Monte Carlo Simulations Halfway through Election Day

Election day is only half over on the East Coast, and already my curiosity has the better of me.  What are the predictions for the presidential race by the next-to-real-time polling websites that I introduced in my blog of October 21?  And–more tantalizing–how will these “results” now spinning out from the pollsters’ statistical analysis engines match up to reality by tomorrow–or, if the race is indeed closer than the sites are now predicting, by Friday?

I’ll check in with the three sites today and then again on Friday to see how close the pollsters call the race.  All three sites crank up-to-the minute data through Monte Carlo software to arrive at probable outcomes of the election on a state-by-state basis.  This is the same type of software that sees everyday use in business for such procedures as production forecasting, reserve estimation, option valuation–almost any operation that requires decision making under uncertainty.

Here, just halfway through Election Day are the projections:

270towin: McCain 142 electoral votes, Obama 273 electoral votes.  The map shows, on the East Coast, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida as “undecided”; and in the Far West, Colorado and New Mexico as “blue” for Obama, and Utah and Arizona as “red” for McCain.   Ohio as undecided.

FiveThirtyEight (“Electoral Projections Done Right”):McCain 189.4 electoral votes, Obama 348.6 electoral votes.  All states except Missouri leaning red or blue.  Solid blue up both coasts, with the exception of Georgia and South Carolina.

RealClearPolitics: McCain 132 electoral votes, Obama 228 electoral votes, Toss-up 128 electoral votes.  The big difference in this site’s map is that it shows Virginia and North Carolina as toss-up states.

How will these maps look on Friday?  That’s for all of us to find out.

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