...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

July 26, 2004

Weather The Bounce, Boys

i tell you, i am becoming hugely optimistic about the upcoming election. There are several reasons for my optimism.

Mainly, i think the amount of support for Bush-Cheney is deliberately downplayed by a media that needs a close race for political preference and profit reasons.

Secondly, Kerry sucks as a candidate. He's not likeable. On the contrary, he's kind of an asshole, and people in the middle notice things like that. People who are undecided at this late stage of the game are more influenced by silly things like personality. If undecideds cared about the issues, they'd have made their minds up by now.

Thirdly, i think we can expect a big freak show at the upcoming Republican Convention in New York. The far left nut jobs will ensure Bush's re-election, even though they will think they're doing the opposite. In fact, i hope they go on a total Bush-hatin' rampage in the streets of New York. Everyone knows who's side they're on, and the worse the protesters act, the more people will realize how low the Democratic Party has fallen.

Fourthly, it's not about popular vote. It's about the electoral college, and that's looking good too. As AP reports:

With three months remaining in a volatile campaign, Kerry has 14 states and the District of Columbia in his column for 193 electoral votes. Bush has 25 states for 217 votes, according to an Associated Press analysis of state polls as well as interviews with strategists across the country.
Here are the states that AP says are "in play," but leaning in Bush's direction:
  • North Carolina

  • Colorado

  • Louisiana

  • Arizona

  • Virginia

  • Arkansas

  • Missouri
Now please. Are you gonna tell me that those states, historically bastions of conservatism, are going to vote Kerry this year? Bush won them all in 2000, when the election was all about personality, not life-and-death. The only one that might possibly go Kerry is Missouri, but if it stays in the Bush camp, he's got 290 electors right there. To win, you need 270 electors.

By my reckoning, and assuming the polls stay like this until the election, i see Bush Cheney winning without even worrying about the battleground states like Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan and West Virginia. Am i wrong here? Admittedly, math is not my best subject, but i think i'm right about this.

All Bush-Cheney have to do is weather the Kerry Edwards' post convention bounce and hopefully the election should be theirs to lose.

IMHO, of course.

Update: Forget my fourth point. i was wrong. As usual, my weak math skills misled me. But not as much as the stupid AP article, which failed to mention an important fact. As commenter Col. Steve points out:

The '25' to get 217 already includes the 7 states you list as in play but leaning Bush. Kerry's total includes the 14, DC but you leave out the 2 states (PA and OR) that the author says are toss-up but shifting to Kerry. You have to add those 2 states to give Kerry 193 + 21 + 7 = 221.
So, in fact the seven states that i said Bush would win, do not put him over the magic 270 number. He will still need to win some of the battleground states, and that is, i admit, an iffy proposition.

The math aside, my other points are still very well taken. IMHO.

Posted by annika, Jul. 26, 2004 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


Consider also that Bush/Chenney have barely begun to campaign while Kerry has been at it for over a year. The best Kerry has been able do is essentially a statistical tie.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin on Jul. 26, 2004

Election night I'm going to be up and drinking heavily, that is all I know. Hopefully I'll be happy drunk, but the election will be close either way.

Posted by: Scof on Jul. 26, 2004

Annika, you have got it just right. The Democrats WISH the polls were the predictors, but they just don't mean Jack Shit, unless you go state by state.

The Federalists created the Electoral College for a sound reason; the little states needed additional representation to avoid being overwhelmed by the more populated ones. It constantly amazes me how prescient the drafters truly were. How could they have forseen the future with such clairvoyance?

This week, Kerry will be limited to the $74 Million provided by the US Government to end out the campaign. That doesn't happen to Bush until the first week in September. After a week or two, watch us pull away and Kerry/Edwards can bloviate all they want, they will never be in touching distance again. Bush won N.C. by 13 points in 2000; the most recent polls have him at 54% and Kerry/Edwards at 40%. So much for the Edwards Southern Bounce Theory.

Be Brave, we win.

Posted by: shelly s. on Jul. 26, 2004

Speaking of polls, the latest is a good one for Bush:


Posted by: Scof on Jul. 26, 2004

Nice post. I think you may be on to something with your theory... The only Southern state that really worries me (other than Florida) is Louisiana. But I agree that NC, Virginia, Colorado and even Mizzou are likely to go Republican. Keep up the good work! I blogrolled your site...

Charles Waldie
Dallas, TX

Posted by: Charles Waldie on Jul. 26, 2004

You thought the Left was critical of Bush after the 2000 election? Just wait until we win the popular vote a second time in a row, and lose the electoral college a second time in a row...

As a Californian, I know damn well my vote counts for far less, mathematically, than it would if I lived in Wyoming or Idaho or North Dakota. That enrages me, and I suspect it would enrage my Republican brethren if the situation were reversed.

Posted by: Hugo on Jul. 26, 2004

All the states you listed as being "in play" are states where gun owners are a big part of the puzzle.
If Bush signs an "assault weapons" ban renewal then those state may very well go to Kerry via third party candidate.

I won't vote for Bush unless he does a dramatic & very convincing 180 on the gun thing, but I'll give you this advice for free:

If you want Bush to stand more than an iffy chance of being re-elected, then convince him & the other Repubs to start repealing instead of enacting gun control laws. Particularly tell them to kill outright any attempts at reneweing the "assault weapons" ban.

Of course I could be mistaken: there might not be enough gun owners in any of the states listed to alter things to Bush's detriment, but given what I do know of gun owners, more than 50% won't vote for Bush if an AWB is renewed. It's really just a question of how many votes does 50+% (closer to 60% actually) equate to? & would that number be enough to cost Bush the White House?

I think the answer is yes. Even if I'm wrong though it'd not hurt things a bit to tell Bush & company to oppose any AWB renewal attempts. I'm sure the number of gun owners who'd vote for him would far outweight any soccer moms he thinks he'd pick up.

As i said I'm not voting for Bush (or Kerry) - they're too socilaistic/authoritarian for my tastes. But if you want to see Bush win the easiest & most beneficial thing you can do is to tell him & any other Repubs to oppose any "assault weapons" ban renewal.

Posted by: Publicola on Jul. 26, 2004

U R one smart tart.

Posted by: Casca on Jul. 26, 2004

I agree with you up to a point, but I just can't be THAT confident. I can speak to three of those states because I'm familiar with them. First, here in Florida everything points to another exceedingly narrow margin, though for the love of God hopefully not quite as narrow as last time, whicever way it goes.

Next, this Tulane Law alum definitely has to regard Louisiana as leaning to Bush but still very much in play. It's always a little different from anywhere else, and though it's a basically conservative state, it's still much more Democratic than the typically "solid" GOP South. And it's a place where local personalities punch above their weight and can really have more impact than practically any place else, so remember that Bush had a Republican governor in Mike Foster the last time around, while Kathleen Blanco will be doing everything she possibly can to hurt him. Yes, I'm implying dirty tricks: it's Louisiana, after all, and that's probably at least a part of how she won her own office. However, countering that, I'd be interested to see if Ray Nagy, the Democratic but "pragmatist" mayor who's really managed to clean up New Orleans and who backed Republican Bobby Jindal against Blanco, might endorse Bush, or at least stay essentially neutral.

Finally, Virginia. Four years in DC and you understand why the Old Dominion is on the way to becoming a swing state. The Virginia suburbs of DC are the second-fastest growing metro area in the country after Las Vegas: the development and resulting demographic changes are absolutely explosive. The population growth isn't quite overwhelmingly Democratic, but it's composed of federal employees, lobbyists and associated groups of people from all other, that do skew far more Democratic than the largely Republican rest of the state. "People's Republic of NoVA" might be a bit much, but keep in mind that there's no way Virginia would have ever elected its current Democratic governor, let alone had its recent and ongoing tax fracas, without that part of the state. It definitely still leans to Bush, but not by as much you might think.

I wouldn't feel secure enough to actually bet real money on the outcome of any of these states. OTOH, I'm also one of the people who thinks New Jersey is genuinely in play this time as well: because it's smaller, 9/11 may well have changed its politics more radically than New Yorks's.

Posted by: Dave J on Jul. 26, 2004

Instead of "from all other" that should read "from all over the country." Preview is my friend. ;-)

Posted by: Dave J on Jul. 26, 2004

Dave, I've lived in Virginia since I was in kindergarten, and I will not permit my state to go Democratic. Even though the immigrants here around the Beltway are less conservative than the rest of the state, that's all relative. Go out to Manassas or Woodbridge, and you're in solidly Republican territory. Everything west of I-95 is either Republican or conservative Democrat (yes, there are still some out there in the Shenandoah Valley). Everything east of I-95 is mostly Republican, including the Peninsula, which is the most militarized part of the U.S. mainland.

Republicans have a wide lead in the state assembly. The only reason Virginia is "in play" is because Bush hasn't campaigned here. All they need to do is run a few ads, and that's that.

Posted by: Eric Johnson on Jul. 26, 2004

i see Bush Cheney winning without even worrying about the battleground states like Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan and West Virginia. Am i wrong here.

I think you are Annika. The "25" to get 217 already includes the 7 states you list as in play but leaning Bush. Kerry's total includes the 14, DC but you leave out the 2 states (PA and OR) that the author says are toss-up but shifting to Kerry. You have to add those 2 states to give Kerry 193 + 21 + 7 = 221.

So, that's 41 states plus DC for 438 electorl votes. Hence, Bush has to get at least 53 electoral votes from the 100 remaining in the 9 battleground state you list above - so he's got to worry about them. FL which looks his way gives him 27 of those and if hangs on in OH, he gets 20 more for 47. Still has to pull out 6 more EVs from the 7 states and he lost 4 of the remaining 7 states (MI, NM, IA, and WI) in 2000 and may lose NH this year. That leave WV and NV for 10 combined votes to give him 57 and a grand total of 274 to Kerry's 264...

Now, WI and IA are winnable and he's been putting a lot of effort in PA, but I don't think you can make the statement that Bush-Cheney doesn't have to worry about the battleground states.

Hugo: "As a Californian, I know damn well my vote counts for far less, mathematically, than it would if I lived in Wyoming or Idaho or North Dakota."

Superficially, those 3 states are solid Rep with a combined 10 electoral votes compared to 55 for CA.

Mathematically, at least David Madore thinks you actually count more than we poor folks who vote in a state with only 4 electoral votes..Here is the summary of his discussion on US Presidential election voting:

Qualitative description
We must compute two different coefficients of power for each state. The first is the coefficient of power of the state in the Union, i.e. in the electoral college, interpreting the electoral college as a votational system. So it is equal to the number of configurations of yes/no votes among the states, where the given state's vote will be decisive, divided by the total number of configurations (namely 251 because there are 51 states ). The computation of the coefficients of power has been done numerically. As we have mentioned, it is very much a linear function of the number of seats, except in the case of California, which has distinctly more power than in proportion to its number of electors.

This first coefficient varies between 46.6% in the case of California, and 2.3% for the states having three electors.

The second coefficient is that of an individual within a state. We are quite within the domain of validity of the asymptotic approximation we have described earlier, according to which this coefficient of power is proportional to the inverse square root of the population.

This second coefficient varies between 0.167% in the least populous state (Wyoming) and 0.0227% in the most populous (California).

And as explained in the general discussion on two-stage decision systems, the overall coefficient of power of an individual of the given state in the Union, is the product of the two aforementioned coefficients of power.

We can already see that there is a problem: the electoral weight of each state is an affine function of its population (two electors for any state plus one for every so many citizens), and the corresponding power is roughly proportional; whereas the coefficient of power of an individual within the state drops down only like the square root of the population. This means, and numerical results confirm it, that citizens of the most populous states of the Union have more power than those of less populous states.

In fact, we find that the overall (product) coefficient of power is highest in California, where it is 0.0106%, and lowest in Montana, where it is 0.00265% — or four times less.

Posted by: Col Steve on Jul. 26, 2004

Well, if you tried to follow the math, what didn't transmit well is the number of combinations is not 251, but 2 raised to the 51st power..and DC is counted as a "state" because it has 3 EVs..

Posted by: Col Steve on Jul. 26, 2004