Thursday, August 14, 2008

Counting Electoral Votes - Obama way ahead

According to polls, Obama has roughly a 5% lead, and has had that for a while now. One question I keep hearing is "Why can't Obama put this away?" Many people seem to think that with a race this close in the polls, it's effectively tied.

Kos sees things differently. One of the great things that Kos does is analyze the race in terms of how many electoral college votes each candidate has. He looks at the polls for each state, and, depending on who is ahead, awards those EV's to that candidate. Pretty straightforward. If Obama is ahead in the polls in California, Obama gets all of California's EV's.

By this standard, Obama is ahead, 312 to 226. That's a decisive victory.

Making things more interesting, Kos also looks at "competitive" states, which he defines as states where the polls show a difference within single digits. If Obama is ahead of McCain by less than 10 points in Michigan, it's up for grabs. By this metric, Obama is still ahead, 200 votes to only 82 for McCain.

Finally, Kos splits the difference between these two approaches, and looks at states where the polling difference is less than 5 points, where it is really competitive. Now Obama is at 264, and McCain is at 154. That puts Obama within 6 votes of winning, which is one smallish state, or two of the smallest states.

Pretty much any way you look at it, McCain is in big trouble.

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