Thursday, June 17, 2010

From the "Don't Panic" file.

Once again, Darryl does statistical analysis so I don't have to, which is a good thing since he knows how and I don't.

Hand wringing over Patty Murray's re-election campaign seems to becoming something of a cottage industry for pundits these days. Take the spin Goldy finds Publicola putting on the new Elway poll. While they're pushing the "Rossi gains ground" line, it turns out to be a very good poll for Patty. How good? That's where Darryl comes in…
If we normalize this poll (i.e. look only at the 352 who had an opinion) Murray is at 54% to Rossi’s 46%. As usual, I’ll approximate the probable outcome of a hypothetical election held today using Monte Carlo simulations. A million simulated elections of 405 voters at the percentages observed gives Murray 853,011 wins to Rossi’s 138,593 wins. The results suggest that if the election was held now, Murray would win with a probability of 86% and Rossi would wins with a probability of 14%. Here is the distribution of results from the simulated elections:


This, of course, presumes that Rossi gets through the primary. Given the Washington State Republicans historical affection for extreme candidates, that may be likely but it's not assured.

I figure he'll make it, though. My totally non-scientific gut feeling is that Patty's going to hold Rossi to the low 40s at best and deliver the third strike that knocks him out of the political picture hereabouts.

I've known Patty since she really was that mom in tennis shoes who cared enough about how the schools she sent her kids to were run that she went door to door and asked her neighbors for a chance to be one of the people running them. I voted for her in that election. She won. I've been voting for her every since, for the State Senate and now the US Senate. One thing I've learned along the way is that she's the best active politician in this state.

It helps that she's in it, as she always has been, for all the right reasons. Even among people who may disagree with her on some issues, she's going to own the trust issue in this election, and that's a very big deal in times like these.

My confidence in her prospects, then, is based a combination of confidence that Patty will run a smart and aggressive campaign and a trust in her basic integrity that's rooted in having watched her throughout her career in public office. Senator Murray, and when she's on the floor or in caucus, she's every bit Senator Murray, is, back her on the ground where folks live, still Patty.

If this sounds like an endorsement, well, of course. That endorsement's been a standing one since 1983.

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