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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:51 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Forgive the possibly ignorant question as I really don't understand most of the posts on this thread but - why can't all the states just vote on the same day like the way we elect practically anything else in the world?


I touched on this above:

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Had there been a national primary on January 3, then I doubt anyone could have stopped Clinton and Guiliani with their name recognition and support from the nation-wide political machine.


And in the other thread:

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Starting the primary in small states also gives lesser-known candidates a chance to get some attention. It also lets voters in later states get some idea of a candidate's vaibility, as well as letting candidates see what sort of chances they have before they go and spend a gazillion dollars in all fifty states.


I concur with Faramond that instant runoff voting in the primaries would be great. In all general elections, it would be even better.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:34 am 
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I concur with Faramond that instant runoff voting in the primaries would be great. In all general elections, it would be even better.


Hmmm. One wonders how the Perot vote in 92 would have broken in a runoff system. Neither of Clinton's 'landslides' amounted to a majority. Then again it's a good bet that all of those Florida Naderites would have broken for Gore as second-choice in 2000.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:58 am 
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I have to wonder, if people have trouble with a butterfly ballot then what would they do with an instant runoff ballot?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:44 am 
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Countries which use IRV (Ireland and Australia are probably the two big ones) don’t seem to have too much trouble. The good thing about IRV is that it can be made voluntary – you can just put a one in one box if that’s all you want to do. A bigger issue is how it’d work with voting machines. The Electoral College system itself also makes things interesting.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:49 pm 
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How do you commute, nerdanel? I'm just trying to imagine where you would have internet access!

**********************

The big state on both sides is California, not so much in terms of delegates but in terms of who may be perceived as the winner with momentum after Tuesday. It's pretty likely that both McCain and Clinton will win the most delegates that day, but a victory by Romney in CA would help him stay in the race and perhaps mount his own comeback while a victory by Obama combined with his steady rise in national polls might pull him virtually even with Clinton in terms of who is favored to win the nomination. The California polls have been frustratingly absent until late yesterday and now today, when a flood of them has finally come in.

Four words describe the state of things in California for both the Republicans and Democrats: TOO CLOSE TO CALL!

Below are some links to the latest CA polls on realclearpolitics.com:

CA-R

CA-D

On the Republican side McCain leads Romney in 3 of the 4 current polls. I discount Rasmussen as current because their poll is older than the rest; I suspect that when they come out with a new one they will show Romney in the lead. McCain still comes out ahead in an average of the 4 current polls, but I think it's worth noting that Zogby has Romney up by 3, and Zogby seems to be pretty accurate in my experience. That said, even the best polls have margins of error and all the rest still have McCain in front, so I'm thinking the candidates are basically tied in California, with McCain maybe still holding a slight edge. But who knows?

On the Democratic side, 2 of 3 current polls show Clinton with one digit leads, and again Zogby shows the underdog in front of the front-runner. Obama leads Clinton by 4 in the Zogby poll. It looks like Obama and Clinton are pretty much tied in California at this point.

Even if McCain's lead in CA is slipping or gone, he's still running strong nearly everywhere else. He's going to win New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Illinois, Connecticut. He's still running strong in the south, and he seems to have opened up a lead in the three-way race in Missouri. ( Zogby has him up 9 there ). McCain is going to win more delegates, probably far more, especially since a lot of these states are winner-takes-all. ( CA is not, though. ) If Romney wins CA and gets some momentum maybe he could swing the tide by winning out the rest of the way --- but the problem is there just aren't many winner-takes-all states left after Tuesday, so he'd really have trouble closing the gap.

The Democratic race is far from over, even if Obama loses CA. If he wins, it's a whole new game in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:59 pm 
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Thanks very much for taking the trouble to analyze this, Faramond. Tuesday is obviously going to be a huge day, but possibly an exciting one.

Am I missing something, or does it appear that the effect of Edwards dropping out, in California at least, was clearly to strengthen Obama?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 5:33 pm 
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Prim--

It's hard not to draw that conclusion, or that perhaps late-breakers in general tend his way, and with Edwards out there are suddenly a bunch more of them.

I'm thinking superdelegate math too. HRC has the edge among the quarter or so that have announced. An Obama win would obviously pressure undeclared people on the fence to come forward, either to support or oppose him--but what if (as I think likely) a mixed bag of results come in? A near-tie in CA, with NY going for Clinton and IL for Obama and various states going either way or splitting...it could get very messy. I also foresee more than one state doing what NV did, with the popular vote going one way but the delegate alignment going the other.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 5:54 pm 
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I think it's more just that late-deciders are going for Obama. Even in Florida late deciders were almost 50-50, much better than Obama did overall there.

The hypothetical general election matchup polls out now have McCain nearly tied with both Obama and Clinton. Obama usually has a slight lead; Clinton usually trails by a small amount. Both Democratic candidates are pulverizing Romney in these polls.

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A near-tie in CA, with NY going for Clinton and IL for Obama and various states going either way or splitting...it could get very messy.


It's worth noting that Obama leads in Illinois more than Clinton leads in New York, though New York has more people. But the result of those two states could be a wash in terms of delegates, which would be a victory of sorts for Obama.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:05 pm 
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That's an interesting point, Faramond. And it illustrates how hard it's going to be for anyone to claim "momentum" with split and messy results of those sorts.

I also think there are some superdelegates on the Dem side who are watching not only the delegate counts and popular votes, but also the distribution of votes-who votes for who where. If, say, Obama did very well in a plains state or two, enough to make it look in play in November, that would be worth considering for them. If, OTOH, HRC does as well as Obama in those states or even ties, the Florida problem for Obama is still exactly that: a problem.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:38 pm 
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The environment is also a little more favourable to Obama after Super Tuesday. Most of the remaining primaries are in southern, midwestern and great lakes states which seem to be friendlier to Obama than solid blue states like NY, MA and CA. Still, in order to win he needs to pull ahead in the primaries enough to nullify Clinton's superdelegate lead, and preferably enough to avoid a brokered convention. It won't be easy.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:27 pm 
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Obama is really coming on, isn't he?

But first, the Republicans. Right now I'm looking at 4 close states that could determine who is the perceived winner of Super Tuesday between Romney and McCain. McCain is virtually assured of pulling in the most delegates tomorrow because he still has healthy leads in a lot of the big states. But things are very tight in Missouri, Tennessee, California, and Georgia, and if Romney could win them all I think he might pull even with McCain in the momentum race.

Of the four states only Missouri is winner-takes-all, but all have some winner-takes-all elements to them: for instance the winner of California gets 11 delegates, and the winner of each of California's 53 congressional districts gets 3 delegates per district.

Below are my guesses as to what kind of swing in delegates winning or losing these states might bring:

Missouri: 58
California: 70
Tennessee: 20
Georgia: 40

There is a very tight three-man race in Georgia. McCain has slight leads in most of the polls but it could go any of three ways.

In California Romney now leads by 8 points in the latest Zogby poll. This doesn't quite jibe with other polls, but I do believe that at this point Romney leads in CA. Just not by that much, maybe. A lot in CA depends on who distribution of vote among congressional districts. For all I know Romney may be comfortably ahead in half, McCain comfortably ahead in about half, with only a few districts really close, which would mean that the difference between winning and losing CA would be only about 10-20 delegates, not 70. That figure of 70 assumes that there are about 20 districts throughout the state that are really close and will go the way the state ends up going as a whole.

McCain has an 8 point lead on Huckabee and 11 on Romney in Missouri in the latest Zogby poll there, which is very good news for him. McCain really can't afford to lose all 4 of these states and Missouri has a guaranteed windfall of 58 delegates.

Tennessee is also a three-way fight, with McCain having a slight lead in most of the polls right now.

At this point the forecast is still for McCain to have a good Tuesday, but he'd better watch it or Romney might take these four states and be only about 100 delegates behind.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:13 pm 
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Perhaps the best thing I could do tomorrow would be to vote in the Republican primary, and vote for Romney, since he will probably be easier to defeat than McCain.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:42 pm 
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Looking at it coldly, Cerin, you may well be right.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:42 pm 
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Cerin wrote:
Perhaps the best thing I could do tomorrow would be to vote in the Republican primary, and vote for Romney, since he will probably be easier to defeat than McCain.

Is that allowed in your state? Because in mine you can only vote in your registered party's primary. Independents are SOL.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:38 pm 
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Do you mean everyone has to be pre-registered as a Democrat or Republican in order to vote? Hmmm, I don't think we do that here. In fact, I can distinctly recall at other times being asked whether I wanted the Republican or the Democratic ballot. And I'm fairly sure I'm not registered as being associated with either party.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:40 pm 
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Cerin wrote:
Perhaps the best thing I could do tomorrow would be to vote in the Republican primary, and vote for Romney, since he will probably be easier to defeat than McCain.


The best thing one can do is vote for the best candidate, for the candidate whose views you agree with, for the candidate you trust. I believe voting is a noble endeavor. Why turn it into a low, contemptible affair by deliberately sowing mischief, by turning one's vote into a hammer to destroy the integrity of an opposition contest? Fear and opportunism should not motivate our choices. What contempt one must have for the other voters of a contest that one insincerely votes in! They and their party are so wicked and stupid that I feel no prick of conscience at sneaking into their contest and trying to engineer what I believe is a favorable result for myself. It is crass to wish to engineer your opponent's contest to give your own party an advantage, and it is hopelessly cynical to at the same time forgo the chance to vote for the candidate in your own party that you think best. It's the sort of sentiment I would expect of Karl Rove.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:54 pm 
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I said "looked at coldly," Faramond. In a gaming sense, expending one's single vote to maximum advantage, it is a logical move to make. For reasons similar to yours, however, I'm just as glad my state does not have open primaries.

Anyway, a vote for Obama offers a similar advantage, as Obama is strongest against McCain.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:01 pm 
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I wasn't responding to you, Prim.

Now let me make something clear --- that sentence in my above post, that I put in italics would be MY thoughts if I had convinced myself to go into an opposition party's contest to vote strategically. I can't say what anyone else's thoughts would be, after all. I can only guess.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:09 pm 
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Prim--

From a strict game theory perspective, it really matters which state one lives in. If it's somewhere like New York or New Jersey, then the vote for Romney is pointless, as McCain is going to win there regardless, and his margin of victory doesn't matter. Better to vote for Obama in one of those states from a strategic perspective. If the strategic voter lives in CA, then he or she can't vote in the Republican primary anyway, unless already registered as a Republican in anticipation of such a move. If Georgia has an open primary, then that might be a good place for a strategic vote. Missouri too, but it does seem like McCain will win there anyway.

The most strategic thing to do would be to move to a battleground state far enough in advance to maximize one's vote.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:39 pm 
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The most strategic thing to do would be to move to a battleground state far enough in advance to maximize one's vote.


Ooo, no thanks. :D

Besides, who knows? Maybe Oregon's primary in May will actually matter.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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