Tuesday, November 2, 2010

60-40 55-45 51-49

As election day winds down all sorts of statements will be made about the electorate en masse, the people, the zeitgeist, the public mood. I therefore bid you to remember this: an alleged landslide of 60% to 40% is the same as 6 to 4 which means all you have to do is convince one person out of 10 to change their vote and voila its 50/50. Imagine a room with ten people, all you have to do is convince one person who may be on the fence anyway.  A 55/45 split and that one person out of ten sways the election to the other side and that huge 55% to 45% victory switches to a huge defeat (or the defeat becomes victory) and a 51/49 split all you have to do is convince one out of a hundred people to change their vote and its a tie, 2 out of a hundred and the fortunes are reversed.

All of which is to say, anyone who tells you all sorts of amazing things about everybody and the state of the world based on election results, is most likely either guessing, fundamentally wrong, needs to fill up print space and/or airtime or is simply being intellectually lazy or dishonest. Of course they may be right as well. What do I know? I just think in terms of rooms with 10 or 100 people in them....

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