Stanford professor explains why statistics quoted by McEnany in TX SCOTUS lawsuit are ‘incorrect’
The state of Texas is suing four states over the 2020 presidential election: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Their alleged unlawful election procedures are being challenged not only by the Lonestar State but by ten other states who have joined the lawsuit that is headed to the Supreme Court. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is touting a finding by a statistician in the brief who claims that the likelihood of Joe Biden winning the 2020 presidential election is statistically impossible. A Stanford professor is now claiming that is absolutely incorrect.
McEnany focused on a portion of the Texas SCOTUS lawsuit that cited Pacific Economics Group member and USC economics professor, Charles J. Cicchetti, Ph.D. who claimed there was only a “one in a quadrillion to the 4th power” chance of Joe Biden winning Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin based on President Trump’s early lead on the morning of November 4. The number is almost incomprehensible and hits home the unlikelihood of Biden not only being more popular than Hillary Clinton but scoring 15 million more votes than Barack Obama.
Dr. Cicchetti is the former Deputy Director at the Energy and Environmental Policy Center at Harvard University’s John Kennedy School of Government and received his Ph.D. in economics from Rutgers University.
According to Dr. Cicchetti, his calculations show the probability of Joe Biden winning the popular vote in the four states independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion.
After the statistical claim was released and quoted by those such as McEnany, numerous so-called experts took issue with it. They are claiming the analysis behind this statistic is being challenged as the “early lead” cited was only because these four states didn’t count their absentee and mail-in vote until after polls closed while states like Florida counted as they were received. However, it is highly doubtful that an expert such as USC and former Harvard statistician Cicchetti would be so negligent in his calculations.
Stanford Professor Justin Ryan Grimmer is one of the detractors who explained on Twitter his point of view, ending with “I’m frankly embarrassed that such statistical incompetence would appear in such a high profile venue.” Grimmer is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. His current research focuses on American political institutions, elections, and developing new machine-learning methods for the study of politics.
Chances of Biden winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin independently after @realDonaldTrump’s early lead is less than one in a quadrillion:
➡️ 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000
Chances of him winning collectively is “one in a quadrillion to the 4th power”
Texas v. PA ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/tOlgPdai3r
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) December 9, 2020
Both men are experts in their given fields. In the end, what will count here is what the Supreme Court rules.
Texas is arguing that these states violated the U.S. Constitution when they changed voting rules and procedures through the courts or through executive actions. The focal legal point is that these states did not make the changes through the state legislatures as spelled out in the Constitution.
The Texas AG is seeking to block electors from swing states, claiming that “given President Trump’s early lead…on November 4, 2020” the chance of Biden winning “is less than one in a quadrillion”. This claim is based on an embarrassing and basic error in statistical reasoning.
— justingrimmer (@justingrimmer) December 8, 2020
Additionally, Texas argues that there were differences in voting rules and procedures in different counties within the states, violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Finally, Texas argues that there were “voting irregularities” in these states as a result of the above actions.
Texas is asking the Supreme Court to order the states to allow their legislatures to appoint their electors.
I’m sure this claim will now become canon in election-conspiracy media, particularly given that Trump retweeted it. I’m frankly embarrassed that such statistical incompetence would appear in such a high profile venue.
— justingrimmer (@justingrimmer) December 8, 2020
The filed motion includes the following:
“9. Expert analysis using a commonly accepted statistical test further raises serious
questions as to the integrity of this election.”
“10. The probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000. For former Vice President Biden to win these four States collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power (i.e., 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000^4). See Decl. of Charles J. Cicchetti, Ph.D. (“Cicchetti Decl.”) at ¶¶ 14-21, 30-31. See App. 4a-7a, 9a. 11.”
“11. The same less than one in a quadrillion statistical improbability of Mr. Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin— independently exists when Mr. Biden’s performance in each of those Defendant States is compared to former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s performance in the 2016 general election and President Trump’s performance in the 2016 and 2020 general elections. Again, the statistical improbability of Mr. Biden winning the popular vote in these four States collectively Again, the statistical improbability is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.”