Economist Christopher Carroll recently found himself drawn into the Florida election controversy after an e-mail analysis he had made of the Palm Beach County results found its way into the hands of the Gore campaign.
Carroll, an associate professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences who once worked on the Council of Economic Advisors under the Clinton administration, was then asked by the Gore camp if he would be willing to analyze results in Miami-Dade County to determine whether a hand recount there would likely have an impact on the results.
He agreed, partly because he supports Gore but also because he thought it would be an interesting academic exercise. By looking at the early 1 percent test hand recount and comparing that to the two machine counts, what likely result could be predicted by a full manual recount?
Carroll's answer--that a hand recount in Miami-Dade would likely result in 126, and possibly as many as 229, new votes for Gore--prompted the Gore campaign to ask him to come to South Florida as a potential witness.
He didn't testify, but he did spend several more days there, analyzing election returns. He also found himself a sought-after interview subject during one stretch, when reporters were using his and other analyses to say that Gore's own statisticians were predicting that he couldn't win in a recount, a statement that wasn't necessarily true. The outcome could have been higher or lower depending on the yield rate for the ballots that registered no vote for president, and the figures Carroll had used were very conservative for Miami-Dade.
Nevertheless, Carroll was asked by the Gore camp not to speak with reporters, a request he tried to honor and which led him to conclude, "I spent my 15 minutes of fame in seclusion."