News from the Votemaster
Updates for the next two weeks will be shorter than usual and possibly erratic in time because I'll be on the road. Missing days are also possible.
Let's take a short break from looking at Vice Presidents. One issue that comes up a lot is how good are polls vs. betting sites like www.intrade.com. It is straightforward to compare the last polls with the last trade prices of the various candidates. electoralmap.net has done precisely that and come to the figure below.
The figure has four quadrants. In the upper right-hand quadrant we have states where both Intrade and the polls predict a McCain win. In the lower left-hand quadrant we have states where both predict an Obama win. If all the data points fell in these two quadrants one could say they were both on the mark all the time. However there are a couple of outliers. The polls (as of Jun 12 when the figure was made) predict a McCain win in Ohio but the bettors think Obama will win it. Same for New Mexico although barely. For Missouri, the polls put Obama a hair ahead but the bettors are going for McCain. Still, even with these very small exceptions, there is a lot of correlation. How can this be? The explanation is simple: the bettors follow the polls. If the polls say Obama is going to win, say, Colorado, this affects how people bet. If fewer people want to buy a contract on McCain-wins-Colorado, it drives the price down. It seems very unlikely that the cause and effect is the other way since most people who are polled don't tell the pollster how they are going to vote based on what they saw on Intrade.
Obama went courting House Latinas yesterday and most of them didn't show up. All but one supported Hillary Clinton. They were presumably miffed by his hiring Patti Solis Doyle (whom Hillary recently fired) and saw it as a slap in the face. So Obama has his work cut out for him unifying the party. But so does John McCain, ever unpopular with evangelicals and the Tancredo "No-such-thing-as-a-fence-that-is-too-high" wing of the Republcan Party.
Donna Edwards was elected to the House yesterday in a special election in MD-04. She will fill out the remainder of the term of Rep. Albert Wynn, who retired from Congress after losing to Edwards in the Democratic primary. Edwards' victory was largely powered by her support from the blogosphere. She is the first female black representative ever from Maryland and is expected to win a full term in November in this D+30 district.
Here are the new presidential polls. Minnesota is a statistical tie. Data like this may influence McCain's choice for Veep. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has been mentioned as a possibility and with him on the ticket, McCain might be able to win this Kerry state.
Three Senate polls today, all with good news for the beleaguered congressional Republicans. In Alaska, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) is still in a statistical tie with Mark Begich (D) but now slightly ahead. This will be an epic battle of youth vs. age. In Kentucky, businessman Bruce Lunsford seems to be close to minority leader Mitch McConnell, but historically rich businessman rare can buy a Senate seat. In Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) seems to be pulling away from challenger Al Franken (D), whom many Democrats view as a less-than-perfect candidate.
-- The Votemaster