Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Election Predictors?

If you glance at the side bar, you'll know that I'm supporting John Edwards for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. However, I can hazard a guess that his campaign may not make it all the way, even though I think he would be the best person for the job.

Over the past few days, as I've been getting back into current events (it's difficult to be away from the news for a week and then jump back in!), I've noticed that there's a shift toward Hillary Clinton as the predicted winner--in the oddest and slightest of ways.

First I encountered a piece on the Caucus blog run by the New York Times. I wish I could find it again for the link, but dammit, it seems to have disappeared. It talked about an internet polling site that had been the most accurate predictor of elections over the past six years, and last presidential election had correctly called all 50 states' outcomes... based on public opinion alone! In any case, it predicts President Hillary Clinton and Vice President Bill Richardson. (Please send me the link to the article, or the poll, if you know of it!)

Then today, Judith Warner's guest column dissected the parallel world of Fox's show 24. While she speaks about the blurring lines of reality between what happens on the show and in real life, she also points out that some are arguing that the coming presidency on the show of a woman will tip the balance in favor of Clinton.

There is a difference, he suggested, between “24” and real life. “But,” he went on, “I can tell you one thing. We had the first African-American president on television, and now Barack Obama is a serious candidate. That wasn’t going to happen eight years ago. Television is an incredibly powerful medium, and it can be the first step in showing people what is possible.”


Kiefer Sutherland and I may both be silly, but we’re not the only people guilty of blurring the boundaries when it comes to “24.” In recent weeks, a surprising number of journalists have seemed ready to play along with the conceit that the fictional creation of the show’s first female chief executive could actually have some bearing on the American political scene. The Hollywood Reporter, for one, proclaimed this change “could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”


And then, when searching for the link to the Caucus blog, I came across this piece by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post:

Running for the vice presidency is a delicate operation, but Bill Richardson seems to be getting the hang of it.

The New Mexico governor is running for president, of course, but should that fail he has already mastered the first responsibility of the running mate: Don't overshadow the top of the ticket. This trait was in evidence yesterday when Richardson gave a lunchtime foreign policy speech in Washington at the exact moment Hillary Clinton was giving one of her own.

Milbank also seems to think that a Clinton/Richardson ticket is the way to go. Sadly, he doesn't reference my vanished poll.

Certainly I wouldn't mind Clinton in the country's top post, but really, I think Edwards would do a better job (and also give us a break from the political dynasties that have been in charge since 1992!). I'm going to keep my eye out for more on this, but I'd love to hear your comments about media influencing the nomination race.


It was a Kristoff column:

Right now the pundit with perhaps the most outstanding record thinks Hillary Rodham Clinton has the best chance of becoming president, with Bill Richardson enjoying the best shot of becoming vice president.

That pundit is not a human but rather Intrade, a political betting Web site (www.intrade.com) that has regularly proven more accurate than polls and political experts alike. In the last presidential election, it called the winner accurately in each of the 50 states.

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