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How Close Were US Presidential Elections?

Old 09-26-08, 09:46 AM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
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How Close Were US Presidential Elections?

A study posted on Slashdot:

Here is the actual study:

Here's a basic abstract:

"I'm a graduate student in Statistics at Michigan State University and spent some time analyzing past US presidential elections to determine how close they truly were. The mathematical procedures of Linear Programming and 0-1 Integer Programming were used to find the optimal solution to the question: 'What is the smallest number of total votes that need to be switched from one candidate to another, and from which states, to affect the outcome of the election?' Because of the way the popular and electoral votes interact, the outcome of the analysis had some surprising and intriguing results. For example, in 2004, 57,787 votes would have given us President Kerry; and in 2000, 269 votes would have given us President Gore. In all there have been 12 US Presidential elections that were decided by less than a 1% margin; meaning if less than 1% of the voters in certain states had changed their mind to the other candidate the outcome of the election would have been different."

Interesting stuff for political nerds like us. I haven't parsed through the data yet but it's interesting to see how close some blowout elections really are.
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Old 09-26-08, 09:53 AM
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This is a good site for that:

For individual elections, it includes 1 or more 'What If?" buttons to show how flipping a few close states/votes could change the outcome.
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