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Linear regression analysis
November 9, 2000 4:33 PM   Subscribe

Linear regression analysis adds approximately 2700 votes to Gore's tally -- "If Palm Beach county were like the other counties, according to estimates with Bush's votes Buchanan would have gotten around 600 votes in that county instead of 3407 votes he actually got. If we used Gore's votes to predict Buchanan's vote, we would have predicted Buchanan to get somewhere around 792 votes. ...[in any case] it can be claimed with a high degree of statistical confidence that the mistakes cost Gore somewhere between 2000 and 3000 votes. If Bush wins Florida by an amount smaller than this, such as 1700 votes, a strong claim can be made that the confusion over the unique ballot structure in Palm Beach cost Gore the presidency...."
posted by johnb (25 comments total)

 
Hmm, what about the absentee ballots? I've heard they sent out 10,000, usually get more than 65% back, and they're usually 2-1 Republican...

Either way we have a mess on our hands. No one is going to come out of this well.
posted by s10pen at 4:59 PM on November 9, 2000


could i please have a source on this, s10pen? i have been looking for official word on this data.
posted by lescour at 5:32 PM on November 9, 2000


If I were a Democrat (which I'm not; I vote Green), I would let Bush have it. Whoever is the next president is likely to preside over a recession and/or sustained stock market correction (or more precisely: there's a nontrivial probability he will). If it's Dubya, that would cement the association between "Bush/Republicans" and "recession" in the public mind. If it's Gore, people might false attribute it to his (fake) enviromentalism, or whatever. Plus, there's going to be an awkward sense of illegitimacy, especially if Bush wins (and this would help the Democrats in 2002/4). In any case, my guess would be that the next president won't achieve a second term.

On the other hand, if Bush wins, the already-crumbling relationship between Greens and Dems would probably erode even further, which wouldn't be good for the progressive agenda. I propose that progressives (and libertarians etc) join together to protest the current undemocratic electoral system, demanding in particular an amendment to the constitution that abolishes the electoral college and codifies Instant Runoff Voting and Proportional Representation -- as Fran Shor suggests.
posted by johnb at 5:51 PM on November 9, 2000


the already-crumbling relationship between Greens and Dems would probably erode even further

There was a relationship between Greens and Democrats?

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:01 PM on November 9, 2000


There was a relationship between Greens and Democrats?

LOL...perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they've progressed from "nonrelationship" to enmity.

On election night Hillary Clinton suggested that killing Ralph Nader "is not a bad idea" -- as a joke allegedly (although "kill" has many meanings).
posted by johnb at 6:11 PM on November 9, 2000


I propose that progressives (and libertarians etc) join together to protest the current undemocratic electoral system, demanding in particular an amendment to the constitution that abolishes the electoral college

And then maybe we should change the name of the country from the United States of America to the United Peoples of America?

I don't see anything undemocratic about putting the election in the hands of the states instead of in the hands of the people...
posted by Neb at 6:12 PM on November 9, 2000


A resident of Wyoming has almost 4 times more electoral-vote-power than a resident of California or Texas (exact numbers here). I say: you don't have a democracy until everyone has equal political power. There are other serious problems with the electoral college, and the pro-EC arguments are far too lame to make abolishing it anything other than a no-brainer.
posted by johnb at 6:34 PM on November 9, 2000


I'm reminded of the Tories' narrow victory in the 1992 UK general election, which led to five years of steady decline, and more or less guaranteed their demolition in 1997. It was undoubtedly a Pyrrhic victory, allowing Labour to remodel itself under Blair (after John Smith's untimely death) and the Tories to dig their own political graves.

The same will happen here. Whoever takes office is a one-term President, unless something very bizarre happens. There'll be no honeymoon period. Bush, at least, has the option of going back to Texas and probable re-election; Gore has a much harder position to fight from the sidelines.

But this is now a poison chalice of a Presidency.
posted by holgate at 6:35 PM on November 9, 2000


Yes, everybody would have equal political power if we lived in a democracy rather than a republic.
posted by harmful at 7:09 PM on November 9, 2000


OK, I've abstained from making this remark, but you all knew it was coming . . . . the time for absolute dictatorship is now. I can rescue you; I can provide absolute authority in these unsettled times.

Do you hate Bush? I'm your man. I stand for everything you hold dear.

Do you hate Gore? Again, it's all down to me. I promise to exterminate your enemies.

So, let's come together in these trying times, and make a mutual pledge for myself. There is no worry in a society ruled by complete brutality.
posted by aramaic at 7:25 PM on November 9, 2000


Yes, everybody would have equal political power if we lived in a democracy rather than a republic.

Yes, and that's why a constitutional amendment is necessary. If we already lived in a democracy, it would be logically futile to protest its absence -- unless you happen to enjoy getting whacked on the head by the police state.
posted by johnb at 7:42 PM on November 9, 2000


you don't have a democracy until everyone has equal political power

Well, if you break it down to the state level, we have 50 separate democracies. And, the collective of those democracies decide who becomes the president.

That way, I get to choose to live in the state whose laws fit most with my political outlook, and I don't have to worry about idiots in other states who nitpick about issues that I don't think the government should have a say in (like interracial marriage?!?).
posted by Neb at 7:44 PM on November 9, 2000


Do you guys want a real democracy or just one for elections. I am personally for the real democracy, but be ready to be sorry when the mob turns against your wishes.
Let's see how you feel when the next official language vote comes up, or gay civil rights or whatever. Oops, Ned already beat me to this point. Oh well, I'm with Ned.
posted by thirteen at 8:09 PM on November 9, 2000


As I said here, according to this washington post article about 1,000 Florida voters live in Israel and many can be expected to have supported the Democratic ticket.

I read somewhere else that 30,000 overseas ballots were sent out for this election and in the last election, Dole won 54% of them. (can't find a link to the story though).

Imagine if there was not electoral college and it down to the popular vote, given the closeness of the vote, the whole country would have to do a recount again.
posted by jay at 8:17 PM on November 9, 2000


We don't have a democracy. We have a republic.
posted by mikewas at 8:23 PM on November 9, 2000


Ooops. Someone already pointed that out. Well, it still bears repeating.
posted by mikewas at 8:24 PM on November 9, 2000


thirteen:

At the federal level, I'm for president-chosen-by-popular-vote, plus instant runoff voting, plus proportional representation, plus campaign finance reform, plus other reforms that make government more transparent.

At the local level, I'm for fully participatory democracy.

be ready to be sorry when the mob turns against your wishes.

I'd rather be ruled by the "rabble" than by a ruling elite that enriches itself at the expense of the public interest.

Of course, there will always be good-but-unpopular ideas, but since everyone is fallible, no one should have exclusive authority to promulgate "the truth". Take animal rights, for example. Although I strongly believe in animal rights (including nonhumans), I have no desire to autocratically impose that belief on everyone else. It's better to change minds through rational persuasion, and let the laws evolve in response to any consensus (or lack of one) that emerges. In other words, large-scale belief-change should be a prerequisite to legislative change. Totalitarianism has been tried, and it doesn't work.
posted by johnb at 8:48 PM on November 9, 2000


We don't have a democracy. We have a republic.

Duh. Why else would there be a pro-democracy movement?
posted by johnb at 8:50 PM on November 9, 2000


Still can't find the link that says that 30,000 overseas absentee ballots were sent out, but the Palm Beach Interactive says:

28 of the 67 election supervisors found that they had mailed just over 7,000, that a little less than half had been returned and no information was available on how many had been counted. That tally did not include some of the state's largest counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

So 30,000 sounds about right. However, if sounds like there will be a lot more 2,300 overseas absentee ballots in total.
posted by jay at 8:59 PM on November 9, 2000


I'd rather be ruled by the "rabble" than by a ruling elite that enriches itself at the expense of the public interest.
Me too. I used to be more angry about the electoral college than I am now, but I understand the desire to do away with it. I certainly would not fight to save it. Still, I look at these election maps showing most of the country won by Bush, and I think it is wrong a few large cities can overrule the majority of 40 something states. A popular vote still leaves nearly half the voting public unhappy, and the majority in so many states without the president they chose.
I think we will see a lot of popular-but-really bad ideas in a true democracy, but that might be what we deserve. At the very least it might be the only way we can learn to get along, out of necessity rather than code. Is any country truly democratic? I'm all for it, good and bad, I was just questioning whether or not everyone mooning over the idea is aware what they would really be in for.
posted by thirteen at 9:10 PM on November 9, 2000


why on earth should how many square miles Bush won be more important than how many popular votes he won?

I did keep wishing, watching the returns come in Tuesday night, that they'd overlay the color-coded electoral maps with population concentration indicators.
posted by Sapphireblue at 5:50 AM on November 10, 2000


Someone, back in a thread in the last couple days, posted a link to a PDF map that showed assigned electoral votes with the state boundaries skewed by population.

Or something like that.

Is that what you wanted?
posted by baylink at 7:34 AM on November 10, 2000


I hate to steer this back to the original topic, but according to this Salon article, judges in Florida have the right to "conduct a 'statistical analysis' of suspected systematic abuses, and permits them to 'adjust' the results if they determine those abuses to exist." Sure it goes on to say that there are major problems with getting a judge to do it, but this research could be a possible basis of and remedy proposed for an appeal.
posted by norm at 7:39 AM on November 10, 2000


I've stolen the sized-by-electors map from Lake Effect a couple of times. His revised version showing the electoral vote (at the time) was based on a cleaner PDF version of a pre-election prediction.
posted by harmful at 8:12 AM on November 10, 2000


A resident of Wyoming has almost 4 times more electoral-vote-power than a resident of California or Texas (exact numbers here). I say: you don't have a democracy until everyone has equal political power.

Well, this is true, but isn't it possible that people living in extremely diverse environments have different interests? The low population of people in Wyoming who have vastly different interests than the people of California gain some protection from tyrrany by having disproportionate voting power. If the country were smaller, this wouldn't be as much of an issue, but people in Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, New York, and Arkansas all have vastly different situations. The EC removes some of the bias against the places with smaller populations.

Speaking of election maps, did anyone see the county-by-county map of the whole US they showed on MSNBC last night? It was color-coded by the election's winner. It was about 90% red (for GOP) with Democratic blue in small bunches around cities and (inexplicably) along the Mississippi river delta south of Memphis, along with other patches. Anyone know of a link to this on the web? I'd love to look closer.
posted by daveadams at 8:43 AM on November 10, 2000


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