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Forget the Polls. Why Not a Mock Convention?


Pollsters around the country are having a hard time making accurate predictions. They cannot seem to find a truly representative sample of the electorate due to the demise of land-lines, caller ID and voter reluctance to honestly answer the pollsters' questions.

Perhaps everyone should adopt the methodology used by the the students at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

W&L's mock convention, better known as “Mock Con,” has been remarkably accurate in predicting the presidential nominee for the political party not occupying the White House.

How accurate? Since 1908, W&L students have correctly identified the ultimate nominee 19 times out of 25 and have been wrong only twice since 1952.

How do they do it?

More than 95 percent of W&L students take part. They spend a lot of time researching how the states are expected to vote in order to make their prediction. They talked to journalists, academics, party officials and strategists to build profiles of each state’s primary contest.

Are the students a representative sample of the electorate? It does not seem so.

Yet one cannot argue with their track record.

Dick Cheney, VP during the George W. Bush administration was this year's keynote speaker. He gave Mock Con this endorsement, “I’ve been in politics long enough to know that if you want to see where a presidential election is headed, the place to be is at the Washington and Lee University Mock Convention."

During his speech Cheney noted that four other vice presidents had spoken at the event before him, including Harry Truman, Richard Nixon and Dan Quayle. The fourth was Alben Barkley, who in 1956 died of a heart attack on stage while giving his speech.

“Statistically, I guess three out of four vice presidents can be expected to survive the excitement at W&L,” he said. For the record, he added, “I’ve never felt better.”

The 26th Mock Con was held earlier this month (2/11-13). Who did the W&L students predict would be the Republican Party's Candidate for President of the United States?

Donald Trump.


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