Statistics and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Results

My educational background is in statistics, psychology, and computer science. I’m sometimes skeptical about all three. A good case in point is various analyses of the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Here’s a map of election results generated by a researcher at the University of Michigan. It shows results by county where red indicates the county voted for Trump and Blue indicates Clinton. The map suggests a landslide win for Trump.

2016electionbycounty

Now here’s a bar graph that I made which shows results by popular vote. The best information I could find stated that Clinton won 65,844,610 votes and Trump won 62,979636 votes. When I placed the data in Excel and told Excel to make a graph, this is the default graph that was generated:

2016electionpopularbar1

The graph suggests a landslide win for Clinton. But the graph starts the y-axis at 61,500,000 votes. So I told Excel to start the y-axis at 0 and got this graph:

2016electionpopularbar2

The graph now suggests a virtual tie.

Well, the point is that statistics can be made to tell very different stories.

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One Response to Statistics and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Results

  1. Ricky Garza says:

    When you look at anything from a distance it seems smaller, but when your up close you see the truth. Take a picture of almost 3 million people and the truth is obvious. Trump was a loser!

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