Friday, November 11, 2016

The Votes Are Still Being Counted

A trap some pundits seem to be walking into is thinking that the vote totals that we see on Wednesday or Thursday will accurately represent the complete vote totals for 2016.  They don't.  Votes are still being counted (especially mail-in and absentee ballots).  These votes won't change the results of key states, but they will have an impact on the number of total votes cast in 2016, which will continue to rise.

Because those totals will continue to rise, we can't compare the totals we have now to the results from 2008 and 2012.  Trying to do that leads to some mistaken narratives.  For instance, the Washington Post published an article yesterday saying that Donald Trump got fewer votes than John McCain and Mitt Romney.  Vote totals on Tuesday night might have shown that, but they no longer do.  According to the latest count at The New York Times, Trump has 60.1 million votes.  Senator McCain got 59.9 million, and Governor Romney got 60.9 million.  Trump is not yet at Romney's totals, but many votes remain to be counted.  (Incidentally, that same mistake was made in analyses of vote totals in 2012: looking at early vote totals, some pundits claimed that Romney got fewer votes than McCain, a claim that was disproved by later, more complete results.)

Along the lines of pundit misperceptions, this piece by Nate Silver on polling and 2016 is well worth reading.

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