Selected letters

Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 22:40:05 +0100

From: Janet Crawford

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: Electoral College Meta

Dear Professor Wang,

Might you throw in a projection that includes the overseas votes? There are something like 4 1/2 million. Might get some figures from It is a Kerry group but might be helpful for you.

Janet Crawford


Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 14:03:06 -0400 (EDT)

From: Kevin Bailey

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: Undecided Voters in Pres. Elections are Different

Are you REALLY unaware that undecideds in presidential elections don't just naturally swing to the incumbent? This "rule of thumb" applies almost exclusively to congressional races. If you look at past Gallup polls prior to election day, you will see that "undecideds" tend to split evenly in presidential elections In fact, during a time of war (FDR in the 1940's) they skewed TOWARD the incumbent. I know this isn't comfortable for you, and that you want Kerry to win really badly, but to assume that Kerry will garner a 3-1 advantage amongst undecideds is just ludicrous -- especially coming from someone of such obvious intelligence otherwise.

Kevin S. Bailey

Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 15:44:57 -0500

From: Rene De los Rios

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: ???

I'm sorry to break it to you, but your "analysis" (meta or otherwise) is ridiculous. Kerry 311 electoral votes?????

It doesn't take a Ph.D (heck, it doesn't take a GED!) to know that Kerry is not going to get ANYWHERE close to that number. In fact, looking at all the poll numbers out today, Ocotber, 25, 2004, it appears to me that John Kerry will struggle to get 250 electoral votes.

Oh well, looks like it's back to the ole drawing board for you, Professor!

Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 14:49:47 -0400 (EDT)

From: Dave

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: why no update today

Been checking your site everyday for a month Yesterday the polls take a big swing towards Bush and no update? See Zogby for Florida, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Ohio. I will admit I have enjoyed following your site, even though I think last weeks change was pretty funny. Fortunately for us Bush supporters the polls went over 3% in his favor so your 2% boost for Kerry got washed. My prediction over 300 electoral votes for Bush 52% of the vote for Bush and maybe 46% for Kerry. See who is right in 8 days :-).

Thanks for your work.


Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 09:50:38 -0400

From: Richard Reddy

To: Samuel Wang

Subject: Re: Thanks!

Did you ever notice how a map of the US roughly resembles a voting card, with a large hanging chad? :-) I was in a playful mood last night and revised your projection. (attached). Slightly skewed. This includes a factor for sudden enlightenment on issues of social class.

Thanks again for your efforts to deliver an unbiased presentation, including information left out of other polls (undecided) that is highly significant. It's a nice contribution to the election even if we are all biased.

As for the other bloody business, I thought Carter put it well. He said "We will never learn to live in peace by killing each other's children." (This is the difference between authentic spirtual values, and those pinned on the sleeve) The key concept is learning. This is the challenge that awaits us in a new century, and educators like yourself are an important part of the picture.



Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 08:58:36 -0500

From: Lindsey Lee

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: TelOpinion Research

First, I enjoy your site. Interesting to see the analysis. I disagree with your assumption on how the undecideds will break, but at least you have a rational basis for conclusion.

To answer your question on the subject of this email, TelOpinion Research is led by Mark Zeplowitz and Lance Tarrance. Both primarily are Republican leaning pollsters. Lance used to be director of Research for the RNC.

Lindsey Lee, CPA/ABV, CFA

Senior Manager


Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 07:11:26 -0700 (PDT)


To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: Meta Something or Other

Dear Professor Wang,

Greetings from Flyover Country. How are things in the Whacko Left Academy?

You of all people should know that when one proceeds from bogus premises, all the quantitative tools in the world cannot produce correct results. Garbage in, garbage out. Fruit of the poisonous tree. Choose your metaphor.

I suspect that you are blinded by your ideology. How else on God's green earth can you think that undecideds will break three to one for Kerry? Have you been reading the polls? It's simply not happening as you claim to see it. More like three to one for Dubya.

Your science tells you that Kerry will win the electoral count, perhaps even decisively. My gut tells me that you are woefully wrong. Bush will coast to victory with at least 370 electoral votes on November 2nd. He will win Ohio, Florida, and at least one of Michigan or Pennsylvania.

I will e-mail you on November 3rd to gloat and ridicule your silly, useless methodology.

Dave Ramona

Euclid, Ohio

Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 10:50:03 +0100

From: Janet Crawford

To: Samuel Wang

Subject: Re: Electoral College Meta

Dear Sam, It will be a very high turnout this year and excluding some of the military will be highly Kerry. The AOK people may be able to give you some percentage figures. Kerry's sister has gone to every country and AOK has been very active in all countries. The sentiment is high on Kerry because of the war everywhere else but the US. Also there are a lot of spouses who are citizens by marriage but German, French and English, and a lot of the military are now doubting why they are in Iraq. Good luck.


Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 20:33:36 -0700

From: Daniel Helsten

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: Votepair and IRV

Professor Wang,

I appreciate all the work you put into the election site. I've been watching daily for the last three weeks. As many people read your site, I thought you might say something about and Instant Runoff Voting (

Daniel Helsten

Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 17:03:26 -0400

From: Thomas R. Jackson

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: what to do with the undecideds

Thought you might be interested in this article

It suggests that perhaps the late undecideds might not be following the usual incumbent rule. With the nation at war, this might not be so surprising, as there may be a greater than usual reluctance to change captains midstream. On the other hand, if so then it would be a big break from past elections, so, like so much about this election, I would take it with a grain of salt. I am glad you continue to present both calculations.

Thanks for making your site available, and all your hard work.

Thomas R. Jackson.

Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 18:43:53 -0700

From: Joan Van Tassel

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: Pat Caddell on Hannity & Colmes

Hi, Professor Wang, in an interesting interview on the show, Demo strategist Pat Caddell argued that there is a misreading the evidence of how undecided voters split and that the "incumbent rule" is not valid in today's situation. He says that when you analyze close races in dangerous times, the rule does not apply: These elections are about safety versus threat.

He believes that the history of such campaigns shows that in the week before the election, undecided voters who have been unable to make up their minds break for the iincumbent. A couple of days before the election, there is a slight, smaller bump for the challenger.

Based on his reading of the numbers from these kinds of elections over the last 150 years, Cadell believes the Kerry strategy of focusing on the missing explosive materials is contra-indicated because it raises the level of anxiety about safety, which will work against Kerry.

Hmmmm. I'm going to Nevada to turn out Kerry voters anyway. I have my K/E cap, T-shirt, and K/E flag for my Prius. There I'll be, buzzing around Las Vegas. ..Maybe place a $5 bet on K/E just for sentiment.

Best ...and enjoy your conference. Joan Van Tassel

Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 00:31:51 -0400

From: Valerie Hans

To: sswang@Princeton.EDU

Subject: electoral college website -- thank you

Professor Wang, I wanted to thank you for all of your efforts to put online sound current information about the status of the electoral college implications of polls for the rest of us very very interested observers. I passed your website along to the professors teaching a "road to the presidency" course here at the University of Delaware.

Valerie Hans