The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 14, 2012

PiRate Ratings Look At The 2012 Presidential Race

Filed under: News & Views — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:15 am

Before getting into the meat of this document, we at the PiRate Ratings are not political pollsters.  We do know how to look at the data of others and make educated conclusions based on a decent sampling of data.


We look at more than a dozen different national polls recognized as legitimate and accurate from past elections.  We purposefully monitor one pollster that skews his polls to the GOP and another polling company that tends to skew toward the Democrats.  Those two polls serve as outliers for our predictions.


We do not look at national polling numbers.  We do not elect a President on popular vote, so it means very little to know this information.  Only the state by state polls with the electoral votes allocated to those states matter.  The only number that is important is the number “270,” which is the number of electoral votes needs to win the Presidential election.


We will present this data to you in different views.  The first view is our look at how the race would turn out if today was Election Day.  We will show this race with no tossup states, allocating all 538 Electoral Votes.


Our second look is the same “if today was Election Day” criteria with all tossup states not allocated to a candidate.  If the race in a state is 6 points or less, we consider that state a tossup at the current time.


Our third look is a trending poll, using a four-week moving average, much like stock market analysts look at the stock market.  This moving average is calculated from multiple polls taken weekly.


Our fourth look is our own take on where the race is headed.  We use past experiences using several tendencies we have noticed over the last 11 election cycles.  Some of these tendencies include: how the undecided vote tends to lean toward the underdog after Labor Day; how long the convention bounces last; how likely voters are to actually vote; and how accurate the polling data has predicted the actual elections.


It is our opinion, and many others, that the voting public has mostly aligned with their candidate of choice.  There are very few undecided voters at this point in the cycle, and an inordinately high number of voters are 100% sure that they will vote for their candidate of choice.  Our current Congress has been an excellent microcosm for our national divide—the public is divided more than it has been since the Civil War. 


In most other election years, the polling data would be harsh for the incumbent.  When economic troubles have been this prevalent in the past, there has been a sweeping out of the party in control.  In 2010 and 2011, the possibility for a repeat of the elections of 1932 and 1980 were strong.  The Republican Party needed to find another Ronald Reagan, and they might have been looking at a landslide victory much like the GOP won in 1980. 


During the early primaries, we issued a special entry detailing the trouble the GOP would have if Mitt Romney became the nominee.  We went into detail relaying how an Eastern elitist would fail to rally fence-sitters in several crucial states that Republicans must win.


Romney will definitely not carry his home state.  He will probably not carry his state of birth.  He is in serious trouble in the state that absolutely must be won to have any chance of winning the election.


An interesting factoid was e-mailed to us this morning.  The last time a candidate lost his state of residence and his state of birth but won the election was back in 1844 (42 elections ago) when James K. Polk lost in his state of residence (Tennessee) and his state of birth (North Carolina) and won the election.


 Romney is going to need one if not two major events to occur if he is to pull out a victory in less than eight weeks.  Remember also that several states conduct some form of early voting, and some will begin issuing ballots in less than five weeks.  A lot of voters have made up their minds, and they will vote early.  The psychology here is that by voting early, these voters can tune out the onslaught of constant media advertisements, political pundits telling them how to think, robocalls, and even social media and socializing.


Okay, now for the numbers.  Let us first look at our PiRate mean based on more than one dozen polls.


I. If the Election Was Today

President Obama would win reelection with an average electoral vote victory of 333-205.  Obama would win: California—55, Colorado—9, Connecticut—7, Delaware—3, DC—3, Florida—29, Hawaii—4, Illinois—20, Iowa—6, Maine—(all 4), Maryland—10, Massachusetts—11, Michigan—16, Minnesota—10, Nevada—6, New Hampshire—4, New Jersey—14, New Mexico—5, New York—29, Ohio—18, Oregon—7, Pennsylvania—20, Rhode Island—4, Vermont—3, Virginia—13, Washington—12, Wisconsin—10, and the Second Congressional District in Nebraska—1 (Nebraska is one of two states that splits its electoral vote.)


The outlier margins for an election held today would be: Obama 374 Romney 164 and Obama 270 Romney 268.


II. If the Election Was Today with Tossup States

National pollsters have deemed anywhere from eight to 12 states as battleground states where the polls could switch from one candidate to the other.  The consensus shows Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin are where the race will be won or lost.  We concur for the most part, but looking at the actual data, we will alter this list of eight.


Obama has picked up enough support in Michigan to take it off the table for now.  We no longer agree that this is a battleground state.  That lowers the number to seven.  To this group of seven, we are adding these states where the current polls show Romney holds a 6% lead or less: Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and South Dakota.


Removing these battleground states drops Obama’s number under 270 to 238.  Romney’s number drops from 205 to 174.  At 238-165 with 135 electoral votes still up for grabs.  If we give Romney South Carolina, Montana, and South Dakota, three states where the GOP should win almost every time, this brings Romney up to 180.  Romney leads in North Carolina, and we will give him the 15 votes to bring his count to 195.  While we are at it, let’s give Romney Missouri, where the President is not all that popular, and their Senatorial race would have given the GOP a pickup had it not been for possibly the dumbest politician ever opening his mouth.  Add 10 votes to Romney, bringing him back to 205.  That leaves 95 electoral votes in states where Obama currently holds the lead: Colorado—9, Florida—29, Iowa—6, Nevada—6, New Hampshire—4, Ohio—18, Virginia—13, and Wisconsin—10.


III. The 28-day Moving Average

Factoring in multiple polls taken with a weekly snapshot over the most recent four weeks, Obama leads Romney 316-222.  There has not been that much movement since the two conventions, with Obama picking up an average of 17 electoral votes in that time.


IV. The PiRate Ratings Look At November 6

We preface this category by telling you that there are psychological and historical factors being applied here.  These numbers are not based 100% on current statistical data.


Prior to the debates in October, which could greatly affect the outcome if one candidate makes a remark similar to: “Poland is not under the Soviet Union’s dominance;”  “I asked my daughter what the most important issue in this race was, and she said it was the nuclear bomb;” or a candidate’s refusal to seek vengeance if his wife had been brutally raped.  This debate season looks to be anticlimactic to us.  We don’t think either candidate will be able to deliver any major blows.


That said, we do believe that Obama will not garner much additional support.  He will maintain or lose a little bit of supporters as voters vote for change.


How much support will Obama lose?  At the moment, we do not see how he can lose enough to fall beneath the magic number of 270.


We start at 333-205, which is today’s number.  Let’s flip Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin, where we think Romney still has a decent chance of winning.  That changes the vote total to 276-262 in favor of Obama.  Maybe Nevada could switch as well, which would make the race 270-268 in favor of Obama.  We do not see New Hampshire flipping to Romney, as all of New England will go with Obama.  That leaves one crucial state—Virginia.  Romney must saturate the state known as the “Mother of Presidents.”  He needs to spend a lot of time campaigning in the parts of Virginia not in the DC metro area, where tens of thousands of government employees want to keep government as big as it can be.


At the same time, Romney must sink millions of dollars in Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, and even Wisconsin.  President Polk won his Vice President’s state in 1844.  George Dallas hailed from Pennsylvania, and in 1844 the Keystone State was the second largest and carried 26 electoral votes.  No candidate has ever won the election when he lost his current state of residence, his state of birth, and his vice-Presidential candidates state.  As of today, Romney will lose in Massachusetts and Michigan as well as Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin.


If this were a football game, we would list Obama as a 14 1/2-point favorite.



February 6, 2012

PiRate Ratings Look At The 2012 Presidential Race

Filed under: News & Views — Tags: , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:13 pm

The PiRate Ratings step outside the sporting world today to take a look at the 2012 Presidential Election race.  We look at this race in a mechanical manner; in other words, we attempt to handicap this race much like a horse race, using back-tested information as a guide.


Our conclusion: The Republican Party is in big trouble at the present time!  When the race began to heat up last summer, it looked like the GOP had as much chance of unseating President Obama as the Democrats had of unseating Herbert Hoover in 1932.  They needed to isolate on the one candidate that could unite the party and come off as the next Ronald Reagan.  Find a great communicator with executive experience that hailed from a Southern state, the Industrial Midwest, or California.


Only one Governor from the South decided to run, Rick Perry.  He proved to be not up to the task, and he was finished before the first caucus vote was cast.   Jeb Bush never threw his hat in the ring, and Bobby Jindal peaked four years ago.  The only Republican ex-governor of California was not eligible, and his exit from office left him in a bad scandal anyway. 


The Midwest had the ideal candidate, one who would have become a heavy favorite to win in 2012.  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels chose not to run, citing the desires of his family. 


Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, briefly entered the race, but he dropped out following the Iowa Straw Poll last summer.  Had he known that almost every candidate that did not fare well in that straw poll rose to the top of the polls at one time, maybe he would have remained in the race long enough to win the Iowa Caucus.  We will never know, and besides, we do not include Minnesota as part of the Industrial Midwest.


Note: The Industrial Midwest is merely a descriptive name for a group of states that relied on industry for decades as the chief means of employment.  Almost all industries have now deserted the United States for cheaper foreign labor markets. 


Here is the major problem for the GOP.  Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are unelectable for different reasons!  Gingrich is considered a lone wolf, even though he is really one of the global elite.  However, he has enough ego to try to make numerous changes, and that is not supported by the inside elite.  They will not allow him to become President.  Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have no chance of winning the nomination, so we will not consider either in this submission.  Of course in National polls, both candidates are in dead heats with the President, while Obama has a comfortable lead over Gingrich and a considerable lead over the fading Romney.


Romney is still the apparent front-runner with a very large chance of winning the nomination, so let us concentrate the rest of this submission on why he cannot beat President Obama in the general election.


We at the PiRate Ratings are political junkies.  We have political maps for every Presidential election in US history.  These maps paint an excellent picture of the philosophy and psychology of the American public.


If somebody would have had this information in 1802, they could have forewarned President Jefferson of the impending divide in the country.  Most elections from Jefferson through Lincoln showed the great divide between the states; they could have seen the split between the region that would become the Confederate States of America and the region that would stay loyal to the Union.  The upper Atlantic states and New England States voted one way, and the South and West voted another.  Most elections then were decided in the Midwest, where half a dozen large states swayed the elections. 


After the Civil War, the South remained solid Democrat, believing that the Republican Party was responsible for Reconstruction, carpetbaggers, and scallywags.  The South remained a solid Democrat voting block for many years.  Then, President Johnson brought forth his Great Society in the mid-1960’s, and with it, his Civil Rights Act turned the South around overnight.  Beginning in 1968, the Democrats were finished in the South.  George Wallace won a handful of Southern states campaigning on a segregationist agenda, but Nixon won the rest.


Since 1968, it has been relatively easy to determine the outcome of elections.  The Republicans needed to hold onto their Southern base, winning almost every state from among Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas.  We do not include Florida in this list, because this state has a large number of non-Southerners residing within its borders.  A high number of Northern retirees, many from the Upper Atlantic and New England, and a large number of Hispanics, give Florida a unique position, making it a swing state.


The Republicans have two options for winning the White House.  The first option is to take California and its 55 electoral votes, better than 20% of the needed 270 electoral votes to win.  By taking California and the South (not including Florida), that gives a GOP candidate 186 electoral votes.  Add 51 more electoral votes from western states that almost always vote GOP (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and this brings the total to 237.


From there, only 33 more electoral votes are needed for a GOP victory.  Florida has 29 electoral votes, and if a Republican takes Florida, he only needs a state like Iowa, Colorado, or Indiana to go over the top.


The second option for a Republican is to win a majority of the Industrial Midwest.  Look at the riches available in this swing area:  Ohio (18), Indiana (11), Michigan (16), Illinois (20), and Wisconsin (10) add up to 75 electoral votes.  We will add three states to this list that have similarities to this group.  Pennsylvania (20), Missouri (10), and Kentucky (8), bring the total in this area to 113. 


So, if the Republican does not carry California and its 55 electoral votes, he can still win by taking half of the Midwest.  Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin add up to 57 electoral votes, two more than California.


So, how does this apply to Mitt Romney and the race in 2012?  Plenty!  In the entire history of the Republican Party, only two candidates from New England and the Upper Atlantic have ever become President of the United States.  However, and this is big, both candidates were already President when they ran for President.  Calvin Coolidge, from Vermont, was the Vice President when Warren Harding died in office in 1923; he won in 1924.  Theodore Roosevelt, from New York, was the Vice President when William McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo at the World’s Fair in 1901; he won in 1904.


Looking at nominees that were not already President, there have been just two elections involving one GOP candidate from the New England/Upper Atlantic area.  Thomas Dewey hailed from New York.  He lost to Franklin Roosevelt in 1944 and Harry Truman in 1948. 


In 1944, FDR carried the entire South, as Southerners would not support an Eastern Elitist Republican, when the opposition was an Eastern Elitist Democrat.  In 1948, Dewey won in California, which had half the electoral votes as it does today.  He won in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana.  Truman carried the entire South as well as Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.


Romney will have major trouble in the South.  He is looked on as an Eastern elitist, a Yankee, a carpetbagger, etc.  His numerous gaffes and flip-flops will hurt him in any swing state, but in the South, words tend to mean a lot more to voters.  Let us take a look at six of those liabilities:


1. During an Iowa debate, he stated that he could not have a lawn service that hired illegal aliens continue to work for him because he was running for President.  This infers that had he not chosen to run, he would not have had a problem.


2. He stated that he didn’t make all that much money on his speaking engagements, only between a quarter and half million dollars per speech.  A majority of Southern Republican voters believe that a quarter million dollars is “all that much.”


3. He likes firing people.  In fact, he repeated how quickly he would fire someone just because that someone came to him with a business idea.  He has not stated a love for hiring people.


4. He doesn’t worry about the poor, because there are safety nets for them.  This infers that he supports the current Welfare system, which a majority of GOP voters in the South do not support.


5. He has flip-flopped on both abortion and gun rights. 

6. He openly vowed to be as liberal as Ted Kennedy when he ran against Kennedy in a Massachusetts Senatorial race, and he ran away from the Republican philosophy of Ronald Reagan.  That is why the Reagan family has endorsed Gingrich.


Any single one of these six facts is enough to harm him greatly all over the country, especially in the crucial Southern states.


Now, concerning Romney’s other liability in the South–his Mormon religion:  People in the South may be quiet about this issue, but a great deal of Southern White Protestants will not support him, even against President Obama.  As a Southerner who is not a Protestant, I have personally witnessed 21st Century religious bigotry.  I am not a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and I do not wear my religion on a sleeve.  I don’t advertise my beliefs publicly.  Yet, many Southerners do. 


I have heard enough GOP voters talk about how they cannot support a candidate that belongs to a Church that believes their savior returned to New York State and spoke to one man in the 19th Century.  For many in the South, there is still the stigma of polygamy, even though this has not been the case for over 120 years.  While religious bigotry has no place in the 21st Century, the 21st Century Southern conservative voter may decide it still does.


The mechanical data does not work out for Romney.  The last Massachusetts Republican that had a chance to become President was Henry Cabot Lodge.  He even made it to the GOP ticket as a Vice Presidential running mate for Richard Nixon in 1960.


Cabot Lodge’s political ideology was similar to Romney’s.  A disciple of two of the most influential and elitist families in New England, Cabot Lodge was also a hero.  He was the only United States Senator to resign from office to join the military to fight in World War II.  Many political experts believe Cabot Lodge hurt Nixon’s chances in many states in 1960 and even cost Nixon the election.


Let’s take a look at the political map of 2012.  If Romney is the nominee, then barring a major catastrophe, like a total collapse of the Stock Market or a major war that our country appears to be losing, Obama will stand a much better than 50% chance of defeating Romney for reelection.  If the country is thrust into a Mideast war through an enemy provocation, then Obama’s chances will increase all the more.


Let’s start our mechanical look by concentrating on the South.  Obama beat John McCain by a score of 365-173.  In 2008, Obama won in North Carolina and Virginia for 28 electoral votes.  He also took the swing state of Florida and its 27 votes (Florida has 29 electoral votes in this election).  McCain needed a sweep in the South, and he could not get it.  Had he swept the South, it would have given him 228 votes, still 42 shy of what he needed.


Obama won California and its 55 votes.  McCain, from Arizona, did not offer anything to swing the biggest prize his way.  Had he won California and the three Southern States he lost, he would have won the election.


Of course, there is a second avenue for a Republican if he cannot sweep the South and take California.  He must win several states in the Midwest.  Obama won big here in 2008, and he will do well enough in 2012 to win reelection if Romney is the opponent.


Obama will win his home state of Illinois and its 20 votes.  He will win Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for another 30 votes.  Romney should win Indiana, and he should win Michigan, because the Romney name still means a lot in the Wolverine State.  However, a heavy turnout in Detroit could tilt the state’s 16 votes his way.


You would expect Romney to do well in New England, but that is not necessarily the case.  He will lose his home state of Massachusetts, and that speaks volumes.  A little known fact is that when Romney chose not to run for gubernatorial reelection, he did so because he was going to lose by a large amount.  He won in 2002 with a slim plurality of the vote, falling short of 50%.  Had Green Party candidate Jill Stein not run, then Democrat Shannon O’Brien might have won the election.  Romney’s favorable ratings as Governor were never high, and when he chose not to stand for reelection, the favorable percentage was in the 30’s.  He left office as the 48th most popular governor after his legislation led to much higher taxes.  It is estimated that he raised taxes on many corporations by almost 100%!  He also added a heavy number of fees to run businesses, and he lost a great deal of his Republican base by 2006. 


Obama will win Massachusetts; he will also win Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.  Romney cannot count on his own area for major support.  He may take New Hampshire, and he could still lose there.


Let us break down this race into safe Republican and safe Democrat states.


We are going to assume that Romney can keep the Southern states McCain won in 2008, but as you read above, this is not a sure thing.  We will give him Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas for 103 electoral votes.


Romney will carry most of Flyover country as all GOP candidates do.  That gives him another 11 states, but only 54 more electoral votes—Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and Alaska.  That brings his total to 157 votes in these 19 states.


Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana will go for the Republican candidate in this race, regardless of the name of that candidate.  These three bring Romney’s total to 22 states and 181 electoral votes.  We will call this his sure thing states with the caveat that one or two of these states could go against him for the reasons described above.


Obama has fewer sure thing states, but they carry more electoral votes.  Start with the West, where he will sweep the Pacific Coast.  California, Oregon, and Washington plus the always Democrat Hawaii gives him four states and 78 electoral votes.


In the Midwest, he will carry his home state of Illinois as well as the liberal state of Minnesota.  That increases his totals to six states and 108 electoral votes.


We will not give Obama the two Southern states he won in 2008, even though he stands a good chance of taking both Virginia and North Carolina again.  So, his total stays the same.


It is in Romney’s own area where Obama will hit his opponent hard.  Give the President Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine.  That brings his total to 15 states plus DC and 196 electoral votes.


The remaining toss-up states are: New Hampshire (4), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13), North Carolina (15), Florida (29), Ohio (18), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (6), Missouri (10), New Mexico (5), Colorado (9), and Nevada (6).  That adds up to 161 electoral votes.  Obama would need 74 of these electoral votes, while Romney would need 89. 


As of today, if we had to call these swing states, we would give Obama New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado.  This adds 82 electoral votes, bringing his total to 278 and securing the victory.


We will give Romney Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, and Nevada.  This adds 79 electoral votes, bringing his total to 260. 


We must admit that we gave Romney the benefit of the doubt in several states, where he is not guaranteed to win.  In fact, with his favorable numbers sinking quickly, we believe that 260 is the absolute maximum number of electoral votes he can win.  In all honesty, he could lose 30-40 of these electoral votes.


The GOP needs to hope for a brokered convention where they can appeal to Governor Daniels to become the new great compromise.  Daniels can win 300-350 electoral votes by cutting into Obama’s popularity in the Midwest, and he can sweep the South.




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