2012 U.S. Presidential Election

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LaserGuy
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:47 am UTC

That sounds like a pretty good system. In Canada, we have a very fast turnaround between governments, but then our cabinet spends six months acting like total idiots until they can learn their files.

[edit]I guess it's a necessary evil in Parliamentary systems, now that I think about it, since the government can be--at least in principle--defeated at any time.
Last edited by LaserGuy on Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:58 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:51 am UTC

You just need an efficient bureaucracy, like Her Majesty's Civil Service.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:59 am UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:You just need an efficient bureaucracy, like Her Majesty's Civil Service.

We do, it's called the civil service system. Merit pay and all that jazz. It's only the top posts that are appointed by the president. The majority of government is the same bureaucrats, it's only a problem that they don't have consistent leadership. Few organizations can function well if the leadership positions are always temporary or lie empty.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby mike-l » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:38 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Well the general pattern is that presidents serve 8 years and are then replaced by someone of the opposing party. But 4 years is a long time, and lot can happen.

Are we really talking about 2016 already?


This is from a couple pages back (but still was posted today, man this thread is active!), but while it's becoming more true, it's not really a general trend yet.

Here's a history of what party was elected president, with the 'general trend' ones bolded
8 years - No Party (Washington)
4 Years - Federalist
28 Years - Democratic Republican
12 Years - Democrat
4 Years - Whig
4 Years - Democrat
4 Years - Whig
8 Years Democrat1
24 Years - Republican2
4 Years Democrat
4 Years Republican
4 Years Democrat
16 Years Republican
8 Years Democrat (Wilson)
12 Years Republican
20 Years Democrat
8 Years Republican (Eisenhower)
8 Years Democrat (JFK/LBJ)
8 Years Republican (Nixon)
4 Years Democrat
12 Years Republican
8 Years Democrat (Clinton)
8 Years Republican (W)
8 Years Democrat - This reign ain't over yet, so no bold :)

Notes:
1 2 Different presidents, Pierce and Buchanan. The rest of the bolds are the same president, with the exception of JFK/LBJ for obvious reasons.
2 The second election Lincoln ran with Johnson, a Democrat, as a National Union ticket, so this one might be 4 Republican, 4 Other, 16 Republican, either way, no bold.

So yeah, 5 of the last 7 party 'dynasties' have been 8 years, but prior to that it was exceedingly rare, with a 20 year reign being the predecessor to this more recent trend.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:27 pm UTC

Granted, but prior to that is a fair ways back, so the political environment has changed somewhat. Certainly, I wouldn't consider the Whig era terribly predictive for modern politics. In addition, 2012 looks to be a little closer in popular vote than 2008 was, so that's additional information that the pendulum may be swinging back again.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby JudeMorrigan » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:09 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Granted, but prior to that is a fair ways back, so the political environment has changed somewhat. Certainly, I wouldn't consider the Whig era terribly predictive for modern politics. In addition, 2012 looks to be a little closer in popular vote than 2008 was, so that's additional information that the pendulum may be swinging back again.

In fairnesss, the economy has been in fairly rough shape for much of the last four years. Not that I'm suggesting it was directly the fault of the president or anything. I remember wondering back in 2008 if the Republicans were deliberately punting with they went with Palin under the theory that the next four years were going to kind of suck regardless of who was president. But while things may have turned away from the worst of the doom in the months prior to the election, I'd have been fairly surprised if Obama had done quite as well as he did in 2008.

None of that is to say that you're wrong, of course. I'm just saying that there are a lot of possible variables.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Wnderer » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

These county maps are interesting.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... TopStories

The country is actually trending more conservative. Just not enough to counter the big turn to the left in 2008.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby clockworkmonk » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

except that map weighs by county, not population.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Darryl » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:33 pm UTC

And if you look at the change since 2004, most of the country is still blue-shifted from there.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Wnderer » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:51 pm UTC

clockworkmonk wrote:except that map weighs by county, not population.

You see a correlation between population density and this map? Sure you can pick out liberal strongholds like NY,LA, DC but a lot of these gains are in rural parts of the country.Rural South, Eastern Arizona, Northern NY... These are demographic changes from Hispanic population growth and increased participation by African Americans.
us-population-map.gif


Darryl wrote:And if you look at the change since 2004, most of the country is still blue-shifted from there.


I said that. There was a big turn to the left in 2008. After that the country started moving further to the right. Whether this a continuing trend or whether the trend has flattened out is a question. It was a victory for the status quo type of election.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:05 pm UTC

Wnderer wrote:These county maps are interesting.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... TopStories

The country is actually trending more conservative. Just not enough to counter the big turn to the left in 2008.


Depends on the scale you're looking at...the country voted more conservative in 2012 than in 2008, that's for sure. However, that's probably attributable to short term back and forth trends that are fairly common. Long term, I don't know that we actually have a significant trend conservative.

On the long term, I think a fairly significant amount of people are cynical about politics in general, and there's a lot of voting against particularly bad options, and getting frustrated with the current party. It's not as satisfying as one ideology winning, but it explains the back and forth much better.

JudeMorrigan wrote:In fairnesss, the economy has been in fairly rough shape for much of the last four years. Not that I'm suggesting it was directly the fault of the president or anything. I remember wondering back in 2008 if the Republicans were deliberately punting with they went with Palin under the theory that the next four years were going to kind of suck regardless of who was president. But while things may have turned away from the worst of the doom in the months prior to the election, I'd have been fairly surprised if Obama had done quite as well as he did in 2008.

None of that is to say that you're wrong, of course. I'm just saying that there are a lot of possible variables.


Oh, it's absolutely been rough. That thought also crossed my mind with Palin's selection. I actually liked McCain as a senator, but the selection of Palin worried me a lot...not only is she the backup leader, but it called into question McCain's judgement on underlings...a rather important part of the presidency. I went from being curious, and very willing to consider a republican vote to absolutely not considering it at all...and I know quite a few people who felt as I did.

However, I think it's more likely that no such grand scheme was in place, and it's simply an unfortunate result of the strongly religious faction having too great a hold on the republican party. Misguided ideas seem to be more likely than a brilliant master plan.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Diadem » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:16 pm UTC

I don't think any republican strategist expected to win in 2008. Everything was stacked against them. No doubt they were hoping for a win, there's always a chance of a major scandal dragging the opposing candidate down, but I don't think any of them were expecting it.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

It's perhaps a smidge contentious, but I really enjoyed Rachel Maddow's bit on Obama's re-election.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:45 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:I know this is an aside (but it didn't seem worthy of a thread in its own right) but why is the presedential transistion period so long. I'm not saying my country has it right (new government in the day after an election normally) and obviously it isn't going to happen now but it just seems strange. Maybe I totally misremember my history but I vaguely thought this had caused problems at least twice (Hoover-FDR and Buchanan?-Lincoln)

NPR put together a really awesome story on this. They talk about all the work the General Services Administration does to prepare for the possibility of a transition before the election. In 2008, the GSA had readied 2 plans, so that the day after the election at 7am, they would be ready to move either Obama or McCain into the transitional headquarters, with their computers, cellphones, cars, etc. all set up for them so they could begin the transition process.

It's kind of a big deal.
Diadem wrote:I don't think any republican strategist expected to win in 2008. Everything was stacked against them. No doubt they were hoping for a win, there's always a chance of a major scandal dragging the opposing candidate down, but I don't think any of them were expecting it.
I think that's true for many of the more moderate and likable potential nominees like Rubio, Christie, and Daniels. They didn't want to go up against Obama, so it was down to an old guy and a bunch of crazies.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:37 pm UTC

So I haven't really been following the elections aside from the actual election day, but could someone answer me why is Florida still counting votes? I know it's one of the most populous state in the nation, but NY, TX and CA all managed. How is it that almost 3 days after the election they still can't say who won?

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:40 pm UTC

Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:So I haven't really been following the elections aside from the actual election day, but could someone answer me why is Florida still counting votes? I know it's one of the most populous state in the nation, but NY, TX and CA all managed. How is it that almost 3 days after the election they still can't say who won?
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Dauric » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:45 pm UTC

Florida's ballot was atrociously long, something like 12 pages with state constitution amendments printed out in full. If nothing else that's just a lot of physical paper to push around while counting.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Garm » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:So I haven't really been following the elections aside from the actual election day, but could someone answer me why is Florida still counting votes? I know it's one of the most populous state in the nation, but NY, TX and CA all managed. How is it that almost 3 days after the election they still can't say who won?


Very few of the elected officials in Florida are actually interested in governance.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby mike-l » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:50 pm UTC

NY, TX, CA weren't close. There's probably a lot of error checking still going on in FL.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Garm » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:NY, TX, CA weren't close. There's probably a lot of error checking still going on in FL.


Error checking that could be avoided if they had a sane system in place.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:12 pm UTC

Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:So I haven't really been following the elections aside from the actual election day, but could someone answer me why is Florida still counting votes? I know it's one of the most populous state in the nation, but NY, TX and CA all managed. How is it that almost 3 days after the election they still can't say who won?


Mainly, it's because of absentee ballots.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Obby » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:34 am UTC

Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:So I haven't really been following the elections aside from the actual election day, but could someone answer me why is Florida still counting votes? I know it's one of the most populous state in the nation, but NY, TX and CA all managed. How is it that almost 3 days after the election they still can't say who won?

So, based on the last 5 or 6 posts, no one really knows.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby mike-l » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:40 am UTC

True, none of us are actually involved in this.

But it's probably all the things, long polls, absentee ballots, and a close race, plus more that we aren't aware of.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:56 am UTC

Obby wrote:
Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:So I haven't really been following the elections aside from the actual election day, but could someone answer me why is Florida still counting votes? I know it's one of the most populous state in the nation, but NY, TX and CA all managed. How is it that almost 3 days after the election they still can't say who won?

So, based on the last 5 or 6 posts, no one really knows.


Mainly, it's absentee ballots

Christian Science Monitor wrote:...
Election officials have reported the combined results of Election Day precinct voting and early voting. And most counties have reported their results from absentee ballots. But a significant number of absentee ballots remain uncounted.

They include absentee ballots from five counties that handed big victories to Obama on Tuesday: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties.

Absentee ballots are also pending in four significantly smaller counties carried by Romney. They are Duval, Escambia, Okaloosa, and Putnam Counties.
...


There are also some provisional ballots to be counted.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

Electoral vote did a very rough survey of pollsters' accuracy in swing states today. Poor, slandered Rasmussen got 50%, while PPP scored 100%.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby iamspen » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:53 pm UTC

So a federal judge is quite unhappy that Ohio Secretary of State violated court orders in an attempt to suppress voters.

http://m.theatlantic.com/politics/archi ... rk/264983/

So that's fun.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby bentheimmigrant » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 pm UTC

In answer to my earlier question... Democrats did indeed receive more votes for Congress.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/0 ... 96978.html

It's incredible how powerful gerrymandering can be. And if this number gets enough attention, hopefully it'll put a significant hole in the claim that the GOP has some sort of mandate to continue obstructing.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Beltayn » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:37 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:In answer to my earlier question... Democrats did indeed receive more votes for Congress.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/0 ... 96978.html

It's incredible how powerful gerrymandering can be. And if this number gets enough attention, hopefully it'll put a significant hole in the claim that the GOP has some sort of mandate to continue obstructing.


In order to evaluate this premise, I'm curious as to the context. How does this stat compare to previous election years? Democrats do well in urban areas, and urban districts tend to be more populous than rural districts, so without that information it's unclear that the statistic really means anything other than "Democrats do well in cities", which was already obvious.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Thesh » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:15 pm UTC

If you divide the districts based on area, not population, you are doing things wrong. But gerrymandering is part of our culture; proportional representation is anti-American.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Derek » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:42 am UTC

Beltayn wrote:In order to evaluate this premise, I'm curious as to the context. How does this stat compare to previous election years? Democrats do well in urban areas, and urban districts tend to be more populous than rural districts, so without that information it's unclear that the statistic really means anything other than "Democrats do well in cities", which was already obvious.

Congressional districts are required to be very close to equal in population. So it's not likely that that is a substantial effect, unless there have been significant population movements in the last two years.

Gerrymandering is a real thing, and it's something both parties do at every opportunity. I would like to see it fixed, but as with so much about the current political system, it's in both parties favor to preserve the status quo.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Beltayn » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:28 am UTC

Derek wrote:
Beltayn wrote:In order to evaluate this premise, I'm curious as to the context. How does this stat compare to previous election years? Democrats do well in urban areas, and urban districts tend to be more populous than rural districts, so without that information it's unclear that the statistic really means anything other than "Democrats do well in cities", which was already obvious.

Congressional districts are required to be very close to equal in population. So it's not likely that that is a substantial effect, unless there have been significant population movements in the last two years.

Gerrymandering is a real thing, and it's something both parties do at every opportunity. I would like to see it fixed, but as with so much about the current political system, it's in both parties favor to preserve the status quo.


Sure, but in practice, if you look at the state results, they aren't anywhere close.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Silknor » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:20 am UTC

Beltayn wrote:Sure, but in practice, if you look at the state results, they aren't anywhere close.


They are required by law to be quite close in population. Are you looking at the number of votes cast? That can vary a ton between district, especially since some races are uncontested (or, in California, the general election can be between two members of the same party). In any case, since this is the first election with these bounds, you'd expect the variations in population to be at their minimum.

The goal of gerrymandering isn't to give your party a bunch of low-population districts and the other party a bunch of high-population districts. The goal is to over-concentrate their voters in a few districts (eg. they have 80% in District 1) while putting just enough of your voters in the other districts to win safely (eg. 55% of Districts 2-4 are your party).

In terms of comparison: In 2010, the Republicans won the House popular vote by almost 7.8%. That gave them 242 of 435 seats. This year, Republicans lost that popular vote by roughly .6% (possibly subject to a bit of change). Yet, they'll get 235 seats, or roughly 20 more than if the House worked on nation-wide proportional representation.
http://election.princeton.edu/2012/11/0 ... democracy/

It's not necessarily the case that all of that is due to gerrymandering. Districts do genuinely vary somewhat in size (I doubt by much in-state, but between states they have to). And the Presidential race may have led some extra Dems to turn out in non-competitive districts.

But looking at swing states, it appears that gerrymandering played a huge role:

North Carolina, which Obama lost by around 2 percentage points: 9-4 GOP
Florida, which Obama won by around half a percentage point: 17-10 GOP
Ohio, which Obama won by nearly 2 percentage points: 12-4 GOP
Virginia, which Obama won by around 3 percentage points: 8-3 GOP
Pennsylvania, which Obama won by more than 5 percentage points: 13-5 GOP
Wisconsin, which Obama won by 6 percentage points: 5-3 GOP
Michigan, which Obama won by 8 percentage points: 9-5 GOP

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/11 ... ty-mandate
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:31 am UTC

Gerrymandering aside, isn't most of the population density variance of districts due to 3 electoral vote states? Or are you saying that districts vastly vary in size outside of low population states?

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Beltayn » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:25 pm UTC

I'm saying that either
A) voter turn-out varies HUGELY between districts of roughly equal population that are immediately adjacent to each other within the same state (which seems unlikely)
or
B) districts are nowhere near equal in population


Take a look at this map. It is the state results for the House of Representatives. I picked Ohio to look at, just for the sake of the argument, but what I am about to illustrate holds true in pretty much any state you look at.

Scroll down to the bottom and select the House results, and compare the number of votes cast in each race:

District 1: 321,813 votes cast
District 2: 320,656
District 3: 263,769
District 4: 290,121
District 5: 330,906
District 6: 299,059
District 7: 308,412
District 8: UNCONTESTED
District 9: 273,607
District 10: 326,245

Since Ohio was a swing state, and both sides were extremely motivated to get voters to the polls for the presidential race, even if their house rep contest wasn't competitive, I think it is reasonable to assume that total number of votes cast in each district is a decent proxy for the number of voters in that district.

So if we subtract the lowest turn-out district (District 3) from the highest turn-out district (District 5), we get a deviation between them of 67,137 votes.

That's a MASSIVE difference. District 5 is more than 125% larger than District 3. And that kind of variation in size between districts can make a big difference in how relevant your assertion about the popular vote works out to be.

Additionally, while district size might be relatively uniform within a single state, they are not necessarily uniform across states.
In Wyoming's one district, only 222,921 people voted. In New York 14 there was a mere 128,370 votes, but there were 296,580 in New York 27.
Or if you want a competitive state, Iowa's two districts had 382,659 and 370,268 respectively, far more than every single one of Ohio's districts.

So if district population varies so significantly between states, and Democrats tend to win the densely populated areas, it follows that they should be expected to win the "popular vote" even if not winning a proportional number of districts without the system necessarily being gerrymandered.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Diadem » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:59 pm UTC

Beltayn wrote:I'm saying that either
A) voter turn-out varies HUGELY between districts of roughly equal population that are immediately adjacent to each other within the same state (which seems unlikely)
or
B) districts are nowhere near equal in population

People are saying that by law district size can't vary hugely. What is more likely, people ignoring the law, or you being wrong about voter turnout?

Anyway, why speculate when you can look up? Though the question is where to look it up. Wikipedia has a list of districts, and that's nice and dandy, but they list all of Ohio's districts as having the exact same population, which seems unlikely.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby mike-l » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:21 pm UTC

Beltayn wrote:I'm saying that either
A) voter turn-out varies HUGELY between districts of roughly equal population that are immediately adjacent to each other within the same state (which seems unlikely)
or
B) districts are nowhere near equal in population

It's mostly A, though your use of hugely/nowhere near are, in my opinion, hyperbolic. Within a state districts have to be pretty close in size, usually within 5% of the average for that state, and even then only with permissable reasons. However this is only updated once per decade, so immediately before redistricting the variance will usually be higher.

Between states it's as equal as possible, but as all districts are in a single state, the smaller states end up with a fair bit of variance. The average district size is about 700k, so any state with less population will be overrepresented, and any excess over multiples of 700k has to be divided among districts which has more effect the fewer the districts there are

Nonetheless, most of the population lives in districts within 5% of 700k (I'll edit in exact numbers later)
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Silknor » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:18 pm UTC

Beltayn wrote:District 1: 321,813 votes cast Rep
District 2: 320,656 Rep
District 3: 263,769 Dem
District 4: 290,121 Rep
District 5: 330,906 Rep
District 6: 299,059 Rep
District 7: 308,412 Rep
District 8: UNCONTESTED Rep
District 9: 273,607 Dem
District 10: 326,245 Rep

[...]

So if district population varies so significantly between states, and Democrats tend to win the densely populated areas, it follows that they should be expected to win the "popular vote" even if not winning a proportional number of districts without the system necessarily being gerrymandered.


I added the winner for each of your 10 districts. With the exception of the uncontested District 8 (Rep. Boehner had no Democratic opponent), the two smallest districts were the ones Dems won. They also won them by the largest margins: 68% and 73%. Excluding District 8 again, the winning Republicans had margins ranging from 53% to 60%.

10 districts in what is probably the state most targeted for GOTV by both parties might not be a representative sample, of course. But they fit with a hypothesis that Ohio Republicans, who had control over the redistricting, drew the lines so as over-concentrate Democratic voters in a handful of seats while leaving comfortable margins in other districts for the GOP.
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mike-l
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby mike-l » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

District 3 is columbus, but also pretty contrived in shape, so it may be just an urban-rural thing or it may be gerrymandering. I'd love to see a map of Ohio broken down by polling centre
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sardia
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

Aren't you confusing voter turnout for district population size? We have terrible voter turnout rates, so if one district has lots of old white people, and the other has young minorities, then one district will vote more than the other even though they have equal populations. In addition, what that guy said about census being every 10 years, so you have to account for migration and population growth in that time.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby kiklion » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:41 pm UTC

So far, it also seems everyone is ignoring that people may not actually be voting along party lines.

Romney lost a lot of votes for wanting to seemingly bring theology into politics. Many people who may believe in Romney's tax plan, left him because of his view on civil rights. Republicans and Democrats are only two parties competing for a position that covers a wide swath of aspects. Romney could have lost many votes due to his extreme views, that local republicans did not share, allowing the voter to support the local republican and not Romney.


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