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Monday, 05 November 2012


You should have stayed in the empire - we told you not to leave!

Feeling it here in Virginia, too, Mike. And I've always felt that voting the way we do is another one of those things we do simply because it has always been done that way.

To quote Stephen Colbert: "Just flip a G0dd@mn coin already!"

After reading this month's Harper's cover story, I just hope the election is over tomorrow night, and doesn't go into January, like in 2000/2001

Baal/Zoroaster 2012!

"If I can do it, you can too"

Yes we can.

Watch it, Atkins.


Actually, it is not quite true that "whereby entire states have to go entirely for one candidate or the other", it is up to the state to apportion the electoral college electors.

Maine and Nebraska allow for splitting the number of electors based on the popular vote.

You may be rightly cynical about any individual poll but (Bayesian) agregated data from polls is a very good predictor of outcome.

fivethirtyeight is run by Nate Silver. He correctly predicted the presidential winner of 49 of the 50 states of the 2008 election and the results of all 35 Senate races. Before that he applied Bayesian analysis to baseball predictions (PECOTA) with great sucess too. He's a semi-pro poker player too (similar methods).


Being in a swing state sucks (Virginia, in my case). I 've pretty well quit watching network TV and listening to commercial radio (both of which, on the face of it, may not be such a bad thing really.

As flawed as the electoral college system may be, campaign financing and advertising rules could use a rather more urgent overhaul.

It's very fixable. I was skeptical at first when I heard it, but after careful consideration of the legal reasoning behind it, it looks pretty airtight to me. http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/pages/explanation.php

I finally decided to "have fun" with the robo calls. I always indicated I was voting for one party's candidate while identifying myself strongly with the other party. I hope they choke on the data!

Of course we in Australia don't cop this blitz of ads, but our media of all colours, from the informed and responsible to the lunatic "shock jocks" are obsessed with the campaign and I'll be very happy when it's over.

I will not be surprised to see our politicians...

(Ambrose Bierce: POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When we wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.)

...seize on the robocall technique at our next elections. Their most recent telephone trick here was the "push poll" which involved posing as an accredited telephone pollster, but slipping in derogatory comments on the candidate that their employer opposed.

It's not so much that you left British rule but that you went 100 years too soon and so missed out on Britain setting up the country properly. It truly would be the United States of America rather than the Dysfunctional States of America it has become.

"campaign financing and advertising rules could use a rather more urgent overhaul"

You'd think, but it turns out that lobbyists are more powerful than Congress. Which is a strange state of affairs. Repeatedly, Congress attempts to address corruption issues but their efforts are overwhelmed by the lobbyists. In some cases more than overwhelmed--actually reversed. There are many examples.


If 2-3% of those polled in swing states answered like you did, then those late-breaking polls are unreliable.

And when I started reading this piece I was actually afraid that you would try to be subliminally partisan.

Fear of dental work is rational.

Watch it, Player.


You should move to HK. We don't have a vote. We still get a government as incompetent as yours (probably more so) but at least we can say with a clear conscience that "I didn't vote for him".

"Watch it, Player."

Sorry Mike, I thought sarcasm had me covered :-).

My sister, who is a dentist, did not think this was funny. Too bad, I did!

Isn't the current USA Presidential election system the result of the Founding Fathers not wanting the usa to be a Democracy (the winner is by the largest vote - not necessary a majority of voters) but rather a Republic where you vote for others to decide who will be the President; hence the Electoral College system in use. Or am I mistaken about this?

"You'd think, but it turns out that lobbyists are more powerful than Congress. Which is a strange state of affairs."

It's a *disturbing* state of affairs, yet one which sadly does not surprise me at all.

We have a bunch of local and state judicial positions on the ballot, and we get a robo-call for each and every one of them pretty much every day. These are supposed to be non-partisan positions, but there's no such thing. Shockingly, ALL of the folks who want to be judges are in favor of the family and against crime. All of their opponents are radicals, and/ or "activist judges," or tools of the special interests. I guess a "special interest" is anybody you don't like.
None of these judge folks ever mention where they stand on any particular issue, probably because that would make it too easy to decide.

I've also had a bunch of "push-poll" calls where the caller starts out by saying "Most people think that candidate A is a terrible person who hates puppies. Do you think we should have a terrible person in that position?"
I answer "yes." Sometimes they don't even say goodbye before they hang up.

"Wisconsin is a "swing state" in this election, which means it's one of the few that could go either way,"

It would so much better if Wisconsin was known as a "swing state" on account of Woody Herman.

You're no worse off than being in a "swing" seat under the Westminster system. And you are probably better off than being in a "safe" seat - at least you might have a chance of influencing something if you vote - which is compulsory in Oz by the way.

Suck it up. With the electoral college, people in the swing states endure the campaign ads as a sacrifice to their fellow Americans. If we switched to a popular vote then campaign ads would inundate every channel of every state.

While I'm glad we don't endure the absurd torrent of robocalls and TV commercials, at least some of us in non-swing states are left convinced that the politicians and their campaigns don't care about us (even less than usual).

I, too, disapproved of the Electoral Collage. Until Hurricane sandy came to show me the error of that opinion. Imagine if we were in a popular vote system now, with a huge storm that blocked transportation and power for millions of Blue State voters. The storm victims unable to reach polling places might have made the difference, tipping the result and undermining the legitimacy of the winner. A big Gulf Coast hurricane might have had the opposite effect. As it happened, the storm affected both sides' voters equally in MY, NJ and elsewhere, and those states' electoral clout was undiminished. The final result was not materially changed. That's reason enough for me to change my mind about this peculiar institution.

"This was made by two pharmacist friends who actually paid their own money to put it on the air, on the late local news in the Omaha"

You know this would have been illegal 30 days before the election if not for the Citizens United decision.

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