ABOUT HENRY OLSEN
Henry Olsen is an elections analyst and political essayist who studies conservative politics, both here and abroad. He looks at election returns and poll data to understand why people vote the way they do and how conservative politicians and thinkers can best advance their ideas in the climate they face. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Prior to that, he was a vice president at the American Enterprise Institute, a vice president at the Manhattan Institute, and president of the Commonwealth Foundation. He has also been a lawyer at the firm currently known as Dechert, a clerk for the Honorable Judge Danny J. Boggs on the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a staffer for the California Assembly Republican Caucus, and an associate at the political consulting firm of Hoffenblum-Mollrich. Olsen graduated with a B.A. in political science from Claremont McKenna College, and received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. His public election predictions can be found here (2004), here (2010), here (2012), and here (2014). Links to his recent (post-2011) work can be found here.
Olsen is currently working on his next book which will re-examine Ronald Reagan’s intellectual legacy for conservatives. When not geeking out on elections, he is the proud father of two children, a thirteen year old son who likes Vivaldi and a sixteen year old daughter who likes Eminem. He passionately supports the New York Yankees and Tottenham Hotspur.
Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, whose specialty is conservative politics, says that among the four states that vote in February (the others are Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada), South Carolina’s electorate “best mirrors the nation’s.”
Writing for National Review Online, Olsen says the state’s primary electorate closely reflects the national balance among the GOP’s four factions — “moderates and liberals” (32 percent), “somewhat conservatives” (32 percent), “very conservative evangelicals” (28 percent) and “very conservative seculars” (6 percent). Iowa, says Olsen, favors candidates who are very religious and conservative, New Hampshire favors moderates, Nevada favors conservative seculars. Here, however, a dominant cohort is that which Olsen calls the national party’s “ballast” — the “somewhat conservatives.”