What are the Odds of Two Skull and Bones Members Vying for the Presidency?

(Progressive Review via Wonkette)

[We asked readers for the odds of 600 Skull & Bones members of presidential age having two colleagues running against each other for the presidency.]

BPD – Apparently 100%.

MARK MOTYKA, MATHEMATICS LEAGUES – The odds of a Skull and Bones vs Skull and Bones Presidential election, using the numbers you gave for the estimate, would be the sqare of (600/146,000,000), or about one chance in 59,211,111,111. However, there is a glitch: since one of the two Bonesmen was already appointed to the position by the SCOTUS, we have a conditional probability for this particular election. That is, one of the candidates WILL be a Bonesman. In this particular case, the odds that Bush would run against another bonesman would be 600/146,000,000, or about one chance in 243,333. All of the above assumes the usual two candidate duopoly that our media so happily reinforces. Should Americans have a choice of more then than two presidential candidates, the odds are considerably lower.

EDDIE M. ABBOTT, M.D. – 1 chance in 60 billion. Pretty unlikely. But you also need to factor in the increased likelihood of a Yale graduate being president when compared to an Arkansas high school dropout. Don’t know how to do that.

RUTH ROWAN MA – Random chance of two skull and bones members running for president is in one in 59 billion ((600/146million)squared). But Gide would tell you to doubt that.

YALE PROFESSOR OF STATISTICS – What appears straightforward may not always be so. There are many assumptions one must make to proceed with the problem. If we impose very naive assumptions such that (i) party affiliation is not an issue, (ii) that each age-eligible person in Skull & Bones is just as likely as any other to run for president, and, (iii) more generally, we assume each age-eligible person in the overall population is just as likely as one another to run for president, then we proceed as follows. We sample two people to run for president from the overall age-eligible population at random, and see if both of them are from Skull & Bones. This is an example of a hypergeometric probability, and the answer is: 1.686043e-011

That is a VERY SMALL probability. We can add additional assumptions that take away some of the randomness of the above selection process (thereby, making the calculations more difficult), as we would certainly think that there is a greater probability that individuals from Skull & Bones would run for president versus a general age-eligible person in the entire population.

Well, that settles that question. Now who wants to be the first to throw the “c”-word around? Oh CBS! E tu?

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