What is the probability your vote will make a difference?
One of the motivations for voting is that one vote can make a difference. In a presidential election, the probability that your vote is decisive is equal to the probability that your state is necessary for an electoral college win, times the probability the vote in your state is tied in that event. We computed these probabilities a week before the 2008 presidential election, using state-by-state election forecasts based on the latest polls. The states where a single vote was most likely to matter are New Mexico, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado, where your vote had an approximate 1 in 10 million chance of determining the national election outcome. On average, a voter in America had a 1 in 60 million chance of being decisive in the presidential election.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as ANDREW GELMAN & NATE SILVER & AARON EDLIN, 2012. "WHAT IS THE PROBABILITY YOUR VOTE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE?," Economic Inquiry, vol 50(2), pages 321-326.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
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- Gelman, Andrew & Katz, Jonathan N. & Bafumi, Joseph, 2002.
"Standard Voting Power Indexes Don't Work: An Empirical Analysis,"
1133, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Gelman, Andrew & Katz, Jonathan N. & Bafumi, Joseph, 2004. "Standard Voting Power Indexes Do Not Work: An Empirical Analysis," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(04), pages 657-674, October.
- Aaron Edlin & Andrew Gelman & Noah Kaplan, 2007. "Voting as a Rational Choice: Why and How People Vote to Improve the Well-Being of Others," NBER Working Papers 13562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Casey B. Mulligan & Charles G. Hunter, 2000.
"The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote,"
0025, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Douglas Hibbs, 2008. "Implications of the ‘bread and peace’ model for the 2008 US presidential election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 1-10, October.
- Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1981. "A note on the probability of casting a decisive vote," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 152-162, August.
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