|As of this writing, the only thing that's 'razor-thin' or 'too close to call' is the gap between the consensus poll forecast and the result.|
Title text: As of this writing, the only thing that's 'razor-thin' or 'too close to call' is the gap between the consensus poll forecast and the result.
In another election-themed comic (this one posted the day after the 2012 U.S. presidential election (see 1122: Electoral Precedent, 1127: Congress, and 1130: Poll Watching), this comic shows a bar graph representing expected (see note below) electoral college votes in the election, including a dotted line indicating the 270 votes needed to win, a span of projections ("Forecast"), and the actual result.
The forecast range is above the 270 line, showing that Obama (the 'Blue Candidate' according to convention since the 2000 election) was always projected to win by statisticians like Nate Silver and others. The only question among these people was how much he was going to win by. By contrast, most of the media was calling the election too close to call, and some news outlets actually projecting a Romney win.
For those unfamiliar with the US Presidential electoral process: unlike other political offices, the election for president is not a direct election. Instead, each state is apportioned a certain number of "electoral college" votes based on population. For the most part (and there is perennial discussion on whether this should be changed) the candidate that receives the most votes in a given state receives all the electoral college votes for that state. With 538 electoral votes total, receiving 270 electoral college votes (269 (half of 538) + 1) is sufficient to be declared president-elect. For this reason, it is possible to have one candidate actually receive more "popular" votes (more people voted for the candidate,) but have fewer electoral college votes, and consequently, why some "battleground states" are so hotly contested.
The electoral college votes are expectations until the official voting in early December.
- Heading: Math
- [Bar chart showing 58% blue and 42% red. Header showing range between 53-63% with heading "Forecast". Arrow below pointing at meeting of blue and red sections of graph with heading "Result"]
- Caption: Breaking: To surprise of pundits, numbers continue to be best system for determining which of two things is larger.
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