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arnbev959's avatar

If Obama loses the election it will be a conspiracy. People aren’t dumb enough to let McCain win, are they?

augustlan's avatar

Kinda’ big on conspiracy theories, huh Chris?

augustlan's avatar

@Pete…God, I hope not!

trumi's avatar

I’m moving to Canada if we get another eight years of this terrorism.

lefteh's avatar

Chris, I’m starting to think that you are the illegitimate lovechild of Ron Paul and Al Sharpton.

tinyfaery's avatar

I second Canada—clean water, good weed, freedom to marry, woo hoo.

nikipedia's avatar

@tinyfaery: Sounds an awful lot like San Francisco.

jholler's avatar

Of course they will. The microcosms of the northeast and the left coast often forget the rest of us vote also. And we don’t care who has good pot.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I care who has good pot. If you ever had good pot before you would too. If you havent, well, you should.

How did you know I was black?

tinyfaery's avatar

@niki I’m not sure S.F. has clean water. Have you seen the Bay?

trumi's avatar

And “the rest of us” often forget that the left coast and northeast are huge populations of people from all walks of life, not just a bunch of low-fat-soy-chai-latte drinkers (which by the way are delicious). Just because someone lives in a red state or a blue state doesn’t mean they can’t think for themselves. Unless you watch Fox News.

There are a good deal of people in Ohio that think the 2000 and 2004 elections were very possible “tainted”, just like everywhere else in the world.

PupnTaco's avatar

After Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, you can’t really blame us.

Edit: jinx

girlofscience's avatar

@chris: What did you think of the movie Recount?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I didnt see that one. Is that the one that was on HBO recently?

marinelife's avatar

It would depend on the circumstances. We are 3+ months from the elections. Was Obama leading in the polls still in Novenber? Is there reason to believe after the election that there were irregularities?

Man, now the conspiracy therorists are hatching conspiracies before the event occurs. Oh well, why let a few facts get in the way?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Im just curious to know how the non-conspiracy theorists will act.

Funny you mention polls. So you mean you are going to let 3 polling companies tell you who is going to be the president? And the media will take those polls and tell you who will or will not be president. They will take stories and use them to change polls to their favor. Here is a Zogby poll I bet you will never hear on the news.

lefteh's avatar

Oy vey.
Chris, is there anything that isn’t a conspiracy? Is the government loading my green tea with mind-controlling substances? Does my water meter double as a surveillance device? It gets a bit old. To me, anyway.

kevbo's avatar

It’s interesting how willing people are to complain about gas prices, food prices, mortgage meltdown, fake energy crises*, government bailouts, CEO golden parachutes, etc., etc., etc. and yet refuse to entertain the notion that these problems might have some engineering behind them. Yeah, just an unlucky bunch of coincidences. Just a sorry bunch of mistakes. Dumb people at the helm. What are you gonna do?

Regarding the question at hand, I agree that it’s a little premature. I think it will say an awful lot about money and power and “free elections” if a candidate supported by more populist dollars than any in US history loses the election, moreover to a candidate that is not loved by his own party.

*California, Enron, etc.

kevbo's avatar

* candidate who sorry gail!

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I wouldnt say there are mind controlling substances, but depending on which one you are drinking, possibly high fructose corn syrup.

Since Marina brought up polls, I see that Obama is only leading by about 6 points right now. I do not see how this is possible. How is Bush’s ratings in the tank, yet McCain is not that far behind. It is either some serious brainwashing on the right wing side (I have been getting a kick out of listening to Hannity lately, I see right through his BS) or a right wing media conspiracy.

When I listen to the right wingers, they complain about a liberal mass media bias(i love when Hannity says something negative about main-stream media lol), and I see how they say that, but it seems to me that the media is setting Obama up to fail and leaving McCain alone because they have nothing good to say about him, which could help him in the long run.

jholler's avatar

pssstt….McCain isn’t Bush. McCain served his country honorably. McCain has cojones.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Keyword: serv ed his country honorably. I guarantee he wont if he becomes president. And pssttt his cojones are about to turn into Alzheimer’s.

winblowzxp's avatar

I think that Obama will cry racism if he loses.

arnbev959's avatar

I don’t think so.

winblowzxp's avatar

I guess we’ll find out in November…

jholler's avatar

you guarantee how, exactly?

jholler's avatar

I think Obama is already trying to use race, and I think it’s petty and shameful.

cheebdragon's avatar

Your right, republicans want to fuck everyone in the united states over in every way known to man..we don’t give a shit about the future of our children. Our only goal in life is keeping the democrats out of office forever! **evil laugh**
But our plan is ruined now, chris and all the others have obviously caught on to us and our evil plan for world domination….damn and we were so close.

winblowzxp's avatar

And democrats are the converse, they still don’t care about anything but keeping republicans out of office.

cheebdragon's avatar

Winblowzxp- don’t forget the higher taxes…

dalepetrie's avatar

I think most liberals are rational, and most will think there’s a conspiracy only if there was one. I am liberal. I don’t think George H W Bush’s win was a consipiracy. I don’t think either of Ronald Reagan’s wins was a conspiracy, or Nixon’s win for that matter.

But I know for a fact that there was a conspiracy in the 2000 elections between Florida Governor Jeb Bush, then Texas Governor George W. Bush, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and a company called Choice Point Technologies to illegally scrub 150,000+ Democrats from the voter rolls in Florida (in an election decided by a couple hundred votes). I beleive the conspiracy included Justices Thomas and Scalia, both appointees of Bush’s father, both major contributers to Bush’s campaign, and one of whom actually had a son working on Bush’s campaign, who did not recuse themselves despite a clear conflict of interest, and then voted 3 to 2 to stop the recount in Florida, when Florida state law MANDATED that in any election where there was less than 1% (or was it .5% – no matter, a couple hundred out of a couple million more than meets this standard) that there would be a full recount, which never happened until 6 newspapers did one after the fact. Of the 6 papers, only the ultra conservative leaning Washington Post claimed that Bush actually won, the other 5 papers, and every other nation in the world with a free press realized that this election was stolen. Read Greg Palast’s “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” to find out exactly how they did it and to see the smoking gun evidence (I loved the part when Palast took a data disc containing the illegal purge list to the SOS’ office and and official on learning he had the disc bolted from his chair and locked himself in a room until Palast was escorted from the building).

So, no…unless there is a conspiracy, Dems and other liberals aren’t going to believe there is one. We’re used to losing elections we thought we’d win, and as long as it’s fair, we might not like it, but it is what it is.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

How does one know if there is a conspiracy? As long as people pay such close attention to the polls, the media can say Donald Duck is ahead in the polls and if he wins no one can complain? I hope you dont count on the media to tell you that there was a conspiracy.

dalepetrie's avatar

If anyone is really interested in following the “polls”, I suggest They have an admitted Obama bias on their blog, but what they do better than anyone is to aggregate ALL the polling data out there, they apply factors in regards to past pollster reliability using a factor called PIE (pollster induced error), they apply aging factors to each poll, then apply regression analysis to the whole mix and then run 10,000 simulations to determine who is really ahead. They predict an Obama win by a fairly significant margin. The two guys that run it are renowed baseball statisticians, they really seem to know their stuff if you look at their FAQs and methodology, it’s pretty persuasive…a lot more persuasive than an individual poll.

winblowzxp's avatar

Just because they’re renowned statisticians, they can still manipulate numbers to what outcome they desire.

dalepetrie's avatar

winblowzxp – they “could”, but no one with two brain cells to rub together would accuse them of so doing if they looked at the methodology.

winblowzxp's avatar

They’d do it int the inference step of their process.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by the inference step. These are the steps they say they take in their FAQ:

The basic process for computing our Presidential projections consists of six steps:

1. Polling Average: Aggregate polling data, and weight it according to our reliability scores.

2. Trend Adjustment: Adjust the polling data for current trends.

3. Regression: Analyze demographic data in each state by means of regression analysis.

4. Snapshot: Combine the polling data with the regression analysis to produce an electoral snapshot. This is our estimate of what would happen if the election were held today.

5. Projection: Translate the snapshot into a projection of what will happen in November, by allocating out undecided voters and applying a discount to current polling leads based on historical trends.

6. Simulation: Simulate our results 10,000 times based on the results of the projection to account for the uncertainty in our estimates. The end result is a robust probabilistic assessment of what will happen in each state as well as in the nation as a whole.

Seems to me they even discount polling leads.

But no matter, there have been about 400 polls that show Obama up to 1 showing McCain up. You can go to any number of places that predict EV outcomes, and they all show Obama winning. It will be fun to see you prove everyone who studies the data wrong.

winblowzxp's avatar

It’s in the paragraphs above what you have there. They say it’s the third step. It’s statistical inference. Sometimes it’s called statistical induction, part of mathematical induction.

Basically put, by what you already know about these folks’ process, you infer that it’s totally unbiased.

dalepetrie's avatar

Here however is detail on the 3rd step:

What is the regression estimate? It is an analysis of what the polling data “should” be in each state based on its underlying demographics. Put differently, it is a way not to be held hostage by the results of individual polls that might defy common sense, particularly where polling data in a state is sparse.

Polls are an imperfect measure of voter sentiment, subject to the vagaries of small sample size, poor methodology, and transient blips and trends in the numbers. For example, the late February SurveyUSA polls had Barack Obama four points ahead of John McCain in North Dakota, but behind by four points in South Dakota. Since North Dakota and South Dakota are very similar, it is unlikely that there is a true eight-point differential in the polling in these states. The regression estimate is able to sniff out such discrepancies.

For general background on the process of regression analysis, see here.

What is the dependent variable in the regression analysis? Technically speaking, there are two regressions that are computed in each state. The first regression is a regression on the share of the two-way (Democrat + Republican) vote held by the Democratic candidate in that state based on our current polling averages after adjustment for present trendlines. The second is a regression on the total committed vote held by either of the major-party candidates.

What independent variables are included in the regression estimate? The regression models evaluate a total of 16 candidate variables. Variables are dropped via a stepwise process, until such time as each remaining variable is statistically significant at the 85% level or higher.

The 16 variables presently considered by the model are as follows:


1. Kerry. John Kerry’s vote share in 2004. Note that an adjustment is made in Massachusetts and Texas, the home states of Kerry and George W. Bush respectively, based on Al Gore’s results in Massachusetts in 2000, and Bob Dole’s results in Texas in 1996.
2. Fundraising Share. The total share of funds raised in that state by each candidate (expressed specifically as the percentage of all funds raised that were raised by the Democratic candidate).

3. Clinton. The percentage of the two-way (Obama + Clinton) Democratic primary vote received by Hillary Clinton in that state. An adjustment is made to caucus states to account for their higher proclivity to vote for Barack Obama. In Michigan, the variable is based on the results of exit polling, which indicated who voters would have selected if all candidates were on the ballot.
4. Liberal-Conservative (Likert) Score. Per 2004 exit polls, a state’s liberal-conservative orientation, wherein each liberal voter is given a score of 10, each moderate a score of 5, and each conservative a score of 0. The most liberal state, Massachusetts, has a Likert score of 5.65. The most conservative, Utah, has a score of 3.30.

Religious Identity

5. Evangelical. The proportion of white evangelical protestants in each state.
6. Catholic. The proportion of Catholics in each state.
7. Mormon. The proportion of LDS voters in each state.

Ethnic and Racial Identity

8. African-American. The proportion of African-Americans in each state.
9. Hispanic. The number of Latino voters in each state as a proportion of overall voter turnout in 2004, as estimated by the Census Bureau. The reason I use data based on turnout rather than data based on the underlying population of Latinos is because Latino registration and turnout varies significantly from state to state. It is much higher in New Mexico, for instance, which has many Hispanics who have been in the country for generations, than it is in Nevada, where many Hispanics are new migrants and are not yet registered.
10. “American”. The proportion of residents who report their ancestry as “American” in each state, which tends to be highest in the Appalachians. See discussion here.


11. PCI. Per capita income in each state.
12. Manufacturing. The proportion of jobs in each state that are in the manufacturing sector.


13. Senior. The proportion of the white population aged 65 or older in each state. Because life expectancy varies significantly among different ethnic groups, this version has more explanatory significance than when looking at the entire (white and non-white) population.
14. Twenty. The proportion of residents aged 18–29 in each state, as a fraction of the overall adult population..
15. Education. Average number of years of schooling completed for adults aged 25 and older in each state.
16. Suburban. The proportion of voters in each state that live in suburban environments, per 2004 exit polls.

How often is the regression updated? The regression updates automatically based on the latest polling data. Periodically, I will also test out new variables for potential inclusion in the model.


So to me, this seems like a sincere attempt is made adjust for actuals, not to adjust to make things seem better for their guy. Bottom line is the only poll that matters is the one on November 4, but this is the most comprehensive and least biased site I know of. If you have a better one, clue me in. And realize that of the sites that predict EVs, they are FAR from the most optimistic.

It’s also easy to crap on something you don’t like, but show me an alternate that makes more sense and says what you want it to say. Oh right, sorry…it doesn’t exist.

dalepetrie's avatar

Plus, the regression analysis in EVERY state amounts to a fraction of a percent difference, so even if you COULD find bias in this methodology, it wouldn’t exactly be swinging all these states to Obama. Like I said, they’re Obama supporters, but they’re also realists, if McCain has a good day/week in the polling, it’s reflected in the updated numbers.

winblowzxp's avatar

I’m referencing this: Thirdly, we use an inferential process to compute a rolling trendline that allows us to adjust results in states that have not been polled recently and make them ‘current’.

dalepetrie's avatar

Ahh, well OK, I get what you’re saying. Yes, there is an infinitessimally small margin for adjustments here. However, this site began posting before we had frequent polling in almost all 50 of the states. Essentially in today’s world, any state that is considered to be at ALL close is going to have recent polling and is going to render this point moot, but in the case where polling wasn’t done all that frequently, this was a necessity. I mean, look at some of the primaries and caucuses where let’s say it was April or May when the contest was held, and being a small, inconsequential state (Idaho just as a random example), no one did any polling since October or November, at a time when Obama’s name was not really all that well known. There was an expectation that the October or November 2007 polls would show Clinton up, but one needed to use an inferrential process to say you know what, I really don’t think Clinton’s gonna blow Obama out by the 30 points the polls said she was going to 6 months ago…you know, because things have happened.

Bottom line however, I get your point, but the number of states that this actually affects today, the margin of perceived victory in thoses states, and the amount by which the trendline could conceivably adjust certainly to not change the big picture. No attempt to predict the results of this election are going to be 100% accurate, again, the only results that matter happen on November 4. But if one is to play Devil’s Advocate and say, OK, what if these bloggers decided to use the largest possible bias in their inferrence in this step, what would happen to the numbers? Well, mathematically speaking, they might skew the analysis by one or two Electoral Votes in Obama’s favor, but when he has been consistently 25 to 35 EVs ahead of where he needs to be to win via this analysis, to simply discount it as “biased” is ludicrous.

I would be more comfortable, even if this were a pro-McCain blog showing he was winning to look at the big picture and say if this one small area in their entire methodology is the only flaw I can find, when their stated goal is to predict the outcome, what possible benefit would there be to them to go to all this effort to then simply destroy the integrity by using false inferrence, especially when the net result is not impactful? Sounds more like a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theory to me.

pinky134's avatar

I think that if Obama wins the popular vote but loses the election there it’ll have conspiracy written all over it. Not to mention the sudden and absolute depression of everyone who voted Obama. :)

dalepetrie's avatar

As a fervent Obama supporter, I think people will perceive there was a conspiracy if Obama wins the popular vote, but not the electoral vote. It might actually be enough to drive people to demand that we go to a popular vote system, so in the end it might not be al that bad. But I don’t agree that it would be “proof” of malfeasance. It is indeed within the realm of possibility to win the EV and lose the PV if the election is within 2 percentage points. If the spread is more than 2 points, it’s essentially mathematically impossible. So if we have 1 million votes out of lets say 140 million separating the winner from the loser, it’s not going to prove anything. But if it’s 10 million votes difference, then an investigation is in order (though even I’m not naiive enough to thing we’ll get one).

galileogirl's avatar

Pete: Never overestimate American voters remember Nixon (the crook) twice, Reagon (the senile) twice, Bush (the liar) twice. Now if it comes down to Florida again with it’s Bush backed governor and ballots get lost-again-and voters names disappear-again-and Obama loses, then there might be questions.

Tinyfairy: San Francisco doesn’t get it’s water from the Bay. It is water is piped in from a reservoir in the Hetch Hetchy Valley in the Sierras and is some of the best urban drinking wter in the country.

lefteh's avatar

It is water is piped in

I have seen it’s used instead of its, but never the expanded form it is..

No offense, galileogirl, it’s just the first time I’ve seen that.

galileogirl's avatar

Well aren’t you lucky you had the opportunity?

lefteh's avatar

I am much obliged.

tinyfaery's avatar

Well that’s good to know.

sands's avatar

Some will and some won’t. All Democrats don’t think alike, anymore than all Republicans or all Independents do.

dadodude93's avatar

You do realize that we are in a nation of more than 300 million people, right? There is probably going to be some people who will think it was a conspiracy and then there will be the people who think that the election was fair. (Personally, after the last 2 polls, I wouldn’t really believe in the integrity of the system anymore.)

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Conspiracy? Nah. Just Rove.

AstroChuck's avatar

Aha. Obama’s gonna wi-in! Obama’s gonna wi-in!

trumi's avatar

“knocks on wood”

augustlan's avatar

crossing fingers

dalepetrie's avatar

At this point, assesses McCain’s chances at 3.3%, in other words, out of 10,000 simulations using the poll numbers as they sit today, only 328 times did McCain win. Conversely 4,825 times, Obama won in a landslide (375 EVs or more). And given that I suspect there are 3 things not impacted in the polls.

#1 – there is ample evidence that a Bradley Effect no longer exists (and according to Bradley’s own pollster, it may have NEVER existed in the first place…the difference was because of bad polls), but there is also ample evidence that there IS a reverse Bradley effect because of whites who live in highly conservative (even racist) areas where many whites voting for Obama are afraid to say so, thus the polls are actually undercounting his support.

#2 – Polling models. For many reasons, pollsters are having a hard time getting accurate samples. Pollsters have to come up with likely voter models, and how do you determine who will vote? One of the big ways is to look at history. But history is being defied. Usually don’t see young voters coming out the way they did in the primaries and are in early voting. African Americans are also defying likely voter models…it’s not just that 97% of AAs are voting for Obama vs the usual 92%, it’s that instead of 60% of them turning out, it might be 80% this time.

#3 – Turnout – Obama has an INCREDIBLE get out the vote machine, which he set up in all 50 states (since Hillary didn’t give in until all the contests were held). He’s had tens of thousands of volunteers registering literally millions of new voters, inspiring them to vote, getting them involved in the process, getting them to the polls EARLY.

How much will this improve the actual result over the weighted average poll numbers? i think it will be significant. I think Obama will win every state he’s ahead in, every state he’s tied with McCain in, and every state McCain is ahead by less than 5% in. Will that end up being 10%? 15%? I’m pegging it at about 8 or 9%, but that’s admittedly optimistic and without anything to back it up but a hunch. But bottom line, Obama WILL win unless something REALLY dramatic happens in the next 8 days, period!

So yes, if he loses, I will not only think there’s a conspiracy, I will know.

cheebdragon's avatar

Polls mean nothing in the end….

dalepetrie's avatar

Polls mean nothing, because they are not votes. But they are an indicator of how people might vote. Any one poll is only as good as it’s methodology. But you look at a site like 538 that looks at hundreds of polls, analyses their methodology and the historical accuracy of the pollster, and applies statistical analysis using trends from previous poll to outcome analysis in prior elections, and you come up with a pretty powerful predictive tool of what collective polling is saying about what will happen (and mean something).

galileogirl's avatar

The poll next Tuesday will mean everything

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