Monthly Archives: June 2012

GOP debate speech text Wordles

Very interesting Wordles of the GOP candidates speech text during the 2011-2012 primary debates. Enjoy!

http://debatetextmining.blogspot.com/2012/06/more-wordles-using-tfidf-scores.html

My favorite is how prominent the word “boot” appears for Rick Perry!

Why the health care ruling was not all bad for Republicans

While President Obama may have won the battle with the health care ruling yesterday, conservatives may have won the war. This is because the Supreme Court ruled definitively that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to force citizens to purchase a product. (Instead, they said it can impose a tax.) Regardless, this decision will likely drastically limit how broad the Commerce Clause can be interpreted for the government to be able to regulate interstate commerce in the future. See more here:

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/commerce-361220-mandate-court.html

http://news.investors.com/article/616497/201206281813/roberts-ducks-another-bush-gore-with-court-ruling.htm

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/06/28/the_chief_justices_gambit_114646-3.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/06/29/on_health_care_its_all_up_to_the_voters_now_114653.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/opinion/modesty-and-audacity.html

Health care ruling will likely have little effect on the outcome of the election

From Charlie Cook:

It’s worth reminding ourselves that, regardless of the overheated rhetoric from both parties and over-caffeinated punditry, public attitudes on the issue of health reform and this law are already baked into the cake of this election. If President Obama were a stock, how people feel about the law would have factored into his price long ago. Sure, this decision will dominate editorial pages, talk shows, and even—briefly—supermarket-aisle and office-coffeemaker conversation. But this remains an election about the economy.

http://nationaljournal.com/columns/off-to-the-races/waiting-game-20120625

GOP and Romney: partisanship trumps religious discomfort

In the new Gallup poll, only 10% of Republicans said they would not vote for a GOP candidate who happened to be a Mormon. That’s way down from 30% in early 2007, when Romney was testing the waters for his first presidential campaign, and significantly lower than the 18% recorded in late 2007.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ aversion to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has kicked up a notch: The poll found that 24% said they would not vote for a Democratic candidate for president who happened to be a Mormon. That’s about equal to the 23% who answered that way in early 2007, but more than the 18% who said no in late 2007.

It’s hard to avoid seeing a straightforward “Romney effect” here.  Now that Republican voters know that their nominee is going to be a Mormon, many of those who said they’d never vote for one are eating their words.  Now that Democratic voters see a Mormon on the GOP ticket, they’re discovering all kinds of things about the LDS Church to dislike. It’s got nothing to do with doctrine; voters are adjusting their opinions on religion to fit their political preferences. 

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-romney-mormon-problem-20120625,0,407041.story

This is essentially what political science research would predict. For the most part, partisanship trumps religious discomfort.

The interesting thing will be to see if this is a temporary effect. How will these numbers look 2-3 years from now, whether Romney is president or not?

Supreme Court decision on AZ immigration law

All in all not a bad showing on the part of the Supreme Court:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down key parts of an Arizona law that sought to deter illegal immigration, but let stand a controversial provision that allows police to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. …

While concluding that the federal government has the power to block the law, the court let stand one of the most controversial parts — a provision that lets police check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the United States illegally. …

Provisions struck down included:

– Authorizing police to arrest illegal immigrants without warrant where “probable cause” exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the country.

– Making it a state crime for “unauthorized immigrants” to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.

– Forbidding those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work. That would include illegal immigrants standing in a parking lot who “gesture or nod” their willingness to be employed.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/25/politics/scotus-arizona-law/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

2012 congressional election forecast

One of the latest congressional forecasts for this fall’s election is predicting a 2-3 seat Democratic pickup in the House and a 6-7 seat GOP pickup in the Senate. This can always change depending on how the economy goes between now and November, but as of right now it’s looking like the GOP will keep the House and gain control of the Senate. 

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/the-early-outlook-for-the-2012-congressional-elections-a-forecasting-perspective/

Asian immigration overtakes Latin American immigration

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/asianamericans-graphics/

We’re in a brave new world of immigration demographics. I’m interested to see how this will impact immigration attitudes in the U.S. in the coming  years. I’m also curious as to whether this trend will reverse itself once/if the economy ever improves…

Just how important are those “swing voters”?

Alan Abramowitz recently published an excellent analysis of “swing voters” and their potential impact on the upcoming election. The key points:

  • Despite popular conceptions to the contrary, swing voters in swing states are rare: less than 10% of voters.
  • These swing voters are disproportionately white, female, and unenthusiastic toward Obama.
  • Demographically, these same voters are historically less likely to vote.
  • In contrast, currently unregistered voters have more favorable opinions toward Obama.
Taken together, it offers the following conclusions:

Despite the closeness of the presidential race, the Obama and Romney campaigns find themselves in very different strategic situations in the battleground states. For the Romney campaign, a strategy focused on persuading and mobilizing registered but undecided voters looks promising given the negative views of President Obama held by most swing voters. In contrast, for the Obama campaign, a strategy focused on mobilizing supporters who are not currently registered seems to hold more promise than one emphasizing persuasion of undecided voters.

Round-up on Obama’s recent immigration announcement

The science of predicting presidential elections

To anyone interested in how political scientists attempt to predict the outcome of presidential elections, this CNN spot gives a very succinct overview:

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2012/06/09/obama-economic-headwinds.cnn