2380: Election Impact Score Sheet

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 00:13, 3 November 2020 by (talk) (Explanation: Undoing childish (or leopard/keyboard-like browser pluginned?) changes done in an otherwise thoughtful edit by someone, rather than just reverting.)
Jump to: navigation, search
Election Impact Score Sheet
You might think most people you know are reliable voters, or that your nudge won't convince them, and you will usually be right. But some small but significant percentage of the time, you'll be wrong, and that's why this works.
Title text: You might think most people you know are reliable voters, or that your nudge won't convince them, and you will usually be right. But some small but significant percentage of the time, you'll be wrong, and that's why this works.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by SOMEONE NOT IN ARIZONA. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This comic was published the day before Election day in the United States (November 3, 2020), which features a contentious presidential election between the incumbent, President Donald Trump, and the challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. The United States does not elect presidents by popular vote, but instead uses an electoral college system, with each state getting a predetermined number of electoral votes, and a majority of electoral votes needed to win an election. The previous presidential election in 2016, which involved Trump and Hillary Clinton, was won by Trump, who lost the popular vote by 2 percentage points, but won the electoral vote 304-227 (270 was needed to win the election).

Electoral college votes are distributed based on the population size of each state, with the most populous state, California, receiving 55 votes, and the least populous states receiving 3 votes. Some states, including some of the ones listed by Randall, are considered "swing states", as they are competitive to both of the two major parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

As "swing states" are more competitive, Randall in this comic is encouraging his readers to "get out the vote" and encourage voting among their friends and family who live in 18 states which could affect the outcome of the election. The rest of the 32 states are grouped under the "all other states" bucket, presumably as their election outcome is "safely" for Biden or Trump.

Per many analysts, the state of Pennsylvania is considered an absolute necessity for Trump, and considered very important for Biden. This is why Pennsylvania is weighted the most heavily in Randall's comic.

As shown in previous comics (1756: I'm With Her and others), Randall was a supporter of 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton (who ran against Trump), but this assesment should be equally applicable to supporters of either of the two main candidates in the current presidential race.

The text at the bottom says to post your scoresheet with #Hashtag. The "#" symbol is typically pronounced "hashtag", and so this tag for the scoresheet is nonsensical ("HashtagHashtag"), and doesn't describe anything useful. It also refers to Nate Silver's famous election forecast model at FiveThirtyEight. Randall is urging people to contact Nate Silver to tell him to adjust his model to account for the added votes they have caused.

The title text explains that even if one thinks that their family and friends always vote, or that their reminder to vote won't work, they should do so anyway because of the chance they may be wrong.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Please vote, everyone! #Hashtag. (Unsigned. Whoever you are.)

Cool, how to convince citizens of other countries to vote for this shitsotrm?

I always told myself that if I ever joined Twitter (rather than 'browse-lurked' the feeds of people of interest, as I do now) I would use #hashtag a lot, and other ironic self-referential things in order to stop myself taking it too seriously. Nice to know I'm on the same wavelength with Randall, but now I must further delay my inevitable signing up until I've got something newer and better in mind! 00:06, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

This "as if you voted again!" should not be confused with the stuff that Trump keeps yammering about. :-) BunsenH (talk) 02:44, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

Why is Alaska four points?? 03:20, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

Alaska is only three, but who knows, it's not a close race there according to 538. They also have higher than average voter turnout too. 03:37, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

Not sure. However, according to [wikipedia] they have the 3rd lowest population per electoral vote ratio (of the proper states), meaning that an alaskan vote in theory counts more than a texan one (which has the highest ratio). But don't ask me. I am a European with no big clue about that complicated US election system. --Lupo (talk) 06:29, 3 November 2020 (UTC)
That's ok, I'm not convinced most Americans understand it either. But then, I don't understand why so many Americans think that compulsory voting is un-democratic - particularly compared to a situation where those in power get to deliberately interfere with voters' ability to vote at all. Paddles (talk) 13:23, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

It seems that "538" is a reference to https://fivethirtyeight.com which seems to be a USA election news aggregation website. 07:30, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

0h, and on a second look 538 is mentioned. 07:38, 3 November 2020 (UTC)
Uhm 538 is the number of electors in the United States electoral college, which FiveThirtyEight is named after, so it is not a reference to that program. But the note about Nate Silver of course is about him and his website. --Kynde (talk) 13:22, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

I don't know if Randall knew about or intended the reference, but there is a website http://hashtaghashtag.org/, describing itself as "#Hashtag is dedicated to political analysis and long-form opinion pieces on politics and public policy." Or maybe he just wanted to be a smart-ass with the #Hastag. Bischoff (talk) 07:47, 3 November 2020 (UTC)

Before "Hashtag" existed, "#' was sometimes just called "hash". Once it was combined with a word (e.g. "#blart") and use to tag things like tweets, the combined unit was called a "hashtag" (i.e. a tag containing a hash symbol). At some point "#blart" changed from being read as "hash blart" (essentially reading the individual symbols that make it up) to "hashtag blart" (the meaning of the combined symbols), sort of how "$10" is read as "ten dollars" rather than "dollar-sign ten". But then taking the reading "hashtag blart" and back-applying it to the text "#blart" has produced the use of the term "hashtag" for the "#" symbol. Hopefully this won't go around the circle again and make "hashtagtags".

Really, though, '#' is still just called "hash". The "-tag" part refers to the whole string making up a topic description tag for the comment/tweet/blurb/whatever. "Hashtag" refers to a tag denoted by a hash symbol, and "#hashtag" prompts the system to link the user to other tweets by people discussing adding semantic meaning to user-generated text. Great for those of us who are super into text markup and metadata (though really, who isn't?). Kjmitch (talk) 19:01, 4 November 2020 (UTC)

Printable version

I would argue that the "[Click for printable version]" should be hyperlinked with the link to https://xkcd.com/2380/election_impact_score_sheet.pdf

Let me see if I can do that by myself.

Added an "Actual Effect" column to the table.

Too early to say much about much, but eventually something like "(Pennsylvania narrowly went for) Trump, but did not stop Biden's win" or "(...) Trump, giving vital EVs to support his second term". Conversely, if it ever flips, what it meant for Biden. - I leave the content open to our future selves to fill in, but I suggest short, snappy and factual only, given the prior column's more wordy vague speculation from ahead of time. 15:40, 5 November 2020 (UTC)

Nate Silver

I wonder how many letters Nate Silver actually got following this comic.