Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

When Election Predictions Come out, Beware of the Spin Series: Election for a New Century -1998

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

When Election Predictions Come out, Beware of the Spin Series: Election for a New Century -1998

Article excerpt

It is one of the oldest tricks in the political spinmeister's repertoire: Pump up or deflate election expectations before the vote. After the tally, use the artificially calculated numbers to claim victory, or even a mandate.

This election season is providing lots of opportunity for both sides to engage in a round of predictions-meet-politics:

* "History tells us we should lose 25 to 30 {House} seats," says Melissa Ratcliff, press secretary for the Democratic National Committee. * "The off-year standard is {a loss of} between 15 and 30 {seats}. A rout for us would be anything over 35 in the House," says Nikki Heidepriem, a Democratic political consultant in Washington. * "We're looking for 14" in the House, says Ralph Reed, former director of the Christian Coalition, now a GOP strategist. Conventional wisdom holds that the party controlling the White House typically loses seats during the middle point of the president's second term. But just how many seats the Democrats lose Nov. 3 will be watched even more closely this year, as analysts look for any sign of a backlash against the president. Because this year's vote margin will likely help shape the scope and intensity of impeachment proceedings, the expectation game is in high gear. "High-balling and low-balling is a fine art," explains William Lunch, a political scientist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. "If {Democrats} say they are expecting {to lose} 26, they are expecting five," he chuckles. Some political experts say the expectation game has picked up this decade. "There are so many people out there making a living off politics and do it by staking out some kind of territory," says Earl Black, a professor of political science at Rice University in Houston. The most recent example of this came in the days before the House vote for impeachment proceedings earlier this month. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.