Given that it took 4½ days between the polls closing and Joe Biden reaching 270 electoral votes, you would think that this was a close election. But it wasn’t. It appears that Biden will win by the same electoral vote margin as Trump did four years ago, and in 2016, Trump reached 270 electoral votes in the early hours of the following morning, not four days hence as has happened this year.

I understand why one would not want to count postal votes before the polls close. But I see no reason not to get postal votes to a state where they are ready for counting when polls close. All of the administrative work, such as signature verification and other checks, can be done as votes come in, they can then be put in a ballot box with their secrecy envelopes, and then once polls close those ballot boxes can be opened and votes counted on the night, much more quickly than they were this week. …

With all of the discussion going on about polling, postal voting, legal battles, and various other things, it’s easy to lose track of one pretty straightforward question: what states do Joe Biden and Donald Trump need to win on Tuesday if they want to be President of the United States when we go to bed on January 20?

To put this into context, let’s start by reminding ourselves what happened in 2016. When the faithless electors are put back to where they should have gone, Donald Trump finished with a relatively modest majority in the Electoral College. …

The 2016 election was the fifth time in American history that the candidate who received the most votes in the election didn’t win the Electoral College. This year, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, there is a range where Joe Biden can win the popular vote, while Donald Trump wins the election.

I wanted to explore whether there is a baked-in advantage that the Electoral College brings to one party or the other. I looked at the last half-century of presidential elections, and I’ve compared the nationwide popular vote with the result in the tipping point state. The tipping point state is the state where, when you sort them by the size of their margin of victory, gives the winning candidate their 270th electoral vote. …

It’s being called “Super Saturday” here in the UK. Pubs, hotels, hairdressers, and other hospitality industries are being allowed to re-open. The Foreign Office has dropped its advice against non-essential travel to a long list of countries who seem to have dealt with the virus as well as (or better than) we have. It’s not fully back to normal yet, but it’s quite a bit closer today than it was yesterday.

This is possible because we’ve come a long way in suppressing the virus since the peak of the pandemic. 20 April was the most deadly day in the UK, with 1,173 deaths recorded. Compare that day to more recent figures, with 1,050 deaths recorded in the last nine days combined (24 June to 2 July). And before the government’s large downward revision in number of cases mucked up my spreadsheet earlier this week (bye bye trendlines!), the seven-day moving average of cases has broadly been going down, with fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases a day on average over the previous seven days (the moving average on this measure reached a peak of nearly 5,500 cases a day in mid-April, but given the poor state of testing infrastructure at the time the actual number was probably several times higher). …

Earlier this week, New York State conducted a study in an attempt to determine how much of its population has been infected with COVID-19. Around 3000 people from 19 counties across the state were tested to see if they had developed antibodies designed to attack the virus, which the body will usually develop once it has been infected.

The study estimates that in New York City, the epicenter of the virus in the US, around 1 in 5 people had antibodies in their systems, with this estimate being nearly 1 in 7 across the state. This would imply around 2.6 …

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As we begin to see the first countries in Europe slowly ease lockdown restrictions, the broad European trend continues to be a slight reduction of cases and deaths from COVID-19. In the last week, the death toll across Europe has dropped around 6% compared to the week before. The number of confirmed cases is down around 20%, and even though the low number of cases reported on the 14th (representing those diagnosed on Easter Monday) is cause for suspicion of this being the true figure, the daily average is still around 13% lower when that date is excluded.

It is of course worth remembering that we will not see the effect of any change in restrictions for around 2–3 weeks after the change has taken place, as it can take an average of a week for symptoms to appear, and another week for symptoms to become bad enough to require hospitalisation. …

One month ago today, Italy became the first country in Europe to order a lockdown. Now, with much of Europe ordered to stay home, there are signs that the peak has been making its way across the continent.

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While the day-on-day numbers have been jumping around over the last few days, the seven-day moving average has been staying relatively constant, at around 37,000 new cases a day. This comes as we see countries with an earlier outbreak starting to come down, while countries with a later outbreak still rising.

The pan-European death toll has nearly flattened, with nearly 4,000 people dying with the virus in the average day over the last week. It is looking unlikely that this will have much further to rise, but given the long plateau we’ve been seeing so far in the number of new infections, it is likely that we will see the death toll plateau around this 4,000 a day level for some time. …

It’s been over two months since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Europe. Since then, more and more countries have implemented lockdown measures designed to slow the spread of the virus. But how well are they working, and how close are we to a peak?

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Across Europe, the number of confirmed cases has flattened considerably, averaging around 34,500 a day over the past week. …

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Result of the UK election using First Past The Post

The UK election is now over, and after the Conservatves’ strong victory, Brenda from Bristol needn’t worry about, well, another one. But what if we weren’t using First Past The Post in this country? As ever after an election, we’ll take a look at what could have happened under other electoral systems.

Alternative Vote

The UK held a referendum in 2011 about switching to this ranked-ballot system, and the UK voted by a 2–1 margin against switching to it. …


Joe C

I am Joe. I am a techy at heart, a self-taught psephologist (political number cruncher), a pleasure cyclist, and someone who just calls things as he sees them.

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