Presidential election minus two months

With the Democratic convention under way, and two months minus one day to go until the big day, matters American are looming sufficiently large that I’m starting up a dedicated thread to accommodate them. At this stage of the race, all indications are that Barack Obama has a clear but not insurmountable lead. Premier US psephoblogger Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight calculates a 74.8% chance of an Obama victory, which has widened over the past week owing to a sub-par convention bounce for Mitt Romney (Clint Eastwood, we salute you). With 270 Electoral College votes required for victory, averaged poll results give Obama leads of over 5% in states accounting for 221 votes, and Romney leads accounting for 182. Piggies in the middle:

New Hampshire 4 49.1 44.7
Nevada 6 48.7 45.0
Wisconsin 10 48.7 45.4
Michigan 16 47.4 44.6
Virginia 13 47.4 44.8
Ohio 18 46.7 44.4
Iowa 6 46.2 44.6
Colorado 9 46.9 45.6
South Carolina 9 43.2 43.4
Florida 29 46.6 46.9
North Carolina 15 45.4 46.8

It should be noted that these figures capture Romney in his convention bounce, and conventional wisdom (no pun intended) tells us they should now be set to bounce the other way.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

178 comments on “Presidential election minus two months”

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  1. Santorum denounced by “The American Conservative” re wars
    In a interesting early divide in the ranks of the Repubs …Senator Santorum.. the darling of the far-reliigious- right in the pre-campaign days has been denounced as an out and out warmonger in”The American Conservative” for his recent statement of support for a war in the Gulf against Iran

    This major journal has become more and more critical of this kind of sabre rattling by the far Right …and it has denounced those who would plunge the USA into yet another war in the Islamic world at Israel’s behest

    A real rift in oppening up on this issue on the right and showing a new concern for the war-weary US public

  2. 50

    DC should have been given congressional representation either from the beginning, as part of Reconstruction, or when the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment was put up.

  3. [DC should have been given congressional representation either from the beginning, as part of Reconstruction, or when the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment was put up.]
    The Democrats proposed a deal in the last Congress. If the Republicans accepted giving D.C. 1 congressional district, with full voting rights, the Democrats would let Utah, the most Republican state, to have 1 extra congressional district.

    It passed the House, thanks to the Democratic majority, but the Republicans filibustered the bill in the Senate.

  4. Just watched my tivo of Day 1 of the Dem Conference… not sure what all the fuss over this Castro guy is about, was ok – generally all pretty good esp relative to the Repub convention… but have to admit being blown away by Michelle’s speech.

    Geez I hope Obi can talk about convincingly how he intends to execute his gameplan from here on in… yeah, better him that Romney by a million %, but boy it’d be nice to have a little faith! even if he talked about what he did wrong and how he would do it differently now – on top of doing a better job of sales job generally, which has been his most unexpected failing imo. That he and JulieG have in common and need to sort themselves out quick smart.

  5. [Watched Michelle Obama’s address. She did very well. Unsurprising. Michelle Obama is one of Barack Obama’s biggest assets, politically speaking.]

    Apparently she has been getting rave reviews for it. I missed it unfortunately and would love to see it. Has anyone provided a link?

  6. It is fascinating to see the change in the US electoral map over the past few decades. The South has gone from conservative Democrat to Republican en bloc. The east coast is now almost solid Democratic. California, once a swing state, is now strongly Democratic. Texas, won by Kennedy in a squeaker, is solid Republican (though becoming less so). And so on.

    Compare the map when Kennedy won with that when Obama triumphed. Very different.

  7. There are a couple of chinks in the republican domination of the South.

    Obama scraped home in North Carolina and Virginia (which is gaining many residents who work in Washington DC). Florida is hardly a southern state any more and has many elderly citizens who have retired to sit in the sun and worry that The Repugs might take their Medicare away.

  8. Fox News was, not surprisingly, incredibly pro-Romney during the RNC (yes, I confess I’ve been watching it). They gushed over the speeches and treated political points made about things Obama had done wrong as though they were facts. However, not even they could find much nice to say about Clint Eastwood.

    It’ll be interesting to see how they cover the DNC. I didn’t see enough last night to comment, but I expect a much cooler reaction.

  9. [ There are a couple of chinks in the republican domination of the South.]

    Yes, demographic changes have transformed Virginia and North Carolina into states that are much friendly to the Democrats. As you say, it’s all because of population movements within the US.

    Alas, Louisiana has gone in the other direction. The evacuation of the low-lying (i.e., poorer) parts of New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina relocated a huge number of Dem voters out of the state. Most will never come back.

    I suspect Florida will become friendlier to the Dems with the end of the Castro regime in Cuba. Unlike most “Hispanics” , Cuban Americans are fairly hostile to the Dems, and they make up a big voting bloc in Florida. If post-Castro Cuba liberalises, then it will help de-polarise the entire Cuban issue.

  10. The USA will keep the embargo in place on a post-Castro government until it agrees to pay reparations to or restore property to former U.S. owners. That’s a blatant violation of Cuban sovereignty but hey.

  11. 1) Clint Eastwood was bagged by the Repugs for his Super Bowl half time ad for Chrysler. They read it as being supportive of the Dems. Now look at them. He talks to a chair and they idolise him.
    2) Nebraska – I can understand poor, rural, white, God-fearing people voting Republican (I can’t really but they do. Here as well). But 90% of Nebraska is basically industrial/services Omaha plus college Lincoln. The overall turnout must be really hopeless in those towns. I also understand Omaha has a significant Black population but I could stand corrected there.

  12. [ Firstly, while Peurto Rico leans Republican, it does elect Democrats at times.]

    Hmmm… I had thought PR leans Democrat.

    More Puerto Ricans live in the continental US than on the island of PR (3.9 vs 4.1 million). Puerto Ricans in the US lean toward the Dems. I’ve heard the same was true for their friends and relatives back home.

  13. 62

    And considering that the USA did not compensate the royalist refugees who fled to what is now Canada during and after the revolution, they are being hypocritical. Democratic elections may change the view of Cuba in the USA.

  14. I make that about 49 minutes, which makes it one of the longer supporting speeches, but it was all riveting. Then Obama makes an appearance. Isn’t it highly unusual for the nominee to show up at such a point?

  15. [The most applause for the word Arithmetic in decades]

    Yeah, guytaur! Great speech! Didn’t even need an empty chair 👿

    Just LURVED that “Arithmetic” lesson! And to think we laugh derisively at Hockeynomics!

    Now I figure the Dems own us something for pinching our HECS scheme for student loans (& our stimulus & a few other schemes).

    How about a copy of that speech, tweaked a little, and with Aussie names/ words substituted for the American one! Similar problems; similar Opposition lies, distortions, abuse, negativity, rhetoric, support the rich-screw the poor policies; same whackjob supporters they seen as key constituencies, etc.

    Pity Gough can’t deliver it; though PJK would do a great version.

  16. OPT, I don’t remember Keating delivering speeches that well. His brilliance was more in interviews and in parliament. Formal monologues weren’t his specialty.

  17. [Formal monologues weren’t his specialty.]

    IMO, far more a case of whether Keating was moderating his responses for a national audience, when he frequently stumbled or made off-the-cuff clangers (eg recession we had to have), or doing as Clinton was: speaking to the faithful (eg at national conferences) or selling a vision.

    Even when I disagreed with PJK, I found his speeches on what was of vital importance to my job (his industry structural reform agenda) – met by public & often MSM & union responses very similar to (if not even more aggressively negative than) those PM Gillard gets – fascinating and very energising, especially as he welcomed ‘robust’ argument ‘from the floor’.

  18. People on this site are in for a big shock, Its a lot closer then you all imagine. You need to stop listening to the left wing US media, and stop looking at bias opinion polls that are swayed towards the democrats as well as polling registered voters. Look at the polls that poll likely voters (a lot more accurate) and you will see that its very very close.

  19. andrew36, I don’t know that anyone here thinks Obama has it in the bag. I’m expecting it to be very close. Do you have evidence that FiveThirtyEight’s projection is biased? (They’ve projected elections before, so they can be tested.)

  20. Bill Clinton was magnificent, easily the best political orator I’ve seen in my lifetime.
    He made the case for reelecting Obama better than Obama has up until now done so himself.

  21. Andrew36: It depends on turnout. If the Democrats get out the black, Hispanic, gay & white women’s votes in the right places, Obama will win again.
    If not, Romney wins.

  22. FiveThirtyEight claims it predicted 49 of 50 states correctly in the 2008 presidential election, as well as all 35 Senate races. I remember following this site during the ’08 campaign. From memory, the only state FiveThirtyEight didn’t call correctly was Missouri, which FiveThirtyEight said was more likely to go to Obama, but which McCain won by a few thousand votes.

    Yes, this time round it’s much closer. But I’d rather be in Obama’s shoes than Romney’s.

  23. [ Andrew36: It depends on turnout. If the Democrats get out the black, Hispanic, gay & white women’s votes in the right places, Obama will win again.]

    Those “right places” are Florida and Ohio.

  24. Andrew36 – Looking at the polling across the American media, it appears that while the overall vote is very close but if you look at how the college vote is looking then it is starting to look like a solid win for the Democrats.

    Many of the toss-up states are either dead even or just favoring the Democrats.

    This is an election that usually the Republicans should be considered favorite but the policy descriptions being put forward while maybe seen as positive for the corporate sector but I suspect will not be seen as fondly by the majority of Americans.

    I think Romney may have been better had his VP nomination had been Condi Rice.

    Paul Ryan seems a very likable person but I am not sure I agree with his policy responses to Americas big problems.

  25. According to Senate polling data on Wikipedia, the Democrats will most likely lose Nebraska in the Senate elections.

    Other than that, it doesn’t look like the Democrats are certain to lose much more than that. Wisconsin and North Dakota are lineball/leaning Republican, so I think they’d lose one of the two at this point.

    Other seats at risk of falling to the Republicans are lineball seats Montana and Virginia, and marginal, leaning Democratic seats Florida, Hawaii, Ohio, New Mexico and Missouri.

    The Republicans are also at risk of losing some marginal senate seats in Massachusetts, Nevada and Indiana.

    The most interesting Senate contest to watch for would be the one in Maine, where it looks like a 3-way race between an incumbent Republican, a Democrat and Independent Angus King, with King currently holding a big lead in polls.

    Overall, if the Democrats lose 2 seats, they could still just hold a majority if King decides to caucus with them (most likely). 3 seats would make it tied, and 4 or more would make it a Republican majority.

  26. 92

    If the Obama and Romney are neck and neck in the national vote polls but the state by state polls show Obama with a clear lead, then the polls are showwing an increased chance of winning the electoral college but not the national poll.

    It would increase the number of states signing up to the National Popular Vote Compact (where states agree that they shall award their delegates to the national popular vote winner once they reach a majority of delegates from states and DC that members of the pact).

    There may also be a push for an amendment to the constitution for proper direct election.

  27. Al Gore beat George W. Bush by more than half a million votes in 2000, polling 50.46% to Bush’s 47.87%, but still squeaked home in the electoral college (courtesy the Supreme Court).

  28. [stop listening to the left wing US media]

    Sean Hannity, is that you?

    However, I agree that people underestimate Romney at their own peril. Never underestimate the power of money in US politics.

    However, having said that, things have not been going to plan for the GOP in the last week (killing the momentum they had in the last month)

  29. I don’t like the idea of direct election. What I think they should do is base each EV on how that district voted plus 2 for the state, at-large. I would also throw in a slate of electors who are elected on the basis of whoever got the most votes…

  30. I think they should cut out the House elections every 2 years and make it 4 instead.

    An election every 2 years just doesn’t allow the government there to come up with long term policy. It has to be short and quick with instant results, otherwise they lose their majority in the House or Senate and won’t be able to operate smoothly anymore, especially with the 2 major parties being incredibly partisan.

  31. Watched the Elizabeth Warren speech. While she is not exactly the most animated speaker, she through in quite a few firebombs against the wealthy and Republicans. Was a pretty passionate speech, despite its dry delivery. If she wins in November, she will be somebody to watch!

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