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Was I on crack, or did Zell Miller challenge Chris Matthews to a duel tonight? | Main | Maybe I Can't Read a News Article, But I Got One Prediction Right
September 02, 2004

Undecideds Break for... the Incumbent?!!?

To the extent I know anything about politics -- and, as you may have noticed, I know precious little -- I knew that undecideds always break for the challenger, by 2 or 3 to 1.

Always. Or, almost always at least. Virtually always.

I've heard this a thousand times if I've heard it once. Again and again-- Bush needs to be at at least 50% by election day, because incumbents always break for the challenger. You see, "undecideds" have already pretty much decided not to vote for the incumbent, which would be the natural action; if they're undecided by election day, that means they've really pretty much decided to vote against the incumbent but just haven't registered that as a conscious choice yet.

On MSNBC tonight, Joe Trippi (Howard Dean's former campaign manager) blew my mind by stating that in a presidential election, incumbents break for the incumbent, the Commander-in-Chief. He said it's only in Senate and gubernatorial races that the "undecideds have already decided against the incumbent" rule applies. The rule is reversed as regards presidential elections.

I've never in my life heard such a thing, and I don't know how much stock I put in Joe Trippi.

Has anyone else heard Trippi's rule before? Has anyone ever heard someone like Sabato or Barrone or Russert say anything like that?

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posted by Ace at 02:45 AM

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