Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It Ain't Over till It's Over

And it will be a long time until it's over. Nine and a half months. More blogs to read, more to write. More pundits to hear. More speeches to endure. More reasons to feel sick and tired of this overextended process. More examples of how the experts get it wrong. And we still listen to them.

Last night's "surprise" victory for Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary was a perfect example. After the "surprise" victory for Barack Obama the previous week in Iowa, it was widely predicted that (a) Obamamania would sweep New Hampshire (b) Hillary would possible suffer a double-digit loss in the primary (c) Hillary would demand a shake-up of her campaign team and fire Mark Penn (d) Hillary would get out of the race altogether in order to protect the Clinton "brand" from humiliating defeats in South Carolina and beyond.

Guess what? The experts were wrong. Were they more swept up in Obamamania that the voters? Were their computer models wrong? It doesn't really matter why. It's enough just to know that they were wrong. But people will still seek their opinions and appearances on news shows, ignoring their erroneous predictions of the past.

Gary Langler at ABC online states:

There will be a serious, critical look at the final pre-election polls in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire; that is essential. It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong. We need to know why.

But we need to know it through careful, empirically based analysis. There will be a lot of claims about what happened - about respondents who reputedly lied, about alleged difficulties polling in biracial contests. That may be so. It also may be a smokescreen - a convenient foil for pollsters who'd rather fault their respondents than own up to other possibilities - such as their own failings in sampling and likely voter modeling.

Now we have Senators Clinton and Obama as the leading two Democrat contenders for the nomination. Former Senator Edwards is trailing badly and may lost his viability as a serious candidate soon. Whether or not he has any chance of acquiring the VP spot remains to be seen. I doubt it. He and Hillary don't seem to be a match made in heaven. I have always thought that Hillary would pick more of a real outsider, someone with little Washington or media history, an Evan Bayh, or Ted Strickland. I used to think Richardson had some chance of joining her on the ticket, but not now. He has said and done too much to ingratiate himself with her any longer.

Stick around, folks. It's going to be a bumpy night.

No comments: