Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Final Look At Michigan – It’s a Toss Up

If Mr. Romney Loses – It’s a Throw Up

The final poll for the Michigan Primary has now been factored into the forecasting models that Nate Silver of the most accurate political Forum, Five Thirty Eight, produces, and the race at this point is too close to call.  Here is the final quantitative analysis of that crucial primary.

Mitt Romney38.7%55%
Rick Santorum38.045
Ron Paul12.60

The race is essentially a dead heat, with Mr. Romney at about 39% of the vote, Mr. Santorum at 38%.  The probability of Mr. Romney winning is 55% over Mr. Santorum’s 45%, which says that Mr. Romney is still the slight betting favorite, but not by much.  Do not be surprised though if the race is not close.  Mathematical models like the ones Mr. Silver has developed are less accurate when the race is close, and the polling in Michigan does not have that high quality look, so the input data is not strong.  The race could be that rare circumstance where polls and forecasters get it wrong.

The key is going to be turnout, and also whether or not enough Democrats, who can vote in the primary, go into the ballot booth and vote for Mr. Santorum out of a desire to scramble the race.  There will be some rhetoric on this, but probably not enough Dems will  vote to make a difference.  If Mr. Romney loses though, expect this to be one of his excuses.

Turnout will also be the key factor in assessing the Michigan primary.  If turnout is less than the 2008 race it will be an indication of the lack of interest in the Republican race by anyone other than diehard Republicans, and that in itself would be the major message from Michigan.

The other primary, Arizona, looks like a certain Romney victory.  The models of Mr. Silver give Mr. Santorum only a 1% chance of winning.  This motivates all of us to hope that Mr. Santorum does win Arizona, for everyone likes to see a 99 to 1 underdog pull it out.

Mitt Romney43.4%99%
Rick Santorum27.31
Newt Gingrich19.20

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