Monday, November 5, 2012

Lame38, and liveblogging the election

I will be liveblogging the election tomorrow night on this blog, starting with some posts early in the day but picking up around 7pm.  But why should you follow this blog?

Because there is a crisis waiting to unfold tomorrow night: what if polls close have just closed in Virginia but Nate Silver hasn't updated fivethirtyeight yet?  How will you know if Obama's chances of winning the election have jumped to 92.5% or plummeted to 91.5%?

It is in the hopes that this catastrophe may be averted that I unveil Lame38: a shitty version of 538 that I promise to update frequently.  What is Lame38?  Well, I took all of the projections from fivethirtyeight, created a simplified model, and will run it with updated results--giving a real time projection of what Obama's chances of winning are, incorperating both states that have been called and the actual votes from noncompetitive states.

Q: Why is this better that 538?
A: Well maybe 538 will take like 15 minutes to update but Lame38 will only take 5 minutes.  That'd be pretty cool, right?

Q: So it's just a shittier version of 538?
A: That's kind of a rude question.

Q: What information does your model incorporate as the night goes on?
A: I incorporate not just what states have been called, but also popular vote results from each state to try to estimate biases in the projections.

Q: So how does Lame38 work?
A: I took the projected vote differences and errors for each state from fivethirtyeight, as well as the standard deviation of the national popular vote.  For each simulation I will sample a national popular vote, bias each state by its difference from the projected national popular vote (to estimate national bias), and then sample each state's vote.  I then run about 1,000,000 simulations.

Q: So, what are the odds Obama wins the election?
A: Well, 538 says 92.2*%, and Lame38 says 93.5%, so I'd say the answer is about 92.2%.

Q: What else will you be blogging about?
A: Senate races, the race for California's 15th congressional district, and whatever else is on my mind.

Q: Will this be a great liveblogging, or the greatest liveblogging?
A: I'm shooting for "worth reading".

I hope to see you there!

*When I ran the simulations; 538 has since updated to 92.0%.

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