I think we all know that people who are obsessed with baseball are good with the numbers. A guy who is exceptionally good with baseball statistics has taken up political polling analysis in a seriously analytical way. Cool stuff -- much more sophisticated than RCP or similar. R. thinks he is not overworking the data; I haven't decided yet.
There are some simple truths in life (expensive housing will lag starter homes in a downturn, say) that just aren't often violated. And apparently, there are some simple truths in political races, altho I'm just getting to know some of them. I noticed this time around that a big chunk of the populace had zero interest in the presidential race (and any other race? It is to laugh) until January 1, 2008. I was tracking pretty hard right around the time the last of the 2006 results were coming in (okay, a little earlier; but it's embarassing to admit that). I think leaving well enough alone until the year of the race is a good solution to avoiding burnout/boredom.
But there were a lot of people like me, throughout 2007, who were handicapping the wide field quite avidly. Something really odd happened on January something-or-other of 2008; the race completely changed, wiping out the last 6-9 months. It was like a clock reset. And it was because all those people who weren't interested until the year of the race poked their heads into the debate and took a position.
We had a long primary season, and after a certain point several months ago (when the media started using clear violence-against-women language in their coverage of HRC), I dropped out. And as near as I can tell, a lot of other people who were involved deeply during the peak of the primary season similarly dropped out. According to the guys over at 538, we can expect the next wave of people to take an interest in the campaign in the course of the conventions, and then again the night of the first one-on-one debate. 538 handicaps polls by age, and further notes that a lot of people won't make up their mind until the last few weeks before the election (for senate rates, the last few days before the election), which of course is the basis for October Surprises.
But in the meantime -- just like back at the end of 2007 -- the media uses the dead months and weeks to gin up a horse race, even when there isn't (much of) one. They don't have any other story, after all. Which is kinda funny, and parallel to what's going on in the markets during the vacation season.