Archives for posts with tag: election

I’m not so worried about Donald Trump becoming the next president of the United States. 

Back in 2012, Barack Obama’s campaign was not in good shape. Obama had just presided over four of the toughest years in America since the Great Depression. Unemployment was high. Morale was low. Obama could not call on the magnificent rhetoric that brought him to victory in 2008. He had a record of tenure now, and the indications were not good.

The Republican Party, sensing blood, organised a well resourced campaign to throw him out of power. Their candidate, Mitt Romney, was a fair choice, as he had a better chance of appealing to swing state voters than anyone else on the ticket. The Republicans threw everything at Obama. They fueled their core voters. They tried every trick in the book to dissuade potential democrat voters from turning out. They sent millions on clever attack ads. It was a masterpiece of campaigning and it failed. Obama regained the presidency by a comfortable margin.

In the aftermath, it was clear what lost the Republicans the presidency: demographics. The Republican core vote, appealing to white, self-employed, evangelical, rural and libertarian voters, was no longer enough to win, compared to what was now a majority of minority groups. The Democrats, with their particular appeal to urban, multi-ethnic and well educated voters, had the numbers. Republican Party strategists sensed this. They talked about making their message more appealing to a wider cross section of American society. 

None of this happened. Instead, they got Trump.

Donald Trump is the most divisive candidate America has seen in the last 50 years. His only real achievement, since starting his campaign, has been to crystallize a large segment of the Republican base into a red-hot mother lode of fury. He has alienated, not just the target Democratic constituency, but many Republican and evangelical voters, to the point that many of them may well stay home on election day.

Meanwhile, the demographics continue their glacial shift away from the Republican worldview. Bad and all though the numbers were in 2012, it’s worse for them now. They have done nothing to reverse the decline, in fact the opposite is the case. Despite Hillary Clinton’s apparent weaknesses as the Democratic candidate, she has not alienated potential voters in quite the same way and she has given waverers little reason to vote Trump.

It’s hard to see it any other way: the Republican Party are going to lose on an epic scale this year. A Democratic House, Senate and Presidency? It’s on the cards.

I want to test the Wisdom of Crowds theory that I talked about some time ago, so what better example than the fast approaching Irish General Election? I decided yesterday evening to spend some time looking at Paddy Power’s betting on the outcome, candidate by candidate.

Based strictly on the odds being offered and the number of seats available, the analysis breaks down this way:

Fianna Fail: 72-73*

Fine Gael: 49-50

Labour: 16-18

Green: 9

Sinn Féin: 8

Progressive Democrats: 2

Others: 8

(In two constituencies, Wicklow and Kerry South, the odds were the same for last place, so I have shown a range instead of a single number).

If this were true, high profile casualties would include Ruairi Quinn, Joan Burton, Donie Cassidy, Jackie-Healy Rae, Niall Blaney, Tom Parlon, Liz O’Donnell, Martin Mansergh and Michael Woods.

This scenario is something of a nightmare for the two major political alliances. It leaves Fianna Fail and the PD’s with 75 seats and a “rainbow” coalition of Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens with 77 seats: well shy of the 84 seats needed to form a new government. Both coalitions would need the support of independents and possibly even Sinn Féin.

If this prediction comes true, the only viable administration would be a Fianna Fáil / Labour alliance (and how long that would last is anyone’s guess).

In any case there is plenty of room for manoeuvre. The number of listed candidates that are almost certain to win is 75. 190 other candidates will have a fight on their hands if they are to win one of the remaining 91 seats**.

More detailed information on each candidate can be found in the attached PDF. Let’s see what transpires tomorrow, shall we?

Election Predictions 2007

* Rory O’Hanlon (FF) is already deemed elected since he was Ceann Comhairle (chairman) in the last Dáil.

** My calculations are based on a “definite” being a bet of 10-1 on (91%) or greater, and a “close call” being less than 10-1 on but greater than or equal to 4-1 (20%).

Update: I had to revise my calculations because I was previously showing probabilities of 2000%, etc, which is ridiculous – a probability can not be greater than one!

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