2008 Prediction Games

Michael Medved has a much-linked column assessing the Republican candidates’ chances of beating Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in November based on some “trial heat” surveys. He figures Mitt Romney is the worst of the plausible nominees and John McCain the best.

Kevin Drum has found survey data which backs up his hunch that Hillary Clinton would be just as effective against John McCain as Barack Obama, her negatives notwithstanding.

Steven Taylor uses a George Will column to argue that any plausible Republican nominee is going to have an uphill fight to beat any plausible Democratic nominee.

Based on the existing evidence, I’d say they’re all right. But while making informed guesses about the future is what pundits do, it’s complete folly.

The fact of the matter is that hardly anyone is yet paying attention. People have pretty firm ideas about Hillary Clinton, because she’s been in the spotlight so long, and that’s true to a much lesser extent for McCain. Otherwise, all the candidates — and that includes 2004 VP nominee John Edwards — are virtual unknowns to anyone who isn’t a political junkie.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    As I’ve said before, Moynihan was wrong: now everybody has his or her own facts.

  2. I agree that precise predictions are impossible to make, but there are a number of historical trends that would indicate that a Democratic victory is far more likely than a Republican one at this stage, yes?

    Not that anything is certain, of course.

  3. James Joyner says:

    a Democratic victory is far more likely than a Republican one at this stage, yes?

    As I said, that would be my analysis as well (although I’ve predicted McCain will pull off the win). I just think the campaign will change minds, as will intervening events.

  4. just me says:

    I think this year favors the democrats, but I completely agree with James that campaigns can change minds, and even more so intervening events.

    Right now there is a lot that can happen and some of those things could drastically change ideas for who a person is going to vote for in an election.