Thursday, October 04, 2012

No Presidential Debate has ever "mattered"

If I'm referencing Ezra Klein, it may be a sign of the apocalypse.

On the other hand, if even Ezra Klein can get it right, it can't be too hard, now can it?  The fact is that debates don't matter, and have never mattered.  And, no there is NOT "always a first time."  There COULD be a first time, but I would be surprised.  (On the other hand, I was surprised that the President is so sheltered from disagreement that he was shocked someone would contradict him. Thanks to Fundman for that link.)

Anyway, back to the point.  Here is a graph from a Bob Erikson book (reference here).
Horizontal axis Dem margin before debate; Vertical is Dem margin after debate.  Remember that "important" 1960 debate, where Nixon looked so bad?  Right on the 45 degree line.  The only one where the debate seems to have mattered is 1976, where Ford lost the election by saying dumb stuff about Poland being free and independent.  Meaning that Ford dropped like a rock after....wait.  Carter dropped like a rock.  CARTER dropped, going from +10 to basically even after the debate.  Carter still won, of course.  But it wasn't the debate.  There is no example of a debate mattering.

Until now?  Maybe.  My main man Ezra and I, we doubt it.



Angus said...

But, but, but, but, but Mittens WON! Everyone says so.

Anonymous said...

play the stimulus card. Think how badly Mitts would have lost without winning the debate.

Patience_Crabstick said...

Good to know.