And Yet the Democrats Aren’t Perennial Winners

9 Jun

I have to admit, not knowing statistics very well, this Op-Ed by Neil Degrasse Tyson made me nervous:

If the general election were held today, Mr. Obama would win 252 electoral votes as the Democratic nominee, while Mrs. Clinton would win 295. In other words, Barack Obama is losing to John McCain, and Hillary Clinton is beating him.

But, oh trickiness, the numbers take some turn in the light of historical context (it has graphs and everything):

As you can see, polls this early are in many cases not even close to the outcome.

I’m sure that Dr. Tyson means well, and I’m a big fan of Nova, but, really, he should talk with some political scientists before glibly writing about politics and concluding, “The political analysts need to take it from here.” We’ve taken it pretty far already, dude! Tyson has every right to speculate about politics–I wouldn’t claim that you need some sort of political science affiliation as a “union card” to do political science research–but it would make sense to ask around a bit, right?

(Hat tip: The Monkey Cage)


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