David Pogue of the New York Times asked:
Who are the morons who respond to junk-mail offers, thereby keeping spammers in business?
and received the answer:
Statistically speaking, half of ALL people are below-average intelligence. That fact can explain MANY things.
I was a little curious about how support for the parties has varied during the campaign. Here are the highs and lows according to Gallup’s almost-daily index from 24 October to 7 November:
|Social Liberal Party||9,2||5,7||7,0|
|Danish People's Party||13,3||12,2||13,4|
I find the stability of the Liberals and Social Democrats interesting. (Both parties record new maximum values in Thursday’s index).
The always readable Andrew Gelman came up with an interesting explanation:
My theory, at least for the general election, is that most of the voters have already decided who they’re going to vote for–and even the ones who haven’t decided are often more predictable than they realize. Suppose, for example, that 40% have pretty much already decided they’ll vote for the Democrat, 40% will vote for the Republican, and the fight is over the remaining 20%–most of whom do not follow politics closely in any case. Now think of the audience for political news. 80% of the people don’t need to know the candidates’ positions–they’ve already decided their votes–but they’re intensely interested in the horse race: are “we” going to win or lose? The substantive coverage that Krugman and I might want is really just for 20% of the audience. So, from that perspective, it makes sense for the media to give people the horse race. (Yes, survey respondents say they want more of candidates position issues and less on which candidate is leading in the polls–but I don’t know that I believe people when they say this.) (My italics, JC)
Of cause the number of candidates is larger in Denmark with an eight-party system than in the US two-party system and the mix of parties in the winning coalition plays a role for the resulting policies, but despite all of my complaints about the media covering parliamentary elections as presidential elections Danish voters are always left with the choice – should “the left” or “the right” set the agenda?
As the Danish election campaign enters its last frenetic stage, the question of possible alliances and especially gets more and more attention – especially in the media (In Danish politico slang, this is know as the letter game). The story about secret negotiations between the Liberals and New Alliance is interesting – but not really surprising to a weathered political scientist.
A short reflection on this could be that:
- New Alliance was in fact formed to keep the centre-right in office while at the same time minimising Danish People’s Party’s power. Hence, NA has to prefer Anders Fogh Rasmussen to Helle Thorning Schmidt as Prime Minister.
- NA’s problem is to find a credible threat against AFR: Calling for the government’s resignation and an open round of negotiations is one possibility – but the events after the 1987 election should serve as a warning. Making NA’s support conditional of policy concessions makes perfect sense as an alternative – provided the threat of a vote of no confidence is credible (See under: 1975).
- It makes perfect sense for AFR (and the Liberals and Conservatives in general) to a) try and persuade potential Liberal and Conservative voters to go for the real thing instead of the proxy or b) try and call NA’s bluff in advance.
- I think Anders Samuelsen – who, as I see it, is very much the brains of the NA outfit – knew what he was doing by creating a link to the Liberals.
And it is probably a problem for NA that Naser Khader has been tangled into stories about tax evasion and moonlighting. Policy issues are eclipsed in the reporting.
Oh, and the Norwegians think Denmark looks like a banana republic. The Norwegian reporter actually has a point.
Opgørelse af folketingsvalget den 8. februar 2005 ved anvendelse af ny valgkredsinddeling og ved
(Ola is Ola Nordebo, the unfortunate political editor of Västerbottens-Kuriren ðŸ˜› ) The rejoinder is here. He is inexplicably happy.
Ola might like to know that if the Leopard hadn’t acted up, I could have spent half an hour savaging the latest case of Stockholm-centreredness provided by Dagens Nyheter in the form of Hanne Kjöller’s TV review on Wednesday. ðŸ˜‰
I guess this election campaign must take the prize as the one with the strangest casualties ever.
You see, somehow New Alliance leader Naser Khader has succeeded in undermining no less than three journalists/commentators/writers during the last week: Mads Qvortrup (aka The Bald Avenger) from Se og Hør (Qvortrup isn’t dead yet, though), Niels Krause-Kjær from DR and Berlingske Tidende and now Michael Jeppesen from Ekstra Bladet.
Granted, NA has taken some hits in opinions poll lately, but as campaigns go this is still completely upside-down.
While we’re at it: When I go to Berlingske Tidende’s homepage, I’m greeted with an advertisement for the Social Democrats. When I go to Politiken’s homepage, on the other hand, I’m greeted by the Liberals. Weird.
Missing the Wednesday notes about the election campaign in Denmark? My excuse is that I am trying to install Mac OS X Leopard on my PowerBook – and it is not looking good: After an installation process lasting 90 minutes, I got the dreaded BSOD (yes, you can get those on macs now as well). Now I’m trying the “archive and install” alternative instead.
The thing promises to be finished at around 2 AM tonight.
Perhaps it is a good thing that Leopard won’t install on the iMac.