Unexpectedly Intriguing!
08 November 2005

Virginia offers one of the more interesting elections this year, featuring a potentially close race between major party candidates Jerry Kilgore (R) and Tim Kaine (D) for governor, along with a potential spoiler in third-party candidate Russ Potts (I). For the latest in election news and polling data, RealClearPolitics.com offers the best single-stop source on the web for this race.

The following tool is designed to help predict the winner of the election after the vote count has begun. What it does is really simple - it starts with the votes that have already been counted for the given candidates, then it adds those numbers to the total number of estimated votes cast that are still uncounted. It next determines how many votes it will take for a candidate to win a clear, simple majority, as well as what percentage of the uncounted votes a candidate would have to receive in order to win.

The data in this table will be updated periodically in the days following the election. The initial default values represent the total number of registered active voters (the 4,227,894 in the "other" category), the number of inactive voters (the 219,590 in the "provisional" category) and the number of overseas voters (the 2,626 in the "absentee" category) as of November 1, 2005.

If the tool doesn't have the most up-to-date numbers, you're more than welcome to update it yourself with the latest figures put out on the Commonwealth of Virginia's elections results site!

Update 8 Nov 2005, 7:30 PM EST: 130 of 2426 precincts reporting. Kaine (64,387) leading Kilgore (63,335) and Potts (1,997). Figures unavailable for absentee and provisional ballots, "other" taken as 50% of total registered voters reduced by ballots already counted.

Update 8 Nov 2005, 8:27 PM EST: 1348 of 2426 precincts reporting. Kaine (549,457) leading Kilgore (499,922) and Potts (23,157). Figures unavailable for absentee and provisional ballots, "other" taken as 50% of total registered voters reduced by ballots already counted.

Update 8 Nov 2005, 11:12 PM EST: 2375 of 2426 precincts reporting. Kaine (989,755) leading Kilgore (884,211) and Potts (41,895). Figures unavailable for absentee and provisional ballots, "other" taken as 44% of total registered voters reduced by ballots already counted. It would seem that Tim Kaine has won a clear majority.

Update 9 Nov 2005, 8:30 AM EST: In the end, this race turned out to not be anywhere near as close as the average of polls in the days preceding the election indicated it might be. Tim Kaine won a convincing majority of the vote with 1,971,284 votes, with Jerry Kilgore winning just 907,212 votes and Russ Potts an embarrassingly low 42,919 votes. On a personal note, I really have to compliment Virginia's Department of Elections, who's real-time online reporting of the state's election results is simply the best I've seen anywhere.

Raw Vote Data
Input Data Values
Votes Counted for Jerry Kilgore (R)
Votes Counted for Tim Kaine (D)
Votes Counted for Russ Potts (I)
Uncounted Ballot Totals
Input Data Values
Uncounted Absentee Ballots
Uncounted Provisional Ballots
Other Uncounted Ballots

Vote Totals
Calculated Results Values
Total Number of Uncounted Votes
Total Number of Ballots Cast
Votes Needed to Win a Simple Majority
Percentage of Uncounted Votes
Needed for Kilgore (R) to Win
Needed for Kaine (D) to Win
Needed for Potts (I) to Win
Based on Current Totals, the Likely Winner is:

How to Interpret the Results

  1. If a candidate has a negative percentage, it means that they can actually have votes taken away from their totals and still be able to win a simple majority in the election. In other words, they have won a solid majority and are the clear winner.

  2. If a candidate has a percentage that is greater than 100%, it means they cannot win a clear majority of the vote, although it may be possible to win a plurality of the votes cast.

  3. If the candidates have percentages that are greater than 0% but less than 100%, the race is up for grabs. Polling data for the areas where votes have still not been fully tallied may be used to anticipate who will likely win the most votes.

  4. The candidate with the highest percentage needed to win is the least likely to do so.

While not a perfect tool, Political Calculations' Simple Majority Calculator does offer some insight into how the uncounted vote totals in an election have to break in order for a given candidate to win office.

About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

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