Thursday, February 16, 2006

Al Gore: Unelectable? Cillizza: Unreadable?

Chris Cillizza outlines his case against Al Gore as a viable 2008 presidential candidate. His points:

1. Polls say people don't think Gore would make a good president.
2. Gore is too liberal.
3. Gore is too outspoken.
4. Gore is a flip-flopper, changing to suit the political winds.

Well, Cillizza's list surely does contain items that might cause various people to think twice, depending on their motivation for supporting a candidate. But the problem is that as a set they're either empty of content or mutually exclusive. To say that Gore shouldn't run because people don't think he should run is just to notice that many people think he shouldn't run. It doesn't explain why. And to say simultaneously that Gore is too liberal, too outspoken, AND an inconsistent flip-flopper just doesn't make sense. #2 and #3 are assertions of consistency, and #4 is an assertion of inconsistency.

What I take away from Cillizza's post is first a sense that he's too far into the horse race of the election to pull himself out and evaluate Gore substantively. Second, I am reminded that if one studies the political playbook hard enough, it's possible to criticize just about anybody as a presidential candidate. How do you manage to not be consistent, to not be inconsistent, to not be stubbornly principled in an unpopular way, and to not appear pander to voters' desires?

This is not to say that Al Gore is the right candidate for the Democrats. It's just to say that the criteria Cillizza uses to evaluate Al Gore's viability aren't appropriate, at least if one is less interested in Beltway visions and more interested in the capability for substantive leadership.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Joe Biden for President?

I keep hearing that Joseph Biden is a major contender for the presidency on the Democratic Party side. I'd really like to hear someone explain why that is. He's from a small state, he tried running for president before and it didn't pan out, and he's been made fun of for pompous bloviating. So what's the attraction?

Democrats set up a Wiki for 2008 Presidential Contenders

It seems some Democrats have set up a Wiki for 2008 Democratic Party presidential contenders, at which people may post arguments and evidence supporting a case for or against Democratic Party contenders for the nomination in 2008. Being a wiki, this will be whatever people choose to make of it, or choose not to make of it. Interesting.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Political Poetry

Poets for Kerry published little word etudes that are, elliptically speaking, in favor of a 2008 John Kerry presidential bid. It's original if a bit weird. One recent example, about Kerry's jury duty:

A Turning

As leaves fell, Cynthia stood
One of millions in line
To choose the doom of a nation
Fear, not freedom, stood that day

Leaves fell again and Cynthia stood
One of a dozen in a row

To choose the doom of a man
Freedom, not fear, stood that day

One leaf does not make the season
Together they define a fall
One of millions found a reason
To break away in winter’s pall

Friday, November 25, 2005

Irregular Times' Sales of Political Bumper Stickers, November 2004 - November 2005

Irregular Times reports on the geographic distribution of their Election 2008 bumper sticker sales (apparently only to Democrats) from November 2004 - November 2005:

2008 Candidate Bestsellers By State, November 3, 2004 - March 1, 2005

2008 Candidate Bestsellers By State, March 2 - August 9, 2005

2008 Candidate Bestsellers By State, August 10 - November 24, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Daily Kos Releases the Tracking Vote Tally of Visitors

Kos refers to it as a poll that accurately represents the feelings of the "Daily Kos Community," but since people can be shuffled through via exhortations on one candidate's web site, it's really more of a vote that is open for gaming. Still, the ability to game the Daily Kos voting system is at least indicative of the ability of a candidate's followers to effectively mobilize, which has no small part to play in the fight to win an election.

So, with those caveats in mind, here are the results from the past five voting periods, to be read as percentages totaling down each column:

Nov Sept Aug July June

Clark 26 34 35 34 26
Feingold 19 19 16 10 10
Warner 14 4 3 5 5
Edwards 12 10 7 7 8
H. Clinton 6 8 9 10 10
No Freakin' Clue 6 6 9 13 17
Richardson 5 3 4 4 4
Other 2 3 4 4 7
Kerry 2 2 1 2 2
Biden 1 3 3 3 3
Bayh 1 1 1 2 2
Vilsack 0 0 0 0 0

How do you interpret these results?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Diageo/Hotline: Worthless Poll on Republican Presidential Candidates

Today, Financial Dynamics released a poll it conducted from November 11 to November 15 regarding Republican aspirants to the presidency in 2008. These are the results:

"Suppose the 2008 Republican presidential primary were held today, for whom would you support if the candidates were [see below]?" If "All": "If you absolutely had to choose, which one person would you support?" Names rotated. N=326 Republican voters, MoE ± 5.4%.

Rudy Giuliani 22%
Condoleezza Rice 22%
John McCain 21%
Jeb Bush 11%
Newt Gingrich 6%
Bill Frist 3%
None (vol.) 3%
Unsure 11%

Betty the Crow and other bloggers are receiving this poll as if it tells us a great deal, but I don't buy the hype. Look at the margin of error: a 95% confidence that any single actual result for the Republican electorate lies within +/- 5.4 percentage points of the reported result for the D/H sample -- of only 326 Republicans! Jeb Bush's actual support among American Republicans could reasonably (within social science standards) be as high as 16.4%, and John McCain's actual support might reasonably fall as low as 15.6%. With those two overlapping, I cannot trust that there's a significant difference in support between them.

I know that we're all aching for information that tells us something about the 2008 race. But sometimes no information is better than bad information.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Welcome to Election 2008: Tracking the Race for President

Welcome to Election 2008: Tracking the Race for President. This is our inaugural post, so it may help to explain our goals.

To put it in ambitiously brief terms, we aim to become your go-to center for tracking the race for the White House in 2008. We follow the trends in all of the latest official polls in the 2008 race for the Presidency. We will also look at a candidate's performance in primaries when the time comes. Beyond that, however, we also look at atypical indicators of a presidential contender's likelihood of success in the quest to be president: Google ranking, technorati mentions, bumper sticker sales from multiple sources and even more. We do the tracking and gather the political information here so you can follow it with interested ease.

Our secondary aim is to provide links to resources so you can lend support to your presidential candidate of choice. We'll let you know where each candidate's official and unofficial websites are, and erect galleries of election 2008 bumper stickers, buttons, magnets, posters, postcards, and shirts to boot.

We're looking forward to getting started!