The Archive

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Election Night Study

In the days following Tuesday, November 6, 2012, check out the blog to see the results of an activity I plan to undertake on election night. Let me explain.

With election season in full swing, one night recently I decided to relive the suspense of the 2000 election. I found a series of YouTube videos that amounted to over ten hours of election night broadcast, most of it from CBS.

I had been under a certain impression about the 2000 election, and some points of reference helped to confirm this impression.

  • With 54% of precincts reporting in Oregon, George W. Bush led Al Gore by approximately 22,000 votes. Gore ended up winning Oregon by 6,765 votes.
  • With 96% of precincts reporting in Wisconsin, Gore led Bush by 764 votes. Gore ended up with the win by 5,708 votes.
  • With 95% of precincts reporting Florida, Bush led Gore by about 38,000 votes. With 96% reporting, it was down to about 29,000 votes. With 99% voting, Bush's lead was 11,029 votes. When 99% switched to 100% (presumably a rounding of 99.5%), Bush led by 10,806. By the end of the night, Bush's lead was only 1,785. As nearly everyone knows, it ended up at 537.
Democratic-heavy precincts, it would appear, reported their votes later than Republican-heavy precincts in 2000.

On Election Night 2012, I'll be looking into the results in 15 states, and recording the vote totals in those states throughout the night at various levels of precinct reporting. The states are the most contested in this election according to the Real Clear Politics map (toss-ups and leaners): Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

I am curious what trends, if any, will show up in the progress of the night's returns.

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