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Veterans Day 2006

Today is Veterans Day in America and Remembrance Day in Europe. Poppies are used to symbolize the fields of France and the trench warfare of WWI. In Britain a major observance will also take place on Remembrance Sunday (tomorrow).

In the UK most people wear special paper and plastic poppies in the lapel, some with a sprig of leaf on them. Even school children buy them (whether by choice or not), and usually all figures in the public eye (soccer managers, newscasters etc.).

Veterans Day marks the anniversary of the coming into effect of the Armistice during WWI (technically an armistice is a cease-fire so the war did not end until the signing of the peace treaty at the Paris Peace Conference* in June 1919, but most people disregard this and count the war as lasting from 1914-18).

The Armistice came into effect (on purpose) on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day or the eleventh month, but had actually been agreed earlier that morning around 6am in the Compi├Ęgne Forest, just north of Paris. It was signed by General Foch for the Allies and a guy called Matthias Erzberger for the Germans at a special railroad siding in the forest.

Interestingly enough while writing this entry I learned that the armistice for WWII was also signed in the same railroad siding!

*This wikipedia entry is not that great, but maybe will get better over time.


Upstate: downstate?

The map above (from the Washington Post by Nate Kelso, NACIS member) shows how Virginians voted in the Senate election on Tuesday.

The CW on Virginia is that it is split, upstate/downstate, but the map, while not denying that, does add in a few extra things worth noting.

1. You can find solid Dem districts downstate and solid GOP districts upstate.

2. According to the statistic provided by the WaPo, just 16% of voters in N. Va. are in exurbs, while 84% are in urban or suburban districts. The exurbs have recently been touted as a rapidly rising and largely Dem group. But what is the split between suburban--exurban?

3. To avoid larger, but less populated precincts from overwhelming the viewer visually, Nate uses a colored circle.

4. Norfolk, site I believe of a large military base, voted for Webb (D).

5. Plenty of places which aren't exactly rural (eg Fauquier County) still voted for Allen. It would be interesting to overlay this on a population density map.

Is Tradesports accurate?

So we used a few numbers from Tradesports before the election to get a feel for how the "market" was assessing outcomes (eg see here, and here).

Tradesports works differently in that it goes up or down according to how many people are buying shares in particular outcomes (such as Dems taking the House or the Senate). It's not magic, because where are people getting information from upon which to make their purchases? Well, polling data of course just like the rest of us.

The difference is that in theory Tradesports reflects what people prefer, as a whole. I'm not sure that that's correct though. When real money is involved, even if you prefer a GOP victory, but think that the Dems will win, which way do you bet? I would think you'd go with your expectation, not your preference.

Do people therefore hold unrealistic expectations? That's really the question for market-based numbers.

Atrios rightly pans Tradesports for not being "magical" and posts this image showing how it blew the Senate call.

I would argue that this shows that the market reflects what people think will happen (ie it's just a reflection of polling) not what they wish or desire to happen. Even Atrios admits he didn't expect the Senate to go Dem.

Therefore it's really just another form of polling.

Allen to concede?

George Allen is having a press conference in about 3.5 hours--is he anouncing his concession?

AP, NBC and a number of other places have already called both VA and MT races for the Democrats, so this wouldn't necessarily be anything more than recognizing reality. But since that has been in short supply since about 1994, it should be welcomed anyway.

Update: 1:03pm. Hotline has it.


Post election analysis

Well, in short, yesterday's predictions did come to pass and I didn't need to cry into my beer. On the contrary, a good time was had by all at the Thinking Man!

There were some remarkable gains in long-shot seats, which the liberal blogosphere is partly credited with (not only fund-raising, but consciousness raising as well, see this post for details).

So, on to the predictions.

I predicted: +25 seats
Actual: +29 (CNN: 10 undecided)

I predicted: +4 Senate seats
Actual: +5/6

The VA is the hold out right now and Jim Webb has declared victory, although Allen has refused to concede (forgetting, perhaps, his calls in 2000 for Gore to concede, stating that to delay is unpartiotic and bad for the country). I'd say Webb has won though. Dems take Senate. Obviously this was my biggest miss, I just didn't see the Dems taking the Senate. And it was sure close.

More races below.

I predicted: GA-08, GA-12 go Dem.
Actual: both went Dem.

I predicted: MD-Sen: Ben Cardin (D)
Actual: Cardin (D)

I predicted: NJ-Sen: Bob Menendez (D)
Actual: Menendez (D)

I predicted: OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown (D)*
Actual: Brown (D)

I predicted OH-15: Mary Jo Kilroy (D)
Actual: not yet called, but looking like Pryce

I predicted: OH-18: Zack Space (D)
Actual: Space (D)

I predicted: PA-Sen: Bob Casey (D)*
Actual: Casey (D)

I predicted: RI-Sen: Sheldon Whitehouse (D)*
Actual: Whitehouse (D)

I predicted: TN-Sen: Bob Corker (R)
Actual: Croker (R)

I predicted: VA-Sen: Jim Webb (D)*
Actual: not yet called but trending Webb

I predicted: WA-Sen: Maria Cantwell (D)
Actual: Cantwell (D)


Off to Thinking Man

Off to the appropriately named Thinking Man Tavern (affectionately known as the "Drinking Man") for election results!

They're going to set up a large screen with live election results. So I'll be able to either cry into my beer (literally) or celebrate as the occasion demands!

Realtime voting problems mapped here

Problems with voting are being reported in realtime on this map (the site is rather slow, I had to reload several times).

Ohio (!) is leading the pack at the moment, as this report from Columbus indicates:

Franklin County phone system returns to service
The Columbus Dispatch
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 9:50 AM

Franklin County's phone system was returned to service about 90 minutes after it collapsed today under a crush of calls from voters and poll workers.

The volume of calls “overwhelmed the system,” Franklin County Elections Director Matthew Damschroder said.

Phones returned to normal about 9:30 a.m. The system also went down during the May 2 primary, delaying final returns until 2 a.m.

Election Day: George Michael does "Freedom"

Today is election day: please vote!

Here's a little Youtube video to get things going.


ubikcan predictions

OK, here are the ubikcan predictions for tomorrow's midterm elections. I don't have any special data or insights so of course this is just my opinion based on all the polling, the pundits, and especially the blogs at the local and national levels.

House to go Democratic, gain of 25 seats (15 needed)

Senate to stay Republican; Democrats gain +4 (6 needed)
PA, RI, OH, and 1 of MO, MT, VA (wimp!). OK, if pushed I predict VA.
No GOP pickups.

Specific races
GA-Gov: Purdue (R) (duh)
GA-04: Hank Johnson (D)
GA-05: John Lewis (D)
GA-08: Jim Marshall (D)
GA-12: John Barrow (D)

CT-Sen: Joe Lieberman (I)

FL-Sen: Bill Nelson (D) (duh, sorry Katherine)

MD-Sen: Ben Cardin (D)

NJ-Sen: Bob Menendez (D)

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown (D)*
OH-15: Mary Jo Kilroy (D)
OH-18: Zack Space (D)

PA-Sen: Bob Casey (D)*

RI-Sen: Sheldon Whitehouse (D)*

TN-Sen: Bob Corker (R)

VA-Sen: Jim Webb (D)*

WA-Sen: Maria Cantwell (D)


Interestingly, polls can be quite wrong in that there may be 2-3 point difference between the poll and the actual result due to GOTV. Here's an insightful post by Kos for example. He's talking about the recent poll numbers in Virginia:

In 2005, the Democratic ground game swamped the GOP's -- even with Rove's full attention and stewardship. I have no reason to believe that this year should be any different.

Let's go back to the open 2005 governor's race in Virginia:

Rasmussen 11/4/05. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (10/27 results)

Kaine (D) 49 (46)
Kilgore (R) 46 (44)

Mason-Dixon 11/2-3/05. Likely voters. MoE 4% (10/18-20/05 results)

Kaine (D) 45 (42)
Kilgore (R) 44 (44)

Surprisingly comparable numbers, both heading into the election with the narrowest of 1-point leads. The final results? And remember, the GOP went to the hilt with their 72-hour program.

Kaine (D) 51.72
Kilgore (R) 45.99

So final polls showed 45-44 but actual numbers were 51.72-45.99, and Kos attributes this to GOTV. So races, such as VA which are close, can be determined by the GOTV.


Tradesports update, Nov. 6: 20.5%

Well the smart money estimate that GOP chances of retaining the House of Reps. tomorrow is:


There are also some new betting opportunities, namely on combo Senate and House possible outcomes:

As you can see the biggest bet is that the House will go Dem. but the Senate stay GOP. That is what I'd estimate as well, the day before the polls.

Later today I'll make full predictions, including all the Senate races and selected House races!

New districts and my house

I downloaded the new districts from here and made a quick GIS map of how the district shifted. sorry about the map quality, ArcMap is hard to design in.

The map shows that my house was in district 4 (shown by the dotted line) but is now in district 5 (shown in green).

Wow, exciting.

Redistricting in Georgia

As anonymous notes in the comments below, the Georgia redistricting is already in effect. The map I presented of GA-08 is therefore the one for the current Congress. If you live in Georgia, who you vote for on Tuesday will be determined by this map:

Colors indicate likely winner (reddish = R, bluish = D).

UGA also has an online interactive redistricting system (plugin required). Here's their version:

I zoomed in on my road and found that I'm already in GA-05. Their reapportionment center with maps is here.

District 4 is to the right, Cynthia McKinney's old district. The straggly line down the middle is the newly adjusted boundary, putting me just over into district 5 on the left.


As they used to say on the Drew Carey show.

Remember when Ohio was the swing state in the last election? And finally went to Bush by119,000 votes? (It wasn't the closest; New Mexico was decided by 5,988 votes.) How the (Republican) Secretary of State oversaw extensive voter disqualification? (In a come-uppance, this man, Ken Blackwell, will probably lose his race for governor, a position held by Repubs. for over 16 years.) There's even a book on the multiple election irregularities that may have tipped it toward Bush.

Now two years on and it's all change in Ohio. Every race shows leads, some of them huge, for Dems. Two-term GOP Senator Mike DeWine will only be the most noticeable casualty.

Even the initiatives favor liberals: a tobacco-sponsored initiative to "wipe out" no-smoking bans is behind, while an American Cancer Society sponsored one on banning smoking in public is ahead.

All this depends on getting out the vote (GOTV). No Dem. GOTV, then maybe Joy Padgett (Bob Ney's hand-picked successor) will prevail (although CQ is now rating this as "leans Democratic," ie toward the nicely named Zack Space).

Ohio District 15: Pryce (R) v. Kilroy (D) shows Kilroy leads 53-41%. Pryce has represented the district for 14 years, but looks like she's on her way out.

Is this a gerrymander?

CW is that GA-08 is the GOP best chance of a House pickup. GA-08 was redistricted in mid-decade (it's usual to only redistrict following the decennial census, but Republican controlled states redistricted an extra time in both Georgia and Texas). The shape of the district sure looks funny to me.

A Dem. poll last week showed even this possibility fading. But the Repubs. may not be too worried. The Dem. candidate, Jim Marshall, is extremely conservative, opposes stem-cell research, abortion, gay marriage and gun control, all top level social issues. He better not show up 'round here!

This redistricting by the way means that I wouldn't be in Cynthia McKinney's district, GA-04 (even if she hadn't lost the primary). I would be put into the downtown Atlanta district, GA-05, by just a few streets. A district so Democratic that the Democratic candidate is running unopposed... this is not Georgia here!