Home > Applying Political Science, California Politics, Political Campaigns > Obligatory “What Does It All Mean” Post

Obligatory “What Does It All Mean” Post

I don’t think the election changed much or told us anything we didn’t already know about American politics. It was pretty much a status quo election. Sorry to disappoint. Here’s some collected thoughts instead.


Evidence-based claims generally win out over faith-based claims. The poll-driven election forecast models (e.g., Pollster, 538) were right. “Vibrations” and claims that the polls just seemed wrong were not. Also, Dick Morris still doesn’t have a clue. At least he’s good for a laugh.

It’s hard to beat an incumbent president when things are getting better. Also, when the primary point of comparison is still George W. Bush.

The basic dynamics of national politics haven’t changed. It will still be hard for President Obama to get what he wants from Congress. Republican policy preferences, and the intensity with which they are held, haven’t changed.

The House Florida crazy quotient changed sides of the aisle. West lost. Grayson won.


Holding schools hostage works. Prop. 30 passed.

California voters still like to be tough on crime. Prop. 35 won and Prop. 34 lost.

Voters can read. Prop. 40 passed by a wide margin.


It’s hard to win if you are mayor when the city declares bankruptcy. Mayor Johnston lost.

That said, it’s possible to win even if you voted for the bankruptcy. Eggman won.

Basing your entire campaign on “being from here” (San Joaquin) is great so long as (1) a significant portion of the district isn’t somewhere other than “here,” (2) you aren’t running against an incumbent, and (3) the district isn’t titled toward the other party. McNerney–outspent nearly two to one–beat the upstart Gill by a healthy, seven eight-point margin (53.5-46.5 54-46). Contra Costa County, about 30% of the district, went heavily (58-42 59-41) for McNerney. San Joaquin voted 52-48 for McNerney, slightly less than it voted for President Obama.

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