John Sides

John Sides is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University.

Recent Articles

Will 2012 Be an Anti-Incumbent Year?

“Record High Anti-Incumbent Sentiment,” Gallup reports . Here’s a graph: Well, we went through this in 2010, and the reelection rate of incumbents was still 87% —a little lower than in most elections since 1970, but hardly low. In 2012, I’m even less convinced that anti-incumbency sentiment will actually get incumbents out of office. What happened in 2010 was not due to generalized anti-incumbent sentiment, but to an anti-Democratic sentiment. When lots of incumbents decide not to run or run and lose, it’s usually a by-product of a partisan wave. (One exception is 1992, due to the House banking scandal. See this piece by Gary Jacobson and Michael Dimock.) What does this mean for 2012? Based on weak economic growth and middling presidential approval, we’d expect the Democrats to lose some seats. But they don’t have many seats to lose at this point. At the same time, low congressional approval hurts the majority party , other things equal. Given that the constellation of economic growth...

Ron Paul Leading...on Google

Google search activity may or may not be predictive here, but this is interesting nonetheless: Google Insights for Search Gadgets powered by Google For virtually all of 2011, including the past month, there is more search activity about Ron Paul than any other candidate. I thank John Coleman for highlighting this for me. What could this mean? Maybe Ron Paul supporters just spend a lot of time on the internet. Or maybe this is another indicator of the intensity of their support. One thing supporting the latter interpretation: search activity for Paul seemed to presage his second-place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll. If this proves true again, then Ron Paul is headed toward a strong showing in Iowa. His poll numbers are up in Iowa as well. I’ll go even further out on a limb. Say Gingrich wins Iowa but does a little worse than “expected.” Paul comes in second and does better than “expected.” Romney comes in a distant third. How much of a bounce would Paul then get in New Hampshire? After...

Googling Ron Paul in Iowa

Google search activity may or may not be predictive here, but this is interesting nonetheless: For virtually all of 2011, including the past month, there is more search activity about Ron Paul than any other candidate. I thank John Coleman for highlighting this for me. What could this mean? Maybe Ron Paul supporters just spend a lot of time on the internet. Or maybe this is another indicator of the intensity of their support. One thing supporting the latter interpretation: search activity for Paul seemed to presage his second-place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll. If this proves true again, then Ron Paul is headed toward a strong showing in Iowa. His poll numbers are up in Iowa as well. I’ll go even further out on a limb. Say Gingrich wins Iowa but does a little worse than “expected.” Paul comes in second and does better than “expected.” Romney comes in a distant third. How much of a bounce would Paul then get in New Hampshire? After all, he’s in third place there and his numbers are...

Independents Aren't That Interesting

Here’s a new report by Third Way. They find that in 5 of 8 battleground states that register voters by political party, the number of registered independents is up. In 7 of 8 states the number of registered Democrats is down. The GOP is down in 6 of those 8. They then write: Beyond these battleground states, national surveys such as the American National Election Studies and Pew show a steady increase in Independent self-identification throughout the United States. According to Pew, between 2000 and 2011, both the Democratic and Republican parties lost members, and the number of self-identified Independents increased by 8%. In 2000, 33% of the electorate identified as a Democrat, 28% as a Republican, and 29% as an Independent. By 2011 only 32% identified as a Democrat, 25% as a Republican, and 37% as an Independent. Democratic and Republican losses were mirrored by gains in Independents… No acknowledgment of the fact that most of them lean toward a party and tend to vote loyally for...

More Hype about Political Independents

Here’s a new report by Third Way. They find that in 5 of 8 battleground states that register voters by political party, the number of registered independents is up. In 7 of 8 states the number of registered Democrats is down. The GOP is down in 6 of those 8. They then write: Beyond these battleground states, national surveys such as the American National Election Studies and Pew show a steady increase in Independent self-identification throughout the United States. According to Pew, between 2000 and 2011, both the Democratic and Republican parties lost members, and the number of self-identified Independents increased by 8%. In 2000, 33% of the electorate identified as a Democrat, 28% as a Republican, and 29% as an Independent. By 2011 only 32% identified as a Democrat, 25% as a Republican, and 37% as an Independent. Democratic and Republican losses were mirrored by gains in Independents… No acknowledgment of the fact that most of them lean toward a party and tend to vote loyally for...

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