I’m curious how you chose the coefficients in your score. It doesn’t make much difference since it’s a linear transform (and monotonocally increasing), but why not normalize them? Also, did you say that there were other measures in the data set than the ones you used here? If there were several,you could choose based on Principal Components and be more likely of getting meaningful (whatever that means) results.
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I like your article, and especially like the topic. The Electoral College gets a lot of attention every four years, most of it bad. Your analysis is just a bit off if you used the state population from the cited Wikipedia site. The whole population is used for the apportionment of the house, but when computing vote power you need to use voting population size. The calculations with the complete state’s population does show the relative power per vote in legislative matters. States are Constitutionally guaranteed to have three electoral votes each. Those are the five smallest states, and one *could* make a case that they shouldn’t be included since they don’t have a large enough population to participate in the apportionment process. The others, though, have varying per-person power in everything that comes before the House Representatives. The way we apportion the house (which has changed over our history, but that’s another story) essentially figures out *exactly* how May representatives each state should have. By computing the exact number, we’ll, the math doesn’t work out “nicely” and there are decimals in every state’s number. Say, for example, that dividing the US population by NC’a population results in 13.08 representatives and PA has 17.81 representatives. If we could give 13.08 and 17.81 representatives, all voters would have the same power. Well, we can’t have fractional representatives, so each state gets the number of representatives when you round down the calculated number. Doing that leaves us with fewer that 335 representatives apportioned. So, there has to be a method for doling them out that is somehow fair to the states. One way is to see how close a state was to being rounded u there than down. PA in our example is really close to 18, so they get one more representative. That process is repeated for all the states until all 335 are assigned. (It’s slightly more complicated—only slightly—because they don’t use our typical rounding rules. The method we use is called the Huntington-Hill method which uses the geometric mean of your representative possibilities—-13 and 14 for NC, 17 and 18 for PA in our example). Our current apportionment method is optimized to make sure that states that most deserve the extra representative get them with fewest possible anomalies. ANYWAY, the apportionment is as fair as can be, but for elections, it really doesn’t come into play when computing voting power. States that cast primary votes earlier in the process certainly have huge amounts of power, far more than those who vote later. Party division comes into play too. One other thing your analysis didn’t grab is the fact that all fifty states aren’t winner-take-all. Nebraska and Maine give out individual electoral votes based on district voting, so they need to be excluded from your data set, or included per district rather than as complete states. There are a lot of reasons that the Electoral College is the right way to conduct our one-and-only Federal election. One of them relates to your topic, power per vote. If the candidate only needs to get 50% + 1 vote, then they can be far more targeted in their campaigning. I took a list of all counties in the US and ranked them by population. I started coloring in counties as I accumulated a total, and as soon as I crossed 50%, I stopped. I can’t include a picture here, but you can see the map at https://www.dropbox.com/s/tw16cxc2hoe8p1j/NoElectoralCollege.JPG?dl=0 What does this show? That is, if only popular vote is used, where should the campaign resources go? States like Montana, Idaho, both Dakotas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and others would get NO CONSIDERATION. There’s no county in there that is “worth” winning. Some states (Nebraska et al.) have only one county that the candidate would need. Point is that using strictly the popular vote would mean that huge swaths of the country would have zero power in the election. That probably means that Federal money wouldn’t trickle down to them either—after all, the colored counties are enough to win. Sure, one candidate wouldn’t win them all in real life, but the fact that man many people would have no voice in the election stands. So our apportioned method that uses the electoral college, while not perfect, gives people in every state a voice. That’s a preferable outcome. [If I was a nitpicker, and writing JMP docs for all those years kinda made me one, I’d balk at the longitude and latitude measurements with Alaska and Hawaii dropped into the map without boxes around them to indicate that they’re not part of the axis measurements. Luckily, I’m the most forgiving person you’ll ever meet, so I say BRAVO for using JMP’s capabilities like you did. Clearly you’re thinking the JMP way, and it’s serving you well.
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