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Dartmouth Study: Minnesota Undervotes Should Favor Franken

Dartmouth professors Michael Herron, Jonathan Chipman and Jeffrey Lewis have put together a terrific study of the recount situation in Minnesota. They suggest that — while many African-American voters in the Minneapolis area may have skipped the senate race intentionally — the majority of unintentional undervotes that will be counted during the recount process are also liable to favor Franken.

We show using a combination of precinct voting returns from the 2006 and 2008 General Elections that patterns in Senate race residual votes are consistent with, one, the presence of a large number of Democratic-leaning voters, in particular African-American voters, who appear to have deliberately skipped voting in the Coleman-Franken Senate contest and, two, the presence of a smaller number of Democratic-leaning voters who almost certainly intended to cast a vote in the Senate race but for some reason did not do so. Ultimately, the anticipated recount may clarify the relative proportions of intentional versus unintentional residual votes. At present, though, the data available suggest that the recount will uncover many of the former and that, of the latter, a majority will likely prove to be supportive of Franken.

The Darmouth guys don’t offer a specific prediction about whether the number of recounted votes is likely to tip the balance of the race toward Franken, but their entire study (PDF) is worth a read.

(h/t Andrew Gelman)

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.