The Multiplicity of Electoral Models

Foreclosure Suppression Model:

Using foreclosure data from 2007, the only data set I could find, a suppression model was devised.

It's quite simple, but gives a good result; I take the number of foreclosures in 2007 and divide that by the 2004 popular vote total in a given state. The result represents the percentage of eligible voters [based on 2004] under foreclosure. The table below illustrates the ten states with the greatest percentage of foreclosures relative to the 2004 turnout:

State Status 2004 Votes Foreclosures %
Nevada (5) Weak Dem 825,899 66,316 8.030
California (55) Safe Dem 12,419,857 481,392 3.876
Florida (27) Core Dem 7,609,810 279,325 3.671
Arizona (10) Weak Rep 2,012,585 69,970 3.477
Colorado (9) Weak Dem 2,130,330 71,149 3.340
Georgia (15) Toss Up 3,298,790 99,578 3.019
Michigan (17) Safe Dem 4,839,247 136,205 2.815
Ohio (20) Core Dem 5,627,903 153,196 2.722
Indiana (11) Weak Rep 2,468,002 52,930 2.145
Texas (34) Safe Rep 7,410,749 149,703 2.020

Using this foreclosure percentage allows us to model a potential source of voter suppression. If we assume that all people currently under foreclosure are voting for Obama, we can simulate what would happen if these voters were suddenly prevented from voting in their home state. I've taken the current projection for Obama and subtracted from that the foreclosure percentage in the given state. The result of this calculation projects the following electoral outcome:

Suppression Model

Bradley Effect Model:

In order to debunk the affect of the Bradley Effect, I'll try and simulate the potential outcome of the election should the Bradley Effect occur; we'll assume a historically significant racial offset as dictated by the Princeton University graph below:

Bradley Effect Graph

Source: Princeton Election Consortium

Judging from the graph and more specifically the data points on the far right corresponding to the year 2006, it can be seen that the Bradley Effect was distributed between +5%, (meaning the African American candidate polled 5% lower in the final result than in the public polls leading up to the election) and -5%. For the purpose of this analysis we are trying to find the maximum degree to which the Bradley Effect could occur; in order to achieve this end we will use the maximum racial offset of +5% as prescribed in the 2006 data.

Incorporating the 5% into the projection algorithm presented the following changes:

Obama's Projection:

I calculated his initial projection and then subtracted 5% of it to arrive at his adjusted projection.

McCain's Projection:

I started by figuring out the number of undecided voters at the end of the initial projection; this is done by subtracting 100 from McCain's and Obama's initial projection. I then added this number to McCain's projection; to account for the adjustment made to Obama's total above, 5% of Obama's initial projection is then added to McCain's running sum to arrive at McCain's final adjusted projection.

Translating the pure formula into words results in a much more succinct correlation to the core principles behind the Bradley Effect. I assumed that 5% of Obama's support was racially tinged so I added it to McCain's total while subtracting it from Obama's. I then also assumed that of all the currently undecided voters, 5% are racist and as a result they will cast their vote for McCain. The result of this application can be seen in the map below:

Bradley Model

Independent Shift Model:

While altering the outcome of our model, I wondered what would happen if all currently undecided voters suddenly moved to McCain en masse:

Independent Shift Model

The next four model's are almost guaranteed to not happen, but since the means to make the maps exist, the maps corresponding to these unlikely models also exist.

Bradley Effect & Independent Shift Model:

I combined the results of the Independent Shift Model and the Bradley Effect Model by first applying the Bradley Effect scenario and then forcing the independents to support McCain:

Independent Shift + Bradley Model

Independent Shift & Foreclosure Suppression Model:

I simply subtracted the Foreclosure percentage from Obama and then shifted the independents over to McCain:

Suppression + Independent Shift Model

Foreclosure Suppression & Bradley Effect Model:

First I applied the Bradley Effect scenario, then the Foreclosure victims were subtracted from Obama's total:

Bradley + Suppression Model

Complete Combination Model:

The absolute worst case for Barack Obama. First the Bradley Effect is taken into account, then Foreclosed voters are suppressed, and then every currently undecided voter decides to support McCain:

Complete Combination Model

The first three models lie much closer to the plane of realism and although their purpose is to depict a worst case scenario, they cannot overcome the ever increasing likelihood of an Obama victory.

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