Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Thursday, October 19, 2006
Jim Miller posts about predictions for the forthcoming mid-term elections in the US.
... I have long thought that Republicans generally gain during a campaign, simply because some voters see their arguments for the first time.
Sounds likely to me. Also I'd guess that the way the Democrat-leaning media big up the Democrats' prospects is one reason that Republican "Get out the Vote" operations work so well: the press scares lazy Republicans out of their front rooms and into the polling station.

All things considered my prediction - tremble as I prophesy - is that the Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives more narrowly than most people think. Scarcely any change in the Senate. I must admit, though, that what interest I have in this US election arises mostly from the fact that my interest-tank was filled so incredibly full in the 2004 election that it has still hasn't quite run dry even after two years.

Ah, happy memories. I've been to loads of parties that were less fun than that solitary night in front of a computer. In his post Jim Miller quotes Jay Cost extensively (from a most learned document with tables and percentages and little grey boxes in it) and it was to Jay Cost's Horserace Blog that I turned when the first reports in 2004 looked bad. Be of good cheer, he said, 'tis but the loss of a few stupid exit polls. He didn't just exhort, either. He wrote reassuringly hard-edged things like:

In North Carolina, the exit polls show the voting population to be 63 percent women. That is obviously far too large – and it explains why the exit polls have the President up by only one in North Carolina..
Then he and his flashcrowd of commenters got down to comparing the incoming Bush/Kerry results to the Bush/Gore results for individual counties.

Finally, as the dawn's new light dimmed my screen by comparison, I went over to Andrew Sullivan who linked to a real time counter of the Ohio vote spinning its way from possibility to certainty. I slipped downstairs to the TV to flick between ITV and BBC. How doggedly the presenters reported the Republicans' celebrations. The British stiff upper lip is not dead. As for me, it felt strange the next day, being boundlessly, secretly, sleepily happy about a result that depressed most people I knew, in so far as they cared at all.

Enough reminiscing. Though they may just contrive to get themselves into a position where they can manage a sigh of relief, Republicans are unlikely to do much partying after this election. One reason why I am not too unhappy about this - apart from the fact that it all matters much less - is that giving the Democrats a taste of victory might do something to cool down the conspiracy theories.

Just look at the comments to this BBC blog post by Justin Webb. I featured in Biased BBC under the heading "On the other hand..." because - seriously - I felt sorry for him.

While there are plenty of right wing conspiracists around as well, the left wing ones have been stoked to a frenzy by repeated disappointments. And by the media, of course.