s skippy the bush kangaroo: hey, it wasn't our fault, we live in california

skippy the bush kangaroo

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

hey, it wasn't our fault, we live in california

we have avoided the interwebs today, simply because we didn't want to be subjected to hardly-ever-right-wing gloating about brown's victory last nite.

but now that we've logged on, we might as well link to nate silver's excellent analysis over @ 538: let's play the blame game!

overall, we have a 31-point swing in the vote to explain: from barack obama's roughly 26-point victory in november 2008, to martha coakley's roughly 5-point loss today.

at a bare minimum, 10 of those points must be assigned to the national environment. generic ballot polling suggests that the democrats' position has worsened by a net of 10 points since november 2008, from winning the house popular vote by 10 points in 2008 to being dead even with republicans today.

also at a bare minimum, 11 points of blame should be assigned to coakley. that represents the difference between the 58 percent of vote that she received at her high-water mark in the polls to the 47 percent she received on election day. a fairly large number of voters, it appears, actually turned away from coakley; it was not just a matter of undecided ones turning toward brown.

that leaves us with 10 more points of blame to assign; let's just dole those out as evenly as possible, giving 3 more points to coakley, 3 more points to the national environment, and 4 to massachusetts-specific special contingencies -- it gets the extra point because it hadn't received any yet.

that would make the final score: national environment 13, coakley 14, special circumstances 4.

if you follow through on the math, this would suggest that coakley would have won by about 8 points, rather than losing by 5, had the national environment not deteriorated so significantly for democrats. it suggests that the democrats would have won by 9 points, rather than losing by 5, had the candidate been someone other than coakley. and it suggests that the race would have been a 1-point loss (that is, basically too close to call), rather than a 5-point loss, even if coakley had run such a bad campaign and even if the national environment had deteriorated as much as it has, but had there not been the unusual circumstances associated with this particular election.

obviously, this is a rather imprecise and unsophisticated exercise. but each of those implications feels about right to me. maybe you'd do the math a little differently. but don't be sparing with your blame; there's plenty of it to go around.
personally, we believe that if martha coakley had bothered to campaign after winning the nomination, she would be massachusettes' next senator (elect) right now.

even w/her terrible gaffes (curt shilling, saying out loud she didn't want to stand in front of fenway park in the cold shaking hands), if she actually did stand in front of fenway park shaking hands, put in some face time w/the constituency she wanted to serve, she would overcome the deficit.

obama's (and congress's) mis-steps on health care (plus the refusal to close down gitmo and the willingness to escalate the afghan conflict) would certainly have hurt coakley, but they would not have been fatal, in our opinion.

but what do we know? we just write a blog.

addendum: we like brad blog's take: martha coakley injures several staffers in her rush to phone in concession!
posted by skippy at 5:28 PM |


I got the feeling she didn't really *want* to be a Senator. Makes you wonder who put a horse's head in her back seat and made her an offer she couldn't afford to refuse...

- Badtux the Quizzical Penguin
commented by Blogger BadTux, 6:47 PM PST  
Brilliant! The only way that Democrats could ever win office is to say nothing and avoid making appearences or talking to any constituents! That's the Barack Obama strategy!

Perhaps if Democrats didn't listen or talk to anyone other than special interest groups in Washington and policy experts, they could rule us more efficiently, and us poor serfs would quit our whining and just submit to the high taxes of the king more readily. Good thinking- you have a rule future as a tyrant.
"you have a rule future as a tyrant"

you're a teacher? really? pls. conjugate that sentence for me.
commented by Blogger skippy, 7:34 PM PST  
Obviously these same hypothetical variations used to estimate how much the Democrat would have won or lost by would also affect turn-out, requiring an additional calculation for them to mean anything. E.g., national environment, I would suspect, massively affected turnout. If we're still in the era of Obama the Healer and Yea, Healthcare! then turnout is low, Republicans stay home like usual, and Coakley wins, not by 8, but in a typical Masachusetts Democrat cakewalk. So, this whatif game is beyond meaningless.
commented by Anonymous ss, 7:40 PM PST  
Bad candidate? She wasn't even that good a DA. And I certainly think Nate overlooked the flat rejection of the hc proposal which I'd bet lost at least 10 pts by itself.
commented by Blogger Kevin Hayden, 10:04 PM PST  
actually kevin, a greg sergent post interviewed a repubbb pollster who polled after the election, and found that the about 8 % of folks voted based on their opposition to hcr.
commented by Blogger skippy, 12:13 PM PST  
Now I'm a moron at math, but if 8 percent of voters, who otherwise wouldn't have voted in a special election, showed up to vote for one guy based on their opposition to healthcare, and if who-knows-how-many Democrats stayed home because the hc proposal wasn't worth defending, how many points is that worth really?
commented by Anonymous ss, 12:35 PM PST  

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