Douglas Bailey (trystero) wrote,
Douglas Bailey
trystero

Math is hard. Let's go shopping!

In an article discussing Ralph Nader's electoral run, the New York Times claims that Nader cost Gore the state of New Hampshire in 2000:
Mr. Nader, running as the Green Party nominee, cost Al Gore two states, Florida and New Hampshire, either of which would have given the vice president a victory in 2000....[i]n New Hampshire, which Mr. Bush won by 7,211 votes, Mr. Nader pulled in more than 22,000. National exit polls by the Voter News Service showed that had Mr. Nader not run, 47 percent of his supporters would have voted for Al Gore, while only 21 percent would have voted for Mr. Bush.
But 7,211 (W's existing margin of victory) plus 4,620 (21% of 22,000: the votes he'd supposedly have gotten if Nader hadn't run) totals 11,831 people. And 47% of 22,000 (the people Gore supposedly would have gotten if Nader hadn't run) is 10,340. And last time I checked, 11,831 was bigger than 10,340, even by electoral math. So WTF?

The Florida case, however, works: Nader got 100,000 votes in that state and W's majority was only 537 (according to the Supreme Court). So the 47%-21% split, if true, would have easily handed Florida to Gore, giving him the election.

Still. I expect the NYT to get its math right more often than one case in two.
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