Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for November, 2012

Wonder Why Obama Won? Do the Math.

Posted by Warren Peterson on November 10, 2012

Do the math. Obama had re-election in the bag from the get-go. This is the conclusion of a fascinating article by Ken Bensinger of the Los Angeles Times. Taking data from all the polls at face value and running computer simulations, the outcome of the recent election was accurately predicted months before the first vote was cast. Assuming Obama wins Florida, one analyst correctly called all fifty states and another predicted Obama winning 332 electoral votes.

Michael Barone, Dick Morris, George Will were among prominent prognosticators on the right predicting a Romney landslide. Like Rush Limbaugh, they discounted the poll samples as too weighted toward Democrats, the turnout models as too like 2008 and hinted at some purposeful bias against Romney. They were spectacularly wrong. Obviously, so were the folks in Romney-Ryan land. Had they done the math, or if they did, have believed it, their campaign would have been much different. As it was, the race was very close in the key battleground states but by including data from about 1,700 polls, the margin of error in the computer models was reduced to almost zero. Knowing this, a forceful response to the Obama smear campaign launched against Romney even before he had the GOP nomination and not resting on his laurels after the first debate, Romney may have turned the polls, and therefore the models, in his favor. That discussion is on going but next time, do the math.


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Election Angst, Fearing the Future

Posted by Warren Peterson on November 8, 2012

Two days after the election and I am still depressed. I share “National Review” writer Victor Davis Hanson’s concern that we may have crossed the dependency line where more voters are takers than payers. We are headed down a slippery slope of out of control spending and debt without the political leadership or will to even seriously discuss a recovery plan.

This condition can go on for years, perhaps decades, Greece didn’t go belly up over night. But at some point, the economic system corrects itself. How? Two ways: inflation, the most insidious tax of all and/or default. Look to post WWI Germany and Argentina for examples. Economic Pollyanna’s hope for no pain alternatives such as growing the economy but this works only if we stop adding to the debt. Another is a technological breakthrough like super cheap and abundant green energy. Neither is likely.

Billions spent on the presidential and congressional races resulted in stalemate. The next milestone is the 2014 mid-term election. I saw on TV election night photos of five potential candidates for president in 2016. No wonder I fear for the future. There is hope for the so-called “Grand Bargain” that President Obama and Speaker Boehner almost agreed to last year. One blogger I found has an interesting post regarding the chance for rebirth of this compromise on spending, debt reduction and taxes. See: Grand Bargain II. Nevertheless, I am not optimistic mainly because reducing a $16 trillion debt on its way to $20 trillion requires a disciplined long term plan but Congress reconstitutes every two years plus fiscal discipline is not a natural trait of any legislature.

Some related, “I told you so.” Clear Fog posts:

GOP 2010 Victory, An Uneasy Feeling

Economic Recovery – Part I, November 2008

Economic Recovery – Part II, November 2008

Economic Recovery – Part III, December 2008

Posted in National Politics | 1 Comment »


Posted by Warren Peterson on November 4, 2012

The left demands that Fox News be forced off the air because they say Fox is biased (read “They are conservative and therefore should be silenced.”). But one study of the media tells a different story. Pew Research released a study covering the 2012 campaign and media from TV to Twitter. One of their findings compared positive versus negative coverage of Romney and Obama on MSNBC and Fox. Romney was mentioned in a positive vein 3% of the time and negatively 71% on MSNBC. The corresponding number for Fox reports on Obama – 6% positive, 46% negative.

So let’s keep MSNBC on the far left with its lesser-left fellow travelers ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN not to mention the New York Times versus Fox plus most of talk radio on the right. It is after all free speech and that’s in the Constitution, whether living and breathing or written in stone. Sounds fair and balanced to me.

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