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If you were a bookie... Polls and bets on the 2004 elections

 
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 08:35 pm
So ... <ahem>

<hesitates, clears throat>

So, every once in a while ...

Well, anyway. Remember this? I quoted a whole bunch of conversation with fbaezer and then went on forever like this:

nimh wrote:
OK, I bring this up because apart from the "purple" maps, the below might be an interesting graph in that context. It's on the webpage Soz got her "warped-by-population-ratio" electoral maps of red and blue states and counties from: Maps and cartograms of 2004 US presidential election results.

The webpage in question notes the fact that while the overall percentage for the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates each roughly approaches half the vote, there are many more counties in which the Republican won. Timber just said here that it's 82% of 'em, in fact. How does that work? Well, one obvious reason is that a few highly populated counties voting Dem can balance out a lot of sparsely populated counties voting Republican. [..] But, the webpage says, that's not all. There is also the fact that there is a number of counties where almost everyone votes Democratic - and less than 10% Republican. There are however very few counties where the opposite holds true:

Quote:
As an example, leaving out for the moment voters who voted for third-party candidates, the number of counties in the US in which more than 99% of voters voted Republican was five (out of 4533). The number of counties in which more than 99% of voters voted Democrat was 307.

And you need only, say, 4 counties where 95% of the voters is Democrat to counterweigh 18 counties where 60% of the voters is Republican.

This is their bar graph on that and the accompanying explanation: <snip>

Quote:
here is a bar chart of the numbers of counties, nationwide, that voted each possible way [..] (Technically, not all the data points are counties -- some states, notably Maine, report by township rather than by county.)

The results show an interesting effect. There is a large "bump" of counties centered a little above 50%, where people voted roughly half-and-half for the two candidates, although with a slight bias in favor of the Republican candidate. And then there is a big "spike" on the left of the plot, representing counties where, to an excellent approximation, no one voted Republican. It appears that there are, as the pundits have been telling us, "two Americas," but they are not the ones people usually talk about. They are "divided America," where people split roughly evenly between Republican and Democrat, and "decided America," where everyone is a Democrat. The Democrats of "decided America" number about 5.9 million, or 11% of all Democratic voters. These people are unlikely ever even to encounter a Republican voter in their home town.


Now there's two points to make here, and both should actually be slightly worrisome to the Dems.

First, in the "divided America," as they call it, people do not actually "split roughly evenly between Republican and Democrat" - that seems a bit of a wishful projection. One could say that this "bump" more or less in the middle of the graph is that mythical "mainstream America" everyone now talks about. And it doesn't quite split evenly - the "bias in favor of the Republican candidate" seems more than "slight". Basically, the top of this "bump" correlates to 48-62% Republican voters. That's not quite "roughly half-and-half".

Second, this is counterweighed by the "spike" they note on the very left - those 300 counties where everyone votes Democrat. But that does not necessarily bode well for the party. Democrats who "are unlikely ever even to encounter a Republican voter in their home town" are also rather unlikely to have gained a reasonably realistic assessment of or feeling for what that above-mentioned mainstream thinks or feels. Their sense of normality lines up with what in this bar clearly shows up as an anomaly on a national level.

Now, before I confirm Foxfyre all too much in what she's been saying - <grins> - the producers of the graph do emphasise that it's still only 11% of all Democrats who live in such Republican-free zones. But their voice in the party might be influential, and the perspective they bring might be highly unsuited for what now needs to be done: formulating new strategies on mobilising an American majority.

(One sidenote on that pessimistic warning. When I say the above, I am thinking - and you probably are too - of Dean-type Vermont liberals. But could it also simply be that many of those 300 counties where everybody votes Democrat are African-American areas?)


OK, so on another thread, I was just sternly telling someone how aggravating it was when people cited all kinds of analyses or opinions without actually checking the data. Ehm, yeah.

Well, the above webpage was off-line for a coupla days just now - thats why the cute maps Soz had posted and the graph I'd included in this post suddenly turned into little red crosses.

OK, so its back online now. With Soz's revealing, meaningful maps. But without the graph that was in the above post.

And without any of the accompanying analysis that I quoted in it.

It does, however, have this ominous remark at the top of the page that says:

Quote:
[Correction: The figures for numbers of counties voting Rep/Dem were off because of a bug in one of our programs. We've fixed this and corrected the text below. Thanks to K. Drum and others for pointing this out. (All the actual maps are perfectly fine however.)]

So, err, you know - well, basically, I'm just kinda warning y'all here that, well, all these here theorifications in the post above - it might well all just be horseshit.

It actually most probably is.

That is to say, I tried now after all to find any of those over 300 counties that supposedly had over 90% Democrats ... (hell, over 99% is what the webpage had said) ... and I couldnae find any.

Not Manhattan or the Bronx.
Nothing in Vermont.
Not San Fransisco.

They probably dont exist ...

So, err, what do you folks think - what does it say about all of us - or about the image of the Democratic Party [he said in a desperate attempt to spread the blame] that we all instantly believed that, yes, 11% of Democrats did live in counties that were 90+% Democrat?

<sneaks off>
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 09:08 pm
Eek!

Thanks for finding it and pointing it out.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...!

I believe the basic premise that there are places that are much much more heavily Democratic than others -- and would believe that there are those which are much much more heavily Republican than others, which was something that confused me. I DID see something recently about Seattle being 83% (?) Democratic. Will see if I can find that.

(Apologies for being the pruveyor of less-than-stellar data! Glad the maps are OK.)
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 09:32 pm
LOL! Its kind of embarassing, huh. And it would have been so easy for me to doublecheck, too. I mean, fer cryin' out loud - even in Boston Kerry didn't get over 78%! Cambridge, Mass.: 85%. The Bronx? 82%. Manhattan, same. The very idea that one guy would have gotten over 90%, let alone 99%, of the presidential vote should have waved a huge red flag in my face. But no. It looked very professional, you know ... <ahem>

But like you say, the maps you posted are still OK, and those were the more interesting anyway ...

To hammer the point home, this was the time on sprockets when I got round to reading Fox's link, featuring a self-described MSM "dinosaur" journalist on how the bloggers funked up on election night:

Foxfyre wrote:
Back to polling data, here's an interesting piece on journalism vs bloggers re the infamous 'false' exit polling data on election day. I think this guy is giving the 'mainstream' media a pass on what went down that day however:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/08/opinion/main654285.shtml

And a very interesting article, too ... thanks Fox. I mean, you're right, the guy is a hoot really, the way he writes about it - now here's a man with an axe to grind - and how very glad he is to be able to grind it with such good reason, too! Razz

Buuut ... he's totally right of course. Thats pretty much the thing that happened - and thats pretty much the way such mass-disorienting info gets spread around instantly nowadays. And then just try to get the point through about "preliminary exit poll data" the day after, when people are already darkly speculating about how there must have been voter fraud, because "where did all those votes from the exit polls go?"

And the kind of thing I just did here with this little non-table just happens to neatly illustrate his point. Sometimes you just gotta not let the dilettantes get to the numbers ... Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 09:59 pm
Nimh, really, and I say this with heartfelt sincerity, if you screwed up anything on your data, it was a flyspeck compared to your overall amazing analysis and contribution through the last long months of the campaign. You have nothing to apologize for. Whenever one of us is perfect at anything, it's all over for Christ will have returned. Smile
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 10:04 pm
That's sweet ... Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
Steppenwolf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 10:23 pm
nimh wrote:
LOL! Its kind of embarassing, huh. And it would have been so easy for me to doublecheck, too. I mean, fer cryin' out loud - even in Boston Kerry didn't get over 78%! Cambridge, Mass.: 85%. The Bronx? 82%. Manhattan, same. The very idea that one guy would have gotten over 90%, let alone 99%, of the presidential vote should have waved a huge red flag in my face. But no. It looked very professional, you know ... <ahem>

But like you say, the maps you posted are still OK, and those were the more interesting anyway ...

To hammer the point home, this was the time on sprockets when I got round to reading Fox's link, featuring a self-described MSM "dinosaur" journalist on how the bloggers funked up on election night:

Foxfyre wrote:
Back to polling data, here's an interesting piece on journalism vs bloggers re the infamous 'false' exit polling data on election day. I think this guy is giving the 'mainstream' media a pass on what went down that day however:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/08/opinion/main654285.shtml

And a very interesting article, too ... thanks Fox. I mean, you're right, the guy is a hoot really, the way he writes about it - now here's a man with an axe to grind - and how very glad he is to be able to grind it with such good reason, too! Razz

Buuut ... he's totally right of course. Thats pretty much the thing that happened - and thats pretty much the way such mass-disorienting info gets spread around instantly nowadays. And then just try to get the point through about "preliminary exit poll data" the day after, when people are already darkly speculating about how there must have been voter fraud, because "where did all those votes from the exit polls go?"

And the kind of thing I just did here with this little non-table just happens to neatly illustrate his point. Sometimes you just gotta not let the dilettantes get to the numbers ... Embarrassed


Wrong? Innacurate data? I had assumed the whole time that you were simply talking about D.C., in which case 90% Kerry would have been right. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/elections/2004/dc/

Yup, you were dead on about D.C. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Einherjar
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 10:28 am
Echo Foxfyre minus the religious terminology.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 07:54 pm
Copy from post on other thread:

[..] it probably bears mentioning that the actual results in most of the states that were deemed to be close at one point or other were right in line with what state-level opinion polls had suggested the week or so before the elections. This is true in any case for ME, NJ, WA, MI, MN, PA, NH, IA, NM, OH, CO and AZ, and kinda for WI (which went very narrowly to Kerry when polls mostly had shown narrow leads for Bush).

The exceptions to the rule are Hawaii, which Kerry carried with a much larger margin than the polls had shown; Oregon, which he carried with a more narrow margin; Nevada, which Bush carried more narrowly than expected; and the southern and border states of FL, MO, AR, VA, NC and WV, all of which Bush snapped up with larger margins than the polls had shown.

Striking regional pattern there. The state polls had on average been pretty much on-target in 13 of 16 non-Southern battleground states, but had Bush's support considerably underestimated in all six contested states in or near the South.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2004 02:39 am
I hadn't thought to check before now, but: :wink:
Did anyone else notice that my disputed claim that the Casino knows what they're talking about appears to be dead on. They picked every single State they offered correctly. Idea

OCCOM BILL wrote:
Here's some interesting bets available at a Real Casino. Maximum Wager: $500 per. These guys are probably the biggest sports book on planet earth in terms of volume, and are very trustworthy.
Explanation of +/- : All bets assume against $100 wager for calculation. So, in the first example:
Bush at -200 to win costs $200 wager to win $100
Kerry at +150 to win costs $100 wager to win $150


BOS Casino wrote:
01/NOV/04
09:00 PM 15519 Which candidate will win the U.S. Presidential Election in 2004?

George W. Bush -200

John Kerry +150

01/NOV/04
09:00 PM 15521 George Bush Vs John F Kerry ( Florida Electoral Vote 2004)

George Bush -160

John F Kerry +120

01/NOV/04
09:00 PM 15523 George Bush Vs John F Kerry ( Ohio Electoral Vote 2004)

George Bush -140

John F Kerry EV

01/NOV/04
09:00 PM 15525 George Bush Vs John F Kerry ( Minnesota Electoral Vote 2004)

John Kerry -160

George Bush +120

01/NOV/04
09:00 PM 15527 George Bush Vs John F Kerry ( Iowa Electoral Vote 2004)

George Bush -200

John F Kerry +150

01/NOV/04
08:00 PM 15533 George Bush Vs John F Kerry ( Pennsylvannia Electoral Vote 2004)

G W Bush +140

John F Kerry -180

01/NOV/04
09:00 PM 15537 George Bush Vs John F Kerry ( Oregon Electoral Vote 2004)

GW Bush +120

John F Kerry -160

01/NOV/04
09:00 PM 15539 George Bush Vs John F Kerry ( N Mexico Electoral Vote 2004)

G W Bush -160

John F Kerry +120

Source Post
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2005 04:40 am
Sorry for reviving a thread whose topic is mute -- but as I remember it, one frequently recurring issue here was pollster bias. In particular, liberal posters frequently noted that Fox reliably produced the most pro-Bush polls, while conservative posters pointed out almost as frequently that the Zogby poll seemed just as reliably anti-Bush. Perhaps inevitably, some of us, including myself, interpreted that as pollsters spinning reality according to their political bias.

But recently, I noticed a graphic at Dr. Pollkatz that tested this suspicion. "Pollkatz" looked at the outcomes of opinion polls during the Clinton years, then compiled them into dot graphics color-coded by pollster, just like the ones he routinely produces about president Bush. (Approval graphic here, approval/disapproval spread here.) And it turns out that by the approval/disapproval spread, the measure that makes Fox the most pro-Bush pollster, finds that the most pro-Clinton pollster was ... Fox. And the most anti-Clinton pollster was ... Zogby.

The straighforward interpretation of this data is that differences in the polls, maybe in the precise wording of the questions, produce systematic differences in responses in a pro- or anti president direction. But the differences are consistent no matter of the current president's party affiliation, so don't reflect political bias by the pollsters. I have no illusions here: Many in the political threads won't care about this, and they will continue to pass on refuted pollster conspiracy theories just because they're good stories. But the rest of us, including myself, owes Fox and Zogby an apology.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2005 06:04 am
Thanks for pointing that out, Thomas!

I'm pretty sure I noted the thing about Fox polls being president-friendly, rather than Bush-friendly, at some point in time too, pointing to their numbers on Clinton, but I cant find back what post that was in. Hey, perhaps it was you back then already too, and I just appropriated it in my memory! ;-)
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2005 06:07 am
Yes, this needs a closer look but wouldn't it be interesting to see a bias towards or against authoritarian social order. That's the way I frame the world, after all.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2005 06:07 am
Well, nimh, what I like about Altzheimer is that you learn new things every day. Wink For what it's worth though, Pollkatz says the graphics are new, so maybe I'm not as senile as I think.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2005 06:22 am
blatham wrote:
Yes, this needs a closer look but wouldn't it be interesting to see a bias towards or against authoritarian social order. That's the way I frame the world, after all.

Yes it would be interesting, though you couldn't tell the difference from presidential election polls. After all, both big parties are just different flavors of authoritarian. But you might have a chance by comparing Green/Libertarian with Republican/Democrat.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2005 06:49 am
LOL! It was you, last time too, Thomas! Look what the Search button found:

On Fri Jul 16, 2004, Thomas wrote:
nimh wrote:
Glad to see the vote of confidence in Zogby, Fox, if only just cause it makes for a nice change. Most conservatives seem to hate Zogby, for some reason or other. Never quite gotten that. I mean, I dont take Zogby any more seriously than any other mainstream pollster (and the online polls its doing now are dubious), but I still never got why so many conservatives get red in the face when Zogby's mentioned.

For the same reason liberals get red in the face about Fox polls. Zogby polls tend to come out at the unfavorable end when they produce approval ratings for President Bush, so conservatives suspect a conspiracy against their team. By the way, I did some web searching on the spread of Clinton approval ratings across pollsters. It turns out that Dr.Pollkatz, a web site that publishes similar graphs of Bush approval ratings as you do, did construct the corresponding graphs for Clinton's approval ratings. They don't show the graph, but say that the pattern is the same for Clinton as it is for Bush. Fox polls come out at the pro-Clinton end, and Zogby comes out at the contra-Clinton end. There was no swing from above-average Clinton ratings to below-average pro-Bush ratings (or vice versa) after the presidenc. Coming from a decisively liberal site, this means something. I'm surprised about this outcome, and I guess I owe Fox an apology for suspecting it might cook its poll results for political gain.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2005 07:18 am
U-oh ...

(Nurse: what was the name of that friendly Dutch man again? The one who just wrote this nice notice to me?)
0 Replies
 
 

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