DES MOINES, Iowa — One of the most bizarre details to emerge from Monday’s Iowa caucuses was that in six Democratic counties, the ownership of six delegates was decided by a coin flip.
A single delegate remained unassigned at the end of caucusing in two precincts in Des Moines, one precinct in Ames, one in Newton, one in West Branch and one in Davenport, The Des Moines Register reported.
In all six instances, the coin toss was won by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
There may have been more coin tosses, but those are the ones we know about for now.
Now, get ready to do some math.
In a single coin toss, the probability of calling the toss correctly is 50 percent, or one in two. Heads or tails.
But the probably of winning every flip out of six flips is one in 64, or 1.56 percent.
The online study tool “Coin Toss Probability Calculator” has a really intense formula that explains why, but the bottom line is, the probabilities stack on each other.
You’re 50 percent likely to win one coin flip. But you’re only 25 percent likely to win two consecutive coin flips, because there are now twice as many possible outcomes. So bump that up to six coin flips, and your chances of winning them all are slim:
Clinton’s final statewide delegate count was 699.57, according to the Iowa Democratic Party. Sanders’ was 695.49.
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