Tuesday came along at just the right time for some outlets to catch on, and to slow down in their rush to a big-picture anti-incumbency storyline. Tuesday also came along at the right time to highlight again the importance, and incisiveness, of the work of poli-sci wonks. Their tempered, data-heavy considerations mightn’t make for sexy narrative, but they do make for perspective. My former colleague Greg Marx wrote extensively on this. In a piece from our May/June issue titled Embrace the Wonk, Marx wrote:
…even in day-to-day coverage, a poli-sci perspective can have value in helping reporters make choices about which storylines, and which nuggets of information, really matter. For that to happen, political scientists must do more to make their work accessible, reaching beyond the circle of journalists who are inclined to, as Sides says, “embrace the wonk.”
Politico’s Harris embraced the wonk today, closing his report with a very unsexy, un-newsy quote from well-known political scientist Larry Sabato. And kudos to him for doing so.
… as Sabato notes, for all this year’s turbulence, 98.5 percent of House and Senate incumbents seeking another term have been renominated.
“I think what is remarkable is that, despite the tea party and a bad economy, the vast majority of incumbents are having little trouble winning,” Sabato said.