Saturday, February 16, 2008

Political Science Academia and the Nomination Races

Far be it from me to introduce political science into all the fun we've been having here at FHQ since the nomination races commenced, but a couple of blog posts have popped up over the last couple of weeks that have caught my attention...and are rooted in professional political science in one way or another.

The first link comes from poblano
, a contributor over at the Daily Kos. Sure, sure that liberal bastion. However, he's put together a rather nice regression analysis of the contest on the Democratic side; isolating a handful of variables that he(?) hypothesizes affect the two candidate vote share between Clinton and Obama. With the ten or so variables included, 95% of the variation in that two candidate vote share has been explained in the contests up to (not through) last weekend's contests in Washington, Nebraska and Louisiana. Check out the link above for the particulars. The interesting part (And you knew we'd get there, right?) is that the results are then taken and used to predict the finishes in the upcoming contests. I like the analogy that Ohio is simply a replay of Missouri with fewer Southern Baptists. I don't know that Ohio will play out like that (a narrow Obama win), but you can't argue with the demographic similarities between the two states. The sense I gathered from the live discussion group last Wednesday was that Obama's chances were better in Texas than Ohio. So it is interesting to see some evidence to the contrary. The polls continue to show healthy leads in both for Clinton (Ohio and Texas via Real Clear Politics).

And speaking of the live discussion group, one topic that was raised this past week was the differences in campaign tactics on both sides if the parties switched delegate selection rules. The second blog post I happened upon this week doesn't address this directly, but it does examine how the delegate count would differ now if the parties employed the delegate allocation rules of the other. The Monkey Cage (Yes, a political science blog from some faculty at George Washington University.) highlights some of these differences (via Michael Franz at Bowdoin) in their post. Obama's lead increases under Republican delegate rules while doubt would be cast on McCain's inevitability had the GOP nomination been waged under Democratic allocation rules.

Let the discussion begin (...on an otherwise slow weekend). I'll be back later with an update on what's been happening in the news during my blogging absence these last two days.


Robert said...

More good stuff! Thanks, Josh. That is very interesting on the difference the rules make in the race. I prefer the Democratic Party rules without the super delegates. Texas and Ohio seem to be Clinton country.

Josh said...

They do and Wisconsin continues to look like it could potentially provide some excitement on Tuesday evening. The withdrawals will be hard to shake over the next two weeks if it isn't. Well, I suppose there are always the debates.

...just not in Wisconsin as we continue to be reminded.

Robert said...

I agree. Wisconsin has a tradition of going against the frontrunner. It may be a long night.

Robert said...


Happy President's Day!

Josh Putnam said...

Happy Presidents Day indeed.