# Here’s THE math behind the 2012 presidential race

After all the speeches and campaign ads and debates, politics comes down to cold hard numbers. It always has; it always will.

In fact, when you get right down to it, only one number really counts, and every politician and political strategist knows it: 50 percent of those who turn out, plus one more vote to put you over the top. That’s the goal;, that’s the Holy Grail; that’s the number that your entire campaign strategy is designed to achieve because it guarantees election.

OK, in that one instance, getting the most votes earns you a divorce and an ownership stake in a cable channel that no one’s ever watched. But that’s because the presidency is different. To become leader of the free world, a candidate needs a minimum of 270 votes in the electoral college. Failing that, five votes on the U.S. Supreme Court will do.

Today, with the 2012 presidential campaign at full throttle, it seems as though every political scientist in the country hoping to get on Fox or CNN (which is every political scientist in the country) is out there touting his or her own computerized, highly sophisticated predictive model for how this election will turn out.

While others may have math, I have THE math, in the form of my own statistical model. It has been carefully calibrated over the years to the point that after the fact, it has accurately predicted the outcome of every presidential race dating back to Grover Cleveland. In the interest of transparency, I’m about to let you in on the secret details of how it works:

In my model, as in most such models, we start with the basics: The number of women to whom the GOP candidate’s grandfather was married at any one time, which in this case would be (4). You multiply that by the number of extramarital affairs conducted over a lifetime by the spouse of the current secretary of state (237). (CAUTION: This number could shift at any moment.)

You then add the number of emails sent in the past four years depicting the Democratic nominee with a bone through his nose, which would be 457,283. You divide that by the total number of beers and cigarettes tried by the GOP nominee in his lifetime (2), divided again by the total number of beers and cigarettes consumed by the Democrat (58,399).

You multiply that by the square root of the number of hair follicles transplanted into the Democratic VP (√6,798=83.53) divided by the best marathon time fraudulently claimed by the Republican VP nominee (2.55).

Subtract the percentage of Americans gratuitously insulted by the GOP nominee (47), add the number of times in a best-two-out-of-three match that the First Lady would beat you arm-wrestling (3), and then also add the number of dog-lover votes — in units of tens of thousands — lost by the Republican for transporting an aptly named Irish setter (Seamus) on the station-wagon roof (236.5).

Finally, you add the number of percentage points that all polls but Rasmussen are skewed in favor of Democrats (10). Voila!

You now have the mortal-lock number of electoral college votes that the Democratic nominee will win in any given year.

– Jay Bookman

stands for decibels

September 28th, 2012
1:37 pm

What we really need.

is a mandatory death penalty for sock puppets.

stands for decibels

September 28th, 2012
1:37 pm

juden SHEETZ!!

Tom(Independent Viet Vet-USAF)

September 28th, 2012
1:40 pm

I think I’ll take a break. Looking at the candidates pictures, I’ve come to this conclusion. Obama looks like a guy who has never been in a fight his entire life, Romney looks like a guy who would hire someone to beat you up and Jay looks like he would call his attorney!!

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

September 28th, 2012
1:44 pm

They BOTH suck:

It is what it is ………….. and if Obama wins, our nation will be the worse for it.

Take care !

Brosephus™

September 28th, 2012
1:45 pm

You claim you’re not biased …………. but you’re dripping with it.

You’ve never heard me claim not to have biases. My disagreement with her book has nothing to do with her personally. I am a student of history, and as a descendant of someone who marched in the 60’s for me to be able to vote, I have done very thorough research into the Civil Rights Era. I simply refuse to read something that is garbage based on what is already known and accepted about our history.

Moderate Line

September 28th, 2012
1:45 pm

Jay
September 28th, 2012
8:16 am

Stevie Ray, I haven’t seen a discussion of that, but off the top of my head, I think you could use the following logic chain to justify using 2008 turnout as your model:

1) True, some of the excitement around Obama has dimmed since ‘08, reducing turnout of young and minority voters a bit, etc.

2) However, the electorate has also changed over the last four years, with fewer older voters and the share of minority voters increasing.

3) Therefore, with 1 offsetting 2, the 2008 model is appropriate.

Mixing ‘04 with ‘08 is dangerous, it would seem, because the electorate has seen a lot of changes since ‘04. But again, I’m no statistician and this is all off the cuff.
+++
Fewer older voters? The Demographics of almost every country in the Western World shows an increase in older people. Plus Older people vote in higher numbers. Where did you get such a statistic?

I think any logic in predicting turnout is really just rationalization. Even though polls that show registered voters are probably inaccurate because they do not account for turnout at least there is no manipulation of the numbers. There really is no way to predict turnout because there is very few data points which is what anyone who has had a statistics class will tell your. I personally feel it is better if the polls are close that way both sides are motivated to vote. If one side is way ahead many people may not go out and vote.

They BOTH suck

September 28th, 2012
1:47 pm

Bro

And the truth shall set him free……….

T

September 28th, 2012
1:53 pm

Jay, you are an idiot. Before writing about the electoral college, do a history lesson and understand why it was created. AND I am so sorry that Al Gore lost. Too bad he didn’t create the electoral college like he did the internet, he might still be President if he did. This is again why you are relegated to online blogs, and why no one will ever print an article by you. They are so factually incorrect that even the NYT isn’t stupid enough to print your garbage.

curious

September 28th, 2012
1:55 pm

Skewed intelligence.

How much did VP Cheney pressure the intelligence community to say Iraq had WMD ?

I believe he did, looking to pick up an easy win. As a result, Afghanistan slowly evolved into the mess we are in now.

Flawed intelligence resulted in 5-6000 dead soldiers + countless dead Iraqis/Afghans + Billions wasted + masses of wounded civilians/military = Not Good.

But, most of our military heros here aren’t worried about that; they’re concerned about 4 diplomatic personnel and our “loss of respect”.

If we had that Respect before Obama we wouldn’t have had all those terrorists attacking us since Reagan.

Jumbolisha

September 28th, 2012
2:18 pm

Jay, your statistical model is brilliant. If it can be validated (suggest you have it vetted by other neutral parties like MSNBC and The New York Times) and can reliably predict the outcome of an election there would be no need to hold the actual election. Think of the millions \$ we’d save.

G Mare

September 28th, 2012
5:43 pm

No, Fred, you were not the last to see that; thanks for the link. I was off doing medical stuff most of the day.

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (aka "Knuckle-Dragger")

September 28th, 2012
9:08 pm

This would seem to be a fairly accurate picture of your grasp of mathematics. That’s “OK”, you’re a journalist.

Joel Edge

September 29th, 2012
6:31 am

Ah…humor. Good effort.

saywhat?

September 30th, 2012
9:35 am

I’m so glad that Republicans think the 57 state thing was a gaffe. What they don’t know is that Obama is picking up extra electoral votes from those 7 unknown states, guaranteeing his reelection in November. Its also why the polls always seem skewed in his favor.

Chris

October 1st, 2012
11:55 pm

I should have realized this article would have spawned all of the Romney sycophants who worship the ground his feet never touch. Wake up! The probability of you actually becoming rich is astronomically high.

This spoken by one who came here, *HOPING* this headline meant the AJC would print at least one equation.

icon library

October 4th, 2012
12:55 pm