Archive for the ‘2012 Campaign’ Category

Oct. 19: Election Odds & Polls

October 19, 2020

Headlines: Trump rallying, Biden bunkering … Hunter mess breaking thru MSM-Big Tech censorship … Obama called in to help

Biden +22.6 in odds, +9.0 in polls      

RCP – Betting Average  of 7 books’ odds
Biden 59.6   Trump 40.9   Lead 18.7

Trump Best:   49.7  49.8   + .1    Sept. 2
Biden Best :
   67.3  32.7  +39.7  Oct. 11


Predict It   online betting site
Biden 65  Trump 39   Lead 26

Trump Best Aug 31:   53 48 +7
Biden Prior Best Oct.11
: 66 39 +27

RCP – Poll of Polls – National
Biden 51.3  Trump 42.6   Lead 8.9
Undecided 6.1

RCP – Poll of Polls – Battlegrounds
Biden 49.2  Trump 44.9  Lead 4.3
Undecided 5.9
538 – Chance of Winning  Nate Silver
Biden 87  Trump 12  Lead 75

NY antibody test results will give us clues about our future health risks…

April 21, 2020

 … and may either vindicate or indict the shut-down.

Last week, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York will begin the “most aggressive” antibody testing in the country this week.

The goal: To determine the true number of people who have been infected by the coronavirus.

Specifically, NY will administer around 14,000 tests this week to a random sample of individuals.

That’s a good thing.


Teaching point: I always coached my students to develop hypotheses before doing analyses or launching a test.

In high uncertainty situations — like the coronavirus infection rate — I nudged them to imagine the high & low results that might be reasonably possible … and, pre-assess the implications at each extreme.

Let’s play that game for NY’s antibody testing…


How Biden & Klobuchar could both become president.

February 14, 2020

Simple: Biden should pre-announce he’s a 1-termer and name Amy as his running mate … and she should gracefully bow out of the 2020 presidential race and run as Joe’s VP.

I hate to give the Dems useful advice, but…

Imagine a Joe Biden that is old but not cognitively challenged … and is nice and well-intended, not influenced by Ukrainian bribes laundered through his ne’er-do-well son.

Or, at least imagine that Biden’s above shortcomings could be sufficiently minimized or obscured so that voters revert to “It’s just Joe being Joe” and give him a pass.

If that were the case, the Dems dream ticket might be Biden-Klobuchar.


Here’s my logic…


You can’t control everything that happens to you but …

December 18, 2018

… you can control the way you respond to everything that happens to you.


That’s one of the admonitions from my adios lecture to my MBA students.

I was amped when Condi Rice used a version of the line in one of her speeches

Other snippets from her speech that caught my eye are below  …


The world is a chaotic and dangerous place. 

The U.S. has since the end of World War II had an answer – we stand for free peoples and free markets, we are willing to support and defend them – we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.

Our friends and allies must be able to trust us. From Israel to Poland to the Philippines to Colombia and across the world — they must know that we are reliable and consistent and determined.  And our adversaries must have no reason to doubt our resolve — because peace really does come through strength.

When the world looks at us today they see an American government that cannot live within its means.  They see a government that continues to borrow money, mortgaging the future of generations to come.  The world knows that when a nation loses control of its finances, it eventually loses control of its destiny.  That is not the America that has inspired others to follow our lead.

The essence of America – that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea — and what an idea it is:  That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.  That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going.

Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement.  We have not believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well.

We have been successful too because Americans have known that one’s status at birth was not a permanent station in life.  You might not be able to control your circumstances but you could control your response to your circumstances

Today, when I can look at your zip code and can tell whether you are going to get a good education – can I really say that it doesn’t matter where you came from – it matters where you are going.  The crisis in K-12 education is a grave threat to who we are.

We need to have high standards for our students – self-esteem comes from achievement not from lax standards and false praise.  And we need to give parents greater choice – particularly poor parents whose kids – most often minorities — are trapped in failing neighborhood schools.

And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America – her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State.

Click to see the video

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Why is the Navy suddenly accident prone?

August 29, 2017

Maybe Romney was right about more than Russia.


A friend and I were chatting about the rash of naval accidents – 3 collisions and a ‘ran aground’.

How can that happen?

Conspiracy theorists wonder if the collisions were intentional acts of terror (remember the USS Cole bombing?) … or the result of computer hacking (military computer systems haven’t been immune from).

So far there hasn’t been any evidence of either terrorism or cyber-attacks.

Regarding the latter, there are back-up systems.

You know, sailors eyes – watching out for ships in the vicinity.


So, what the heck is going on?


Maybe Romney was right about more than Russia.

August 28, 2017

He warned about military readiness, and Obama mocked him.


Remember the 2012 Presidential debates?

Former President Obama mocked Romney for highlighting Russia as a major geo-political risk.

Governor, the 1980’s are calling.

They want their foreign policy back.

The Cold War is over!


click to view



And, when Romney observed that our military strength had been depleted, especially with hot spots developing around the globe, Obama took him to the hoop again.

Romney said; “’Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917.’

Obama quipped::

Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.

We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them.

We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships.

The mainstream press and other Obama supporters took the opportunity to portray Romney as old-fashioned and clueless about modern warfare.


Memo to former President Obama:

FYI:  bayonets are still standard issue for marines … and all branches train recruits on hand-to-hand combat and knife wielding – a close cousin of bayonets – is a part of the training.

And, while horses aren’t a primary means of troop transport, special forces are sometimes forced to use horses to reach some of the tough terrain parts of Afghanistan.


The bigger issue is the size of the Navy’s fleet.

Who’s right on that one: Obama or Romney?

We’ll address that in our next post.


click to view Romney’s remarks and Obama’s mocking rebuke



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What happens if no presidential candidate gets 270 electoral votes?

January 28, 2016

Here’s an interesting twist: what if Michael Bloomberg runs as a 3rd party candidate and siphons some electoral votes from, say Clinton and Trump, keeping them both from attaining the  necessary 270 electoral votes.

Could create a very interesting situation.

bloomberg, mike


So, what happens if none of the presidential candidates gets 270 electoral votes?


What happens if no presidential candidate gets 270 electoral votes?

August 6, 2015

Let’s put another puzzle piece in place re: a wild scenario of how the GOP could prevail even if Trump runs as a 3rd party candidate …

Electoral College


What happens if no presidential candidate gets 270 electoral votes?


Nums: Is predictive analytics winning battles, not wars?

May 3, 2013

Peggy Noonan has a piece in the WSJ today that I almost skipped.

You know, another  “Is Obama a Lame Duck?” piece.

Buried in the column was a riff about predictive analytics that caught my eye.


It pointed out one of the downsides of  predictive analytics … the craft  of crunching big data bases to ID people, their behaviors and their hot buttons.

Here’s what Noonan had to say …


Now that the dust has settled, reflect: Your “I Voted” sticker worth its weight in gold … probably more

November 16, 2012

Punch line: They’re everywhere on election day: “I Voted” stickers.

If almost everybody’s got one, it feels pointless to put one on your own sleeve.

But actually, the fact that everybody’s got one is the point.

* * * * *
Excerpted from The Atlantic’s, “Why the ‘I Voted’ Sticker Matters”

I Voted Sticker

At a pure cost-benefit level, it’s hard to justify taking hours out of your day to cast a single vote.

And yet, we vote. We vote because we think it’s important.

We vote because we care about our country and our rights. We vote because it makes us feel good.

People like being seen having voted.

And that’s where the “I Voted” sticker comes in.

The “I Voted” sticker is a signal and an advertisement.

It binds people together … and reminds others to join the group.

Tens of millions of people will vote in every presidential election whether there are free stickers or free cookies.

But beyond these intrinsically interested voters are countless more citizens who need motivation to show up at the ballot box.

The “I Voted” sticker’s value — and its motivation — is purely social.

And to the extent that it might actually get some marginal Americans to the polls, it’s also priceless.

Edit by JDC

Without youth vote, Obama would have lost election … oh, really?

November 14, 2012

Let’s work through this one slowly …

First, everybody knows that “It’s the Economy, Stupid”.

And,  CNBC says Economy Stinks for Many, But It’s Crushing Millennials

More specifically, CNBC reports:

  • While the continued economic slump hobbles many Americans, the downturn is crushing young people.
  • Almost half of millennials —those between 18 and 34 — think they’ll be worse off than their parents.
  • The unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds for October was 10.8 percent, higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.9 percent,
  • More than half (57 percent) of young people would like to be working and earning more.
  • Among millennials, more than half (56 percent) reported annual pretax incomes below $30,000.
  • And, just half (53 percent) are working in their chosen fields.
  • Millennials voted this week with the economy on their minds: They cited unemployment (49 %) and rising prices (37 %) as the most pressing economic issues they face.
  • Voters under 30 also cited taxes and housing as important issues.

So, you might expect millennials to vote for Romney, right?

Not so fast.

= = = = =

According to US News: Without Youth Vote, Obama Would Have Lost Election

  • At 19%, Young people between the ages of 18 and 29 made up a bigger share of the electorate on Tuesday than they did in past elections.
  • And, President Obama overwhelmingly won that group compared to Mitt Romney.


Are Millennials stupid, or something?

Again, not so fast.

= = = = =

According to CNN’s exit polls, Obama won 18-29 year old voters by 21 points … 59% to 38%.

But, there’s more to the story.

Romney won a slim majority of white 19 to 24 year olds … 51% to 44%.

But, Obama swamped Romney with young Blacks (91%) and young Latinos (74%).

So, the driver is more Obama’s strength with Blacks and Latinos than his strength with the youth vote.

Maybe, some white Millennials did vote the economy.


And, tere’s still more to the story.

= = = = =

What’s up with “Other”?

Note that 4% of the 19 to 24 year olds voted for candidates other than Romney or Obama.

My hunch is that most of those votes went to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, not Rosanne Barr.

Doing the math, 4% of the votes … of 18% of voters … equals almost .72% of the total vote.

That’s almost 1% in a 2.5% race …  a big deal, right?


Gallup: Largest gender gap in recorded history … oh, really?

November 13, 2012

Here we go again …

Gallup’s headline “2012 election had the largest gender gap in recorded history

  • The gender gap in the 2012 presidential election was the largest since Gallup began tracking the metric in 1952.
  • Obama won women by 12 percentage points, while Mitt Romney won men by 8. That’s a 20-point gender gap.
  • 2012 was the fifth straight election to feature a double-digit gender gap.

OK, CNN’s topline numbers do, in fact say that Obama won women by 10 points and that Romney won men by 9 points … a gender gap of 19 points.


= = = = =
But, digging deeper, Romney may have lost “women” by 10 points, but he won white women by 14 points.

Romney got shellacked with Black and Latino women … but, at a rate that’s comparable to the shellacking that he took with Black and Latino men.

Said differently, it looks to me like the racial divide is driving the numbers, not gender.



= = = = =
Note also that married women – in aggregate – favored Romney … by 14 points.

Proportionately more white women are married … suggesting again that race may be driving the apparent gender differences.

At least, that’s what the numbers say …


Even in the era of Moneyball politics, pundits still have a place

November 13, 2012

Punch Line: While political “Sabermetrics” has its value, people still want to indulge their biases and opinions. This ensures that pundits are in no danger of losing their jobs anytime soon.

* * * * *

Excerpted from Forbes’, “Political Junk Food: Why Pundits Will Survive the Moneyball Election”

Moneyball politics

This year’s election already seems to have a name, and that’s the Moneyball election.

While this is true … I don’t agree with the growing notion that this election could mark the beginning of the end for professional political pundit.

Think about it: it’s well-known that people of all political leanings tend to seek out information that reinforces their pre-existing beliefs.

Fox News, MSNBC, Drudge and The Daily Show all know this to their very core, and while some of us try to sustain ourselves on a respectable media diet full of journalistic fiber … only the most disciplined of us doesn’t periodically want to throw in a helping of a political Twinkie.

Just as ten years after the Moneyball revolution all baseball organizations still employ scouts, ten years from now news networks will still have plenty of talking heads.

Edit by JDC

A Pyrrhic Victory: We nailed the election’s “Rosetta Stone” … really!

November 12, 2012

My official forecast was wrong, but I did post what was, perhaps, the key decoding ring for the election.

Here’s what I said on November 3 in my post The election’s “Rosetta Stone” … really!

The polls have been bouncing all over the place, and pundits are broadly whining that the reason is difference in “turnout models”.

That is, how many more (or less) Democrats will show up to vote for Obama.

To understand the issue, I framed a related – but inverted — analysis by asking the question: by how much does Dem turnout (in swing states particularly) have to exceed GOP turnout for Obama to win?

The answer: Dem turnout has to be more than about 4 percentage points higher than GOP turnout for Obama to win.

Here’s my summary chart … below it are the assumptions and analytical logic.

From the chart: if Dem turnout is about 8 percentage points more than GOP turnout (as it was in 2008), Obama wins by about 4%; if Dem turnout is less than 4 percentage points greater than the GOP’s, Obama loses.

It’s as simple as that …

But, like many others,I thought that GOP enthusiasm would drive turnout and keep the spread to less than 4%.

Exit polls put the differential at about 6%.

Looking back, the enthusiasm was either overstated, or enthusiasm doesn’t necessarily drive turnout.

Right analysis; wrong core assumption.

The red line is what happened …


Did the multi-billion dollar Presidential campaigns even matter?

November 11, 2012

Even I recognize that Dick Morris is a partisan blowhard … and, that his election prediction – a Romney landslide — was off the wall.

Still, he sometimes provides some interesting perspective.

He’s now saying: The Campaign Made No Difference

He asserts that:

The months and months of campaigning, the hundreds of millions of TV advertising, the incessant travel schedules of the candidates, and the vigorous efforts of both sides to get their vote out made little or no difference in the outcome of the Election of 2012.

[All that really mattered were events and demographics].

Only two states — North Carolina and Indiana — changed sides.

The change in Obama’s vote share from ’08 to ’12 was pretty much the same whether it was in a swing state or not. The obsessive campaigning in swing states did not seem to have much effect.

Well over 80 percent of the television advertising at the presidential level was directed at key swing states. The candidates visited them over and over, cycling back around every few days. Obama and Romney rarely set foot outside these swing states.

And it didn’t work.

In the swing states, all of which Obama carried in 2008, his vote share dropped by 2.1 percent from ’08 to ’12. In the twenty-one other non-swing states Obama carried — where neither candidate did much campaigning — his vote share drop was almost the same: 2.4 percent.

Among states McCain carried in 2008 (plus Indiana), the drop in Obama’s vote share was more significant: 3.2 percent.

Nor would it have made a difference if Obama’s vote share fell in the swing states by the same 2.4 percent that it fell in the non-swing states that went for Obama (as opposed to the 2.1 percent decline that in fact happened in the swing states). The 0.3 percent change would not have moved a single state to Romney from Obama.

It is astonishing that the almost one billion dollars spent advertising in eight states did very little to move the vote share.

So if ads and candidate campaigning did not move the dial, what did?

Even the vaunted ground games of the two parties didn’t do much.

Voter turnout was eleven million lower than in 2008 — reversing the upward trends of the past four elections — and Obama’s vote share change from ’08 to ’12 was about the same in states where vigorous get out the vote campaigns raged and in those where they did not.

[Two things drove the election: events and demographics.]

Events — the debates, the conventions, the storm coverage, Benghazi, the state of the economy, jobs data — mattered.

And, demographic voting is the new norm in America. You vote based on who you are, not where you live or how well each campaign has articulated its case. 93% of blacks, 70% of Latinos, 60% of those under 30, and 62% of single people, voted for Obama. And white married couples over 30 years of age voted for Romney. Not much else matters.

Our votes are predictable based on our race, ethnicity, age, and marital status well before anybody does any campaigning.


If Morris is right, maybe all candidates should be required to accept Federal campaign funds, and be restricted to them.

Still wouldn’t have an effect on outcomes … and would save a ton of money.

It’s Sunday … So, how did the religious folks vote?

November 11, 2012

Last Sunday, I posted: It’s Sunday, so forget the ‘war on women’ … the ‘war on religion’ may turn the election.

I argued that religious folks would be out in force to vote against Obama because of his support of same-sex marriage and his mandating that Catholic organizations would have to  provide free birth control to employees – in an apparent violation of religious rights.

I said that Evangelicals would vote for Romney in droves; that a majority of Catholics would vote Romney; that Obama’s Jewish support was less certain than in 2008, and that Mormons would support their favorite son.

Well, what happened?

According to a Pew Poll:

  • Evangelicals did get to the voting booth and voted almost 80% for Romney.
  • Overall, Obama got 50% of the Catholic vote, but that’s a bit deceptive since he only got 40% of the white Catholic vote; his ace-in-the-hole were Hispanic Catholics who voted 3 to 1 for Obama
  • Jewish voters were less enthusiastic for Obama than they were in 2008, but still supported him 2 to 1 despite his lukewarm support for Israel.
  • Mormons gave Romney almost 80% of their votes … (Note: way less than the 93% that blacks gave to Obama.)

Pretty much as expected, except for the Hispanic Catholics who voted Hispanic, not Catholic …  and the 20% of Mormons who didn’t vote for Romney.


“A majority of Americans agree that we should raise taxes on the wealthy” … oh, really?

November 10, 2012

During his presser on Friday, President Obama said:

A tax increase for wealthier Americans “was a central question during the election — it was debated over and over again, and on Tuesday night, we found out that a majority of Americans agree with my approach,” he declared.


Either a non sequitor or flat out wrong.

Based on CNN’s exiting polling ….

Overall, 47% said to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Hmmm … that “47%” number sounds familiar, doesn’t it? 


Not to get picky, but …

47% doesn’t constitute a majority … 48% said to either raise taxes on everybody (13%) or nobody (35%).

Drilling down a bit …

Yes, 70% of Obama voters say to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Why’s that?

Well, about 75% of Obama supporters have incomes less than $100k … so they are essentially saying: tax the other guy in order to preserve my benefits.

Doesn’t surprise me that they like the idea.

  • Math note: 72% X 54% = 39% / 52% (total % vote) = 75%

The majority of folks who would be impacted aren’t quite as keen on the idea.


Bottom line: I don’t see Obama’s “mandate” for jacking up taxes in the numbers …

Don’t fret about the amount of national debt being passed to the younger generation …

November 9, 2012

Based on this week’s vote totals, they don’t seem concerned.

A clear majority of them voted for Obama.

The way I see it, they’re signing up for their share of the debt.

The generational transfer of government debt is officially off my worry list.

= = = = =

Side note: Doesn’t look like Seniors were MediScared …


At least I wasn’t the only person blindsided … Romney was, too.

November 9, 2012

A reliable source tells me that the CBS report  Romney “shellshocked” by loss is pretty much on the money …

The essence of the article:

  • The campaign was highly confident of victory … in part, because of the huge rally crowds in final days
  • Their internal polling showed them leading in key states … largely driven by turnout assumptions
  • They believed intellectually that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.
  • They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time – poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats
  • Romney didn’t have a prepared concession speech … he was confident
  • At the time, prelim exit polls didn’t signal a problem … looking back, there were some signs, e.g. Northern VA turnouts
  • Shock hit when actual returns started coming in … North Carolina was the canary in the coal mine.

= = = = =
“Team Romney made three key miscalculations, in part because this race bucked historical trends”:

1. Turnout. They expected it to be between 2004 and 2008 levels, with a plus-2 or plus-3 Democratic electorate, instead of plus-7 as it was in 2008. Their assumptions were wrong on both sides:

  • The president’s base turned out and Romney’s did not.
  • More African-Americans voted in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida than in 2008.
  • And fewer Republicans did: Romney got just over 2 million fewer votes than John McCain.

2. Independents. State polls showed Romney winning big among independents.

  • Historically, any candidate polling that well among independents wins.
  • But as it turned out, many of those independents were former Republicans who now self-identify as independents.
  • The state polls weren’t oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans – there just weren’t as many Republicans this time because they were calling themselves independents.

3. Undecided voters.  Romney was counting on that trend to continue. Instead, exit polls show Mr. Obama won among people who made up their minds on Election Day and in the few days before the election.

  • The perception is they always break for the challenger, since people know the incumbent and would have decided already if they were backing him.
  • But. maybe Romney, after running for six years, was in the same position as the incumbent.

The other election battle: CNN edges Fox (kinda) … MSNBC a distant 3rd.

November 9, 2012


According to Ad Age

CNN Narrowly Wins Cable News Ratings Race on Election Night

For the time period 7 p.m. until 2 a.m.

  • CNN  … 8.8 million viewers
  • Fox News  … close second with 8.7 million viewers.
  • MSNBC … distant 3rd with 4.6 million .

For prime time 8 p.m. through 11 p.m.

  • Fox won … averaged 11.5 million viewers …  its highest prime-time viewership in history.
  • Fox  …  only cable news network with an increase in viewership from the 2008 election ( 9 million viewers)
  • CNN …  9.3 million prime-time viewers, 25% fewer than in 2008
  • MSNBC …  4.7 million prime-time viewers, down 21% from 2008.

Peak viewership 11 p.m. hour

  • CNN …  10.8 million
  • Fox …10.1 million

Technical point: Fox was triple feeding some parts of the night to Fox Business and Fox Network

Interesting point: Obama cruised, but MSNBC only got about 20% of the CNN-FOX-MSNBC pool of voters.  I would have expected that to be way higher.

What was the most important issue when you cast your vote?

November 9, 2012

According to a CBS exit poll, 60% voters who cast ballots said the economy was the most important issue in their vote.

That make sense.

But, an astounding 42% of the people in the CBS exit poll said Hurricane Sandy was an important factor in their vote and that Obama handled the emergency well.

Say what?


Demonstrating their conviction, these folks backed Obama by a better than two-to-one margin.

More astounding: 15% said it was the most important factor in Obama’s winning their vote.

This guy – and most others on Staten Island – probably weren’t in in the 15%.


= = = = =
Ken’s Take:

Great play by Team Obama … a twofer.

Got some votes against Romney and ended Christie’s 2016 presidential bid.

Could be worse … you could be a coalminer.

November 8, 2012

Not only to you make a living busting your butt and breathing coal dust, but the Feds are trying to put you out of business.

Or, you could be a mining company or one of its shareholders.

Overall market was down 2.3% yesterday – the day after the election.

Coal stocks dived 5.5%



What one word describes your reaction to the election results?

November 8, 2012

Pew asked that question …


  • Obama voters said they were “relieved” and “happy.”
  • Romney voters generally said they were “disappointed” or “sad”.

What’s your word?


Groundhog Day … get used to the New Normal

November 7, 2012

As Nick Cannon would say on America’s Got Talent; “America has voted”.

Most amazing is that after $2 billion in campaign spending, hundreds of speeches, and much hand wrenching … we’re right back where we started … with a stagnant economy, a government fiscal crisis, and a government that doesn’t work.

Same Obama, same Senate, same House.

Some specific morning after thoughts …

  1. President Obama … big win … but may be one the biggest losers … he’s facing a political & economic mess
  2. Romney …  gave it a good shot … but in the end, he was right: 47% wouldn’t vote for him under any circumstances
  3. Nate Silver nailed it … somehow, averaging a bunch of bad numbers can give you good numbers … gotta admire the guy for sticking to his analytical convictions.
  4. Michael Barone & Peggy Noonan … two of the savviest political observers around – one a quant, one a qual – missed it big … that surprises me.
  5. Chris Christie may be the biggest loser … though I don’t think his wet kissing Obama was determining, it ended any hopes that Christie may have for the Presidency … many in the GOP will blame him and never forget.
  6. Marco Rubio … would have made a difference in Florida … and incrementally with Hispanics … but not nearly enough to change the outcome.
  7. Hillary Clinton … if she survives Benghazigate, she’s odds on favorite in 2016 … especially since Bubba stepped up for Obama
  8. GOP candidates … who in there right mind would run for President? … Romney is a good & decent guy … and he got savaged by the successful politics of personal destruction … we’ll continue to have a Presidential talent drain
  9. Independents …  polls showed them favoring Romney by 10 points … exit polls are saying Obama broke even or won them … how did that happen?
  10. Catholics … apparently broke for Obama … and now, lose their legitimacy to whine when their religious rights get trampled.

My basic prediction was very wrong … I said “Romney wins popular vote 51.5% to 48.5% …. and wins about 285 electoral votes.”

But, I hit one of the  most important nails on the head when I said:

“ I don’t underestimate the “power of free” … the nation may have reached the tipping point … it’s Obama’s ace in the hole.”

I should have listened more carefully to myself.

People like when other people buy them things.

Cut to the chase, and that was the election determinant … keep the government checks coming …  non-contributory entitlements, cushy government jobs and pensions, etc.

As Maggie Thatcher would say, though: “What happens when the other people run out of money?”

Also,  I’m sticking with my prediction: stock market down 30% in the next 12 months … maybe faster … even though many more knowledgeable gurus disagree.

My view: it’s time to play defensively … not much upside to gamble for … and if there were upside, it’s going to get taxed  away any way.

That’s not investment advice … just one man’s  point-of-view,

In the 2016 campaign the issues will be the same: stagnant economy, high energy costs, low full-time employment (lots of temps & part-timers), fiscal cliff, bankrupted entitlements ineffective education system and, oh yeah, high inflation.

That sound you hear is the clanging of the can being kicked down the road

An electorate mood metric … interest in settling a tie.

November 6, 2012

Have you noticed which Homa Files posts have monopolized the Homa Files “Top Posts” list for the past couple of days?

The list below is automatically calculated, it’s not my sort.

The high interest is in the handling of an electoral tie … reinforcing that most folks think this one is really deadlocked.

If you haven’t already done so, click to see the answer …


The final polls … for the record.

November 6, 2012

We’ll sort out the bragging rights when the dust settles … but, for the record:

3 polls give the nod to Romney: Rasmussen, Gallup, and NPR.

  • That’s interesting since one leans center-right (Rasmussen), one leans center-left (Gallup), and one leans left (NPR)

6 polls give the nod to Obama: IBD/TIPP, ABC/WashPost, NBC/WSJ, Pew, CBS/NYT, National Journal.

  • IBD leans right, Pew is down the middle, other 4 lean left

4 polls call it a tie: Politico/Battleground, CNN, Monmouth, Fox

  • Politico leans left, CNN leans center-left, Fox leans right, and I have no idea re: Monmouth

= = = = =

Nate Silver is calling it a landslide for Obama: 313 to 225; 50.8 % of popular vote; 90.9% chance of winning.

Intrade & Betfair have Obama a heavy favorite … 73.4 to 26.5.

= = = = =

Michael Barone calls it a landslide for Romney 315 to 223.

= = = = =

Homa Files calls for Romney to win the popular vote 51.5% to 48.5% …. and win about 285 electoral votes.

* * * * * *




More on how the “war on religion” might turn the election …

November 6, 2012

On Sunday, we posted: Forget the ‘war on women’ … the ‘war on religion’ may turn the election

We argued that Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons would be critical in today’s election.

There’s more evidence that Catholics – who voted 54% for Obama in 2008 – are breaking for Romney.

IBD/TIPP Daily Tracking Poll

Catholic voters are breaking for Romney.

He now holds a 17-point lead among this group, up from just 1 point in the Oct. 28 poll.

= = = = =

One religious group I overlooked were the Amish.

From The World :

Getting out the Amish vote: Turnout may prove pivotal in Ohio and Pennsylvania

Ohio and Pennsylvania are nearly tied in hosting the largest populations of Amish in the United States, at around 60,000 each.

The largest single settlement of Amish is centered on Holmes County in central Ohio.

Amish usually align with conservatives, supporting fewer taxes, pro-life values, and traditional marriage.

Their mantra this year: Your country needs you to do more than pray … vote.”

They focus on President Obama’s support for abortion and same-sex “marriage.” “They were just appalled at what Obama had done,” Miller said.

Amish concern for marriage, religious freedom, and the sanctity of life will motivate large numbers to walk or ride a carriage to the polls, or mail in absentee ballots …  giving Republican candidate Mitt Romney the few extra votes he needs to win Ohio.

Tonight,  60,000 may just look like a very big number.

Early report on Ohio turnout … and one VA precinct.

November 6, 2012

From a very reliable source:

“Overall, early vote turnout OH up 2.44% in state.

Down -4.1% in Obama/Kerry counties;

up 14.39% in Bush/McCain counties.”

= = = = =


Great Falls probably not projectable, but very, very  long lines at 10:30.

Old timers say “historic” turnout.

Had to implement a supplemental paper ballot track to move people thru.

Romney table outside brought a lifetime supply of Mitt stickers … and went out-of-stock around 11 a.m.

Why the polls are likely to be proven wrong … giving Obama “false positives”

November 6, 2012

I’m going out on a limb today …

I think that the polls have been reporting some false positives for Obama … that is, reporting numbers more favorable than the reality for the President.

Importantly, I’m not suggesting bias by the pollsters.  I give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re trying to do a fair & square job.

But, I think that there’s some systematic respondent bias.  That is, some surveyed people are refusing to respond to polls … and, others are given answers that might not be truthful.

I don’t think the “refusers” are a random sample.

And, I think that some people are giving “comfortable” answers that may not mesh with their true feelings.

First, let me summarize a couple of things that I noticed in the past couple of days.

= = = = =
The Catholic Robo-call

Yesterday, I got a very impactful robo-call from a Catholic Religious Rights group.

Well targeted since I’m Catholic and a proponent of religious rights.

Opening line: “Tomorrow, it will be just you and your conscience in the voting booth.”

I wanted to hang up, but I was hooked.

The message: the ObamaCare contraception mandate was about more than contraception … it’s government over-ruling religious beliefs.

= = = = =
A note to a stiff-necked people

Later yesterday, I noticed a web article by David Mamet from the Jewish Journal.

The essence of the article is that Obama isn’t supportive of Jewish principles – except for social justice – so a Jewish vote for him is unprincipled.

Here’s the full post:

To those Jews planning to vote for Obama:

Are you prepared to explain to your children not the principles upon which your vote is cast, but its probable effects upon them?

Irrespective of your endorsement of liberal sentiments, of fairness and “more equal distribution,” will you explain to your children that top-down economic policies will increasingly limit their ability to find challenging and well-paid work, and that the diminution in employment and income will decrease their opportunity to marry and raise children?

Will you explain (as you have observed) that a large part of their incomes will be used to fund programs that they may find immoral, wasteful and/or indeed absurd? And that the bulk of their taxes go to no programs at all, but merely service the debt you entailed on them?

Will you tell your children that a liberal government will increasingly marginalize, dismiss and weaken the support for and the safety of the Jewish state?

Will you tell them that, in a state-run economy, hard work may still be applauded, but that it will no longer be rewarded?

Will you explain that whatever their personal beliefs, tax-funded institutions will require them to imbibe and repeat the slogans of the left, and that, should they differ, they cannot have a career in education, medicine or television unless they keep their mouths shut

Will you explain to them that it is impossible to make a budget, and that the basic arithmetic we all use at the kitchen table is not practiced at the federal and state level, and to suggest that it should be is “selfishness?”

Most importantly, will you teach them never to question the pronouncements of those in power, for to do so is to risk ostracism?

Are you prepared to sit your children down and talk them through your vote on the future you are choosing for them?

Please remember that we have the secret ballot and, should you, on reflection, vote in secret for a candidate you would not endorse in public, you will not be alone.

Note the last line and its similarity to the Catholic robo-call that I got

= = = = =
Des Moines Register Poll

Karl Rove was asked how he can be confident that Romney will win Iowa since the Des Moines Register’s latest poll has Obama up by 5 points.

His response:

“I think there’s something going on out there and we saw it in the Des Moines Register poll.

The women who runs the Des Moines Register, who knows the state intimately, told me “Obama is ahead by 5 points, but 5% of our sample said “I’ve made a choice but I won’t tell you who it is”.

The Des Moines Register is a very liberal Democratic paper, so I doubt those people are are for Obama.”


Folks unwilling to tell a pollster the whole truth.

= = = = =
Poll response rates

Over the weekend we posted a Pew analysis that says survey response rates – the percentage of called people willing to take a survey – is down to under 10%.

Pew says there’s no systematic difference between Democrats and Republicans.

MJ, a loyal reader, emailed me asking if I believed that.

My reply: “Those are the numbers, but my gut tells me that response rates are higher among Democrats.”

My answer was subconsciously recalling that past exit poll fiascos have been partially explained by Republicans being less willing to take exit polls … for philosophical reasons … and because they need to rush off to work.

= = = = =
Rasmussen Polls

I mentioned in my final prediction poll that I’ve been intrigued that Rasmussen – an automated phone survey – always seems to score Obama lower than tradition person-to-person phone interviews.

In that post Iasked “wonder why?”

After posing the prediction, I noticed a WSJ piece reprising  the “Bradley Effect” … people saying that they’re voting for a minority candidate – even though they don’t intend to … so that the interviewer wouldn’t think that they’re prejudiced against minorities.

I don’t think the Bradley Effect was evident in 2008 … I think practically all folks were giving pro-Obama responses because they really intended to vote for Obama.

For at least some folks, I’m not so sure that’s the case in 2012.

It’s much easier to “punch 2 if you’re voting for Romney” tnan to tell it to an interviewer who you think may be judging you based on your answer.

= = = = =

Bottom line

My hunch is that some people are ducking surveys –- evidenced by the very low response rates –- to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

Rather than declare that they’re going to vote for Romney, and risk interviewer displeasure, they’d just as soon refuse to be interviewed.

For those who agree to be interviewed, if they plan to vote for Romney, they may falsely report they’re voting for Obama … just to give the interviewer politically correct answers.

Similarly, some folks in groups that are broadly pro-Obama (think Manet’s editorial above) are just staying silent until they get in the voting booth.

I may be totally off base, but the anecdotes above can’t be just coincidences.

We’ll know tonite or tomorrow.

Couple of safe predictions:

(1) If Romney wins big, everyone will ask :”How could the polls be so wrong?”

(2) Every pundit will dance around the issue – highlighting turnout numbers by party – and avoid the above explanation like a plague.

But the people still like him … well, not so much.

November 6, 2012

Buried in the final Battleground Poll

Frequent pundit riff: People might not like his policies, but they still like him as a person.

Not so fast.

Polling says:

  • Mitt ties Obama on strong favorables
  • Obama’s strong unfavorables are 5 points higher than Mitt’s
  • Obama is 2 points upside down
  • Mitt is plus-3 strong favorables over strong unfavorables.


Nate Silver’s last stand …

November 6, 2012

For the record, here’s NY Times Nate Silver’s last prediction before the polls open.

Well, technically, first prediction since the polls opened in a couple of upper New England villages.

Silver probably has more to win or lose than Obama today.

The self-proclaimed smartest and last honest pollster in the world is calling for an Obama landslide.

If Obama delivers, Silver will be the pollster of all pollsters.

If Obama flames, Silver will be back cranking out baseball statistics.

Part of today’s drama.

Tick, tick, tick,



More re: turnout forecasts …

November 6, 2012

According to

Rasmussen’s national polling of party affiliation now shows the biggest Republican advantage since at least 2004:

  • R = 39.1%
  • D = 33.3%
  • I  = 27.5%

In modern times, the GOP has never had a turnout advantage in a presidential election.

The closest they came was drawing even with Democrats at 37 percent in 2004.

Given Romney’s lead with independents, if GOP stays even with Dem turnout, Romney wins.

If the GOP hits Rasmussen’s numbers, it’s a landslide.

Final Gallup: Romney by a point, 49-48

November 5, 2012

Romney 49%, Obama 48% in Gallup’s Final Election Survey

Also: Early voting so far breaks 49% for Obama and 48% for Romney



OK, here’s my official prediction … and my rationale.

November 5, 2012

Romney … wins popular vote, for sure

… wins an electoral college squeaker

…  Wisconsin seals the win; upset in Pennsylvania ; Ohio won’t matter.

= = = = =
More specifically, I see the probabilities:

  • 15% Romney wins electoral college in a landslide & wins popular vote
  • 40% Romney wins electoral college in a squeaker & wins popular vote
  • 25% Obama wins electoral college in a squeaker, but loses popular vote
  • 20% Obama wins electoral college in a squeaker & wins popular vote
  • 0%   Obama wins electoral college in a landslide & wins popular vote

So, to summarize:

  • 55% chance that Romney wins electoral college
  • 80% chance that Romney wins popular vote
  • 45% chance that Obama wind electoral college
  • 20% chance that Obama wins popular vote

Best guess: Romney wins popular vote 51.5% to 48.5% …. and wins about 285 electoral votes.

= = = = =
Critical Factors

  1. The 50% threshold … Romney may be right that 47% won’t vote for him under any circumstances … but, there have been a gazillion polls and, in very few polls, has Obama hit the magic 50%+1 … I buy the conventional wisdom that an incumbent rarely exceeds the last poll ratings … undecideds will break 3 to 1 for Romney.
  2. Independents … Romney’s edge seems solid at about 10 points … and, there seem to be a lot of independents out there … may be the only “clean” polling data
  3. Turnout … the thrill is gone … at worst, turnout will be Dems +4% … I expect GOP to come close to equaling Dem turnout in key swing states
  4. Intensitysurveys say that the GOP has a 10 point lead in enthusiasm & intensity … if true, that’s worth 2% to 3% in the vote.
  5. Religious groupsEvangelicals have lined up behind Romney; a strong minority of Catholics will still support Obama  – but that will be down from the 54% that he got in ‘08; folks are overlooking the Mormon factor – they vote GOP and will bloc vote this election; and, they are industrious, trained missionaries and know how to go door-to-door
  6. Obama defections … still haven’t met anybody who voted McCain and now voting for Obama … Wash Post says 16% are going the other direction … hat’s a big swing.
  7. Hispanics … Obama will win them big, but maybe not big enough … as the Univision guy said: “You didn’t keep your promise.” … that might shave some points and keep some Hispanics home.
  8. Military … Colin Powell & Wesley Clark are Obama supporters, but over 300 retired generals & admirals support Romney … I expect military-related people to overwhelmingly vote for Romney … impacts Virginia (ships) and Ohio (tanks).
  9. Tea Party … has been flying under the radar … almost nothing written about them … in polls, 20 to 25% of folks say they support the Tea Party …. I expect they’ll be a force on election day … ditto for the NRA and Chamber of Commerce
  10. The economy, Benghazi, ObamaCare … all have to be taking a toll on Obama … question is how big a toll?

= = = = =

Soft Stuff

  1. Hurricane Sandy sucked much of the air out of the stretch run … but, positives seem to be dissipating for Obama … good that Christie give Romney a shout out Sunday night
  2. Rasmussen … I’m intrigued that Rasmussen – an automated phone survey system – always scores Obama a couple of points lower than the personal interview surveys … hmmm … wonder why?
  3. I got 6 GOTV calls on Friday and 5 on Saturday … from the NRP, Romney campaign, Allen campaign, Americans for Prosperity, Christian coalition, Catholic Rights Coalition, Gov. McDonnell, Pat Boone … Dem’s GOTV can’t be better than that
  4. Clinton drew under 2,000 at an Ohio rally … Obama drew only 4,000 in Mentor, Ohio … Romney drew over 30,000 in Cincinnati, more  in Philly, event moved to VA Patriot Center today because of crowd size … I’ve seen cherry-picked interviews with folks who say they came to see Springsteen, not Obama …  for sure, nobody’s coming to Mitt rallies just to see Meat Loaf
  5. On the stump: Romney is looking Presidential (tie & positive message) … Obama is open-collared, whining, attacking, looking tired … may just be me, but I see debate #1 being replayed in the closing arguments.
  6. I know I’m biased, but Obama’s closing argument isn’t very compelling: “Yeah, things are bad, but would have been even worse.” … Benghazi neutralized the bin Laden kill … auto bailout is a strong wedge, but largely a non-issue except for NW Ohio and unions
  7. Vote for revenge” handed Romney a final days’ gift … on par with 47%, with worse timing.
  8. At the moment of truth, I think many people at the margin will gamble with Romney rather than signing up for another 4 years of malaise.
  9. But, I don’t underestimate the “power of free” … the nation may have reached the tipping point … it’s Obama’s ace in the hole
  10. Regardless of the outcome, it’s going to get ugly … neither side will be gracious in defeat.

= = = = =
Gut Check

I don’t give investment advice, but …

I think that – in the next 6 months — the stock market will go up 20% if Romney is elected and down 30% (sooner rather than later) if Obama is elected.

From the above, I think the probabilities of winning are 55% for Romney to 45% for Obama.

So, expected values are:

  • Romney = 55% x 20% = 11% upside
  • Obama =   45% x 30% = (13.5%) downside.
  • Net expected value = (2.5%) loss

Bottom line: I sold mucho stocks into the rally a couple of weeks ago.

I figure that if Mitt wins I can buy back in and just miss part of the upside.

If Obama wins, I didn’t want to be caught holding stocks.

= = = = =
OK, I’m on the record!

Let’s see what happens …

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CNN Final: Tied, but Mitt leads with Independents by 22.

November 5, 2012

The CNN headline is “Deadlocked at 49%”

The polls’ internals tell a different story.



To get the tie, CNN uses a turnout mix that’s Dems +11% … 3 points higher than 2008.

Nobody is predicting that.

Even at Dems  +11 Romney ties … thanks to a 59% to 37% lead with Independents.

Bottom line: Based on the CNN internals, if turnout is the same mix as 2008 (Dems +8%), Romney wins by 2.5%



Are all likely voters likely to vote?

November 5, 2012

Prediction: this will be a year when polls take a beating.

In the stretch run, all the polls shift to “likely voters”.

Each poll has a different method for categorizing a respondent as a likely voter

The two prevalent metrics are (1) did they vote in 2008, and (2) do they say they’re going to vote

I think that both measures may be suspect this year.

First, it’s commonly reported that many of Obama’s 2008 voters will stay home this year.  Think, college students.

Second, self-reporting typically overstates likelihood to vote.  Its a common survey bias – folks don’t want to admit that they’re going to skip their civic duty.

Third, this is an election that will be determined by turnout.

Dems have an info systems advantage and have a strong ground game – largely driven by unions and paid organizations.

GOP has an old school GOTV system – driven by volunteers and church groups … and, the GOP seems to have a significant enthusiasm advantage.

We’ll see what prevails on Tuesday … new school data-driven micro-targeting  and internet social networking or old school grind-it-out person-to-person mobilization.

Whichever prevails, it’ll be a classic case study.

Lightning strike: “Are you willing to take a 5-minute survey?”

November 5, 2012

That’s the question I was asked yesterday.

When I said OK, the surveyor said “Really? Thank you so much.”

Got me thinking about why the polls have been bouncing around so much and why the many polls often seem contradictory.

Maybe the answer is that maybe, just maybe, the polls aren’t as representative as they’d like to believe.

Turns out that Pew did a study of survey responsiveness.


In the old days, about 1 in 3 people would do surveys.

At the time, that was considered an alarmingly low rate.

These days, the response rate is under 10%.

That means that it’s harder and most costly for survey firms to build their samples.

And, it raises questions about respondents … are they, in fact, representative of the world?

For the record, Pew says that Dems and Republicans have equal propensity to respond to surveys.

= = = = =

Do you own a German Shepard ?

Highlight of the interview was when our dog Captain started barking in the background.

The interviewer asked if I owned a German Shepard.

I asked “Is that one of your classification variables?  Do you find that GS owners are more or less likely to vote for Obama?”

She didn’t think it was funny.

Some bar stool economics

November 5, 2012

A variant of an old tale that’s making the email rounds…


Suppose that every day, ten men go out for a beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go  something like this:

  • The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
  • The fifth would pay $1.00.
  • The sixth would pay $3.00.
  • The seventh would pay $7.00.
  • The eighth would pay $12.00.
  • The ninth would pay $18.00.
  • The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.00.

So that’s what they decided to do.

The men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.00.”

Drinks for the ten men now cost just $80.00!

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected.  They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men – the paying customers?

How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would pay their “fair share”?

They calculated that $20.00 divided by six is $3.33.

But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being PAID to drink beer.

That didn’t seem right.

The bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same percentage.

Under the bar owners plan:

  • The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
  • The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
  • The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
  • The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
  • The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
  • The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before!

And the first four continued to drink for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar back out of the $20 savings,” declared the sixth man.

He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” shouted the seventh man.  “Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2?  The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison.  “We didn’t get anything at all.  This system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him.

But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important.

They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works.

The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas,  somewhere the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

David R. Kamerschen, PH. D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

* * * * *
BTW: Atlas Shrugged Part 2 opens in theaters October 12th

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Media leans left, leans right …

November 5, 2012

Interesting tidbit from Pew

OK, Fox leans right … 46% of its Obama coverage is negative …

… but, 71% of MSNBC’s coverage of Romney is negative.

Pew says that “These skews made MSNBC & Fox unusual among channels or outlets that identified themselves as news organizations.”


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Swing states … deadlocked, except in enthusiasm.

November 4, 2012

According to Gallup and USA Today

Romney & Obama remain deadlocked in the swing states …


= = = = =

… but, the GOP has a 10 point edge in enthusiasm.


Pew says Obama @ 50% … but, there’s more to the story.

November 4, 2012

The headline this afternoon was Pew’s final pre-election survey:

Obama 50%, Romney 47%.

Bummer … especially since Obama hits the magic 50%

But, Pew’s raw numbers were 48% to 45% … they then allocated 4 points of undecided voters 50/50. Huh?

So, Obama still below 50%.

Another ray of hope: margin of error 2 points … so it could be Romney 47%, Obama 46%

Key facts:

  • Independents still  Romney 44%, Obama 41%
  • Turnout : D = 36%, R = 32% , I = 29%

Let’s plug those numbers into our simple turnout model:


= = = = =
Required GOP Turnout

Now, let’s ask the question: how much does the GOP have to shrink the turnout differential to win with Pew’s numbers.

Answer: if the GOP can narrow the turnout differential to less than 1%, Mitt wins.


= = = = =
The Religious Factor

Romney wins:

  • Protestants 52% to 42%
  • White Catholics 55% to 41%

Obama wins “unaffiliated with religion” 66% to 24%

Per our post earlier today, I think religious groups may swing the election …

My final prediction comes tomorrow.

Fool me once, shame on you … fool me twice, shame on me.

November 4, 2012

That’s what the original Grandma used to say.

I have yet to run into anyone who says they voted for McCain in ‘08 but are voting for Obama in ‘12.

But, I’ve had several folks tell me they voted for Obama in ‘08, but are pulling the lever for Romney next Tuesday.

The Wash Post did an analysis of 16% of Obama’s ‘08 supporters who are jumpin’ ship.

The loyalists are the expected: liberal Democrats, blacks and Hispanics.

The jumpers are also the usual suspects: Conservatives & Republicans who bought the hype; Evangelicals, and men – especially white ones..

Perhaps, the bigger point is that Obama drew 52.9% of the vote in 2008.

If 16% desert him, he’s down to under 45%.



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It’s Sunday, so forget the ‘war on women’ … the ‘war on religion’ may turn the election.

November 4, 2012

President Obama made two decisions  that may come back to haunt him if he loses the election: (1) supporting same-sex marriage and (2) mandating that Catholic organizations cover contraception, morning after pills, etc.

While those decisions may have popular support … especially with the Democratic base  … they have also riled up religious factions … and not just those on the far right.

Let’s put the morality of those two decisions aside, and just look at the politics.

= = = = =
Same-sex Marriage

First, a Pew poll reported by the Daily Caller suggests that Obama’s support for gay marriage didn’t win Obama many votes in the gay community … largely because he pretty much owned that group even with a wishy-washy position.

  • “President Barack Obama has barely moved the needle among the small percentage of voters who are gay or lesbian, despite his public support for lifting curbs on open homosexuality in the military and revamping marriage to include same-sex couples.”
  • “A  Pew poll … found that only 3.4 percent declare themselves to be sexual minorities … 71% of gays or lesbians who are registered voters  support Obama, 22% say they’ll vote for Romney.  That’s a very small drop from the 2004 and 2008 elections, when three out of four self-identified lesbians or gays voted for the Democratic candidate … In 2004,  Kerry got 77% percent of the vote.

Obama may have gained some votes from non-gays who support the same-sex marriage cause, but those votes are likely to be offset by lost votes among conservative religious groups.

For example, in June, a group of black pastors launched an anti-Obama campaign centered around the gay marriage decision and its potential impact on families.

According to CNN: A group of conservative black pastors are responding to President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage with what they say will be a national campaign aimed at rallying black Americans to rethink their overwhelming support of the President … The Rev. Williams Owens, who is president and founder of the Coalition of African-Americans Pastors and the leader of the campaign, has highlighted opposition to same-sex marriage among African-Americans. He calls this campaign “an effort to save the family” … “The time has come for a broad-based assault against the powers that be that want to change our culture

The effort hasn’t gotten much press lately, and probably hasn’t gotten much traction.

Obama still has near total  support among blacks.

But, lump the same-sex marriage support with the contraception mandate and there may be a bigger blowback among religious groups.

= = = = =

The WSJ reports that Romney’s support has surged among evangelicals.

The Southern Baptist Convention has endorsed him, the Faith and Freedom Coalition has been stumping for him, and evangelical Christian leader Rick Warren didn’t hold presidential election interviews like he did with John McCain & Barack “Above my pay grade” Obama.  More generally …

The president of Ohio Christian University, Mark A. Smith, says, “The intensity of voters in the faith community is as high as I’ve seen it in the last 12 years.

The driver of that intensity is religious liberty. We took a direct hit with the Affordable Care Act,” he says.

Evangelicals watched the Obama administration’s big public fight with Catholic hospitals and charities.

What they concluded is that the health-care law was a direct threat to their own private outreach programs.

In the 2008 presidential vote, evangelicals were 31% in Iowa,26% in Wisconsin and 30% of the vote in Ohio.

It’s estimated that in 2008 there were 350,000 evangelicals who didn’t vote in Ohio.

They could be a determining factor this year if evangelicals are, in fact, galvanized and motivated to flock to the polls.

= = = = =

And, there’s the Catholic factor.

In 2008, Obama won 54% of the Catholic vote.

But, Pew reports that there’s been a 9-point swing in Catholic voters toward the GOP since 2008.


Since Catholics are 1/4 of the U.S. population … that’s a 2% swing in the electorate … a shift that could be a big deal.

While Catholics are split – largely balancing social justice with right-to-life – and while a majority of Catholics  reported;y to favor contraception … the contraception insurance mandate was a proverbial stick in the eye to church officials who railed against it as a violation of religious rights.

That view seems to have gained some traction.

According to Pew, Catholics are hearing a lot from the pulpit about abortion and religious liberty.


Bishops around the country have been having letters read to parishioners, reminding them of Catholic values.

For example, the Bishop of Green Bay recently issued a  pastoral letter saying that “voting for candidates whose positions contradict any so-called “non-negotiables” of Catholic teaching “could put [one’s] soul in jeopardy.”

Apparently the Bishop has had some impact since Obama is making a campaign stop in Green Bay this week … likely to either settle things down a bit or stick the Bishop in the eye.

And, it appears that some Catholic groups are rising up.

Our local church staged a Fortnighi to Freedom rally … reminding parishioners that the Feds are stepping in to dictate actions and restrict religious liberty.

And, some Catholic lay groups have produced slick ads that are starting to go viral.

Here’s one called “Test of Fire”.


= = = = =

Finally, you may have heard that Mitt Romney is a Mormon.

Early on, pundits said that Americans generally and Evangelicals wouldn’t vote for a Mormon President.

That doesn’t seem to be the case … though I still expect some anti-Mormon chatter  in the final days of the campaign.

The bigger point is that, according to Pew,  Mormons are the religious group most skewed towards Republican.

There are over 6 million Mormons in the U.S. … expect them to vote as a bloc and to be out in force to to bolster Romney’s get-out-the-vote efforts.


= = = = =
Bottom line

When the dust settles, I’m betting that the religious groups – mobilized Evangelicals, “poked” Catholics and zealous Mormons – will largely determine the election outcome.

We’ll see.

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The election’s “Rosetta Stone” … really!

November 3, 2012

The polls have been bouncing all over the place, and pundits are broadly whining that the reason is difference in “turnout models”.

That is, how many more (or less) Democrats will show up to vote for Obama.

To understand the issue, I framed a related – but inverted — analysis by asking the question: by how much does Dem turnout (in swing states particularly) have to exceed GOP turnout for Obama to win?

The answer: Dem turnout has to be more than about 4 percentage points higher than GOP turnout for Obama to win.

Here’s my summary chart … below it are the assumptions and analytical logic.

From the chart: if Dem turnout is about 8 percentage points more than GOP turnout (as it was in 2008), Obama wins by about 4%;  if Dem turnout is less than 4 percentage points greater than the GOP’s, Obama loses.

It’s as simple as that … especially on a swing state by swing state basis.


= = = = =
Assumptions & Analysis

While there has been a lot of bounce in the numbers, a couple of things appear to be pretty stable.

First, both Romney and Obama capture over 90% of their party’s votes.

Second, independents are generally about 1/3 of the total voting base … and, independents seem to be breaking towards Romney 55% to 45%.

In a nutshell, that means that Obama has to overcome a 3.3% Romney vote advantage with over-performance in Dem turnout.

  • 10 percentage point independent vote differential times 1/3 of the voting population equals 3.3%

Let’s run through a couple of examples:

1) Assume that the turnout is evenly split among Dems, GOP, and independents; that Obama & Romney each get 95% of their party’s votes; and that independents vote Romney 55% to 45%.

Under these assumptions, Dems have no turnout advantage (because that’s what we assumed) … and Obama loses by 3.3%.


= = = = =

2) Same assumptions as example #1, except assume that the Dem turnout is 8 percentage points greater than the GOP’s … roughly comparable to 2008 voting patterns.

Under these assumptions,  Obama wins by almost 4%.


= = = = =

3) Same assumptions as example #1, except assume that the Dem turnout is 3.7 percentage points less than the GOP’s.

Under these assumptions, the race is tied … we’ve found the sweet spot … if the Dems turnout advantage is more than 3.7 percentage points, Obama wins; less than that and he loses.


= = = = =
Final Notes

1) It’s simply math magic that the relationship works out to be linear … as displayed on the summary chart.

2) If you don’t like my assumptions, plug in your own … my conclusion: the numbers are pretty robust to changes in the assumptions

3) Nobody seems to be predicting Dem turnout comparable to 2008 … In fact, some are predicting that GOP will have a turnout advantage,

4) You haven’t seen an analysis like this anywhere else, right?  Only in the Homa Files …

* * * * * *

Strategy Lesson: The fight for Pennsylvania

November 3, 2012

I think the unfolding political fight is Pennsylvania will certainly be interesting to watch … and, possibly will be enshrined as a strategy “teaching moment”.

First, a disclaimer … the underlying logic for this case comes from Dick Morris … he’s a hard right partisan with a grudge against the Clintons and a penchant for newsworthy predictions – many of which are airballs.  So, I usually take him with a grain of salt.

That said, I think he may have something here:

Obama’s Pennsylvania Blunder

There are many reasons why Obama will lose this election — by a lot — on Tuesday.

But when the history of this contest is written, it will be especially important to probe why Obama blundered by virtually ignoring Pennsylvania.

Team Obama was so focused on the swing states that they ignored the semi-swing states which could come into play.  Ohio, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada loomed so large in their calculations that they forgot about Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota.

Adopting an all-or-nothing approach, Obama advertised heavily in the swing states and not at all in the semi-swing states of the Midwest. 

The Detroit, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis media markets — and all the smaller cities in between got no Obama advertising.

Obama took care to irradiate the swing states with his negative attacks on Romney. 

When the voters in those states saw that Mitt was not a Halloween monster but a pretty nice and reasonable guy, his negative stopped working and the states started falling to Romney.

But in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, the negatives on Romney never ran. 

The only Romney they saw in these states was the very presentable and attractive one who showed up in the debates.  So there was no obstacle to hold them back from voting for Mitt.

Obama’s static dependence on the swing states to constitute a firewall backfired. 

The firewall became like the French Maginot Line of 1940, easily outflanked

When Romney began to buy ads in the semi-swing states, Obama was slow to respond.

Initially, his campaign dismissed Romney’s ads in Pennsylvania as a bluff intended to draw Obama’s resources away from Ohio.

But it was no bluff.  Romney’s people realized that 20 votes in Pennsylvania were as good as 18 in Ohio.

And, in this final week, Romney’s campaign and its allied groups are spending $11 million on Pennsylvania ads as opposed to only $2 million for Obama.

Most polls show Obama leading in PA by at least a couple of points.

But, Romney’s internal campaign polls show the race well within the margin of error.

And, they’ve got a couple of strong targeted messages (coal, gun rights) … without the burden of the auto bailout debate.

That’s why Mitt is doing a closing campaign event in Philly on Sunday.

No way, Team Obama could have expected that.

Whereas Mitt has plenty of $$$ to throw at PA, Obama is more limited … each dollar that goes to PA comes out of a swing state.  in the vernacular, Team O blew their wad early in the campaign … not much dry powder left.

And, add Hurricane Sandy to the mix.

Conventional wisdom is that Dems are more fair-weather voters that Republicans.

If folks in Philly’s center city don’t get to the polls, Romney’s gambit may play out.

We’ll see.

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23 and counting …

November 2, 2012

No, it’s not the number of consecutive weeks that the BLS has under-reported initial unemployment claims … it’s the number of taxpayer-funded green energy companies that have failed so far … another 27 are reported to have very short financial runways..

Would you invest in this venture capitalist’s next fund?

* * * * *

  1. Solyndra*: Received $535 million DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011
  2. Abound Solar*: Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and was awarded a $400 million loan under Obama in December of 2010. Abound was awarded a $9.2-million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012
  3. Beacon Power*: Received more than $25 million in DOE grants and a DOE loan for $43 million. Bankrupt: October 2011
  4. A123 Systems*: Received $390 million, of which $249 million of it was a Recovery Act Grant. Filed for Bankruptcy October 16, 2012, and two companies are seeking to buy A123; Johnson Controls and the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp.
  5. AES Eastern Energy/Energy Storage*: Received $17.1 million DOE conditional commitment on August 2, 2010. Bankrupt: December 31, 2011.
  6. Amonix*: Received $6 million in federal tax credits a $15.6 million grant from the DOE for research and development. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012.
  7. Azure Dynamics*: Received millions in stimulus funds and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012
  8. Babcock & Brown: Received $178 million in the largest federal (1603) stimulus wind grant in December 2009. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009
  9. Energy Conversion Devices Inc./Uni-Solar: Received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit. Bankrupt: February 2011.
  10. Ener1*: Received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: January 26, 2011.
  11. Evergreen Solar, Inc.*: Received Stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies. Bankrupt: August 15, 2011
  12. Konarka Technologies Inc.: Received $20 million in grants from government agencies such as the DOE and the Pentagon. Bankrupt: June 4, 2012.
  13. ADDITION Range Fuels*: Range Fuels: $162.25 million in government commitments since 2007, of which $64 million came from a USDA Biofuel loan in 2010 alone, despite financial and technical difficulties, and opposition inside the USDA.
  14. Raser Technologies: Received $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011.
  15. SpectraWatt*: Received $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Lab via the Stimulus. Bankrupt: August 23, 2011
  16. Stirling Energy Systems: Received $7 million from a federal renewable-energy grant and was eligible for nearly $10.5 million in manufacturing September 28, 2011.
  17. Thompson River Power LLC: Received $6.5 million in Stimulus funds from Section 1603. Bankrupt: July 2, 2012.
  18. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)
  19. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million);
  20. Nordic Windpower* ($16 million)
  21. Satcon ($3 million) As reported by the Heritage Foundation October 18, 2012, “A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.”
  22.  Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981) ($6 million); in our unconfirmed bankrupt list
  23. Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: Received $480,000 through the Section 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit Program. During Obama’s visit to Cardinal Fastener, he took a “green Recovery Act victory lap,” and touted it as means for “Made-In-America Jobs” for Ohio. Yet, just two weeks after the Obama visit, Cardinal laid off 12 percent of its staff, and in June 2011, Cardinal Fastener filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Lastly, in January 2012, Cardinal Fastener was acquired by Germany’s Wurth Group for just $3.9 Million.

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“Voter fraud is a felony” … but don’t remind folks!

November 2, 2012

Punch line: Weeks before what could be one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history, Dems are claiming that fforts to mislead, intimidate or pressure voters are an increasingly prominent part of the political landscape

So are the Dems frivolous charges..

* * * * *
Excerpted from Reuters’, “As U.S. election nears, efforts intensify to misinform, pressure voters”

Voter Fraud Billboard

“We’ve seen an uptick in deceptive and intimidating tactics designed to prevent eligible Americans from voting,” said Eric Marshall of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Just a few of the unscrupulous tactics include:


  • BILLBOARDS IN WISCONSIN, OHIO: Democratic lawmakers and activists in Wisconsin and Ohio … are angry about several dozen billboard signs that have popped up in recent weeks, warning of stiff penalties for voter fraud. The billboards were put up in mostly black and low-income communities. “There is a concerted effort to keep specific groups from the polls,” said Camilo Villa, 24, who lives in the Cleveland area.
  • PRESSURE BY EMPLOYERS: Meanwhile, some employers have pressured workers to support certain candidates in the presidential race and other elections.Several companies have sent out letters urging their employees to vote for Romney. Others  have come under fire for sending a “voter information packet” to employees.  (Note:. SEIU and UAW strong-arming is apparently benign …)
  • THE ‘POLL CHALLENGERS’: Voting rights groups have raised concerns about volunteer “poll challengers” who will be out on Election Day to try to prevent what they see as possible voter fraud. Rights groups say the large numbers of monitors could be intimidating and discourage some people – particularly minorities – from voting.

Edit by JDC

* * * * *
Ken’s Take:

(1) Grandma Homa always said: If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about …

(2) SEIU and UAW strong-arming is apparently benign …

(3) Club-wielding members of the New Black Panther Party are ok …)

(4) They forgot about requiring IDs to vote …

(5) It’s gonna be ugly …

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Which party has the better ground game? … and, a shocking finding re: robo-calls..

November 2, 2012

According to a recent Pew report

The Dem and Republican ground games are performing at rough parity with each other.

In the important battleground states, 13% have been contacted by Obama supporters

…  14% have been contacted by Romney supporters, and

…. 38% have been contacted by both.

Pew didn’t ask how many times?

If the Homa family experience is projectable, that answer is about 3 phone calls and 3 pieces of mail each day.


= = = = =

The shocker

About those robo-calls …

Pew says that roughly 2 in 3 people don’t listen to robo-calls that they get

…  81% find them annoying, and

…. the robo-calls make 1 in 5 people angry.


My question: why do 1 in 3 people listen to the robo-calls.

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More re: early voting …

November 1, 2012

According to a just released Pew poll

Roughly 1 in 5 have voted early.

Among early voters, Romney has the edge 50% to 45%.

Romney is outperforming McCain’s rate in 2008 by 16 percentage points.

Obama is underperforming his 2008 performance by 10 percentage points.



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How “intensity” turns a tie into a 6 point lead … here’s the math.

November 1, 2012

The election polls results are all over the place.

My take: the election is a dead heat nationally (slight Romney edge in the popular vote) and in key swing states (slight Obama lead in pivotal swing states, lead in electoral votes).

But … the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

To get a better understanding of the dynamics in play, I dug into this week’s NPR poll.

Why NPR?

Because, if anything, it leans left, so no cookin’ the books for Mitt.

Also, it reported some interesting metrics that provide a basis for some interesting analysis.

  • Note: my primary intent is provide a calibrated analytical structure, not a prediction.

= = = = =
Topline Results

First, NPR reports Romney leading Obama by 1 point … 48% to 47% for all respondents … dead heat.

And, 48% + 47% = 95%, so 5% are still undecided, voting for another candidate, or hopelessly confused … or all three.

So, 5 points are arguably up for grabs.

Conventional wisdom says they break mostly for the challenger … advantage Romney.


Looking deeper – into the footnotes, NPR says:

  • ALL results are based on 1000 weighted cases, MoE = ±3.10

In other words, Romney’s score could be as high as 51% or as low 45%.

Obama’s score could be as high as 50% and as low as 44%.

Bottom line: Either candidate might be leading … Romney could be leading by as  many as 7 points … 51% to 44%.

Or, Obama could be leading by as many as 5 points … 50% to 45%.

That doesn’t tell us much, right?

= = = = =
Independent Voters

Let’s look at the Independent voters (above chart).

Romney leads with independent voters by 12 points … 51% to 39%,

Is that lead statistically significant?

Well, NPR says:

  • IND results are based on 309 respondents, MoE = ±5.58 percent.

So, Romney could be as high as 56.5% or as low as 45.5%.

Obama could be as high as 44.5% or as low as 33.5%.

Bottom line: Romney has an unequivocal, statistically significant lead among Independents.

= = = = =
Voter Intensity

Here’s where things get interesting …

NPR asked:

  • On a scale of one to ten, with one being “not at all enthusiastic” and ten being “extremely enthusiastic,”
    how enthusiastic are you about voting in the Presidential election this November?


In marketing research, there’s a principle called the “top box effect”.

In essence, it says to focus on folks who check the highest level allowed … and pretty much ignore the rest as insignificant.

So, what do the numbers tell us?

Republican “intensity”, i.e. “extremely enthusiastic”, is 76% – 10 percentage points higher than the Dems 66% … and 22% higher than Independents 54%.

That’s a big intensity advantage for the Republicans.

How might it translate to votes?

We need another piece of data and some basic arithmetic.

= = = = =
Turnout Assumption

You’ve probably been hearing the grumbling—mostly from Republicans – that recent surveys have been skewed Democratic … that they implicitly assume that Dems will turnout more than Republicans.

  • Of course, the turnout is a function of both party registration (“mix”) and voting propensity.  Most surveys of party affiliation peg the Dems & Republicans at about even.

The NPR “mix” is 35% Republicans, 33% Independents, and 31% Republicans.

We’ll test the sensitivity of those numbers later … for now, let’’s use NPR’s assumption.

= = = = =
”Hard Support”

OK, now let’s play with the numbers.

Here’s the summary chart … below, I’ll explain it.


What we’re trying to get to is “Hard Support” … folks who are “intense” (“extremely enthusiastic”) and favor Romney or Obama.

To get at that, we have to look at Republicans, Independents and Democrats separately.

For example, 76% of Republicans are “extremely enthusiastic” … and 96% of Republicans say they’ll vote for Romney.

Multiply those 2 numbers together, and they imply that 73% of Republicans are both “extremely enthusiastic” and inclined to vote for Romney (76% X 96% = 73%).

Since the sample “mix” is 31% Republican, Romney’s hard support from Republicans is equivalent to 22.6% of all voters (since 73% X 31% = 22.6%).

Applying the same calculations to the other classifications (Independent & Democrat) … and the data indicates that of Romney’s total of 48%,  32.9% is “hard support” and 15.2% is “soft support” that is less likely to show up at the polls.

Repeating the process for Obama, the data indicates that of Obama’s total of 47%. 29.1%% is “hard support” and 17.9% is “soft support”.

So what?

Romney has a 3.7 percentage advantage in hard support – the folks who are most likely to show up at the polls.

That’s a statistically significant number, given the polls 3 point margin of error.

Bottom line: If we factor in intensity, Romney has statistically significant advantage.

= = = = =
Another mix scenario

Let’s add one more twist.

What if the mix of Dems and Republicans is roughly equal at 33% … instead of 35% to 31%?


Big change!

Romney’s lead increases to 5.6% percentage points … Romney 50.6% to Obama 45%.

And, Romney’s hard support lead increases to 6.4 percentage points … well outside the margin of error.

= = = = =

Punch line

Yes, the headline number may signal a dead heat … within the margin of error.

But, if you factor in intensity and party mix … the numbers change pretty dramatically.

The Republican’s intensity advantage and lead among Independents seem pretty consistent across polls.

So, the key for Republicans is delivering on the intensity advantage … making sure that the “extremely enthusiastic” Republican & Independent voters turnout to vote.

For Dems, the turnout effort is even more critical since they have to close the intensity gap.

Dems claim that their turnout machine gives it substantial competitive advantage that will close the gap … or more.

I guess we’ll see next Tuesday.

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