I say "seem to think" because I haven't watched the whole diavlog, only that clip, which is linked on the front page of Bloggingheads with the line: "Are you on the fence about Obama? You could be rooting for him without even knowing it."
But it seems obvious to me that this is probably an illusion that reflects our capacity to adapt to whatever the situation is. We see that something has happened and we reflexively perceive that it's what we wanted all along — as long as it's within the range of things that are good enough. That's why we're always saying things like: Things happen for a reason, It's for the best, I meant to do that, etc. (A lot of the experiments Daniel Gilbert describes in "Stumbling Into Happiness" illustrate this psychological mechanism.)
I bet Horgan and Johnson didn't know which candidate they preferred, and then when they saw Obama had won, they imagined they were perceiving that they preferred him before they saw the news. They mentally backdated their preference — and are happier for it.
Now, I wonder if when they saw the news today, they "realized" that they had already started to think that Barack Obama was not the best person for the job, somewhere in between Iowa and New Hampshire, their preference shifted to Hillary — and they're still smiling.
Anyway, if you want to be happy, don't firm up your preferences. Stay undecided. Then when you see who wins — whoever it is — you'll feel good that it was your candidate. Could it be that this is why so many people stay undecided? (I include myself!) We're good at keeping happy.
IN THE COMMENTS: We are favored with a visit from our delightful — and long-dead — commenter, Sir Archy:
To Professor Althouse.
It is a wise Observation, indeed, that a temperate Detachment is the best course in Politicks. As the Ghost of someone dead these 250 years and more, I have seen many an Election, and many a Scene attendant upon these Publick Actions, such as this one, very justly depict'd by Mr. Hogarth. It may be observ'd, however, that here Mr. Hogarth paints not the Passion, but the Folly of Electioneering.
Passion and Folly are the Sun and Moon of Election Day. A Person may follow Events keenly; but 'tis not worthy of a Gentleman, nor indeed a Lady, such as yourself, to be too visibly attach'd to one Interest or Another. A calm Disinterest becomes all well-bred Persons who would be Rational.
As the charming impressaria of this Theatre of Topicks, as I call it, you no doubt feel the Call to attract the Publick. It speaks well of You and your Theatre, that You do so without Tricks or Displays of false Passion or Rabble-rousing so commonly found in other Entertainments of this Kind. That some of the Groundlings here may arouse themselves to a Pitch of Excitement may hardly be laid against you, for your Attitude of even-handed Equanimity shows the way of a true Philosopher.
By way of closing, I should quote the Example of Captain Halley, the late Astronomer Royal, who Discover'd the famous Comet that bears his Name. Captain Halley—for he always styled himself by his Naval Title, and was Captain in the Royal Navy before he was Doctor of Laws—observ'd at the time of the Glorious Revolution (when poor King James was unjustly expell'd) that he, Captain Halley, was, "for the King in possession. We pay dear enough for our Protection, and we ought to have the Benefit of it."
As attached as some of my Relatives were, at that time, to the auld Interest, as they call'd it, they shift'd for Themselves, and were, in the end, much the happier for it.
Recommending such a Course to your Readers, I remain ever, Madam,
Your humble & obt. Servant,