Friday, January 11, 2008

A call to arms

Having more or less recovered from the recent Australian General Elections, and that was a full year of activity, I figure it is time to turn my attention to the next election battle.

I watched the Iowa outing with interest, but it was NH which really peaked my interest, or more a difficult to define uneasiness. I’ve like Obama since I saw his support role cum book tour during the 2006 mid-terms. He was a very inspiring performer.

Of course since then it has been gossip column stuff, up to when the real action begins. Except that it seemed like the gossip column stuff was continuing. Polling and commentary was looking more like cheerleading. Commentary waxed lyrical about ‘rock star’ status.

For all my blogging friends that is all very good and proper. For the professionals out there it is a clear dereliction of duty and expectation. Well it is here and in other countries I’m familiar with, perhaps not in the US.

The claimed ‘rise and rise of Obama’ disturbed me greatly preceding NH voting. The claims lacked and real evidence and failed show anything deeper than the highly visible support. I saw no discussion on how far that support might extend beyond the noisy head, or if that noisy head and possible extension would even cast a ballot.

The collective post NH explanations of the pollsters were doubly disturbing. Here we were treated to admissions of forcing anomalies into a standard practice, even if they did distort the figures and weighting based on best (or preferred) guesses. I believe the Dec 07 polling was far more accurate on Clinton and Obama.

Not that the Aussie pollsters did a lot better, but they had a new breed up their tailpipe, they had a bunch of enthusiastic academic, journalistic and economic bloggers pulling them to pieces and rebuilding. You will find some of them under Australian Politics links down on the right.

I’m looking for a similar group in the US, bloggers with enthusiasm for their craft, a certain detachment from the parties and candidates and the background to spot the dead albatross lying on the entry mat and read its entrails.

Language has been part of my barrier so far. I was looking for Psephologists, sociologists who studies election trends. Apparently that is not a word in the US academic lexicon, I think the term in use might be - political sociology.

But it is broader than that too; where are the lively economists in all this? Have we allowed market economics to kill off essential branch of social policy formulation? Where are those people who live for their data base, compiling and tabulating trends past and present and digging out the anomalies?

I cannot believe the vast US population lacks these people in good numbers. We just need to find them and winkle them out of the woodwork. The blog is becoming a powerful information tool, a place where the specialist, amateur or professional, can be heard and very much appreciated.


Enigma4ever said...

of Watergate Summer here...

Great post on an important Invisible American Issue....that you nailed.

well, I think your search might be rather limited...the word that you presented is never used here...and I don't think they know what it means ( esp the MSM)...

I think this election will and should interesting, and full of twists and turns...and hopefully less Swiftboating and hatemongering...I wish there was much more policymongering and issuemongering...

Keep up your great search and analysis.....

I wish more people here were more thorough...

TomCat said...

I don't know what's good and what's not in the field, but look at this search page:

Cartledge said...

Enigma, thank you. Is this my new quest?
Tom, yes, I’ve searched every combination and permutation, but I thank you. Sadly I am coming to the conclusion that there is an inferior academic model in place in the US. It is odd because we have some brilliant US academics working here and in Britain and Canada, who relish critical analysis and academic rigour.
Throwing money around and wishful thinking is not really doing much to ensure democracy, but I guess you already know that.