This is my attempt at blogging. I'm still learning about the blogging world, and this is my own personal study hall.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is this a normal election year?

I don't know. Everyone is saying this is the year of the Republican Party. The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats aren't excited and won't turn out, and that the Tea Party is "fired up and ready to go". Over the last few election cycles, though, I've been seeing a trend: conventional wisdom is not what it used to be. We've seen exit-polling that has been at odds with election returns. We've seen wild shifts in polling results. Some have even claimed that we've even seen political pundits with an agenda determine, by sheer dint of their insistence that a close election went the way they wanted it to, the accepted version of the final election results.

Even the venerated election forecaster Nate Silver of fame is going along with the conventional wisdom this year. I know this is a swing year, and that the Democrats, especially freshmen in conservative districts, are likely lose seats. But I have not yet been convinced that this election cycle is going to follow traditional patterns. Even though 538 has an incredibly accurate track record when it comes to forecasting results, Silver is still using, fundamentally, traditional models to reach their conclusions. Yes, he is using new ways to analyze those models, which is what has led to some very different and surprisingly accurate predictions as compared to everyone else, but in the end everyone is weighing polling data that is based on interviews with registered voters.

In this election, the polling data, I feel, is incomplete. There is no way to predict - at this point - how disappointed liberals will act (or not act) on Election Day. The "enthusiasm gap" is real, but how it will manifest itself in the election is, I think, still up in the air. If the liberal base of the Democratic Party is really upset, they would be hurting their own interests by sitting at home or voting for an uber-liberal, third-party candidate. After the Newt Gingrich years, the 2000 election and the Bush years, I'm not so sure they would do that to themselves.

Of course, if people don't feel compelled to act in their own self interest, which is typical of the American electorate, the traditional models will likely be proven correct, and everyone who has been hoping for a revival of the youth vote, of sorts, will be left wondering how they could have gotten all excited in one election and then stayed home in what is essentially the follow-up.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home