Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
February 25, 2017, 11:02:30 am
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Please delete your old personal messages.

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
| |-+  Presidential Election Process (Moderator: muon2)
| | |-+  How inaccurate do you think national popular vote totals are?
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: How inaccurate do you think national popular vote totals are?  (Read 1858 times)
ChanDan
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 334


View Profile
« on: May 27, 2016, 02:31:04 pm »
Ignore

Looking at the Wikipedia page for the 2012 election, I was thinking about Barack Obama receiving 65,915,796 votes, and thought to myself "there's no way that number is precisely right." Human error across the country, and just the nature of randomness, surely means that the number cannot be accurate to the vote. Misplaced ballots, misidentified ballots, faulty precinct practices, stuff like that has to go wrong across the country on some scale.

So the question is, how inaccurate are they? Has any research been done on this? I think one benefit of the electoral college is that it prevents these things from really mattering. If we did elect Presidents via a national popular vote, and an election was super close, I think a nationwide recount would be bonkers.

I feel like it's kind of a weird question, but have at it if you have thoughts on the matter.
Logged
Senator LLR
LongLiveRock
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5399
Israel


Political Matrix
E: -4.65, S: -3.39

P P P

View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 02:46:20 pm »
Ignore

Human error up and human error down would quite likely cancel each other out for the most part, leading to error within no more than about 100,000, I'd say. I could be very wrong, though.
Logged

http://electreport.blogspot.com



"This is absolute crap this never happened and some Buffoon Probly desided to try drawling comic strips, only he was in first grade and only had a crayon and ignored real facts"
muon2
Moderator
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 12210


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2016, 03:50:38 pm »

There are statistical fluctuations even with expert election judges. This post about the 2008 MN Sen recount goes into more detail.

Why not count every state every time several times then? It was very stupid to do.

There were actual issues that justified a recount. In that given case, I can't see how anyone wouldn't want to know who actually got x amount of votes, and this election was what first got me thinking about politics, even if it did take many years to become a significant interest.

Just couldn't understand how they could halt a recount in a very close election where there were obvious issues during voting. It's not like we were electing a city council member. This was for POTUS damn it.

Depends on however that State resolves ties.  I think most would make it be a matter of random chance, but frankly I doubt any tie after the initial result of a statewide election would still be a tie after a recount.

I agree, and the 2008 MN Sen race is a good example of the amount of swing that might be expected. MN has very good audit procedures for their elections, but even so there can be ballots in dispute. The initial count was Coleman leading Franken by 215 votes out of 2,885,555 cast. After the recount Franken led by 225 votes out of 2,887,337 cast. After the final court challenge the margin favored Franken by 312 votes out of 2,887,646 cast.

There are two factors to consider here. First is the change in the ballots cast. MN ended up with and additional 2091 ballots found to be valid. Missing votes and unreported or partial precincts can happen just due to human or technical errors. In this case it resulted in an additional 0.072% ballots cast which make up less than one in a thousand. However, when the margin is also less than one in a thousand, that matters.

The second is that the recovered ballots are unlikely to exactly mirror the statewide vote. That was true in MN where Franken gained 1,254 votes and Coleman gained 727. Statistical fluctuations can seem large because the added ballots are not uniformly distributed across the state. So in the case of a tie, it's very likely that a recount will find more valid votes, and it is highly unlikely that they will split exactly evenly when those added ballots total in the hundreds or thousands as they would for presidential electors.

Statistically this is not an exact number that can be known in any vote system. There will always be inconsistencies that can't be eliminated - think of voting as polling with a very small margin of error.

What makes my example above interesting is that MN requires an election audit every cycle and it involves a recount of a large number of precincts around the state by a group of experts. Many of those same experts were involved in the Franken recount, so it was possible to compare the same recounted precincts by two different trained experts. The audit results were mostly the same but there were slight differences, enough that the expected margin of error measuring the total statewide vote was greater than the swing from the recount. The race was a statistical tie, and another recount from scratch could just as likely to swing the race back as to keep the official recount result. The effect of the court picking the count that it did was effectively a coin flip from a statistician's viewpoint.
Logged



Where will you be for the Great American Eclipse?
m&m
Megameow
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 377
United States


Political Matrix
E: -2.45, S: -3.83

View Profile
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2016, 03:02:09 am »
Ignore

Countries all over the world, including every single state in the union, directly elect presidents/governors on a nationwide/statewide basis. Why wouldn't it work here?
Logged
Kingpoleon, Never The Best/Worst Poster
Kingpoleon
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 10711
United States


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2016, 10:21:58 pm »
Ignore

In 1960, isn't there at least a little suspicion on Chicago votes and in Texas?
Logged

"Too often, we judge other(s)... by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions."

Economic: 1.38
Social: -2.36
Nym90
nym90
Modadmin
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16249
United States


Political Matrix
E: -5.55, S: -2.96

P P P

View Profile
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 12:04:36 pm »
Ignore

In 1960 it really comes down to how you count the Democratic vote in Alabama. Voters didn't have the seperate options available to vote for Kennedy or Democratic unpledged electors like they did in Mississippi....the Democratic ticket had 6 unpledged electors and 5 Kennedy electors. So should the Democratic votes all be attributed to Kennedy (in which case Kennedy wins the national popular vote) or should only 5/11 of them count for Kennedy (in which case Nixon wins the national popular vote)?

There is no clear answer to this question as it is impossible to divine the intent of those voters regarding whether they intended to vote for Kennedy and/or "unpledged Democratic electors".
Logged
Figueira
84285
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7566


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2016, 03:45:08 pm »
Ignore

The most populous country that elects its Presidents by pure popular vote appears to be Indonesia, although there haven't ever been any particularly close elections there.

A national recount would be rough, but I think it's still preferable to simply ignoring the will of a lot of voters.
Logged

Note: I am not actually British.

TrumpCard
Rookie
*
Posts: 48
United States


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2016, 08:29:36 am »
Ignore

I'm not too worried about it and we have the Electoral College to ensure the popular vote is magnified in most cases.
Logged
zorkpolitics
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1172
United States


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 01:30:45 am »
Ignore

I'm not too worried about it and we have the Electoral College to ensure the popular vote is magnified in most cases.
Or not, as Clinton lost and leads Trump by 2.5 million...
Logged

"Scientists are treacherous allies on committees, for they are apt to change their minds in response to arguments" C.M. Bowra
Chickenhawk
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 849


Political Matrix
E: -5.16, S: -4.17

View Profile
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2016, 04:04:21 am »
Ignore

In 1960, isn't there at least a little suspicion on Chicago votes and in Texas?

As far as I'm aware, Robert Caro went so far as to explicitly state that the same votes that LBJ bought to be elected to the Senate in 1948 were bought for JFK in 1960.

And of course Chicago in the 20th Century wasn't exactly a pillar of democracy.
Logged

Figueira
84285
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7566


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2016, 05:24:21 pm »
Ignore

I'm not too worried about it and we have the Electoral College to ensure the popular vote is magnified in most cases.
Or not, as Clinton lost and leads Trump by 2.5 million...

Prior to 2016 it was common to claim that 2000 was a freak occurence and we can always count on the electoral college to follow the popular vote. Now that's obviously not the case.
Logged

Note: I am not actually British.

Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines