Primary elections are hard to predict, NYC mayoral edition

As I wrote a couple years ago:

Even though statistical analysis has demonstrated that presidential elections are predictable given economic conditions and previous votes in the states . . . it certainly doesn’t mean that every election can be accurately predicted ahead of time. Presidential general election campaigns have several distinct features that distinguish them from most other elections:

1. Two major candidates;
2. The candidates clearly differ in their political ideologies and in their positions on economic issues;
3. The two sides have roughly equal financial and organizational resources;
4. The current election is the latest in a long series of similar contests (every four years);
5. A long campaign, giving candidates a long time to present their case and giving voters a long time to make up their minds.

Other elections look different. . . .

Or, as I said in reference to the current NYC mayoral election:

Et selon Andrew Gelman, expert de l’université de Columbia, rien n’est encore joué. De Blasio “a une chance”, dit-il, mais ces élections municipales sont traditionnellement “très difficiles à prévoir”. “Les choses peuvent encore changer” car “il y a beaucoup de candidats démocrates, et leurs idéologies ne sont pas très différentes. Et la participation est imprévisible”, souligne-t-il.

Si De Blasio emporte la nomination démocrate, “les républicains deviendront très nerveux”, ajoute-t-il. Mais il doute qu’un républicain l’emporte au final, même si New York a depuis 20 ans élu deux maires républicains, Rudolph Giuliani et Michael Bloomberg (devenu indépendant en 2007).

I shouldn’t really admit this, but . . . I actually talked with the reporter in English. That “nerveux” in the last paragraph means “excited,” not “nervous.” What I said was that if de Blasio gets the nomination, the Republicans will get very excited but I think they’ll still lose in the general election.

2 Responses to Primary elections are hard to predict, NYC mayoral edition

  1. Wendell Mayes September 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    For those of us who don’t read/speak French and who also don’t trust web based translators, would you mind giving us a translation?

    • Andrew Gelman September 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm #


      The Google translation is pretty good, except that you should replace “nervous” with “excited” in the second paragraph.