Recount confusion: Senate seat still up for grabs

Categories: Elections

There's just too much speculation and number crunching as the country clings to some sort of politics to keep them excited in what is usually a political lull. FiveThirtyEight first said Al Franken was the "prohibitive favorite" in the recount. Then they said "the evidence points on balance toward Franken being a slight favorite to win the recount".

And now? It's back to a flat out tie. What?

The blog starts digging into the Florida recount hoping to find some similarities to play off of and further analyzes data used yesterday to help predict outcomes:

From our Florida data set, we believe that machine error represents approximately one-third of the total number of correctable errors. That would imply that about 0.169% of ballots -- roughly 1 ballot out of every 600 cast -- will be reclassified in Minnesota. Given the total number of ballots cast in Minnesota's senate race, this translates to 4,835 ballots that will in fact be reclassified during the hand recount.

Would this number be sufficient to provide Al Franken with a victory? It is very, very close. Using the Daily Kos estimate that 52.5% of recounted ballots will go to Franken (after dropping votes for third parties), we estimate a net gain of 206 votes for him, which is almost exactly the margin by which he presently trails Norm Coleman. (The margin is in fact exactly 206 votes as of this writing).

The more that I examine this data, the more I'm beginning to believe that the number of reclassifiable ballots may be relatively low, but that the proportion of such ballots that are resolved in Franken's favor may be relatively high. How these two factors will ultimately reconcile themselves, I don't know.

In other words, no need to speculate. This will continue to be a toss up until the final count is announced after the recount.

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