Friday, August 24, 2012

Catch of the Day

I know it's late on a Friday, but I didn't want to let this pass. Charlie Cook ran a column today claiming that Barack Obama should be toast based on the fundamentals, and, well, Matt Dickinson was all over it:
In fact, those fundamentals – at least some of them – do not necessarily suggest that this race “should not be close.” As I noted in an earlier post, based on second quarter GDP growth numbers alone, history suggests Obama will win a smidgen more than 50% of the two-party popular vote.  True, this doesn’t indicate a landslide victory for Obama, but neither does it suggest Romney should be winning this race, despite Cook’s assertion to the contrary.  
There's much, much, more. For those interested in the "fundamentals" debate, it's a very good primer and a very good state-of-the-race-right-now post. There's really no question about it; the "fundamentals" point to a close race. As I read it, it's a close race with Barack Obama as a slight favorite, but it really is a judgement call on which reasonable people can disagree. But, no, it's not reasonable at all to conclude that the fundamentals suggest a Romney landslide and that only differences in the candidates or electioneering skill is keeping it close. That's just wrong.

The good news is that I think on balance there's a lot more good information and analysis out there this cycle than bad. Okay, maybe that's not quite right, but the point is that there are quite a few people writing for relatively large audiences who get it. Just today, and reacting to Cook, Sean Trende at RCP has a very good post that looks at the economic models, and Jamelle also is on it with an excellent item over at Greg's place.

I'll go with Dickinson's for the CotD, but I recommend all three: nice catch!


  1. This is something I've been saying over and over again. Forget complicated models and regression--we only have so many examples of an elected incumbent President losing, and does anyone really think that the 2012 we're seeing is comparable to what was going on in 1992, in 1980, or in 1932(!) as far as the "fundamentals" are concerned?

    Here's H.W. Bush's term:

    and here's Obama's term:

    I know that's just one measure, and it's not like the economy's great--but again, I really don't think it has to be comparable, and the only other explanation is "ha ha, it's really all about campaigning after all!".

  2. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight

    Understands how to leverage economic fundamentals into an election forecast better than anyone else I know of. He's posted a lot on what is and what is not predictive, and importantly, he understands error bars and how much statistical noise there is in the historical record.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?