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Back in the enlightened 1970’s when I was in college the powers-that-be at UNC gave me a hard choice: They told me I could take either a foreign language or math, but I had to learn one or the other. It was a choice between two poisons. I took foreign language and promptly failed French, Spanish and German.
Two years later I wandered into a required Physics class and learned something that had evaded me through fourteen years of public education: Mathematics was actually interesting. It measured all kinds of phenomenon – like gravity – that otherwise were mysteries. So here’s a look at the mysteries of this election through the lens of mathematics:
4.5 million North Carolinians cast votes.
1.4 million of them – 31% of all voters – voted a straight Democratic ticket.
Another 1.1 million – 24% – voted a straight Republican ticket.
That gave Democrats a 7 point advantage in ‘straight party’ or ‘base vote.’
The rest of the voters, 2 million (or 45%) of the people, ‘split’ their tickets.
Now, Mitt Romney received a total of 50.5% of the vote statewide – so do the math: Out of Romney’s 50.5%, 24 points came from those straight ticket Republican voters and the rest, 26.5 points, came from ticket splitters. So Romney won an overwhelming 59% (26.5 out of 45 points) of the ticket splitters – while Obama won 40.5%.
Pat McCrory defeated Walter Dalton by 55% to 43% – so doing the same math McCrory did even better, winning ticket splitters by 69% to 27%.
Now, when the Republicans in the State House and Senate redistricted they created three kinds of districts: 
.         Type A Districts crammed full of Democrats where the Democratic base vote, the Democratic ‘straight party’ voters, margin over Republicans wasn’t 7 points – it was 14 or 20 points.
·         Type B Districts crammed full of Republicans where instead of the Republican margin being –7 it was +7 or +10.
·         Type C Districts, swing district where Republicans and Democrats (as far as straight party voters went) were roughly even.
Now, this election, if you were a Republican candidate running in a swing district Mitt Romney winning 59% of the ticket splitters’ vote was real good news. Because it meant those same ticket splitters were likely to vote for you.
George Holding’s Congressional District is an example. There were about the same number of Republican and Democratic straight ticket voters but the ticket splitters were voting over 60% for Romney – so they were inclined to vote for George too.
That’s one reason Richard Hudson, Mark Meadows and George won their races for Congress. And it’s a big reason Republicans swept almost every swing district in the State House and Senate. More important, it’s an example of how mathematics clarifies mysteries



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7 comments on “Clarifying Mysteries

  1. clarence swinney says:

    Professor Dan Ariely and associate of Duke University
    posed to 5,000 the distribution of wealth in Sweden and America.
    Over 90 percent chose Sweden. A socialist nation with great Equality.
    The question is—with this overwhelming choice for greater equality how can America continue on the path to more Inequality? We rank 4th on Inequality in oecd nations.
    Answer is Plutocracy. The rich rule. Why allow it to continue?
    How can we get Congress and the President to change course? Take money out of our elections is one suggestion. Progressive flat tax by group. Outlaw federal employees from taking anything with a financial value. To offer is to jail.

  2. dap916 says:

    Excellent presentation. You’ve learned your math well, Carter. You won’t get any kind of presentation here against what you’ve said, methinks. Oh…well…you might get some kind of “Media Matters” figures Clarence Swinney gets to present…but, we all know how ridiculous and skewed those are.

    Thanks, my man.

  3. Carbine says:

    What “mystery?” The final results in North Carolina turned out exactly as expected.

  4. clarence swinney says:

    What Happened to America 1980-2009???
    Labor took it on the chin Financials took it to the bank
    Here are awful numbers of our Plutocracy.
    If those numbers do not disgust you are a Republican.
    One family owns more wealth than 90% of families.

    It began in 1981 when Reagan started cutting top rate from 70% to 28%,
    a 60% tax cut for the rich. He increased spending by 80% and Debt 189%

    GW Bush tax cuts with 60% getting 16% and 5% got 48%.
    We borrowed 6100B in 8 years so the rich could get richer.

    Republicans fought to keep 2% tax cut. That 2% own 50% of financial wealth
    and take 30% of all individual income. It includes these incomes in millions-
    4000-3000-2000-1000-500-100-50-10. They need a tax break more than we need jobs and investment in infrastructure.

    Boehner is saying he got a mandate not to raise taxes. Crazy Republican.
    In 2013 budget it projects we borrow 900 Billion. That revenue can be gained via removing Bush tax cuts and cutting tax exemptions for the top 10%.
    We MUST begin to cut the horrid debt that enriches the rich and burdens 80%.
    Get $$$ out of control of government. It can be done.
    In 2009, top 10% paid an 18% tax rate on individual income. Many paid 1% or less of income in Payroll taxes. 70,000,000 workers paid full rate. Top 50% paid a 12.5% Tax rate. 15% more would have balanced our budget.
    Put bottom tax rate at 28% on ALL income.
    clarence swinney political historian Lifeaholics of America burlington nc

  5. clarence swinney says:

    Obama last budget (fiscal 2013) is projected (CBO) to spend $3580 Billion from Bush last budget at $3520 Billion. The budget for 2013 is $3800B. Regardless, each number shows low spending.
    If it is $3580B that is a four year increase of only $60B. Lowest percent increase since Republican Great Depression. Obama put in place a program Efficient Government Spending for each department to decrease waste and duplication. These numbers are so good they look faked . They are unreal after Bush 90% increase in Spending and Doubling of the debt (112%) or Reagan 80% increase in Spending and 189% increase in Debt. These justify a vote for Obama to keep at it. It puzzles me that no one boasted on it in the campaign! The full story is on Market Watch.

  6. clarence swinney says:

    35%=test-treat sexually transmitted disease
    35%=contraception—big abortion prvention
    16%=cancer screen + prevention
    10%=other women services
    3%=abortion education advisory
    1%=other services
    2009—11.4 million services administered
    why would any humane Christian desire to cut off essential life saving services for the poorest amongst thee? Only a Republican ??What would Jesus Christ say????? “GET AWAY FROM ME YOU HEARTLESS ONES”?

  7. clarence swinney says:

    2-08=84,000job losses
    Had Republicans not killed Obama America Jobs Program
    these could have been regained

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