Thursday, March 5, 2015

Good principle, bad example

The New York Times had an interview with Alan Krueger and Austen Goolsbee, chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisors in the first Obama administration, about the bailout of the auto industry.  The bailout was unpopular at the time but seems to have worked out pretty well.  When asked if it was was likely to be an issue in the 2016 election, Goolsbee said no:  "when things work out, there’s a tendency toward revisionism. Didn’t Nixon get only 20 percent of the vote in 1972 according to the polling in 1975?"  Did he? I looked for surveys from 1975 that asked about vote in 1972, but found only one, so I broadened the search to include 1976.  The results:

                  Nixon   McGovern    Other   Don't Remember
GSS (Feb 1975)      60%      35%        3%         2%
GSS (Feb 1976)      58%      36%        3%         2%
CBS/NYT (3/76)      57%      39%        3%         2%
CBS/NYT (4/76)      57%      37%        2%         3%

The actual vote shares were 61% for Nixon, 38% for McGovern, and 2% for others.  Although I'm sure Goolsbee is right about the general tendency, his example doesn't support him.

[Data from iPoll, Roper Center for Public Opinion Research]

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