The Electability Question: An Experiment

John Sides and Alex Lundry ask:  Do GOP Voters Care about Electability?

They conduct an experiment that provides evidence in the affirmative.  Details at the link.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. McKeever says:

    I would like to see the issue of UN Agenda 21 addressed by all of the candidates. If elected, will they let this agreement stand or withdraw US support?
    If you do not know about this issue, read UN Agenda 21 and become informed about this serious threat to our freedoms in this country.

  2. mantis says:

    The experiment lends support to a conclusion that should really be obvious. Of course they care about electability. They just think their preferred (longshot) candidate, be it Paul or Bachmann or whomever, actually could win. I imagine for some, they have to come up with a convoluted scenario in their heads as to how that could happen, and for others, they just don’t realize how unlikely it really is (because they don’t trust polls, or live in a candidate-friendly bubble, etc.). In either case, when confronted with evidence that suggests their candidate is doomed, either in the primary or the general, they pick someone who really could win.

    In the case of the 25% who switched from Gingrich to Romney when they saw the Intrade numbers for the general election, I think they are a bit more aware of what is going on, but are still living in the conservative world which has accepted as fact that whomever is nominated will absolutely beat Obama. Their friends all hate Obama, and all the media they consume tells them everyone hates Obama, so there’s no way he can be reelected, right? When they see some numbers–not polls, but a “prediction market”–that suggest Obama has a very good chance of being reelected, they switch to the guy with the second best chance: Romney.

  3. mantis says:


    I would like the candidates to address all of Glenn Beck’s nutball conspiracy theories. That sounds like a great plan!

  4. Eric Florack says:

    Apparently, they do care. And in caring they conclude as follows:

    Rank and file GOP voters now see Gingrich overwhelmingly as the most electable against Obama.

    Any questions, class?