Elections for president of the Middle East Studies Association ended last Friday. The results won’t be announced until the association holds its annual conference in another month. But I’ve closed my own straw poll, and on its basis, I’m going to project a winner: Zachary Lockman (NYU) will beat Mark Tessler (Michigan).
Now you may ask how in the world my poll justifies such a call. A total of 45 people voted: 33 voted for Tessler (73 percent), and 12 for Lockman (27 percent). That would seem to point to a landslide victory for Tessler.
Ah, but you see, the people who vote at my website tend to do the opposite of the average MESAn. Last year I ran the same straw poll, and 63 people voted. Fred Donner (Chicago) got 71 percent of the votes, and Juan Cole (Michigan) received only 29 percent. But Cole won the election! So on the basis of that admittedly slim precedent, a candidate who wins by a 70-percent-plus landslide on my site is in big trouble at MESA.
This is my thesis, at least, and I now await the empirical findings that will validate or refute it. Gee, it’s exciting to practice political science on such a high order. I’ll be staying up all night for the next month waiting for the official results.
Update: Zachary Lockman won.