While almost every election seems decisive and symptomatic of permanent changes, that is rarely the case. In recent elections, Democrats were thought to be dead after the 2004 election only to come roaring back to life in 2006 and 2008. It was the Republicans who were then thought to be dead and then the Tea Party brought them back in 2010.
So I do not put much stock in those who are writing epitaphs for the Republicans after the sound beating they got last week, though there are some long-term and disturbing (for them) demographic trends that they need to reckon with that I will discuss in a future post.
But there is one area in which the latest election may have created a definite and permanent shift and that is when it comes to election predictions. The smashing success of the poll aggregators in calling the outcome will, I hope, put an end to the gasbags in the media who make predictions based on their ‘gut’ or the size of rallies or the number of lawn signs they drive past or what their friends and neighbors and political insiders tell them.
Ezra Klein lists people on the honor roll of this election. They are all those who take numbers seriously. You know, reality-based people.