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Final Forecast, or Rather Lack Thereof

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We got the Cynopsis numbers early today, so one more note before the polls close:

In the past, I have based my forecasts on the number of FoxNews TV viewers as opposed to the the number viewing the MSNBC/CNN combination. I believe that over the past four years, the influence of television has waned and we all know that the number of people getting their news online has surged. Ebizma.com news site rankings clearly indicate that many more people are visiting CNN, and to a lesser extent, MSNBC, than FoxNews, but I have less confidence in those numbers than in Nielsen, so I'm not prepared to base an election prediction based upon them.

As far as hard numbers go, last week FoxNews had more viewers in both primetime and total day than any of the other cable networks, and that includes the perennial leaders, USA and DISNEY, as well as ESPN. (FoxNews did drop more than 500,000 viewers from the 4th week of October to the first week of November in primetime.) That brings me back to fogies. More people 18-54 watch MSNBC/CNN than watch FoxNews. The MSNBC/CNN combo beat FoxNews by anywhere between 19% and 100% in all the demographic categories, 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54, in both total day and primetime, so we know cable news viewers under 54 are more likely to vote for Obama.

We also know cable news viewers 55 and over are far more likely to vote for Romney, and according to the latest Pew data, we know that 36% of US adults say they regularly get campaign news from the Internet. Pew reported in August that 93% of people under 49 use the internet, while only 58% of those over 60 use it. Based on those numbers I'd make a guess that Obama still has a better than even money chance of wining the election, but it certainly isn't enough to give him a commanding lead in the popular vote.

We've all been hearing that Obama's great advantage is that he can win the election even losing the popular vote by winning just a few of the swing states, and the temptation to declare him a winner is very great. But given the fact that the revolutionary change from TV to the internet as a decisive factor in measuring voter intentions, is only in its beginning stage, I'll cop out and predict no winner. Nevertheless, I'll be willing to take small even-money bets from those who think otherwise.