Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bragging rights...

"Close elections have long been a key feature of functioning democracies. In The Real Majority, Richard Scammon and Ben Wattenberg's classic 1970 study of the American electorate, the authors observed that not only were close presidential elections the norm in United States, but that "around the world most truly democratic elections are close." Only in Northern Ireland did they find a legislative body where candidates were elected with top-heavy majorities because of the sectarian split between Catholics and Protestants. Needless to say, this was not a good thing. The Northern Ireland House of Commons was so dysfunctional that the British government suspended it in 1972."


(coloring and italics mine.)


Ben's brag:

TRM was published more than 35 years ago. It is still cited regularly, almost invariably with a positive spin.

I think both Dick and I brought something to the table in the joint effort, which was the best one ever for me.

Scammon was one of my mentors. He taught me so much.

He was then America's pre-eminent "psephologist" (look it up.)

I don't think any of the current crop. nor those who proceeded him, can match him.

Michael Barone comes closest.

Ben




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