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Has Obama already won? October 19, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : US Presidential election , trackback

Obama has had a good lead on the polls for a few days now – does this mean he’s won? Here’s a side glance at what the internet thinks.

Yes, say Norwegian newspapers. The reason they all agree is of course because they all quote their favourite expert, professor Ole O. Moen from the University of Oslo. To Dagsavisen, for example, he says he thinks it will now take a real or imagined terror threat for Obama to lose. He doesn’t think Obama is going to make any big enough mistakes.  But with a single expert being quoted across the board I thought I’d look around a bit.

I assumed I could rely on Fox News to bring me predictions that didn’t favour that black yuppie, but their website did little more than confuse me. They were more interested in telling me that the great-great-great-granddaughter of a slave on McCain’s ancestor’s farm is now a psychology professor.

The Washington Post seems to think Obama will win. Among other things, they can tell us how McCain’s got trouble with media as Obama gets all the endorsements and the great maverick himself is starting a fight with the NYT. Just in case the unthinkable should happen and McCain wins, the Post has posted (ha-ha) some emergency help to journalists to help explain it. At least they list possible reasons why things might take an unexpected turn.

Time Magazine highlights an alternative strategy that might help McCain: redefining the states. If you exclude the parts of a state that doesn’t like you, then you’re actually winning. Unfortunately it’s tougher than you’d think to take away the voting rights of half a state (unless they’re Florida of course). Time’s Karen Tumulty takes a look at what McCain’s followers are doing, which seems to be mostly trying to discredit people that don’t agree with them. A sign that they think they’re losing she claims. This still doesn’t seem to get very exciting.

CNN highlights “the Bradley effect” aka. “the Wilder effect” that’s been discussed a lot. They think we might have to take about 6 points off Obama’s total because of the color of his skin. That’ll surely make the race closer. Independent expert Michelle Obama did however tell Larry King that she thinks things have changed since Bradley lost his election.

What about the professor bloggers out there? Larry M. Bartels shows us that we have to account for some fairly large errors in the poll predictions. Perhaps things might get exciting still? But alas, it seems that most of these effects seem to point to the fact that Obama has actually got a bigger lead than it seems…

Another political scientist looking to history for help is John Cohen. Reagan was hopelessly behind Carter on the polls in late October when he became president, but he won by 10 points. Might McCain be a new Reagan..? Well, Reagan won by crushing Carter in a presidential debate. With the last debate over I think we can safely say that McCain did no such thing…

Tom Holbrook doesn’t promise much excitement either. His predictions for the electoral college is currently at 354-184 in Obama’s favor.

Some times the simplest argument is the best. Didobamawin.com offers compelling simplicity. That nagging feeling at the back of my head seems to agree with their “not yet” in huge letters… I’ll still be paying attention.

And in case you need divine advice, here’s some: www.godhatesobama.com – not your usual zealot hate-campaign.

(Special thanks to The Monkey Cage for some good sources for this post.)


1. Susan - October 20, 2008

Actually I just heard that a lot of the way we vote can be predicted by our personality types. Check it out here: http://www.nyas.org/publications/readersReport.asp?articleID=70

2. votetheday.com - October 21, 2008

Is it possible, that Obama’s lead could evaporate on election day because of Bradley-Wilder effect? Or nowadays Americans are significantly less reluctant to vote for an African-American? Vote here – http://www.votetheday.com/america/secret-racism-will-subvert-obamas-advantage-333

3. sverrebm - October 22, 2008

Without having researched it thoroughly, it seems that many of the sources that were previously concerned about the Bradley/Wilder effect have changed their minds.

I expect there will be much interesting analysis on this topic after the election day results are in.