The Joy Of Opening Time Capsules


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203 Responses

  1. Cermet says:

    Boy, not sure what world you live relative to the main race but President Obama wins both the popular vote and college; Demorats hold the Senate and pick up, maybe a few House Seats. Not chance for a mandate nor would claiming such mean anything – President Obama did have a clear mandate last go round and it meant what?Report

  2. Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    I am so afraid you might be right. Romney is a train wreck, a miserable failure as a leader (even moreso than Bush, which is hard to believe). He’s a liar, an opportunist, he should have crashed and burned months ago. His two latest gaffes — pissing off the Red Cross and the CEOs of two auto companies — ought to have been enough to finish the job.

    Yet Mr Kowal will find some reason to believe that the Mittster is better than the Kenyan Soshulist. And he’s at the top of his tribe (I claim no such position in mine). From Mr Van Dyke down to the low-information voters we all deplore, far too many will vote for tribe over nation.

    Sad, very sad.

    [I will note, again, that I have and will vote outside my party. I wouldn’t vote for a Republican for rat-catcher this year, because they have forsworn any claim to decency, but I could be persuaded, in years to come, to give one a chance. Gov. Christie looks like apossibilty.]Report

  3. Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    BTW, early voting in Ohio and Florida seems to contradict your prediction.

    My thoughts are that Obama gets a win of 280 to 260, with the popular vote pretty much a toss-up. Note that this is AFTER near-historic voter suppression on the part of the GOP.Report

  4. Will H. says:

    I predict that the very next day we get up and get on with our own lives, and it will not have really mattered in the first place.
    Polarization of the nation will continue, led by talk radio and Lefty blogs.
    Regardless of who wins, the other side will claim that the President is a traitor to the ideals of this nation.

    As you can see, I’m going with the safe bet.Report

  5. Will Truman says:

    I predicted 293-245 in the aforementioned thread, then 284-254 this spring. I believed it would be Romney both times. Those predictions aren’t looking too bad at the moment. Even if I am in the ballpark, though, there were a couple states I missed. I thought Romney would make more progress in Iowa than he did and I thought Colorado was a lost cause for him. If I were to change my map, I’d probably flop Iowa but leave Colorado in Obama’s hands.

    About the only thing that I am confident about is that it will be ugly.Report

  6. Kolohe says:

    The Republicans will nominate someone Goldwateresque, however, who will crash and burn and (barely) lose to Obama. It will be pointed out that if only the Republicans had nominated someone more like Bush and less like Dole that they would have won. Democrats will claim it is a mandate for their economic recovery policies and health care plan.

    I think this is still spot on. Just sayin’

    Obama 2840 Romney 258

    Pop vote Obama 49.2% Romney 48.0% 1.8% other

    Johnson gets 700,000 votes (beating Barr and everyone else except Clark/Koch) and breaks the 0.5% threshold for the third time since there has been a Libertarian Party. (and the first Libertarian candidate to come in third place in popular vote since Ron Paul)Report

  7. George Turner says:

    Even before the first debate, when Romney was far behind in the polls, there was evidence that the polls were off by quite a large factor due to the low response rate and self-selection, along with early voting evidence that Romney was actually winning in Ohio. There’s no strong reason that polling errors would’ve changed after the first debate, but people just stopped questioning the polling data. If that’s true, then Romney will probably win the large majority of states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. If he does, Obama, along with most of his supporters, will undoubtedly spend the rest of their lives blaming racism.Report

    • There’s no strong reason that polling errors would’ve changed after the first debate,

      There are reasons to believe that the self-selection rate might have changed. The better your candidate is doing, the less daunting it is to chat with pollsters. Sort of like how I am seeing more and more Romney signs since that debate. Not that they weren’t going to vote for Romney before, but now they’re more enthusiastic about communicating their support.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

        But by your admission that they would vote for Romney anyway, I am guessing you do not live in a purple district. You might not even live in a purple mountain west state.

        I am still seeing plenty of Obama/Biden pride in blue-land California. Same with my friends in blue-land New York. See my thought below on how geographic location can shade our predictions.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

          But by your admission that they would vote for Romney anyway,

          Yes. What I’m saying is that prior to the first debate, they would have voted for Romney but some percentage of them would not have bothered responding to a poll. Now, I think they’re more likely to. So the polls have changed, even if the underlying dynamics of the race didn’t. In other words, I think it’s actually quite possible that Republicans were being underpolled prior to the first debate and that a lot of the gains sense may have actually been a poll correction, of sorts.

          (The guy who runs YouGov polling wrote a piece along these lines. Essentially saying that the wild swings have been in the polls that didn’t control for party affiliation, while those who did saw much less of a shift. He suggested that this may have had more to do with response rates than a genuinely significant shift in popular opinion. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s an interesting theory.)Report

        • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

          Oh, and you are correct that I do not live in a purple area. I can say that despite living where I do, I saw more Obama bumper stickers and signs than Romney ones until relatively recently. It seems quite possible that these people would have been less likely to talk to a pollster in September than today. Hard to say.Report

    • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

      Well, that might explain part of the shift, but we know the polls are still wrong (the national polls and state-level polls can’t be rectified, so one or both are wrong), and the question is which way and by how much.Report

      • Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

        Not necessarily. if the Red states are pulling 80% or more for Romney, Ohio can do what it pleases, and you can still have a decent popular snapshot. (reverse if you want for Obama).Report

    • Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to George Turner says:

      Tell me. We have a man who can’t tell the truth to save his life, who pisses off the Red Cross in the middle of a disaster, who gets called a liar by the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, who has made a career of killing small businesses and destroying jobs and he’s still at 50%.

      To what do you ascribe this travesty?Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    “Even before the first debate, when Romney was far behind in the polls,”

    Romney was never way behind in the polls:

    *particularly* before anyone got on a stage together. (May 2011 was the first debate, June was the first one with Romney),_2012

    There was the Perry boomlet, which spawned the successive boomlets for Cain, Gingrich and finally Santorum, but the support for each ‘frontrunner’ was super soft from the get go, and everyone knew this.Report

  9. Tod Kelly says:

    My prediction for the Republican nominee was (obviously) wrong. That being said, I’m going to stand pat with everything else I predicted then.

    Let it ride.

    The Republican nominee will be someone that is barely on the radar now. It will be like ’92 (Clinton) , ’00, (Bush) ’04 (Kerry) an ’08 (both Obama and McCain), where those that predicted the candidate based on TV exposure before the race began will be proven amaaaazingly wrong. Perry will toy with the electorate for a while, and eventually throw his hat in and pull an immediate Fred Thompson.

    The economy will be slightly better than it is now, but not much. And though that should mean that the Republicans have a great shot at getting the White House they won’t. Their campaign will be forced to take aggressively hostile sounding positions on social issues that their base will be convinced is their key to victory but will turn off and irritate the center. Positions the candidate swore to when they tried to win the nomination will come back to kill him or her (Ha! No, seriously, him) as the general race heats up. The White House, on the other hand, will continue it’s current trend of presenting the President as a centrist – and will truly look like one in comparison. By mid-October we will know that it is basically over, but Rasmussen and Fox will continue to report that the R is heavily favored. Biden will be a near invisible non-issue.

    The Senate will remain largely the same, and the House will add more a chunk more R’s. However, those gains will be by more centrist candidates, and the part of the right that has found recent success with vitriolic populism will find that they had already picked up the districts where that strategy can swing an election.

    Afterwards, this election will be the harbinger that starts the right seriously reconsidering using anti-gay, anti-immigration and pro-Chistianism as anything other than a regional strategy. They will find a more centrist message and subsequently win big in 2016. In subsequent years, they will not control spending, choosing instead to spend mightily but have a “the Democrats would have spent more” message.

    Life will go on.


  10. KatherineMW says:

    My prediction: Obama wins election, Dems narrowly win Senate, Republicans keep House.

    However, there’s a small part of me that wants to see Obama win the electoral college and Romney win the popular vote, just to see both sides fall all over themselves contradicting everything they’ve said for the past twelve years and insisting that they’re not actually contradicting themselves.Report

  11. LWA (Lib With Attitude) says:

    Being the dispositionally conservative that I am, I will go with the safe bet of 290/248 Obama, with the Dems holding 52 Senate seats,and the GOP holding the House.Report

  12. Jesse Ewiak says:

    First, my predictions from 2011

    “Romney/Bachmann if Perry stays out of the race, Perry/Pawlently if Perry gets in. Obama wins by slightly less than he did in ’08 against Romney, and wins everything outside of the Mountain West and the South if Perry is the nominee.

    R’s barely hold on to the House, D’s lose a couple, but barely hang on to the Senate. Nothing much else gets done for 2013-2015.”

    I underestimated Perry’s complete lack of ability.

    Now, for new predictions!

    President : Obama 303 – Romney 235 – 50.9 – 48.1 (Basically, Obama loses NC and FL narrowly, wins VA, and every other tossup state.)

    Senate : (Alphabetical Order)

    Arizona – Flake – 50.5 – Carmona – 49.0
    Connecticut – Murphy 53 – McMahon – 46
    Florida – Nelson 55 Mack 44
    Indiana – Donnelly 49 Murdock 47 Libertarian 4
    Maine – King 45 Summers 35 Dill 20
    Massachusetts – Warren 53 Brown 47
    Missouri – McCaskill 51 Akin 45
    Montana – Tester 50.5 Rehberg 49.5
    Nevada – Berkley 52 Heller 47
    North Dakota – Heitkamp 51 Berg 49
    Ohio – Brown 54 Mandel 46
    Pennsylvania – Casey 54 Smith 46
    Virginia – Kaine 51 Allen 48
    Wisconsin – Baldwin 52 Thompson 48

    North Dakota’s a gut feeling and Nevada polling was horrible in 2010, so I think it will be just as bad as in 2012. Everything else should be easy to see.

    House – Democrats win 11 SeatsReport

  13. Morzer says:

    Obama 303 Romney 235, Democrats reach 202 House seats, end up with 55 Senate seats. Much howling at the moon by Republicans who fail to recognize that their day as a national party is coming to an end- and are destined to be rudely awakened in 2016 by a wave of new young Latino voters and the dying-off of a significant part of their aged, white base.Report

  14. NewDealer says:

    I’m generally against predictions like this because of non-rational part of my brain believes that showing too much gloating/glee can botch things. For example, I generally cringed when my fellow liberal friends were practically begging for the Republicans to make Cain, Bachmann, Santorum, Newt, or Palin their nominee. My theory is to work on a “What if they win theory?”

    I don’t know who is going to win because the polls are so close and there are too many different ones. Nate Silver is a balm to me but it is almost certainly going to be very close. I think that whoever wins the election will win the popular vote very narrowly (less than 51 percent.) I think Romney is gaffing a bit this the auto bailout stuff and Obama is going to get some props for how he is handling Sandy.

    That being said, I think your Senate predictions are wrong. I think the Democrats will maintain the Senate and pick up a few seats. I think Elizabeth Warren will win in Mass, Claire McClaskil will hold on in Missouri. Democrats will keep Connecticut and Wisconsin. There is even a reasonable chance of Democrats keeping Nebraska, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and North Dakota. Tester is neck and neck in Montana.

    Republicans will almost certainly keep the house but I think Democrats will gain a few seats.

    I wonder how much of our predictions are hampered because of politics or more interestingly geographic location. It is very easy for someone in a deep blue state to think Obama is going to win 290 electoral college votes. Likewise, it is very easy for someone in a deep red state to think Romney will win 290 electoral college votes.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      I would bet against Tester in Montana. (This is a reversal of six months ago, when I thought he was in really good shape.) I agree that the Democrats keep the senate, though.Report

    • George Turner in reply to NewDealer says:

      I was just reading a long article on the flaws in Nate Silver’s model, which worked well in 2008 because the late-deciders voted in agreement with the polling, but it was an unusual race without an incumbent, whereas normally the late-deciders vote against the incumbent.Report

      • I read that as well. It makes some sense. That’s one of the two major hesitations I have about calling the race for Obama. The fact that Obama is struggling to get really close to that 50% mark leaves open a real possibility that they will break against the incumbent. The second hesitation I have is that neither campaign is acting like Obama has a 70+% chance of winning. Back before the debates, when Obama had a 70+% chance of winning, Obama was acting like a winner and Romney was acting like a loser. It could be illusory, but they are privy to information we don’t have.

        Having said that, I still put Obama’s chances at about 2-to-1. The above is why I don’t mark it higher.Report

      • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

        Well, the article we read, which I twice tried to post here earlier but may have got caught in the spam filter, mentioned that only the two campaigns would have enough money for a robust polling operation, with follow-up on non-responders and the like. Yesterday the mayor of Denver (a Democrat) said that Wisconsin was lost, and Romney’s been moving into Michigan and other states as if Ohio is already in the bag. Normally the Democrat is far ahead there in early voting and the Republican tries to play catch up on election day, but this time, if I’m not mistaken, Romney has a commanding lead in early voting. It may be that both sides are looking at data that we’re not privy to.

        If the election results do come a as a huge shock, completely outside everyone’s estimates, there’s going to be a massive post-mortem on how we all got misled as to where things stood and what was happening. If Romney wins, I’m sure it will start with “Well, all the white folks went out and voted their inner racist,” but that won’t stand up very long. There’s the Bradley effect (if I recall correctly) where whites are more likely to say they’ll vote for a black than actually vote for him in the secrecy of the polling booth, but that would leave Obama’s 2008 victory unexplained. We might end up discussing how people use iPhones nowdays regarding polls, and that the self-selection problem is a serious one.Report

        • Michelle in reply to George Turner says:

          The Fox-o-sphere seems to be speculating on the possibility of a big Romney win, or at least that’s the impression I got during the bits and pieces of fine Faux reporting I saw while visiting the parental homestead, but I think that’s pretty much wishful thinking on their part. The latest polls in Wisconsin show Obama up by about eight. Obama’s also still up in Ohio.

          Dream on.Report

        • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

          Good thing they booted Scott Walker out of office! No way would Wisconsin go Republican.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

          only the two campaigns would have enough money for a robust polling operation, with follow-up on non-responders and the like.

          BS. The professional organizations have been doing this for a long time, and now wishful thinkers are calling them amateur organizations, while a bunch of folks quickly thrown together for a campaign are the real top notch professionals. It’s silly.

          Look, it’s not that the folks in the campaigns are not good, it’s just that the professional organizations have spent years working on the details of how to do this. And campaign polling organizations have a greater risk of generating bias because they truly believe in their candidate and expect to see support for him.

          If Romney win this, which I don’t believe is going to happen, it’s going to be by a razor-thin margin.

          I hope every conservative here who’s claiming the polls are wrong and biased and is predicting a Romney win will have the courage and decency to do a frank mea culpa on Nov. 7, without any whining or excuse making.Report

          • George Turner in reply to James Hanley says:

            It’s not that the professional polling organizations can’t conduct a good poll, it’s that a good poll costs a staggering amount of money (perhaps $10 million) and the media isn’t going to spend that kind of money to get a snapshot when it’s not really going to do anything to increase their revenues. If such a poll was a serious outlier would be vigorously dismissed by the rest of the media and actually hurt their reputation (perhaps being vindicated long after it can’t help them in the news cycle). If the poll is not a serious outlier then it didn’t tell them anything they didn’t know from the cheap, less intensive polls, and they wasted their money.

            Contrary to popular belief, polling companies aren’t in it as a public service. They have to make money or they go bankrupt, and they haggle with customers over costs versus accuracy. One of my closest friends used to run Kentucky’s oldest polling company, where I’d often visit him, and I really can’t recommend it as a career if you wan’t to keep your hair from falling out.Report

            • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

              George, these polling organizations are running daily tracking polls, and yet you’re claiming they aren’t going to spend real money on polling. And your $10 million number is pulled right out of your ass. See here, for example.

              For a high-quality, professional public opinion survey, expect to pay anywhere from $12,000 to $17,000 for a sample size of 400.

              Now a national poll, depending on how small they want the error bars, is going to normally be 800 to 1200 people. Gallup, for example–the organization that created modern polling–is doing their daily tracking poll with about 1,000 respondents.

              But let’s take the larger number of 1200. That’s three times as many as 400, so triple that cost of $17,000, which is $51,000. Let’s say it actually costs Gallup ten times that to do a good poll–that gives us about $500,000. If we went ten times again–two orders of magnitude above the polling firm’s estimate–we get all the way up to $5 million, still less than half of what you’re claiming.

              You don’t have any actual knowledge of what you’re talking about.

              So here’s my wager. If Romney wins, I’ll say, without excuses, apologies, or hedging, “I don’t know shit and George Turner was right.” If Obama wins, you say without excuses, apologies or hedging, “I don’t know shit and James Hanley was right.”

              Are you willing to agree to that? If the word “shit” bothers you, change it to something innocuous, as long as the same message is sent.Report

              • George Turner in reply to James Hanley says:

                Um, you realize that for good state coverage you’ll need fifty state polls of that quality, so your own number went to $25 million. But the real cost is the follow-ups and other measures where you have to get hold of the same people you’ve been using. As Bob Krumm just posted, in the current polls there’s a linear relationship between the tightness of the voter screen and Romney’s advantage. The more follow-up there is, the bigger hsi advantage becomes.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:


                No, you’re still wrong. To get a national poll you don’t need to cover each state–you just need to get a random sample of Americans, perhaps with assurances of getting an appropriate proportion of Republicans and Dems.*

                The state by state ones are also mostly done by professional polling organizations, but a lot of them, although not all, are done by firms that focus primarily on their own state. So we can disaggregate the costs there–they’re not all being born by the national polling companies. Sure, Times/CNN doesn’t want to spend lots of money trying to do state by state polls, but they don’t need to because there are other firms out there that have the money to spend on just polling their own state. And most state-level polls are going to have only 400-800 respondents, so they’re cheaper.

                I’ve done this stuff. I once conducted a poll with a research methods class, and we got 300 respondents in ~100 man hours of work. So if I’m a company paying people $10/hour (and they won’t all be making that much), that’s a cost of $800 per hours. Add in another 20 man hours in writing the survey (although lots of them are plug-and-play, so that cost doesn’t really exist) by people with more specialized knowledge, so I’m paying them, say, $50/hour, and that’s $1,000. Fortunately we had free use of phone lines, and we didn’t have to buy automated dialing software, but those costs get spread over multiple polls, so let’s say the total cost if we were paying me, the students, and my college for all this might have been $2-3,000. So let’s increase that by 3 – 5 and say the actual cost for a professional polling organization is $10,000. That’s still only half a million to do the whole country, but no one polling firm has to spend anywhere near that much since it’s being done by multiple firms. So if the Romney campaign wants 50 state level polls (which they don’t, since they’re not going to bother to pay for a poll in either Utah or California, along with some other states), it’s not going to cost them anywhere near $10 million, much less $25 million, to get it done.

                That $12-17,000 figure? That’s what a professional polling organization charges its clients, it’s not the firm’s cost. For full-time polling operations like Gallup, Times/CNN, USA Today, you have to focus on cost, not what they would charge a client.

                Now the one are you are right on–and I’ve noted this elsewhere–is that Romney does better in polls where they screen it to likely voters instead of just eligible voters. I think that’s a very interesting dynamic, and I think polling likely voters–even though that’s just self-reporting–is more meaningful than polling registered voters.

                But keep in mind that a guy like Nate Silver weights the polls he uses in his model according to their historical accuracy, so to the extent that screening makes a difference his model has already accounted for that difference. That’s key–his prediction of Obama having a 79% chance to win is actually based in part on the historical accuracy of that tighter screening.

                I’m sorry to keep punching at you, but I’ve found this constant criticism of the polling this election year to be a combination of hilarious and infuriating. There are people who really know this stuff inside and out, who make a profession out of studying it. And there are people who don’t have any real experience or training in it but are talking about it anyway. Guess which ones are the critics? Not the people who actually know their ass from their elbow, but the people who repeatedly demonstrate their lack of expertise by making factual errors in their arguments about it.

                So I’ll repeat my wager. Are you confident enough that the polls are wrong to agree to publicly fess up to ignorance if Obama wins? Because I’m confident enough that I’m willing to publicly fess up to ignorance if Obama loses.

                *If you do an infinite number of random samples, you’ll eventually get one that’s all Democrats and one that’s all Republicans. Less extreme but more likely you’ll get one now and then that, although random, is not representative because it has too many of one party and not enough of the other. Taking all the polls together, though, those odd samples will cancel each other out.Report

              • Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

                I’d be interested to see a % for romney vs time-to-election on “likely voter” models, particularly as early voting opens.Report

              • George Turner in reply to James Hanley says:

                Again, those are simple polls, not in-depth ones with controls and follow-up. One of the problem with Silver’s analysis is that it’s based on past polling, but past polling had a very large response rate (37% in 1997) while 2012 polling has only a 9% response. So the polling companies are calling until they get the same number of responders, so the poll looks as reliable as past polls, but it’s not.

                So if they call 1,000 people, they used to get 370 responses, but now they’re getting only 90 responses. What happened with the 280 people who quit responding, and how are they different from the 90 who still answer? If the drop-outs aren’t statistically random in voting behavior, then the new polls have picked up a bias comparied to the old polls, and we haven’t corrected for it yet.

                Nov 6th will be the big data point on which any correction will have to be based.

                BTW, since Lincoln, Republicans have never lost a single national election held on Nov 6th. It’s data!!! ^_^Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:


                First, are you going to accept my challenge or do I have to start making poultry sounds?*

                Now on to business.

                those are simple polls, not in-depth ones with controls and follow-up.

                I don’t think you know what you’re saying when you use the word “controls.” There are no control groups in polling. What “controls” do you mean? And, seriously, you don’t know what these professional polling firms are doing.

                Follow-up can be useful, but it’s not required. Some people just aren’t going to answer the poll, no matter how many times you follow up.

                What happened with the 280 people who quit responding, and how are they different from the 90 who still answer? If the drop-outs aren’t statistically random in voting behavior, then the new polls have picked up a bias compared to the old polls, and we haven’t corrected for it yet.

                And yet you’re sure that you know what the correction would be? You don’t know that it’s not relatively random. You seem to assume liberals are still pretty eager to give their time to a pollster while conservatives are refusing to answer. It’s not that simple. A lot of it is general unwillingness to participate because where once upon a time it was relatively new and seemed as though one was playing a part in the process, now it’s just another irritation to add to the excessive television ads and flossy flyers in your mail. And much of it is about cell phones, which allow people to refuse to answer if they don’t recognize the number (it’s a bit harder, psychologically, for some people to hang up once they’ve answered than it is to not answer at all). But as cell phones have become more ubiquitous, it’s hard to say that their users aren’t essentially random. But to the extent there is a bias there, it’s younger more liberal people that tend to be cell users, so the polls might actually undercount liberals slightly as a consequence.

                My point is that you’re exactly right when you say we don’t know. But all your prior arguments have suggested the polls favoring Obama are wrong, so you must think that you actually do know how falling response rates affect the polls. But you don’t.

                And for god’s sake, man, who do you think has put more effort into thinking about this problem and correcting it? Some conservative political blogger or the people who depend for it on their livelihood? You’re a conservative, so surely, like me, you believe in the power of the market. Why are you suddenly assuming the market must have failed here, and a bunch of conservative politicos really know better than the people who are actually in the business?

                I’ll add this. A couple of years ago I went to a conference of the American Association of Political Consultants. I listened and I talked to folks. Both the Democratic and Republican campaign professionals talk exactly the same about strategy, and both groups rely on the professional polling organizations. I also have a friend who’s been a professional campaign consultant, for Republicans and for Republicans only, and we talk a lot about these things. I’ll tell you this straight up and you can quote me on it–you’re not going to get a Republican political consultant in private to agree that the polls are so biased that a Republican candidate can actually be expected to erase a 4+ point deficit.

                You’re listening to people who have a political purpose in making this argument. You’re not actually talking to campaign and polling professionals.

                But if you’re really so confident in your story, please accept my challenge and commit to admitting your error if Obama wins. Because if you’re right, you have nothing to worry about, and it will only be me that has to make a public confession.
                *Which, by the way, was the quickly forgotten Beach Boys follow up to their greatest studio album of all time.Report

              • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                I don’t think you know what you’re saying when you use the word “controls.” There are no control groups in polling.

                And doesn’t that strike you as a staggering oversight? People’s behavior is dynamic, changing quite a lot over the years as communications and society changes. Without some sort of control to pick up sampling biases, none of the biases will be detected.

                For example, if you have small town or Facebook community or what have you, coming to a couple thousand people, and you determine how each of them will vote through a variety of means (talking to them, their neighbors, their spouses, their drinking buddies, their fishing buddies, etc), and that determination turns out to be extremely accurate when you put hidden cameras in the polling booth, then you have something that can serve as a control group (more accurately a hard reference to compare to your polling results, like a calibration standard).

                Then you poll the group using our modern, conventional polling methods and see how it misrepresents the overall group, and why. You’ll know who responded, who didn’t, and what’s different about them.

                The thing is, the reference group doesn’t need to be self-connected in any way. You just need to pick a couple of thousand people and spend a lot of time, money, and effort to accurately determine their views and voting behavior without inducing changes (they shouldn’t suspect they’ve been flagged for observation).

                When they started phone polls, they actually did things like this, going door-to-door to compare ground results to phone results. The trouble is, you have to keep doing that as technology and behavior changes. For example, just an election or two ago Republicans, white collar workers, and middle-aged people were over-represented among cell-phone users, as was the group technologists term “early adopters.” When one of them said they were likely to vote, they really were. So all that went into the polling models. But now the group of cell-phone users isn’t biased in that direction, it’s probably biased in the opposite direction as Republicans focus more on business calls and try to weed out the teen fluff, and the people who say they’re likely to vote probably aren’t because they’re going to a party at Mandy’s house instead.

                What “controls” do you mean? And, seriously, you don’t know what these professional polling firms are doing.

                I’ve hung out in professional polling firms. College kids on phone banks. My friend was a Democrat who ran a Democrat polling firm (though of course he’d work for anyone). He was also a licensed bodyguard who acted as bag man at DNC events, carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. We’d discuss polling problems at length (one of his frustrations was Democrat liberal arts majors who not only didn’t understand math, but would argue that there can’t be just one result when you add two numbers together, so 20+20 could be 35 or 55, depending on how you choose to do it).

                He liked the idea of a reference group, but someone would have to pay for it, and pay a whole lot of money, and if over-used it would probably start breaking down because the group would get sick of getting polled all the time, changing their behavior and becoming non-representative of polling samples that aren’t taken from the reference group.

                Regarding your challenge, the reason I’m not accepting it is that if Obama wins, the joy of my mea culpa won’t begin to make up for all the women and minorities who will remain jobless, nor all the families who will continue to suffer and despair, eating dinner in silence as the parents try forlornly to maintain hope for the future, where companies still won’t hire, still cut back hours and employees to avoid Obamacare mandates, and pay even more for gas and electricity, just as Obama promised they would.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                Shorter George: Like many Evangelical Christians and the subject of evolution, I believe I have somehow spotted an elementary error in a field I have no personal experience or knowledge in.

                (Hint: Pollsters know how to do this. They do it a LOT. They hire very good people to do it. It is what they get paid money for.)

                Look, George, let me clue you in on a lesson smart liberals learned in 2004: When you are questioning the validity of polling itself, your candidate is losing. Badly. You are grasping at straws. You are screwed. The ship is sailing, and you are not aboard.

                Basically, you’re in a very common stage of political grief — denial.

                I am not trying to be flippant. It’s quite true, and a lot of liberals sounded exactly the same in 2004.

                Now maybe you’ll strike gold here. Maybe you’ll get lucky. But let’s face facts — you wouldn’t be questioning polling methodology and wondering if pollsters are so bad at their job that all of them missed something so basic a layman noticed if you weren’t, shall we say, unhappy with the results.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

                And doesn’t that strike you as a staggering oversight? People’s behavior is dynamic, changing quite a lot over the years as communications and society changes. Without some sort of control to pick up sampling biases, none of the biases will be detected.

                No, George, because we’re not doing causal analysis here. If we were doing a causal study, that would be different. But thanks for moving the goalposts, because the campaigns that you are convinced are doing better surveys? They aren’t using control groups, either! How the hell would you even use a control group in survey research? Have a group that you didn’t ask any questions? Because your explanation of that doesn’t make any sense, because that reference group you’re fantasizing about is either non-random, hence useless, or else it’s just another random sample, and hence just one more set of survey respondents. Understand that in survey research we select random samples so we overcome that problem of bias you’re so concerned about.

                Regarding your challenge, the reason I’m not accepting it is that if Obama wins, the joy of my mea culpa won’t begin to make up for all the women and minorities who will remain jobless,…

                How pathetic. I’ll guess I’ll have to resort to the childish chicken sounds after all. Or screw that, I’ll just state straight up that I think you don’t really have any goddam confidence in what you’re saying–you want it to be true, but inside you don’t believe it strongly enough to beyond cheap talk about it. If you don’t like the public aspect of it, I’m all for a private wager. I can be reached a jhanley at-sign adrian dot eee dee uuu.Report

              • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                Um, no. Romney is up in the polling. He’s up in Ohio polling and dead even in Wisconsin polling, and Tommy Thompson has said Romney has all but won Pennsylvania.

                The polls showing Obama leading in these states are almost all using registered voter screens, not likely voter screens, which every pollster knows can produce badly misleading results.

                We’re also seeing lots of polls whose results and margins of error don’t even overlap. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to realize one or both must be wrong.

                Take Nate Silver, for example. He’s said there’s a 78.4% chance that Obama wins. Scientists and engineers need look no further than the claim’s purported precision to realize he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, aside from the futility of using a model that depends on large numbers of prior trials under tightly controlled conditions (same ballparks, same rules, same ball, same bat, and players whose abilities have been carefully screened for years) to essentially predict the outcome of a kid’s fourth ever pee-wee T-ball game, and predict it to three significant figures.Report

              • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                James, you can’t select a random sample when 91% of the people you select decide, for reasons known only to them, to opt out, until we know those reasons are also truly random. Otherwise you might as well just be polling Facebook users who actively click “like” and “dislike” all day and assume they’re statistically representative of everyone else.

                Anyway, have a look at this: Breitbart link on the polling data.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                Thank you for proving my point. Let’s take your first claim — Ohio:

                Of the last two weeks of likely voter polls only one has Romney up (+2 Rasmussen, with a well known house lean). The other 7 have Obama up — the RCP average is Obama +2.3, and the trendline is away from Romney. RCP is, shall we say, a conservative outfit.

                As to your “78.4%” stuff — again, your cluelessness is shocking. I know you’re trying to make (or at least I hope you are) a significant digits argument, but all he’s doing is converting polls (which routinely use 3 significant digits) into a weighted average — and translating the averaged polls and their MoE into a % win chance.

                Which can be easily and reliably done, since polls errors fall along a bell curve. Do you yell at statistificans for using three significant digits when talking about standard deviations?

                Seriously, you’re proving my point here. You’re talking out your butt on a subject you know little about, you’re dismissing Nate without even bothering to learn the bare basics of what he does, and even your facts (“Romney is winning Ohio, it only looks like he isn’t because of those registered voter screens”) are flatly wrong.

                As for Pennsylvania — Tommy Thomspon is smoking crack, and so are you if you’re believing that. RCP — again, a CONSERVATIVE leaning site — has the PA average at Obama +4.6. Romney has never led in a single poll. Ever. (Well, there was one back in February).

                The last two months, the smallest lead Obama had was +2 among LV. The last dozen polls are +4, +6, +5, +3, +5, +4, +7…all Likely voters.

                Maybe before you lecture other people on polls, you should check your basic facts first, eh?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                So, George, just to get this straight — Romney is winning, and you base this on basically denying the accuracy of political polling. Completely.

                But you’re NOT in denial. You’re just…really enlightened on political polling, which can’t possibly work, and thus can’t possibly be right, ergo Romney’s winning?Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

                George, those samples are still far more random than any individuals’ “I know all these people who are going to vote this away” samples.

                And you’re still assuming you know which direction the polls are biased. That’s the real issue here–you’re extrapolating from well known problems to implied claims about what those problems mean for the outcome. But you don’t actually know that, and you don’t even have enough confidence in your own claims to even agree to admit your wrong prediction if it turns out wrong.

                And let’s not forget where this discussion started, with your false claims that a good survey would cost $10 million so the professional orgs aren’t doing them but the campaigns are. From the beginning here you’ve spewing nonsense based in ignorance with a handful of not exactly obscure problems of survey research.

                I could go well beyond you in explaining the problems of survey work, such as the effect of wording, question order, etc. But that’s not necessary. All that’s necessary is to point out that despite the problems inherent in survey research, it still does a better job predicting outcomes than those who complain it’s no good, because it’s methodology is still more rigorous than the methodology you, Koz, and Van Dyke are using.

                But if you really do believe, man up and stick it to me by suckering me into committing myself to admitting my error. Talk is cheap, and if someone’s not willing to do anyt hint besides talk, it’s a pretty reliable sign that they know how weak their argument really is.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

                George, you’re hanging your argument against polls on the problem of low response rates, but then you ask us to accept two polls, Rasmussen and Gallup, because they use likely instead if registered voters?

                I said above I think it’s better to go with likely voters, and I stand by that. But if you think that’s sufficient to overcome the big bias you claim results from low response rates then you’re lying to yourself–you’re making it up as you go along, trying to construct a response to each criticism without understanding how your individual answers don’t add up to a collectively coherent account.

                And your authority for who’s ahead in PA is…Tommy Thompson? A guy who’s deep in an all consuming race for the Senate in Wisconsin. Thompson’s a bright guy, and it looks like he’ll probably win, but come on, a candidate in a tough race in state X is hardly the go-to guy for a prediction about what’s going to happen in state Y.

                And you’ve criticized survey methodology, so you’ve shown you think methodology is important in deciding whether to trust a prediction. So tell me, what can you tell me about Thompson’s methodology? He must have a better one than the pollsters if you’re going to reject their results based on methodology and accept his. So what is it? How did Thompson figure this out?Report

              • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                Romney’s lead in Pennsylvania in early voting is 18.8% (in 2008 McCain and Obama were virtually tied in the early voting), Obama has barely put in an appearance there, and I think is being outspent by about 2 to 1. Romney is easiliy within striking distance, which is why he’s chosen to make appearances there in the final days of the campaign.

                One thing Obama has done to change Pennsylvania is throw away the coal mining union vote, just as he has in Kentucky and West Virginia, which may have long-lasting demographic ramifications in these states.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

                You relied on Rasmussen before. Rasmussen has Obama up by 5. Make up your mind and quit using polls when you think they support you and rejecting the same poll when it doesn’t. You just make yourself look like a giant tool.

                Now, Mr. Cheap Talk, put up or shut up.Report

              • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                Rassmussen’s Pennsyvlania poll data was from eight days ago, before Romney decided to hit the state hard, and might not be reflective of the trend that’s been apparent in Rassmussen’s Daily Swing State Tracking Poll, which 2 weeks ago had Obama up by 3 in the swing states and now has Romney up by 4. I don’t know if they’ll be doing another poll of Pennsylvania prior to the election, but I imagine they would given the level of interest Romney has shown there.

                Rassmussen swing state tracking pollsReport

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

                Heh, George, you’re priceless. Anything to save the hypothesis. ane yet still not confident enough to go beyond mere words.

                And what’s your methodology here? Extrapolating from some early voting figures and from a multi-state swing state poll to a single state (thereby committing the fallacy of division). Yep, there’s a methodology totally more rigorous than survey research.

                I’m not looking forward to another four years of Obama, but you’re sure making me look forward to laughing at you when Obama wins. I intend to mock you so mercilessly the League threatens to ban me.Report

              • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                Well, at least that means someone will be happy during a second Obama term. It’ll cheer people up in the soup lines. ^_^

                The early voter data from Nevada is also interesting, and indicates that Romney might be within 2. Turnout from Democrat strongholds is deeply depressed whereas Republican turnout is up strongly. Oregon is showing a similar pattern, but Jill Stein would probalby be more likely to win there than Romney.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

                Yeah, 4 years ago I had some other conservative assuring me solemnly that within a year we’d have martial law. I take your predictions about a second Obama term just as seriously. About as seriously a I took liberals fretting Bush wouldn’t leave the White House if Obama won.Report

              • George Turner in reply to James Hanley says:

                You liberal friends were correct. Bush never left office, and is still responsible for everything that’s happening today. Just ask Obama the next time he’s coming back in from the 18th green.

                Bush is the first President since FDR to serve three terms, and the only way to deny him a fourth term is to replace him with Romney, who will probably buck Bush’s policies more than Dick Cheney did, and Cheney bucked them more than Barack Obama has.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                You were more entertaining when you were spoofing George Lucas.

                More accurate, too.Report

              • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                You deny that Bush is behind the scenes pulling all the strings? How else could he still be to blame for everything four years later?

                He’s like Palpatine, pulling Jar Jar Binks’ puppet strings to sway the rest of the Senate into doing whatever he wishes, like drone strikes, indefinite detention, tax cuts, and keeping oil prices at record levels so Haliburton can make historic profits – now that Cheney’s finances are no longer in a blind trust.

                What was Obama’s first act as President? Stem-cell research, “but no cloning!” *wink wink* Obama doesn’t need a clone army and wouldn’t accept one if offered because he believes in diversity, and clones are anything but diverse. So who is the clone army really for? Even George Lucas said Palpatine was modeled after George W Bush, so there’s your answer.

                Why would Obama build a clone army for George Bush? Because he’s a Bush puppet, bitterly opposed to Bush until he walked into the White House after the 2008 election and sat down with Bush to get up to speed on security matters – and then *waves hand* he seemed to do everything Bush wanted, the way Bush wanted it done.

                The real threat to Bush never came from Obama, it comes from Romney, because the Jedi mind trick doesn’t work on hard-nosed Toydarians like Watto – or Mitt.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                Heh. Much better. And now, against my better judgment, I’m a believer!Report

              • Kim in reply to George Turner says:

                The Don of the Bush Crime Family is not male.Report

        • Morzer in reply to George Turner says:

          Why would the mayor of Denver be considered an authority on Wisconsin? And no, Romney doesn’t enjoy a “commanding lead” in early voting. As for racism, reasonably solid research suggests that it costs Obama roughly 2% of the popular vote.

          The reason Romney is gambling on Michigan is that he’s seeing Ohio as a loss and is desperately making a late play in the wrong place and the wrong time, as McCain did before him.Report

  15. Burt Likko says:

    Ohio votes for Obama by about 1%. Thus, Obama re-elected. They don’t seem to be holding the election anywhere else.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Burt Likko says:

      In 2008 Ohio went for Obama by 2,940,044 D to 2,677,820 R.
      Prior to election day 2008, 712,088 Democrats voted early or requested or cast early ballots, whereas only 372,517 Republicans did.

      So far this year only 530,813 Democrats have done that, whereas 448,375 Republicans have, so the Democrat advantage in early voting has dropped from 91% to 18%. Going down the column, Democrats’ early turnout has dropped 25% from 2008’s, whereas Republican early turnout is up 20%.

      Just given the shift in the early voting numbers, not using them to extrapolate, they would’ve put McCain within 5091 votes of Obama (who crushed him in early votes). But it’s extremely improbable that shifts in voting behavior that large aren’t going to be reflected on election day. If the entire election shifts as much as the early voting has, then Romney wins Ohio 60% to 40%. That’s not going to happen, but there’s also no way to rectify the vast difference in early voting behavior from 2008 to 2012 with the similarities in the polling data between the two elections, and Romney is polling better than McCain did in Ohio. If he polls even a little better than McCain (which he is), and the shift in early voting already has him within 5091 of Obama (compared to McCain), then he’s very likely to win the state.Report

      • Kim in reply to George Turner says:

        A few notes: you don’t think the reduced early voting hours have something to do with it??
        McCain was campaigning more heavily in PA… AFAIK, many Ohioans might have wanted to be in PA to help with election day (we don’t have early voting here). Certainly NYers did that.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

        there’s also no way to rectify the vast difference in early voting behavior from 2008 to 2012 with the similarities in the polling data between the two elections, and Romney is polling better than McCain did in Ohio.

        You could be right overall, but this statement doesn’t hold. The Republicans have been pushing early turnout because the Democrats were successful at it. As in any market, success breeds copycat behavior (and I don’t mean copycat pejoratively–I mean people are smart enough to adopt strategies that have proven successful).

        The as-yet-unanswered question is whether early voting by conservatives will change the overall conservative turnout. Democrats tend to have lower turnout rates, so getting people to vote early both got more people to the polls and helped them to know where to focus their GOTV efforts in the last days.

        Republicans tend to have higher turnout rates in general, so they have less room to bump up their numbers through early voting. On the other hand, the ’04 Bush campaign managed to bump up the Republican vote in Ohio by more than anyone had thought possible (which was the absolutely essential key to his re-election, and no I won’t entertain any nonsense about there not being real voters, but they just rigged the machines). So at this point it remains uncertain whether early voting and the Republican GOTV effort will be as successful in Ohio as the Rove-engineered GOTV campaign was or whether they’re just shifting the same voters forward a few days. Either one is plausible, neither is certain.Report

  16. NewDealer says:

    I am still wondering what happens in the East Coast is still struggling to get power back on-line post Sandy. Will it cause a Constitutional Crisis?Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to NewDealer says:

      Maybe at the state level. But Most of the damage was in sure-thing blue states–So even if a huge chunk of people don’t vote, the ones who do will still be voting democratic.

      My prediction is that Sandy actually increases voter turnout overall — that everything will be in good enough shape for polling to take place next week, and folks who otherwise wouldn’t have shown up will hit the polls to vote the anti-hurricane ticket.

      I’m guessing 294-244, with Obama taking an even 51% of the popular vote. Democrats lose a seat, falling to a 52 member caucus. No clue what’ll happen in the house — on the one hand, I think R’s will lose several freshman seats as people fall out of love with the Tea Party. On the other hand, Red team was in charge of most of the redistricting.

      Of the four same-sex marriage state ballot questions, three turn out pro- and one turns out anti-.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Alan Scott says:

        But Most of the damage was in sure-thing blue states–So even if a huge chunk of people don’t vote, the ones who do will still be voting democratic.

        Which weirdly turns into an argument in favor of the Electoral College (which I am not really a supporter of).Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Alan Scott says:

        Considering the damage to the NYC-NJ metro area, I am not sure how things can be in good enough shape.

        Con Edison seems to think it will be at least a week before power is back on line. There is still major flooding that needs to be pumped. Who knows how many absentee/mail-in ballots were destroyed by flooding. Or how many voting machines.

        Though you are right that the campaigns will start being more get out the vote.Report

      • Kimsie in reply to Alan Scott says:

        NOTHING is sureblue without the cities. NO PLACE in the nation. Take out NYC (and burbs), and NY could be red.Report

    • Robert Greer in reply to NewDealer says:

      I think people are underestimating how disruptive this will all be.Report

  17. Robert Greer says:

    Romney wins Nevada and Colorado by upwards of two points apiece, and wins North Carolina and Florida handily.

    On Election Night, the first count is that Obama wins Ohio by somewhere between .25 and .5 points, but it’s unclear whether this should trigger a recount. Virginia is also very close, and there’s debate over whether either party committed election-swinging voter fraud. Supreme Court gets involved on both issues.Report

    • Michelle in reply to Robert Greer says:

      The nightmare scenario. Numerous recounts and it’s more than a month before we figure out who won. Gaah!Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Michelle says:

        More than a month? How about half a year? Not a one of you seems to get Bush v. Gore.

        All things considered since 2000, the Supreme Court should have let America slip into an interregnum for months upon months ala who won the 2008 election between Al Franken and Norm Coleman for MN’s senate seat, which wasn’t settled until late June 2009.

        Bush would have become our 43rd president regardless—by recount, by the Florida legislature awarding him Florida’s electoral votes, or by it being thrown into the GOP-dominated House of Representatives.

        I give this one a 10% chance of ending up fugly. Obama has zero chance of a sweep, a mandate. Our nation’s best hope is that Romney runs the table like Reagan did against Carter, and we get a fresh bite on our politics.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Robert Greer says:

      Prediction #2: If it goes to the Supreme Court (which I think is unlikely), we won’t see a 5/4 republican/democratic split like we did in 2000. Either Roberts votes Pro-obama, or Breyer votes Pro-RomneyReport

      • No Bush v. Gore repeat under John Roberts. That’s a fact, Alan. B v. G hurt the Court’s credibility, Roberts is all about the Court’s credibility Job One. Roberts would let the country sit without a president for a year rather than repeat 2000.Report

        • Morzer in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          That makes no sense whatsoever. Roberts isn’t going to do anything so silly as keep the country without a president for a year just to delay what would be an inevitably unpopular decision one way or the other.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Morzer says:

            No, it does. He’d rather delay it in such a way that makes the Local Legislature look bad for screwing up a two-man parade (see here) than put the SCotUS in a place where they’re the one who decides the PotUS.

            “Blame The People”, that’s Roberts’ motto.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

              “Blame the People.” I love it, JB.Report

            • Morzer in reply to Jaybird says:

              No, it doesn’t. Roberts, whatever his other preoccupations, obviously cares about his legacy. If this all came down to SCOTUS again (which it won’t) Roberts isn’t going to diddle around for a year, because he knows that it would only make Scotus look weak, as well as partisan when it handed down its ultimate decision. There’s no percentage in that for him.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morzer says:

                Roberts isn’t going to diddle around for a year

                Who said that Roberts is going to diddle around for a year? He’s going to decisively say “DO THE FREAKING RECOUNT” or similar and let Ohio’s partisans use the small knives on each other.

                SCotUS will come out smelling like a rose.Report

              • Morzer in reply to Jaybird says:

                TVD at 105:

                “Roberts would let the country sit without a president for a year…”

                Feel free to take up the argument with him.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                He’s going to decisively say “DO THE FREAKING RECOUNT”

                The bastard.Report

    • North in reply to Robert Greer says:

      I really don’t see Romney outright winning Colorado (And Nevada, no way) but then being that close in Ohio and Virginia. Seems counterintuitive.Report

      • Robert Greer in reply to North says:

        GOTV effort + Mormons = Romney beats polls substantially.Report

        • Morzer in reply to Robert Greer says:

          Except that there’s no evidence to support this claim. In Nevada, the best GOTV machine belongs to Harry Reid; Romney’s so out of it into Nevada, it’s almost funny. In Colorado, Mormons may make up 5% of the vote, but that’s pretty much priced in to Republican vote counts anyway. Either way, there’s no evidence for Romney over-performing his polls that doesn’t involve a substantial degree of wishing on a star.Report

          • Robert Greer in reply to Morzer says:

            I guess I was too coy to fully communicate my point. I mean that Mormons are pretty good at door-knocking and a pretty goddamn motivated to do it this time around. Do you think Mormons in Romney +45 Utah are just gonna sit on their hands on Election Day?Report

            • Morzer in reply to Robert Greer says:

              Dude, do you think anyone believes Utah isn’t going to go for Romney? And no, I very much doubt that an influx of door-knocking Mormons would be good for Romney. The GOP may have just about swallowed the idea that Mormons can be provisionally redefined as Christians for this election – but their base wouldn’t be grateful for walking reminders of that awkward fact.Report

  18. Michelle says:

    I’m notoriously bad at predictions, so I’m not going to make any except to say I think it will be close, whoever wins. Obviously, I’m pulling for Obama.Report

  19. Matty says:

    A surprise landslide for Vermin Supreme.Report

  20. I will vacillate between going to bed early and simply waking the next morning to see who won, and staying up for the results but drinking heavily to mitigate my anxiety. In the end, I will probably opt for the latter, and will feel miserable come dawn.

    I am far too superstitious to make any predictions beyond that.Report

  21. James Hanley says:

    I predict Obama wins and conservatives claim a) that he’s still illegitimate, and b) that it’s because Romney wasn’t conservative enough (because they’re still unable to grasp that moving farther away from the center in a two party system is not a winning political strategy).Report

    • Michelle in reply to James Hanley says:

      I think you’re absolutely right about what happens if Obama wins. Fox and the right wing blogosphere are already setting themselves up to argue that any Obama victory will be based on voter fraud and other forms of manipulation.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Michelle says:

        To be sure, I’m not going very far out on a limb.Report

        • LWA (Lib With Attitude) in reply to James Hanley says:

          Because in a nation of 300 million people, somewhere a black man will inadvertantly wear a leather jacket AND a beret to the polling place.

          His photo will become legend, of the Great Black Panther Voter Intimidation Drive of 2012.

          It’ll sort of be like the Korda picture of Che, where in 30 years, morans will be wearing tee shirts with the guy’s face on it, maybe with a red slash through it, or a wistful “Never Forget/Never Surrender/Never again” slogan.

          Hell I might hire a black male model and stage it, just to get in on the ground floor of so reliable an investment.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

      I marvel at the boldness of your predictions. Francisco Franco remaining dead too?Report

  22. North says:

    I made few predictions way back when but the few I made turned out right so I’m gloating.
    My current predictions: Obama wins: he carries Nevada and Ohio for sure, likely loses Florida and possible Colorado.
    Dems hold onto the Senate, pick up seats in the House but don’t get a majority.Report

  23. zic says:

    I predict that we’ll see the return of earmarks in the House; mostly for infrastructure projects. The increase in bi-partisanship came hand-in-hand with the elimination of ear marks; taking the pork out of the system took the grease out of the wheels.

    I also predict we’ll see reform of Senate rules, with some new limits on holds and filibusters; particularly holds on presidential nominations of executive-branch positions.

    For electoral outcomes, Pres. Obama with both the electoral college and popular vote. And the only down-ballot seat I’ll call is Bachman out in MN. ‘Cause she doesn’t make political speeches. For sheer entertainment, I hope that’s the one I get wrong.Report

  24. Kimsie says:

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict some level of vote fraud, that is not some sort of widespread conspiracy (aka “dead people voting” or getting some 1 million people to vote twice).

    More like what happened last time there was significant vote fraud, it will be someone tampering with the machines. It won’t change the election this time, either.

    Someone will go to jail for this — and nobody will know about it, because this will be a fundamentally libertarian solution to bad actors.Report

  25. Michael Cain says:

    A conditional prediction. IF Romney wins, THEN (1) the Republicans lose a handful of seats in the House but end up with 50 or 51 seats in the Senate, (2) the Senate reforms the filibuster rules so that the minority party can’t block regular legislation, (3) Congress passes and Romney signs a Ryan-esque budget and assorted pieces of the Republican Party platform, and (4) the deficit increases (early year deficit increases have always been a part of the Ryan budgets; tax cuts come first and spending cuts occur later) and a Republican Congress turns out to have absolutely no problem passing increases in the debt ceiling.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Michael Cain says:

      And liberals suddenly realize just how much they loved the filibuster after all!Report

      • Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to James Hanley says:

        And the “Nuclear Option” will once again appear.

        Everything old is new again.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley says:

        Again, if I can’t destroy the Senate, I’ll take the GOP screwing themselves over in the long run by destroying the filibuster.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

        Republicans will once more be outraged that every nominee doesn’t get an an up or down vote. And if by some miracle Romney wins and the D’s take the House, it will once again be a crisis that someone of a different party is third in line for the Presidency. David Brooks will explain that Obama lost because he’s an elitist who never gasses up his pickup truck at Home Depot.

        Good times, good times.Report

  26. Morat20 says:

    Obama will win Ohio and thus the election. The Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

    A number of Republican heads will explode, possibly on live TV. The conspiracy theorizing will begin immediately. I will hear way, way, WAY too many dark mutterings about ACORN (which no longer exists) and “Chicago Style thuggery” and, of course, 27% of the population will believe Obama won because dead illegal immigrants were voting without ID.

    Possibly while dressed as Black Panthers.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Morat20 says:

      A number of Republican heads will explode, possibly on live TV.

      Should be a PPV event for disaster relief.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Morat20 says:

      If ever there was an 11th hour harbinger, it might be this:

      I listen to talk radio a bit when I drive. Over the past month or two, Glenn Beck has been saying over and over that Romney was going to win in a landslide, and that he knew this because he knew for a fact that God was going to intervene and make it so. On the way to meeting a friend for lunch today I turned his show on, only to hear him promoting his tv special on BLAZE-TV tonight. The subject? How Chicago democrats are going to use their political machinery to “steal” the election and put Obama in for the next four years.

      It would appear that Beck’s God is mighty indeed – just not quite as mighty as Rahman Emanuel.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I man I know, whose Facebook wall I see, posted something several weeks ago that boiled down to the following:

        Romney is winning. The media is against him and are skewing the polls. Which could depress GOP turnout and give the election to Obama. Don’t let them.

        He has constructed a “heads I win, tails you lose” view of reality. There is no room for “Romney is losing”. Romney is winning, bare fact. Not to be questioned. The only question is whether he will win, or have his win “stolen”.

        I do not, for a second, believe that is an uncommon view on the right.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

          Here’s a test for the so-called “non-partisans” out there:

          Two people:
          A) You partisan jerkfaces are so stupid. Everybody freakin’ knows that Nate Silver is just trying to make limousine liberals feel better until election day. He deliberately skews his polls. Come election day, Romney is going to pull down at least 290 electoral votes and your sweet hammy tears will taste so freakin’ good.

          B) You partisan jerkfaces are so stupid. Everybody freakin’ knows that Gallup is just trying to make the racist rednecks feel better until election day. They deliberately skew their polls. Come election day, Obama is going to pull down at least 290 electoral votes and your toothless howls of rage will be like music to my ears.

          Which of these people would you rather see have their quote thrust in their face come election day whilst you yell “NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH”?

          Well, now you know your preferences a little better than before.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

            What if you don’t think Gallup skews polls, but just has a funky likely voter screen that seems to get really variable with enthusiasm. Not so much “likely to vote” enthusiasm as “Woo-hoo, we’re gonna kick butt!” enthusiasm?

            I mean, I think Rasmussen has a solid Republican lean but that’s simply because that’s been their history. I don’t trust Research 2000 as far as I can throw them, but that’s ’cause they got caught defrauding a customer and making up numbers (Daily Kos in 2004, I think?).

            Admittedly, I only think Gallup is off because, well, nobody else agrees with Gallup at the moment and I think it far more likely that they’re the outlier than the lone voice of truth. But I’d say that if everyone had Romney +4 and Gallup had Obama +1.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        My friend, PJ, watched some news talk show recently where four talking heads were predicting the outcome. As he described it, it went “Obama, Obama, Obama, defensive.”

        But he’s a partisan, so I never know when to trust his claims.Report

  27. zic says:

    I have another prediction: Bloomberg runs for President in 2016, and wins the nomination of whichever party he runs in. Predicting the WH win will depend on who the opposing party nominates.Report

  28. BlaiseP says:

    Obama wins a narrow victory, a victory narrow enough to guarantee he’ll have no mandate. The Dems will hang onto the Senate but continued GOP intransigence will stymie any further progress.

    It won’t be a good second term for Obama. I don’t see him getting much done. The economy will slowly drift into the money but it won’t look good on paper. Fox will go on hounding the Democrats: a few scandals will tear up his agenda. Hard to say what will happen in his second midterm election: he might lose more seats in the House. Hillary will get out of Dodge sooner rather than later. More than likely Obama will get rid of most of his cabinet, they’re useless drudges to a man, with the exception of Tim Geithner and Obama’s plenty sick of his ass already.

    Jobs will continue to be the Huge Issue Before Us. Obama will try to push some sort of dumbass Jobs Stimulus Package but the GOP won’t allow any semblance of it to get through the House.

    Obama’s second term will probably get him at least one SCOTUS appointment. Justice Ginsburg is on her last legs. Obama will doubtless attempt to appoint another woman. My money’s on an Illinois attorney general, Lisa Madigan and the GOP will go ballistic when she’s nominated.

    Furrin Polasy will be the big deal and Obama will be faced with some big problems. Watch for some big troubles to develop in the South China Sea. I foresee other Middle East countries, notably KSA, going for a nuke themselves, whether or not Iran continues shucking and jiving.Report

    • George Turner in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Saudi Arabia has been expressing an interest in starting a nuclear program for at least two years now, maybe more, and Egypt has just started expressing the same desire. Iran has always had good engineers (many of whom fled to the US to start thriving firms), but I’m less than optimistic that KSA or Egypt could avoid some sort of disaster without a lot of outside help. Perhaps the Japanese should try and talk them out of it.

      On the other hand, “nuclear powered pyramids” kind of rolls off the tongue.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to George Turner says:

        If Obama plays true to form, he’ll try to keep the American Weenie out of the Wringer of Fate. If Egypt and/or KSA go for a nuke, nobody can stop them. I strongly suspect the Saudis already have a nuke or three in the larder.Report

    • Morzer in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Nothing significant will happen in the South China sea. There will be the usual mutterings and grumblings when China/Japan/South Korea get grumpy with each other for domestic consumption, but no-one actually wants a war. It’s much easier for them to play the jingos within and then quietly do nothing. As for nuclear proliferation in the Middle East – that’s going to happen sooner or later, regardless of who is in the White House. HRC will stick around, because this is a job she does well and seems to enjoy doing. As for the second midterm elections – the GOP will lose seats in the House, probably make a couple of gains in the Senate – unless they keep on being intransigent and extremist. Their brand is consistently underwater these days, which will return the House to the Democrats in the not-so-distant future.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Morzer says:

        I sure hope you’re right, Morzer. The Kim-du-jour in North Korea will provoke something horrid, I’m pretty sure. As you say, China and Japan are playing to the jingos within but the rhetoric is getting pretty hot. When anger comes in the front door, reason runs out the back door. A few mouths may outrun their asses and it will get Yoogly when it does.

        And yes, nuclear proliferation will happen, sooner rather than later, as Iran continues to keep stirring the pot.

        The GOP brand isn’t underwater so much as it’s just floating like a turd in a punchbowl. It doesn’t matter how crazy their rhetoric gets, they’ll always attract a certain constituency. But we may always rely on the Democratic Party to shoot itself in the foot.

        Do you really think Hillary will stick around? Maybe you’re right. She is doing a good job, as far as these things go, but it hasn’t been an unalloyed success. The Arab Spring will bring more hard-liners into power, that much seems certain. Those jamokes never take a woman seriously. As Syria goes down the tubes, it will drag Lebanon down with it and very likely Turkey will end up intervening. Iraq will begin to flex its muscles, Turkey and Iraq share a common problem, the Kurds and Syria has a large Kurdish constituency. Jordan is looking awfully puny these days, the monarchy is putting off inevitable democratic reforms.Report

        • George Turner in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I doubt Hillary will stick around for long once the press starts reporting on the Benghazi story. Rumor has it that she’s sitting on all the e-mails that prove the fateful decisions weren’t hers, and that Bill has been screaming at her to release them to clear herself and not end up as the fall guy, but that she’s refusing because it would doom Obama’s chances and she is not willing to take the blame for a Democratic defeat. But after the election is over that calculation changes.

          This CBS News story was interesting, implying that Hillary started making calls on her own. That might be what Bill was talking about.

          Absent coordination from Counterterrorism Security Group, a senior US counterterrorism official says the response to the crisis became more confused. The official says the FBI received a call during the attack representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and requesting agents be deployed. But he and his colleagues agreed the agents “would not make any difference without security and other enablers to get them in the country and synch their efforts with military and diplomatic efforts to maximize their success.”

          If the Congressional investigation leads to scapegoating and stonewalling, she may have to part ways as a matter of political survival, knowing the choice is to jump out the back of the bus or get thrown in front of it.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

            Yes, I keep hearing “rumors” about this. They all seem to have a few things in common.

            1) No source other than one grieving dad, who doesn’t say half the things rumor apparently says.
            2) It always ends with Obama being impeached or driven from office in shame.
            3) It’s predicatred on the belief that Obama is a secret Muslim, evil, or fecklessly weak (the sort of man, just to pull an example out of my butt, who wouldn’t order a strike on Osama Bin Laden if there was any chance of failure).

            My personal favorite was when I was told that a SEAL had been saying that massive White House shakeups were coming — in fact, it’s very similar to what you just posted!

            Why a SEAL, of all people, would be privy to internal White House deliberations of that sort was never really explained. But goodness, his fellow republicans were just eating it up.

            But don’t worry, George! All the polls are fake, Romney’s winning, and even if he loses, well, Libya was so awful and treasonous they’re sure to impeach him! Keep up the hope!Report

          • Morzer in reply to George Turner says:

            The Benghazi story? Wasn’t that a movie back in the thirties? And no, the GOP’s pathetic and unpatriotic attempts to play politics with this are going exactly where they should – down the gurgler. Doubtless Issa will try to fake up another investigation and doubtless it will fail miserably, with the only result being more costs imposed on the taxpayers by the GOP.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Morzer says:

              The link I posted was from CBS News, so it’s not going down the gurgler. Some speculate that CBS has enough information to know this is going to be a major scandal and are afraid to withhold everything until after the election because that would make them look complicit in covering it up for partisan advantage, whereas leaking little tidbits gives them a way to point to them later and say “But we were reporting this story before the election!”

              There are also press interviews with CIA personnel who were there that night, talking about desperate calls for air support, including “Where is the [blank] Spectre?!” CIA personnel situated a mile from the consulate have also said that they were prepared to go to the aid of the consulate and were ordered to stand down on three seperate occassions.

              Generals and admirals have been writing articles about this one. It’s not just rumors from SEALs. General Ham, AFICOM commander when this went down, not only got replaced by the General who was rumored to have relieved him of command, but is retiring early, in just a week or two. The faster he retires, the faster he can go on the record without violating his duty to remain loyal to the Commander in Chief.

              Obama won’t of course face impeachment over it, because being worthless isn’t a high-crime, but it’s not going to instill much confidence in a second term.Report

              • Leno’s joking about Benghazi: America knows despite the media blackout. We’ll see. There will be hell to pay, now or later.Report

              • Morzer in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Absolutely wrong – once something makes it to the late night comedy circuit, it’s going nowhere. Still, it is enjoyable to watch pitiable “conservatives” hanging their hopes on a 30 second throwaway line; it reveals just why they’ve got nothing to offer where policy or competent government are concerned.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                Please link those press interviews with the CIA personnel.. I’ve been looking ALL over the place for them.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                To be more specific: I’ve found a single Fox article with “sources on the ground”. What’s so strange is…these “sources” are never named, and have never spoken to anyone else. Everything all seems to go back to that single, anonymous “sources on the ground”.

                It’s flatly contradicted by the CIA, by State, and everyone else. (It’s also the source of the two drones comment). Last timeline I checked (posted today) the first drone showed up well after the Embassy was evacuated.

                I did find what I suspect was some of the…confusion. The CIA personnel were, indeed, asking for heavy weapon support. From the Libyan government. Apparently the US doesn’t keep armories and fast action teams on the ground in foreign countries, go figure.

                Anyways, I’m kinda stuck here: Either the Fox’s story’s unnamed sources are wrong, or the entire government — from CIA to State to Military — is lying on behalf of Obama.

                Hmm. Incorrect sources feeding sensationalist story to Fox or giant government conspiracy…which to believe, which to believe….Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Morat20 says:

                I tend to a synthesis of both viewpoints. I trust absolutely nothing coming out of any organisation’s S2 or Pentagon PR flacks. It’s all been amended for public consumption. Whole lot of turd-polishing going on before we mere mortals are told anything.

                Three words: SP4 Pat Tillman. ’nuff said.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to George Turner says:

                Yeah, yeah. Let me tell you for a fact, when anyone gets whacked in the line of duty, there’s always a herd of jackasses ready to write their own After Action Reports, hysterical braying over at Moonie Times.

                People do get killed in the line of duty. Doesn’t mean their commanders are worthless. And that’s AFRICOM. Gen. Carter Ham has been in uniform for four decades. AFRICOM’s mandate is changing. Obama’s putting in Gen. David Rodriguez from FORSCOM. Seems like a logical move to me. Rodriguez knows training and that’s what we’re likely to be doing in Africa, what with these wretched new nation states having to raise up their own militaries. Carter Ham managed the US role in the overthrow of Qaddafi’s regime. He did his job. Commanders get rotated. Rodriguez seems more appropriate, given the mission of AFRICOM.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                Actually, you know what? I’m gonna lay sarcasm and mockery aside, and explain calmly, and rationally why this story isn’t getting picked up. There’s two reasons.

                First, all the incendiary stuff? It’s got one source (Fox), no one’s named (except the grieving dad, and grieving parents say things. True, false, fair, unfair — it’s gonna get taken with a grain of salt). Nobody else seems to be able to find these sources and get them to, you know, say the same stuff to them. So either Fox has found great, totally trustworthy sources who won’t repeat it to anyone else — or no one else can find these guys, or no one else finds them believable.

                In general, the media is supposed to be biased against stories they can’t get information on. They’re supposed to report news, not rumor. Now maybe this is all a conspiracy of silence — we’ll get to that.

                Second — and I think this is even bigger — the whole affair was a mess. There was a protest. There were guys with weapons in the protest. There was an attack. The consulate or whatever evacuated. The ambassador died. Stuff was blown up in the consulate, by the people who were supposed to and by attackers. There were CIA guys running around, mostly blowing up sensitive stuff. Stuff was, effectively, happening all over the place in a foreign country.

                Some of it was protests. Some of it was attacks. People died. People got hurt. Some people were innocent but angry. Some weren’t. It was a mess.

                By the time anything was on the scene besides individuals reporting via phone, most of it was over – -the evacuation was in progress. By the time anything with real weapons could have arrived, it was almost entirely over except for a handful of fights. The Ambassador was dead, the consulate was empty, there were a handful of CIA guys still wandering around getting shot at or shooting.

                The American public looks at that mess and, in general, sees “Jesus, what a mess”. They do not think “We should have run an AC-130 through someone else’s air space and machine-gunned down a crowd”. They do not, in general, believe lasers are magic tools that allow bullets fired from a gun designed to deal with light armored vehicles to hit only “enemies”. They are, in general, of the idea that firing machine guns into crowds of mixed protestors and attackers is not a good solution.

                So they view all this ‘If we’d gotten X into the air and everyone was all decisive’ as not just hindsight, but kinda..overly optimistic hindsight. Get it where? Shoot what? I mean, this is real life not a Tom Clancy novel. It’s Libya. Can we even do that? We haven’t invaded the country. Were we even in airspace we controlled? This is all very complex. (And hey, we’ve seen Blackhawk Down. Doing that sort of thing doesn’t always work well).

                But what really, really kills it is the tone — the conspiracy tone. It’s a massive coverup involving the White House, State, the CIA. No one is talking (except some anonymout sources “familiar with the situation” or “on the ground” — not CIA or State or government of any sort — and only to Fox), they’re all supporting the President. But just wait, heads will roll. Hillary’s gonna fall on her sword. Bill hates Obama now!

                The situation on the ground gets more and more ludicrous, with more and more assets and more and more square-jawed heroes begging the REMFs in the White House to get their thumbs out of their butt. It’s straight from central casting, with Obama basically twirling a mustache and high-fiving Michelle screaming “Get Whitey!”.

                There’s never anything…real feeling. It feels like a bad movie, with Obama cast as a one-dimensional villian. It’s got a conspiracy vibe, with coverups and rumors but never anything real.

                And I realize the right-wing loves them a conspiracy, with FEMA, and the UN coming to take their cars and guns and make them wear blue hats or whatever, but most people view that as tinfoil and ignore it.

                Which is funny — because the guts of the story “This was a real mess, and if the White House had been more decisive maybe more could have been done” is something I’d believe. But then again, it was a mess so maybe they did the best they could. But that’s not enough for you guys. It’s not enough to be an iffy call in an iffy situation. It has to be malacious. So wrong a baby could see the right answer. Undeniably evil.

                And America? It ain’t buying that. Especially not from anonymous sources no one else can find, not with everyone in government saying “Bullsh*t” and no-one — NO ONE in government leaking otherwise, and the people pushing the rumor reading entrails based on who hasn’t yet gone out and said “Bullsh*t” yet as secret support for it being all true.Report

              • Michelle in reply to Morat20 says:

                Morat–great post. And while I agree with most everything you said, sadly there are a lot of people out there who do believe it. I happened to spend the last week with my parents who are deep in the Fox-o-sphere. It’s the only “news” station they ever watch because CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC are all in the bag for the liberals, whereas Fox (whom the FCC is trying to shut down) reports things that no other station will (I really had to bite my tongue not to say, “yeah, that’s because they make shit up.”)

                At any rate, I was around to hear snippets of this story, including parts of the interview with the grieving father. And they absolutely believe it. They absolutely believe that Obama is involved in covering up what went on, and they believe that we had some kind of military force available that could have intervened if Obama had only allowed them to do so.

                There is a an audience out there for these kind of conspiracy theories. I’m not sure how big it is, but it’s out definitely there.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Michelle says:

                Of course they do. I mentioned it before on Tom’s “Impeach Obama” thread…

                This isn’t a real story. It’s not something with legs. It’s a last minute 30-second hate to drive out a few more votes.

                It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s supposed to make conservative voters angry, in the hopes a few more turn out at the polls. Because Obama’s not just a Democrat instead of a Repubolican. He’s not just wrong.

                He’s dangerous. Weak. An appeaser. A traitor even. He’ll give the world over to his Muslim brethren who will deny our women birth control in the name of the wrong God or whatever.Report

              • Michelle in reply to Morat20 says:

                Tom had an Impeach Obama thread? Glad I missed that one.

                I hadn’t watched Fox News in quite a while and, even knowing their bias, was amazed at the level of nastiness there, as well as the stories they chose to focus on. If Fox’s followers only get their news from there and similarly inclined sources, it’s no wonder conservatives and liberals increasingly live in alternate universes.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                Well, see Tom’s point was a bit different. Apparently his real point was it was easier just to de-elect Obama, but that he’s totally probably gonna be impeached over this Libya thing if he wins. Although Tom possibly doesn’t believe that, but a guy at pajama media he linked to does, but Tom didn’t read it, so you can’t really say he agrees with it.

                But it’s just easier to vote against Obama than anything else.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Morat20 says:

                Except that Tom did say that even though he hadn’t read the guy, the guy was probably right, so that Tom probably did agree with that thing that he didn’t read so he couldn’t know if he agreed with it or not. Because if there’s anything the League values, it’s authors who write about things that they can’t be bothered to learn anything about.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                authors who write about things that they can’t be bothered to learn anything about.

                Why waste time with facts and logical coherence when the conclusion is just so obvious.

                Snark aside, Tom often comes quite close to admitting explicitly that his comments and posts are pure partisan propaganda. He doesn’t care about the accuracy of his claims, only whether they tilt things in his direction.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Morat20 says:

                He doesn’t care about the accuracy of his claims, only whether they tilt things in his direction.

                Reposted for emphasis.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

                Second — and I think this is even bigger — the whole affair was a mess. There was a protest. There were guys with weapons in the protest.

                That’s been refuted by all accounts of the evening. There was never a protest. The White House just made that up.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to George Turner says:

                George, Please provide a link or cite to all accounts of the evening.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                Obama made it up? The CIA was reporting that as facts on the ground.

                You can see it here: ODNI Benghazi Statement (pdf) dated Sept 28th.

                “In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving.”

                But I guess the Director of National Inteligence was part of the cover-up, as was the CIA, cleverly releasing false information to Obama which he could use to lie to the American public.

                *eyeroll* Seriously, you need to keep a few things straight: What we know NOW versus what people knew THEN. You’re screaming about Obama not acting on information that wasn’t known until weeks later!

                WTF? Is the President an oracle? Was he supposed to part the veil of time and get information from the future? Or what? If the CIA and State were telling him protestors and attackers, he was supposed to what? Realize they were wrong?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

                WSJ’s timeline, no protest.

      ’s timeline

                ?There were no protesters at the Benghazi consulate prior to the attack, even though Obama and others repeatedly said the attackers joined an angry mob that had formed in opposition to the anti-Muslim film that had triggered protests in Egypt and elsewhere. The State Department disclosed this fact Oct. 9 — nearly a month after the attack.

                The e-mails sent from the CIA in Libya to Washington have been reported by the press, and from the start they made it clear that it was a coordinated terrorist attack.

                So the question is why the DNI would release such a memo a week after the fact, and why that memo would happen to confirm what we now know is a lie being pushed by the administration.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                Are you trolling? Because I can’t imagine you’re this dense, especially when it’s pretty clearly spelled out in the memo.

                The CIA reported one thing during the events in question. A week later, after they’d started to get more first hand info, they had different information. They told the President that.

                They released a memo saying exactly that. I mean, Jesus, it spells it out: “We intially said there were protests. Later, as we reviewed new data, we realized there weren’t any that that location”.

                This isn’t rocket science, George. What’s so damn hard to believe that the initial few days of reports from CIA, from State, and from DNI were confused and messy because, you know, it was a confused and messy situation?

                They didn’t even get the embassy security footage to review until three weeks after the attacks.

                You’re acting like this is some crazy, hard-to-believe fact. I know in movies the CIA has real-time feed to everything and Jack Ryan is never, ever wrong. But that’s Tom Clancy, and this is real life.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                I mean, Jesus, I quoted it George. Here it is AGAIN:

                “In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving.”

                What part of that is confusing to you? Do you need some help with the words? Do you need a “For Dummies” translation? Here, I’ll give you one:

                “When all this stuff was going on, we thought there were protests. Cause there’d been some protests early, and this sorta seemed like the same thing. Then it got all violent and confused. After it all calmed down some, we were able to get in there, interview some people, piece together some stuff and hey…looks like there wasnt’ a protest there like we said. Our bad”.

                Wow. The President telling the public what was the best information he had at the time. That’s some serious impeachment stuff there. How dare he!Report

              • George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

                Um, don’t you realize that this little bone from the DNI is a big part of why congress is calling it a cover-up? In the weeks since that statement was released, we’ve found that nothing in it can be supported, and that everyone knew it hadn’t been a spontaneous protest, including the DNI, Obama, Hillary, etc.

                The CIA reported one thing during the events in question. A week later, after they’d started to get more first hand info, they had different information.

                And there’s the problem. They already had all the first hand information even as the attack unfolded. The people in Benghazi were on the phone with Washington. We even have transcripts of some of their phone calls and cables. The people in Washington were watching video of what was going on. We pulled our CIA teams out the morning after the attack (it took two airliners to haul them all) and we didn’t send in the FBI teams for 24 more days. The story from the scene did not change during this time, because nobody was there. No new information came in that they didn’t have either during the attack or the day after the attack.

                But Obama and Hillary start trying to spin it as a spontaneous protest run amok, and as soon as that starts getting seriously questioned, and only then, the DNI tries to provide some cover, and what he put out was never supported by anything they knew, then or now.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                George, if you sprinkled in some Stars Wars terms and stuff, it might really help your argument.*

                *Personally, I like the stories about Jar Jar Binks!Report

              • Chris in reply to Morat20 says:

                George, can you link to reporting on those transcripts?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                Oh, Georgie. You’ve fallen into an urban legend

                They had drone footage for the last hour of the attack, but the footage YOU are referring to — showing organized men attacking the compound — was recovered by the FBI weeks after the attack.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

                Nope, sorry. The drone you’re refering to arrived to replace the first drone, which was running low on fuel. It had been overhead for many, many hours, reportedly arriving within about an hour of the attack.

                You still seem to be operating under the illusion that the CIA still uses Betamax, and that its agents don’t have cell-phones yet. But hey, your narrative even predates the revelation that we had a building full of CIA agents near the consulate, or that they’d killed sixty or seventy of the attackers, or about a hundred other details that have since been revealed, all of which contradict the idea that the White House knew nothing.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

                I should add that the first drone started providing a live video feed to Washington at 11:11 PM Benghazi time, 5:11 PM Eastern, an hour and thirty minutes after the attack began.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                Seriously, George, you’re like a poster child for why no one considers this a big deal besides the fever swamps of the right.

                You guys are insisting Obama had omniscient knowledge of every detail of the attacks, stuff that wasn’t sorted out until weeks and weeks later (and some stuff that’s still unclear). You’re blaming him for making perfectly rational decisions based on what the CIA was telling him — the CIA that had assets right there — that later turned out to be wrong information.

                Most people don’t expect the President to be God Almighty, and can tell a clusterf*ck when they see one. So when the CIA is telling you it’s protestors and attackers all mixed together, most people would believe them.

                You..don’t. And apparently you think it was a horrible, horrible, malacious lie on Obama’s part. Or the CIA is lying about everything they told him.

                Conspiracy theorizing + hindsight. And you wonder why people laugh at this?

                Good god, you deny modern polling but think the President is either controlling a vast coverup with the full weight of the CIA behind him — or he should be a literal God able to divine the truth of the entire world at a glance.Report

            • Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Morzer says:

              Issa should be impeached for [a] interfering with a criminal investigation (he nearly loused up the Fast and Furious probe) and [b[ releasing the name of an operative (unredacting CIA documents). But I’m sure he won’t be.

              Hey, George, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike At US”. IOKIYAR!Report

              • Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name says:

                BTW, Oama and Holder had good reason to keep Issa at bay during the Fast and Furious probe. If Issa had access to the information, he would certainly have impeded or outright destroyed the investigation, whichm, from the timing, was in its final stages. Issa is a waste.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name says:


                Pedantic note here: Congressmen can’t be impeached. Nor can he be subject to criminal indictment as he’s covered by the speech and debate clause. But Article 1, section 5, paragraph 2 does allow each chamber to “punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” So, your preferred outcome (hell, mine, too), just a different formal path.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to George Turner says:

            Oh good grief. I’ve already laid out the basics of why there’s no meat on that bone. Rumours and emails and all that Conspiracy Baloney is just so much barracks scuttlebutt and we both know it. It’s ridiculous. And it won’t impact Hillary Clinton in the slightest, George. The only people who play Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda weren’t there. A bunch of armchair generals sitting around farting and whispering sotto-voce and for the life of me I can’t tell the differences between those noises.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP says:


          Space awesome.Report

  29. DavidTC says:

    Wow, half the people here have rather…astonishing predictions. You guys know we elect presidents based on the electoral college, right? So everyone looking at national polls is being a bit silly.

    As is everyone looking at Ohio…Romney _must_ win Ohio, but Obama does not actually need it. Obama’s basically starting at 241, Romney at 191, so Romney has to win a hell of a lot swing states. And, statistically, he’s about to _lose_ most of those swing states. In fact, it appears that he is likely to lose Ohio!

    My prediction: Obama wins NH, PA, WI, MI, and NV, for a total 0f 263. Romney wins NC and FL.

    This leaves CO, OH, and VA on the table…and Romney has to win _all_ of them.

    He will not. He probably _lose_ all of them, and thus Obama will get 303 EVs at the lower bounds. But let’s be conservative here, and let Romney win either VA or CO somehow, so the total is 288. Obama still wins.

    So my official prediction: 288-303 EV for Obama. Assuming I haven’t screwed up in the math somewhere.

    And I don’t think it’s completely impossible Romney will lose Florida. It was already close, and then Romney went around being an idiot towards hurricanes and disaster relief, and Obama went around being competent.

    Unrelated to that, I also predict that Ohio will manage to fuck up the election again and go into overtime, this time due to voter ID. But Obama will still win it.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to DavidTC says:

      Romney has been deluging my part of Colorado with some very effective radio and tv ads for the last 10 days or so. Obama ads are for the most part absent. Colorado might be much more in play for Romney than lots of folks seem to think.Report

  30. DRS says:

    My prediction: Obama wins. Romney is gracious in concession, but one of the sons does a flounce on camera. Probably the one who wants to hit people who disagree with Mitt.

    Republican Party has the absolute mother of poo-flinging tantrums for the next two years.Report

  31. Burt Likko says:

    I’ll offer a second prediction, after Obama’s re-election. Obama has about eighteen to twenty more months of the way things are now. Since the 1960’s ever two-term President has hit serious stumbling blocks in or around the sixth year of their service.

    Johnson = Vietnam, resulting in no re-election bid in 1968. Nixon = Watergate, resulting in resignation under threat of impeachment. Reagan = Iran-Contra, with talk of impeachment and concerns of incompetence and a then-unknown reality of creeping Alzheimer’s. Clinton = Lewinsky scandal, resulting in impeachment. Bush = Iraq/Afghanistan, recalling Vietnam under LBJ.

    Obama will be no different. Let’s check back around the 2014 midterms and see how this one works out.Report

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