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Quiz: Did This Happen In Russia or A Democratic Country?
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Vile, vile election fraudsters...

Did you know that elections in Britain and the US are marred by mass fraud? At least that would be the inescapable conclusion if they were to be subjected to the most popular methods to “prove” that Russian elections are rigged in favor of Putin and United Russia. Below I have a translated a delightful quiz by Mikhail Simkin, where you have to answer just one question: Did this happen in Russia or in a democratic country?

Some of the following weirdness happened in elections in Russia. They contradict the laws of mathematics and basic decency. They cannot be explained by anything other than mass falsifications. Some of the weirdness happened in democratic countries. They can be explained by natural causes. Can you identify which is which?

(1) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for the winning presidential candidate in their region.





Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

(2) The dependence of the share of the vote for each of two parties on turnout. Each dot represents a region. Each region has a few dozen polling stations, and represents a few tens of thousands of voters. For some reason, the percentage of the vote for Party A grows in lockstep with the turnout whereas the percentage of the vote for Party B doesn’t change.



Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

(3) In one city during the Presidential elections, more than 300,000 people voted. Of them some 97% voted for one candidate, who went on to win nationally (albeit with a score much less impressive than 97%). He got 100% of the vote in more than 15 of the six hundred precincts of the city in question. The biggest of the precincts where he got 100% had 580 voters.

Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

(4) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for the winning party in their region.

Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

(5) The dependence of the share of the vote for each of two parties on turnout. Each dot represents a region. Each region has a few dozen polling stations, and represents a few tens of thousands of voters. For some reason, the percentage of the vote for Party A grows with turnout, whereas the percentage of the vote for Party B decreases.

Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

(6) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for the winning party in their region.

Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

(7) In one region, in districts where turnout was less than 65%, party A got 30%, while party B got 39%. But in districts where turnout was higher than 65%, party A got 46%, while party B got only 31%.

Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

(8) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for the winning presidential candidate in their region.

Did this happen in (A) Russia or (B) in a democratic country?

Turn the page for answers.

The answers are:

1) B
2) A
3) B
4) A
5) B
6) A
7) B
8) B

(1) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for Obama in the 2008 Presidential elections in the state of New York.



This happened in a democratic country.

(2) The dependence of the share of the vote for each of two parties on turnout in Moscow in the 2011 Duma elections. Each dot represents a region. Each region has a few dozen polling stations, and represents a few tens of thousands of voters. Part A is United Russia, Party B is the Communist Party.

This is almost the same graph as the one in Shpilkin’s [famous article about falsifications]. Only difference is that I grouped the data by region, so that it would be easier to compare with the graph for London in No.5, where there is no data at the level of individual polling stations.



This happened in Russia.

(3) In Detroit during the 2008 Presidential elections, more than 300,000 people voted. Of them some 97% voted for Obama, who went on to win nationally (albeit with a much lower score of 53%). Obama got 100% of the vote in more than 15 of the six hundred precincts of Detroit. The biggest of the precincts where he got 100% had 580 voters.

This happened in a democratic country.

(4) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for United Russia in Tatarstan in the 2011 Duma elections.



This happened in Russia.

(5) The dependence of the share of the vote on turnout in London during the 2010 Parliamentary elections. Each dot represents a region. Each regions represents a few tens of thousands of voters. Party A are the Conservatives, while Party B are Labour.

This correlation between party vote and turnout in the UK was discovered by Sergey Kuznetsov. I gave a simple explanation for this mysterious phenomenon in this article.



This happened in a democratic country.

(6) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for United Russia in the 2011 Duma elections in Dagestan.

This happened in Russia.

(7) In one region, in districts where turnout was less than 65%, the Conservatives got 30%, while Labour got 39%. But in districts where turnout was higher than 65%, the Conservatives got 46%, while Labour got only 31%.

This happened in a democratic country.

(8) The distribution of polling stations by the percentage of votes for Obama in the 2008 Presidential elections in Washington DC.

This happened in a democratic country.

Turn the page for conclusions.

This quiz does not, of course, prove that there’s no fraud in Russian election. However, it does caution us to take overly simple methods and bold conclusions with a pinch of salt.

In particular – due to the influence of populous sub-groups with their own particular voting patterns – a fair election need NOT have a Gaussian on a graph of turnout with voting share for a particular party. In the US, African-Americans overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party and its candidate; this explains the spikes Obama gets close to the 100% mark. The Detroit and Washington DC results are skewed in particular because they are predominantly African-American cities, plus the former hosts the automobile industries bailed out under the Obama administration.

Likewise, the share of votes for one party having a positive correlation with turnout is not indicative of fraud either. If that were the case, not only British elections would have to be considered rigged, but also those of Germany and Israel.

Now as blog readers will know from previous posts, I do think there is substantial election fraud in Russia: Around 5-7% in the 2011 Duma elections, and 3-4% in the recent Presidential ones. (This far more resembles someplace like Italy in the 1950’s than the US today where I very much doubt fraud is higher than 1%). However, the indicators I used to reach these figures are far more varied and nuanced than the flagrant statistical misuse that the far higher fraud figures like 10%+ are based on.

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. I got 50% right)) What does it about the elections statistically? ))))))

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