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Why Bush will win

Zev Chafets claims in today’s New York Post that Bush will win easily in November.

Calling a presidential race in August is risky, especially a race that’s supposedly close. But no guts, no glory. Bush will beat Kerry in a walk. If I’m right, you read it here first.

Actually, I’ve read it in a few other places already. Ray Fair has a model that predicts presidential outcomes based on the state of the economy. His model, as of July, is predicting that Bush will get 57% of the popular vote. Fair’s model has predicted five of the last six Presidential elections.

I have a model that successfully predicts the last THIRTEEN elections. It’s a bit simpler than Fair’s whose model relies on complex statistical analysis. My model is a little simpler. It’s based on one variable, the answer to the following question: Which candidate would you most like to have a beer with?

Here’s the way to think about the question. It’s not like the question of who you’d like to have dinner with, Shakespeare, Moses, Jesus, Rasputin and Amelia Earhart so you could ask the really tough questions and find out what really happened. No, this about sitting with your buddies in a neighborhood bar and passing time.

Which candidate do you want to see walk through the door and join your group? Which candidate is going to add to the liveliness of the conversation, spice it up with some humor, get philosophical as the evening winds down and offer sympathy for your problems? Which candidate will be best at saying something witty or profound, where profound means profound in a bar, not in a classroom? Which candidate can be the life of the party and still make you feel good about yourself? Which candidate tells the best stories?

Bush or Gore? Bush. Clinton or Dole? Clinton, by a landslide. Clinton or Bush the elder? Still Clinton. Bush the elder or Dukakis? Bush. Reagan or Mondale? Reagan. Reagan or Carter? Reagan. Carter or Ford? This is the only tough one. Neither one really makes the cut. But give it to Carter for his accent. Nixon or McGovern? Nixon. Nixon or Humphrey? Nixon by a long shot. LBJ or Goldwater? LBJ in a cakewalk. Kennedy or Nixon? Kennedy by about a mile. Eisenhower crushes Adlai Stevenson twice. Generals always beat intellectuals. Story-tellers always beat earnest preachers who want you to eat your peas. Charmers beat dullards.

My model only goes back to 1952. My suspicion is Truman over Dewey but I don’t know enough about Dewey.

Ironically, George W. doesn’t drink. So he’d be hoisting seltzer or those awful no-alcohol beers. But I suspect most Americans would rather drink with him than with Kerry. I know, a lot of people hate Bush. But a lot of people hated Clinton, too. He had enough charisma for the non-haters to win two elections.

OK, I’m mostly kidding. But only mostly. Folksy likeability goes a long way in an election.

PS: Reader Ryan Peterson points out that in an Economist online poll of Americans, more people wanted to have beer (or coffee) with Bush (54%) than with Kerry (46%). Here‘s the article from the Economist that takes this likeability factor seriously. They use the “comfortable in his own skin” idea as one measure of this factor, which starts to get at something that actually may matter—the authenticity and assuredness of the candidate. Here‘s the page with the poll info. The poll was from July 22. Wonder how those numbers will change after both conventions.


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