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Re: Electoral college probablities
Posted:
Oct 30, 2000 5:29 PM


I believe that the point was to do some interesting mathematics, and possibly illuminate the mechanisms that drive the difference between the popular and electoral votes. One could certainly make a computer model that reflects the different electoral weights and voting tendencies of each of the states if one wanted to understand the outcome of the current election, but if one was interested in the effect of using electors one could do worse than starting from the simplest possible model and adding confounding factors one at a time. It seems intuitive that the 'popular vote' and 'electoral vote' will be positively correlated. Assuming that all the 'states' have an equal 'electoral vote' and IID 'popular vote' with a mean of 50% how weak can the correlation be?
William L. Bahn (wbahn@uswest.net) wrote: : What's the point? You are taking something that is quite complex and : creating a simpler model in order to make the computations easier. Fine. : But, you can only take that so far. The more extreme your simplifications : the less your model applies to the situation you are trying to model. The : key is to balance loss of accuracy and applicability against mathematical : tractability. However, your "simplifying assumptions" are so out of touch : with reality that any conclusions you come to are meaningless. In fact, they : are worse than meaningless because, like online polls and surveys, they : actually subtract from the knowledge base. People see the result and : implicitly, if not explicitly, apply it to the actual case and they THINK : they have knowledge that they simply do not have  hence they have : effectively been given negative information ("negative" as in : "lessthanzero")
I suspect that Peter was much more interested in generating meaningful mathematics than illuminating the current US political quagmire.



