Tuesday, November 13, 2012

All 51 races from bluest (“most democrat”) to reddest (”most republican”)

I’m hoping that by now you are all aware that the U.S. doesn’t have “a presidential election,” it has 51 presidential elections (each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, better known as Washington, D.C.) and each one is important because of our Electoral College approach to choosing our president.

In president-choosing years, ours is an indirect democracy in which each state chooses a slate of electors who will meet in their respective state capitals on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December (this year, December 17th) to do the actual choosing of the next president. The slates vary in size from 3 for the District of Columbia (because it has a single member in the House of Representatives and two Senators in the Senate) to 55 for California (because it has 53 members in the House of Representatives and two Senators in the Senate). Each race is distinct, unique, and separate from all the others. The total national popular vote is ignored completely.

This is the reason that although Al Gore in 2000 and Richard Nixon in 1960 received more popular votes nationally than their opponents (George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy, respectively), they did not win the presidency. Also, the electors are supposed to vote for the party they were elected to vote for, but there are no hard and fast rules. In reality, the electors can vote for whomever they darned well please. This has made for some interesting elections in the past.

Here’s an interesting table from Nate Silver’s column in The New York Times. His predictions regarding the late unpleasantness the 2012 U.S. Presidential election were more accurate than any other pollster in the country.

I’m hoping that the chart will become larger (and hence easier to read) if you click on it. If it does not, get out a magnifying glass.

[Editor's note. Apparently the chart does not enlarge here in my post. Forget the magnifying glass. You can see the chart much better here. --RWP]

From Nate Silver’s interesting perspective, it was Colorado, not Ohio, that put Barack Obama over the required 270 electoral votes.

To my great surprise, Nate Silver’s chart also indicates that my state, Georgia, was the second-least Republican state in 2012 (North Carolina was the least, barely falling into the Romney column). Perhaps the once-solid Democratic South that turned into a solid Republican South with the Johnson-Goldwater election of 1964 is closer than ever to being not as solid as a lot of people might think.

In the meantime, let’s hear it for Nate Silver!


  1. I love "the late unpleasantness" euphemism (don't know how to make the line through it). It gave me a nice chuckle early in the morning.

  2. Hi, Mary Z, it's good to know I made you chuckle so early in the morning. May the rest of the day be equally happy for you.

    The HTML commands for "making the line through" are strike (to begin) and /strike (to stop), put between left and right arrows (< >), similar to making bold (b, /b) and italic (i, /i) and underscore (u, /u).

  3. that silver is my relative on my mom's side

  4. A fascinating chart that reveals a lot about the make-up of the USA. With regard to "Nate Silver!", isn't that what The Lone Ranger used to shout before galloping off into the distance?

  5. Putz, how about actor Ron Silver? Or Canadian ice-hockey player Ron Silver? Or possibly jazz saxophonist Duke Silver? Also, I need proof, not just claims.

    Yorkshire Pudding, you are correct. Every program began with "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty Nate Silver!" Absolutely. At least that's how I remember it.

  6. Well they are the New York Times lol

  7. The chart did indeed enlarge. If you were moving, and had a lot of options about where you moved to, would you give preference to red states?

  8. Snowbrush, I could not get the chart to enlarge on my computer. That's why I included the link to the original column. The answer to your question is "No" but I am curious as to why you would ask it. At this stage of my life, climate and distance from family would definitely be factors, though.

  9. "The answer to your question is "No" but I am curious as to why you would ask it. At this stage of my life, climate and distance from family would definitely be factors, though."

    I would have answered sooner, but I've been sick--lost four and a half pounds yesterday without even having any symptoms other than severe fatigue. I ask because I would never move to a red state, and given your politics, I wondered if you felt the same about blue states. Of course, with me, it's not just politics but lifestyle (more in the past than currently) and my feelings about religion. I left Mississippi in 1986, and I remember all too well what living there was like, so the only way I would consider living in a red state again would be if I were in a liberal area of it. For instance, I've heard that Chapel Hill, NC is such a place as is Lawrence, KS--in other words, university towns. Being feared and hated by people with different views is a common characteristic of our species, but all and all, I very much believe that a conservative religious person will receive better treatment from liberal atheists than a liberal atheist will receive from conservative religious people. With the liberal atheists, there is at least a curiosity (and I generalize, of course) that I found completely lacking among the conservative religionists. If you have any experiences along these lines, I would be most interested in them.

  10. Snow, I've been sick myself, though I didn't feel sick. An endoscopy on Wednesday revealed that I had a bleeding ulcer in my stomach, but it "healed itself" (I know who really healed it). The doctor said I was "very fortunate." Last Saturday for an hour around midnight I thought I was a goner. So I have not been thinking about red states and blue states lately.

  11. "The doctor said I was "very fortunate." Last Saturday for an hour around midnight I thought I was a goner. So I have not been thinking about red states and blue states lately."

    I understand. I suppose your religion was of significant consolation to you, but maybe it all happened too fast. I've wondered how important politics would be to someone who knew he or she only had weeks or maybe a couple of years left to live. I really don't know what hit me, but what with the many drugs I take, there is reason for concern. I'm out of bed, but in pain in various new places and still extremely fatigued.

  12. Snow, it wasn't my religion but God who was of significant consolation to me. When I finally remembered to say to Him, "Lord, would you please heal whatever is causing all this bleeding?" I had the distinct awareness that He was pleased that I asked and it was as though He said "It is done." No, I didn't hear an audible voice. I know that sounds crazy to you, but from that moment things began correcting themselves inside me. I was not surprised in the least when the doctor said "you had a bleeding ulcer about the size of a centimeter, but it healed itself." Do not ask me why that happened and yet thousands of others did not receive healing, because I do not know. One of God's compound names in the Bible is Jehovah-rapha (I am the God that healeth thee, Exodus 15:6), and He did.

    This is a long way from red states and blue states and politics.

  13. "I know that sounds crazy to you..."

    No, I wouldn't say crazy, and I can see how prayer could bring consolation if one believes that there is someone at the other end of the phone, so to speak.