Neil deGrasse Tyson is among the best science communicators of our time. I expect he wouldn’t remember, but years ago when I was an undergrad fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, he encouraged me to pursue astrobiology. Eight years later, I cannot visit the Rose Center without wondering what I’d be up to today had I gone in that direction…
Needless to say, when Neil pens a NYTimes Op-Ed, I take notice. Now regardless of whether you agree with the methodology, he poses some thought-provoking questions:
If the general election were held today, Mr. Obama would win 252 electoral votes as the Democratic nominee, while Mrs. Clinton would win 295. In other words, Barack Obama is losing to John McCain, and Hillary Clinton is beating him.
This analysis does not predict what will happen in November. But it describes the present better than any other known method does.
Poll results can shift, as Mrs. Clinton learned over the past year. The conventions held by both parties usually give candidates a bounce in the polls. Heavy campaigning in close states can swing the sentiments of undecided people. And political gaffes can turn voters away from one candidate and toward another. But these effects would show up monthly in the polls and be duly tracked by this method. The important point is that right now, Mrs. Clinton is ahead of Mr. McCain, and Mr. Obama is behind him.
Two questions arise in the face of this result. Whom should the Republican candidate prefer to run against to maximize his party’s chances of retaining the White House? And what does it say of the Democratic delegate selection system when its winner would lose the presidency if an election were held today, yet its loser would win it?
The median method has gotten us this far. The political analysts need to take it from here.