Election Prediction

Almost 21 months ago, Barack Obama threw his hat into the presidential race. Having prevailed in a bitterly fought primary, he now faces the final test -- tomorrow’s general election. Because there are so few pundits proffering opinions on the outcome (hah!), I thought that I’d help fill the vacuum by sharing my thoughts with you. Actually, I have just two predictions.

First, we should have a pretty good idea of the outcome by 7:01pm EST. Why 7:01pm? Polls in Virginia, a key swing state, close at 7:00pm. Presumably, exit poll information will be released shortly thereafter. If the exit polls indicate momentum one way or the other, that should be a pretty useful harbinger for the other battlegrounds. (This, of course, assumes that the exit poll accuracy will be better than those data from 2004, when there were some seriously misleading signals.)

My prediction is that Virginia will go to Obama by at least the margins forecast by the polls (see below).
Fivethirtyeight.com projects a 4.7% margin, and Pollster.com 5.7%. This, then, would augur well for eight other key battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Virginia polls as of Nov. 3, 2008:

Picture 2
Source: fivethirtyeight.com

Picture 3
Source: Pollster.com

Here is my second prediction: as Virginia goes, so goes the election. My national election prediction is Obama 375 electoral votes, McCain 163. The state-by-state electoral predictions are below, with the swing states in

Picture 5

We shall soon know.