Fun Presidential Election Quiz

Chris Kirk at Slate has a fantastic trivia game up based on identifying the electoral map for elections since 1860. If you get enough correct, you will earn sufficient electoral votes to be President (I just barely made it).

Just as a hint, it helps a lot if you know about the history of third party candidates.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

17 thoughts on “Fun Presidential Election Quiz”

  1. Got all 12 — which says 2 things:

    1) I need to get out of the house more often.
    2) It pays to know both 3rd parties and state admittance dates to narrow the choice set down.

    1. Also got all twelve. In addition to 3rd parties and state admittance, it also helps to know that the South was solidly Democratic until 1960. (Except for the Dixiecrats in 1948, I guess.) That immediately excludes a lot of possible choices.

    1. I got 405; I missed at least one because I thought Hawaii and Alaska joined the union a bit earlier than they did. Being able to toss out half the options because you realize which states had joined the union by the year in question is a huge help.

      1. If you were an old guy like me you’d remember when it happened, including some discussion at the time as to how the stars on the flag should be reconfigured.

  2. Well now I feel all dumb about my 405. The admission dates are certainly a huge help, as is the RNG helpfully tossing me six of the ten elections I’ve been alive for, including the unmistakable 1984. Thing I feel dumb about: not realizing that the Republican was going to sweep the South in 1868.

    I respect that they just randomize everything instead of going tricksy, but it’s pretty easy to guess that Barry Goldwater isn’t involved in a race when Arizona hasn’t been admitted to the Union yet.

  3. The first time I got 360 (the map they used for 1860 didn’t look like any map I was used to) and since they randomize it, this time I got 495.

    [‘Obama on the phone in a few minutes.’]

    1. So’s O’Bama’s. That’s why the birthers haven’t found the real one. They’ve been looking in Kenya. Hah.

  4. May I give my 450 electoral votes to Jill Stein? 🙂

    I missed the first one, and then went 11 for 11. I thought the first one was Al Smith since I knew it was lopsided…Wrong. It was 1912, damn those third parties…Oops. I mean, love those third parties.

    And yes, my 450 electoral votes go to Obama if I’m in a swing state or any state where he’s not up by at least 10 points right now.

  5. I got 495, so Slate called me Reagan. I wrote to them and asked them to take that insult back.

  6. I guess I’m a real Prez election geek/nerd; I did it 3 times and got 540/495/540. It does help to know: 1) 3rd parties, 2) date of admittance of various states, and 3) when the south flipped from D to R (or R to D in the case of the 1870s).

    1. Mike — that was my score the first try also. The tip here about state entry (and noticing that Hawaii and Alaska appeared on some maps and not others) was what I needed to advance into Reaganesque territory.

      1. Version 2.0 of the game really has to either have the options for a given map chosen only from those elections in which the union was comprised of the same states, or it has to exclude from the display any states not yet admitted to the union in any of the options available.

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