Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Michigan Primary Election Results - You Could Have Predicted This


At first glance, it seems that Michigan voters from both parties have declared, "Throw the bums out!"  None of the "old guard" candidates for governor won in either party.  Instead, businessman Rick Snyder and Lansing mayor, Virg Bernero will face off in November. [image The Detroit News]

Some will say it is a backlash victory for the people against the oppression of an ever-growing federal government.  Some will say it is a victory for the "little guy" against the system that has brought unemployment and financial ruin to millions.

I'm more inclined to think that the answer is somewhat more mundane.

Back in March and April, there were several posts written around a book called "The Predictioneer's Game."  It was about how game theory could help you predict the outcome of a situation given certain strategies employed by the "players."  It cited several examples of how "dark horses" became winners in the political and corporate battles for power.  I believe Michigan's primary election was a good example of how this played out.  Of course, I don't have proof, but here is my speculation:

The Republican Party was running three candidates with a long history of politics... call it public service.  A fourth candidate was a distant long shot.  The fifth candidate was a successful businessman who had sufficient funds to tell his story, but was not part of the "establishment."  On the Democratic Party side, there were two candidates fairly equally divided in the pre-election surveys.  One was a politician from the state legislature and the other the mayor of the state's capital city.

The three Republican "career politicians" spent most of their effort taking pot shots at each other.  The fourth candidate didn't have the money or the exposure to be a serious contender.  The "dark horse" businessman candidate went about establishing himself as a fiscally-responsible business leader who was not beholden to anyone... he even self-financed his media ads.

As the efforts heated the battle among the three "career" Republicans, the "dark horse" realized that he was in a position to win simply by achieving a slight edge... not even a majority... in the voting.  So, he appealed to independents and Democrats [who could vote for candidates in either party] to vote for him.  Whether or not this crossover voting was the critical strategy, the "dark horse," Rick Snyder, eventually garnered about 36% of the total Republican votes.  His two strongest conservative opponents split 50%, which was an indication that Snyder was not a first choice among most Republicans.

On the Democratic Party side, the "career" state politician lost out to the "career" city politician.  It may have been that Mayor Virg Bernero was seen as an "outsider" with regard to state politics and was chosen over Andy Dillon who was consider "part of the problem."

It may also be that Rick Synder's appeal to independents and Democrats was successful enough to pull sufficient votes to gain the Republican nomination while taking sufficient votes from Andy Dillon to allow Virg Bernero to win.

That's speculation, of course, but when you look at the vote totals in a state that is traditionally Democratic Party oriented, you suspect that scenario might be the case [source: The Detroit News]

Governor - Dem Primary
Michigan - 5732 of 5732 Precincts Reporting - 100%
NamePartyVotesVote %
Bernero , VirgDem308,76459%
Dillon , AndyDem218,43841%

Governor - GOP Primary
Michigan - 5732 of 5732 Precincts Reporting - 100%
NamePartyVotesVote %
Snyder , RickGOP380,48936%
Hoekstra , PeteGOP280,32627%
Cox , MikeGOP239,75223%
Bouchard , MikeGOP126,99112%
George , TomGOP16,9652%

The Republican candidates... in total... received about twice as many votes as the Democratic Party candidates.  That's a pretty good indication that Rick Synder's strategy was very successful at drawing non-Republican voters and eliminating the more centrist Democratic Party candidate.

What does that mean for November?  The Democratic Party is faced with trying to elect a left-wing governor while the conservative Republicans are caught between the choice of a centrist Republican [who will be called a RINO] or looking for a third choice... perhaps Libertarian.  If Republicans do not vote for Synder, then Bernero will win and the small minority of staunch left-wing voters will snatch an improbable victory from the jaws of defeat.

It's all game theory.


In case you think this could not have been predicted, here was last Sunday's post:

Airing Dirty Laundry - Michigan Republican Candidates For Governor

I find it fascinating to watch how candidates for a position who are aligned in their thinking about 90% will tear each other to figurative shreds in order to gain an advantage with voters.  What better example than this at Right Michigan?  Do these same Republicans remember the results when this played out on the national stage in 2008?
Apparently not.



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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)