Special Edition Politics Podcast With Emory's James Herndon

In a first for The 3NR, we have released two podcasts today for our loyal listeners. In addition to the regular episode, Scott and Maggie recorded a special podcast with James Herndon of Emory University that discusses the politics disadvantage (and the Midterm disadvantage in particular). Details about the episode are available at podcast.the3nr.com where you can download it directly or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Special thanks to James for sharing his expertise with the high school community.

13 thoughts on “Special Edition Politics Podcast With Emory's James Herndon

  1. Bill Batterman Post author

    The bumper music for this episode is "Song of the South" by Alabama, one of the most Southern songs I know for one of the most Southern men I know. And yes, Herndon, that's a compliment. 🙂

  2. Brian Rubaie

    In regards to "why do teams still read Democrats good — don't they know only idiots and hacks think they could win UQ?"

    This is baffling.

    I'll disclose some free St. Mark's cards to back this up. To selectively quote the summary in "Forecasts of the 2010 Elections," Published on October 7th, 2010 by the Cambridge University Press,

    To summarize the forecasts … there is a broad consensus among the models that the Republicans will make substantial gains in the House in the 2010 midterms. There is not a consensus, however, over how large those gains will be. [T]wo forecasts giving an edge to Democrats in controlling the House and three placing the odds in the Republicans' favor. Lewis-Beck and Tien forecast a 22-seat gain for the Republicans. Their 200 seats would leave Republicans 18 seats short of a majority. Cuzán forecasts Republican gains of 27 to 30 seats, leaving Republicans with 205 to 208 seats and Democrats with continued control of the House.

    **Who are those three and what data do they cite?

    Alfred G. Cuzán, Prof of Poli Sci @ West Florida, developed the fiscal model in collaboration with Richard J. Heggen and Charles M. Bundrick. Also, in 2004, together with J. Scott Armstrong and Randall J. Jones, Jr., he devised the Pollyvote, an application of the combination principle to election forecasting.

    Michael S. Lewis-Beck, Prof of Poli Sci @ University of Iowa. His interests are comparative elections, forecasting, political economy, and quantitative methodology. He has authored or co-authored over 175 articles and books, including American Voter Revisited, Forecasting Elections, Economics and Elections: The Major Western Democracies, The French Voter: Before and After the 2002 Elections, and Applied Regression: An Introduction.

    Charles Tien, Prof and Chair of Poli Sci @ Hunter College, CUNY. His recent work has appeared in Polity, Du Bois Review, and Defense Analysis.

    **Democrats Good is still a viable DA, and still the best DA.

    1. Whit Whitmore

      This is silly. Those projections are merely that the democrats will hold onto a slimmer majority than they currently have. These are not claims that democrats will win gain seats.

      I suspect that there is a BIG disconnect between this type of "democratic win" and the impact scenarios that will be read to support it.

      The existence of both moderate and conservative democrats in the house is likely to make that slim of majority functionally useless in terms of the ability to move major legislation.

      Obama had to fight tooth and nail to get anything through the current congress. Even the most optimistic forecasts (those you cited) still have it getting harder for him.

      I would be highly skeptical of any dems good scenarios read in combination with those uniqueness claims.

  3. Herndon

    Yes, there are cards that exist that Democrats will keep the house. it is still a debate. AND, to be honest, I haven't and will not do midterms work this weekend. I was trying to make 2 points:

    A. The better evidence is very heavily Dems will lose the House. While there are still "dems will keep it" evidence from fine professors at places like Hunter College, Iowa, & West Florida – great Universities all – plus news feeds I don’t think its close. The people like Cook & Silver whose job it is to analyze all the polls OWN them big time, like big time. Your cards are good, and I haven’t done my Cook OR Silver updates recently. I’m so convinced that I wouldn’t even put up the fight.

    For examples see Silver’s post on 9-25. “Holding Pattern in House Forecast”, http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/… OR Cook on 9-28, “ The GOP Wave Keeps Coming” http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/po_201009…. Older, but good. I’m not saying those cards are, by themselves, all that better than yours [though they are]. I’m saying that the 2nd level is better.

    Here are a couple of external sources that do pro-dict work on Silver’s model.
    i. Jim Lindgren, 11-5-08, How did the pollsters do in predicting the popular vote?, http://volokh.com/posts/1225926066.shtml%5D
    ii. REHMEYER 7 – 11 – 08 Science News Staff writer, [Julie, “Scooping the political pollsters,” http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/34036/

    There is also a really good internal defense of Silver’s model that he does himself that is damning in my mind. That card you have is one of the better ones, but it starts off with “gains will be huge” here are 3 people that think it’s not HUGE enough. Which leads me to,

    B. The GOP is doing really really well now. Like really well. If the GOP is winning the enthusiasm gap, controlling the issues, and has the momentum, it is difficult for the plan to “HELP the GOP.” Seriously, the enthusiasm cards are unbelievable that everyone is excited about voting republican and all the liberals are either alienated or just not interested. It’s the ultimate link uniqueness problem. Who, that would be motivated by a strict republican issues like “strong foreign military” isn’t already motivated to vote for a republican now? The reason the GOP is doing well is they are winning the “LIKELY VOTERS” polls. In fact, if everyone in America voted the democrats would pick up seats – but they don’t.

    By the way, I’m flattered that Rubiae would even bother listening to my podcast – he’s the man. Best Kurdish debater EVER.

  4. sean bram

    One possible trick when people read this type of silver "GOP has a 72% chance of taking the house" card that makes uniqueness not worth seriously contesting is to concede Silver's statistics and say this takes out 28% of the DA risk. This is a sizeable dent in probability that can be accomplished with a 5 second analytic.

    1. Herndon

      but they don't keep 28% of the house. That model just means that in 72% of the forecasts his model ran the GOP got the majority. His model was super-accurate in the past 2 elections [hence the prodict]. He even recently wrote a post about what the "%" meant and how its necessary guesswork but that doesn't mean it isn't accurate.

      If you want to win that midterm is still an election and its anyone's guess why not read a card on that instead? Seems like 2 minutes of research versus "conceding their uniqueness." I'm put-off by any suggestion or "trick" that includes the premise "concede" the uniqueness.

  5. Herndon

    ALSO – the paragraph above your card says:

    "Models created by Alan Abramowitz (Emory) and Joseph Bafumi (Dartmouth), Robert S. Erikson (Columbia), and Christopher Wlezien (Temple) corroborate the prediction of steep Democratic losses.
    * Abramowitz uses the generic ballot and presidential approval to measure the national political climate, estimating that Republicans will gain 43 seats in the House. He further offers a forecast for the Senate, predicting a Republican gain of four seats.
    * Bafumi, Erikson, and Wlezien give the Republicans a 79% chance of retaking the House, forecasting a 229 Republican to 206 Democratic split of seats, but they note that there is a wide dispersion of possible outcomes, and that seemingly minor variation in the national vote can have major consequences for the distribution of seats."

    Abromowitz is the man. Come to Emory, take a class with him. I'll even get him to come talk to the ENDI this summer. [insert random plug below]

    Seniors: Herndon & Berthiaume
    Juniors: Scott Phillips & John Turner
    Sophs: Ed Lee & Christina Tallungan.
    PLUS Emory debaters.

  6. Brian Rubaie

    I agree that Silver is the man and that *most* mainstream political pundits predict the GOP will overtake the House. I wouldn't even dispute the backing or pro-dicts — both are solid.

    Like you said though, it's never 100%. Of course, the GOP will win seats; all that matters is the majority. If new, peer-reviewed models suggest they'll maintain a bare majority, that seems like enough to make a DA viable/winnable. If a politics debate came down to which statistical model is most accurate I think both of our politics hearts would be happy.

    My point is that there's an excellent UQ debate, which is why it's an excellent DA. The existence of all these awesome Aff UQ articles shouldn't lead anyone to believe that there aren't excellent, recent, warranted pieces of evidence for the Neg that say the opposite.

    On a side note — much love Herndon! Just to be clear whose comments I was referring to — nothing you said bugged me. Everything you said there and in response was very thoughtful and this discussion is awesome, like all our politics discussions always are.

  7. Brian Rubaie

    Whit — Obviously the Democrats are not going to gain seats. Which midterms DA has ever relied on the premise? The other arguments are smart internal link defense and people should obviously say them, but do you really mean to tell me you couldn't think of as many smart internal link difficulties with GOP Good scenarios or any Lame Duck agenda DA?

  8. Taylor Coles

    At this point, it's a decision between GOP good and GOP bad, not Dems good. any potential dem majority would be too small to get anything progressive enough to justify an impact scenario, it's just a question of whether there are enough gop reps to get a conservative agenda item like maybe a defense budget with f-22's that could get past a compromise seeking Obama.

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