Less than 1 million people decide the US President

If you, like me, know just the basics of US elections, then you understand that it’s all about swing states. Presidency is decided by the swing states. A swing state is (Wikipedia):

“a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state’s electoral college votes.”

if you win enough of those sates, you win the presidency. How do you determine swing states? You do that based on previous election results. in 2016 the swing states are thought to be: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Altogether, they represent about 150 electoral votes, about half of the ones needed to become president of the United States of America. About 92 million people out of about 323 million.

The US presidency is going to be decided by about 28% of the population (let’s assume the voting population is proportional to the total population). Is it?

Not really The US population is going to be decided by a fraction of that. The turnout of total population for president election is about 40% (wikipedia). So that is about 36 million of the 92. We are not done. If we assume a swing state could be 5% win of one party versus the other (like 53-47, if it was more, it wouldn’t be a swing state!), then we are talking 5% of those 36 millions. We are down to say24 millions.

We are not done yet. Look at counties within swing states, and you’ll find swing counties. Those are the one that might let you win the swing state. Say it’s 50% of them. We are down to 1 million. And I think in reality it is even less than that.

So the election of the president of the most powerful country in the world, the United States of America, with 320,000,000 inhabitants, that decide the future of 7 billion people…. is down to probably just 1 million people, at most. It really is. Like many things in life, you win at the margin, and the margin in the US presidential elections are the swing voters in the swing counties in the swing states.

How do you swing them? BigData and internet are right there to help you.
I’ll let you know how in the next post.

2 thoughts on “Less than 1 million people decide the US President

  1. i agree. the previous election was decided by a few thousands or even hundreds of votes. does that mean that mean that all the other votes don’t count at all?

  2. what about the counting errors? they can be as high as 1 or 2%… we ought to pretend there is a minimum lead or a recount should be done.

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