Poll shows Ranked Choice deciding thin Gideon victory, Biden electoral win in CD2

SOMESVILLE, Oct. 30, 2020 – In Wall Street parlance, an “odd lot” is the aggregation of small batches of trades which are not as easily exchangeable like a “round lot” which are standardized units of 100 shares.

In Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting, we have some of the same characteristics of odd lots – third-party voters who don’t fit standardized units of the two-party system. (Forgive the obvious double entendre.)

Odd lots are important because they are glimpses into the sentiments of small investors. One share of GOOG (Google) is about $1,500. One hundreds shares (round lot) is $150,000. Most Americans cannot buy 100 shares of GOOG.

Small investors hold stock for the long-term and some companies consider them worth fighting for. Apple, whose shares are almost 40 percent owned by individual investors, did a 7-to-1 stock split last spring, cutting its per share stock price from $645 to $92 overnight. CEO Tim Cook said he wanted to make shares “more accessible to a larger number of investors.” 

Similarly in Maine, politicians discount third-party voters at their peril, especially this year, as odd lots most likely will decide the race for the United States Senate and the electoral vote for president in the state’s Second Congressional District.

Here’s why:

In the 14 polls of the Maine Senate race since February, only once has Sara Gideon polled more than the 50 percent needed to win outright without a second round of ranked choice voting. And that poll by Quinnipiac College in Early September has been discounted as an outlier which had Gideon up by 12 percentage points. Very few experts believed it was credible.

A poll of 1,200 Mainers released Thursday by SurveyUSA had Gideon up by only 1 percent 46-45. SurveyUSA is considered the best of the crop of pollsters in Maine this year. (In 2019 It received a grade of A from Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com, which said SurveyUSA prediction of elections had a 90 percent accuracy rate.) http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=b3c59e14-b400-40ad-919c-1f42ca3ae8b6

This is where the odd lots come into play. When asked who their second choice would be in this race, Gideon received 10 percent of the vote as opposed to Collins’s 6 percent. An overwhelming percentage of Green Party Candidate Lisa Savage’s supporters said they would give their vote to Gideon.

“Under Maine’s rules, the candidate with the fewest votes, (Max) Linn, is eliminated and those who chose Linn as their 1st choice are examined to see who was their 2nd choice,” SurveyUSA stated. “After Linn’s supporters are reallocated, the contest stands, Gideon 48%, Collins 47%, Savage 5%. Still: no one candidate is at 50%.”

Then the poll concluded:

“So, the state looks to see who the supporters of the candidate with the next fewest votes, (Lisa) Savage, picked as their 2nd choice … when Savage’s votes are reapportioned among the surviving 2 candidates, we have a winner:

* Gideon, 51%.
* Collins, 49%.

The same scenario plays out in the race for the electoral vote in the Second Congressional District. The poll shows Biden holding a 48-45 edge in CD2 but not a majority.

“But it’s a tough, uphill slog for the President the way SurveyUSA sizes up the situation. When voters from ME-02 are asked their 1st choice for President, Biden, at 48%, is as close as he can be to a 1st-ballot win but falls short of the 50% needed. Trump is at 45%, and 3 other minor-party candidates combine for 5%. The last-place finisher on the 1st ballot, Rocky De La Fuente, of the Alliance Party, the 2nd-to-last-place finisher, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, and the 3rd-place finisher, Jo Jorgensen of the Libertarian Party, are all batch-eliminated. When their 2nd-choice (and in certain cases 3rd-choice) picks are re-allocated in real time, in the instant runoff, we have a winner in ME-02:

Biden, 51%.
Trump, 49%.

“Like all opinion research studies, this SurveyUSA poll offers estimates, which come with a plus or minus,” SurveyUSA said. “Given that 509 likely voters were interviewed in ME-02, it is possible for Trump to eclipse Biden in ME-02 and still have that be consistent with these findings. And in reverse, it is also possible that Biden will win the ME-02 on 1st ballot, with no need for ranking.”

In all Maine has had 14 polls on the Senate race with 12,235 respondents since February. That is a massive sample. Susan Collins did not win a single poll. Besides the SurveyUSA poll the others were:

Colby College*10/21 – 10/25879 LV3.34743Gideon +4
Pan Atlantic*10/2 – 10/6600 LV4.54740Gideon +7
Bangor Daily News*9/25 – 10/4466 LV4443Gideon +1
Colby College*9/17 – 9/23847 LV3.44541Gideon +4
Boston Globe/Suffolk*9/17 – 9/20500 LV4.44641Gideon +5
NY Times/Siena*9/11 – 9/16663 LV5.14944Gideon +5
Quinnipiac9/10 – 9/141183 LV2.95442Gideon +12
Bangor Daily News7/28 – 8/9500 RV4338Gideon +5
Quinnipiac7/30 – 8/3807 RV3.54743Gideon +4
Colby College7/18 – 6/24888 LV3.94439Gideon +5
PPP (D)7/2 – 7/31022 RV3.14642Gideon +4
PPP (D)3/2 – 3/3872 RV3.34743Gideon +4
Colby College/Socialsphere2/10 – 2/131008 RV3.24342Gideon +1

Half of MDI voters already returned ballots …

SOMESVILLE, Oct 31, 2020 – Claire Woolfolk and her team this morning were busy tabulating the absentee ballots which have been returned to the municipal building in Northeast Harbor where she is the town clerk. Maine allows the early tabulation of ballots for release on election night. A similar process was underway in the three other towns on MDI. As of this writing nearly half of the voters have cast their ballots. That is certainly expected to increase by Tuesday. This chart shows the number of registered voters in each town as of this week, by party affiliation.

SWHMT DESERTTREMONTBAR HARBORTOTAL
DEM68896849225684716
REP3734653208912049
UNENROLLED50951634912942668
GREEN726141141315
16422010120248949748

BALLOTS OUT59198951929105009
RETURNED46889546726324462

GSJ conducted this informal survey of the town clerks’ offices on Wednesday and Thursday. The total number of registered voters, 9,748 for MDI, isn’t likely to increase much as most have already registered.

Bar Harbor Democrats have lapped the Republicans who make up only 18 percent of the electorate in that town. The GOP doesn’t fare much better in the other towns. MDI is about as blue as any big Northeastern metro and has become an important linchpin for Democrats running for office in the Second Congressional District of Maine.

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