Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

The Presidential debates are over.

We can all sit back and breathe a sigh of relief — especially if you are a Hillary Clinton supporter. Hillary Clinton has come out on top in all three of the presidential debates.

Here is my view on how the electoral college looks as of right now.

Electoral Vote as of Oct. 21, 2016

And here is a link to the above map located at 270towin.com.

There are still two states that are so close that I consider them to be tossups: Arizona and Ohio. It is also clear that Hillary Clinton doesn’t need either of these states to win the election. Without either Arizona or Ohio, I project that Hillary Clinton will win 323 electoral votes. If that is accurate, that would give her 53 more electoral votes than necessary to win.
Continue reading Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, and Liane V music video that you must see

I love a good song. will.i.am featuring Apl.de.ap and Liane V have a video out that not only is fantastic music, but also offers a good message and sound advice. Take a few minutes to watch it. You won’t be disappointed. But please, don’t blame me if you end up humming the song for the rest of the day.

Clinton Campaign position: transgender rights

I must admit that I am getting frustrated with all the talk of Donald Trump while ignoring the positions of Hillary Clinton. It has been coming out recently that people would claim to know what Donald Trump’s position was on a subject, but they had no idea where Hillary Clinton stood on the issues. Sadly, the truth is that Hillary Clinton has a plethora of positions covering all types of policy while the few positions that Donald Trump has are trivial, ill-conceived, and ever-changing.

All a person has to do to find out where Hillary Clinton stands on various positions is to visit HillaryClinton.com and read the “issues” section. There are also other websites like Procon.org that have the major positions of all the candidates listed. Finally, if searching through the different websites for information isn’t your cup of tea, all you have to do is go to Google and type in Hillary Clinton Issues in the search field.

I know that there isn’t anything that I can do to help get these positions out there. The people who are interested in the positions will find them. The people who only want to use their lack of information as an excuse wouldn’t be satisfied if Hillary Clinton showed up personally a their house with a position paper. In light of that, I am going to focus on some of the issues that matter to me.

The first issue that I want to focus on is the rights of transgender people. Now that the United States has made such great strides with respect to gay rights, the religious right has picked a smaller, more vulnerable group at which to vent their spleen. It isn’t like transgender people are new to the scene. We have been here from the very beginning. We have been working, marrying, loving, raising children, shopping, and going to the bathroom as long as there have been people. It is only now that the religious right needs a new target that they seek to pass laws trying to limit our freedom.

North Carolina has recently passed a law that is still the talk of the transgender town. They have tried to make it illegal for us to use the bathroom without putting us in great danger. While the final outcome of the law has yet to be decided, we do know where Hillary Clinton stands on the issue.

On March 24, 2016 Hillary Clinton tweeted the following:

LGBT people should be protected from discrimination under the law—period. https://t.co/IMOyRZe5Gh -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2016

The “-H” in the tweet indicates that Hillary Clinton sent the tweet herself. It also seems to be a pretty unambiguous statement about support for LGBT rights. As for the link in her tweet, it directs to an Advocate article titled “North Carolina Governor Signs Repeal of LGBT Protections”.

The Advocate also has an article titled “Clinton, Sanders Slam North Carolina’s Transphobic Law” that covers the issue.

Knowing this information, I feel pretty secure in my belief that Hillary Clinton supports the LGBT and that I don’t have to worry about her as an ally.

How about you? Are there any Clinton positions that you are concerned with? Is there positions that she hasn’t made clear? What are your top priorities for the next President?

An easy way to compare the presidential candidates

Electoral Vote just posted a link to a website that compares the different positions held by the presidential candidates. It is an amazing list. There are enough positions there to get a really good sense of where your particular candidate stands.

ProCon.org has a website that lists an enormous amount of information about where each of the candidates stand with respect to various issues. The issues are broken down into the following general categories:

  • Crime and Justice
  • Economy and Taxes
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Energy
  • Foreign Policy
  • Guns / Second Amendment
  • Health Care, Abortion, and End of Life Issues
  • Immigration
  • Labor and Wages
  • Marijuana and Alcohol
  • Military and War on Terror
  • Race
  • Science and Environment
  • Sex and Gender

Under the above headings, the site is broken down into an even greater number of policy questions that they track. If you want to be an informed voter, take a little time and see exactly how each of the candidates stands on the issues.

For me, Hillary Clinton isn’t a perfect match for my positions, but she is close enough that I can happily support her candidacy. Granted, I wish we agreed with more issues, but I believe that her stances are the best of all the candidates for the United States’ prosperity.

What do you think of the candidates’ positions. Are their any deal breakers on the list for you? Any that are so important the you must support a particular candidate? Let me know in the comments.

Clinton vs Trump: registered voters

[Edit: added Aug 18, 2016]

I couldn’t leave the below graph alone. While accurate, the dates were stretched out. With stretched out dates, it is possible to give an inaccurate view of exactly how the voting was shaping up. I have recreated the chart keeping the date until election on a linearly decreasing line.

160818 2 Clinton v Trump (registered voters)

I have used two different y axes. The axis on the left is related to the Clinton v Trump polling percentage. The axis on the right is only related to the difference between Clinton and Trump (Clinton’s percentage minus Trump’s percentage). By putting all the data into one graph, I believe it is more visually accurate without losing accuracy.

As you can see, the only times that Donald Trump has led in this timeframe has been between 109 and 107 days until the general election. That also represents the Republican National Convention. His campaign began to tank directly following his convention.

[End of Edit]

It is obvious by watching the news that Donald Trump is losing. Presently, the polling figures aren’t even close. While I haven’t been doing any polling calculations recently, curiosity did get the better of me and persuaded me to at least show where we are. This isn’t a deep analysis of the current state of the race; instead, I just wanted to see how bad it was from a grand overview.

I limited my data to non-partisan pollsters. I also excluded likely voters since, in my opinion, there aren’t enough good polls. This is the result:

160818 Clinton v Trump (registered voters)

While that might not look all that bad, currently it represents a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton. While this isn’t the best chart that I have ever made, you can see that things have taken a dramatic turn for the worst for Donald Trump since he peaked 114 and 107 days until the election. Those dates correspond to the polling that was done right around the Republican National Convention. It has been all down hill from there.

You can also see that the polling seems to have stabilized starting at about the 100 day mark. It will be interesting to see whether the latest dramatic changes Donald Trump has done in his campaign will make any difference.

Political analysis FAQ

Why should I care about your statistics?

The short answer is that you shouldn’t. The longer answer is that I try to do my analytics in a way that are easy to understand, that show my reasoning, and can be replicated by anyone with an interest in doing the work for themselves.

Where do you get your data?

I am currently using historical data from Electoral-vote.com and current polling data from Huffington Post Pollster.

Shouldn’t I get an analysis directly from the source?

By all means. Each of the following places has their strengths and weaknesses with respect to data and political analysis. That being said, regardless of their personal ideology, they each do a tremendous job at statistical analysis.

So what do you do differently from them?

I take the median of current polls to use as a base. This idea was pioneered (to the best of my knowledge) by Princeton Election Consortium. I then use each state’s history so that I can apply a Bayesian analysis to the results to try to get a better picture of how each state will ultimately vote. Finally, I employ a computational analysis called the Monte Carlo method to compute the likelihood of each candidate winning in November.

Do you do all this by hand?

Yes. I download the updated data, sort it, and apply all the mathematics (with the exception of the Monte Carlo computations) by hand.

Holy Shit! That’s a lot of work.

Not a question, but yes it is. That is the reason that I don’t update my results nearly as often as the more popular sites.

Are you more accurate?

Sometimes, but I’ve made no great leap in political predictions.

Each respected statistician comes infinitely closer to the ultimate election outcome than the political pundits we will be forced to listen to for the next three months.

Then why do it yourself?

I studied math and physics in college: I like it. More specifically, it is a personal competition to see if I can get a hair’s breadth closer to the actual election outcome than the other statisticians.

I understand. Can I safely ignore this political analysis crap?

Yes, but please don’t ignore politics. It is important that we elect a person that will help the United States be the kind of place where we can all live happily, thrive, and reach the pinnacle of our humanity instead of allowing it to turn into a steaming cesspool of authoritarianism with no other purpose than to grind people to dust for profit.

Arizona as a battleground state

The easiest way to look at the battleground states, also known as swing states, is to go alphabetically. The first state that anyone predicts has a chance to be a battleground state is Arizona.

Here is a chart of the presidential election outcomes from 1976 through 2012:

76-12 Arizona voting history

With this chart, it looks like Arizona has been trending Democratic over the 1976 – 2012 time period. But there are four years that deserve notice: 1976, Carter followed 4 years after Nixon and people really wanted a change; 1980 and 1984 Reagan was a Republican superstar that pulled Republicans and Democrats; and 1988 Bush 41 promised to continue Reagan’s progress. Both the Republican and Democratic parties were different back then. In addition, the United States was still reeling from the Watergate scandal.

A better statistic to measure Arizona by would be 1992 – 2012:

92-12 Arizona voting history

As this chart shows, the trend in recent history has been toward the Republican party. The only time that Arizona has voted Democratic since 1992 has been Bill Clinton’s second term. While it is possible that Donald Trump’s attacks on John McCain as well as Arizona’s previous support for a Clinton will be enough to put this state back in play, it is going to take quite a bit of work.

As of right now — pending state level polling — I expect Arizona to go to the Republicans.