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More Fun with Numbers: Another (Inflation-Adjusted) Look at the North Dakota Cost Data

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ND.election.costs.1980.2010.real.inf.adjusted.jpg

[Image courtesy of yours truly - click to enlarge]

Last week, I told you about Pew's new treasure trove of election data, starting with the release of some new cost figures from North Dakota from 1980-2010.

Looking at those numbers, I wondered what they would look like if adjusted for inflation; so (on the advice of a Pew data maven) I went to the St. Louis Federal Reserve site to get Consumer Price Index data for the same period. I then entered the figures into a spreadsheet, adjusted all the cost data to 2010 dollars and graphed the results. The blue line is actual costs; the red is adjusted for inflation to constant 2010 dollars.

Pretty surprising, no?

Overall, the graph indicates that North Dakota's election costs have generally declined in constant dollars over the last 30 years.

Other interesting notes - to each of which I ask "why?"

  1. There was a spike in real and constant dollars between the 1996 presidential and state primaries;
  2. The 1996 presidential primary was an outlier in real and constant dollars on the low end;
  3. Costs tend to be higher in presidential years, but highest at primaries in those years; and
  4. Looking at the graph you can see a little evidence of the impact of more than $18 million in federal funding North Dakota received as the result of HAVA - but the effect is not as dramatic as you might expect.

Anyway, these data are fun to play with - feel free to grab my spreadsheet and do your own analysis.

Stick around for more election geekery ... to paraphrase the old Doritos commercials (featuring a young comedian named Jay Leno - whatever happened to him?), crunch the data all you want - we'll make more!

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