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View Diary: General Election Projections, Beta Version (223 comments)

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  •  Washington State hangs in the ballance (4+ / 0-)

    along wit it's 11 electoral votes:

    The new Washington Poll came out Thursday. It showed Obama with a 54.9 percent to 40.3 percent lead over presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. McCain runs ahead of Clinton, 48.6 percent to 45.1 percent.

    Obama gets support from 60 percent of independent voters surveyed, compared with 44 percent for Clinton.

    (The statewide poll, a survey research project of the University of Washington Department of Political Science, interviewed 300 voters. It was conducted between Feb. 7-18, and had a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points.)

    Seattle P.I.

    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 10:38:51 PM PST

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    •  That poll has a very high MOE, only 300 voters. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think it is out of line with poblano's analysis.

      My biggest quarrel with the whole analysis is that these polls, taken at a time when McCain is the presumptive nominee but Obama/Clinton are still deadlocked, is unlikely to reflect how people will feel after the Democratic nominee is chosen.

      I suspect that means that Obama and Clinton are more similar in their chances than this analysis would predict, however I admit I haven't read the methods as carefully as I should have.  To the extent that the poll numbers are the starting point, though, I think there is reason to take this analysis with a chunk of salt.

      Honesty is still the best policy.

      by oscarsdad on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 11:28:59 PM PST

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      •  The diferential among independent voters (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oscarsdad

        is very telling. I would put more credence in that figure than the outcomes of the hypothetical match ups.

        "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

        by Lefty Coaster on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:03:58 AM PST

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        •  Absolutely. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RoscoeOfAlabama, zackamac

          The one thing the differential among Independents doesn't get at, though, that this kind of analysis does is the geographic distribution of voters and how that interacts with the electoral math.  It is very good to see that Obama is picking up Independents in states that he can win, rather than just states that he can make less horribly non-competitive.

          On the other hand, Senator Clinton appears to get support pretty much where we would expect her to:  in the states that are already Blue.  Her electoral math appears worse than her popular vote, not a good sign for her in the general election at all.

          The biggest problems with early head-to-heads are two:

          1.  There are many, many issues on which to compare politicians, and Obama and Clinton will invariably be compared to each other on different issues than either one will be compared to McCain on.  None of the electorate is putting the same emphasis today on the issues that will decide their vote in November.  Even properly worded, the polls this early are therefore answered on the basis of the wrong question.
          1.  The interaction between McCain and the Democratic nominee will largely determine which issues the voters will focus on as November approaches.  These early polls have no way to measure the ability of either Democratic candidate to help shape that debate, however it isn't that hard to see what the lay of the land is.  Clinton's main issues are healthcare and toughness, both against the Republican machine and on national security.  Healthcare already divides along party lines, and won't change voters' minds much at all.  Hillary cannot possibly win a national security debate with John McCain; nor will she be unaffected by the Republican machine no matter what she claims.  Unless Senator Clinton completely redefines herself for November, which she shows no inclination to do, she will compete on McCain's turf and she will lose, not gain votes compared to the current matchups.  In contrast, Obama has a few advantages in the matchup against McCain.  His early stance against the invasion of Iraq already resonates with the majority of Americans, and allows him to move past Iraq to claim that he can enlist international support.  Clinton's stance on the war makes it much harder to use the same line of attack successfully against McCain, despite the fact that she is just as much in favor of reaching out to the international community as Obama is, and would probably do it very well.  The Republican machine, which has been gearing up for four years to attack Clinton, will have to switch gears very quickly to bash Obama; and as we have seen, bashing Obama isn't that easy to do without a backlash among Independent voters.  There are also a large number of new Independents this year, who have broken with their Republican party because of B*sh's war policies.  The early polls do actually capture this effect; IMHO it is precisely why Obama now consistently polls as beating McCain while McCain (more acceptable to Republicans-turned-Independent on the war issue than Clinton) consistently polls as tied to or beating Clinton.

          So I think these early polls underestimate the difference between Obama-v-McCain and Clinton-v-McCain matchups because of what will happen between now and November, the refocusing of the voter's attention on a different set of issues.  I also think, though, that these projections overestimate how much people are truly willing to vote differently than they have in previous elections.  So, all I claim is that this kind of prediction is inaccurate--not for statistical reasons, but because of differences between reality and the assumptions made implicitly by using the early poll data.

          Honesty is still the best policy.

          by oscarsdad on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:00:08 AM PST

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