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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Convention placement doesn't matter

By Ezra Klein

The Obama administration announced today that the 2012 Democratic Convention will be in Charlotte, North Carolina. This has been taken as evidence that the Obama administration is worried about North Carolina, confident in North Carolina, or otherwise focused on North Carolina in 2012. And that's how this always goes: The 2012 Republican Convention will be in Tampa, Florida, suggesting that Republicans would like to win Florida. The 2008 Democratic Convention was in Colorado, and that was taken as evidence that the Democrats wanted to win in the West.

In general, everyone wants to win everywhere. But convention placement does not help them in that quest. And nor, it turns out, do governors. A comprehensive analysis of presidential elections since 1930 found that "generally, parties do not derive significant electoral benefits in states selected to host the national convention or those in which they control the governorship."

By Ezra Klein  | February 1, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Political Science  
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Comments

I note that each of those locations are in the United States, which tells me that each party wants to win the election.

Posted by: bdballard | February 1, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

It's comically stupid to include 1932 political data (or 1980 data) in your arguments that definitely show why 2012 politics is X or isn't Y. Presidential elections happen very rarely and under ever changing circumstances. It's 78 years of evidence but it's really only 20 non-similar examples. If you tried to argue some new baseball player was X or Y based on 20 at-bats you'd be mocked. So why is it OK to use that sample size in political reporting?

Posted by: jamusco | February 1, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was because the Democrats wanted to lose Colorado.

Posted by: dpurp | February 1, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Another point, Ezra. This proves that this administration thinks it can get reelected without the Democratic Party. Would it have been so terrible to have a convention in Baltimore, or Providence, or Minneapolis/St. Paul, or even San Francisco or Los Angeles, just to reward states that had elected Democratic governors in the last cycle? NONE of the sites examined was in a state with a Democratic governor. Howard Dean needs to talk some sense into them.

Posted by: DaveinNorthridge | February 1, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

"NONE of the sites examined was in a state with a Democratic governor."
NC has a Dem gov.- Bev Perdue
NC went for Obama but not for Clinton either time. Charlotte just elected a democratic african american mayor (a rarity there).
Anyway, Howard Dean's 50 state strategy was all about going to-- all 50 states.

Posted by: Hazelite | February 2, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Missouri and Minnesota also have Democratic governors.

Posted by: washington4 | February 2, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

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