How Elastic Are You?

Posted by & filed under 2012 Election, Role of Independent Voters, Swing Voters



FiveThirtyEight stats maven Nate Silver introduces into the political lexicon a new way to measure a swing state  - “elasticity.” Essentially, Silver’s “elasticity” rating marks how variable  a certain state’s voters are– that is, how likely they are to switch their party preferences from year to year.  The higher the number, the greater the elasticity.

Here’s a full breakdown:

Note (and Silver explains this in depth in the article): the elasticity of a state doesn’t directly correlate to whether it’s a traditional “swing state” or not – it’s more a measure of the diversity of candidates a state is willing to elect. Therefore, it’s no surprise to see five Southern red states with strong social conservative movements at the bottom of the board – these states have consistently voted for GOP candidates.  Nor is it a surprise to see the rabidly Democrat District of Columbia be the “least elastic” state– voters in DC are twice as unlikely to switch their Democratic votes than even voters in neighboring (and extremely reliable Democratic) Maryland.

Is “elasticity” a good way to measure self-identified Independent voters?  Give us your opinion.

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