« Twitter roundup | Main | Twitter roundup »

June 09, 2010




For all your ridicule of supply-siders, I'd hope for some posts that ridicule the Obama stimulus plans. These sites should provide a start. Note the first is the opinion of Jeffrey Sachs, long-time advocate for conventional Democratic policies.

OK ... has it occurred to you, diehard Democrat that you seem, that it was the spending restraints previous to 1984 and 1996 that encouraged economic growth and thus permitted the elections of Reagan and Clinton.

What amazes me is that the GOP lets the US forget that Pelosi and Reid have been running the economic side since January 2007. And the real outlier is the one-shot Iraq War mishandling (really a political error rather than a strategic one) and the real estate lending derivative collapse of 2008 caused by government intervention as much as anything that elected Obama.

You'll find Obama will be the best advocate Reaganomics ever had since Reagan ... maybe better. By illustration, creating virtual half-show barely-supervised compensation-bloated unionized civil service jobs might get you campaign funds, some votes, and people to take to the streets, but it pales in comparison to a private enterprise system provided more capital to create jobs efficiently. It should be in your textbooks or perhaps it awaits me to write them.

I agree with Brendan that Barnes has weak support for his contention that spending cuts lead to votes. Brendan's analysis is much better.

Still, even Brendan's work has limitations, compared with most other applications of statistics. The number of sample points is not at all sufficient to prove cause-and-effect, according to unsual statistical standards.

That's particularly the case, because by necessity the Political Science models are poor ones. The usual statistical assumption is that the data points come from the same distribution. However, due to changing conditions -- economic, social, cultural, political, etc. -- we know that the underlying distibution is not constant. In other words, there may be changes in the relationship between votes and spending. AFAIK there is no way to measure the change in this relationship. The best we can hope for is that it's changing slowly enough so that statistical techniques have some value.

An interesting question is what level of 2nd quarter election year growth is sufficient to give an incumbent president confidence he'll be re-elected. Eyeballing the Abramowitz chart, it appears that even at 5% growth, there's only something like a two in three probability of re-election. (Sure, the chart isn't intended as a predictive device, but let's face it, what matters to real politicians is what they need to do to achieve 50.1% of the two-party vote, not what explains variation in the two-party vote above and below that level.)

BTW, if Abramowitz's independent variable is indeed the most meaningful predictor, that suggests an incumbent president could improve his re-election chances by holding down growth in the period through the first quarter of election year, then letting it bob up to a fat growth in the second quarter. I wonder whether looking back several quarters would improve the fit, perhaps weighting the more recent quarters higher. (I lack both the statistical skillz and sufficient curiosity to try to do alternative calculations myself.)

I guess Fred Barnes believes that the increase in defense spending is something we did not have to pay for in the 1980's.

If economic growth is the main factor in winning elections why didn't Gore win in a landslide?

This Gallop poll shows why the impact of past spending cuts may not be a good predictor of how current spending cuts (or the lack thereof) will affect the 2010 election. Federal Debt and Terrorism are now considered the top threats to the U.S. The Republicans are perceived as the best party to deal with both.

If the Dems were to now cut spending, voters might perceive them as better qualified to deal with the threat of Federal debt. However, during some past period when Federal debt was not as urgent an issue, a spending cut by the party in power would have been less helpful.

The comments to this entry are closed.