Sunday, December 28, 2008

How Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics View their Faiths

Check out this poll and be sure to click the links to the related polls.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Moderate Cultural Majority: Part 1

I'm convinced that there are middle grounds on virtually every important social issue that would be acceptable to all but the most activist partisans of either side of each debate. I've been digging through some polls that give evidence to this conviction and I plan a series of posts on them. After I've surveyed the landscape on several important issues, I'll finish with a post on the significance of a culturally moderate majority.

Americans favor capital punishment by more than two-to-one. According to an October 2008 Gallup poll, not only do 64% favor the death penalty, but 71% believe that it's applied either "about right" or "not enough" (48% said not enough), and 54% believe that it's generally applied fairly (incidentally, that means that about 17% said it was applied unfairly but either supported how often it's used or wanted it used more often, wtf?). Despite moderate decreases in capital punishment furvor since October 2007, these numbers are not a great sign for my moderate majority.

However, a July 2008 Quinnipiac Poll digs a little deeper. Again, 63% support capital punishment, with 55% supporting execution for defendants convicted of child rape. However, the poll asks a better question: for people convicted of murder, do you prefer the death penalty, or life in prison without parole? Here respondents are offered a concrete choice. Support for capital punishment is a rather ephemeral thing - someone who favors it only for serial killers it grouped together with someone who favors it for child molestors, as "supporters." When this trade-off is offered, with the classic case of murder (which is really the relevant question), the death penalty is preferred, but only by 47% to 44%. Less than a majority of Americans can say confidently that murders should be executed. The Gallup and ABC/Washington Post polls have asked this question since 2000, with similar results every year.

So Americans are divided on the essential question of whethere murders should be executed. And that's given that fact that only one side of the debate is willing to make its case in public. Suppose the anti-death penalty movement came back from whereever the hell it went, and refashioned itself the "life in prison without parole" movement. We should not be so sure that the right has a death grip on this issue.

Next in the series: Gay Rights

A Sign of the Times?

FDR beats Reagan 45%-40%.

Awesome - "Moderates prefer Roosevelt 56% to 26%."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Labor and the Democratic Coalition Since FDR

As I do around here, I've stolen once again from Marc Ambinder. If you didn't see this post or if you just didn't read the paper that the post links to, you ought to read it. It's really informative.

Among the fun facts included in the paper: Senator Hugo Black (D-AL) - before was on the Supreme Court - sponsored a bill to create a 3o-hour workweek.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Blueing of Maricopa County, but Will the Rest of the State Hold Us Back?

In 2004, President Bush won Arizona by a margin of 10.5% over John Kerry. In 2008, John McCain beat President-elect Obama by 8.5%. Bush won 1,104,294 votes to Kerry's 893,524 - a margin of 210,770 votes. McCain won 1,230,111 to 1,034,707 for Obama - winning by 195,404. Despite a 14% increase in turnout (raw votes, not rate), the Republican margin shrank by 15,366 votes.

I took that margin change and spread it over each county, weighted for the counties' vote shares from 2008. If the margin change was spread proportionately, each county would be responsible for the changes listed below. The actual changes are listed in parentheses.

Maricopa 9,145 (30,324)

Pima 2,636 (1,829)

Pinal 703 (-5,413)

Yavapai 668 (-3,962)

Mohave 453 (-5,950)

Coconino 364 (2,530)

Cochise 327 (-1,041)

Yuma 292 (134)

Navajo 240 (-1,720)

Apache 163 (-435)

Gila 150 (-2,182)

Santa Cruz 89 (1,924)

Graham 80 (-607)

La Paz 37 (-271)

Greenlee 20 (206)

I started looking into the counties that had large disparities from their projected proportional shifts to see what we could learn from them.

First, Maricopa County was responsible not for 60% of 15,366 margin change that it "should" have been. Instead, the Republican margin in Maricopa County actually shrunk by 30,324, nearly twice the statewide change. Why? Bush beat Kerry 57.0%-42.3% - a margin of 14.7%. McCain beat Obama 54.7%-44.1% - a margin of 10.6%. That's the power of Maricopa County: such a small percentarge shift turns into 30k+ votes. The good news for future Tim Nelsons, Dan Sabans, and Ed Hermeses is that the GOP's margin in 'Copa shrank by 4.1%, while in Arizona overall it only shrank by 2%. Between 2004 and 2008, Maricopa blued faster than the rest of the state. Maybe that explains our recent wins in LDs 10, 11, and 20.

The next question is: which counties offset Maricopa's blueing and helped the Republicans only lost 2% off of their statewide margin?

Obviously, I'm going to blame Pima County. Obama did no better than Kerry here, winning by the same 6% margin (Kerry won 52.6%-46.6%; Obama won 52.4%-46.4%). And their vote total grew by only 7.2%, compared to 14% statewide. Thus, the Republican margin in Pima shrank by only 1,829 votes, far below the "projected" 2,636. Now, I can't really blame Pima. They didn't contribute to the state's 2-point shift, but they didn't pull against it, either.

The real culprits are Pinal, Yavapai, Mohave, Navajo, and Gila counties. They will be dealt with in ascending order of their degree of treason against the Maricopa County proletarian revolution.

Navajo County gets off lightly. They only delivered McCain a margin 1,720 votes larger than they gave Bush. Their registration numbers were virtually unchanged from 2004 - only a 1.4% increase compared to 13% statewide. The turnout rate jumped from 56% to 61.2%, but was still far below the 76.8% statewide. Yet, they did manage to buck the blueing trend of the country and the state and voted 55.2%-43.5% for McCain, whereas they'd only voted 53.4%-45.8% for Bush.

Gila County's crime is only a little graver than Navajo's, but is more treacherous because of they managed it with only 2/3 the voters of Navajo. Gila pushed McCain's margin 2,182 over Bush's. They did this despite turnout falling from 77.9% to 71.7%. Registration jumped by 16.3%, a little more than the statewide increase. But the real source of their treason is a dramatic shift to the right: voting 63.1%-35.3% for McCain compared to 59.2%-39.9% for Bush.

Yavapai County did have have as malicious an intent as the others. They voted for McCain, 61.4%-37.0%, only slightly worse than Bush's 61.2%-37.9%. However, their size makes their crime more significant. Turnout dropped from an astronomical 87.5% to 83.8% (which is still the highest in the state), but registration jumped 19.1%. As a result, they gave McCain a margin of 3,962 higher than Bush's.

Pinal County is a similar story, but even worse for their size and growth. Their 2008 vote, 56.7%-42.2% for McCain, is nearly the same as their 57.3%-42.2% vote for Bush. The turnout rate increased, but only barely. Instead, their weapon of betrayal was their remarkable 60% (!) jump in registration (since 2000, it's a 97% increase!). As a result, they gave McCain a margin 5,413 greater than Bush's. It would take 3 times Pima County's marginal increase for Obama to match Pinal County's marginal increase for McCain.

Only Mohave County gave McCain a greater increase over Bush's margin than Pinal County. Their registration increased 10.7%, their turnout jumped from 60.8% to 64.3% and they gave McCain a higher vote share than Bush by two points. Bush won by 63.6%-35.5%, while McCain won by 65.6%-32.7%.

Beyond these criminal 5, which gave McCain a combined margin 19,227 higher than Bush's, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Coconino, and Yuma are interesting.

Santa Cruz had only a 2.4% registration increase, low turnout (despite a jump from 56.1% to 62.5%), and is obviously very small. But they shifted dramatically to the left, voting 65.3%-34.0% for Obama, after voting 59.2%-40.0% for Kerry. That marks the largest percentage swing in either direction in the entire state. Thus, despite its small size, it gave Obama a margin 1,924 greater than Kerry's.

Coconino managed to give Obama a larger margin, by 2,530 votes, despite a 2.9% decrease in registered voters. They did that with a 5-point jump in turnout, a 4.2% increase in Obama's margin. Cochise is noteworthy because of its 18.8% registration increase. That increase gave McCain a 1,041 vote bump despite a turnout 6-point turnout drop and no change in the McCain-Bush vote shares. Finally, Yuma showed the second-highest registration increase by percentage, at 25.1%. They also say a dramatic turnout drop (about 7 points) and experienced about a 2-point partisan shift, exactly the statewide average (they still gave McCain 56.3% to Obama's 42.6%).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Definition of Marriage We Can All Get Behind

From DailyKos:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Getting to Know You

Check out's profiles of the new members of Congress


It's probably just wishful thinking from the National Review, but how awesome would this be?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Big Picture: Why Tonight Matters for 2010

Do I expect Jim Martin to win tonight? No. Is that a huge deal? Not really. One more Democrat in the Senate is always a plus, and I'm pulling for Jim tonight, but the most important question being decided tonight is not who will be the next Senator from Georgia. The real question is: how will African-American voters turnout when Barack Obama's name is not on the ballot and, instead, they merely have the option of voting for a white Obama surrogate?

The answer to this question has huge implications for 2010 and for Obama's ability to pull the Reagan-esque feat of preserving his majority throughout his administration.

Granted, there are no exit polls tonight, so we won't have real numbers for these turnout levels. Here's a benchmark: if Black turnout tonight is at the 2006 level, Chambliss will win by 20 points (in November he won by 3 points). And it's not just that Obama is Black. Actually, Black turnout is at 2004 levels, Martin will lose by 8.5 points.

Here's why:

Blacks as a percentage of the GA electorate
2004 - 25%
2006 - 16%
2008 - 30%

Granted, Black voters are not the only voters who turned out in higher numbers this year, but this election won't give us any indication on how young voters will turnout in 2010. 18-29 year-olds have shrunk as a percentage of Georgia's voters from 2004-2006 and 2006-2008.