Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Wonder Why Obama Won? Do the Math.

Posted by Warren Peterson on November 10, 2012

Do the math. Obama had re-election in the bag from the get-go. This is the conclusion of a fascinating article by Ken Bensinger of the Los Angeles Times. Taking data from all the polls at face value and running computer simulations, the outcome of the recent election was accurately predicted months before the first vote was cast. Assuming Obama wins Florida, one analyst correctly called all fifty states and another predicted Obama winning 332 electoral votes.

Michael Barone, Dick Morris, George Will were among prominent prognosticators on the right predicting a Romney landslide. Like Rush Limbaugh, they discounted the poll samples as too weighted toward Democrats, the turnout models as too like 2008 and hinted at some purposeful bias against Romney. They were spectacularly wrong. Obviously, so were the folks in Romney-Ryan land. Had they done the math, or if they did, have believed it, their campaign would have been much different. As it was, the race was very close in the key battleground states but by including data from about 1,700 polls, the margin of error in the computer models was reduced to almost zero. Knowing this, a forceful response to the Obama smear campaign launched against Romney even before he had the GOP nomination and not resting on his laurels after the first debate, Romney may have turned the polls, and therefore the models, in his favor. That discussion is on going but next time, do the math.

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