### State-wise electoral analysis

This week

*Newsweek*(Aug. 9 print edition) introduced a new weekly feature called "Swing State Watch." Given the nature of the electoral college, the state-by-state analysis is considerably more relevant than national opinion polls.

*Newsweek*refrains from predictions, but I have put the Newsweek data into my own newly created model which weights electoral votes by how solidly they are leaning toward each candidate. The model cranked out a prelimnary result: Bush squeaks by Kerry 272 to 266 electoral votes.

But first, back to the Newsweek data. Since I cannot find a link, I'll summarize the findings here:

**Total Bush:**25 states, 211 electoral votes**Total Kerry:**15 states+DC, 207 electoral votes**Toss-up:**10 states, 120 electoral votes

Solid Bush(15 states, 110 electoral votes)

- Alabama, 9 electoral votes
- Alaska, 3
- Idaho, 4
- Indiana, 11
- Kansas, 6
- Mississippi, 6
- Montana, 3
- Nebraska, 5
- NDak, 3
- Okla, 7
- SCar, 8
- SDak, 3
- Texas, 34
- Utah, 5
- Wyoming, 3

Likely Bush(7 states, 72 electoral votes)

- Ariz, 10
- Ark, 6
- GA, 15
- Kent, 8
- LA, 9
- Tenn, 11
- Va, 13

Leaning Bush(3 states, 29 electoral votes)

- Colo, 9
- NCar, 15
- WVa, 5

Solid Kerry(7 states+DC, 92 electoral votes)

- Conn, 7
- DC, 3
- Hawaii, 4
- Ill, 21
- MD, 10
- Mass, 12
- NY, 31
- RI, 4

Likely Kerry(3 states, 73 electoral votes)

- Calif, 55
- NJ, 15
- Verm, 3

Leaning Kerry(5 states, 42 electoral votes)

- Dela, 3
- Maine, 4
- Mich, 17
- Oreg, 7
- Wash, 11
Toss-up(10 states, 120 electoral votes)

- Fla, 27 (49% Bush, 45% Kerry)
- Iowa, 7 (46, 45)
- Minnesota, 10 (45, 48)
- Missouri, 11 (48, 48)
- Nevada, 5 (46, 43)
- NHamp, 4 (45, 47)
- NMex, 5 (42, 49)
- Ohio, 20 (44, 49)
- Penn, 21 (43, 48)
- Wisc, 10 (42, 48)

The *Newsweek* piece is a bit lacking in explanation of methodology. For example, it is unclear if the Kerry/Bush percentage breakdown for toss-up states is based on likely voters or registered voters. It does state that all polls were conducted between July 6 and July 22. Also, the terms "solid," "likely" and "leaning" are not defined.

**Back to my analysis:**

I've done another stage of analysis and created a preliminary model which predicts Bush beating Kerry, 272 electoral votes to 266.

Assumptions in my model:

- The electoral votes are weighted by how solidly they lean toward each candidate. Each candidate wins
- 90% of his "solid" electoral votes and 10% of the other guy's;
- 80% of his "likely" electoral votes and 20% of the other guy's;
- 70% of his "leaning" electoral votes and 30% of the other guy's.
- For the toss-up states:
- I normalized the percentages to so that the total of each state is 100%.
- I then assigned each candidate a weighted average of the toss-up electoral votes, weighting each vote by the percent likelihood that the candidate wins that vote.
- All data are based on the Swing State Watch from the Aug. 8 print edition of Newsweek.
- This methodology is somewhat flawed:
- The model gives each candidate roughly half of each toss-up state's votes. In reality each toss-up state will go fully to one or the other candidate. The model's implicit assumption therefore is that the total electoral votes of the toss-up states split roughly in half (or more exactly, 59 to Bush and 61 to Kerry).
- The model is based on data from
*Newsweek*which are not fully explained. I do not know if the toss-up state figures are based on registered or likely voters, and I do not know the definitions of "solid," "likely" and "leaning."

My model breaks down electoral votes among *Newsweek*'s classifications as follows:

- "Solid" states: Bush 108, Kerry 94.
- "Likely" states: Bush 72, Kerry 73.
- "Leaning" states: Bush 33, Kerry 38.
- Toss-up states: Bush 59, Kerry 61.
- Total: Bush 272, Kerry 266.

And thus ends my analysis for the day.

(By the way, for folks wanting to do back-of-the envelope state-by-state electoral analysis, I recommend OpinionJournal's electoral college calculator.)
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