Election Simulator

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NOTE: This was written back in 1996 with Java 1.0, which unfortunately is no longer supported by all browsers. There should be a big square field with dots and lines, a bar graph to its right, and a few buttons and a text field below them. If only part of it works... well, you can play with that. Sorry if it doesn't work for you.

Our traditional political model maps everyone's position on a line, i.e. "right-wing" vs "left-wing". In reality, many people feel "right-wing" on some issues and "left-wing" on others. A more realistic model maps political positions into a plane, 3-space, or higher ("N-space"), where the number of dimensions is the number of separate issues people care about.

This applet models an election with several candidates jockeying for position to maximize their votes. It's greatly simplified from reality, but demonstrates phenomena that really do happen.

This animated model is based on the following premises:

The big square represents the political positions of the voting public, who are evenly distributed. The colored dots are the candidates. The colored lines divide the square into each candidate's "territory"; they illustrate which voters are closest to which candidates. Bigger territories mean more votes.

Things to do

Things to notice:

Some differences between this and real life:

Program issues:

© 1996 James Marshall (comments encouraged)

Last Modified: January 12, 2007 http://www.jmarshall.com/polisim/