June 16, 2008

R's lose in '08. Pity.

Can you say schadenfreude, boys and girls?
“This should be an overwhelming Democratic victory,” said Allan Lichtman, an American University presidential historian who ran in a Maryland Democratic senatorial primary in 2006. Lichtman, whose forecasting model has correctly predicted the last six presidential popular vote winners, predicts that this year, “Republicans face what have always been insurmountable historical odds.” His system gives McCain a score on par with Jimmy Carter’s in 1980.

“McCain shouldn't win it,” said presidential historian Joan Hoff, a professor at Montana State University and former president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency. She compared McCain’s prospects to those of Hubert Humphrey, whose 1968 loss to Richard Nixon resulted in large part from the unpopularity of sitting Democratic president Lyndon Johnson.

“It is one of the worst political environments for the party in power since World War II,” added Alan Abramowitz, a professor of public opinion and the presidency at Emory University. His forecasting model — which factors in gross domestic product, whether a party has completed two terms in the White House and net presidential approval rating — gives McCain about the same odds as Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and Carter in 1980 — both of whom were handily defeated in elections that returned the presidency to the previously out-of-power party. “It would be a pretty stunning upset if McCain won,” Abramowitz said.

What’s more, Republicans have held the presidency for all but 12 years since the South became solidly Republican in the realignment of 1968 — which is among the longest runs with one party dominating in American history. “These things go in cycles,” said presidential historian Robert Dallek, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “The public gets tired of one approach to politics. There is always a measure of optimism in this country, so they turn to the other party.”

That desire for change also tends to manifest itself at the end of a president’s second term. Only twice in the 20th century has a candidate from the same party as a two-term president won the presidency, most recently in 1988, when George H.W. Bush replaced the term-limited Ronald Reagan, who was about twice as popular in the last year of his presidency as President George W. Bush is now.


Hat tip to stalwart reader Nooncat for bringing this to my attention.

1 Comments:

At 6/18/2008 12:30 AM, Anonymous nooncat said...

I can indeed say "Schadenfreude". But I prefer to say "epicaricacy".

 

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