Fivethirtyeight is the ultimate political junkies’ Web site. It is probability-driven. Fantasy baseball addicts (of whom I am one) will be familiar with the principals: Will Carroll and Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus, which specializes in detailed statistical analyses of player performance. I bought it for a couple of years but found a rival publication, Baseball HQ, to be more accessible. Silver analyzed every governor’s race in Saturday’s New York Times, projecting the likely outcome. In the Texas governor’s race, the prediction is Perry 52, White 45. This margin is slightly lower than the results of recent Rasmussen polls, which are the most frequent source of information about the race. Rasmussen has had Perry up by 8 and 9 points in his last two polls. This paragraph from Silver’s blog analyzes why governor’s races are different from other races: Gubernatorial races, especially open races, are often quite dynamic until the last hours of the campaign. Thus, most Democrats who are now trailing have a chance to come back. In Michigan, for instance, where Virg Bernero, a Democrat and the mayor of Lansing, is running against the venture capitalist Rick Snyder, the number of undecided voters is high and the race is likely to tighten, although perhaps not enough for Mr. Bernero to secure victory. Texas is not an open race, of course, so the above analysis does not necessarily apply. But I agree that governor’s races are different from any other race. Few voters really care about who their U.S. senators are. Senators are off in Washington for six years. Governors are in the news all the time. They inspire strong feelings, one way or another. Texans felt a personal relationship with Ann Richards when she was governor, and with George W. Bush when he was governor. Perry is a strong incumbent and is well situated to win another term. But voters are picking somebody who they will be living with for the next four years. This is why Fivethirtyeight is forecasting that the race will tighten.
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