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Continue ignoring the punditry

Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz did a version of my look at the predictive force -- or lack thereof -- of the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections -- except his smartly took into account the general rule that the party of the incumbent president tends to lose seats in the midterms and featured snazzy statistics.

In a column for Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball blog, Abramowitz looked at the number of House Republican seats won or lost, the number of Republican victories in the off-year elections, and the party of the incumbent president. His conclusion? “The results of the previous year's gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey did not predict the results of the midterm elections. Not only is the estimated coefficient for the Virginia/New Jersey election variable small and statistically insignificant, but it is in the wrong direction: the better Republicans did in Virginia and New Jersey, the worse they did in the subsequent midterm election.”

Tuesday’s losses by New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds, Abramowitz writes, “reflected a combination of normal turnout patterns favoring the out-party in off-year elections and the weaknesses of the Democratic candidates in both states. It is very likely that Democrats will lose seats in the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm election, but that is because there is a Democratic president in the White House and the president's party almost always loses House seats in midterm elections.”

In other words, my advice to ignore all the punidtry about the meaning of the elections was right. And now it has a regression analysis to back it up.

By Ruth Marcus  | November 6, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
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Agree completely Ruth. By the way, when you see the Kraphammer, ask him why he is still sharing neddles with Rush Limbaugh.

The year ends with the economy up, health care coverage a reality, and racist, slob tea baggers still unemployed and searching for any TV camera they can find.

Posted by: pookiecat | November 6, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

We should ignore Ms. Marcus also, to logically follow her advice. Maybe we should ignore all pundits on evert issue, especially as very few represent a non-partisan, independent perspective.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | November 6, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

No, there really is something to this. I know it's unpopular, but the facts are there. It's hard to get too wound up about this election in Virginia. I don't even think the NJ election is reflective of anything at a national level either, there's a lot more of NJ politics going on there than there are national politics.

The one that has me surprised and baffled is NY23, I could not have predicted this outcome. I thought Owens had a shot, but mainly because he's his district's kind of democrat. In another state he'd be a serious republican. I don't think a lot of people who haven't spent a great deal of time in the area understand the particular flavor of conservative that the people are there.

On top of that, in NY23 the people wanted their issues represented, not the ones everyone else tried to cram down their throats. Why was that so hard to understand?

Posted by: Nymous | November 6, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

This is spot on.
I'll have to take back all those bad things I've said about Ms. Marcus... well most of 'em anyway.

And to "Nymous" who wrote a previous comment: When you say "cram down their throats" it pretty much pegs your point of view, you need say nothing else after that, no one is listening but the other 10% who are also delusional, disturbed, and dysfunctional.

Posted by: pclement1 | November 7, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

you do realize you've set yourself for the mother of all punchlines. And yes, that means the joke is on you.

Posted by: daphne5 | November 7, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

We should especially ignore the pundit Ruth Marcus - cf. her previous post in the "Post Partisan" blog.

Posted by: atlasfugged | November 7, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

Why are we to expect the Marcus comments or those from people she suggests, to be the only true interpretations? Better advise is; be wary of any paid pundit's advise. Read and listen to all of them, on both sides of the political spectrum, and you will be better for it...

Posted by: chod1560equines | November 7, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting analysis and I fully agree with it. But look, the public already largely ignores the pundits. For all of the mainstream media's entrancement with the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks and BIll O'Reillys--not to even mention an entire Fox "News" network that is no more than GOP TV--their influence is as limited as the so called liberal bias the right always coughs up when they lose an election.

During the Presidential campaign, the mainstream media literally acted as a stenographer for these right wing pundits, giving an air of legitimacy to some their most preposterous conspiracy theories. In the end, it made no difference at all. The more recent obsession with the tea partiers and town hallers in August was touted by the media as a rude wake up call to Obama, yet he had no more than returned off his vacation and in one address to Congress literally wiped out the entire narrative that the right and its throaty sympathizers throughout the mainstream media had laboriously and tirelessly built up over the summer.

Look. It has become abundantly clear that the influence of this punditry class is as nebulous as is the legend of Rush Limbaugh--which exists only in his own mind.

Posted by: jaxas | November 7, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

It is wishful thinking of the liberal Marcus that the Tuesday governor elections meant nothing. We'll see the culmination of two disastrous years next November.

Posted by: Kansas28 | November 7, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Oh, the irony!

Right beneath Ms. Marcus's column (on the main opinion page) is the column to vote for the "Next Great Pundit."

Pundits by and large cause more problems than they're worth. They either get paid to state the obvious or they're too biased to be informative.

Posted by: Blarney | November 9, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

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