What Drives Electability Numbers?

The New Republic

You have read:

0 / 8

free articles in the past 30 days.

Already a subscriber?

Log in here

sign up for unlimited access for just $34.97Sign me up

NOVEMBER 5, 2007

What Drives Electability Numbers?

The latest Washington Post/ABC poll finds that Hillary has a 62-15-14 lead over Obama and Edwards among Democratic voters on the question of who has the best chance of being elected president. That's up from 57-16-20 in late September and 43-21-26 in June. It's worth pointing out, as the rival campaigns will tell you, that electability numbers often closely reflect a candidate's overall standing in the polls. But I think the two numbers interact in a somewhat less obvious way, too: If you're leading by a comfortable margin, there's less pressure on you to take positions that will excite your party's base, which preserves your centrist bona fides for the general election, and therefore helps make you more electable. If, on the other hand, you're trailing in the polls, you've got to take more risks, which often entail hugging your party's base, which makes it harder to compete in a general election. So it's not just that electability numbers coincide with overall poll-standing because voters use the latter as a proxy for the former (though I'm sure that's a big part of it). There is some way in which the latter actually causes the former.  

--Noam Scheiber

share this article on facebook or twitter

posted in: employment change

print this article

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Show all 4 comments

You must be a subscriber to post comments. Subscribe today.

Back to Top

SHARE HIGHLIGHT

0 CHARACTERS SELECTED

TWEET THIS

POST TO TUMBLR

SHARE ON FACEBOOK