The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

November 7, 2012

Nate Silver-led stat men crush pundits


Sam Wang, a Princeton University professor of neuroscience, posted his final prediction — that Obama would likely receive 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 235 — on the school’s election blog at 2 p.m. Tuesday. He revised Obama’s total downward from 332 based on late polls yesterday.

Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, hasn’t been called by the Associated Press. Its outcome will determine which of those professors’ final forecasts was accurate.

The Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports poll also had Romney winning the popular vote by one point. It missed on six of its nine swing-state polls. Rasmussen is an automated poll, meaning that it cannot call mobile phones and relies instead on an online polling tool to reach those without landlines. Rasmussen also adjusts data to reflect political party identification, which other pollsters say can change from survey to survey.

Rasmussen Reports had Obama winning Nevada and New Hampshire, tying Romney in Ohio and Wisconsin, and losing in the other five, including North Carolina.

“Nationally, we projected a toss-up and that’s what happened. We projected Ohio would be a tie, and it was very close,” president Scott Rasmussen said. “I believe that what happened is that the polls were right.”

Among other national polls, Pew Research Center and ABC News/Washington Post put Obama up by three points, while the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey had him ahead by one point.

Silver infuriated conservatives with his model, which uses a number of measurements and calculations, including attention to state polls.

Regardless of the national surveys, Obama maintained a steady lead in most of the swing states in the last month, most notably Ohio, without which a Republican has never won the presidency.

U.S. presidential elections are won in the Electoral College, where each state receives votes equaling the total of their two senators and their number of House representatives. The aggregate data from Real Clear Politics and also showed an Obama advantage in all of the swing states except North Carolina.

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Election 2012
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