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Author Topic: What is considered a 'Safe' popular vote win?  (Read 12699 times)
GOPhound
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« on: March 19, 2004, 03:26:41 pm »
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I was thinking about some of these state polls and how the one to really keep an eye on are the national head-to-head polls.  In almost every election, the popular vote winner has also won the electoral college vote.  I would think that these national polls are a more important indicatior of who will win the election.

We saw in 2000 how Gore won the popular vote by .5% but lost the electoral college by the slimmest of margins.  Going by that, would it be safe to assume that any popular vote victory over .5% would guarantee an electoral victory?  Basically that means that if one candidate won by .5% or more, a majority of the electoral votes from the close states like NM,IA,FL,OH would end up voting for the winner.

I'm not a statistician, but I think the odds of a candidate winning the popular vote by let say 1.5%, yet losing the electoral college would be pretty slim.  Therefore I think I'm going to focus on the national polls, especially those by reputable organizations like Zogby.





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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2004, 03:34:11 pm »
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I would say that 53% would be considered safe.  Maybe 52%.  That is a decent margin and if I were a candidate I would feel safe with that much.
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2004, 03:34:21 pm »
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I was thinking about some of these state polls and how the one to really keep an eye on are the national head-to-head polls.  In almost every election, the popular vote winner has also won the electoral college vote.  I would think that these national polls are a more important indicatior of who will win the election.

We saw in 2000 how Gore won the popular vote by .5% but lost the electoral college by the slimmest of margins.  Going by that, would it be safe to assume that any popular vote victory over .5% would guarantee an electoral victory?  Basically that means that if one candidate won by .5% or more, a majority of the electoral votes from the close states like NM,IA,FL,OH would end up voting for the winner.

I'm not a statistician, but I think the odds of a candidate winning the popular vote by let say 1.5%, yet losing the electoral college would be pretty slim.  Therefore I think I'm going to focus on the national polls, especially those by reputable organizations like Zogby.







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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2004, 03:40:18 pm »
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No, I don't think over a .5% win would be safe.

Look how the electoral college was reapportioned based on 2000's population numbers.  Bush would win the electoral vote by 278-260 or something... not the slimmest of margins, based on the census figures for 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote by more than half a million.  

This means even when they democrats win by half a million, the republicans have an 18 point electoral advantage.  

The electoral college seems to heavily benefit smaller, more rural states...  which unquestionably benefits republicans.  

I think this time you could see the democrats win the popular vote by as many as 2 million votes and still lose the electoral college vote.
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2004, 04:19:44 pm »
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It's a moot point since a lead of 1% in a poll would be within the margin of error. An actual win by 1% would be pretty safe I think, but there's no way for us to tell on beforehand if it's that close.
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2004, 04:25:18 pm »
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It's a moot point since a lead of 1% in a poll would be within the margin of error. An actual win by 1% would be pretty safe I think, but there's no way for us to tell on beforehand if it's that close.

Yeah, any PV margin over 1% probably creates an electoral lock in modern America.
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2004, 04:39:31 pm »
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It's a moot point since a lead of 1% in a poll would be within the margin of error. An actual win by 1% would be pretty safe I think, but there's no way for us to tell on beforehand if it's that close.

Yeah, any PV margin over 1% probably creates an electoral lock in modern America.

Not a 100% sure, but probably. If there are big swings in strongholds and moderate swings the other way in tossups it could happen, but I don't really see that happening.
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2004, 05:14:17 pm »
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I would be shocked if a candidate won the popular vote by more than 2.0% but lost the electoral college.  

The only realistic way this could happen is if Kerry somehow wins Florida AND Ohio while losing the huge in the rest of the South.    Then Kerry would win the EC (despite losing states like NM, WI, OR, WI), while losing the PV.

I don't see how Bush could win the EC while losing the PV by more than 2%.  If Kerry won the PV by this margin, he would definitely take FL -or- OH while keeping almost every Gore state.
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2004, 09:42:35 pm »
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Its extremely rare to ever see a canidate with 65%+ in a state larger than Utah in these days, so I would say a PV win of 1.5% is safe for an EV win.  Especially since the PV seems to always reflect the independent vote.  A 1.5%+ PV vote win would swing most of the close states in favor of the winning canidate.  
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2004, 10:39:54 pm »
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Not a 100% sure, but probably. If there are big swings in strongholds and moderate swings the other way in tossups it could happen, but I don't really see that happening.

Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, and Minnesota could come down to as few as 500,000 votes total margin.  That's 115 EV.  A .5% PV swing can effect 21% of the EV.  That's probably a bit of a dramatic example, but I think either candidate needs a 3% PV lead to be secure.

Still, I think at this point, national poll numbers are much more useful than state numbers to determine who's "leading."  If either candidate is leading all national polls outside of the MoE, he is a pretty good bet to win the EV.
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2004, 11:16:19 pm »
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That's Bill Schneider's take on it.  Greenfield says it's probably more like 2%.  So does Michael Beschloss.  Of course it's mathematically possible to win 70% of the PV and still lose.  But unlikely.
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2004, 11:26:47 pm »
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Hughes lost the popular vote by 3.12% in 1916, but would have won the electoral vote had he had 400 more votes in Minnesota. This is more than Hayes' margin in 1876', and I think 4% is the margin in a normal two-party race, although two or three percent should win it. Anything less than two percent is subject to luck.

I suppose a situation could occur where Bush had some extreme plan to rmake NYC or LA, and had no support from those two states. I do think that polls do influence how people vote, so I major popular vote upset would be unlikely.
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2004, 11:30:28 pm »
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I was thinking about some of these state polls and how the one to really keep an eye on are the national head-to-head polls.  In almost every election, the popular vote winner has also won the electoral college vote.  I would think that these national polls are a more important indicatior of who will win the election.

We saw in 2000 how Gore won the popular vote by .5% but lost the electoral college by the slimmest of margins.  Going by that, would it be safe to assume that any popular vote victory over .5% would guarantee an electoral victory?  Basically that means that if one candidate won by .5% or more, a majority of the electoral votes from the close states like NM,IA,FL,OH would end up voting for the winner.

I'm not a statistician, but I think the odds of a candidate winning the popular vote by let say 1.5%, yet losing the electoral college would be pretty slim.  Therefore I think I'm going to focus on the national polls, especially those by reputable organizations like Zogby.







Focus on job approval ratings. They always work in presidential re-election contests. 50% or more and it's a win. Less than that and it's iffy.
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2004, 11:32:06 pm »
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Hayes was a special case.  The GOP were playing some pretty dirty tricks that year, particularly in Oregon.

NHpolitico is right, at least in a historical context.  Also consider disapproval ratings, over 40 means bad news for the incumbent.
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2004, 07:26:42 am »
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I might argue the point on Zogby...

There are several much better polling firms...

Regarding a "safe" margin...

In 2000, if Gore had 1% more popular vote in every state (and Bush 1% less) the electoral college would have been. 296/242 for Gore.

A shift of 1.0% for Bush would have made it 327/211 for Bush

A shift of 3% for Gore would have made it also 327/211 - except this time for Gore

A shift of 3% towards Bush would have made it 366/172 for Bush


a gap of 3% or more it is almost inconcievable that the EV and popular vote would  not agree

Didn't Zogby come closet in the past 2 presidential elections?  I visited his site during the Dem primaries and he basically seemed to nail those too, with a few exceptions.  Which firms would you consider better?

So going by what you say, a Gore PV win of 1.5% would have given him a 296-242 win in the EV?  It would seem to me, just based on intuition, that it would be extremely unlikely for someone to win the PV by over 2% yet lose the EV.  From 1-2%, I think with the right combination of states, it is possible but not probable.  Under 1% it's quite probable.

I have a feeling that in both the EV and PV this election isn't going to be as close as 2000.  The problem is I'm just not sure who's going to be ahead.  

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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2004, 07:48:57 am »
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That's Bill Schneider's take on it.  Greenfield says it's probably more like 2%.  So does Michael Beschloss.  Of course it's mathematically possible to win 70% of the PV and still lose.  But unlikely.

It's 83%. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2004, 07:50:42 am »
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I might argue the point on Zogby...

There are several much better polling firms...

Regarding a "safe" margin...

In 2000, if Gore had 1% more popular vote in every state (and Bush 1% less) the electoral college would have been. 296/242 for Gore.

A shift of 1.0% for Bush would have made it 327/211 for Bush

A shift of 3% for Gore would have made it also 327/211 - except this time for Gore

A shift of 3% towards Bush would have made it 366/172 for Bush


a gap of 3% or more it is almost inconcievable that the EV and popular vote would  not agree

Didn't Zogby come closet in the past 2 presidential elections?  I visited his site during the Dem primaries and he basically seemed to nail those too, with a few exceptions.  Which firms would you consider better?

So going by what you say, a Gore PV win of 1.5% would have given him a 296-242 win in the EV?  It would seem to me, just based on intuition, that it would be extremely unlikely for someone to win the PV by over 2% yet lose the EV.  From 1-2%, I think with the right combination of states, it is possible but not probable.  Under 1% it's quite probable.

I have a feeling that in both the EV and PV this election isn't going to be as close as 2000.  The problem is I'm just not sure who's going to be ahead.  



Bush, in that case, Kerry won't win big, I'm fairly sure of that.
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2004, 10:11:36 am »
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That's Bill Schneider's take on it.  Greenfield says it's probably more like 2%.  So does Michael Beschloss.  Of course it's mathematically possible to win 70% of the PV and still lose.  But unlikely.

It's 83%. Smiley

Mathematickky you can win with 11 votes (1-0 in  the big 11 states ) and millions against you un all other states - 99.999%
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2004, 01:59:31 pm »
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In the late 19th century, it was much more possible for the GOP to win in the EC despite losing big in the PV, because many Southern states went like 90% Democratic.  Even the most partisan states today are like 65-35.
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2004, 02:02:24 pm »
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Yes, I'd predict that in 20 years, 75% of the electoral vote, will be within 5% of the national average.
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« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2004, 05:47:50 pm »
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That's Bill Schneider's take on it.  Greenfield says it's probably more like 2%.  So does Michael Beschloss.  Of course it's mathematically possible to win 70% of the PV and still lose.  But unlikely.

It's 83%. Smiley

Mathematickky you can win with 11 votes (1-0 in  the big 11 states ) and millions against you un all other states - 99.999%

Yes, but that's altering the number of voters. My example is based on turnout being the same which makes more sense.
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« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2004, 05:49:10 pm »
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That's Bill Schneider's take on it.  Greenfield says it's probably more like 2%.  So does Michael Beschloss.  Of course it's mathematically possible to win 70% of the PV and still lose.  But unlikely.

It's 83%. Smiley

Mathematickky you can win with 11 votes (1-0 in  the big 11 states ) and millions against you un all other states - 99.999%

Yes, but that's altering the number of voters. My example is based on turnout being the same which makes more sense.

just a theortical
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2004, 02:01:15 am »

That's Bill Schneider's take on it.  Greenfield says it's probably more like 2%.  So does Michael Beschloss.  Of course it's mathematically possible to win 70% of the PV and still lose.  But unlikely.

It's 83%. Smiley

Mathematickky you can win with 11 votes (1-0 in  the big 11 states ) and millions against you un all other states - 99.999%

Yes, but that's altering the number of voters. My example is based on turnout being the same which makes more sense.

Actually, turnout DOES vary a lot from state to state.

In 2000 Gore won New York by about 1.7 million votes, while Bush won Texas by about 1.3? million or so - making up most of Gore's margin in the PV, even though NY and Texas are about the same size (bush won texas by 21, Gore NY by 25)

Why the huge difference..?  In 2000 there was a very hot senate race in NY (Clinton vs Lazio) while the Texas race was a yawner..

Here is a scenario..  On election day the Eastern seaboard gets clobbered by a huge snowstorm while the South has a real nice day...

I bet that would skew the popular vote at least a few %...

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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2004, 06:49:36 am »
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That's Bill Schneider's take on it.  Greenfield says it's probably more like 2%.  So does Michael Beschloss.  Of course it's mathematically possible to win 70% of the PV and still lose.  But unlikely.

It's 83%. Smiley

Mathematickky you can win with 11 votes (1-0 in  the big 11 states ) and millions against you un all other states - 99.999%

Yes, but that's altering the number of voters. My example is based on turnout being the same which makes more sense.

Actually, turnout DOES vary a lot from state to state.

In 2000 Gore won New York by about 1.7 million votes, while Bush won Texas by about 1.3? million or so - making up most of Gore's margin in the PV, even though NY and Texas are about the same size (bush won texas by 21, Gore NY by 25)

Why the huge difference..?  In 2000 there was a very hot senate race in NY (Clinton vs Lazio) while the Texas race was a yawner..

Here is a scenario..  On election day the Eastern seaboard gets clobbered by a huge snowstorm while the South has a real nice day...

I bet that would skew the popular vote at least a few %...



Lol, I am basing it on the turnout in 2000, so OK, I phrased it badly.
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