1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Let's Make a CFC-OT US Presidential Election Map 2012!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Dreadnought, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Messages:
    6,897
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Howdy folks,

    As you may know, many websites host "Election Maps" detailing the status of the electoral college heading into the fall. These websites don`t tend to predict the election so much as provide current data as a tool for predicting the election.

    Some maps are pretty good (Rasmussen, Washington Post, Real Clear Politics) and some are pretty awful (Huffington Post). All the same, can we create a fairly accurate map portraying the possibilities of the 2012 Presidential election?

    The map key is simple: a state either is Safe for Obama, Leans towards Obama, is a Toss Up, Leans towards Romney, or is Safe for Romney.

    Safe states are ones that you can easily predict will go for a particular candidate, barring some catastrophe in their campaigns. (Example: Same Romney = Louisiana, Safe Obama = Vermont).

    A Leaning State could possibly go one way or the other, but you are fairly confident in your prediction that it will go towards one candidate in particular (Example: Leans Romney = Indiana, Leans Obama = Pennsylvania)

    A Toss Up State not only could go either way, but it may be impossible to predict until the very late stages of the game. (Ohio, Virginia, etc.)

    I've attached a map below as a rough draft. Most of the states are easy to color in; it's only a select few that need precise research.

    Important States:

    Arizona: I had Arizona originally Leans Romney, but recent poll data shows Romney has a considerable lead in the state. I put it as Safe Romney.

    Colorado: I colored Colorado as Leans Obama without a doubt in my mind. However, I neglected to check recent poll data, which shows Romney catching up. It's actually a fairly close race, so I changed it to Toss Up.

    Indiana, Missouri: These probably wouldn't fall to Democrats barring another GOP rout, but I kept them in the Leans Romney category regardless. Obama didn't even win Missouri in 2008.

    Michigan: I almost listed Michigan as a Toss Up, but I felt it was probably more accurate to list it as Leans Obama.

    Minnesota: Some sites list it as Leans Obama. I'm being realistic and keeping it in the Safe Obama category.

    New Hampshire: I`ve listed it as a Toss Up, but it may be closer to Leans Obama at the moment. It's perhaps one of the trickiest states to categorize, because I don't feel totally comfortable putting it in one category or the other.

    New Mexico: A lot of websites have New Mexico as Leans Obama. To be honest, though, Obama is polling exceptionally well in the state, so I listed it as a Safe Obama.

    North Carolina: Still technically could go either way, but I'd be flabbergasted if it went again for Obama in 2012.

    Map as of August 3rd, 2012:

    Spoiler :


    Map as of August 13, 2012:

    Spoiler :
    I've attached a link here to the latest custom election map (though this map uses the RealClearPolitics map system as a base, it is customized for our purposes).


    Obama: 243 Electoral Votes
    Romney: 206 Electoral Votes
    Undecided: 89 Electoral Votes


    Let's try to make the map even better! Should we wait for more polling data to change it? What changes would you make to the map to make it more accurate? Speak up and be noted!

    * * *
     

    Attached Files:

  2. metatron

    metatron unperson

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Messages:
    3,754
    I'm applying this more narrowly.
    Sure, a bunch of other states could go either way, but not so much as a result of individual states moving but as a result of the current equilibrium in the polls shifting nationally.
    I'm also a bit more conservative about both parties aspirations regarding incursion into "enemy" territory. I am very much convinced of the long term shifts in the midwest towards Republicans and the Mountain West and Mid Atlantic towards Democrats, but i expect that trend to be somewhat stalled this election.
    Essentially i appreciate traditional alignments a bit more than many others do and weight what Nate Silver calls "state fundamentals" a bit more.

    For example: Yes, technically the margin in the polls in Michigan is reasonably close, but i don't really see how Romney could win there while loosing Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If he does, it will mostly be based on him having won the popular vote by a sizeable margin anyway. At that point virtually all the swing and lean states (of both parties) would be in his column and states like Oregon and Minnesota as well as Maine (all of it) would be in play.
    So i don't see the point in listing it as a "lean" state, cause i don't feel it has significant potential to move relative to the other "lean" and tossup states.
    The reverse would be true for Missouri and possibly even Montana.

    Anyway...this is my map:



    I have not that great of a justification for being so pessimistic about Obama's prospects in Nevada and Florida (and Romney's in some other places). I just don't buy the polling data.
    With the red states as well as Ohio and Virginia Romney still needs one other state and i really believe that Nevada is his best shot among the three remaining (with Nevada's economy and all that).

    Anyway...the above is:
    251 Obama
    235 Romney
    52 tossup
     

    Attached Files:

  3. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    5,820
    @Dreadnought

    I don't think I buy Wisconsin as a tossup.

    Are you going with a sort of Walker-based narrative reasoning in making it a tossup?
     
  4. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    19,541
    Location:
    Chicago
    What website are you using to make the maps?
     
  5. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    19,541
    Location:
    Chicago
    Factors to consider: Ohio and Florida have wildly unpopular Republican govenors. Kasich has appeared with Romney several times, and Mitt has endorced controversial union-busting measures that were soundly defeated by Ohio voters. I imagine team Obama will try very hard in the fall to tie Mitt to Rick Scott and John Kasich, which can't help the Republican brand in those states.

    Voter ID laws, if enforced, could significantly damage Democratic participation in PA, FL and in the midwest. Really, the Republicans only chance to win PA is to make sure no kids or black guys vote. That is exactly what they are trying to do.

    Mitt is in a pretty tricky place with the Electoral College. Obama prob has around 250-260 EV already banked. His margin of error is tiny.
     
  6. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Messages:
    6,897
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    It's gotten more competitive than recent years, that's for sure. All the same, polling shows Obama does have a lead over Romney compared to other "swing" states. I may change it to Leans Obama.

    To make the map as in to literally color it? I did it myself.

    To make the map as in to determine the raw data: I mainly use polling websites (Gallup, Real Clear Politics, Rasmussen).

    I agree that Obama has a significant amount of electoral votes guaranteed to go to him. The only thing Romney has going for him is that the four states he needs to win the election (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa) are potentially winable for him.

    I used to think Romney had a pretty strong chance in New Hampshire; polling has shown that may not be the case.

    I haven't thought about Colorado at all, but Obama's lead is tentative there at best, compared to the significant advantage I thought he'd have. Maybe Colorado can become something more significant in this election?
     
  7. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Messages:
    6,897
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    One would think Nevada would be more competitive, with its dismal economy. As for Florida, I am slightly leaning towards Romney will win it in the general election, but polling still lists it as extremely competitive.
     
  8. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    5,820
    I've kinda mentally conceded Florida to Romney. Maybe that's just me, but it doesn't seem like there's any hope for Obama there.
     
  9. madviking

    madviking north american scum

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    11,337
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    flavortown
    As a Virginia resident, Virginia is going to be contentious.

    My one hour of TV watching per day usually includes three or four political ads (on ESPN wtf).
     
  10. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    5,820
    So Dread, just from the gut, what do you think the odds are as of right now?

    I'd say ~55% Obama, ~45% Romney.

    EDIT: I don't mean "If the election were held today." I mean take your best guess about Nov.
     
  11. Integral

    Integral Can't you hear it?

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    4,021
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    What's the split in effective voters between Republican SoVA and Democratic NoVA? Close enough to 50/50 to make it matter?

    Effective voters being people who can and do vote, as opposed to total adult population.
     
  12. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,138
    Location:
    Straight Outa Ponyville
    NM has a Republican governor, so I'd say indescisive or leans Obama.
     
  13. madviking

    madviking north american scum

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    11,337
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    flavortown
    Fixed part in bold (ROVa = Rest Of Virginia)

    Here's Virginia politicogeography:

    Northern Virginia is predominately blue, but with a significant red minority from the super wealthy folks and/or GOP politicians who live here.

    Richmond is a fairly red city. There are plenty of African-Americans to vote blue, but there are more evangelical Christians to sway the vote the other way.

    Hampton Roads is again fairly red. Loads of military and ex-military folk in and around Norfolk. Also lots of evangelicals.

    SW Virginia has a lot of unionized coal miners so they tend to vote blue. But also, as with the rest of the state, loads of evangelicals. (Pat Robertson, blessed be his name, is from Lynchburg, Va)

    Lots of college towns, but Virginia colleges tend to be more red than most usual colleges. Major college towns include Charlottesville, Williamsburg, Blacksburg, and Harrisonburg.

    Note that Virginia is experiencing a large demographic shift, especially in Northern Virginia. Loads of Latino and Asian immigrants are pouring in.

    Here's a map of the very close (D 49.6% to R 49.2%) Senate elections we had in 2006.



    You can see some of the things I was talking about.
     
  14. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    19,541
    Location:
    Chicago
    Having a Dem or GOP Gov alone doesn't really have much of correlation with state's presidential preferences. Massachusetts elected a couple of GOP govs, NJ has a popular GOP Gov, etc..but nobody would credibly think they're going to vote for Romney this year.

    I think the current polling models seem to have VA and Ohio slightly leaning towards Obama (with VA more than OH), and Florida a dead heat or tiiiiny Romney lead.

    Mitt has some "home field advantage" in New Hampshire, but I don't think any polls have had him within 4 points in a while.

    Also, the major population centers are in the DC Metro, and the Virgina Beach metro. I imagine the Dems will try to run up the score in DC, and hope they dont get killed too bad in Hampton Roads and the rural parts.
     
  15. madviking

    madviking north american scum

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    11,337
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    flavortown
    Yea Virginia has some whacky politics. Mark Warner (D) was one of the most popular governors in modern Virginia history. After going for Obama in '08, Virginia elected a Republican governor in '09 while having two Democratic senators.
     
  16. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,602
    I like using the RCP electoral map because they have three categories for each side: safe, likely, and leaning (as well as a tossup). However, I'm doing something slightly different: anything marked as safe is obviously safe, and anything marked likely is moderately to strongly leaning for one candidate. I'm guessing which way the tossups will go based on economic factors, polls, and historical voting patterns--the light lean category is used to mark those for each candidate (Nate Silver's influence is probably observable here). I'm also going along with his lingo: a tossup is any state that has a viable chance of voting for either candidate in a non-landslide situation, a swing state has a large number of voters who actually swing between the two parties, and a tipping point state is a state that could give the vital 270th electoral vote if you line up the states from most-likely Obama to most-likely Romney.

    I think Obama has a serious advantage right now, and barring any major gaffes or foreign policy upsets there are three contributing factors that will affect this election: the VP pick, the debates, and the state of the economy in late October. The map I have reflects a mediocre economy (not significantly better or worse), relatively balanced debate performance with maybe an edge towards Obama (I don't see Romney winning the debates right now), and a reasonable VP pick from Romney (i.e. no crazy "Hail Mary" like Palin). Obama has too many possible routes to list, but I think Romney only has a couple. He has his best chances to win in Florida and Virginia plus his likely states (248 EVs), followed by Ohio (266 EVs), followed by one more state.

    So after that preface, my list of "real" tossups (i.e. tipping point states or close to it) contains Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, and Colorado. New Hampshire is the honorable mention, I'll get to that later. The map is here--sorry, couldn't get an image from the email thingy, just a web link.

    Why I marked things the way I did (roughly west-to-east, then south):

    Nevada: Despite having the highest unemployment rate in the country, the polls show a solid lean for Obama, and Harry Reid's turnout machine will likely sway the state for him.

    Arizona, New Mexico: Despite some talking heads saying these guys are serious tossups, I'll believe it when I see it. Same with the Republicans and New Mexico, I think these two states are likely voting for the same party they did in 2008.

    Colorado: This was a harder choice, but ultimately I put it in the tipping point category since I think that is the 2nd most likely pickup in the Romney scheme.

    Iowa: Both candidates have competed well here before (Obama in 2008, Romney in the primaries despite it not being one of "his" states). Polls show a narrow Obama lead, but this is one of those states with both major Democratic and Republican areas, so turnout is important.

    Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota: I think these are at least likely Democratic states, despite what the media is talking up. Demographic factors favor the Dems, and even though Scott Walker was retained, people said in exit polls they would vote for Obama something like +9 points. So I'm marking them blue.

    Indiana: I consider this a likely-Romney state. I don't see too many possibilities for the Dems picking it up unless there is a total landslide when it won't matter.

    Ohio: A perennial toss-up, although not as important is it was historically because it continues to bleed electoral votes. Polls show Obama up now, but the demographic and historic factors are mixed and usually favor the Republicans. Nonetheless, both campaigns will compete strongly here, turnout matters, etc. An Iowa+Ohio swing is worth 24 EVs, which I think is essential for Mr. Romney.

    Pennsylvania: It was talked up as a swing state in the last election, and voted +10.35 for Obama. Obama is leading there now, and the demographic factors cause the state to lean a little more blue than Ohio. Unless the new voter impact laws have massive, massive impact, I don't think the Republicans will win here. They will have an easier time elsewhere.

    New Hampshire: Honorable mention for the 6th tipping point, not in the list because I think Romney will have an easier time in Colorado or Iowa, and the far-right social issues that came out in the primary really disappointed a lot of New England residents. Republicans here are more economically-right than socially-right, if that makes sense. Marking this as a likely Democratic state, but close to the tossup category.

    Virginia: Another state where the Democrats have a tenuous lead. I agree with a lot of the discussion above on the changing demographics of Virginia, it's a true tossup this election. Right now, it seems like it is leaning Obama, so the push-comes-to-shove rule I instituted to make this map forces me to mark it light blue.

    North Carolina: Much like Indiana, I think the Republicans can rely on these EVs. Only one poll has shown it close, and historically it's a right-leaning state. I count it as a Romney.

    Florida: All right, the biggie that's a true tossup and potentially Obama's tipping point as well as a must-win for Romney. I ended up marking it as a lean Republican because Romney seems to be taking a more hawkish foreign policy stance and isn't getting specific on cutting welfare programs, both of which work well in this state. I'm betting the angry old people will go for Romney and the turnout won't be high enough to favor Obama.
     
  17. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    20,892
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I drink whatever Nate Silver says.
     
  18. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    50,550
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
    As a Canadian who finds American elections intriguing, I find this sort of map far better represents what happened in the last election..

    What if you used this instead of a geographical map, which is harder to wrap your head around because you have to know the relative populations of the states? Which I guess I didn't really know too well myself - because this surprised me:

     
  19. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    5,820
    He's usually my source.
     
  20. metatron

    metatron unperson

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Messages:
    3,754
    emphasis added

    Those are almost entirely contradictory. The latter is pretty much true. The former is extremely unlikely.
    Florida, if won by Obama, will very likely be superfluous.
    Switching colors in that map, using a very simple graphics program is significantly more time consuming than doing so in the other maps. It might ammount to work.
    Plus you'd have to change the entire map first, due to reapportionment as a result of the 2010 census.
     

Share This Page