Swing States and Farming

Swing State: The state of being on or near a swing

Swing State: The state of being on or near a swing

This election has been an interesting one to watch – especially since following the analysis on Nate Silver’s 538 blog at the New York Times.  It seems like there are really two different kinds of campaigns going on right now.  (Actually, I’m pretty sure this has been happening every four years – I’ve just been too oblivious to notice).  Living in California, I only see one kind of campaign – a half-hearted attempt from the GOP and Democratic parties to vie for votes, but a lot of political fundraising.  I’m sure that those living in a swing state like Ohio or Nevada see an entirely different election – because this is where the money raised in other states gets spent. 1  All of this makes me think of a national campaign in terms of a RTS video game2 – you farm and defend in one area so that you can fight in another.

Which makes me think, why should I be the plankton?  Why shouldn’t I be the one whose vote is being courted?  And, really, shouldn’t one vote count as much as another vote?  Of these three the less petulant question is about the worth of a vote.  If a presidential election comes down to the opinions of 11.5 million people in Ohio, this means that a single vote cast in Ohio has more of an impact on an election than 300 million other possible votes. 3  So, it seems that although Ohio only 3.69% of the population, their votes mean more than the 96.31% of us.  Fully admitting I have no idea what I’m doing with these numbers, and someone else please correct me, it would seem an Ohio vote is worth 26.10 more than the vote of a non-Ohio voter.

This makes the very cynical part of me want to move to Ohio for six months every four years.  What responsibility and what power!  Imagine being able to cast a super-vote for the presidential election.

  1. Photo courtesy of Bernat Casero []
  2. WarCraft II and StarCraft I being prime examples []
  3. Admittedly, I’m leaning heavily on Google here.  Google tells me that Ohio has a population of 11,544,951 and the U.S has a population of 311,591,917 circa 2011.  Clearly, these are not all people who are eligible to vote.  But, making the totally unfounded and unresearched assumption that Ohio has a roughly similar proportion of voters to general population, we can estimate with wild inaccuracy, or at least flagrant disregard for a scientific method, a rough proportional impact of an Ohio vote versus a non-Ohio vote. []

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