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Saturday, June 9, 2007
posted by Justin Hart | 8:10 AM | permalink
Much of what we discuss in the blogosphere about the 2008 election is anecdotal. Of course, when the latest poll clears the wires we wax scientific but the core element of our discussion is usually one of reason, persuasion and argument, not science.

But when you get down and dirty in the academic world… this won’t fly. They would no sooner cite a post from Powerline Blog than they would from Paris Hilton to predict who will win the election.

Recent academic studies have brought to light numerous characteristics to define a classic campaign and possibly predict the outcome of the presidential primary and general elections. Let’s examine 12 of these characteristics in more detail and predict the candidates who have an advantage.

1) Classic “Type of Primary” Influences

Apparently, there are two characteristics that are typically employed in academic circles to assess what influence specific state primaries have on the nomination. The first is the lengthening effect of proportional primaries. The second is diverse voter preference. Let’s take this first element.

Alexandra L. Cooper, a profession of Law and Government at Lafayette University, produced a computer simulation to study these two elements. Her conclusion: “The simulations show that both proportional allocation and more diverse voter preferences increase the number of primaries that must be completed before a single candidate can amass sufficient delegates to guarantee nomination.”

Quick admission here. This is heady stuff and it took me about hour to decipher what Cooper is getting at. Let me translate:

There are basically three types of primaries:

1) Caucus or Conventions (CC)
2) Proportional Primaries (PP)
3) Winner Takes All (WTA)

The Democratic Party has a significantly larger number of “PP” states which indicates, according to Cooper, that their candidates will have to wade through more state primaries before a winner becomes evident. The GOP only has a handful of PP primaries which may indicate that the nominee will be solidified earlier than the DEMS.

For example, the DEMS have set up New Hampshire, Florida, and South Carolina as PP primaries. This means that even second tier candidates have a chance to win a “proportional” amount of delegates.

On the other side of the aisle New Hampshire is the only early state for the GOP that uses proportional delegates.

Then, on February 5th, over 44% of the delegates for each party are up for grabs. For the DEMS, 13 of the 18 states that have primaries on that date utilize PP for their allocation of delegates. Compare that to the GOP where no state uses a strict PP allocation and 10 states use the “Winner Take All” approach on that fateful Tuesday.

The outstanding question is: will this classic characteristic hold true for the election in 2008? Will early wins in IA and NH truly propel a candidate over to Super Tuesday per tradition?

So the prediction I have for this first characteristic: Mitt Romney will likely win the nomination if he continues his lead in New Hampshire and Iowa. Even if only a handful of Super Tuesday primaries go his way… he will win because of the predominate “Winner Take All” approach. This isn’t rocket science but it is science (according to Cooper and her peers).

Next week we’ll tackle the “New Hampshire Effect” in more detail.

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2 Comments:


That's an awesome insight Justin. Looking forward to the next one.



For goodness sakes Justin, here I was just content to wax eloquent in my predictions and you have to go and bring scholarly work into it. How am I supposed to keep up with that?




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