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Seven Steps Of Boom And (usually) Bust: Harris and Williamson at Step 2…Biden at Step 6?

June 28th, 2019, 12:08am by Sam Wang


In such a crowded field, it’s inevitable that some candidate will get a boomlet. How long does a boomlet last, and how does it end?

We know what a cycle of boom-and-bust looks like from the contested 2012 and 2016 GOP primaries:

  • Step 1: Start with obscure candidate X.
  • Step 2: X says something catchy.
  • Step 3: The press and pundits go wild! Watch out for meaningless words like “electable.”
  • Step 4: X inches upward in the polls.
  • Step 5: The press does more digging, and X gets more attention.
  • Step 6: Surprise! Something bad happens. A gaffe, a skeleton in the closet emerges, or they just get boring. Bad coverage follows.
  • Step 7: X drops in the polls.

Time elapsed: 1-2 months.

As an example of this cycle, think of the 2012 GOP primary: Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann. All rose and fell.

We won’t know until some polling data comes in, but changes for Harris and Biden seem likely based on snap audience reactions and web search frequency. Senator Harris has evoked strong positive reactions, and appears to be at Step 2-3. The next question is: does she have the abilities and resources to escape the usual cycle of boom and bust?

Perhaps less appreciated, Vice-President Biden may have just had his Step 6. His bump in the polls started at the end of April, when he announced his candidacy. It’s been two months – is his time up?

And who knows – will we see a Marianne Williamson boomlet? Her web search frequency went through the roof last night. Since she’s polling in the 0-1% range, there’s nowhere to go but up. As a spiritual adviser to Oprah Winfrey, up seems like a good direction for her.

Tags: 2020 Election · President

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