Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The race that is too tough to understand.

Here is the election.princeton.edu final predictions for Senate Races, presented on a handy-dandy scorecard.

And here are the predictions for Governor's races.

Major news media are ignoring an exciting race in Alaska. Is it is too hard to cover because of the time zones and the environment? Or is it too hard to explain? To make the matter worse, people like Sam Wang, of election.princeton.edu, don’t understand the situation in Alaska; and therefore, their math doesn’t add up.

Here’s what you need to know.

In both the gubernatorial and the senate races, the favored candidate is given a 62% chance of a win because he is ahead by one percentage point (plus or minus 3 or more percentage points.) The surprising prediction is that in the Senate, Dan Sullivan (the Republican) is favored, while in the Governor’s race, the Republican is considered more likely to lose.

For that to happen a LOT of Alaskans would have to split their votes, choosing a Republican senator, and a Governor who ran as an Independent and then formed a fusion ticket with the Democratic nominee, Byron Mallot, a leader the Native Rights movement. Given that former AG, Dan Sullivan is to the Native Rights movement what the bus driver who kicked Rosa Parks off the bus is to the Civil Rights Movement, it’s difficult to imagine anyone who would vote for Native Rights Activist Byron Mallot and Former Attorney General Sullivan, prosecutor of Katy John So much the more so in light of the endorsement given to Begich by the Alaska Federation of Natives.

It follows, that at least one of Sam Wang’s two Alaska predictions is wrong. We don’t know which, so the odds that it could be either is 50-50. Therefore, both races are precisely toss-ups. This sounds like some arithmatic sleight of hand, but it is no different from the process by which Dr. Wang averages polls in a particular race. The novelty is that I am averaging a senate race with a governor’s race: I reject the assumption that the two variables are independent. Do the math,  (But note that Dr. Wang is ever so slightly more sure of Sullivan than he is of Walker/Mallot.)

However, and here’s where subjective feeling enters in, I say it is the prediction that Sullivan will beat Begich that is incorrect. I am betting on Mark Begich and I say, it’s easy money. He is an Alaskan, son of an Alaskan congressman, who done good, and we don't set the bar too high up here. (Just google Sarah Palin, or Don Young.) Factor in women's issues and this ain't as hard to figure as some Sci-Fi movie. It's psephology.

Plus: can you say, "ground game?"

“… and tell ‘em Big Mitch sent ya!”

(Written the night BEFORE the election.)