Showing posts from October, 2012

Politics: States to Watch on Election Night

If Obama wins the same states as in 2008 = 358 electoral votes.

I list the states Obama might lose with the top ones most likely and the bottom ones least likely.
Lose Indiana (11) = 347
Lose North Carolina (15) = 332
Lose Florida (29) = 303
Lose Virginia (13) = 290
Lose Colorado (9) = 281
Lose New Hampshire (4) = 277
Lose Iowa (6) = 271
Lose Ohio (18) = 253
Lose Nevada (6) = 247
Lose Wisconsin (10) = 237
Lose Pennsylvania (20) = 217
Lose Michigan (16) = 201

Remember, 270+ out of 528 electoral votes are needed win the Presidency.

Be sure to watch the key Atlantic states: Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. There is no realistic scenario where the President loses re-election if he holds onto any of these three.

The President's mid-west firewall: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. If Romney wins any of those three, the undecideds have clearly broken strongly to him.

If the President's mid-west firewall holds up and Romney sweeps the three Atlantic states, then Ohio will put …

Politics: What happens if the late deciders decide for the challenger?

The polls are close.

Some have Romney ahead and some have President Obama ahead.

The "conventional wisdom" is that if a voter is undecided they are more likely to vote for the challenger. Thus, let's assume for the purpose of discussion that 6 of 10 voters will vote for the challenger if they decide in the final weekend before the vote.

The Politico 10/22-10/25 poll has: Obama at 49 and Romney at 48.
Thus, there are 3% undecided.
If the 60/40 rule holds, then Obama will add 1.2% to his totals and Romney will get 1.8% more.
Final result: Obama 50.2% Romney 48.8%.

This scenario would probably mean a very long election night and possibly many days of counting absentee ballots and perhaps recounts in some swing states.

In the IBD 10/22-10/27 poll, Obama has 45 and Romney at 44.
Thus, 11% undecided.
If the 60/40 rule holds, then Obama adds 4.4% and Romney 6.6%.
Final result: Romney 50.6% Obama 49.4%.
Again, likely a very long night with a possible Romney popular vote win but …

Non-profit of the month: October 2012 - Los Angeles Philharmonic

I'm a patron of the arts!

Okay, not a million dollar donor type of patron who gets a name stenciled on something in the building or printed in the program books. But, as a subscriber to the LA Phil since 1999, I've attend usually 4 concerts a year with them. And as a result, I've come to enjoy what they do and am happy to know the organization has a footprint in bringing music to youth and the community beyond the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall venue.

Politics: Cal Ballot Propositions for November 2012

Propositions 30 to 40 is a lot to sift through and below are some preliminary thoughts on how I'm leaning on the ballot measures. I welcome input as I reserve the right to change my mind right up to election day when I finally mark my ballot.

Let's take the easy one first ...

Prop 40 is the easiest with a YES vote.

Prop 40 is a yes/no vote on the new state senate district lines drawn up as a result of the 2010 census. There is no opposition to Prop 40 in any newspaper editorial board or major political party.

The rest are a bit more complicated and as I read through them and form a view, I'll post them below.

Vote NO on Prop 37.

This ballot calls for labeling of some food items to let the consumer know it contains genetically modified ingredients. This item highlights some of the problems with the labeling plan. Problem number one is that numerous scientific organizations have gone on record as saying that genetically modified food items are safe. Problem nu…

Politics: The Sequestor

Image source:

The sequestor says that over ten-years, $600 billion needs to be cut in discretionary spending and $600 billion needs to be cut in defense spending. Thus, the target would be $60 billion in each of the two items per year.

Of course, looking at the chart, that leaves 63% of the budget untouched. The 6% that is interest payments is untouchable in the sense not paying it would be defaulting. As a political matter (and perhaps as a legal one as well), the other mandatory, Social Security and Medicare & Medicaid is virtually untouchable.

And that is really the problem: it is hard to balance a budget when 57% of the budget essentially isn't on the table for cuts.

Imagine if we could get at all segments of the pie except interest payments?

How about cutting $24 billion from each of the five pie segments?

Or how about slicing $20 billion from each of the five portions and close loophol…

Politics: Rasmussen and Gallup Diverge On 2012

Rasmussen and Gallup Diverge On 2012 ... at the moment, as of this Friday morning, as I look at the RCP numbers. Gallup is saying Romney by 7% and Rasmussen has it tied. Rasmussen claims an MoE of 3%, so the tie could really be a 6 point lead for either side. Gallup cites an MoE of 2%, so Romney's lead could be as big as 11 and as small as 3.

Why are the two polls so divergent?

The likely voter screens they apply are different. But I wonder what aspect of their screens is leading to such different results? Any polling experts out there who can offer a hypothesis as to why the 2 big name polls are so different at this moment?

We shall see if the divergence continues.

At the moment, on RCP, Gallup is the "outlier" data point with the race being much closer if one aggregates the polls.

UPDATE: Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard was on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and suggested that Gallup's use of a tight likely voter screen ironically makes it more volatile to momentum shif…

Politics: Nov 2012 California Ballot Measures as Viewed by Newspapers

Proposition San Francisco Chronicle Sacramento Bee San Jose Mercury News Los Angeles Times Orange County Register San Diego Union Tribune 30 Endorse Endorse Endorse Endorse Oppose Oppose 31 Endorse Oppose Endorse Oppose Oppose Endorse 32 Oppose Oppose Oppose Oppose Endorse Endorse 33 Oppose

Politics: Nov 2012 Cal Ballot Recommendation By the Parties

Proposition Green Democrat Republican 30 Endorse Endorse Oppose 31 Oppose Oppose Endorse 32 Oppose Oppose Endorse 33 Oppose Oppose Endorse 34 Endorse Endorse Oppose 35 No Position Endorse Endorse 36 Endorse Endorse Oppose

Devotional Thoughts: Let's Go, Matthew 28:16-20

At the center of the heart of God is reconciliation. When neighbor, church and God embrace at the center, reconciliation occurs. When reconciliation happens, relationships are restored, forgiveness is experienced and liberation takes place. This is indeed Good News. And God is on the move doing this.

Thus, at the heart of our church is reconciliation. As a church, our aspiration and goal is to be a channel by which this happens.

We are currently in a teaching series examining the core values of our church as shown in the diagram. Each of the core values point to how God is at work for reconciliation. And today, we will look at the core value of commission.

Reconciling the stories of our neighbors with God’s story through COMMISSION. We are commissioned with God to share in the gospel with our neighbors. 

Some of you may be able to anticipate what Scriptural text we will examine today to explore COMMISSION. Some of you may have heard teachings on it before and may have even preached on…

Politics: VP debate

First reaction: 
Taking into account that almost nobody votes on the basis of a VP debate ... VP Biden clearly got the memo of being more energetic which President Obama apparently missed and so the two clashed repeatedly so in that regard a real debate. But the optics of VP Biden's condescension was distracting.

"Fact" checkers:
As usual both candidates tossed out their share of "numbers" to support their case. They have their briefings down pat. The whole $5 trillion tax cut came around again that was kicked around repeatedly in the debate last week. The debate went into eye glazing repetition about cutting tax rates and reducing deductions. The bottom line is some think tank gave Obama-Biden that talking point saying it is a bad plan and some think tank gave Romney-Ryan the talking point that it is a good plan.

I do wonder if VP Biden's comments on Libya will hold up. My gut reaction was that Biden was trying to shift the blame on that item. We shall see …

Politics: Popular vote versus electoral college

In practice, the electoral college rarely diverges from the total popular vote. The most recent exception was in 2000. Bush 271 Gore 266 in the electoral college but Gore got about 500,000 more votes out of about 100,000,000 votes cast.

Could something like that happen again in 2012? According to RCP, the map looks like this today.

Since the race is very close in the grey colored states, any margin of victory in those states will add little  to the margin of victory in the overall national popular vote.

Hypothetically, in a very extreme example, let's say Romney were to win most of the grey toss-up states by narrow margins of 1,000 to 10,000 votes yielding an electoral college map like this.

According to Geraghty, Obama won California in 2008 by 3.2 million votes.

What if President Obama were to win California again in 2012 by a similar margin but in the rest of the USA, Romney were to win by say 2.2 million votes.  Thus, President Obama would win the national popular vote by 1…

Politics: California Here We Come?

Some people say, the way the USA is going, we will be Greece real soon.

Maybe so.

But the example of national decline can already be seen in the State of California.

Excerpts from VDH:

California may face the nation’s largest budget deficit at $16 billion. It may struggle with the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate at 10.6 percent. It will soon vote whether to levy the nation’s highest income and sales taxes, as if to encourage others to join the 2,000-plus high earners who are leaving the state each week. The new taxes will be our way of saying, “Good riddance.” And if California is home to one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients and the largest number of illegal aliens, it is nonetheless apparently happy and thus solidly for Obama, by a +24 percent margin in the latest Field poll. The unemployment rate in my hometown is 16 percent, the per capita income is $16,000 — and I haven’t seen a Romney sticker yet. ............. Although the state is facing a $16 billion annual …

Politics: Debate #1


Style points
President Obama seemed low on energy and repetitive.
Gov. Romney seemed more energetic and organized.

"Fact" checkers
Both candidates tossed out their share of "numbers" to support their case. Without a doubt those numbers were handed to them by some staffer who found it from some think tank. Thus, the number has some basis but may be "half-true" due to how that think tank looked at the data. So unless there is a proven "whopper" the "fact" checking game is pretty pointless.

30,000 feet
President Obama's case seems to be we are making some progress on the economy and more government intervention will make it better so re-elect me.
Gov. Romney's case seems to be that the economy is very sluggish and it is government intervention that is holding it back and I can do better than the last four years.

All the talk of Romney "won" is overblown. Let's not get crazy. As in baseball, can't get…