Watch The Endorsements

May 20 2011 @ 6:17pm

John Sides advice to 2012 horse-race obsessives:

When looking at presidential primaries in particular, polls have some value—as Nate Silver has argued—but probably the best predictor of how many convention delegates a candidate will win is the number of endorsements he or she gets from party leaders. This is the conclusion of a systematic study of recent presidential primaries by Martin Cohen and colleagues in The Party Decides, where they looked at the simultaneous effects of endorsements, fundraising, news coverage, and poll numbers. Why elite endorsements matter is still a bit opaque, but if I were a reporter chasing the candidates, I’d be paying attention to the least visible parts of the “invisible primary”—the interactions and negotiations among party leaders—and less attention to the poll du jour.