Election Day History Quiz

November 4, 2008 at 9:10 am | Posted in Coming Up | 5 Comments

1. 2008 is the first time we have had such a large percentage of people voting before Election Day with as many as 40 to fifty percent believed to have voted early. One state now votes 100 percent by mail. Which state is it? Which state now votes 100% by mail?

2. Today we all eagerly await the results of the latest polls but in which decade of the 19th or 20th Centuries did polling actually begin? In which decade of the 19th or 20th Centuries did polling begin?

3. Since each state has a specific number of electors, the number of electors who participate in the Electoral College changes only when additional states are added to the Union. True or false?

** The quiz deadline has ended. Click the link below for answers. The winner will be announced tomorrow morning on our Post-Election edition of Open Phones**

THE CORRECT ANSWERS ARE:

1. Oregon

2. There are actually three possible answers to the second question that we will accept:

  • 1820’s – between the first known example of an polling was a local straw vote conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824, showing Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 335 votes to 169 in the contest for the United States Presidency.
  • 1920’s – The first large scale poll was conducted via postcards by the Literary Digest
  • 1930’s – widespread polling began in this decade

3. False

**** We had a disagreement over the answer to our second question about in which decade polling began. Our two historians both agreed that most historians generally recognize the poll conducted in 1920 by The Literary Digest as being the first nationally recognized poll. However, we worded the question badly by simply asking in which decade of the 19th or 20th Centuries did polling begin? As a consequence, we will accept answers which include polls conducted in the 1820’s which include a local straw vote conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824. the 1920’s which include the Literary Digest polls and the 1930’s, which are generally recognized as the first widespread use of national polls. ***

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5 Comments »

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  1. 1) Oregon — vote by mail

    2) Polling started in the early 1920’s

    and the HARDEST one (you folks are TOUGH!) –>

    3) The number of electoral votes is set at 538, based on 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate, plus 3 electoral votes for the District of Columbia under the 23rd Amendment. The Electoral College could become larger if a new State were admitted into the union (adding two new Senators and one or more Representatives until the next redistricting), or if the House of Representatives expanded. The size of the House is set by law, not by the Constitution (2 U.S.C. 2).

  2. Arrrgghh… I had them all, except for #2 – my answer:

    1820 – The first known example of organized polling was a local straw vote conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824, showing Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 335 votes to 169 in the contest for the United States Presidency.

    It is true that this was a local poll, and that the first national polling didn’t take off until the 1920’s….

  3. I take issue with the construction of your question to No. 3 that leads to an answer of false.
    The NOMINAL “number of electors” ONLY changes when a new state or territory is added to the Union. The fact the population of a state changes and the electoral votes are re-allocated to each state dependent upon the decennial census doesn’t change the nominal number of electors (538); therefore, (this is a quote from your question) “the number of electors who participate in the Electoral College changes only when additional states are added to the Union.” That’s a true statement.

    The antecedent that states “Since each state has a specific number of electors” is a statement of fact as of now and is irrelevant to the fact that electors WILL be re-allocated each ten years and is unrelated to the normative question of whether the number of electors actually changes or not.

    Had you added the words “in each state” in the second half of the question, I would agree the answer is false; otherwise, the answer is TRUE.

    Enjoyed the show very much. Thanks.

  4. Rick,

    You’ve brought up a good question that has been shared by a couple of other listeners, but I would refer you to the information submitted by Vaughn in the first blog entry above. That’s from the us.gov website, specifically from the FAQ section of the Electoral College page. It states that the current number of electors is set, but that number could be changed if a state is added or if the current number of representatives is expanded as it has in the past. That number is set by law, not the constitution and could therefore be changed. I agree with Vaughn, it’s a tough question. It highlights the fascinating complexity of history.

  5. Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening.

    My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The WFAE people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.

    A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Reggie Drum to congratulate him.

    (BOOING)

    Please.

    To congratulate him on winning the contest that we both love.

    In a contest as long and difficult as this one, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance…


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