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

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Robert Israel

Posts: 11,902
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Electoral college probablities
Posted: Nov 2, 2000 4:26 PM
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In article <>,
Bob Wheeler <> wrote:

>If p is the popular vote proportion and if p is
>the same for all states, then the expected
>electoral total is 540p with a variance of
>540p(1-p). Assuming normality, this gives the
>probability of erroneous electoral result as 0.32
>when p=0.51, 0.085 when p=0.52, and 0.03 when
>p=0.53. Hence, a popular-electoral mismatch seems
>unlikely when the popular vote exceeds 50% by two
>or more points.

Unless I misunderstand your assumptions here, this is wrong.
You seem to be saying that each state has probability p of
a "correct" electoral vote. This would work if the
state's electoral vote was decided by one randomly chosen
voter, but that's not what happens.

The problem as I interpreted it had p = 0.5, i.e. each
voter votes "randomly" with equal probabilities for the
two candidates. And the conclusion is that the probability
of a mismatch is about 0.2.

Robert Israel
Department of Mathematics
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2

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