Archive for May, 2008


Sunday, May 25th, 2008


Its May 20

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Upon finishing my comprehensive exam at GW, I had to e-mail it to the department as a back up copy. Sarah Binder and I had the following GChat conversation.

Steve: Parties matter 😉
Sarah: No they don’t!
Steve: Uh oh
Sarah: Just kidding. Congrats on finishing!

For the first first time since June, I do not have anything pressing to work on for some academic purpose. I am a little befuddled of what to do with myself. 🙂

Thoughts on Election 2008

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Steve got bored of studying, so he decided to write something reflecting on the election. Only recently, I was able to get my thoughts into two basic points.

First, Obama beat Edwards in the first quarter of 2007 Fundraising, and second, Hillary’s lack of attention to caucuses did her in. Both of these have been mentioned by the media many times while they were happening, but few seem to be pointing to these items as being the reason Hillary (will likely) lose.

The Edwards and Obama point came after hearing a complaint from an Edwards person that the media seemed to favor and love Obama. Edwards and Obama have a lot of similarities and offered somewhat similar messages, so why the lovefest? Because he was new? Maybe. But Obama was the answer to the question that lingered in people’s heads leading up to 2008.

The question everyone asked themselves about the 2008 election was who would be the Anti-Hillary. In 2006, everyone knew that Hillary was the front-runner, but who was her rival. The field was full of heavy hitters, it was hard to figure out. Richardson and Biden in 2004 would have been some of the strongest candidates, but in this field they never left the second tier. Edwards was the reigning VP Nominee, and Obama had given a great speech in 2004 that rocketed him to stardom.

Fundraising provided the answer. In the first quarter of 2007, Hillary raised $26 million. Obama $25 Million. Edwards $14 Million. Edwards’ number was nothing to sneeze at (it was twice what he raised in ’03 for the same period). But the stunner was that Obama was able to almost match Hillary. Obama then became the more viable candidate. Edwards looked a little ‘bit like a loser. This may have allowed for the media to treat Obama with a little more gusto than Edwards.

Obama then won Iowa, and his position as the anti-Hillary was sealed.

So how did he beat Hillary?

The topic that seems to get surprisingly little attention now is the caucuses versus primary states. The talking heads say that Obama does better in caucus states and because he continually won them, it was an uninteresting story. While I don’t have any insider knowledge on how much organization there was for Hillary in these states, but it seems to be that the lack of effort in these states is what did her in.

Yes, she lost Iowa, but remember she did well in Nevada. In these two states where she established an organization, she faired alright.

After some quick Google searches, I was a little stunned to see the lack of emphasis on this very basic point. To figure out how many delegates Obama won in caucus versus primary states, I actually had to whip out Excel myself and add it up.

Here are some rough numbers (Sources are RealClearPolitics and CNN, in actuality Obama has not even won delegates from some caucus states. For example, Iowa doesn’t officially choose until June 14th so many of these numbers are estimates).

Caucus Delegates

Obama: 324
Clinton: 178

Now lets look at
Primary Delegates
Obama: 1277
Clinton: 1266

That’s only an 11 delegate lead for Obama in primary states. Hillary (as the dead candidate) overall right now is only down 157 in pledged delegates. 146 of this comes from Obama’s caucus edge. To an extent an argument could be made that Obama’s greater viability generated by his caucus victories increased his later primary gains. For example in Super Tuesday Primaries, Hillary wins by 60 delegates. In Super Tuesday Caucuses, Obama wins by 72.

Some may respond that Obama did not invest as much into primary states because he went with more of a caucus strategy. Also, we have no idea how much some of the later primaries or caucuses may have changed based on the influence of early victories or delegate leads. Nonetheless it is simply interesting to note that all but of 11 of Obama’s pledged delegate lead is attributable to caucuses. Many of which Hillary did not contest strongly.

Was it a simple oversight that delivered the Clinton’s their first electoral defeat in over 25 years? Perhaps.

Two other little observations about the Clinton campaign. I always wondered why she went with the “Hillary” brand instead of the “Clinton” brand (on her signs for example). Can anyone name a presidential candidate that ever went with this approach? I am sure it was poll tested to the extreme, but it was always interesting to me.

The second observation is something that Tim Russert struck on the night of Indiana and North Carolina. It was bolstered by a comment by Hillary when she won West Virginia. I think Hillary is staying in for women. There are many women who are inclined to vote for Hillary because she is a woman. My mother even phrased it as that she could not pass up the opportunity to vote for a woman for President. There have been women candidates before, but none with the chance that Hillary had. When Hillary invoked the 19th Amendment and mentioned that woman in South Dakota on Tuesday, it at least said to me that she was staying in it for women. I am an Obama supporter, and I have absolutely no problem with her staying in the race if that is the case. Since honestly and sadly, I really do not know when we will have another woman who can challenge for the presidency.

Okay, back to studying (it is sad that this is what I use as a break)

The Southern Seventeenth Amendment Swing

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Full Thesis Here


Crook & Hibbing (1997) and others argue that the Seventeenth Amendment and the institution of the direct election of Senators have made the Senate more responsive. To make this argument, previous research compares the direct and indirect election time periods before and after the Seventeenth Amendment. Instead this work creates counterfactual, indirectly elected Senates since 1918. Swing-ratio models using the actual Senate election returns are applied to the factual and counterfactual Senates to compare their levels of responsiveness. Similar to previous research, direct elections are found to be more responsive than indirect elections nationwide. However a central finding of this work is that this increased responsiveness is largely attributable to elections in the south.

Another cat post…

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Steve is a little tired of studying…so you get cats

I miss Megan at times

Sunday, May 11th, 2008