Home > News > Thank You, Jonathan Chait
136 views 33 sec 0 Comment

Thank You, Jonathan Chait

- February 2, 2010

bq. Political scientists believe unanimously that economic conditions play an important role in shaping public opinion. I don’t think you could find one who would suggest that a president one year into his term facing double-digit unemployment could avoid a significant drop in popularity.

bq. One complaint I have with the mainstream media is its habit of ignoring such structural factors and explaining changes in public opinion almost solely as the outcome of ideological positioning by candidates and elected officials. In defense of the MSM, they do this in a bipartisan way. Whenever a party suffers electoral misfortune, the media will attribute it to a failure to heed to wishes of the center, coupled with demands that the losing party purge itself of ideological sin and embrace the moderate center.

The rest of the piece is an argument with a former aide to Karl Rove. For the purposes of this blog, I’m just happy to see political science get its due. Chait also notes that he did not over-intepret the 2008 election as a sweeping mandate, for which he deserves credit.

[Hat tip to Brendan Nyhan.]

Topics on this page