Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Election Night Scenario Analysis, Part II

Yesterday FHQ examined how this evening would progress given the poll closing times and what we know about the competitiveness in each state. Here are those assumptions again:

1) All strong states are able to be called as soon as the polls close in those states.
2) All lean states have an hour lag before they are called.
3) All toss up states with an FHQ average over 2 points have a three hour lag before they are called.
4) All toss up states with an FHQ average under two points have a four hour lag before they are called.

Given those assumptions we can project that Obama will wrap things up about 11pm this evening. But we can handicap this scenario some. We know, for instance, that, despite the late closing times, California will go for Obama and Idaho/Utah will hand McCain their electoral votes. So let's remove that first assumption and factor all the strong states as states that have already decided for their respective candidates. Based on the McCain campaign's final weekend itinerary, we know that they are targeting New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. For the sake of this exercise then, let's assume that both are lean states. If we consult our Electoral College Spectrum, we know that the would give Obama 239 electoral votes and McCain would be spotted 137.

Before the first polls even close, this is what the map would look like:
[Click Map to Enlarge]

Between 6pm and 7:30pm polls close in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. But we don't add anything to the map just yet. Those are all still wait and see states.
[Click Map to Enlarge]

However, at 8pm we can slide Georgia and West Virginia into the McCain total and Virginia into Obama's tally. Now the Illinois senator is within 18 electoral votes of victory.
[Click Map to Enlarge]

An hour later, Colorado's polls close, but if we are assuming that Pennsylvania and New Hampshire are lean states, then Obama would cross the 270 threshold around that time.
[Click Map to Enlarge]

Early on in the evening then, we will have a very good idea based on how quickly Virginia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania break who the next president of the United States is.

A very big thanks to Paul Gurian for the suggestion on this one.

Recent Posts:
Final Update: The Electoral College from a Different Angle

The Electoral College Map (11/4/08)

Open Thread: Election Day! AM Edition


Unknown said...

So you're telling me I'd better let the class I teach from 6:30 - 9:30 out early? :D

Anonymous said...

If you make these assumptions. And you know what they say about assuming...

Jack said...

You have to teach today? And miss the election returns? That's horrible.

I know most aren't, but my college is closed. Probably because its students are even more apathetic about politics than most so that's the only way to get them to vote.

Unknown said...

Hey--we even teach on Labor Day. I'm not kidding.

As for my class, it's even weirder than you might think. I'm using the Reacting to the Past pedagogy out of Barnard College for the current part of the term. That pedagogy involved give-week long role-play exercises, and in this case we're doing the Trial of Galileo for an Astronomy class.

As it worked out, tonight we're scheduled to elect a new Pope. No, I didn't plan it that way. (And no, my students don't believe it was just coincidence either.)

Sarah Lawrence is a very liberal campus, so it's amusing to everyone to have some of my students rooting to a "conservative" victory on Nov. 4. As it turns out, it looks like the conservatives are going to have a very bad night, with a moderate candidate who came out of nowhere (hasn't even been a cardinal for very long) to become the liberal-moderate standard bearer.

Of course, after getting elected tonight, he'll have to govern, and the prospect of war looms large, not to mention a fiscal crisis and those always popular hot-button "cultural" issues, like whether the idea that the Earth goes around the Sun is a threat to traditional values.

No, I'm not making any of that up. I'm not sure the students have quite noted all the parallels yet...I didn't even really think it all through until I wrote this post!

Jack said...

Wow, that is amazingly similar.

And now I know where the "Sarah Lawrence" comes from. Hadn't heard of the school before (to be fair, I hadn't heard of Harvard until around 2007), even if I've been stuck in traffic near there a few times. Apologies if I ever called you Sarah.