Understanding the NH House Elections of 2012

This piece was originally intended as an op-ed for the Union-Leader. However, they did not pick it up. Therefore, I'm running it here. Why did Republicans do poorly in the last state elections in New Hampshire? There is no shortage of theories, but what has been lacking is any attempt to test those theories on … Continue reading Understanding the NH House Elections of 2012

The Second Term Begins

Today is the inauguration and the beginning of President Obama’s second term in office. Ralph Nader, for one, isn’t impressed with inaugurations. As he noted Sunday: “Tomorrow I’ll watch another rendition of political bulls—- by the newly reelected president, full of promises that he intends to break just like he did in 2009.” Nader might … Continue reading The Second Term Begins

Should State Parties Change Their Names?

In Canada, provincial parties are totally organizationally independent of federal parties and may not even have the same names. Thus, the British Columbia Liberal Party has generally been right-of-center, and British Columbia Liberals tend to vote Conservative at the federal level. Quebec Liberals have generally been more Quebec-nationalist/decentralist than the federal Liberals. Most provinces have … Continue reading Should State Parties Change Their Names?

Puerto Rico Status Referendum

Media are reporting the results of the Puerto Rico status referendum as if the statehood option had won. Now, it may indeed be the case that the resident commissioner will present legislation of accession to the Union in the House of Representatives, but only an oddly structured ballot devised by the pro-statehood party allowed the … Continue reading Puerto Rico Status Referendum

Election Silver Linings

While a lot of folks are disappointed in last night's most prominent election results, there are some silver linings: Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives legalizing possession and sale of small quantities of marijuana. This could be the thin end of the wedge that ultimately dooms the drug war, as the DEA won't be able … Continue reading Election Silver Linings

My Vote and My Pairwise Preference

Following Grover's urging, I'm revealing my vote and my pairwise preference in the presidential contest. My vote in safely Democratic New York is for Libertarian Gary Johnson, but I do have a slight pairwise preference for Romney-Ryan over Obama-Biden. The reason is that while both sets of candidates are equally bad on all sorts of … Continue reading My Vote and My Pairwise Preference

My Election Forecasts — And I’ve Made It Interesting

Here are my prognostications for Tuesday. I agree with Alex Tabarrok that a prognostication isn't worth much if the issuer isn't willing to put something behind it. Therefore, I'm willing to take bets on any of these. Probability of Obama victory: 4 to 1. Somewhere between Intrade and Nate Silver. In fact I tried to … Continue reading My Election Forecasts — And I’ve Made It Interesting

Somin on Romney vs. Obama

Ilya Somin has a detailed and thoughtful post contrasting Mitt Romney and Barack Obama from a libertarian perspective. He comes down tentatively on the side of Romney overall, but acknowledges that more pacifistic libertarians might reasonably support Obama as the lesser evil. The most informative section for me was that on judicial nominations. In particular, … Continue reading Somin on Romney vs. Obama

Further Unpacking Ron Paul’s State-by-State Performance

Per commenter FreeDem's request, here are some other ways to interpret Ron Paul's primary performances in each state, building on the statistical models estimated here. The first exercise is to simulate what Paul's percentage of the vote would have been in each state had they all voted at the same time with the same "institutions" … Continue reading Further Unpacking Ron Paul’s State-by-State Performance

Understanding Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential Primary Performance

After the 2008 primary season, I analyzed Ron Paul's performance in each state to see how institutional factors such as caucus and primary form affected his electoral success. This exercise turned out to be useful for estimating the size of the pro-liberty electorate in each state. In this post, I do the same with the … Continue reading Understanding Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential Primary Performance

An Effective Anti-Romney Ad?

A colleague of mine pointed me to this anti-Romney ad, adding that he thought it was "effective" because of its focus on one compelling story. Have a watch: I did not find it effective. It does focus on one story, and it does make it sound like this person was made worse off by Romney. … Continue reading An Effective Anti-Romney Ad?

Nuts Ron Paul Fans Dis Rand for Mitt Plug

I've been seeing all kinds of abuse being hurled at Rand Paul for his endorsement of Mitt Romney in this year's presidential election. He doesn't deserve any of it. Let's recapitulate some facts for the benefit of blinkered Ron Paul devotees abusing Rand: Ron Paul can't win the GOP nomination. I don't care what Alex … Continue reading Nuts Ron Paul Fans Dis Rand for Mitt Plug

Eurozone Crisis & Obama Reelection/Cross-National Economic Voting Bleg

One keeps hearing that the euro crisis could doom Obama's chances for reelection. (Because, after all, that's the reason we should be concerned about the economy: its effects on politics.) I'm not so sure. Voters are hardly well informed, but if the Eurozone goes into deep recession and the U.S. into a mild one, won't … Continue reading Eurozone Crisis & Obama Reelection/Cross-National Economic Voting Bleg

Public Opinion and the Economy: What are the Lessons?

A new Washington Post-ABC poll focuses on voter perceptions of whether Obama or Romney would do more to improve the economy (poll results here, discussion here). When asked “Who would do more to advance the economic interests of middle-class Americans,” Obama wins over Romney, 50% to 44%.  When asked who would do more to advance … Continue reading Public Opinion and the Economy: What are the Lessons?

Private Equity, the Government, and Jobs

The last week has brought a fair amount of attention to the Obama campaign attacks on Romney and Bain Capital, most of which might have been lifted straight out of the “vulture capital” meme started by the Rick Perry campaign. It all started with Corey Booker’s rejection of the Obama strategy on Meet the Press … Continue reading Private Equity, the Government, and Jobs

You Say You Want Some Evolution…

Now that the press has ratcheted up the pressure on the President to clarify his ever evolving position on gay marriage, President Obama has agreed to “a hastily scheduled interview just a day after voters in North Carolina approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.” See … Continue reading You Say You Want Some Evolution…

The Bucket of Warm Spit

FDR’s first Vice President, John Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, once noted that the office was "not worth a bucket of warm spit” (note: the contents of the bucket vary based on the source). Given his opposition to the court-packing scheme, I will accept his judgment as sound. The question of who will be selected to … Continue reading The Bucket of Warm Spit

Why “Vote GOP for the Court” Cuts No Ice with Me

I've never voted for a Democrat or Republican for president at a general election. I've always voted for a Libertarian (in 2008 I voted for George Phillies, who was on the ballot as a Libertarian in New Hampshire in addition to the official candidate, Bob Barr), and I've never had reason to regret my vote. … Continue reading Why “Vote GOP for the Court” Cuts No Ice with Me

A Political Scientist’s Wish List

Political scientists are an odd bunch. They get excited by the establishment of political authority and by its dissolution, by good governance and bad. Every political scientist undoubtedly has a list of things that he or she would find fascinating.  It looks like this year I may be able to check off another item. Collapse … Continue reading A Political Scientist’s Wish List

Obama: Chess Master or Pawn?

James Fallows has an interesting piece entitled “Obama, Explained” in the new Atlantic. I strongly recommend the article. It is insightful, relatively evenhanded, and illustrated with some excerpts from interviews with a broad array of sources. An important question frames his analysis: This is the central mystery of his performance as a candidate and a … Continue reading Obama: Chess Master or Pawn?

A Touch of Pragmatism?

George Will (today’s Washington Post) has apparently concluded that a Romney or Santorum presidency is unlikely. Fear not: the field of candidates for 2016 is deep and impressive. In the interim, he makes an argument for pragmatism: conservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress … Continue reading A Touch of Pragmatism?

Romney, Santorum and the Future of the GOP

John Heilemann has an interesting essay on the 2012 GOP primaries (“The Lost Party,” in New York Magazine) Core argument: Regardless of who the GOP nominee is (and here the choice is Romney and Santorum), a loss to Obama will and important implications for the future of the GOP.  If Romney wins—and then loses—the lesson … Continue reading Romney, Santorum and the Future of the GOP

Revisiting My Primary Forecasts

My original forecasts for Ron Paul's primary performances are here. Those forecasts were based simply on the Iowa result, so it was quite possible that there would substantial error, and indeed there has been. Paul significantly overperformed his forecast in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the forecast was dead on in Florida, and then Paul … Continue reading Revisiting My Primary Forecasts

President Moonbeam (with apologies to Jerry Brown)

While most of the GOP presidential aspirants are content talking about the mundane and rarely (with the exception of Ron Paul) the most serious problems facing the nation, Newt once again elevates the debate—and this time literally. Enjoy the quotes of Gingrich from a recent campaign stop in Florida: “By the end of my second term, … Continue reading President Moonbeam (with apologies to Jerry Brown)

Some Initial Thoughts on the SOTU

My first impression of Obama’s SOTU: it was an interesting combination of contradictory materials (transcript here).  Obama appealed to Lincoln: “I'm a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” If he truly believes this, then he … Continue reading Some Initial Thoughts on the SOTU

Hope, Change, and Constraints

Ryan Lizza presents an interesting portrayal of President Obama in the New Yorker (“The Obama Memos”) that is well worth a read. Some samples: The premise of the Obama campaign was unusual. “Change We Can Believe In” wasn’t just about a set of policies; it was more grandiose. Obama promised to transcend forty years of … Continue reading Hope, Change, and Constraints

The GOP and Self-Inflicted Wounds

There is little excitement about the current field of GOP presidential aspirants (with the possible exception of the always entertaining and quickly marginalized Ron Paul). What is somewhat striking is the extent to which Perry and Gingrich have framed the core debate, playing right into the hands of Obama’s 2012 campaign. I think Charles Krauthammer … Continue reading The GOP and Self-Inflicted Wounds

Ron Paul Takes Second in Both New Hampshire Primaries

That's right; in addition to the 23% of the Republican vote he took, Paul took 4% of the Democratic vote as a write-in candidate, good for second place, according to the NH Secretary of State. (Note: the NH SOS website is down right now, so I'm relying on descriptions of what it says given to … Continue reading Ron Paul Takes Second in Both New Hampshire Primaries

Ron Paul: Follow the Money

I love to spend time with opensecrets.org, a website sponsored by the Center for Responsive Politics. It delivers data on contributions and lobbying in a user friendly and searchable format.  After reading a blog posting by Vox Day decrying Romney’s financial ties with Wall Street, I did a quick comparison of the top contenders. As … Continue reading Ron Paul: Follow the Money

Ron Paul Soundly Beating Expectations (updated)

Results are still coming in, and Ron Paul is at 24% with 58% reporting, but it's not too early to say that my forecast was wrong. When you examine the town-by-town results, the towns that have reported are exactly average for Ron Paul, according to their 2008 results. So I predict Paul will finish with … Continue reading Ron Paul Soundly Beating Expectations (updated)

What to Look for in Tonight’s Primary Results

Jon Huntsman is having a mini-surge in New Hampshire, at the expense of Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. While a week ago Paul was routinely breaking the 20% barrier in the polls, he is now down to about 17-18%, a small decline, but when replicated across a number of different polls likely to reflect a … Continue reading What to Look for in Tonight’s Primary Results

The Polls and Ron Paul’s “Thousand Points of Darkness”

A piece by Steven Shepard (National Journal) reports the surprising findings of  a new CBS News poll. Romney posts a two-point lead over Obama, 47 percent to 45 percent, within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. He leads Obama, 45 percent to 39 percent, among independent voters. Obama's lead … Continue reading The Polls and Ron Paul’s “Thousand Points of Darkness”

ACLU’s Civil Liberties Candidate Report Card

The ACLU has just released a candidate report card on certain civil liberties issues. It includes all Republican candidates, Barack Obama, and Gary Johnson. It doesn't provide an aggregate score, but it scores all candidates on the issue areas of "humane immigration policy," "closing Guantanamo Bay and indefinite detention," "gays and lesbians serving openly in … Continue reading ACLU’s Civil Liberties Candidate Report Card

Forecasting Ron Paul’s Remaining Primary Performances

Last night, Ron Paul increased his percentage of the Iowa caucus vote from 10.0% in 2008 to 21.4%. If we can expect this same kind of increase from Paul in the remaining states, what would we expect his performance to be? I have found that Ron Paul's primary vote shares are best modeled logarithmically, due … Continue reading Forecasting Ron Paul’s Remaining Primary Performances

Additional Thoughts on Iowa

The results from the Iowa caucus reflect how well established the divisions are on the right. As the NYT described the outcome: Republicans entered the campaign divided into three strains that are now personified by the three men who led in the last polls before the caucuses: Mr. Romney representing the moneyed, establishment chamber of … Continue reading Additional Thoughts on Iowa