My posting may be a little light for the next couple of day (and perhaps longer as well). I've just begun work on a new project -- a production of Ionesco's The Chairs to be performed in London, Seattle and the Brooklyn Academy of Music -- and work will be taking up a fair amount of my time. Not only that, but for three weeks we'll be in "residency" in upstate New York at a facility where the rooms have no TV (shock!) and (worse) no phone lines, wireless or broadband . I'm working on solutions for access, and I'll be home once a week (which is when I'll update the Electoral College Survey), but I may not be able to post with the regularity I've become used to.
A week full of convention, protests and tropical storms has passed by since my last survey of Electoral College tracking / prediction / projection / forecast / scoreboard / map sites, so it's once again time to see what the prognosticators have to say about the state of things now that both conventions have wrapped up and the main part of the campaign has begun.
Note that I've temporarily removed a number of sites that haven't been updated in a while. As we get closer to election day, I think only the freshest estimations should be included. Right now about a month is the maximum I'll let a site go before removing it.
Also, although I said last week that I wouldn't, I have decided to include Electoral College counts issued by major media outlets, like AP and CNN, even if they aren't part of an ongoing feature the way the LA Times and Newsweek counts are. However, I'll include them only for a single iteration of the survey, and remove them the next time if they haven't been updated.
AP (9/4 - new): Kerry 211 - Bush 237 - ?? 90 (new to survey)
The calendar has essentially turned back 2 months, and Bush has regained almost all the ground he lost to Kerry in that time. From the evidence of the electoral vote trackers, the race has moved just past being tied, with an advantage for Bush, who has about 255 to 261 electoral votes, while Kerry is clearly parked at 254. (The remainder of the electoral votes are tied or otherwise unassigned.)
Of the 48 sites, 20 show Bush winning and another 6 show him ahead. Fifteen sites show Kerry winning and 6 show him ahead. One site has the race tied.
Bush's gains are most probably not due to a "convention bounce", since of the national polls which have come out recently, only one (CNN/USA Today/Gallup) was taken totally after the convention -- the others overlapped with it -- and the same is true of the state polls which have been released since the convention's end. Since national and state polls comprise the data used by the majority of the trackers here, it's hard to argue that the Bush lead they show came as a result of the convention. This means that if there is a convention bounce for Bush still to show up, we should expect to see Bush's lead increase in the next week or so as polls reflecting it (especially state polls) are released.
For a few days after I publish the survey, I'll update figures, make corrections, and add new sites that come to my attention. I'll note these changes here, and mark the entry for each altered site as well.
The new Zogby Interactive/WSJ Battleground polls came out on Tuesday, carrying a Electoral College status of 307-238. Polling was conducted 8/30 - 9/3, overlapping the convention. Because these results came out just after I had finished the survey, I would normally have updated the Zogby entry and added them into my stats and averages, but time constraints (on me) prevented me from doing so. Now that we're just a few days away from my next iteration, I'll just hold off -- which in a way is good, since then we'll see the Zogby results and any effect they might have on other sites' results at the same time.
(9/10) In his 9/9 update, Chris Bowers notes an interesting anomaly:
Kerry holds a lead in the Electoral College [291-247] largely due to a weird statistical quirk. While Bush is ahead in the national vote projection (49.43-48.57), solid EVs (196-179), EV's by more than three (221-205), right now I project almost every single close state to swing Kerry's way. [...] The scenario is actually more likely that many of us realize. While most recent polls have shown Bush ahead nationally, Zogby, Rasmussen and Gallup all showed Kerry with a lead in the "battleground." One problem with Bush's strategy of solidifying his base while Kerry goes after swing voters is that while it will probably lead to red states looking a lot more strong and blue ones, it also concedes Kerry an advantage in the legally binding purple states.
I wonder if any of the other models are also effected in the same way?
In the case of my own methodology, which has shown Kerry's share of the e.v. getting slightly larger while most other sites have shown it decreasing, it's my ad hoc handling of toss-up states (assigning them to the winner of the most recent untied non-partisan poll) which has caused the rise. If you look at my numbers with toss-ups undeclared for either candidate, it's actually the case that Kerry's share has gone down (from 269 to 259) while Bush's has gone up (from 191 to 222). It's the toss-up states shifting back and forth which causes the volatility in my other set of numbers, which I report here to be consistent with numbers I'm pulling from other sites.
(9/11) I don't know how long they've had it, but Real Clear Politics has added an electoral vote count to its polling section, which I'll be including in the next iteration of the survey. Its current numbers: 228-269-41.
Kenneth Quinnell (8/8 - not updated since last survey): Kerry 303 - Bush 207 - ?? 28 (out of date)
From each website I've taken the most comprehensive set of numbers offered, if possible without a "toss-up" category or other caveats, just Kerry versus Bush. Many of them differentiate between "solid" or "strong", "slightly" or "weak", and "leaning" or "barely" states, but I've combined them all together in order to present numbers which are as comparable as possible.
I encourage everyone to use the links and check each site for the specifics of that site's methodology and presentation.
My convention is that Kerry is listed first and Bush second, bold type indicates a winning candidate (i.e. 270 electoral votes or more), and italics or underlining indicates a leading candidate.
As always, if anyone has links for any other sites that regularly track Electoral College status, please feel free to send them my way and I'll be glad to add them to the list. I'm also more than happy to hear from the proprietors of any of the sites surveyed here, should they have any complaints, comments, or suggestions for improvements.
I'm not an advocate of seeing the world through rose-colored classes. I have no interest in fooling myself into thinking things are hunky-dorey when they're not. I want to see reality clearly and as objectively as possible, without being skewed by either false optimism or deflating pessimism. That's one reason that I follow the Electoral College as closely as I do, and why I began my Electoral College survey (newest iteration to be posted tomorrow) to provide for myself as clear a picture of the status of things as I can find. So I understand that it's important to guard against being overly optimistic or failing to call a spade a spade, but it's my opinion that some people, including, I'm afraid, some of the frequent posters on this site, are going entirely overboard, and in the process of trying to be "realistic", they're bending over backwards and losing all sense of how the actual ebb and flow of this election is moving. The result is that their postings are terribly pessimistic, dark and full of foreboding if not outright despair.
The effect is worse than rabid wingnut trolling, because it comes from within and infiltrates our psychic defenses. We take it in (again and again and again) and, lo and behold, soon we are feeling down and depressed about the election, when a clear-eyed view would tell us that we're simply a little behind right now, but far from out of it, and certainly nowhere near the entrance to the land of panic.
There's a reason why juries in trial courts are told not to talk to each other during the presentation of testimony and other evidence, and it's not because anyone expects a sentient human being to go all the way through a trial without forming any kind of opinion about what's happening. But until we actually express those opinions to someone, by writing them down or saying them in conversation, we're not really terribly committed to them and can more easily be persuaded one way or the other by a discussion of the evidence and the opinions of other jury members. Well, the same things holds true here as well -- if you go around constantly saying how bad things are, there's very little possibility you're going to be open to actually seeing clearly when things are good, or, at least, better than your fears. Not only that, but the constant pessimistic repetitions actually helps to create the reality it's expressing, by helping to spread the meme from person to person -- and that, in the end, is terribly destructive to the cause we have got to be dedicated to, electing John Kerry and getting rid of George Bush.
In short, I don't think that the kvetching and geshrying we're being subjected to right now is either justified or helpful. I understand that some people just feel that way, and I grant that they've got the right to do so -- I simply wish that if they cannot bring themselves to look more closely at things and, as a result, feel more positive about the race, they work a little harder to keep their negativity to themselves.
I hear gasps among you. Yes, I am indeed arguing for people not to post what they feel. I do not want to be constantly exposed to such pessimism and negativity, and I do not want the ideas expressed to catch hold and become a consensus reality and infect the expectations game on which so much of politics is based. Please note that I am most assuredly not arguing for any kind of censorship except the necessary self-censorship that comes from discipline and dedication to a cause which is more important than one's own need for self-expression.
I certainly understand where the negativity comes from. We all see clearly how bad Bush is and how profoundly his policies and his administration have screwed up pretty much every aspect of our world, and, knowing this, we look around and can't understand why so many people are apparently still supporting him, why the undecideds can't see what we see and make up their minds, why liberals like Ron Silver are attracted to a failed presidency like Bush's, and why the race is so tight. We think, I believe, that Kerry should, by all rights, be leading by big margins because it's so damn obvious to us that Bush needs to go and that Kerry (and practically every other Democrat who was running) will be a much better president. We're thrown off balance by the blatant fact that things are neck and neck and that they'll probably stay that way right down to the wire.
But that's just the way it is, not everybody sees things our way. That's perhaps unfortunate, but it doesn't mean the race is lost, and it isn't any reason to despair. It's certainly more than enough reason to do everything humanly possible to help bring about a Kerry victory: giving money, getting involved, canvassing our friends, neighbors and relatives, and, yes, keeping our pessimism and negative thoughts to ourselves.
Addenda: Here's another side of the same coin, negativity expressed not as depressed pessimism, but as unjustified anger expressed at one's compatriots. Digby is a really good liberal blogger, very intelligent, perceptive and expressive. I usually agree with him, but even when I've disagreed I respect his opinions and the thought he obviously puts into forming them. He may be wrong sometimes, but he's never, in my experience, egregiously wrong.
This guy, apparently, has got nothing better to do then use his dKos diary to ream Digby a new one when Digby has the temerity to post something the guy disagrees with -- notwithstanding the fact that the guy seems to have misunderstood a thing of what Digby was saying. (If you read the comments that follow his diary entry, you might want to have a sponge handy to mop-up all the testosterone-saturated spittle coming from inside your computer.)
Hey, chill. Kerry's behind, but he's not toast, and Digby may have got something wrong (a little), but it's not as big a deal as you're making it. He hasn't betrayed you or the liberal cause because he said that Bush got a bounce from the election -- face it, he did. Not as big as Time or Newsweek measured it, but it's there and it's real. The good news is, it's probably going away, real soon, so the good fight goes on and your, um, energies would be more appropriately directed toward the true problem, ridding the world of the presidency of George W. Bush.
Got that? Bush is the problem, not the innocent mistakes of liberal bloggers.
What if the Weather Channel covered hurricanes the way that CNN covers political campaigns?
STEVE SOLOMON: Claims of serious destruction from Florida's east coast continue to come in to our Weather Channel Storm Center, as Hurricane Frances is reported to be slowly approaching land. Cynthia?
CYNTHIA MACKLEVOY: Steve, I have with me Jonathon Tigers from the National Hurricane Center in Washington and Simon Garthome from the Florida Emergency Preparedness Agency in Tallahassee. Mr Tigers, what can you tell us at this hour?
JONATHON TIGERS: Well, Cynthia, Hurricane Frances is moving toward the west-northwest at nearly 8 miles per hour. The western portion of the eyewall has already moved well inland over portions of Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, and a continued west-northwestwward motion is expected to move the entire eye of the hurricane inland by sunrise Sunday. However, we are urging the residents in the eye of Frances to remain safe inside wherever they have found shelter, since the easterm half of the eye is accompanied by hurricane force winds which can be very dangerous. We expect that it may take 1 to 3 hours...
SIMON GARTHOME: Cynthia, can I interrupt here to say that we in the Emergency Preparedness Agency are concerned about these wild accusations being thrown about by the radical meteorologists of the National Hurricane Center. We are keeping a close watch on this storm with our own very objective and professional team of weather guys and gals, and while we certainly think it's always a good idea to come in out of the rain, we really can't see what the advantage is of scaring the public with these hurricane horror stories.
MACKLEVOY: Mr. Tigers?
TIGERS: Uh... well, I'm not sure what Mr. Garthome is referring to, we, uh... you can clearly see the extent of the storm on the radar display behind me, and...
MACKLEVOY: But isn't it true, Mr. Tigers, that concerns have been raised that these reports, which are after all coming from a government agency, are simply the usual output of bureaucrats intent on doing everything possible to save their jobs, which are under the knife due to the administration's cut backs? Don't you believe that the public has a right to know that your so-called "Hurricane Reports" might well be misleading?
TIGERS: Gee.. I wasn't prepar... I thought I would read these flood warnings and wind advisories, and ... you see we're pretty much focused on this storm and I haven't heard....
GARTHOME: Cynthia, if I may, it's clear that Mr. Tigers and his people are not really able to tell us with 100% percent certainty what the weather will be on even a normal, regular day. We've all seen the reports in the newspapers, many times based almost entirely on the so-called "reports" from Mr. Tigers' agency, which say "Sunny and warm today" and we go outside and we get rained on. I mean, that's happened to everyone, it's an everyday occurence in this country. So if they can't predict the normal...
TIGERS: Well, look...
GARTHOME: May I finish please sir? I didn't interrupt you?
MACKLEVOY: Go ahead, Mr. Garthome.
GARTHOME: If they can't predict the normal, everyday American weather, why the heck should we believe that they can know with the accuracy and precision they claim they have where a so-called storm like Frances really is? Sure, we see pictures from somewhere which they say are coming from Florida, but we don't know where those pictures are originating from, what studio in Hollywood, using what sophisticated technologies.
MACKLEVOY: Mr. Tigers? These claims are out there, don't you think they should be addressed?
TIGERS: Well, look, I think it's important that the people of Florida know about this. I mean, maximum sustained winds for this storm remain near 105 miles per hour with higher gusts, and little change in its strength is expected, and that's going to cause...
GARTHOME: These are wreckless and dangerous claims that could cause panic among the people of Florida if they are believed. Now I don't want to be too harsh here, but it seems to me that someone who is undermining the peace and security of a significant portion of the American people is someone who needs to be looked at seriously by the Homeland Security people. We're no longer innocents here, willing to let ourselves be attacked from abroad or undermined from within. This is the post-9/11 world and we rely on the conviction and firm resolve of our President to keep us protected from people like Mr. Tigers.
TIGERS: Now, look, I'm, I'm only trying to...
MACKLEVOY: I'm sorry, we're out of time at the moment, we'll have to leave it right there. Thank you gentlemen. Steve, there you have it, there may be a hurricane out there, somewhere, but it's just not possible to know with any certainty where it is, or even if it's a real hurricane, or simply a figment of the bureacratic imagination.
SOLOMON: Thank you, Cynthia, fascinating stuff. When we come back, more controversy about this storm, as Pat Buchanan, Ralph Reed, Ann Coulter and Walter Mondale talk about God's vengence and its role in the weather. Stay tuned to the Weather Channel, where we report, and you decide.
Addenda: To paraphrase the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper:
"We don't judge people's credibility, we just print what they tell us."
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.