Posts filed under “Politics”
Here’s an interesting take from Tom Curry of MSNBC on the various permutations of the electoral college: You may be surprised to learn that the Democrats could win the White House without carrying any Southern states, or that Bush could overcome loss of a key state such as Ohio.
“The Democratic bastions are the Northeast, the Pacific Coast states, and two Midwestern states, Illinois and Michigan. The Republican strongholds are the South, the Rocky Mountain states, and the Great Plains states.” This distribution is apparent in the state by state electoral results of 2000:
The G.O.P. start the 2004 with an advantage: “Due to population shifts among the states and reapportionment, the states which Bush carried in 2000 now have seven more electoral votes than they did four years ago. In 2000, Bush won 271 electoral votes; this year, with the same states he’d have 278.”
Traditionally Democratic states have had slower population growth — losing electoral votes. Meanwhile, Republican states such have gained population — and electoral clout:
A number of intriguing scenarios are feasible on Nov. 2:
- Kerry wins — even while carrying no Southern states.
- Bush wins — without Ohio.
- Could Bush win a second term even if he lost both Ohio and Florida?
- Deadlock scenario: Bush 269, Kerry 269.
This will shake out as we get closer to November. Until then, expect all of the swing States — and even the relatively close ones — to be toughly contested.
Electoral math may hold surprises
MSNBC, 11:51 a.m. ET March 04, 2004
Simple analysis: the 2004 Presidential election will turn on economic issues — notably, jobs.
Complex analysis: While a number of other issues will continue to get media play — the Iraq situation, the National Guard story, Gay Marriage — I’m not convinced that these are outcome determinative. They will very likely reinforce partisan views, perhaps moblilize one side or the other. They may impact some (but not many) swing voters. Perhaps the negative issues softens up the incumbent up a bit, and distracts his team from pursuing their own media agenda.
But none of these are unequivocably conclusive.
Tactical considerations aside, these are not the strategic issues (and I’m all about strategy) which will swing an election. More likely, these issues offset to some degree the awesome advantage incumbency gives a sitting President. But I remain unconvinced they will swing the election.
On the other hand: Two charts demonstrate where Presidential vulnerability lay. The first, from Thursday’s WSJ, shows the increasing job losses in rust belt state Ohio. As much as the Dems would like to blame this on W., its part of a longer term trend going back decades. The past few years do look particularly awful, however:
This is not the chart which will swing the election. Manufacturing jobs have been leaving the Mid-West for a long, long time. And while it probably is not a good election strategy to say, “Hey, that’s global trade for ya!” — just ask Greg Mankiw — this is by no means a new phenomena.
Today’s New York Times has an OpEd titled “The Medals Don’t Matter.” It’s by Jake Tapper, who is a well regarded ABC News Correspondent (formerly of Salon). The article reaches the conclusion that voters do not care about the military service of their Presidential candidates.
To reach this feat of logical deduction, Jake focused primarily on the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Presidential elections (and the 2000 GOP primary), and the Military Service of each candidate.
There are many, many analytical errors in his approach, sample size being the most obvious. But let’s focus instead on a very common logic error which seems to catch most people unaware:
Controlling for a single variable instead of many when analyzing complex systems.
I would be oversimplifying the situation were I to call this error, well, a mere oversimplification. But that’s what lay at the heart of this fallacy: Taking an extremely complex and dynamic issue — who won the Presidency and why — and then boiling it down to a single, and in this small sample, mostly minor issue. The author might as well have based it upon how many letters were in the men’s first and last names.
Presidential victories are the result of a far more nuanced and multi-faceted set of factors. This issue deserves to be examined in far greater depth . . .