographics and the likely outcome. Then, this model is applied to all states (even those with the good polls) to come up with a list of states and their corresponding “Trumposity”

The result of that analysis is this:

State Trumposity
Utah 0.58063023
Wyoming 0.567768212
Oklahoma 0.549223043
Idaho 0.548614992
Alabama 0.546790641
West Virginia 0.541869467
Arkansas 0.541711727
Louisiana 0.539524138
Tennessee 0.536052614
Kentucky 0.53465294
Mississippi 0.532941927
Nebraska 0.529403232
Kansas 0.527964979
North Dakota 0.524771763
South Carolina 0.522670157
South Dakota 0.519464786
Georgia 0.517394808
Texas 0.513464342
Montana 0.51208424
Missouri 0.509752111
Indiana 0.509722982
Alaska 0.503877982
North Carolina 0.498999354
Arizona 0.494053798
Florida 0.486219535
Ohio 0.485026033
Virginia 0.48473854
Pennsylvania 0.477290142
Michigan 0.472823203
New Hampshire 0.472629126
Iowa 0.472420972
Wisconsin 0.470889284
Minnesota 0.470213444
Colorado 0.46956662
Nevada 0.465734145
Delaware 0.456986898
Oregon 0.454603152
Illinois 0.452734653
Maine 0.45123086
Connecticut 0.450282382
New Jersey 0.448700354
Washington 0.448170787
New Mexico 0.447855158
Maryland 0.445995181
Massachusetts 0.436816062
New York 0.429018521
Rhode Island 0.427783887
California 0.425306503
Vermont 0.411357768
Hawaii 0.371874288
District of Columbia 0.339691168

You can now split the table at the 50-50% mark to decide which states will break for Clinton and which will break for Trump.

(Note: Alaska will always break for Trump. It is located near the 50-50 line because Alaska is a special snowflake state. Ignore it, just keep it red on any map, and that will do.)

The first map I want to show you is the map of states that are in the Clinton Camp that are a) most Clinton leaning in this analysis, and b) sufficient to get Clinton to 270:


I added Virginia and colored it light blue. The reason I did this is that Iowa is a presumed-Clinton state in this mode, but is in fact, polling for Trump, because people in Iowa seem to have a new goal in life: Pissing off the parties and the electorate sufficiently that nobody cares about them any more, and the Iowa Caucus is no longer allowed to take the prominent role it has for all these year. I predict that if Iowa breaks for Trump, in four years, the first contest will not be the Iowa Caucus.

By adding Virginia and thus potentially starting early on the process of regarding Iowa as irrelevant to electoral politics, we have a list of states that is clearly Clinton and sufficient to put the former first lady back in the White House but with a different job.

Now, let’s do the same thing for Trump. What states are required to put him past the 270 line?


In this case, I’ve colored pink the states that my model puts in the Clinton column but that are on the Trump-end of that part of the list (see table above), that are required to give Trump the election.

Ohio is actually possible. My model shows Ohio going to Clinton, but recent polling shows that Ohioans are more white supremacist than we might have thought. So may be Trump gets Ohio, but I don’t think he’g soing to get all those other pink states, or even any of them, likely.

Putting this a slightly different way, the solid Trump states (in my model) plus Ohio is still under 200 electoral points.

The current most likely outcome according to this model is this:


That would be an electoral blowout.

What happens if some of the more suspect states go backwards and vote for Trump? Iowa is threatening its own irrelevance, New Hampshire is acting strange, Ohio is polling towards Trump, and North Carolina, Arizona and Florida are close to the mid point. Change all of those states to Trump, and we get this nailbiter:


The difference between these last two maps is clearly going to be the focus of interest over the next several days.

Colored here in red, for Danger, not for Trump/GOP, are the states that need to be watched closely, for which we eagerly await new polling, because they are either close, near the middle, or acting strange over recent days:


That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Until at least Tuesday or so.

Go to 270 to win to make your own maps!

The Electoral Map: Clinton Vs. Trump

Above is my latest electoral college projection.

This uses the technique previously described. However, instead of using RCP averages for all polled states and then using extreme (non-tossup) states to develop the regression model, this method uses only polling from states with one or more recent poll, and only with good polls. these poll numbers are then “predicted” by black/hispanic/white/Voted_Romney numbers, and that generates a model, based on just over 20 states, designed to predict all the states.

As expected, the r-squared value is much lower using this method, but this method does not violate any important statistical laws like the last one did.

Most of the polling data pre-dates the revelation of Trump’s interest in sexual assault, last Friday, and of course, Monday’s “I’ll throw my opponent in prison when I win” debate on Sunday. If you believe those events influence the election further, then you can figure this is a conservative estimate from the perspective of Clinton.

All of the blue states, both shades, are projected to go to Clinton, but I left the three closest to 50-50 in light blue.

I suspect the most controversial state here is actually Iowa, which seems to be throwing some sort of hissyfit in the polls.

And this, of course, is why my model is different from everyone else’s. The polls are used in this case to calibrate (in the absence of earlier results, like could be done in the primary!) but the actual prediction then does not use the polls directly. So, even though a recent poll showing Iowa as Trump, the model does not, because the model does not lie like the Iowans do, apparently!


Who will win the presidential race?

I’ve made my first stab at a prediction for the electoral college outcome for the US Presidential race, 2016. I use a roughly similar methodology as I did to accurately predict most of the Democratic primaries. However, since primaries are different from a general, the methodology had to be adapted.

For the primaries, I eventually used this methodology. I used results form prior primaries to predict voter behavior by ethnicity, in order to predict final behavior. That worked because primaries are done a few states at a time, and because all the people being modeled were Democrats.

It turns out that white people vary a lot across the country with how many per state are assholes. I think there is some variation among Hispanics as well, but African Americans are pretty consistent. So, here, I combined ethnicity with a “Romney Index” indicating how many people in a given state voted for Romney against Obama.

I then put down the poll numbers, the averages of the last several polls, from RCP, where available. I then ranked the results to knock out states with no polls. I then took out the middle, which included swing states, close states, etc. to use only the 23 most distinct states for which there were data to produce a multi variable regression model using “white”, “black”, “hispanic”, and “romney_index” as independent variables. The dependent variable was the poll value. In future iterations, that is what will change. I’ll do a more refined version of that.

I then applied this formula to predict the breakdown between Clinton and Trump in the other ca. half of the states that are more ambiguous.

The multiple R-squared for this model was 0.952, so that’s great. But, I was using only the values at the extreme, so I violated the law of homoscedasticity. But I don’t care about no stinking homoscedasticity, because I have only one data set, am predicting only one election, and I am basically using the regression model as a fancy fill in the blank formula. The fact that the R-squared is so high is great, were it low, I’d be in trouble, but its actual value is not important.

I then took all the states where Trump gets over 50% of the vote and gave them to him. I then gave almost all the other states to Clinton, but I left out a few that were very close, to leave them as unknown. Even if all those unknowns go to Trump, however, the outcome is the same: Clinton wins. Trump loses.

I’ll refine and revise again with more care given to the various parts of the model. I’d love to do this poll free, but not sure if that is possible.

The final output data are spewed onto 270 to win.