Explaining how the swing factor in politics work.

The Chief of Oshkosh today had a post called “Virginia Slims” thinking that what happened in Virginia this November would not happen in Wisconsin.   Well, he mentions a snippet of my post in which Scott Walker may bank off a 30 point swing to win the Governor’s race.  You may heard on the news “Bob McDonnell banked off a 25 point swing to win in Virginia” on November 3rd.  For those who may not know how swing in politics works here is how its calculated.

Simple swing-Governors races, Electoral vote races

The simple swing formula is simply adding the margin of victory Obama won a certian state in 2008 and the margin of victory the winner in the oppositie party had in the next Governor’s election.

Example with Virginia: If Obama won by 7 points in 2008 and Bob McDonnell won by 18 points for Virginia Governor in 2009.  This results in a 25 point swing.

If we want to use this on New Jersey, Obama carried the Garden State in 2008 with a 16 point margin of victory.  This year Chris Christie carried the Garden State winning the Governor’s race by 5 points.  That is a 21 point swing.

So if we take a hypothetical situation for next year with Obama winning Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008, but Scott Walker wins Wisconsin Governor in 2010 by 16 points over Kevin Conroy that could be a 30 point swing.

British Swing formula

It will be a matter of time before Gordon Brown will call for an national election in the United Kingdom next spring.  In Britan there is a swing formula of their own and on the BBC they use this cool gadget called the Swingometer.   The British House of Commons Library defines their swing formula as the average of the percentage point fall in Party A’s share of the vote and the percentage point rise in Party B’s share.   For Example if we use this same formula for the US House of Representatives next year.  The Dems right now hold 257 to the GOP’s 178.  If the GOP wins 40 seats at minimum to win the House this is considered a 10 percent gain for the GOP.   If the Dems lose 40 seats and the majority it is considered to be a 10 point drop.  Using the British formula, this is considered to be a one percent swing by dividing the ten point gain for the GOP by the ten point loss for the Dems.

This YouTube video below explains the cool BBC Swingometer gadget:

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