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Skip Electoral College Math

July 3, 2012 It is a source of constant amusement to me that so many people obsess—as if fiddling with a Rubik’s Cube—over the various combinations of states that could get either President Obama or Mitt Romney to the magic number of 270 votes in the Electoral College. The guilty include pros at ...

Bye-Bye 'Wave' Elections

June 26, 2012 One might have expected that two years after Republicans picked up 63 House seats—the biggest gain in a midterm election since 1938—Democrats would be on track to win back a boatload of those districts that the GOP didn’t have much business winning in the first place. But a little more ...

Obama, Backed Into a Corner

June 19, 2012 Any day now, the Supreme Court will announce its decision on President Obama’s health care law. Regardless of the ruling’s details, look for over-caffeinated pundits on radio and television talk shows to immediately declare that it is the most important development to date in the 2012 presidential campaign. As such, ...

The Wrong Fight in Wisconsin

June 12, 2012 The “if it feels good, do it” school of political decision-making experienced yet another painful lesson in its ill-fated effort to recall Wisconsin’s GOP Gov. Scott Walker this week. If ever there was a case of a terrible idea poorly executed, this was it. Putting aside whether Walker should or ...

Trouble for Obama

June 5, 2012 Gallup has now finished its first six full weeks of tracking surveys for the 2012 presidential campaign, interviewing 20,565 registered voters. Yes, you guessed it: President Obama and Mitt Romney are tied, 46 percent to 46 percent. The margin of error for a sample of this size is just under ...

Obama? Romney? Flip a Coin

May 29, 2012 Not much in the just-released NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conflicts with the story line that we’re going to see a lot of close races this fall. Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican poll-taker Bill McInturff found that 48 percent of the 1,000 American adults interviewed (including a subsample of ...

Crowds vs. Experts

May 22, 2012 To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of Intrade, the Iowa Electronic Markets, or any of the other online prediction markets. People go to these sites and trade contracts or positions (read: take bets) on whether a given event will occur, such as which party will control the ...

Lugar’s Downfall

May 15, 2012 One way to explain Sen. Richard Lugar’s loss to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in this week’s Indiana Republican primary is to attribute it to a tea party takeover of the GOP. A second explanation is that a venerable public servant overstayed his welcome and ran for reelection one time too ...

Iran, the Wild Card

May 8, 2012 One distinct possibility in this election year has always been that a major international incident, very possibly in the Middle East, could push a close presidential election decisively in one direction or the other. An air strike by Israel, the United States, or both, against Iran to prevent it from ...

Election Rests on the Economy

May 1, 2012 Regular readers of this column know that in analyzing the 2012 presidential race, I have been preoccupied—some would say obsessed—with the state and direction of the U.S. economy. Presidential elections have many moving parts and can turn on many things, but rarely is a single factor more important than the ...