Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FLASHBACK: The Math – A few scenarios for swinging the votes!

By Ahmed Afaal

On October 11, 2008 I submitted an article on very simple mathematics of the possibilities for swing votes in the second run of the election. In that I made a number of assumptions that would make the suggested scenarios possible.

Usually simple mathematics works. And in this case some assumptions that I made was true.

Voter turnout:

The most important assumption that I made was that voter turnout should be as high as that of the first run. In the first run the total turnout was 176,567 voters. This time around the number in fact was higher at 179,343.

Voter who voted for DRP and MDP at the first round remain constant:

Although this may not be exactly true the following math suggests that it is very close to the assumption. In the first round MDP got 44,293 votes and DRP got 71,731 votes. My calculations were based on 3 scenarios, i.e. 10% swing, 15% swing and 20% swing. I also suggested that it would be difficult to get a 20% swing. (Please read previous article I submitted to this blog for details).

So with a 15% swing my estimated numbers were, 94,889 for MDP and 81,678 for DRP. Of course these numbers are subject to a margin of error. The actual numbers attained are 97,222 for MDP and 82,121 for DRP. For an estimate I would say a close figure. The reason for saying that is if you look carefully, my estimate for a 15% swing resulted in an increase of 12.18% of votes for DRP from the first round. The actual increase is 12.65%. And the rest voted for MDP.


I also agree that all the assumptions that I made in the previous analysis may not be true. But what I see here is that it is important that intellectual mathematical analyses are used by the media and even political parties in understanding the real voting scenarios. I encourage that media and political advisors to undertake such analysis during election times so that more objective ideas maybe obtained about the situations at hand.

Though I am not an election statistical expert, I have some academic background on statistics and also worked a large part of my working like producing statistics and using statistics for planning purposes. What I have presented in the October 11th article and this one are just simple mathematical analysis based on the little statistical experience I have and what I read from the Internet about voting, elections and mathematical analyses elsewhere.

Please do not consider the previous article as well as this article "political" but an intellectual piece of work by an independent (which I am still) citizen of the Maldives.

Note: All figures used for the calculations are taken from the Elections Commission website

This analysis was presented by Ahmed Afaal, for the readers of this blog. He has his own blog (No politics) at As always I welcome contributions from the readers of this blog, which I will publish for the benefit of other readers and to keep this blog rich in content.


Farooq Mohamed Hassan/Xiamen, China said...

Dear Afaal, I saved your earlier anaylysis just to compare it with the actual results on October 28th. I must admit it that your anaylysis turned out to be incredibly accurate. I hope the DRP critics would have the stomach to digest it, now that the predicted event has come to pass. Wondeful work. Well done!

Zulfary said...

And who says you are not an ELECTION STATISTICAL EXPERT...You have shown your expertise again...............WELL DONE

Anonymous said...

I am not going to discredit your ability with numbers and statistics. The point I am going to make maybe best illustrated with an example. If you are looking at the horizon standing at Artificial beach, you will see the sky meets the earth/sea, not even a hairline. In actual fact it can teh the furthest apart, we Maldivians have a saying, that 'udaa bimaa haa thafaathe'. So I find a bit difficult to digest the meanings the statisticians put to numbers. The numbers mean nothing, its the meanings that we assign to it that counts.