Poll Analysis: Obama v. McCain

Obama McCain
98.7% probability of winning 1.1% probability of winning
Mean of 313 electoral votes Mean of 225 electoral votes

Electoral College Map

Washington Oregon Idaho Montana Wyoming North Dakota South Dakota Minnesota Wisconsin Iowa Illinios Indiana Colorado Utah New Mexico Texas Nebraska Oklahoma Kansas Nevada California Arizona Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Mississippi Alabama Tennessee Georgia Kentucky Ohio Michigan Pennsylvania West Virginia Virginia Hawaii Alaska North Carolina South Carolina Florida New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland District of Columbia

Electoral College Map

Washington Oregon Idaho Montana Wyoming North Dakota South Dakota Minnesota Wisconsin Iowa Illinios Indiana Colorado Utah New Mexico Texas Nebraska Oklahoma Kansas Nevada California Arizona Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Mississippi Alabama Tennessee Georgia Kentucky Ohio Michigan Pennsylvania West Virginia Virginia Hawaii Alaska North Carolina South Carolina Florida New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland District of Columbia

I’ve changed some of the rules since Friday’s analysis. The changes are documented along with the description of this weekend’s three new polls. In short, the “current poll” window has been reduced from one month to three weeks, and I am now including an additional uncertainty term (uncertainty in p, the probability that a voter goes D or R, that arises because p itself was estimated from a sample).

In any case, Last Friday had Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain 333 to 205 electoral votes.

Today, after 100,000 simulated elections, Obama wins 98,681 times (plus he is given the 181 ties), and McCain wins 1,138 times. Obama receives (on average) 313 to McCain’s 225 electoral votes. If an election were held now, we would expect Obama to win with a 98.9% probability. (Most of the difference in electoral votes over last Friday arises from a change to the smaller “current poll” window.) McCain would have a 1.1% probability of winning.

Here is the distribution of electoral votes [FAQ] from the simulations:

  • 100000 simulations: Obama wins 98.7%, McCain wins 1.1%.
  • Average ( SE) EC votes for Obama: 313.4 (21.2)
  • Average (SE) EC votes for McCain: 224.6 (21.2)
  • Median (95% CI) EC votes for Obama: 312 (275, 358)
  • Median (95% CI) EC votes for McCain: 226 (180, 263)

This table shows the electoral vote total for different criteria for the probability of winning a state: Safe=100%, Strong=90%+, Leans=60%+, Weak=50%+

Threshold Safe + Strong + Leans + Weak
Safe Obama 118
Strong Obama 137 255
Leans Obama 47 47 302
Weak Obama 20 20 20 322
Weak McCain 3 3 3 216
Leans McCain 33 33 213
Strong McCain 173 180
Safe McCain 7

This table summarizes the results by state. Click on the poll number to see the individual polls included for a state.

EC # Total % % Obama McCain
State ‘04 Votes polls Votes Obama McCain % wins % wins
Alabama 9 1* 457 42.7 57.3 1.5 98.5
Alaska 3 3 1467 46.1 53.9 1.5 98.5
Arizona 10 1* 445 44.9 55.1 6.5 93.5
Arkansas 6 1 455 42.9 57.1 1.7 98.3
California 55 2 1660 57.8 42.2 100.0 0.0
Colorado 9 3 2370 50.3 49.7 57.3 42.7
Connecticut 7 1* 552 62.0 38.0 100.0 0.0
Delaware 3 1* 553 55.0 45.0 95.4 4.6
D.C. 3 0 (100) (0)
Florida 27 4 3490 49.1 50.9 21.8 78.2
Georgia 15 2 903 46.3 53.7 5.5 94.5
Hawaii 4 1* 546 66.3 33.7 100.0 0.0
Idaho 4 1 450 41.1 58.9 0.4 99.6
Illinois 21 1* 435 57.5 42.5 98.6 1.4
Indiana 11 1* 596 50.5 49.5 56.9 43.1
Iowa 7 1* 430 55.8 44.2 95.8 4.2
Kansas 6 1 420 38.1 61.9 0.0 100.0
Kentucky 8 2 997 44.4 55.6 0.7 99.3
Louisiana 9 1* 440 38.6 61.4 0.0 100.0
Maine 4 1 450 54.4 45.6 91.2 8.8
Maryland 10 1* 577 57.0 43.0 99.2 0.8
Massachusetts 12 1* 430 61.6 38.4 100.0 0.0
Michigan 17 3 2727 51.9 48.1 92.2 7.8
Minnesota 10 2 1565 52.7 47.3 93.3 6.7
Mississippi 6 2 1038 44.5 55.5 0.6 99.4
Missouri 11 1 1357 47.3 52.7 8.2 91.8
Montana 3 1 658 50.0 50.0 49.5 50.5
Nebraska 5 1 455 39.6 60.4 0.1 99.9
Nevada 5 1 460 51.1 48.9 63.1 36.9
New Hampshire 4 3 1444 51.6 48.4 80.3 19.7
New Jersey 15 1 600 58.2 41.8 99.8 0.2
New Mexico 5 1 644 53.3 46.7 87.7 12.3
New York 31 1 469 62.9 37.1 100.0 0.0
North Carolina 15 5 3030 48.0 52.0 5.4 94.6
North Dakota 3 1 435 48.3 51.7 30.7 69.3
Ohio 20 3 2507 51.2 48.8 79.4 20.6
Oklahoma 7 1 600 30.0 70.0 0.0 100.0
Oregon 7 1 415 55.4 44.6 94.3 5.7
Pennsylvania 21 3 2938 54.1 45.9 100.0 0.0
Rhode Island 4 1* 430 64.0 36.0 100.0 0.0
South Carolina 8 1 465 43.0 57.0 1.7 98.3
South Dakota 3 1* 420 47.6 52.4 23.9 76.1
Tennessee 11 1* 435 41.4 58.6 0.5 99.5
Texas 34 1 455 45.1 54.9 7.0 93.0
Utah 5 1* 425 38.8 61.2 0.0 100.0
Vermont 3 1* 576 68.4 31.6 100.0 0.0
Virginia 13 2 1669 50.6 49.4 64.5 35.5
Washington 11 2 1306 57.4 42.6 100.0 0.0
West Virginia 5 1* 410 45.1 54.9 8.0 92.0
Wisconsin 10 1 974 56.2 43.8 99.7 0.3
Wyoming 3 1* 465 43.0 57.0 1.7 98.3

* An older poll was used (i.e. no recent polls exist).

Details of the methods are given in the FAQ.

The most recent analysis in this and other match-ups can be found from this page.

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