Monday, December 14, 2009

An economist looks at POTUS passion polls

After all things Navy - most of you know my passion and training is in economics .... so here we go again as I play with charts from a political POV.

First of all, I want you to look at the latest
Rasmussen. Just soak in it a bit - and I will give you the "Chartist 101" overview of what it is telling you.

There is a simple concept that is essential to understanding trends in charts; "Higher-Highs and Higher-Lows." Equally important, is the ability to understand "Lower-Highs and Lower-Lows."

Nothing runs in a straight line, and moving averages are usually late in showing you where the direction is going - this is especially true in emotion based polls. It can be "fear and greed" as in stocks, or "love and hate" in politics.

This is what this chart is trying to tell you where we are at the end of 2009 when it comes to those who are very passionate "Pro" or "Anti" Obama.

There are about 50% more people who are passionately "Anti-Obama" than passionately "Pro-Obama." The Anti group is still making slightly Higher-Highs and Higher-Lows - but it seems ready to level out as the swing narrows. Unless there is a bolt from the blue one way or the other - you should expect the Anti level to settle out at 38-42 for the beginning of CY10.

The passionately Pro crowd is having remarkably rougher sledding right now. The only good news for them is that the Lower-Highs have settled. Not going lower, but not trending up either. It is the continued Lower-Lows that is troublesome, especially the latest spike down. That is a sign of growing frustration and disillusionment - my guess would be with the right-end and left-end of his base. The ongoing Lower-Lows tells us there is more to go on the downside - but perhaps settling soon - the steady Highs signal that. Given the same bolt out of the blue - you should expect a settling in the neighborhood of 24-28%; 60% less than the Anti.

So, above is the "What," here is the "So What."

In a 50-50 electorate, especially in mid-terms, it is all about passion. Passion gets you turnout. I don't know if the Republican Party deserves it - but they are set up well for 2010 looking 11 months out - which is close to infinity in politics. However - it is better to fight from this position than the other. This is critically true in the Senate, where the bad-luck of the calendar has them fighting for many more seats than the Democrats.

If anyone wants to know about 2012, you will have to go to someone else. This is so far out, things could be a repeat of Reagan-Mondale in '84, or Carter-Reagan in '80. Do not underestimate POTUS or his Party when it comes to power.

Focus on 2010. The Hope-Change Army is demoralized and doesn't look like they want to come out of their cantonment. The Republicans have a chance. Are they smart enough to win? Harumph - hope ain't a plan.

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