Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The world watches and waits.

Of course the most interesting new item this week (possibly the next six) is the US election.

Rather than adding to the galaxy worth of comment on the issues I want to have a quick look at the polling a couple of days out.

The election prediction website has Kerry now ahead in terms of electoral college votes. Kerry 283 and Bush 246 However the lead is built on very marginal seats, you get a more interesting scenario when looking at trends and marginals.

I enjoy playing around with the LA times' electoral vote predictor (available from
It has Bush with 179 safe and Kerry with 153, leaving 206 as 'marginal' up for grabs!
Of course marginal is a marginal word to use here. If one cares to make a few predictions and colour the less than marginal ones they deem as marginal (i.e outside the margin of error) the result looks ever more interesting. Marginal are: New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Jersey and of course Florida.

Now for predictions.
NM will stay Democrat, 2 point lead and D last 3 elections.
Hawaii, Democrat. Has been solidly D. for ages, but polls are tied there. Strong Unionised workforce that if it can be moblised will get out the vote for Kerry.
Minnesota - Democrat. Blue for at least last 4 elections and Kerry has a 5% lead.
Wisconsin - Democrat. 8% lead in polls. Democrat for the last 3 decades.
Iowa - Democrat. Some scary polls but Kerry in the lead now. Also has been democrat for decades.
Nevada - Republican. Went Bush in last election (Blue for Clinton) Polls have it tied, but I think it will go red.
Michigan - Demo. Hurt by Bush's economic management. Went Blue in 92, 96 and 00 - But polls are very close this time...
Pennsylvania - Demo, State went blue last 3 elections.
New Jersey - Demo. Kerry with 8% lead. Democrat in last 3 elections. Gore won 56.1% verse 40.3% last time. A late surge for Kerry putting him back 8% head after tied polling.

I think almost these picks are on for the Democrats to pick up. Some of them are really marginal and I think a high turnout as the pundits are picking will swing them to the donkeys.

This optimistic but possible scenario would result in Kerry with 257 and Bush with 227

That leaves 4 states deciding the election.
Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Florida. Bush needs to win 2 of the 3 (ex NH) and Kerry needs to win either Iowa + 1 or simply one of the others (ex NH)

New Hampshire - I think it will go Republican. Trend is back with Kerry though and now the state is tied. Only 4 electorate votes so is not so important.

Iowa was the second most marginal at the last election with only a few thousand separating the winner Gore over Bush. It has gone democrat at the last 4 elections, but this time the polls are just too close to call.

Ohio - I think it will go to Bush. Latest polls have him 5% ahead. Went Bush last election. This is one of the so called 'bellwethers' and is so important with 20 electoral college votes. One to watch.

That leaves Florida. Kerry now has the lead in the average polls by only 2% High early voting turnouts could help the challenger. State of course went to Bush at the last election (pah) Lets hope the lawyers in the state make sure that its honest. I'd say that the Democrats are seriously pissed at the last election and will be making a huge effort to get people out on the day in Florida. There are too many factors to call this state, but my gut says it will go to the Republicans. This will give Bush back the white house.
Who knows though, if it does swing to Kerry. He is in the top job. Florida is Key for both of them.
If Iowa and the other super marginal go to Kerry it wont be enough. But put it this way, if Kerry wins Florida he could lose 16 electoral votes and still win the election New Mexico(5), Iowa(7), New Hampshire(4) and Hawaii(4) and win the election.
This is the polling summary from
The lead has changed in five states, and all five changes favor Kerry. As a result, Kerry has now passed Bush in the electoral college. If today's results are the final results Wednesday morning, John Kerry will be elected as the 44th President of the United States, with 283 votes in the electoral college to George Bush's 246. But don't count on it. Many of Kerry's leads are razor thin. Counting only the strong + weak states, Bush leads 229 to 196, with 113 electoral votes in the tossup category Kerry's leads in the tossup states mean little to nothing. The turnout Tuesday will determine who wins.

Arrgh. With this post I set out to teach myself who I think will win but I just don't know. Head is saying Bush, rest is saying Kerry. Its soooo close though, as I hope to have shown you.

Join me in Shadows (where we are screening the election) on Wednesday from midday onwards for a beer and an interesting afternoon.


  • Hi Conor. I came across your blog via the Next button.

    It surprises me how much people outside the US are paying attention to our upcoming election. I'm curious...Is this normal for most US presidential elections? Is it just this year? Who do you want to win?

    I'll be honest and tell you that I know very little about New Zealand (beyond what I learned watching various "making of LOTR" documentaries) as a whole let alone the political process.

    By Blogger Mz. Gydnew, at 11:14 am  

  • People are interested because what happens in the USA affects the rest of the world, in numerous ways. From wars to international treaties, to the environment, to trade policies. I am also a political junkie and elections are incredibly interesting.
    I'd say the rest of the world (if I can speak for them) actually cares what is going on in the rest of the world.

    By Blogger Constar, at 12:20 pm  

  • Hey Conor,

    Agree with most of your picks but I'm going to say Florida, New Hampshire and Ohio will swing to Kerry. 331-227(I will probably be wrong. Never mind.) See ya in the pub tomorrow.

    By Blogger Wilson's World, at 9:15 pm  

  • I would love to join you, but it's quite an airfare. I'll be at a do down here instead.... fingers crossed!


    By Blogger Jordan, at 10:15 am  

  • Looking back at your predictions (a week after the elections) I have to say you were admirably accurate!

    By Blogger Capital Pundit, at 4:42 pm  

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