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Projection and the Will of the Electorate

05 Mar

“… voters are finally focused on who they think will be the best commander-in-chief…

… Now that senator McCain is clearly the nominee, democratic voters are taking their decision very seriously…”

– Hillary Clinton on Today, this morning

It’s a bit tiring to hear everyone (McCain, Clinton, Obama, the media, everyone) constantly explain why people voted for who they voted for. I believe many people have unpredictable reasons for voting the way they do, and to say that they voted for the candidate they did for a particular reason trivializes the complex set of issues underlying these elections. Furthermore, statements like this seem to imply that before, voters were not focused on who will be the best C.I.C., or taking their decision seriously. This isn’t directed in particular at Senator Clinton, rather I’m just bored of seeing this filter constantly applied to election results.

I know that candidates have to do this – it’s to their advantage to interpret their success as a portent of something larger, and then to project that interpretation onto our monitors and our brains.

But the media doesn’t have to do it (do they?). They don’t have to interpret every single voting block’s majority as a swing for a particular reason. When CNN tells me that voters chose experience over change yesterday in Texas and Ohio, I don’t want to believe them. It may be true that Clinton is correlated with experience, and Obama is correlated with change, but that doesn’t mean that votes for one or the other correlate the same way; and if they do correlate that way, there’s no way to deconvolute that from the affect of the media. Does this make sense?

Anyways, I’m often a big fan of controversy, so I’m not unhappy to see the nomination process carry on a bit longer.

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2 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2008 in Garbage In, Garbage Out

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Projection and the Will of the Electorate

  1. weirleader

    March 5, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    You remind me of a similar article I read once concerning the media’s statements about the stock market. They always try to put some spin on why the market was up or down, despite the fact that with so many complex variables the likelihood that any one company’s (or even sector’s) news was ultimately responsible is negligible.

     

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