Tuesday, January 13, 2009

dork meter

Every year the NYTimes publishes a Year in Review quiz that I find utterly fascinating; it's a Brunswick Stew of everything you might find in the news throughout the year. I did all right this year getting 50 out of 118 - I know that might seem poor but you'd better give it a go before grading my attempt. What this entry is really about is the portion of the review that isn't really numbered as a question but merely titled "Red State/Blue State" that asks you to remember two things about the fifty states and the District of Columbia: did it go Dem or Republican in the election and how many electoral votes does each carry. There are two compartments in my brain that gave me serious hope about my success: the 2008 election that seems as if it were yesterday (to include my endless reading), and the game Landslide that I played in my youth. I vividly remember Landslide and all its election iterations -picture a geeky kid memorizing electoral votes even though I didn't know a wit about the Electoral College. It simply seemed like math and a big old conundrum as I was trying to get elected President of Brookside Dr. in Omaha, Nebraska. Right. I tuck into the table, stick my tongue out to enhance my deep thought, and have at it. I'm quite proud of my results - and I'll pass them along since you asked.

1. I got 50 of 51 states (and the District of Columbia) correct on the Democrat/Republican vote. I misfired on Michigan even though Obama won that baby by 16%. I guess I got a bit crazy staring at the table and still had Michigan as a battleground state in my head. That's a bad miss on my part...just saying.

2. I got 14 of the 51 exactly right on electoral votes and 15 within one. Overall, 40 (of 51) of my number were within three. My average miss - on the 37 that were wrong - was 3.08 votes.

3. My biggest gap was NY which I imagined as 47 electoral votes but is actually only 31. I was also off by 8 votes on Texas and Michigan. It seems like once you get into the big numbers it all gets a bit blurry.

4. Having said that, I nailed California and its 55 electoral votes.

Maybe I'll apply to be a political savant - not a strategist - because I'm apparently only good at memorizing inane facts. I bet if there were somewhere I could be quizzed on Monopoly properties, rents, and hotel fees....

If only.

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