Thursday, October 14, 2010

why christine o'donnell is not dangerous at all

i'm puzzled by james fallows post "Why Christine O'Donnell Could Be More Dangerous Than Sarah Palin" because it doesn't even mention the humongous reason that she is not: she can't win.

okay, that's not totally true. she has almost no chance of winning. it's not even close. it really looks like she's going to get creamed. chris coons has maintained a solid double-digit lead ever since o'donnell got the nomination. the current 538 average of her poll numbers has her behind by 18 points. that site's projections give her a zero percent chance of winning. by comparison, 538 says that pat toomey has a 92% chance of beating joe sestak and sestak is only 7 points behind in the polls. how does a single digit different translate into such a large predictive percentage in the sestak-toomey race? nate silver notes that historically someone who is polls behind by 7% at this late stage in the race (with less than 3 weeks to go) goes on to lose 92 times out of 100. o'donnell's 0% chance means that no one has ever come back from being this far behind in the polls at this late stage.

of course the polls could be wrong. but if her polls could be wrong, all the polls could be wrong. and if all of them are wrong, a whole lot of stuff that is regularly referred to with certainty by political commentators is also wrong (stuff like "the republican wave", the relative unpopularity of president obama, and the public's concern about unemployment). the only reason that everyone is assuming the democrats will lose seats in congress in the upcoming election is because they believe in those very same polls. i believe them too, at least overall.

the only thing that o'donnell is is a clown. the media loves clowns. that's why although there are scores of political debates going on in this election year only the o'donnell-coons debate was carried live by CNN. it's not because the race is a nail biter, or is more important than any other senate race this year. normally CNN wouldn't give a state like delaware the time of day. they broadcast it because they were hoping that o'donnell would say something stupid so CNN would have the clip and would be able to bobblehead about it afterwords. nancy karibjanian might as well have dispensed with the questions and just gone with: "say something funny, christine." that's the only reason wolf blitzer was there.

o'donnell losing by a landslide is the closest sure thing we can get in politics. she's just a bargain-basement sarah palin. and like sarah palin, she will never be elected to higher office in this country. also like palin, o'donnell might be able to leverage her current exposure into a job as a commentator. but only because we're all hoping that she says something really hilariously stupid.

(via memeorandum)