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October 04, 2004

"But What About the Electoral College?"

A lot of people seem to think that Bush is doing better in the electoral college, or state by state polling, than the national polling.

That's wrong.

National sentiment is made up, after all, of the sentiment within each state. When Bush does well in the national polls, he also does well in the state polls, and vice versa, and contrariwise. They're all linked-- they all have a high degree of correlation. Indeed, one can pretty much determine how many electoral votes a candidate will get based on his share of the national vote. Bush, for example, might squeak a 10 electoral vote victory if up by 1 or 2 points nationally, but if up by 3, he'd win by 30 EV's, etc.

So, why do the state by state polls and electoral college counts look better for Bush right now?

Well, easy-- because no one's done any state polls since the debate. It takes time to poll all those 16-20 battleground states, plus states that had seemed like battlegrounds lately, such as NJ. You can point to the state polls but, alas, those are all old numbers. Pointing to the state polls is like noting that Green Bay was ahead of New York yesterday for a while. It's true, but it's dated, and it's irrelevant.

This doesn't mean that Kerry's going to win, just like it didn't mean that Bush was going to win when he was ahead. It does mean, however, that Bush no longer has the advantage. He could get that advantage back, etc., but at the moment, it's tied, with momentum in Kerry's favor.

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posted by Ace at 10:48 AM

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