Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Swingometer Isn't Prepared For a Three-Way

The Swingometer, demonstrated here, sounds like a device that might be used by Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery.
The upcoming UK elections are perhaps most important for the return of the best-named infographic in the history of politics: The Swingometer. This is a tool used by the BBC to track the control of Parliament, but it was built for what is in effect a two-party election between Labour and Tories, with the Liberal Democrats as also rans. However, current polling shows the Lib Dems essentially tied with the Conservative Party. But the configuration of UK constituencies are making it difficult to forecast the implications of the Lib Dem surge. If the swing towards the LD's is uniform, the party could end the night with a plurality of votes but only gain a handful of seats. On the other hand, with the right combination of support they could win an outright majority. But The Swingometer has a hard time telling what will happen. It's just not capabale of handling a three-party election.

1 comment:

Briggs said...

You could do three-party elections by suspending it above an equilateral triangle instead of a line. And you could do four-party elections by replacing it with a moving dot inside a tetrahedron. I haven't the faintest idea how to handle five parties, though. Maybe dot trajectories satisfying certain equations of motion?