In Obama and the Palin Effect, Deepak Chopra states,

…On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City…

Now, that was an interesting comparison, wasn’t it? Chopra is arguing that because the number of Alaska’s 683,478 residents is about one-tenth the number of New York City’s 8,274,527 residents, the task of governing Alaska must also be about one-tenth the job of governing NYC.

But let’s take a look at this graphically. Below is a bar-chart histogram which compares both New York City (NYC) and Alaska (AK) with regards to their population levels.


Clearly, the population of NYC dwarfs that of AK.

However, what if we were to look at the size of NYC as compared to that of AK? The chart below illustrates this for us.


So, in terms of area (square miles), Alaska’s size (656,424 sq. mi.) so overwhelms that of New York City’s (469 sq. mi.), that NYC doesn’t even register on the chart. Simply put, Alaska is 1,400 times the size of New York City.

Using Chopra’s reasoning, this must mean that, in terms of area to govern, the job of running Alaska is expanded to the scale of running 1,400 New York Cities!

I wondered how these resource-based comparisons played out when comparing Obama’s state of Illinois to that of Palin’s Alaska. So I did a little bit of research. I found the results interesting.

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