Election Open Thread

Well, here we go.  If you want some reason for optimism, the Unskewed hack has gone from predicting a massive Romney landslide to merely predicting that Mittens will draw an inside straight, which in a real model is like Obama getting 400 electoral votes.  (He seems to be trying the Rasmussen trick of skewing towards Republicans to try to generate a bandwagon effect, and then making the last projection vaguely reasonable.)

I’ll have more on this tomorrow no matter what, but for the record in case Obama wins the electoral college vote and loses the popular vote, the electoral college is an appalling anachronism.   This wouldn’t make Obama’s election illegitimate because you can’t change the rules retrospectively, but a bad institution that produces a good result is still bad.  Hopefully he’ll win both and make it moot.


81 comments on this post.
  1. J.W. Hamner:

    Wow, Romney lost like 80 EVs in less than a week! I suppose he hadn’t properly calibrated his model for The New Black Panther Effect. This makes a lot more sense than the last one if you are trying to sow the seeds of election stealing.

  2. gnarlytrombone:

    I think “hack” is giving this guy way too much credit.

  3. John:

    Obviously the whole election would be conducted very differently if there was a national popular vote.

  4. Joe:

    The same people who gave special notice that Gore won the popular vote cannot suddenly suggest that Obama losing it is not really overly important given he just worked in the system he was given. Obama would clearly not be illegitimate but it would be sad. FWIW, he probably will win both, but the popular vote will still be too close.

  5. synykyl:

    It really would be nice if next time we could hold an honest-to-goodness national election, and not have to focus so much on what voters in Florida and Ohio think.

  6. Aaron B.:

    Actually, I hope Obama does win with an electoral-popular split. Maybe if the system screws the Republicans for once, it might actually get changed. And it’s not like there’s such a thing as a “mandate.”

  7. Malaclypse:

    Any time the Republicans crack 27%, the election is too close.

  8. Clark:

    I think Silver and all of the other models predicting an Obama win are assuming a huge NBP effect.

  9. Bijan Parsia:

    The EC is always a travesty. Winning the EC and not the PV is bad.

    However, winning the EC by gift of the Supreme Court while losing the PV is extra special crappy.

  10. Pinko Punko:

    If it were straight popular vote, turnout would be massive, and Dem favoring precincts would generally be the ones that have massive lines, where as those of the Random Randroid would be as reported (a true L, but much sarcasm here):

    You guys vote? And what was the experince like?

    Mine was great. I parked, and some Dem outside the polling tried to shove some papers in my face. I almost said “get a haircut”, but that would have been more of a TeaParty maneuver.

    I blow past him, then get to the entrance and there are 2 lines separated by a rope, and you go to whatever line based on your precinct. One line had like a 20-minute wait, but my line – nothing. I was in the express lane! I breezed past dozens of people waiting in line, I just sign in and go – but the other precinct is at a standstill. It was the best ever.

    So I had a 0 minute wait – but even if I had the bad fortune to live in the other precinct, it would have been just a 20 minute wait. What’s with all these stories about people waiting in line for hours and hours? I think it’s all bullshit. Must be the GOP-controlled media trying to make it sound like voting is awful to suppress turnout.

    My response:

    I love how RR votes in f*cking richville- he probably got a Latte that said “I voted” in whipped cream. Jesus.


    What are you talking about? I voted at the country club. Isn’t that where all voting is done?

    Now, the above was actually serious. He did in fact vote at the club.

  11. Thlayli:

    He did in fact vote at the club.

    My mom voted in the condo clubhouse.

  12. UberMitch:

    I voted at the country club. Isn’t that where all voting is done?

    Nonsense! Polling places are also available at the yacht club!

  13. Warren Terra:

    This is terrible news for my model of the Unskewed Polls guy. I had noticed that his previous projections could be matched with eerie accuracy by following the following steps:
    1) Take Nate Silver’s projection of Obama’s electoral votes.
    2) Ah, but those are Black electoral votes, so they must be worth only 3/5 of real electoral votes.
    3) There are 538 electoral votes, and Romney’s getting the ones Obama doesn’t.
    4) Subtract 3/5 of Nate Silver’s Obama prediction from 538.
    5) The result had usually been within a couple percent of the Unskewed guy’s predicted electoral vote for Romney.

    The problem is, Unskewed Guy is now saying Obama’ll get 263 electoral votes. My process above would only work if Nate Silver had predicted Obama getting 438 electoral votes, which he really hasn’t done.

    I guess I’ll have to work on my math. I recommend that the Unskewed guy do the same.

  14. JazzBumpa:

    An eerie similarity to RR’s report.

    The Synagogue that is our poling place holds precincts 9 and 10. Those of us in precinct 9 just walked in and voted – after we learned that there were 2 lines – D’OH!

    Ca. 10:00 a.m. the whole thing took about 25 minutes, and as we were leaving, the precinct 10 people we were originally in line with were just getting inside the building.

    I’m very glad it wasn’t raining.

    The lovely wife and I were given ballots 205 and 206. Ours are like scantrons, where you fill in a bubble with black ink.

    Here is the nightmare scenario, which I stumbled on by accident.



  15. Both Sides Do It:

    I’m not so sure things would change for the better from a “who’s vote matters more” perspective if NPV were adopted.

    The swing states are always pretty diverse, and while eg agricultural subsidies matter a lot more since Iowa is a swing state, giving even more importance to the states in which Wall Street and the tech sector are located would probably be bad.

    I don’t think it’s a clear cut case either way; all I’m saying is it’s not a clear cut case.

    Although NPV does have the advantage of cutting down the importance of voter suppression in any given state.

  16. JazzBumpa:

    Obama has a narrow path to victory without winning either OH or FLA.

    Any two of NV, CO, IA, or NH put him over the top.

    Or NC does it all by its lonesome.

    In other words, unless Romney takes FLA, OH AND all but 1 of the other in-play states, Obama wins.


  17. Charlie Sweatpants:

    “It really would be nice if next time we could hold an honest-to-goodness national election, and not have to focus so much on what voters in Florida and Ohio think.”

    It would, but the Al Jazeera guy at Romney HQ just reported that he had multiple off record Romney people report that they think they lost Ohio. Big grain of salt, obviously, but that’s what he said.

  18. Rob:

    So I go to Cnn.com to see a headline they projected VT for Romney. And have a quick heart attack. But no, they are just incmpetant.

  19. synykyl:

    I’ll hold off on celebrating, though Al Jazeera is more reputable than at least one major US news organization I can think of.

  20. tt:

    Why would it be bad to give more importance to states where more people live?

  21. Brien Jackson:

    The Republicans on CNN are already spinning the results such that an Obama victory smaller than 2008 means his coalition has fallen apart and he doesn’t have a mandate.

  22. Reilly:

    Election Day hilarity:

    BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A woman attempting to vote in West Boca Raton this morning was initially prohibited from entering the polling place because she was wearing a t-shirt with the letters MIT.

    BocaNewsNow.com has heard from multiple sources that an election supervisor at the polling place ultimately realized that MIT stands for “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” — a school where students tend to know how to spell — and was not a campaign shirt for the Republican candidate, who spells his name MITT.

    Campaigning is not permitted within several yards of a polling place.

    The woman was ultimately allowed to vote.

    Woman: But you don’t understand, MIT is an acronym.
    Election supervisor: I don’t care how you feel about him, you can’t wear that in here.

  23. elm:

    I’m dissapointed by the tv coverage so far: what happened to CNN’s 3D hologram technology? I thought all the networks would be doing that by now!

  24. Oregon Beer Snob:

    I voted last week, and it was delightful. I even had beer while I voted.

    Oregon’s vote by mail system is rather pleasant and civilized.

  25. bph:

    But CNN tries so hard!

  26. NBarnes:

    The fact that it would be risible for Rs to go from ‘Sore / Loserman’ to ‘OMG Obama lost popular he should resign to Romney’ doesn’t mean that they won’t manage the feat. What’s one more hemorrhage-inducing bout of cognitive dissonance? It’s like how you lose your gag reflex after you’ve sucked enough Wall Street cocks.

  27. Bruce Baugh:

    I can’t drink alcohol, but otherwise, very much like that here in Washington. I had relevant info on screen so I could double-check as I went, which I love.

  28. Leeds man:

    I hate to break it to you, synykyl, but Al Jazeera is more credible than any major US news organization. Low bar.

  29. Warren Terra:

    “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” — a school where students tend to know how to spell

    Actually, the old joke is like this:

    A young person is trying to check out in the express lane of a Cambridge, MA supermarket with perhaps two dozen items in their cart. The exasperated clerk turns to them and says “Which is it: you’re from Harvard and can’t count, or you’re from MIT and can’t read the sign?”

    (Obviously, MIT students can read, and Harvard students can count. But this is a joke I heard when I attended one of those schools)

  30. NonyNony:

    Obviously, MIT students can read, and Harvard students can count

    A likely story. Next you’re going to be telling me that the duck didn’t really tell the bartender to put it on his bill. And that’s just crazy talk.

  31. DrDick:

    Sam Wang gives Obama a 2.76% edge in the popular vote.

  32. DrDick:

    My voting experience was easy and relaxed with no hassles. I marked my ballot, put it in the envelope, put a stamp on it, and put it in the mail. That was two weeks ago.

  33. James E. Powell:

    Just voted in Culver City, in heavily populated Los Angeles County. There was no line. There were three empty voting booths. We are using the ink blot method. The whole process took less than 15 minutes.

    Why can’t every place be like that?

  34. wengler:

    Even those of us that went to state schools could figure it out without the explanation.

  35. Paul Clarke:

    They show you an ink blot and ask you which candidate it looks like? (“In a suprise result from Los Angeles County, 55% of the vote has gone to ‘a pretty butterfly’.”)

  36. Bill Murray:

    and the dog really should have said Dimaggio

  37. Julian:

    This is form of modesty is new and fascinating – I’ve heard of “I went to college in New Haven,” but I’ve never seen someone explicitly say that they went to either MIT or Harvard, but then also refuse to say which one.

  38. mattc:

    This was my first experience w/ Washington’s vote-by-mail system. It’s definitely civilized, and it gives you time to investigate the ballot initiatives and local races…but damnit, I love waiting in line and I love putting my ballot in the motron, and I love getting the sticker. Plus, I sent in my ballot the day after it arrived, and I didn’t have anything to do today.

  39. Richard:

    One of the things that help is that you can opt for permanent absentee ballot (as I do) and always vote at home and mail it in. I think something like a third of California votes are now absentees

    Things are looking good but I believe its time for my first drink of the evening

  40. Vance Maverick:

    Is that the method where they ask you which candidate the picture looks like?

  41. Jameson Quinn:

    But there are such things as coattails, so my hope is cancelling out your hope and freeing reality to do whatever it was gonna do without those two hopes on it.

  42. Jameson Quinn:

    Even though I have sympathy for your hope and greatly favor the deep red states joining the deep blue ones in the NPVIC.

  43. Vance Maverick:

    Paul did it not only first but better. (Also something’s weird about the serializability of transactions here — no way I let the page sit 20 whole minutes.)

    Alternatively, the voter might make a blot, and the poll workers would have to divine what it meant….

  44. greylocks:

    VT, NH, RI, DE — all those little states look alike.

  45. Both Sides Do It:

    Goldman Sachs develops a GOTV unit and Silicon Valley takes a little of the cash used to buy sushi for its interns and hires Greyhound to take people to the polls.

    My point is that people tend to think of disregarding the electoral college as an unmitigated good, when it’s more complicated than that. I’m not certain it wouldn’t be better on net than what we’ve got now, but it’s got to be thought through a little bit more, I think.

  46. Gus:

    making the last projection vaguely reasonable.

    Actually that map looks completely credible. If he’s right it will almost make up for the ridicule this asshat got with his first map.

  47. parrot:

    roops … joe-the-plumber has hit a speed bump … big sad for joe … blame silver (for everything) …

  48. MAJeff:

    Well, it’s hard when they keep opening doors for old white women. That must be terrifying.

  49. Jameson Quinn:

    And 45% to “a terrible monster”.

    Luckily the monster lost.

  50. Observer:

    Losing the popular vote and winning the election would not make Obama’s win illegitimate…and the same for Romney.

    This is the United States of America and not the Republic of America.

    States choose the president. Popular vote means absolutely ZERO.

  51. Darkrose:

    In California, you really need to vote absentee so you have time to go through all of the stupid ballot initiatives.

  52. Rhino:

    Do we have a pool on how long before the first instance of republican polling place violence?

  53. somethingblue:

    Officials with the “Some nice flowers” campaign were said to be contemplating a legal challenge.

  54. DocAmazing:

    I vote by mail in California. Very civilized, but something’s missing: years ago, you could take your ballot stub to the doughnut shop and get a free doughnut for having voted. No more of that with vote-by-mail, I fear. In a corrupt and venal system, at least one could count on a doughnut…

  55. Joe:

    Popular vote means absolutely ZERO.

    To win officially. It does mean something in other ways.

  56. JazzBumpa:

    I believe its time for my first drink of the evening

    What took you so long? I started with a damned fine Scotch.


  57. J.W. Hamner:

    Dick Morris’s twitter feed is getting pretty good.

  58. tt:

    What’s wrong with Silicon Valley taking people to polls? It’s Democratic territory and a relatively Democratic industry. I don’t want to give finance more power but it’s not like that many people are employed by the industry; what else do they have to offer other than money, which they already do?

  59. Murc:

    “I went to college in Boston. Well, not in Boston, but nearby. No, not Tufts.”

  60. Murc:


    “Wesleyan is the Harvard of central Connecticut.”

    “YALE is the Harvard of central Connecticut.”

    “Wow, you had that locked and loaded, didn’t you.”

  61. Charlie Sweatpants:

    I’ve no idea what the outlook is in the House overall, but last week TPM posted a list of ten House races to watch (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/house-race-bellwethers-election-night.php). Per the NY Times utterly addictive interactive map of everything, these are the results so far:

    IL-8 – 55-45 Blue, 20% reporting (This is Tammy Duckworth’s district.)

    IL-10 – 48-52 Red, 81% reporting

    FL-22 – 58-42 Blue, 36% reporting

    NH-2 – 58-38 Blue, 16 % reporting

    NY-24 – No results

    IA-4 – No results

    OH-16 – 53-47 Blue, 1% reporting

    PA-12 – 49-51 Red, 1% reporting

    NC-07 – 53-47 Blue, 43% reporting

    FL-18 – 50-50, 23% reporting (This is Allen West’s district.)

    That’s four with basically no results. But of the six reporting a decent fraction of numbers, it’s looking good in four, whereas there’s on that’s tied and one leaning Red but very close. No idea about House pickups overall, but that at least seems encouraging.

    Anyone know of any other bellwether House districts?

  62. Hogan:

    Tom Wolfe once referred to Hartford as “the Athens of lower central midwestern New England.”

  63. Malaclypse:

    Warren now called the winner over McDreamy.

  64. Charlie Sweatpants:

    NY Times has called it for Grayson in Florida:


    Congress just got more fun.

  65. Barry Freed:

    Help me out here. I just got home and had no news all day. How’s Barry O doing?

  66. STH:

    Looks like Akin, Mourdock, and Joe the Plumber are all going down!

  67. Sev:

    10 PM Breaking: CNN predicts Romney wins Utah.

  68. laura:

    Things is definitely looking up!

  69. Paul Clarke:

    Ahead in Ohio and Florida, behind in Virgina and North Carolina. No real surprises so far.

  70. Hogan:

    I still don’t think there’s a God, but I’m less convinced that the universe wants me to suffer.

  71. Hogan:

    The deuce you say.

  72. Hogan:

    And Rosanne Barr is running ahead of Randall Terry. Boo ya.

  73. Joe:

    A few great additions to the US Senate.

  74. Barry Freed:

    Thanks, I see that Warren won, Tammy Duckworth too and Linda McMahon lost. This is shaping up to be a really good night.

  75. Murc:

    So right now, according to TPM, Obama’s margin in Florida is smaller than the total number of votes for Gary Johnson.

    It likely doesn’t make a difference, as Florida won’t swing the election (at this point it looks like Obama could win handily without it) but if Romney ends up not winning it because of a third-party spoiler I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

  76. Malaclypse:

    I, for one, am glad to see people voting their conscience for the Real Conservative.

  77. Malaclypse:

    And it looks like the only reason that my next representative will not be a wingnut is that the libertarian got 4%. So yay Fishman supporters!

  78. Murc:

    NBC and Fox calling Ohio, which basically means calling the election.

    That’s game, folks. Smoke’em if you got’em.

  79. Bijan Parsia:

    I have to say that it’s one of the funniest things ever. So much wrong in such little time! “Oh noes! Some good new for Obama!!!1!! WAIT, it’s actually good news for Romney!”

  80. Cody:

    Gore didn’t just win the popular vote, he very likely won the EV too.

    We’ll never know, because for some reason 5 Republican judges decided a Republican should be President. Why? Counting is hard.

  81. Cody:

    Are Mormon’s required by their church to vote for Romney?

    It seems like something they would do. Would be interesting if they, as a group, had 100% turnout.

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