CNN Tackles a Complex Math Problem

CNN brings us the cutting-edge in political science:

Database predicts July 21 for Kerry VP announcement
(CNN) — Whom and when presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry will announce as his running mate for the 2004 presidential race is still anyone’s guess, but one leading database has dug deep into its memory and arrived at a “historical” prediction.
LexisNexis, a provider of legal, news and business information services, conducted a comprehensive search of more than 32,000 historical sources.
It concluded that if Kerry chooses to announce his running mate before the Democratic National Convention in Boston, he will most likely announce his decision July 21 — five days before the convention begins.

32,000 sources! Must be a complicated algorithm they’re employing:

The LexisNexis search discovered that in the last 48 years, only four Democratic candidates for president named their running mates before the national convention — Al Gore in 2000, seven days before; Bill Clinton in 1992, four days before; Michael Dukakis in 1988, six days before; and Walter Mondale in 1984, four days before. Clinton was the only person of that group elected.

So in the last 20 years, every non-incumbent Dem candidate named his running mate before the convention. But anyway, on to the science:

To calculate the date, LexisNexis added the total days that each of the four candidates announced ahead, then divided that number by four.

Hey! I hear there’s a mathematical name for this technique.

The result: 5.25, according to LexisNexis’s Manager of Public Relations Randy Dunham.

“According to…”? Does CNN not have the computing power to check the calculation? This isn’t the Iowa Electronic Market, guys – he averaged some one-digit numbers.

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