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Mathematics Says Romney and Santorum Tied In Iowa

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the that-santorum-is-everywhere dept.

Math 457

Hugh Pickens writes "Presidential candidate Mitt Romney received eight more votes than candidate Rick Santorum or 0.007 percent of the total number of caucus votes in the Iowa caucus, 'eking out a victory' on the path to winning the Republican nomination for president but experts in statistics say Romney and Santorum actually tied. 'From a statistical point of view, you can't say Romney won any more than you can say Santorum won,' says Charles Seife, a professor of journalism at New York University who studies election error. That's because in the Iowa caucus, where voters marked their choices with check marks or by writing the candidates' names in by hand, the error rate in counting the votes, which is also done by hand is orders of magnitude above the victory margin — around 0.5 to 1 percent. There are several sources of error that could easily render eight votes meaningless." (Read on for more.)Hugh Pickens continues: "First, ballots sometimes stick to the bottom of ballot boxes when the boxes are overturned, and fail to be counted. Next, election officials occasionally misread messy handwriting, or tally their totals incorrectly. Finally officials can misjudge who a voter intended to vote for: 'You'd be surprised how often people place a check mark in an ambiguous place,' says Seife. Whether it's statistically significant or not, any official declaration of victory can have big ramifications. With political pundits regarding Romney's 'victory' as evidence that he's in a good position to win the Republican nomination, the failure to recognize a statistical tie in Iowa could impact the future of the country. 'It's Romney, not Santorum, who can head to New Hampshire claiming the win,' writes Nick Rizzo. 'But if you just counted the exact same votes all over again, there's a good chance the result would be different.'"

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Higher Power (4, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595668)

Let the Supreme Court decide.

Re:Higher Power (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595726)

Fortunately, they don't have to -- it's not a government election, so it's not a government matter.

Re:Higher Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595810)

Sorry, my mod point went to "underrated," not sure how it became troll.

Re:Higher Power (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595854)

You must be Kagan.

Re:Higher Power (4, Informative)

PseudonymousBraveguy (1857734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596002)

The qualifier is only shown after the second moderation. So if somebody moderates troll, and afterwards you moderate underrated, your moderation causes the "troll" qualifier to show (but increases the score back to 2)

Re:Higher Power (4, Informative)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595940)

Nonsense. The Supreme Court already told us that states don't actually have to count votes, so long as state statute says they don't.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking you live in a democracy. In democracies, they count all the votes.

Re:Higher Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595992)

Erm.. you know the Court is designed to enforce existing law..

Also, pure democracies are what gave us the 3rd Reich..

Re:Higher Power (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596154)

Just don't make the mistake of thinking you live in a democracy.

The United States is not a democracy. It never has been and it never will be. It has always been a Republic. It's current form is a democratically elected republic.

No specifically for the presidency. The Constitution stipulates that the process by which each state makes the laws allocating their share of the electoral college, is left up for the states to decide.

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Re:Higher Power (0, Troll)

aslagle (441969) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596376)

And Obama just told us that he can build a new department, completely out of congressional oversight, and then bypass the congress when they don't confirm his choice to lead it.

By the way, Obama thought that convening the congress every third day (pro forma sessions) to eliminate the possibility of recess appointments was just fine when they did it to Bush in 2007-08.

Re:Higher Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596044)

Nope, letting the Supreme Court decide is arbitrary and non democratic.
The statisticians are right in this case, the difference in ballots betweeen the 2 candidates is orders of magnitude less than your typical statistical error. Therefore the 2 results are deemed equal. No one won.

The only other solution is to GUARANTEE 100% correct results in all elections and that is not possibile. There will always be certain systematic errors etc... All you can do is minimise these errors but you can't eliminate them completely.
Unless you change the election system to an electronic one but this open a whole new can of worms.

It's sad either way (4, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595692)

Mitt the anti Christ or Mr Frothy Santorum? This is a choice?

Re:It's sad either way (5, Funny)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595834)

As I heard recently, it's boiling down to a choice of "man on dog" versus "dog on car".

I gotta say I've been enjoying watching people have fun with the headlines. My favorite was :"Romney squeezes out Santorum"

Re:It's sad either way (3, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596426)

I gotta say I've been enjoying watching people have fun with the headlines. My favorite was :"Romney squeezes out Santorum"

Probably that headline author knew full well what Santorum means, and did it on purpose! Ew, still gross.

OK...but (1)

acklenx (646834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595694)

I'm gonna call the "winner" the guy that got to most [counted] votes... won.

speaking of which (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595696)

Mitt Romney + tanning bed = Barack Obama.

Re:speaking of which (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596042)

I have to agree with this. I can't really imagine Mitt running things even a little differently than what Obama is doing right now.

Filp-flopping brothers, separated at birth. :)

Re:speaking of which (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596166)

Mitt Romney + tanning bed = Barack Obama.

Quite possibly the best post ever.

In other words... (5, Interesting)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595702)

The world is round, p <= .05.

But no complaints about the count? (2, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595704)

And yet... no appeal? No call for a recount? Either the Republican primary rules don't allow for it (and I'm not familiar enough with them to know), or else Santorum has noted the lessons of Florida 2000 and decided that risking a "sore loser" reputation wouldn't do him any good in what's still an ongoing contest.

Re:But no complaints about the count? (5, Informative)

jmtpi (17834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595824)

Because the results are not binding anyway, there's no need for a recount, or so the NYTimes says:
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/no-need-for-recount-in-iowa-caucus/?scp=1&sq=iowa%20recount&st=cse [nytimes.com]

Re:But no complaints about the count? (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596028)

That was informative, thank you.

Re:But no complaints about the count? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595860)

It's because the caucus votes don't really count. There's two layers of delegates between the voters and the people who vote who actually count. By the end the delegate voters generally vote for whoever is "clearly" going to win the nomination in the national races. The vote that occurred recently in Iowa is just for the media.

Re:But no complaints about the count? (3, Insightful)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596340)

Well, it's good to pound into the heads of some of the trailing candidates that they have no chance in the election and should save their money and go home.

Re:But no complaints about the count? (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596034)

Or , perhaps Iow proportionally allocates delegates ( I have no idea) and therefore the difference is meaningless. From a publicity standpoint, the man who hate everyone could not have asked for a better outcome.

Re:But no complaints about the count? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596182)

Or , perhaps Iow proportionally allocates delegates ( I have no idea) and therefore the difference is meaningless. From a publicity standpoint, the man who hate everyone could not have asked for a better outcome.

This. Iowa does proportionally allocate its delegates.

Because Romney was declared the winner, he will get 13 and Santorum will get 12. If Santorum demanded a recount and managed to reverse the win, he would get 13 and Romney would get 12. But to win the GOP nomination, you have to win 1,212 out of 2,424 delegates. So a recount for Santorum is pointless. The chances that one lone delegate will make the difference between winning and losing the nomination are effectively zero.

Re:But no complaints about the count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596134)

Of course not, these guys don't believe in science, remember?

Re:But no complaints about the count? (5, Informative)

Orne (144925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596206)

Also, this year there is a proportional assignment of delegates based on the percent of vote received. Iowa has a total of 26 delegates, and 1,144 are needed to win the party nomination. At 1/26, there can be as much as 4% error in the vote and it shouldn't affect the delegate ratios.

CNN lists the following delegate votes [cnn.com] :

  • Romney 7
  • Paul 7
  • Santorum 8
  • Gingrich 2
  • Perry 2

Re:But no complaints about the count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596298)

If I understand, the popular vote in a caucus is as meaningless as the popular vote for the whole country in the general election. What the caucusers really do is elect delegates who go gather by counties and select more delegates who finally gather statewide and select the candidate. It should be possible to project from the local results what the county and state results will be (or at least an estimate), but it doesn't sound like anyone's done that.

Dude, (4, Insightful)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595706)

It's a non binding vote. A straw poll. It's already totally and completely meaningless.

Re:Dude, (2)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595866)

The straw poll was in August. This was a caucus.

Re:Dude, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595996)

It was a non binding Straw Poll. After the preference vote is cast, they then conduct business to choose delegates to goto the county convention. At the county convention delegates are chosen to go on to the national convention.

Romney won the straw poll, but since Iowa's delgates to the convention are what matters, it was a three way tie for first.

Re:Dude, (2)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596130)

The straw poll was in August. This was a caucus.

A straw poll is, by definition, a nonbinding vote, as the grandparent mentioned--e.g., the Iowa Republican caucuses, or the Ames Straw Poll you are referring to. You drop a secret ballot in a box. The final decision (these are all effectively ways to gauge potential nominees) is made by the Party much later in the season.

Iowa Democratic caucuses are a bit different, by the way--no ballots, for one thing. I was actually surprised the Republican caucuses were different. I had to look this up to make sure the people quoted in the summary weren't incredibly misinformed.

No Recount (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595718)

There's no recount. The scores are final. Romney still won. News at 11.

So... what's the difference? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595720)

All the republicans candidates look much the same to me, except Ron Paul. They seem to be all playing it safe, avoiding saying anything too out-of-the-mainstream at such a critical time.

Re:So... what's the difference? (3, Interesting)

DarkVader (121278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595846)

Really? Because Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] is about as right-wing nutjob as it gets, and Obamacare might just as well be called Romneycare, since it's very similar to the Massachusetts plan.

And yeah, Ron Paul is a different kind of RWNJ, the big difference is that he understands the futility of the drug war and is against foreign entanglements.

Fortunately for the country, we're not going to have to deal with any of it beyond the campaign, since Obama is going to be reelected.

Re:So... what's the difference? (5, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596060)

Some (Republican) friends were over for New Year's Eve, and one of them quoted someone else, "Looking at the economy, there's no way Obama can be reelected. Looking at the Republican field, there's no way Obama can lose."

The real disservice to the country is that something terribly bad has happened to the American English language, at least as it appears in the mainstream media. With very few exceptions, the late Ted Kennedy being a notable one, the word "Liberal" is unquestionably bad. The phrase "too conservative" appears to be null and meaningless. From what I can see in media coverage of the Republican race, with the possible exceptions of Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, it all comes down to who can be more conservative than the others, and the possibility of being "too conservative" hasn't been considered, where any amount of "liberal" is "too liberal".

And I guess the only phrase for "too conservative" has become "right wing nutjob", which gives it a pejorative rather than descriptive feeling, and thus removes its effectiveness.

Re:So... what's the difference? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595864)

...for some warped right-wing Republican-primary definition of "mainstream"...

Re:So... what's the difference? (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595972)

You think. I agree it is a worthless lot, but Santorum and Romney are in no ways similar. Santorum is a radical, right-wing-religious-zealot-lunatic. Most sane republicans would prefer 4 more year of Obama,

At a time when the republican party should be moving away from religious zealotry and towards fiscal conservatism, 25% I totally lost and voted for Santorum, another 25% voted for Romney because he has run 75 time and they know who he is.

Let's elect Bush(Santorum) again, Obama is apparently not runnin up the debt fast enough for the new Republican party.

Re:So... what's the difference? (1, Flamebait)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596296)

Most sane republicans would prefer 4 more year of Obama,

No, sane person would prefer 4 more years of Obama to any of the candidates in the field (even Dennis Kucinich is likely to be a better choice than 4 more years of Obama).

Re:So... what's the difference? (2, Insightful)

evilRhino (638506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596012)

The idea that tax cuts lead to job growth has a decade long track record of failure, but is still the leading republican platform for job creation. The whole party is far out of the mainstream.

Re:So... what's the difference? (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596118)

Increasing taxes will definiltely lead to job growth, because people just love to work for less.

Re:So... what's the difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596352)

People say "fuck it" and just stop working when taxes go up, which is why unemployment was higher in 1955 (with its 90% top marginal tax rate under that disgusting communist Eisenhower) than it is today.

Re:So... what's the difference? (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596374)

Ah, but increasingly the tax base is made of people who do NOT work. It is not profitable to be working, anyway.

At the extremes, you have people who are too poor to work (yes, really) and people who are too rich to work. In the middle, there is a mass of losers who make ends meet on a paycheck.

Whom do you tax? Which segment is least impacted by a tax increase?

Re:So... what's the difference? (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596482)

I know you're aiming for sarcasm, but you're actually right. After a certain level of income, a few percentage points of taxes do not change your lifestyle. Instead, the question then becomes, what kind of government do these taxes buy me? What kind of society do I want to be a part of?

Re:So... what's the difference? (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596454)

Actually, the 3 who did well in Iowa represent 3 different strains of thought within the Republican Party:
- Mitt Romney represents corporations and business interests. His electoral base are the sort of moderately successful business owners and middle managers you'd find a local meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, while his monetary base is fat cat corporations.
- Rick Santorum represents the religious right. His electoral base are members of evangelical churches. He hasn't raised all that much cash, but has some monetary support from fat cat corporations and from evangelical Christian groups.
- Ron Paul represents the libertarians. His electoral base is a mix of independent farmers and suburbanites who believe they don't depend on the government for anything. He also has nowhere near as much money as Romney, and interestingly is funded almost half by small contributors.

Not in the Republican party, but relevant:
- Barack Obama represents the 'Washington consensus' on most issues. His electoral base are urban residents, racial minorities (those constituencies overlap but are not identical), and educated voters who don't consider themselves business management. His monetary base is fat cat corporations.

oh, no not a manual recount situation again :) (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595732)

last time it did not go too well

Nobody Cares (2)

paxprobellum (2521464) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595740)

Perhaps nobody cares because Iowa is fairly meaningless. In the grand scheme of things, carrying (or not carrying) Iowa doesn't affect your ability to gain the nomination. You need a lot more than that, and the margin better be more than 8 votes. Just saying.

"Momentum" (5, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596258)

What candidates hope to get out of Iowa, mainly, seems to be being able to say they won an election, or did way better than expected (e.g. Santorum), essentially in the hopes that it will persuade primary voters in other early primary states (NH, SC, FL, etc) to jump on the bandwagon and vote for them.

Which is sad. If you're just going to vote for the candidate everyone else is voting for, why bother voting at all, especially in a primary? Primaries should be all about voting for your *favorite* candidate, not the guy you think might win if you can just push him over the top.

Tired of rulers and presidents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595750)

Both are the same. They will take what they can and never give back.

Does anyone really care? (3, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595754)

Seriously, it's Iowa, the only thing this one's good for is showing who definitely should not run, and even that's questionable.

They really should run all the caucuses in just a few days. There's no good reason, other than lots of opportunities to bribe, err, donate to your favorite candidate, that these should run more than a day or two for all 50 states. But, that would go against the political machine and those that keep it greased purposes.

Not a Tie (2)

Jammer6502 (1430197) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595756)

You can't call it a tie because statistics determine the margin of error to be greater than the vote difference. It makes much more sense to say the winner cannot be determined. A tie means they had the same number of votes and that is extremely unlikely.

Re:Not a Tie (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596070)

The *definition* of tie is that the winner cannot be determined because it's too close to call, as here..

not a tie (3, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595782)

Even recognizing the certainty of there being some error, that Romney has 8 more votes means he is more likely to have been the true winner if that error were eliminated. Assuming the error is equally likely to benefit Romney as it is to benefit Santorum. That suggests something other than "a tie" to me. The most accurate thing might be to say, "We don't know whether Romney or Santorum won, but it's slightly more likely that Romney did."

Re:not a tie (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595952)

Yes, in a strict sense that should be true. However, the point is that the 8 votes are statistically negligible. Basically, each candidate would have approximately a 50% chance of winning if votes were recounted. The rules say it is not a tie. However, from a practical standpoint, what it does say is that there was no demonstrated clear preference for either one.

Re:not a tie (2)

PseudonymousBraveguy (1857734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596108)

"Slightly more likely" in this case equals "so deep in the margin of error that there is no meaningful distingtion between the votes for each of them"

The Best of Our Government (1)

fussy_radical (1867676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595800)

This really demonstrates the best part of our voting process.... Tyranny of the Majority

Majority? (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596200)

What makes you think Mitt got even 50% of the vote?

He won by plurality.

Mathematics be hanged! (2)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595812)

The media requires a winner. Someone must win the race. If they reported on issues and such instead of concentrating on who is winning we'd be in some other universe.

Re:Mathematics be hanged! (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596050)

You are blaming the media for reporting the result of polls?

Re:Mathematics be hanged! (2)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596310)

I think s/he is blaming the media for reporting on the result of polls poorly.

Delegates Won (5, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595820)

The only thing that matters is the number of delegates the canidates won. Romney, Santorum and Paul each won 7 delegates. Gingrich and Perry each won 2 delegates. Currently Romney has the most delegates because he has support from delegates not tied to elections. Romney has 18, Santorum has 8, Paul has 7 delegates total.

Re:Delegates Won (5, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595948)

The sad thing is that you were able to describe this in just four sentences, yet the mainstream media hasn't mentioned this at all because all they can see is the horse race.

Re:Delegates Won (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596074)

Whats even sadder is the winner needs like 1100 delegates. So the seven delegates each candidate won is a rounding error for the entire primary process. A candidate could skip Iowa and not lose much.

Re:Delegates Won (4, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596272)

Not lose much other than vital media attention. Rudy Guiliani found out in 2008 that this is a disaster when he skipped everything before Florida, and found that by then no one was taking him seriously anymore.

Re:Delegates Won (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596112)

The sad thing is that you were able to describe this in just four sentences, yet the mainstream media hasn't mentioned this at all because all they can see is the horse race.

To be fair I got that information from cnn.com It is also on www.foxnews.com

Re:Delegates Won (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596226)

Fair enough. Then I should have said "mentioned this enough for most people to notice".

Re:Delegates Won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596148)

But it is non binding, correct, so this isn't fixed.

If the count says Romney won, he won... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595822)

A first-past-the-post system doesn't allow for margins of error or miscounted ballots. There is either a winner or the law provides for a recount. If such a recount shows Santorum won, then he did. Unless there's a second recount, etc etc. The situation is binary and doesn't allow for such subjective phrasing.

Re:If the count says Romney won, he won... (1)

L1mewater (557442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595976)

Except that in the Iowa caucus it is not binary at all. It's not a winner-takes-all state.

Re:If the count says Romney won, he won... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596014)

Still sitting in your parents basement? THis is about math, not about simple ideas.

Rick Santorum???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595876)

LOL... your country shits out candidates faster than i can memorize their names... xD

Re:Rick Santorum???? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595978)

No need to start memorizing their names. These people are not important unless they actually get the job. In fact feel free to forget the name of the winners as well. The name of the current US president shoudn't effect you.

Re:Rick Santorum???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596304)

The name of the current US president shoudn't effect you.

I was not created by the name of the current US president. His name didn't effect you, either. And 'his' was capitalized as the first word of a sentence --- not as if a deity.

Re:Rick Santorum???? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595990)

no, no. That is not our nation. That is all democracy. If you want ease of memorizing, just stay in china.

The problem is the media (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595894)

The biggest problem is the amount the media exaggerates the importance of the Iowa straw poll(because they have 24 hours and websites to fill). Before the 24-hour news cycle, how many people actually cared about the Iowa straw polls? Now it's all everyone talks about, which means that "winning" is all the more important because it is essentially the biggest free commercial you can give yourself. Look at the massive amount of free press that Romney is given because he won. Same with Obama in 2008, He barely won the Iowa straw poll, but the media blew that all out of proportion and essentially anointed him the winner.

Re:The problem is the media (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595966)

Actually, it is smart to pay attention to Iowa when it comes to the republican primary and the final. They picked huckabee last time to win and then picked mccain for president. I think Iowa just showed that Romney and probably santorum will not get the nod.

Re:The problem is the media (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596090)

Damn you and your pattern recognition skills!

Re:The problem is the media (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596160)

Actually, it is smart to pay attention to Iowa when it comes to the republican primary and the final.

According to an article I read a few days ago which looked at Iowa results and compared them to the final nominations, they're pretty good at picking the Democrats, but pretty bad at picking the Republicans. So for a Republican, winning in Iowa probably means you're less likely to become President than the other candidates :).

Shocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595900)

This has nothing to do with math or statistics. Iowa always goes for the Christian fundies.

Re:Shocking (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596192)

Except this time they didn't (most Christian Fundies will say that Mormons aren't Christian.
(Even though they are conservative on social issues)

Re:Shocking (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596422)

Considering that Romney is a Mormon and no Christian Fundamentalists consider Mormons to be Christian, let alone Fundamentalists and Santorum is Roman Catholic and only a slightly larger number of Christian Fundamentalists consider Catholics to be Christian and none consider them to be Fundamentalist that would be incorrect.

Add to that, the fact that ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595914)

the republicans moved a number of counting into the back office. With neo-cons in control and fearing Paul, that says a lot.

It's not a sample. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595926)

It's an actual count. That means that "statistical" margins of error are completely useless here. This is not a political statement. Voting is counting, not polling.

Re:It's not a sample. (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596194)

What they mean is that even if people 'count' the votes, they make errors in quite a few cases, some votes are not counted because they are lost, misread, forgotten, stuck up in the box, or things like this. Thus, there's a margin of error that they can compute and it's much larger than the 8 votes.

Elections are a simple majority (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595928)

Statistically of course it was a tie. But elections aren't decided statistically. It takes 50% plus 1 vote to win.

Re:Elections are a simple majority (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596066)

Statistically of course it was a tie. But elections aren't decided statistically. It takes 50% plus 1 vote to win.

Except in the US of A, where you can be President with less than 50% of the total votes, of course, due to a meaningless system (to the rest of the world, at least) of delegates.

Re:Elections are a simple majority (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596170)

Except in the US of A, where you can be President with less than 50% of the total votes, of course, due to a meaningless system (to the rest of the world, at least) of delegates.

The UK laughs at your 'less than 50%', when its last 'majority' government was elected with around 22% of the votes.

Re:Elections are a simple majority (2)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596320)

Except when you consider the error rate of counting the votes. This isn't even a matter of not RTFA, you didn't RTFSUMMARY.

If the error rate in counting votes is higher than the difference between two candidates' votes, then we DO NOT KNOW who actually won. It is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE that a handful of votes could have been miscounted or misplaced somewhere along the line, the people who collect and count the votes admit this.

Also, it doesn't take 50% plus 1 to win, because there are more than 1 candidate in a primary. This isn't the general election bro...

He received 25.0001% of the vote, with the next candidate receiving 25% of the vote. If we can't be sure of that .0001%, we can't declare a clear winner.
However, since this isn't the general election, it is up to the Republican Party how to handle it, not the Supreme Court or any nonsense like that.

Lies, not math (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596036)

Mathematics says 8 > 0. Lies, damned lies, and statistics, ya know.

Re:Lies, not math (1)

h8sg8s (559966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596278)

Depends on your definition of "Epsilon". Statistics is much less about finding the truth, and much more about aiming the spin.

Two Party Monarchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596084)

In your Land of The Free (TM), where is the freedom?

You have two parties every year sparring for the Presidency, but you have many, many political parties, why don't they get a voice?

More to the point, why do you DUMBASSES (TM) continue to talk about the two party monkeys and VOTE for them? YOU are the stupid wastes of flesh who will NEVER awaken, you continue to suck off the American Dream crack pipe illusion.

PS: George Carlin was murdered for exposing the BIG SHOW and our OWNERS.

Chose winner with weighted random sample. (1)

starbirdman (245653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596116)

Hold a popular vote and then select from among the candidates randomly, weighted by their popular vote percentages.

In a two candidate race that both get 50% of the vote, the electorate has essentially said "We don't clearly know who's better." So flip a coin and go with that one. In a three way race where the 'spoiler' candidate receives 20% of the vote, select him as the winner with a 20% probability.

Pros:
* The majority doesn't completely drown out the rest.
* Less susceptible to small counting errors. (i.e. the OP).

Cons:
No chance of this being perceived fair. The conspiracy theorists are going to go apeshit the first time a 20% winner gets elected.

Revision:
Perhaps use a non-uniform distribution to push the percentages further towards the extreme--e.g. a winner of 80% of the electorate should probably be chosen 95% of the time.

Santorum is narsty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596152)

When people vote for the frothy substance consisting of feces and lube that dribbles out of asses after anal sex, maybe it's a sign that there are no viable candidates.

To quote Paul Simon (1)

eclectus (209883) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596190)

But either way you look at it we lose.

I hate to see it, but the Repuplican party is becoming more and more polarized, and that's not good for the country as a whole.

Re:To quote Paul Simon (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596286)

I think you can be optimistic about it... if the party splits, perhaps we'll actually have a working three party system.

Re:To quote Paul Simon (1)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596336)

That's one way to look at it. On the other hand, that polarization leads to stress inside the party that will lead to it's evolution over time. Both parties go through this kind of thing, though it's obviously more pronounced with the Republicans currently.

In the long run I think they'll emerge stronger, and until we get a viable third party (which is another, though less likely, possibility of the polarization you bring up) having two strong parties is better than having either party governing without viable opposition.

I was there . . . (1)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596204)

Couple things - the Iowa Caucuses aren't a 'vote' - they are a poll. It's very informal, and the idea is to get a close approximation of the support for the candidates. Last minute voting was common, I saw someone drop a ballot more than once, and the 18 year old kid making irritating comments behind me ended up doing the official tally.

And all of that is ok. Despite how it sounds, the people there did take the process very seriously- I was impressed with the discussion that took place. - it did what it was supposed to do, which was give a good idea of where support lied with people who cared enough to show up. The Democrat caucus process is a lot more organizationally rigorous. Same result either way.

Sour grapes. (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596256)

Mathematics says it was a tie only because mathematics bet on Santorum and is a sore-loser.

Mathematics, Mathematicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596338)

Mathematics doesn't say anything about the race, some people are saying something about the race using an appeal to mathematics to prop up their argument.

However,

1) Elections are not decided statistically. By the rules of the game all vote counts are supposed to be exact. Obviously, in reality the people involved are not perfect and neither are the counts, however, that error does not automatically mean that elections follow the rules of statistics.

2) While the margin of error may make the justice of the win uncertain, the parties involved have accepted the results and moved on. It's no different than a questionable call from a ref at a sporting event...the winner is still counted a winner whether the ref was right or wrong.

3) If we were using statistics, then the fact that one contestant received a higher vote count than another, even if it is within the margin of error, would mean that the vote counts do not overlap. So statistically it is still a win even though the margins of error overlap.

4) The rules of this election (like most) do not allow ties. Someone must be winner. As such, their whole point is nonsensical or incorrectly stated. Even if both candidates received exactly the same number of votes one of them would have to be declared a winner and all the others losers.

Margin of error (2)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596420)

Umm, Last I looked the margin of error for the caucus vote was listed at 2.0% to 3.7% not 0.5% to 1.0%.

Which means that it was a three way tie.

My numbers came from the reports at NBC and CBS so they are published news reports and not direct statistical data, and you can decided how much you want to trust the news from NBC and CBS.

Personally, with a difference of less that 3% of the vote between the three I am looking forward to the next caucus vote. It is a bit exciting to see where this goes.

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