Conservatives Love to Point Out that Personal Incentives Matter

And their #1 stated goal is to beat Obama in the next election. They have very strong incentives to achieve that.

With that as a given, take a look at the top two economic predictors of incumbent (i.e. Obama) victory, 1948-2008, according to prediction sage Nate Silver:

Conservatives/Republicans have strong incentives to make the ISM index and the growth of nonfarm payrolls as bad as possible next year.

The only remaining question is whether they will (continue to) act on those personal incentives, or whether they will seek what’s best for the country, and the people, they profess to love.

Here’s the whole list of predictive indicators from Nate’s great article:

Which Economic Indicators Best Predict Presidential Elections? –






2 responses to “Conservatives Love to Point Out that Personal Incentives Matter”

  1. Dave Raithel Avatar

    I found this pretty interesting and spent some time on the Silver article and following the comments there. I quote below a comment that best captured my befuddlement that the unemployment rate has no predictive/explanatory efficacy, but the change in rate of employment has R2 of .44…. which suggests in the particular case that even if I am still unemployed come November, I won’t necessarily boycott Obama provided I know that somebody, somewhere, has found a job ….

    “What gets missed in a finely tuned analysis like this is that the voters aren’t finely tuned; they’re voting their perception of reality, not the reality itself. That you’re using revised data underscores the fact that there’s a gap between reality and even deliberately derived representations of reality. If it were possible to objectively quantify voter perception of key economic factors, not their actual measure, I think you’d get a lot better r-squared than .46. And your factors would drop from 43 to about 5 – the few factors that most voters understand or are affected by. This analysis is kind of a proxy turned on its head: using reality as a proxy for the semi-reality the drives the actual voting.” (comment posted by a Mark Baird, about whom I know nothing but his comment.)

  2. Asymptosis Avatar

    “using reality as a proxy for the semi-reality the drives the actual voting.”

    I love that! Which suggests that spin matters…