Saturday, June 03, 2006

B.S. Alert

I just came across this news story:

A new behavior prediction tool is forecasting a landslide victory for former Democratic Vice President Al Gore in the 2008 presidential election. However, should Hillary Clinton gain the Democratic nomination, any potential Republican challenger will win the presidency.

These are among the surprising findings reported by Dr. James N. Herndon, a media psychologist with Media Psychology Affiliates. Using a new research tool called Affective Encryption Analysis, Dr. Herndon led an investigation into the likely outcome of the 2008 Presidential election.

“Affective Encryption Analysis is a new behavior forecasting tool that looks at how our feelings and emotions can influence our long-term actions,” explains Dr. Herndon. “Traditional survey techniques are not very good at predicting trends. Affective Encryption Analysis was developed to dig deeper into the emotional factors that control our future behaviors.”

Although created as a potential tool for the intelligence community, Affective Encryption Analysis has seen its early uses in the political arena.

“Voter behavior is not primarily issue-driven,” states Dr. Herndon. “Subtle emotional factors drive our actions at the ballot box. When we decided to study the potential outcome of the 2008 Presidential election, we had no preconceptions about what we’d find. Nonetheless, there were some surprises.”

Among the surprises was the overall weakness of potential Democratic presidential challengers.

“Despite the widespread public dissatisfaction with the George W. Bush administration, our results showed even greater ill-feelings toward potential Democratic challengers,” says Dr. Herndon. “But there was one exception: Al Gore.”

“With a predictive accuracy of 93%, our results showed that Al Gore would easily defeat any Republican challenger in 2008. However, he is the only Democrat on the scene today who has the ability to defeat the likely Republican challengers, who we believe will be either John McCain or Jeb Bush.”

Results were not rosy for Hillary Clinton. “Hillary Clinton would suffer a disastrous defeat at the hands of any Republican who receives the nomination,” states Dr. Herndon.

Should Al Gore decide not to seek the 2008 nomination, the Democrats “have their work cut out for them,” according to Dr. Herndon.

“Our results suggest that a potentially successful Democratic nominee may be lurking in the entertainment industry. Does this sound strange? Maybe. But when it comes to politics, we may have to get used to a future full of surprises.”

Media Psychology Affiliates is a media research and analysis firm based in Los Angeles and Coburg, Germany. It can be found on the web at

To say I'm skeptical is like saying the Pope is Catholic. Not only does it fail the smell test ("predictive accuracy of 93%"), but a Google search turns up no references for "Affective Encryption Analysis." Also, Dr. Herndon seems to be branching out from his previous work of Tom Cruise-ian approaches to treating depression. Finally, the website of Media Psychology Associates does nothing to allay my suspicions.

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