Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dewey Defeats Truman

At 3:01 AM on November 9, 2016, in Alabama, newspaper printing machines at two locations grinded to a halt. The unexpected had happened: Donald Trump had won the presidency. Per normal procedure when a front page is printed and the headline changes overnight, hundreds of printed front pages were destroyed and the "alternate" front page was loaded in, and printing started again. Few, if any, paper copies made it out into the world and were promptly retrieved. 

Unbeknownst to the technician who saved the day, 60 seconds earlier a computer had automatically and electronically transmitted their "first print" papers over the Internet to, just like 900 other newspapers do every day, and have been doing for years.

The Birmingham News in Alabama proudly displayed their headline "Madam President" but listed the electoral count for both candidates as "XXX" -- awaiting a final count from their editors. A truly "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment.

The Huntsville TImes hadn't loaded the winner's picture in yet, but carried the same headline, with the entire lead text in nonsense Latin placeholder text. 

Preparing two different newspaper editions is not unusual, of course, because historically print media has had to be created far in advance of its release date. The double edition of Newsweek Magazine caused a stir when the Trump-only version was leaked. "The election was rigged!" was the chant, because everyone, including Trump's supporters, didn't expect him to win. is currently not responding, and when it comes back up, it will probably not have these copies anymore. I have the PDFs saved if anyone is interested. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Where To See (Real) Election Results Tomorrow

By this time tomorrow night, we just might know which of these Newsweek magazines will be published:

Here's how to watch the election results: 

1. Watch Cable TV (stick with the big guys, CNN or FOX probably) or use their apps. They will probably make a final call around 10pm-12am, depending on results.

2. Type in "Election Results" on Google.

3. Don't believe ANYTHING you read on Facebook or Twitter unless it's from a reliable source.

Here's one more possibility: The VoteCastR app (or visit their website). Here's what it's all about:

Today we're making HISTORY... not just with the election but with Votecastr REAL-TIME voting data & predictions, without the pundits. Who knows how accurate this will be, as this technology is untested, but it will be interesting.

"This will break a decades long journalistic tradition whereby media outlets obey a self-imposed embargo on voting information. For the first time, you’ll have access to the same kind of data that campaigns use to monitor voting activity." --Slate

Whether or not you use this is up to you. If you're on the fence, I certainly wouldn't look at this before you vote.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Final Thoughts on Polls Before Presidential Election 2016

I don't think many people took me seriously when I predicted that Trump and Clinton would be close in the polls close to Election Day. And yet, here we are. In fact, the sine wave has already reversed and by Election Day, Clinton could be significantly ahead again. A few final thoughts before the election:

First and foremost, I've said for a while, this is a really Presidential weird election year, and I think the least likely to match outcomes between polls and results.

Last week, Trump saw the biggest rise in the last 30 days of any election of any candidate since 2004; Obama's rise in 2008 was about 2.2 heading into the election, and no other years featured any rises in the last month. Despite that rise, the outcome of an election has never changed in the last 5 days.

People ask me why I follow the RealClearPolitics polls and no others. It's because, statistically, their average should be more accurate than any one poll, especially ahead of the election. Here are their results for the last three Presidential elections, with final Popular Vote at the top and the one-day-before-election RCP poll average below.

They correctly called all three one day before the election. In 2004 & 2012, the winner took even more than they predicted; in 2008 it was about the same. As such, the RCP average on Monday should determine the winner (this is all about Popular Vote; Electoral is a different thing).

This year though, I'm worried about their accuracy for the first time. For some reason (that didn't happen in previous elections), the LA Times Poll is way off from any other poll. It's so far off that in statistics, we would call this an "outlier" (and in many cases, ignore it). But RCP takes every legitimate poll, so they include it. Here's what it has looked like for the last four months:

Compare that to the RCP average:


While the average has predicted that Clinton would win for all but a few days during that time, the LA Times poll is opposite -- insisting that Trump would win on most days. This could give Trump voters false hope -- but more importantly could skew the entire poll average enough to make the race look less close than it is, for all voters.

If this poll proves to be way off from final results, I believe that RCP should remove it from its list of legitimate polls. There's obviously something wrong with their methodology if they are that far off (and incorrect in the end). If it's correct, then it's a brilliant poll which we should all watch closely next time. LA Time also polls people on who they *think* will become president (regardless of who they are voting for). This, interestingly, looks much like the RCP polls, which I think makes the LA Times voting poll even more suspect.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

1 Week Left to Election 2016; 7 Shoo-In Predictors!

Well, ladies & gentlemen... the bewitching hour is close at hand. No, wait, that was last night. Tonight, we're 1 WEEK from the most contentious Presidential Election in U.S. history. over 22,000,000 people have already voted (about 15% of the last turnout) and that number may hit 50 million before election day. One week from tonight, history will be made (one way or another), and we may know the results earlier than ever.

The race is as close as it's been this season -- and we may be headed for an Electoral/Popular vote split!

Here are tonight's predictions from people who have been right before! 

Real Clear Politics

PROS: I have trusted this website's Poll Average since they jumped on the scene in 2004.
CONS: Polls aren't always right (see bottom)

PROS: Nothing's more accurate than people putting a bet on something
CONS: Or is it?

-  Nate Silver's 538:

PROS: Correctly predicted presidential election outcome of 2008 & 2012 in 49 & 50 of 50 states.
CONS: Statistician failed to predict Trump's primary victory

- Artificial Intelligence: (Oct. 28th)

PROS: Correctly predicted presidential election outcomes in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
CONS: Doesn't take sentiment into account (LOL)

- Some Random College Professor (Oct. 28th)

PROS: Correctly predicted the last 8 presidential election outcomes
CONS: Criteria, hair style, and dress were defined in 1984 and haven't changed since.

- Halloween Masks (Aug. 25th)

PROS: Correctly predicted the last 5 presidential election outcomes
CONS: Have to wear mask from one of these jokers

- New York Times Upshot (Polls)

PROS: Uses actual data
CONS: Popular, Not Electoral, and Polls aren't always right (see below)

Infographic: How Accurate Are Final US Election Polls? | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista