Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The late trend towards Wiggins

We've still got a few hours before the results roll in this afternoon, so I wanted to take a minute to try and figure out just how much the late swing towards Wiggins impacted the end result of this election.  With apologies to Yakima and the 30 other counties, I'll mostly focus on the Big Eight given their large impact on statewide vote totals.

To start with, here's a quick look at the SMOV % trend between last Thursday and Monday:

All eight counties showed a drop in SMOV between the total results on Thursday and each of the successive days' results, through Monday.

I've already done some casual speculating on why the later ballots may have shifted towards Wiggins, and if you're reading this, I'm sure you might make the same speculations.  Incidentally, this post may be the closest we'll ever come, statistically, to measuring the late impact the Seattle Times had on this election.


So let's re-allocate all ballots counted on Friday, Saturday, and Monday, using Thursday's SMOV%.  To control for error, I'll use the actual VCR% from each day.  To complete the totals, I'll project out the latest EBOH numbers that we have, using Thursday's SMOV% and the VCR% from my standard "progressive" model.  We'll compare the "What If" totals to the actual totals, and see just how much this late swing helped Wiggins:

That's a net swing of 21,282 votes from Wiggins to Sanders.  No model (that I'm aware of) is currently predicting a win by Wiggins that will nearly equate to that.

As the results come in, the media and various political figures may laud or criticize King County as the source of Wiggins's victory.  But the true story here is the SMOV % shift.   As I noted in a previous post, Wiggins saw a 2-4% increase in his vote margins nearly across the board between Thursday and Friday, a trend that continued throughout the weekend and in to Monday.  That margin is what will eventually propel Wiggins to (projected) victory.

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