This experience in blogging has certainly taught me the value of conspiracy theories as powerful readership magnets ! Of course, as the tagline for the amazing AMC show Rubicon says:
Not all conspiracies are theories !
In other news I present to you the Oct. 29 edition of West Wing Week titled, cheekily enough, ‘ “The Mysterious Case of Mysterious Case 55” ‘.
Also, Axe seems to have received the message about its recent “ball detailer” commercial. Their most recent offering is a very clumsy attempt at bad comedy in the hope of saving some face after the previous debacle. Maybe they could just give up already and realize that if you have to drop to a certain level to sell your product, then perhaps it’s not worth it. Of course, as always, money trumps everything else !
… And now its time for my electoral predictions (wooooo – sounds of ghosts and trees in the background) …
Contrary to every K-street lobbyist’s wet dream, Republicans aren’t going to gain control of the House or Senate. I know, I know. I’ll be eating these words soon enough, in less than 24 hours probably. So what stroke of insanity lead me to this realization?Well, first of all, the so-called enthusiasm gap among the Democratic base has been wildly overstated. Yes, the slow pace of change is aggravating and yes, so is Obama’s political move to drag on making the final decision on that odious policy – Don’t ask don’t Tell. And yes, all the polls appear to indicate a thumpin’, so to speak, for the Democrats tomorrow. However, it is important to bear in mind that human decision-making is like a spin-system – a person’s opinion on any important subject can change or ‘flip’ in a matter of minutes or less.
Until the actual process of voting itself comes around on Nov. 2, for the vast majority of people their choice for political candidates and parties is the last thing on their minds as they navigate through their otherwise crowded lives. And no amount of polling can determine in precisely which direction the will of the people will lean on election day.
Another very important factor are stealth voters. What do I mean by the term “stealth voter”? Nothing that would arouse a Fox News producer. A “stealth voter” is a person who professes a certain set of beliefs while in his immediate social environment, while he/she secretly harbors a conflicting set of beliefs within. For instance, consider a white male who claims to be a life-long Republican, rides around in a pickup truck with a “REDNECK” sign posted on the windscreen, is a hunter and voted twice for Bush and once for McCain. What most poll models seem to assume is what is referred to in solid-state physics as the “quenched approximation”, i.e. either side possesses a set of supporters fixed in their support of that side. Such a voter would therefore count towards the Republican side in any polling models.
However, the anonymity of the voting booth affords great protections to anyone wishing to “switch sides” as it were. Therefore, the “stealth”, or as they are commonly referred to “swing”, votes play a significant role in determining final electoral outcomes. And the large uncertainties about the number and the political preferences of these swing voters, until election day itself, is one of the factors behind the robustness of democratic systems.
Nate Silver, the political forecasting guru, predicts “House Forecast: G.O.P. Plus 54-55 Seats; Significantly Larger or Smaller Gains Possible“. Let me go one step further, and on the basis of nothing more than informed speculation, predict that it is the latter possibility which will prevail by tomorrow evening.
UPDATE (Nov. 3, 2010)
Ok. I’m eating crow on my electoral forecast! Then again, “Speaker” Boehner may turn out to be the GOP’s worst nightmare. We’ll see, won’t we ?