What if Everything Happened According to Plan?

I had occasion to revisit this graph:

And then, it suddenly struck me: what if everything had gone as planned? From the perspective of Obama’s reelection chances, the light blue graph (“without recovery plan”) is much better than the dark blue (“with recovery plan”). By Election Day, 2012, the two curves are nearly at the same point. But in the year from 2011 to 2012, the economy is improving much faster with the top curve than the bottom curve. And, as Doug Hibbs, Bob Erikson, Steven Rosenstone, and others have taught us, year-to-year change in the economy is what it’s all about.

I’m not exactly saying that Obama and his team actually want unemployment in 2011 to be any higher than necessary; it’s just funny how, from a crude curve-extrapolation perspective, the above graph is looking like it could be good news for them in two and a half years.

Once again, it’s the Hoover-or-Reagan story.

About Andrew Gelman 26 Articles

Affiliation: Columbia University

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University. He has received the Outstanding Statistical Application award from the American Statistical Association, the award for best article published in the American Political Science Review, and the Council of Presidents of Statistical Societies award for outstanding contributions by a person under the age of 40.

His books include Bayesian Data Analysis (with John Carlin, Hal Stern, and Don Rubin), Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks (with Deb Nolan), Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models (with Jennifer Hill), and, most recently, Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do (with David Park, Boris Shor, Joe Bafumi, and Jeronimo Cortina).

Andrew has done research on a wide range of topics, including: why it is rational to vote; why campaign polls are so variable when elections are so predictable; why redistricting is good for democracy; reversals of death sentences; police stops in New York City, the statistical challenges of estimating small effects; the probability that your vote will be decisive; seats and votes in Congress; social network structure; arsenic in Bangladesh; radon in your basement; toxicology; medical imaging; and methods in surveys, experimental design, statistical inference, computation, and graphics.

Visit: Andrew Gelman's Website

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