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Friday, January 18, 2008

Republican Primary Results Mean Absolutely Nothing Statistically

Republican Primary Results Mean Absolutely Nothing Statistically

by FranG
January 18, 2008


The primaries are up and running, and so far the results have raised both my eyebrows. Because of Congressman Ron Paul being in the race for President, this is truly my first political campaign where I have been truly paying attention, particularly on the Republican side. After three states, which is a small minority of the total, the results convey that we have three major contenders, and three minor contenders. The final numbers from the vote tally of these three states tell a story of inconsistency, and reveal that we in fact have no frontrunner in the Republican campaign; and that the nomination is up for grabs for the top six candidates. Also, because we only have three states officially in the can, statistical analysis among the several states will be nowhere near conclusive until a few more primaries are completed. Given that, let’s take a closer look at the candidates, and the associated numbers from the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan.

Media Frontrunners

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney, has just recently won the state of Michigan and is the current media darling and branded the Republican frontrunner despite Michigan being his only victory. Of the three states which voted for a candidate, Michigan is by far the most lucrative of the three with 60 of the tri-state total of 124 delegates to the campaign. Romney won Michigan with 40% of the vote; McCain and Huckabee trailed in second and third place with 30%, and 16% respectively. With all of the media attention given to Romney, it should be no surprise that his vote percentage numbers have increased steadily by 26% (25% in Iowa, 32% in New Hampshire, and 40% in Michigan) with each passing primary. Romney has an average primary percentage total of 32%, and this amount has a variance of 15 percentage points, or 45% of the average. This variance suggests that Romney could do as poor as 17% in the next primary, placing him on Huckabee’s level, or as high as 47%.

John McCain

John McCain’s victory came in the second primary, the state of New Hampshire, where he received 38% of the vote; the highest percentage total of any candidate in the primaries so far. This coming after a dismal 13% showing in Iowa; where his vote total matched those of the so called bottom tier candidates. But the mainstream media didn’t give up on McCain either. Despite Huckabee surprisingly winning in Iowa, the mainstream media could not stop talking about how McCain had to win New Hampshire or he was finished. And boy did McCain answer the call, by increasing his vote total by nearly 200% from that of Iowa’s. McCain’s numbers fell again in Michigan, but not to his Iowa levels. McCain vote percentage has increased by an average of 52% per primary, the most of any candidate. He like Romney, are the only two candidates with positive growth so far as the primaries progress. McCain’s average primary vote percentage is 27%, with a variance of 25 percentage points or 91% of his average. This variance implies that McCain could potentially score Duncan Hunter type numbers at the next primary but this is not likely though thanks to his mainstream backing.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee is the last major front runner, and he has Iowa to thank for this. Since winning Iowa with 34% of the vote, Huckabee’s numbers have declined significantly. Huckabee only scored 11% in Iowa, a drop off of about two-thirds, before rebounding slightly in Michigan with 16%. Huckabee’s numbers may be the akin to the fact that he did not receive as much media attention as Romney and McCain. Huckabee’s average vote percentage throughout the primaries is 21%, but with a variance of 23 percentage points between primaries from his average, Huckabee current showing, as with McCain, is totally meaningless.

Side Stream Candidates

Ron Paul

Ron Paul is by far the most notable of the second-tier candidates. Of all the candidates, his numbers are the most stable. Unfortunately for Paul, his numbers are on the decline despite receiving a slight increase in mainstream coverage. Ron Paul has so far been the only candidate implicated in a scandal in the mainstream media (the racial newsletter controversy), so I guess you can say that Ron Paul has received negative coverage. Since his respectable showing of 10% in Iowa, Paul’s numbers have steadily declined by 20% with each passing primary. But with an average vote percentage of 8%, and a variance of 4%, he is the most stable candidate in the field. Per the numbers, on the plus side Paul could receive 12% of the vote at the next primary. The front runners with wild variances in poll numbers from state to state, could very well perform poorly in a state that Paul does well in.

Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson, unlike Ron Paul, has received a fair amount of media attention, despite his vote numbers not warranting such attention. Thompson is currently in fifth place in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination with an average of 6% of state primary votes. But Thompson is also the most volatile of all candidates with a variance of 12 percentage points from his average of 6%. This is just about double his average; and as with Huckabee and McCain is totally meaningless. Thompson’s wild variance can be attributed to his respectable showing in Iowa of 13%, but followed up by a 1% finish in New Hampshire. Despite this, the Mainstream media stuck by Thompson and he was able to rebound slightly to 4% in Michigan. Thompson’s primary numbers indicate a decline of 47% for his average vote total with each passing primary.

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani is by far the media darling of the second tier candidates, and receives about as much coverage as the top tier candidates. Giuliani is still America’s mayor, since he was the mayor who’s city was effected by the 9/11 attacks. Ironically with all the media coverage Giuliani has received, the media did not comment on the remarkable coincidence of his receiving 9.11% of the vote in three separate towns in New Hampshire (link). He was the only candidate to record such a number, and did it on three separate occasions. Giuliani, after finishing dead last in Iowa with 3% of the vote, rebounded to a respectable 9% in New Hampshire before returning to the familiar 3% number with his Michigan result. Giuliani is currently in last place with an average vote number of 4%. But with a variance of 6 percentage points, his numbers are also meaningless.


I have concluded that either this country is confused or extremely polarized among states, or something screwy is going on in the election process. The fluctuations are astronomically wild for most of the candidates, with the exception of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. But of these two, one is at the top of the race, and one is at the bottom. And one receives favorable press coverage, while one receives unfavorable coverage. It seems that the media is driving these election results more than anything with the level and type of reporting that is given to candidates. A less likely, although highly probable possibility is outright vote reporting misrepresentation or fraud. As I said earlier, performing statistics on data from only three states will get you results nowhere near definitive. This goes for this entire analysis, but also the analysis and coverage that you have been afforded by the mainstream media. Basically all that has been shown is that this race is still anybody’s ballgame, and any six of the candidates listed above has a fair shot at getting the Republican nomination.

Source data for primary vote numbers are from

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