Friday, November 8, 2013

Ezra Klein - Do Political Campaigns Even Matter? - Bloomberg

Political scientists are a data driven lot.  As a grad student in Political Science I had no use for data.  I was there for the ideology.  No surprise there - I wrote to Boston University radical historian from my Peace Corps post with ideological leanings but no thought of science.  Like most campaigners I was driven by policy objectives.  Journalists are driven by "the story".  Political scientists stick with the data since the best predictor of the future is the past.  Klein reviews two books - one of each sort.  The take away is campaigns motivate the loyalists but change few minds. 89% of Democrats voted for Obama.  88% of Republicans voted for Romney.  - GWC
Do Political Campaigns Even Matter? - Bloomberg:
by Ezra Klein
“Game Change 2” has just been published, and horse-race junkies currently feeling the aches and fevers of election withdrawal (Virginia and New Jersey’s gubernatorial races -- much less New York’s puny mayoral race -- hardly provided a fix) are rejoicing. As well they should. “Game Change 2” -- the actual title is “Double Down: Game Change 2012” -- is a joyous romp through the seedy underbelly of presidential campaigning. It’s a cure for the off-year shakes.
It’s also a marvel of reporting. Any time three staff members met in a room to badmouth a colleague or a candidate admitted to a moment of stress or self-doubt, authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin appear to have been sitting in the corner, scribbling notes.
Ezra Klein

About Ezra Klein»

Ezra Klein is a columnist and blogger at The Washington Post and a policy analyst for MSNBC. His work focuses on ... MORE
As the subtitle indicates, the book is ultimately an account of the actors and moments that changed the game (“game,” of course, being the presidential election). From the dead end New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hit in the vice presidential vetting process to President Barack Obama’s crisis of confidence before his second debate against Mitt Romney, the course of the election -- thus the country -- seems to reset every few pages. The hinge of history is well-oiled, it seems.
But when you buy “Game Change 2,” you should also buy its opposite -- “The Gamble,” by political scientistsJohn Sides and Lynn Vavreck. It, too, is an account of the 2012 election. But it signals its contrasting point of view in its first sentence: “68,” the authors wrote. “That is how many moments were described as ‘game-changers’ in the 2012 presidential election.” The rest of the book is dedicated to proving that almost none truly were.

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