Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nate Silver's Last Odds Calculation

While Obama seems to be stabilizing and it's too soon to know whether or not last night's debate will give Obama a boost, Nate Silver still seems to see Obama winning on November 6th.  For me, the race is too close and I will be a nervous wreck until the outcome is certain.  Here are highlights from Nate's piece in the New York Times:

Our method uses both state polls and national polls to calibrate its estimate of the national popular vote; the state polls, in our view, have suggested a slightly stronger outcome for Mr. Obama all year than that implied by the national polls alone.

We do show just a tiny bit of improvement for Mr. Obama, however. In our “now-cast” — our estimate of what would happen in an election held today — Mr. Obama’s advantage in the popular vote is now taken to be 1.2 percentage points, up from a low of 0.3 point on Oct. 12.

Mr. Obama also seems to be holding onto thin leads in the polling averages in the states that are most essential to his path forward in the Electoral College.

Were he to lose Ohio, Mr. Romney would have a number of undesirable, although not impossible, options.

The most favorable path, in the view of the model, would be for Mr. Romney to carry both Iowa and Nevada.

Of the two states, Iowa is the easier get. The polls there show a split between ties and leads for Mr. Obama, as opposed to Nevada, where they are mainly split between smaller leads for Mr. Obama and larger ones. In addition, in Nevada, Democrats have a significant voter-registration advantage and are building a large lead in early voting; the polls there have also tended to underestimate Democratic performance in recent years.

But Mr. Romney does not get to pick and choose if he loses Ohio; he would need to win both Iowa and Nevada under this plan. Furthermore, he would need to win New Hampshire to avert a 269-269 tie, where the polls have been inconsistent at best, but seem to show Mr. Obama slightly ahead, on average. On top of all that, he would need to win both Colorado and Virginia. The race is so close in both states that the model has fluctuated between showing them as blue states and red states with almost every new poll that comes in.

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