Unlike our Dale Amon, I am not going to endorse a candidate – in fact, I am rooting for a 269-269 electoral tie, just for the sake of making history – but I still find the horse race intriguing. I was overwhelmed with requests (okay, two people asked) to run one last version of the election monte carlo that I offered last week. Apart from updating the probabilities, I did a few things differently this time:
- if the price was greater than 90 or less than 10, I changed it to 100 or 0, so that only the swing states impact the model.
- I kept track of which states were most likely to end up in the winners’ column; I wanted to know which states were the kingmakers. (Well, we already knew which states, but I wanted a way to quantify it.)
- I ran a few different scenarios, taking different swing states off the table (i.e. setting their probabilities to 100 or 0.)
Scenario I: every swing state up for grabs
BUSH: 5972 wins, avg. 275.82 electoral votes
KERRY: 3843 wins, avg. 262.18 electoral votes
Florida ends up in the winner’s column 7578 of the 9815 scenarios where there is a winner. After that, the most ‘decisive’ swing states are Ohio (6515), Wisconsin (5636), New Mexico (5606) and Iowa (5521.)
Scenario II: Bush wins FL, everything else is up for grabs
BUSH: 8227 wins, avg. 287.70 electoral votes
KERRY: 1586 wins, avg. 250.30 electoral votes
So basically, Kerry almost has to have Florida at this point.
Scenario III: Kerry wins FL, everything else is up for grabs
BUSH: 3083 wins, avg. 260.46 electoral votes
KERRY: 6692 wins, avg. 277.54 electoral votes
Bush has more ways to win without getting Florida than Kerry does. Let’s try one more …
Scenario IV: Bush takes OH and WI; FL and other states are contested
BUSH: 8313 wins, avg. 291.05 electoral votes
KERRY: 1515 wins, avg. 246.95 electoral votes
If Bush can take these two Midwestern states, he becomes a prohibitive favorite.
A few other desultory remarks:
- who says the country is more divided than ever? My favorite political story of the week: South Dakota, except for the Indian reservations, is a conservative state, and it is tough for a Democrat to win. So Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth, in the heat of a tough reelection battle, has pledged that, should the election end in a 269-269 tie, she will vote for Bush when the House of Representatives has to choose the president.
- Since I’m rooting for the 269-269 tie, here’s one way it could happen:
- Finally, Megan McArdle, guestblogging for Glenn Reynolds, offers the best election day advice of all: use the electronic political markets to hedge, just like a farmer would use the grain futures markets to hedge against the possibility of low selling prices at harvest time. If you don’t want Kerry to win, bet a few bucks that he DOES win, so you can at least drown your sorrows with some hard-earned beer.