by Ari Rutenberg
Normally I don't put much stock in polls and the like, but this year a new force in political analysis has emerged in the form of Nate Silver and his website fivethirtyeight.com. Using real statistical techniques he creates a model including the latest state-by-state and national polling data, historical results, and demographic information and runs a set of 10,000 simulations of the election, everyday.
Today's results indicate a huge likelihood of a win for Obama. The most important metric is the win percentage, which is simply a measure of how many simulations each candidate wins, out of 10,000. Today that number is 90.5%. What it means is that Nate Silver thinks Obama has a 90.5% chance to win. Damn.
The average number of electoral votes is now just shy of 347 for Obama, with only 191 for McCain. Finally, in the least important but most watched stat, Obama wins the popular vote by an average of 51.9% to McCain's 46.5%.
And before anyone gets to critical Nate Silver takes account of hidden racism (sometimes called the Bradley effect), newly registered voters and other demographic changes, and many of the other hidden issues to the best of his ability, which is not inconsiderable. So while it's no time for a victory lap, a little bit of confidence and a good amount of optimism are certainly warranted.
That being said it's beginning to feel a lot like domination.
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