06/11/2008 10:28 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Chuck Todd's Challenge

For statistical modelers, number crunchers and turnout scholars among our readers -- and you know who you are -- Chuck Todd and the crew at the NBC News political unit have thrown down the gauntlet:

*** Analyzing the turnout: After crunching numbers for the last several months during the Clinton-Obama contest, we’ve been experiencing mathematical withdrawals now that the Dem race is over. In a word, we have the shakes. So to calm our nerves, we got out our abacuses and did some initial fooling around with projected popular vote. Using the 2004 results as a baseline, we were curious as to which states would swing to Obama if he does raise overall turnout by 20% (approximately another 22 million voters) and wins those new voters by a 60%-40% split. Assuming an even distribution -- which we know is potentially a flaw in this estimate, so back off! -- a 20% turnout increase breaking 60%-40% for Obama would swing four states from red to blue (Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada, and Ohio). If Obama wins the new voters by a 65%-35% margin, two more states come over (Colorado and Florida), with another (Virginia) essentially too close too call. We're going to crunch these numbers a number of ways over the next few weeks, including using the 2000 election as our baseline (since many folks believe 2004 over-estimates the GOP electorate); seeing what would happen if Obama runs a 50-state campaign but McCain runs a 17-state one; and finding out what the realistic maximum population vote advantage Obama could have while losing the electoral college. In the meantime, have fun with this model.

Thoughts anyone? Alternative models or analysis? Post a comment or email it our way (questions at pollster dot com).