Moving Toward a Complete Electoral Projection

Back in August I launched the Off on a Tangent election widget on the home page, which includes a projected electoral map for the presidential race. I have been making regular updates as new poll data comes in, but I have so-far erred on the side of certainty and stability. I’ve only made changes to my projection when they are supported by very solid data. Generally I have only colored a state red or blue when reliable, nonpartisan polls consistently indicate that one candidate is ahead in that state by a margin greater than the margin of error. As of earlier today, Off on a Tangent had Obama ahead in the electoral college by 237-206, with 95 electors—those from Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin—still listed as ‘swing states.’

With the election just over two short weeks away, I am making a change to my methodology. Rather than erring on the side of certainty and stability, I will now be erring on the side of completeness. In other words, I will be less cautious when I decide to color a state red or blue and will only leave a state gray if the polls there are too erratic or unreliable to discern a clear trend. Because many states are still polling within the margin of error, this means you should expect more instability in the electoral count as some shift one way or the other. My hope is that the Off on a Tangent projection on the day before the election will be a close, complete prediction of the race’s outcome.

After applying this new methodology, Off on a Tangent currently projects that Obama is still narrowly ahead in the electoral college vote by 253-248, with 37 electors—those from Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Ohio—still too close to call. Again, these numbers are likely to be quite volatile over the remaining weeks until the election. I will review and adjust them at least once per day until then.

The electoral map will remain available on the Off on a Tangent home page and (with some more detail) on the Off on a Tangent election site until the night before the election. On election day, I will clear the maps and they will reflect the live results as they come in on election night.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.