Home Elections Avoid conflict regardless of the electoral college

Avoid conflict regardless of the electoral college


Don’t forget, the golden states started counting votes in the mail today or last night!

Above is the mode (single most likely combination) of this morning’s poll margins and uncertainty, converted into individual state probabilities. The returns are unlikely, assuming the money is collected in an orderly manner in the coming days. How did we get here from 2016?

Last week at our Electoral Innovation Laboratory’s Friday Forum, a prominent colleague from the Politburo reminded me of a recently forgotten Electoral College safeguard: it amplifies Rate the popular vote to give the look of a mission.

For two obvious reasons, the popular vote / electoral reversal in 2000 and 2016, this has been neglected. But in this year’s extraordinary election, it’s likely that this anomaly will save us all from chaotic weeks. This is why.

The core reason for this amplification is that the race wins the amplification effect of the common suffrage ratio. Think about seats in the legislature and Congress. If a candidate wins 51% of the vote, she will win 100% of her seat. If you add up this number across multiple races, each with its own partisan bias, you will end up shifting the seats into non-linear votes, which look like an S-shaped curve.

In this system, the winner of the popular vote usually gets more seats. Typically, the rate of votes is amplified by a factor of 2 or 3, depending on the degree of variation between districts and the pattern of volatility.

In the case of the Electoral College, this year’s magnitude is large, close to 4. Biden leads Trump by about 9% from a national point of view, and the map at the top of this post corresponds to amplitude (351-187). / 538 = 35% of the electoral votes. If this continues tonight as early reporting states like North Carolina, Georgia and Florida do, the emergence of an electoral landing could help stave off the hurricane of lawsuits. and the turmoil that the Trump campaign seems ready to unleash.

You can see why this controversy hasn’t been very hot lately. The mismatched popular / electoral elections in 2000 and 2016 killed quite a bit of the distinctive flavor of cheerful talk. I calculated from historical election results that under a variety of political conditions presidential races with a popular vote rate of closer than 3% would vote for second place. in 1 of 3 cases.

In short, the balance is between the pleasant nature of a big blue or red map (remember Reagan 1984, Clinton 1996, or Nixon 1972) and the risk of the Russian roulette game whenever there is an election. nearby.

This year, the Electoral College gives Trump a 2.5% advantage: an average of 2.5% common losses still gives him a chance to win the Electoral College. Biden is about 5-6% higher than that threshold. That’s what defines the Meta-Margin in the banner above. It fits well with the Biden national margin of 8% or more in the popular vote.

If the voting error in key states in 2016, 3 percentage points, is repeated on a large scale, the electoral map would still favor Biden:

However, this is not the biggest question this year. The question is what happens when the quantity drips. Specifically, the golden states below are currently only beginning to count their mail ballots. So for the presidential race to come, we really need North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to think about tonight.


The argument against this protection by the Electoral College is to examine the possibility of a popular nationwide vote. If the election were to be held that way, Biden’s most likely odds against Trump would be between 13-14 million votes. That would also end the debate and with a much smaller risk of dispute. Nor would we have this weird fascination with the swivel states, at least for the President. Instead, we can focus on the Senate and local races that are critical to the functioning of our democracy. So, as I said, two cheers for the Electoral College!

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