Nate Silver has a bone to pick with the ayatollah. In his attempt yesterday to quash claims of voter fraud, Ali Khamenei asserted that President Ahmadinejad had won by 11 million votes. "How can one rig 11 million votes?" he asked. That's faulty logic, cries Silver on FiveThirtyEight.com. In the West, it might prove impossible given all our safeguards, but in Iran, it's actually pretty easy. "It is simply a matter of changing numbers on a spreadsheet."
"Under these conditions, it is essentially no more difficult to steal a thousand votes than one, a million than a thousand, or 11 million than one million," writes Silver. Ahmadinejad's supposed winning percentage of 63% seems to be in a reasonable "sweet spot," neither too high nor too low. "That doesn't mean he stole the election—but it also doesn't mean that he didn't."