Case Western Mathematicians Consider the Problems of a Packed Primary
With 24 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president, it may be mathematically impossible for polling to accurately determine a favorite.
That’s the analysis by a pair of mathematicians at Case Western Reserve University.
Alexander Strang is a PhD candidate who worked on the analysis. He points to something called the Condorcet Paradox.
The paradox considers a situation where there are three choices.
“If you do have these cyclic sequences where candidate A beats candidate B beats candidate C who loses to A, does that prevent you from picking a winner? And, in a real election when people’s preferences aren’t drawn at random, with what probability do you end up with a cycle that prevents there from being a winner?”
Strang said things become more complicated when there are more candidates and the probability of determining a favorite decreases.
The study appears on the website The Conversation, which publishes commentary and analysis from academics.