The following is reprinted verbatim from my old Livejournal. The entry was written January 26, 2007.
In 2000, the news media called the presidential vote in the state of Florida for Gore before the voting had ended. This caused enormous controversy, because both sides claimed that this discouraged remaining Bush/Gore supporters who would have voted late to stay home believing the election was over.
In 2004, the news media was extremely cautious, and refrained from calling the election until the outcome was a certainty. It was thoroughly obvious that Bush won hours before the media in general called it. Better to be cautious, though, especially in a close election.
So I’m going to throw my own advice to the wind and call the 2008 election, because I think the victor is obvious.
Barack Obama beats whoever the Republican challenger is in an electoral college landslide reminiscent of Reagan. The popular vote margin will be closer than 60-40, but vastly higher than the last two presidential elections.
I don’t like it, and I wish I were wrong. But I’m probably not.
Now I can’t quite take credit for being a prophet. For a while before and during the primaries I’d have told you that I was wrong, and Hillary would get the nomination after all. I should have stayed with my first instinct. As it is, the prediction is still not totally accurate. It wasn’t a Reaganesque electoral landslide. And in fact Obama barely broke the 50% mark. My 6% third-party prediction on this site a few posts ago was nuts, but having thus been written I’ll not change it.
Jonah Goldberg at National Review has a good summary from the right:
Look, I expect to be one of the most severe critics of the Obama administration and the Democrats generally in the years ahead (though I sincerely hope I won’t find that necessary). But Obama ran a brilliant race and he should be congratulated for it. Moreover, during the debate over the financial crisis, Obama said that a president should be able to do more than one thing at a time. Well, I think we members of the loyal opposition should be able to make distinctions simultaneously. It is a wonderful thing to have the first African-American president. It is a wonderful thing that in a country where feelings are so intense that power can be transferred so peacefully. Let us hope that the Obama his most dedicated — and most sensible! — fans see turns out to be the real Obama. Let us hope that Obama succeeds and becomes a great president, for all the right reasons.
It more or less speaks for me as well. There’s more, you should read it.
I know you’re all sick of politics. So am I. Tomorrow, back to the physics. I’ll calculate and announce the prediction contest winners later this week. Have a glorious day, and may I be wrong about the quality of the change!