Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Summary of Previous Post

In the previous post I gave an interminably long report on the state of yard signs in neighborhoods I have driven around in over the last week. As I mentioned four years ago I largely don't trust polls, save for recognizing trends. However I do like to try and surmise voter enthusiasm by the simple expedient of opening my eyes and observing what I see.

This method has some obvious problems. It depends on what the observer sees and what the observer cares to look at. For example you will find that when the choice presents itself I tend to drive around in nicer areas. This is because I am casing the joints, er, prefer to drive around in areas where I am less likely to get jacked, er, well let's be honest. I live in a crappy neighborhood (Pine Hills, though it's not as crappy as it used to be) and I prefer whenever possible to take my daughter to nicer areas in which to play. The nicer parks are generally in or near the nicer neighborhoods. And lately when I've been driving my daughter often falls asleep in her car seat. The car seat forces her to be still, and lately she hasn't been getting enough sleep because she is no longer sleeping in a crib but now sleeps in a toddler bed. So she doesn't go to sleep as easily, and when she does wake up she gets up and wanders instead of going back to sleep. (In fact I just had a visit at 1:10 AM as I was writing this post.)

So when my daughter goes to sleep during a trip someplace I just keep driving until she wakes up. A little on the expensive side except that I value my sanity very highly. This gives me opportunities to look around.

Therefore a definite selection bias is at work in the neighborhoods I observe. They tend to be white and middle class or better. We already know these areas will mostly favor Romney this time around.

However I have tried to find a couple of areas which I know from past experience or believe for other reasons will favor Obama.

The other big problem I have is that I don't have many areas where I can make comparisons to four years ago. And even there the only place I have a partial count is along Smith and Princeton in College Park.

That said I have observed some trends worth noting.

First, where I CAN compare to four years ago, exactly or not, support for Romney is above what it was for McCain. Even in Winter Garden, which favored McCain heavily four years ago, seems to have bigger turnout this time for Romney. Romney is doing almost as well as Dan Webster, who's a Congressman from Winter Garden running for re-election. There is no visible support for Obama this time around - it's a white wash.

Romney is definitely winning in College Park, which favored Obama slightly last time around.

Obama's support is finally becoming apparent here in Pine Hills, but lacks the intensity (so far) of four years ago. Even a black neighborhood in Winter Park isn't as intense for Obama as it was four years ago. (Winter Park seems to have more intensity for elections than most other areas around here.) They're still blackouts for Romney.

Four years ago by this time it definitely felt like Obama was going to win Florida, just as four years before that it was a certainty (to anyone that wasn't a pollster or some other kind of dumbass) that Kerry had NO SHOT in Florida. Four years before that I think you can recall for yourselves. Furthermore your recollections will be almost as pertinent as mine since I had been living in Maryland for over four months before that election.

Now? I believe it feels like Romney is going to win, though it lacks the certainty of 2004 or 2008. But Romney is clearly getting support above and beyond what McCain got, and the heat from Obama '08 has dissipated, at least in this area.


But let's look at some data. In 2004 Bush won Florida with 52.1% of the vote to Kerry's 47.1%, an easy five point victory. In 2008 Obama won with 50.9% of the vote vs. McCain's 48.1% of the vote, a smaller 2.8% point win. Turnout was 1.8% higher in 2008 than 2004, 59.8% vs. 58.1%.

I'm not sure what this tells us at the moment. McCain actually got more votes than W. had in 2004, which was a function of the state adding about 1,000,000 new voting age people(!) in the meantime. But the sense was that in 2008 Republicans were down in the mouth and in fact McCain had a lower percentage of the voting age population vote for him than W had received. Obama actually slightly outdid W in that regard and crushed Kerry.

The upshot is this. If Romney can make up half the ground McCain lost (as a percentage of voting age population - remember that less than 60% of those folks vote!) then he's got a shot. In that case if Obama loses even a third of the turnout advantage he had in 2008 over Kerry from 2004, he'll loose.  It is VERY easy to envisage Romney's support making up half the ground that McCain lost. It is equally believable that Obama is going to give back ground from what he had in 2008. The closer Romney gets to what Bush had in 2004 (I think he's got an outside shot) the closer it becomes a certainty that Obama doesn't just lose but gets crushed.

After looking at these numbers I really believe Romney is going to win the state.

I'd like to do some county by county analysis as well as look at demographic changes from 2004 to 2008 to 2012. But that will require time and energy that my daughter will surely not permit. So feel free to chew on this stuff, or completely ignore it. I hope to get back to it at some point soon and NOT in the middle of the night (surely my reasoning is somewhat clouded) but now I have to scratch one of my cats - I promised her I'd do so before I went to bed and it's already late enough.


Janis Gore said...

Good reporting, good writing.

Thanks, Ice.

I'm still not voting this race or going third party.

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