Prediction Time: The Weather In Ohio

It’s coming down to the wire, and we should be starting to get our results for today’s primaries in a few hours.  That means it’s put up or shut up time, oh, and did you notice the weather in Ohio?

Until just recently, we’ve had a shortage of polling data, but since it became pretty clear that yes today’s state primaries were going to have an appreciable effect that little problem has been rectified.

Still, polls can only be trusted so much, and I think in at least one state we may have ourselves something of a New Hampshire scenario, but we’ll get to that later.  Let’s start with the easy ones.

Vermont-Probably the easiest state to call today.  Polling there shows Obama up by an aggregated twenty-three points.  I’m not disinclined to agree.  I will say that this seems to follow a pretty steady recipe for Obama in that he tends to outperform polls that already has him up, so I’m willing to tack on a couple extra points and suggest he could take the state by nearly thirty points.

Rhode Island-More Hillary country right here with aggregating polling giving her a five point lead, but some polls showing her up by double digits.  Aside from some ad buys in the state, I don’t think Obama has put an appreciable effort there and I think Hillary’s numbers will hold.  To account for some broad leads in individual polls, I’ll give her an extra three points and say she takes the state by eight.

Ohio-Obama did wonders in breaking down Hillary’s near insurmountable lead here, but polling is not showing that he has done enough.  Aggregated polling suggests she’s up by six points in the Buckeye state.  Now polls around Ohio have been absolutely whacky, with some even showing the two in a dead heat.  Also, let’s not forget about the Canada NAFTA fiasco which may have hurt Obama at the last minute.

On the other hand, apparently the weather is pretty bad today which believe it or not will have an effect.  Remember Mitt Romney in Michigan?  Poor weather can surpress voting, but the question who will it surpress?  In general, I think poor weather strengthens two voting groups; the stoic establishment voters, and the youth vote if energized.  Both groups will be least likely to be put off by inclimate weather.

We know who the youth vote goes to by a wide margin, but the question then becomes who counts as establishment voters.  In the past this would have gone easily to Hillary but with Obama emerging as the frontrunner, it’s a little more difficult to say who gets the establishment vote at this point.

For the sake of argument, we’ll let Hillary keep the establishment vote, and Obama keep the youth vote.  Also, the weather is not statewide so it’s only likely to affect certain districts.

Thus, I’m going to give a point to Obama but for the sake of prudence five to Hillary as a result of a few news cycles that weren’t exactly favorable to Obama.  Net four points, plus the six, and Hillary takes Ohio by ten points.

Texas-*sigh* Texas just can’t be easy, can it?  Going into the weekend Obama had a decent lead.  Not necessarily strong, but statistically significant and seemingly irreversable.  Then everything went wrong and he came out of the weekend down by two points in aggregated polls.

I’m going to attribute this last second drop to two things.  The first will be the same negative news cycle that we talked about in Ohio, but also because there has been a flood of polling at the last second.  This latter aspect makes me think about New Hampshire.

If you’ll remember, New Hampshire was all Hillary until the final days when a slew of last minute polling put Obama up by as much as double digits.  Those last minute polls did not come off, though.  Now, I’m not a pollster, but one thing that seems to be the case is that last minute polling seems to be a little less accurate than most polls–chalk it up to the frenzy of the imminent voting day.

But I’m going to do something probably at my own peril and I’m going to discount this last minute flurry.  I’m not going to return to when Obama had a five point overall edge in the state, but I’m going to correct for the flurry.

Yet, one should also keep in mind the fact that Rush Limbaugh has enlisted his dittoheads to go vote for Hillary.  I can’t begin to predict what kind of effect this will have on the race, and there’s the potential that should Rush get a huge swell of dittoheads blindly following his orders there could be a significant flood of Republicans voting Clinton.  But right now I’m hoping that Rush’s followers aren’t that blindly obedient and the end result is less than one percent voting Hillary.

Thus, with all things considered, I’m going to give Texas to Obama by a very slim margin, one or two points at best.

Granted, with Texas you really can’t call a winner tonight at all given that we may not know the full results of the caucuses until this weekend, but on the popular vote, we’re going to see the race so close that Obama’s going to win the delegate hunt prior to caucus results either way.  Given his prior performance in caucuses, I’m going to give him a clear win there.

Obama will win Texas in both popular and caucus voting, and he’s most definitely coming out with a net gain of delegates in the state.

Where does that put us for delegates?  Let’s take a look (courtesy Slate’s calculator).

VT: 30 points to Obama- Obama 10, Hillary 5

RI: 8 points to Hillary – Obama 10, Hillary 11

OH: 10 points to Hillary – Obama 63, Hillay 78

TX: 2 points to Obama (the calculator does not account for single digit leads)- Obama 98, Hillary 95.

Totals: Obama 181, Hillary 189.  Net delegate gain for Hillary at 8 pledged delegates.

Now, let’s keep in mind in order for her to stay plausible in this race, she needs a net gain of 52 delegates.  That is solely for the purposes of keeping the race at a situation where she only has to win 57% of the remaining delegates.  According to this analysis, which is largelyl conservative, I believe, she only makes a net gain of eight.

Now, let’s say I’m on when it comes to Ohio and Vermont, but Texas and Rhode Island I’m off.  Let’s give Hillary a five point lead in Texas (unheard of), and take the Rhode Island victory all the way out to the biggest margin I’ve seen which is fifteen points (we’ll round up in her favor in both cases to get the even numbers for the calculator).

In Texas, a six point lead changes the breakdown to Obama 91, Hillary 102.  In Rhode Island, giving Hillary a sixteen point lead changes the breakdown to Obama 9, Clinton 12.

This makes our new totals, Obama 173, Clinton 197.  Now, this is incredibly slanted to Clinton’s favor, and still only gives her a net gain of 24 pledged delegates.

The biggest Ohio lead I’ve seen for Hillary puts her fourteen points up, which would only grant her two more net delegates, and if she won ALL of Vermont’s delegates on top of that, that would still put her shy of the target goal of 52.

And I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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