Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Two-Week Warning (E-14)

The most interesting development since last we checked in was Colin Powell's announcement over the weekend that he was endorsing Barack Obama for the Presidency. Interesting, but not entirely unexpected. Bush used Powell like a baby would use a diaper. You think that's not gonna have repercussions? You think that will have no effect whatsoever on his views on the Republican party? An experience like that tends to burn out any party loyalty you may have ever had. Truth to tell, he was probably done with 'em in 2004. You may well ask, then, why didn't he endorse Kerry? Well, the answer's obvious. Kerry (aka Herman Munster) was a doofus. A well-connected, well-educated doofus, but a doofus nonetheless.

It's somewhere between hard and impossible to tell what effect that's going to have on the election going forward. The thing's got immense momentum and inertia at this point. It would take a truly earth-shattering event to push it off its trajectory. Powell's endorsement, while interesting, ain't exactly earth-shattering.

And now, the numbers:

From Pollster:

DEM: 286 (-27)
REP: 157 (+2)
Toss-Up: 95 (+25)

From Intrade:

DEM: 364, 84.7% chance to win (+/- 0 EV, +0.5%)
REP: 174, 15.3% chance to win (+/- 0 EV, +0.2%)

And a bonus, FiveThirtyEight.com:

DEM: 344.8
REP: 193.2

The thing I like about FiveThirtyEight is that they do something like a Monte Carlo simulation of possible results, and pick the expected result that way. If you're looking to bet the spread, this is what I'd use for a guide.

Notice that Pollster seems to be indicating a tightening race. That's to be expected, this close in. The polls almost always narrow in the last two weeks. Will they narrow enough to actually push enough votes McCain's way? Not unless he can pry some of Obama's softer support away ... and he's effectively conceded Colorado. It's hard for me to see where McCain gets enough pulled away to make a difference.

I'll forego the usual section on who needs to do what, the time for that has passed. Now, it's all about execution and follow-through. But, early voting began yesterday in Texas, and I have a few unscientific eyewitness reports, namely, my wife's and my own. I voted Monday, she voted today, and we both saw more or less the same thing. There were lines at the early voting places, both in the morning and at lunchtime. And everyone expects the lines to get longer the closer we get to November 4th.

This is gonna be a high-turnout year, folks. That's not good news for the Republicans. As Charles Dickens allegedly said once, "A contented, well-breakfasted juryman is a capital thing to get hold of. Discontented jurymen always find for the plaintiff."

The Way to Bet: I'm going to go out on a limb and say Obama takes it with about 340 electoral votes. McCain might be able to chisel that down some, but not enough to change the overall outcome.

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