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Friday · February 20 2004

Noam Scheiber writes at The New Republic:

Just about the only thing less sophisticated voters--who, I'm guessing, tend to be poorer and less well-educated--know about John Kerry is that he's been winning, and possibly that he's a longtime Senator and a Vietnam veteran. On the other hand, more sophisticated voters--who, I'm guessing, tend to be more affluent and better educated--have probably paid attention to the campaign long enough to know that, in addition to these things, Kerry's from Massachusetts (not exactly a presidential breeding ground of late), tilts to the liberal end of the ideological spectrum, and tends to be kind of boring and long-winded. Which is to say, less affluent, less educated voters are looking at John Kerry's string of primary victories and concluding from them that he's electable. More affluent, better educated voters are actually watching debates and reading newspapers. And they're concluding from these things that Edwards--who is neither from Massachusetts nor a liberal nor boring--is actually more electable. (Particularly after many of these newspapers endorse Edwards, as the two biggest papers in Wisconsin recently did.)
Ayup. (My emphasis above)
It's a phenomenon that's actually very similar to what goes on in the stock market. Less sophisticated investors just pick the stocks whose prices they've heard are going up. More sophisticated investors actually do some research about the companies they plan to invest in. Up until yesterday, Kerry was that tech stock that the girlfriend of the cousin of the guy down the street said was a can't-miss opportunity, while Edwards was the unheralded stock of a company with a little-known but solid product.
Scheiber points out that this phenomenon is exactly the opposite of what we should expect given Kerry's upper-class, Yale educated background and Edward's "son of a mill worker" story I've heard a dozen times. I hope this catches on and people see Kerry's primary victories for what they are: a collapsible house of sticks. People seem to like the idea of Kerry beating Bush more than they like Kerry the man. So stop voting for him.

Archived: Political » February 2004
© 2004 Jason Keglovitz