Free-for-All 2008: An Experiment In Democracy

Since this experiment has been running for over two years and has attracted new readers, let me recapitulate the science (such as it is) behind the idea. Principally, my goal in doing this is to create raw data on an important aspect of the American democracy. This election offers a very unique opportunity: with no sitting president or vice president, none of the candidates has a prohibitively large news-making advantage. Measuring the news cycle may offer valuable insights. The secondary goal is to investigate whether news coverage influences the result of the primary elections. The rankings have no pretense of offering a prediction of the result. However, regression analysis after the results of the first primaries might show that news coverage yielded greater results - controlling for the state's political makeup, early poll averages, and advertising dollars spent. If I can successfully separate the effect of news coverage (which is usually favorable) from the many other factors that drive primary popularity, I will have a valid contribution to our understanding of presidential campaigns.

This month, both campaigns have begun to heat up after a quiet summer. On the Democratic side, Hillary's numbers have climbed toward the crucial 50% mark, while Obama has slid away. Barring a major comeback, she has her nomination locked up.

The Republican race remains far more interesting. The most influential spot might be SNL's Fred Thompson, which has contributed to Thompson's underwhelming entry. Meanwhile, Giuliani and Romney have been exchanging salvos and McCain has the look of a man desperately trying to start a lawnmower.

I switch back to a Hillary victory in the (totally unscientific) monthly prediction. Why, when Giuliani is clearly the more centrist of the two? Because Ron Paul raised $5.2 million in the third quarter and has a growing cadre of supporters. He'd be able to run the best Third Party campaign in years against the two New York hawks, and is a credible libertarian with a respectable record in Congress. Nothing would scuttle a Giuliani run faster than a Third Party bid by a serious (and well-funded) conservative.

Rank Candidate ChatterRank Change
R.1 Rudy Giuliani 5,414+2
R.2 Gov. Mitt Romney 3,6290
R.3 Sen. John McCain 3,577-2
R.4 Fred Thompson 3,1220
R.5 Rep. Ron Paul 1,469+1
R.6 Gov. Mike Huckabee 582+1
R.7 Sen. Chuck Hagel 476-2
R.8 Newt Gingrich 293+1
R.9 Sen. Sam Brownback 285+1
R.10 Secy. Condoleezza Rice 272-2
R.11 Rep. Duncan Hunter 2160
R.12 Rep. Tom Tancredo 1820
....................................................................................................
D.1 Sen. Hillary Clinton 7,9310
D.2 Sen. Barack Obama 4,9070
D.3 Sen. John Edwards 4,3960
D.4 Al Gore 3,054+4
D.5 Sen. John Kerry 1,386+1
D.6 Gov. Bill Richardson 1,263+1
D.7 Sen. Joseph Biden 1,018-3
D.8 Howard Dean 574+2
D.9 Sen. Christopher Dodd 560-4
D.10 Rep. Dennis Kucinich 325+1
D.11 Mike Gravel 151+1

Notes: The Chatter Rankings are created by searching each candidate's name plus "2008" in the Google News database. Purged this month is withdrawee Russ Feingold (86). Tested but not qualifying is Alan Keyes (67). Non-contenders are kept on the rolls as Vice-Presidential possibilities (e.g. Rice) and benchmarks (e.g. Dean).

See recent graphs of the Chatter Rankings plus Chatter Rankings from September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January, December 2006, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, December 2005, August, July, June, and May.

The monthly prediction...

Oct '07: Clinton & Richardson over Giuliani & Thompson
Sep '07: Giuliani & Thompson over Clinton & Richardson
Aug '07: Giuliani & Thompson over Clinton & Warner
Jul '07: Giuliani & Thompson over Clinton & Warner
Jun '07: Clinton & Warner over McCain & Romney
May '07: Clinton & Warner over McCain & Romney
Apr '07: Clinton & Warner over McCain & Giuliani
Mar '07: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Feb '07: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Jan '07: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Dec '06: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Nov '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Oct '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Sep '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Aug '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Jul '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Jun '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
May '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Apr '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Mar '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice
Feb '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice

Posted by Chops at October 17, 2007 11:34 AM
Comments
Comment #236518

So Guiliani has officially come out in favor of raising the retirement age and decreasing payment levels for SS. He might as well just go back to NYC and jump off the Empire State building.You guys just lost the last shred of hope for keeping the Whitehouse short of coup.

Posted by: BillS at October 20, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #236548

There is no way to save Soc Sec if Medicare is not resolved first. Guiliani is using SS to dodge the real bullet the next President will face: Medicare/Medicaid/Health Care inflation and 46 million uninsured.

No candidate who refuses to address this shotgun to America’s economic and quality of life future, is worthy of American’s vote. For that matter, no Congress person is either.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 21, 2007 5:12 AM
Comment #236898

That’s a sad line-up.
It doesn’t bode well for our future.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 24, 2007 10:40 PM
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