Patterico's Pontifications

11/23/2013

More Analysis

Filed under: — Patterico @ 5:45 pm

I thought this was a bit much for the main post but wanted to spin it out, and not just in a comment.

Let’s say someone wanted to analyze the chances that your vote would be the deciding vote in an election, as applied mathemetics professor David Aldous does on this page. The question Professor Aldous sets out to answer is: what are the chances that you will be on the winning side, and that the winning side won by one vote:

To start one needs to be fussy about what “deciding vote” means; the question suggests the possibility the candidate you vote for wins by exactly one vote which implies, from an egocentric viewpoint (Logically, your vote was really no more decisive that anyone else’s, and the concept of “deciding vote” makes no sense; I am however sticking with the usual illogical interpretation of the question).

Aldous is not looking at the probability that your vote was the last deciding vote, just whether it was the deciding vote in the sense that it was critical to the outcome. That, I submit, is the common usage of the term, and in that sense, Landrieu’s vote certainly was the deciding vote.

One Response to “More Analysis”

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