Thursday, January 10, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Cognitive Dissonance

Plenty of commentary all over the blogosphere and in the MSM about why HRC won on Tuesday, despite the polling numbers and the constant barrage of "it's over" -- but what strikes me most is how flinchingly dishonest the punditocracy is being as they try and find "the right narrative" to explain what happened.

The fact that the folks of New Hampshire (and the rest of us for that matter) don't particularly care to be told what to think or whom to vote for by a press establishment that is solely focused on the horse race rather than the substance of the campaigns seems to elude them.

Instead we get -- the people lied to us in the polling because they are secretly racist, or women broke for Hillary because she turned on the tears, or maybe it's because the Flying Spagetti Monster made them do it as part of the Grand Intelligent Design.

Or perhaps the real reason is basic retail politics.

What is certain: the pundits got skunked and that's a good thing.

What is also certain: From Dowd to Morris to Matthews to Sullivan -- none of them will admit it or change their MO.

Update: I found this particular post on Political Arithmetik very revealing on how wrong (or right) the NH polls really were.

It is the Clinton vote that was massively underestimated. Every New Hampshire
poll was outside the 5-Ring. Clinton's trend estimate was 30.4%, with the sensitive estimate even worse at 29.9% and the 5 poll average at 31.0% compared to her actual vote of 39.1%.

So the clear puzzle that needs to be addressed is whether Clinton won on turnout (or Obama's was low) or whether last minute decisions broke overwhelmingly for Clinton. Or whether the pollster's likely voter screens mis-estimated the make up of the electorate. Or if the weekend hype led to a feeding frenzy of media coverage that was very favorable to Obama and very negative towards Clinton, which depressed her support in the polls but oddly did not lower her actual vote.

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