Monday, November 19, 2012

Inter-Divisional NFL Games, Part II

Friday I looked at the commonness of the Patriots and Colts playing each other.  That match-up has happened 10 out of the 11 years of the current scheduling arrangement.  There is one other match-up that has happened 9 out of 11 years:

Panthers Cardinals Divisions Play?
2002 4* 4* No
2003 4 4 No
2004 1 4 Yes
2005 3 3 No
2006 1 3 No
2007 2 4 Yes
2008 2 2 No
2009 1 1 No
2010 3 1 Yes
2011 4 4 No
2012 3 2 No

Yes.  The Cardinals and Panthers have played that often only missing each other in 2006 and this year.  While the Patriots-Colts match-up has been the result of consistent excellence of both teams, this match-up is primarily random.  They have finished in the same spot in all four possible spots.  They have only finished in the same spot in the standings six times, but none of them when they would have been playing anyway.   They will also automatically be playing next year, as the South and West are matched up next year.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Inter-Divisional NFL Games, Part I

Peter King talks today about how the Patriots and Colts have played the past 10 seasons.  To do this they had to have finished in the same spot in the standings the previous year except in years where the divisions were matched up.  What is amazing is that it is not primarily luck that has accounted for this result, as the Colts and Patriots have finished in the same position all but last year.  Here is the how they finished in their division the year before:

Year Patriots  Colts Divisions Play?
2002 1 Not 1 No
2003 2 2 Yes
2004 1 1 No
2005 1 1 No
2006 1 1 Yes
2007 1 1 No
2008 1 1 No
2009 2 2 Yes
2010 1 1 No
2011 1 1 No
2012 1 4 Yes

The finish in the division refers to the year before.  2002 uses the three division set-up of 2001, so the results are not as obvious.  The two teams have been so closely tied together.  Usually this is because they are both good.

There is a second match-up of inter-divisional foes who have played almost as much.  They have played 9 out of the 11 years of the current arrangement.  However, they are not matched up because of consistently being good or bad.  I will discuss that combination in a post on Monday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Amateur 2012 Election Predictions

My completely unscientific election predictions:

President: Obama 294-244 (Obama wins Ohio and Virginia; Romney wins Colorado and Florida)
Popular vote: 51-49 (two-party vote)

Senate: Republicans +1  Gain Nebraska, North Dakota and Montana; Lose Maine and Massachusetts

House: No net change.  242-193.

I actually went through and assigned each seat based on my predictions and came out with exactly the same numbers as last election.  This result is pretty unlikely given that there are new seats, lost seats and redistricted seats due to the new census.  I have 10 seats switching from R to D, 7 switching from D to R and both member-on-member fights going to the GOP. These numbers don't necessarily add up because of reapportionment and redistricting new seats.

 I tend to be skeptical of big gains from redistricting since there seems to be some backlash by voters to it.  However, I do see multiple seat gains for the Republicans in North Carolina and for the Democrats in Illinois because many Representatives in those states won by close margins last time as it was.
Edit: Right after I posted this, I decided to flip-flop Colorado to Romney.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Way Late 2010 Election Prediction Analysis

I was thinking about doing another House of Representatives prediction.  Since my last prediction hit the Republican gain exactly, and I did not do a full gloating analysis post, I am doing that first.

While my overall prediction last time of a 63-seat gain for the Republicans was exactly right, I did miss about 8-12 seats in both directions, so my actual prediction may not have been that great.

I think there were three causes of my missed predictions.

 1.  I just did not have enough knowledge about individual candidates.  For instance I picked the Republicans to win Arizona 8, but Gabrielle Giffords was probably a much more appealing candidate than was apparent to me as an outsider, and she held it for the Dems.

2.  My main point that I missed for the Republicans was their strong showing in the suburbs.

3.  The main thing I missed for the Democrats was that I expected African-American turnout to drop more than it did.

Those last two things only affected a couple of races each.  The truth is that there are actually very few true suburban districts.  Either they are suburban-urban and therefore solid Democratic or suburban-exurban and solid Republican.  Very few districts are suburban and thus toss up.  The few seats like this are concentrated around New York and Chicago.  With majority-minority districts, there are not very many districts where African-Americans make up a sizable but not determinative proportion of the electorate.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Long Live the Electoral College

Garett Jones has a post at Econlog stating why he is a fan of the electoral college.  His basic argument is that it lowers regional conflict by forcing politicians to aim for the median voter in swing states as opposed to running up the score in individual states, and thus overemphasizing regional differences.

Another advantage I see is that it weights the votes of each state by their population, not by the number of people voting.  Therefore, if we see a scenario where a natural disaster hits one or two states and depresses their voting, it lessens the probability of that affecting the election.