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Topic: Electoral college probablities
Replies: 9   Last Post: Nov 2, 2000 6:02 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Steven E. Landsburg Posts: 154 Registered: 12/8/04
Re: Electoral college probablities
Posted: Oct 31, 2000 3:59 PM

In article <G38p38.439@cwi.nl> "Peter L. Montgomery"
<Peter-Lawrence.Montgomery@cwi.nl> writes:

> In the US presidential election, the winner is determined
>by electoral vote rather than by popular vote.
>What is the chance that the two will give different outcomes
>in an otherwise close race?
>

Okay, I made the following assumptions:

There are 3 states, each with 2n+1 voters. Each voter is equally
likely to vote for either candidate, and each voter's choice is
independent of the others'.

Write f(n) for the probability that the electoral and popular
vote winners are different.

I computed f(n) for n between 1 and 50. It looks like f(n) is
very well approximated by a function of the form

A + B log(n) + C log(n)/n

for suitable constants A, B and C.

Steven E. Landsburg
steven@landsburg.com
--

Date Subject Author
10/30/00 Peter L. Montgomery
10/30/00 William L. Bahn
10/30/00 Bart Goddard
10/30/00 David Einstein
10/31/00 Bob Silverman
10/31/00 Steven E. Landsburg
10/31/00 Robert Israel
11/1/00 Bob Wheeler
11/2/00 Robert Israel
11/2/00 -Mammel,L.H.