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Monday, June 15, 2009

Something is rotten in the state of Iran

If only someone in Ahmadinejad's entourage had had a better grasp of statistics, they might have been able to fake the election results more convincingly.

But when when he wins every city and every province, and garners 70% of the overall vote, it strains credulity. Especially when he won in Mousavi's hometown of Tabriz. Especially when Mousavi held the lead in pre-election polls.

Someone in Ahmadinejad's office should have pointed out, "We only need a plurality to win, so let's just take 50 or so percent of the vote, and give a province or two to Mousavi. That way people will think the results are legitimate."

But whoever had the final say-so decided that there would be no red-states-and-blue-states outcome. Thus the resulting hard-to-swallow monochromatic electoral map.

The way statistics work, results from individual areas all show jagged, uneven results. There were bound to be some areas which went for Mousavi. You only get smooth bell curves and other parabolic distributions when you have extremely large sample sizes. But that's not the way Ahmadinejad rigged it. He seems to have given himself an overly consistent outcome which has all the credibility of his earlier pronouncement that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

So now we have widespread protests in Tehran and elsewhere. Good for the Iranis.

Ahmadinejad's 70% is not quite as much of a joke as the 100% that Saddam Hussein once claimed. But it's close.

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