All entries for Wednesday 09 January 2008

January 09, 2008

I am not Nostradamus

Follow-up to New Hampshire from True Contradictions

At the time of writing, I only have 80% reporting, so things might change slightly, I'll check it out tomorrow morning and update if I get any closer. In Iowa I was close with the democrats, and slightly further with the republicans, this time its the other way around. Its worth noting that in terms of average placement I'm very close, in the republicans I predicted the exact ordering of all 6 major candidates, for the democrats the only mistake I made was predicting OPbama over Clinton, rather than the other way round.

Candidate Predicted Vote Share Actual Vote Share
Obama 38 36
Clinton 28 39
Edwards 20 17
Richardson 8 5

Kucinich 3 2

If we ignore Hillary Clinton, I was within 3% of the actual score for each of the other Candidates. As to Hillary - what can I say? Her victory was certainly a surprise to me, and much of the polling data was inaccurate leading up to the event, a linear regression of polling data would have predicted a 15-20% lead for Obama. So whats changed? Here's a few theories that I believe are plausible:

1. Obama's base assumed he would win and didn't come out to vote.
I don't believe this is true, due to the level of passion that he has been able to engender in his supporters, throughout this campaign.

2. Iowa has a caucus system that requires people to wait for hours in order to vote, thus in Iowa young mothers (a key Hillary demographic) were disadvantaged compared to New Hampshire's primary system
This is a possible explanation, if its the case, assume a national bias in Caucuses for Obama, and primaries for Hillary. So this is somewhat testable.

3. Hillary did well in the debate and last minute campaigning
During the debate Obama and Edwards made their points more stylishly than Hillary, however, Hillary frequently made the superior arguments, for example by offering superior levels of detail in her policy, or by giving an example of something she had done in the past to backup her case.

4. Bill Clinton
Bill loves New Hampshire, it was here that he coined his 'comeback kid' phrase and got the momentum to push forward to the democratic nomination for his first term. He is massively liked in New England and will have been a tremendous attribute to the Clinton campaign.

Its finally worth making one point that you probably won't hear in the media, Obama and Clinton each won (assuming the current shares continue with the remaining votes) 5 precints each, and consequently split the number of pledged voters from the state. So even though this may have been a surprise upset in term of the winner, in terms of the hard numbers its a score draw.

Candidate Predicted Vote Share Actual Vote Share
McCain 33 37
Romney 30 32
Huckabee 12 11
Guiliani 10 9
Paul 8 8
Thompson 3 1

Perfect ordering for all 6 candidates and all within 4% of actual votage share. Having lost Iowa and New Hampshire one is almost obliged to conclude that Mitt Romney's campaign is over, even though he currently has the most pldged voters (thats right, I was one of the 5 people who actually read the Wyoming result). He may not drop out yet, but I certainly think that his strategy has failed. Fred Thompson looks fairly dead in the water, and I suspect is really sticking in the race, hoping that he can do well in South Carolina (where he was previously polling strongly) to give him any chance of making the Presidency.

This leaves us with McCain, Huckabee and Guiliani. Its too early to tell whats going to happen here, though I doubt McCain will get the momentum he wants from New Hampshire, unless he picks up another pre-super-tuesday state. I'm waiting till Florida to judge Guiliani, as I mentioned in my original entry, he is playing a risky game, but having seen whats happened to Romney it might have been his most sensible strategy. Huckabee is the front runner in South Carolina, and we will another test of his presidential metal winning that campaign against strong competition from all comers.

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