This is not a prediction

… but wouldn’t it be nice of Mitt Romney actually got 47% of the popular vote? Not likely, but not impossible.

Nate Silver’s final (?) projection is Obama +2.7, 50.9-48.2. That would be a little bit better than Bush did in 2004, and probably produce a decisive Electoral-College result that even the Ohio Secretary of State and the Florida Governor between them couldn’t reverse.

But I’ve always been the greedy sort. Silver has not adjusted his figures for any sort of systematic polling bias (in the technical, rather than the pejorative, sense of that term. So if in fact the specialty Latino polling showing a 50% Obama margin in that group is more accurate than the 30% margin that shows up in most national polls, and if Latinos are estimated to be 7% of the voters, that would add 1.4% to the margin, making for a convincing popular-vote margin of 4.1%, 51.6-47.5. If in addition the pollsters’ likely voter screens fail to fully account for increased Latino enthusiasm for voting in the wake of the Arizona law and Latinos accounted for 8% of the vote rather than 7%, that would add another half-point to the margin. Add another half-point for the Obama ground game, and we’re at a 5.1% win. That still wouldn’t be as impressive as the 7.2% margin of 2008, but then Sarah Palin isn’t running this year.

More to the point, the final tally – assuming Silver is right that 0.9% goes to third parties – would give Barack Obama 52.1% of the popular vote, and Mitt Romney … 47%.

If that happens I might have to re-evaluate my position on the existence of an omnipotent and benevolent Ruler of the Universe.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

11 thoughts on “This is not a prediction”

  1. Unfortunately, the polls don’t take the effects of voter suppression efforts into consideration at all.

  2. Professor Kleiman:

    If that happens I might have to re-evaluate my position on the existence of an omnipotent and benevolent Ruler of the Universe.

    Look: Holocaust, Mao, Stalin, Armenia, Pol Pot, Rwanda/Sudan/Congo.

    I know you like Barack Obama but it’s obvious that there is no God.

    1. Also: Justin Bieber, used car salesmen, the US air travel system, okra, and the Star Wars holiday special.

      1. I like okra, but also, too: Native Americans, Aboriginals everywhere, unregulated bankers.

  3. Just checking if I’m banned. Brett Bellmore, “valuable member of the community”, certainly provides some counterweight to any argument for a benign diety.

  4. I wish I could believe in Silver as much as you folks do. I have a very bad feeling about this one, based on the early voting totals.

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