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Old 09-19-2019, 09:06 AM
Paul in Qatar is offline
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Are More Elections Evenly Split Nowaday?


It seems to happen more often than it used to.

Bush/Gore was a tie.
Clinton/Trump was very close.
Brexit was quite close (am I mistaken?)
The last two Israeli elections were ties.

Am I missing any?

Is the this a trend, or is it just observer bias?
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:20 AM
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Sure does seem like a trend. The last time any U.S. presidential candidate won the popular vote by double digits was Reagan in 1984. Since then, the winner has never exceeded the loser's popular vote by more than 7%. No Republican has won the presidency since 2000 by anything other than a very, very thin margin (twice losing the popular vote.)

I think it is because the trend of "hugely popular candidates" is over. Today we are in a more bitter, negative, unhappy world. No matter how well an incumbent performs, it's not going to be enough to ensure a landslide reelection or trend of continuous reelections.
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:25 AM
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Here's a good graph of the US presidential elections by popular vote:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...Presidents.png

1876-1900 looks very much like today.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:03 PM
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I'd say observer bias. Five data points plucked from every national election in the entire world over the last 20 years? How many elections were held in that time (even dismissing the ones that were close if the winner got less than 99%)? A thousand? Ten thousand?

And if you found the answer to that, you'd then have to look at all the elections for previous twenty-year periods to see if a dramatic change has occurred.

May it has. Maybe it hasn't. It would take a massive research project to have the faintest idea of the truth. Data points won't cut it.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
I'd say observer bias. Five data points plucked from every national election in the entire world over the last 20 years? How many elections were held in that time (even dismissing the ones that were close if the winner got less than 99%)? A thousand? Ten thousand?

And if you found the answer to that, you'd then have to look at all the elections for previous twenty-year periods to see if a dramatic change has occurred.

May it has. Maybe it hasn't. It would take a massive research project to have the faintest idea of the truth. Data points won't cut it.
About world elections, it would take an exhaustive effort. But the OP is absolutely right about American elections. Things have become far more baked and hardened. Decades ago, it was possible for one candidate to win in an absolute rout in the Electoral College - look at Nixon and Reagan each carrying 49 states and surpassing 500 Electoral votes. Now, it is virtually impossible for any presidential candidate to surpass a 380-EV ceiling (nobody's gone past that since the Cold War era) no matter how popular he may be.

Decades ago, Reagan was able to win Hawaii, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, etc. Now there's no way Trump or any Republican can take those states. Likewise, no Democratic candidate is going to win Oklahoma, Wyoming, Montana or Mississippi anytime soon, if ever. Politics has become far more entrenched, polarized and hardened - and that's why it's so much more 50-50 now.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:46 PM
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Kennedy/Nixon in 1960 and Nixon/Humphrey in 1968 were so close that the winner couldn't be called until the next day. People stayed up all night watching the results trickle in.

Truman's victory in 1948 was an utter surprise to everyone, including him.

Wilson went to bed on the night of the 1916 election assuming he had lost to Hughes.

Harrison lost the popular vote to Cleveland in 1888 but still beat him.

Hayes won by one electoral vote after the Corrupt Bargain ended Reconstruction.

Jackson had a lower number of electoral votes in 1824 than Adams but won in the House of Representatives.

The OP asked if close elections were something new. They aren't. There have been many in U.S. history.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:40 PM
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Thank you all.
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:22 PM
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I've wondered about this, but it only seems to apply on teh national level.

Lots of state and local elections are very lopsided. Rural areas are very red, urban areas are very blue. Rural states have lopsided republican state legislatures while urban states have lopsided democratic legislatures. Around 75% of state legislature seats in California are held by democrats for example.

However things tend to be fairly evenly split on the national level. Not sure why.

I can't speak for other nation's elections.

It could be the way the urban/rural vote is split. Brexit was an urban/rural vote split the same way the democrats and republicans are an urban and rural split.

In France, Le Pen's run was an urban/rural split. I believe whats happening in places like Poland and Turkey are also urban/rural.

So maybe the % of voters who are urban vs rural is about evenly split on the national level in a lot of places.
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:31 PM
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It is as if one thing is increasing and the other is decreasing and we are seeing the moment they meet.
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:55 AM
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It is as if one thing is increasing and the other is decreasing and we are seeing the moment they meet.
The greatest landslides in presidential elections were won by 60% of the vote. That requires only 10% of the population to switch to create a close one. And not even that. Remember that only about 60% of eligible voters vote. About 40% of them on each side are allied with a base. The 20% in the middle are not true independents: they are unaffiliated, apathetic, disinterested, but feel like they ought to vote anyway. Getting half of them to sway according to the current political wind is not a hard task. It has happened about one in every four elections for the entire history of the country.

The demographics in the country vastly favor the left. The Republican base skews older, whiter, and more rural, three segments that are proportionately losing in numbers. In 2024 Texas will go blue (there's a faint chance that it will do so in 2020) and then there won't be a close presidential election for a generation, barring a Depression-level societal catastrophe.

Never predict a trend off of two data points.
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
The greatest landslides in presidential elections were won by 60% of the vote. That requires only 10% of the population to switch to create a close one. And not even that. Remember that only about 60% of eligible voters vote. About 40% of them on each side are allied with a base. The 20% in the middle are not true independents: they are unaffiliated, apathetic, disinterested, but feel like they ought to vote anyway. Getting half of them to sway according to the current political wind is not a hard task. It has happened about one in every four elections for the entire history of the country.

The demographics in the country vastly favor the left. The Republican base skews older, whiter, and more rural, three segments that are proportionately losing in numbers. In 2024 Texas will go blue (there's a faint chance that it will do so in 2020) and then there won't be a close presidential election for a generation, barring a Depression-level societal catastrophe.

Never predict a trend off of two data points.
Demographics do favor the left, but there is a concern that as whites become a smaller and smaller % of the country that they as a whole become more radicalized and right wing.

In the 2016 presidential election, whites w/o college preferred the GOP by a 40 point margin. White men w/o college preferred the GOP about 3-1. A 3-1 margin is about the margin that LGBT give the democrats, and larger than the 2-1 margin hispanics give to the democrats.

So we're already at a point where whites w/o college are voting like a minority group, giving one party 40+ margins in elections.

Can they move further to the right? Who knows. I mentioned in another thread that white women w/o college are moving left, but white men w/o college if anything have moved even further to the right.

Whites with college seem to be getting disgusted by Trumpism, which is just a PC term for reactionary, proto-fascist white nationalism. Some polls show college educated white women preferring the democrat in 2020 by a 2:1 margin, and white men with a college degree having a slight democratic preference. But there is a risk that they'll just move back to the right in 2024.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 09-20-2019 at 04:40 PM.
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