A couple of style points from AP to remember for the election:
It's Election Day
, capital E, capital D.
Use figures, with commas every three digits starting at the right and counting left. Use the word to (not a hyphen) in separating different totals listed together: Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford 40,827,292 to 39,146,157 in 1976
(this is the actual final figure).
Use the word votes
if there is any possibility that the figures could be confused with a ratio: Nixon defeated McGovern 16 votes to 3 votes in Dixville Notch.
Do not attempt to create adjectival forms such as the 40,827,292-39,146,157 vote
Majority means more than half of an amount.
Plurality means more than the next highest number.
COMPUTING MAJORITY: To describe how large a majority is, take the figure that is more than half and subtract everything else from it: If 100,000 votes were cast in an election and one candidate received 60,000 while opponents received 40,000, the winner would have a majority
of 20,000 votes.
COMPUTING PLURALITY: To describe how large a plurality is, take the highest number and subtract from it the next highest number: If, in the election example above, the second-place finisher had 25,000 votes, the winner's plurality
would be 35,000 votes.
Suppose, however, that no candidate in this example had a majority. If the first-place finisher had 40,000 votes and the second-place finisher had 30,000, for example, the leader's plurality
would be 10,000 votes.
USAGE: When majority
are used alone, they take singular verbs and pronouns: The majority has made its decision.
If a plural word follows an of construction, the decision on whether to use a singular or plural verb depends on the sense of the sentence: A majority of two votes is not adequate to control the committee. The majority of the houses on the block were destroyed.
ratios Use figures and hyphens: the ratio was 2-to-1, a ratio of 2-to-1, a 2-1 ratio. As illustrated, the word to should be omitted when the numbers precede the word ratio.
Always use the word ratio
or a phrase such as a 2-1 majority
to avoid confusion with actual figures. (Be careful; writers will often say a 2-to-1 margin
. But margin
is the difference. So, it's a 600-vote margin
, a 6-to-1 ratio