Thursday, November 04, 2004

The "toss out the state" game

Prashant Mullick just left a comment linking to a post describing why he feels Bush does indeed have a "Broad Nationwide Victory." (I wrote on this topic a few hours ago.) The crux of his argument is this:
"John Kerry victory margin:
New York: 1.19 million votes
California: 1.02 million votes
Combined total of NY and CA: 2.21 million votes

George Bush victory margin:
Nationwide: 3.56 million votes

This means that in the 48 states other than NY and CA that voted in this election, George Bush had a mandate of 5.77 million votes. That is pretty substantial!

I have a few words in response to this:

1) Why throw out CA and NY? They are, after all, the first and third most populous states in the nation. Are their votes somehow invalid or unimportant?

2) You can calculate similar differences in number of votes by throwing out a couple of conservative states. In Texas (the second most populous state) the margin of victory for Bush was 1.68 million votes, which makes up nearly half his margin of victory right there.

In fact, if we throw out
  • Texas – 1.68 million vote margin for Bush
  • Georgia – 0.56 million vote margin for Bush
  • Indiana – 0.51 million vote margin for Bush
  • Alabama – 0.48 million vote margin for Bush
  • Utah – 0.38 million vote margin for Bush
Then we end up throwing out a total of 3.61 million votes for Bush, which means that Kerry wins the election!

"A-HA!" you say, "but you threw out five states, not just two." But California's and New York's populations sum to 54.6 million, while the total population of the five conservative-voting states I threw out is 43.8 million (link to data). Thus, in throwing out these states I've actually thrown out fewer total people, so if anything I've been more fair than Prashant.

OK, clearly this is ridiculous. We could play the "toss out the state" game all night. The fact of the matter still remains: only about 20% of this nation actually voted for Bush on Tuesday, while another 20% or so voted for his opponent (and ~60% didn't vote for either one).

(state election vote counts from CNN at approximately 1am today)

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