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Some things

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The atomic unit of politics in President Forever is the state. That is not exactly how things actually work, however.

Consider the following outcome. Playing as Dean, I won West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee by healthy margins; and yet lost North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, and Arkansas by pretty substantial margins.

Tennessee is a perfect example of why the state is not the best atomic unit. Tennesseeans have traditionally viewed their state as being three separate communities bound together - East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. East Tennessee has more in common with West Virginia than western Tennessee; Western Tennessee has more in common with eastern Arkansas than with east Tennessee.

There are several different ways for a Democrat to win Tennessee - traditionally, this has involved running up the score in west Tennessee and cutting losses in East Tennessee (which is traditionally Republican).

But a presidential candidate that can run up the score in west Tennessee would probably also succeed in carrying Arkansas and Missouri - or at the very least making those contests very close. Alternatively, any candidate who did well enough in Appalachian East Tennessee would probably do fairly well in West Virginia and Kentucky.

These regional correlations often seem rather hit-or-miss in P4E, which doesn't surprise me because there seem not to be modeled.

What I think I'm getting at is, there needs to be three levels of simulation and not one:

* Level One: sub-state level (e.g. "East Tennessee")

* Level Two: state level (e.g. "Tennessee")

* Level Three: regional level (e.g. "Appalachia")

Issue and candidate appeal would be simulated at the regional level, with each sub-state being tied to the region it lies within. For example, if Bush won 60 percent of the vote in Appalachia, and Republicans traditionally do 2 points better in East Tennessee than in the Appalachian region as a whole, then Bush would carry East Tennessee with 62 percent of the vote.

The sub-states would then be aggregated to give the state total. If Bush carried East Tennessee (for simplicities sake, let's say all three regions are a third of Tennessee's population) with 62 percent of the vote, Middle Tennessee with 50 percent of the vote, and and lost West Tennessee with 48 percent of the vote, then Bush would win 53 percent of the vote in Tennessee.

For a better sense of what I am trying to get at, see this web site:


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