Tuesday, April 01, 2008

the politics of small numbers

I think I said earlier that the whole delegate counting obsession could be a quant's nirvana this political season. It's a fine line between nirvana and nightmare. Unclear or indecipherable rules for assigning delegates are just the beginning of the problem. If you wanted to produce chaos, or at least confusion, I am not sure you would have done anything differently than set up the Democratic Party primary process as it has played out. You are not supposed to need probability distributions to explain the delegate counts of elections that have already taken place.

For ever more parsing, here is a new angle: a site called the New Editor dissects the national popular vote margin in the Democratic primary. A stats-guru (literally) Andrew Gelman replies. My own tweak on the numbers.. if you took the primary results thus far and apportion delegates according to how the electoral system actually works... i.e. all or nothing by state, you get an ever different perspective.

I had produced a straight red/blue map of the state earlier, but here is the detailed version. If you click on the image you will get a some additional popup information with registration information for each county.