Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The biggest battle in Kentucky

According to Public Policy Polling, Kentucky voters favor Jim Beam over Jack Daniels 20-18. This is what I have to say.

Team No Excuses: Mitch McConnell

According to Public Policy Polling, Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular Senator in the country.  McConnell is the minority leader in the Senate.  The Republican Party champions individual responsibility for Americans.  So, how did McConnell react to this news from Public Policy Polling?  Well, Team Mitch on Twitter linked to this article showing how polls like Public Policy Polling overstate the unapproval rate.  Public Policy Polling came back and linked to this article the author of the article claimed that there is no chance that Rand Paul was up by 19.  Paul won by 23.  Public Policy Polling continued tweeting "And of course we use the same methodology on all of our Senator approval polls, and on that level playing field McConnell is most unpopular."  As long as the methodology remains the same in all of the polls and McConnell is the most unpopular according to these polls, it honestly doesn't matter if the "robo-polls" overstate the unapproval ratings. McConnell should follow the advice given to so many Americans, which is if it's your fault, don't look towards someone else to bail you out.  Don't try to blame someone else for your own mistakes. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thoughts on the Hall of Fame part 2

Now we start getting closer to the Hall ofFame territory where they might receive votes and might deserve some of the votes.  There'll be pros and cons and/or some thoughts on each person.

Reggie Sanders- 24.51
Pros: Went to three separate teams and was a playoff outfielder for them in three straight years.  I remember this being a big deal as it was happening.  He had an all-star caliber season in 1995.  He was slightly above average and average for all but four years.
Cons: Only 1 all-star season.  Basically, a slightly above average player for all of his career.  Not quite Hall of Fame worthy.

Jeff Cirillo- 25.16
Cirillo has a fairly good score in my rankings because his five best seasons all came in right in a row.  So, his score ends up higher than it probably should be.  He had about 5 All-Star caliber seasons. 4 out of those 5 were in a row.  His 6th best season was the fifth season in his five consecutive seasons.  Cirillo had a number of seasons at or below replacement level but his career was more or less halfway divided between almost All-Star caliber seasons and replacement level seasons.

Steve Finley- 26.45
I always thought Finley had a much better career than he actually did.  He had four All-Star caliber seasons but the majority of his career was replacement level or below which lowered his total score.  There is value for a Finley player on your team but for the Hall of Fame?  No.

Shawn Green- 26.68
Green had three great seasons (6+ rWAR).  Green on one of his rookie cards looked like he was 13.  So, there's that.  But when your career only has three great seasons and a few seasons at the starter level, you're not going to make it to the Hall of Fame. 

Jack Morris- 27.73
Morris will probably get elected this year, even though he probably doesn't deserve it.  There's been more words written on Morris's candidacy for the Hall of Fame than any other player.  There are arguments back and forth.  His candidacy reminds me of politics.  Those who believe in advanced metrics and don't buy into popular bullshit dumps of clutch or pitching to the score tend to think Morris doesn't belong.  But a lot of the positives for Morris are that you decided to vote for Morris and later you come up with the reasons why you voted for him later.  A lot of the supporters for Morris, I think, are choosing to vote for Morris because the "stat-head" community doesn't like him. But anyways.
Pros: Leader in wins for a pitcher for the 1980s (1980-1990). Won Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Durable starter who wasn't hurt.  Pitched a lot of innings.
Cons: More or less, a compiler.  This was the supposed argument against voting for Bert Blyleven.  Good but not great pitcher. 
I've always been a fan of Player X.  Player X is a comparison tool to compare between baseball players by omitting their names and looking just at their stats. 
Player X: 254 Wins, 105 ERA+, 1.296 WHIP, 0.9 HR/9, 5.8 K/9, 1.78 K/BB, 39.3 rWAR. 7-4 in post-season with 3.80 ERA. Two 3rd Place finishes in Cy Young Award Vote. Led league in wins twice. Led league in Innings pitched once and strikeouts once. Highest finish in ERA was 5th which happened twice.  Highest finish in ERA+ was 4th which happened once.
Player Y: 204 Wins, 112 ERA+, 1.261 WHIP, 0.7 HR/9, 5.8 K/9, 2.00 K/BB, 48 rWAR.  8-3 in post-season with 2.59 ERA.  1 Cy Young Award. One 3rd place finish in Cy Young voting.  Finished 2nd in ERA once, 3rd place finish four times. Led league in wins once. Led league in Innings pitched three times and highest finish in strikeouts was 4th which happened once. Led league in ERA+ once. Third place once and fourth place twice.
Player Z: 239 wins, 108 ERA+, 1.266 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9, 5.8 K/9, 3.06 K/BB, 49.4 rWAR.  10-5 in post-seasons with 3.17 ERA.  Two third place finishes in Cy Young Award vote.  Led league in wins once.  Led league in Innings pitched once.  His highest finish for strikeouts was an 8th place finish.  His highest finish in ERA was a 5th place finish.  Never finished in top 10 for ERA+.

So, who would you vote for? Well, if you're basing it solely on pitcher wins than you would vote for Player X, Jack Morris.  But then you might remember that pitcher wins aren't that valuable or that descriptive.  Or you might vote based on rWAR which would be Player Z who is David Wells.  Player Y isyour choice, look at that ERA+ or his post-season numbers.  That's Orel Hershiser.  But instead of doing player X comparisons, there's a whole bunch of sportswriters out there who concoct stories about how a pitcher was seen during his time.  Morris, during his time, wasn't seen as a Hall of Famer, otherwise he would've finished higher than 3rd in the Cy Young vote, right?  Or if he was a great post-season pitcher he would have better numbers than David Wells or Orel Hershiser.  Or if he was the ace of three World Champion teams, he would finish ahead of his teammates in the Cy Young Award voting, right?  The Jack Morris Hall of Fame vote isn't about baseball.  It's about using evidence to support your conclusion without having one in mind at first instead of having a conclusion in mind and finding evidence that supports your conclusion.   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorability Mania

We obviously don't want to rely too much on one poll but we'll look at it and see if there's anything of interest to note.  We're looking at this poll.

The choices for the Democratic party are Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O'Malley, Deval Patrick, Brian Schweitzer, Mark Warner, and Elizabeth Warren.

The choices for the Republican party are Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Condoleezza Rice, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Rick Santorum.

The poll attempted to find the favorability ratings of the listed candidates.

The average favorability rating for the candidates was 30.88 favorable and 31.82 unfavorable, so we use the slash to differentiate them.  We'll round to 31/32 as the average.  This is with 37 being not sure.  For Democratic candidates, the average was 22/26 with 52 being not sure.  For Republican candidates, the average was 38/37 with 24 being unsure.  So, we'll have some fun.  We'll list the top three in each category. 

1. Hillary Clinton 57
2. Condoleezza Rice 51
3. Chris Christie 48

1. Sarah Palin 56
2. Joe Biden 44
3. Paul Ryan 42

People who voted for Barack Obama (Average:26/38 and 37 unsure):
1. Hillary Clinton 85
2. Joe Biden 81
3. Chris Christie 43

1. Sarah Palin 86
2. Paul Ryan 73
3. Jeb Bush 60
3(t). Mike Huckabee 60

Not sure:
1. Brian Schweitzer 74
2. Martin O'Malley 73
3. Mark Warner 69

People who voted for Mitt Romney (Average: 38/24 and 38 unsure)
1. Paul Ryan 77
2. Mike Huckabee 73
3. Condoleezza Rice 71

1. Joe Biden 81
2. Hillary Clinton 69
3. Andrew Cuomo 46

Not sure:
1. Brian Schweitzer 88
2. Martin O'Malley 82
3. Deval Patrick 81
3(t.). Mark Warner 81

Not sure or someone else who they voted for (29/32 and 39 unsure):
1. Condoleezza Rice 63
2. Hillary Clinton 55
3. Paul Ryan 53

1. Sarah Palin 53
2. Joe Biden 50
3. Andrew Cuomo 43

Not sure:
1. Mark Warner 86
2. Martin O'Malley 83
3. Brian Schweitzer 80

Very liberal (28/45 and 21 unsure)
1. Hillary Clinton 98
2. Joe Biden 89
3. Elizabeth Warren 47

1. Sarah Palin 94
2. Jeb Bush 76
3. Paul Ryan 74

Not sure:
1. Brian Schweitzer 60
1(t.). Martin O'Malley 60
3. Mark Warner 54

Somewhat liberal (24/33 and 43 unsure):
1. Hillary Clinton 71
2. Joe Biden 67
3. Chris Christie 50

1. Sarah Palin 71
2. Paul Ryan 62
3. Rand Paul 55

Not sure is basically just Schweitzer, O'Malley, and Warner in various orders with different numbers.

Moderate (28/34 and 38 unsure):
1. Hillary Clinton 76
2. Joe Biden 60
3. Chris Christie 48

1. Sarah Palin 74
2. Paul Ryan 59
3. Rick Santorum 58

See above for not sure

Somewhat Conservative (35/25 and 40 unsure)
1. Condoleezza Rice 74
2. Paul Ryan 65
3. Jeb Bush 61

1. Joe Biden 74
2. Hillary Clinton 57
3. Andrew Cuomo 39

Not sure = samesies

Very Conservative (41/27 and 32 unsure):
1. Paul Ryan 86
2. Sarah Palin 79
3. Mike Huckabee 77

1. Joe Biden 87
2. Hillary Clinton 84
3. Andrew Cuomo

Not sure is the same.

Female (30/30 and 40 unsure)
1. Hillary Clinton 64
2. Condoleezza Rice 51
3. Joe Biden 50

1. Sarah Palin 59
2. Paul Ryan 43
3. Jeb Bush 41

Not sure remains about the same.

Male (32/34 with 34 unsure)
1. Chris Christie 52
2. Condoleezza Rice 51
3. Hillary Clinton 50

1. Sarah Palin 53
2. Joe Biden 47
3. Hillary Clinton 43

Party ID with Democratic Party (25/36 and 39 unsure)
1. Hillary Clinton 81
2. Joe Biden 77
3. Chris Christie: 42

1. Sarah Palin 80
2. Paul Ryan 68
3. Jeb Bush 62

Party ID with Republican Party (39/24 and 37 unsure)
1. Condoleezza Rice 75
2. Paul Ryan 74
3. Mike Huckabee 71

1. Joe Biden 76
2. Hillary Clinton 66
3. Andrew Cuomo 47

Party ID as Independent (31/33 with 36 unsure)
1. Condoleezza Rice 55
2. Hillary Clinton 52
3. Paul Ryan 50

1. Joe Biden 56
2. Sarah Palin 51
3. Hillary Clinton 42

My Obligatory Thoughts on the Baseball Hall of Fame part 1

After election season for politics, there's a void in my life, it can only be filled with people making crazy/irrational arguments.  I like baseball awards season because so many people have opinions about who should win what award.  My void is partially filled. My favorite part of the year (every year) is the baseball Hall of Fame time of year.  I get to see crazy irrational arguments for which player should make it over which player.  I love it. But, anyways.  A few years ago, I started my own ranking system for baseball players influenced primarily by WAR (Wins above Replacement (player)) both the Fangraphs version and Baseball Reference.  While there are inherent flaws in WAR it allows me to see the total value of a baseball player in a single statistic.  I created position sheets that used Bill James's list of top 100 players and added players who are active after his publication.  I used career WAR, best 5 consecutive years WAR, average WAR, highest three seasons WAR, highest 10 seasons WAR, and gave added points for each season above 5 WAR.  I lowered the numbers for career, 5 consecutive, 3 season, and 10 season so that the numbers wouldn't dwarf the seasonal averages.  The highest weight is given to career WAR but the other factors help water it down a bit.  Usually, a Hall of Famer would get around 39 in my system, as that it is the total for 10, 5 WAR seasons in my system.  5 WAR generally means that the player had an all-star caliber year and 8 WAR generally means they had a MVP caliber season. I used this ranking system to help me draft in a historical fantasy sim league. I'm a giant dork. I understand.  Catcher scores are multiplied by 1.2 because WAR doesn't fully capture catcher defense and WAR is lower for catchers than other positions because of games played.  I'm not saying my system is perfect but it gives a fairly accurate representation of how the player performed.  Babe Ruth has the highest score in my system with a score of 130.44 as a hitter and 17.34 as a pitcher, his total score is 137.78.  The rules for voting in the Hall of Fame is that you have 10 spots on the ballot.  This is a much stronger than usual ballot.  I'll give a short case for/against each candidate or just some thoughts on the candidate.  If a player does not get more than 5% of the vote than they fall off the ballot, so I'll run through the players I think should fall off the ballot first.

Sandy Alomar: N/A (unranked)
I didn't rank Alomar for whatever reason.  Honestly, there's not an easy case for people who are this far down on the ballot.
Pro: Former Rookie of the Year.  Played catcher for the Cleveland Indians when they were really good. 6 time All-Star (although, that doesn't mean that much).  Was called a beast multiple times by my brother and friends in MVP Baseball 2003.
Con: One above-average season according to Baseball Reference WAR.  Only four seasons at the starter level according to WAR.  Didn't have any large counting stats.  Only two seasons with above-average OPS+.  I could go on for awhile.

Jeff Conine: N/A (didn't rank)
Pro: Mr. Marlin. I have an irrational love for Conine.  He was on the two World Champions Florida Marlins.  Had a few seasons above-average stats.  Played for the Marlins and the Royals so he should get some love for playing for terrible franchises.
Con: Doesn't have large counting stats.  0 All-Star seasons according to WAR.  Basically an average player according to WAR and OPS+.

Mike Stanton-N/A
For whatever reason, I just remember Stanton pitching for the Braves and Yankees in the 1990s which means, in my mind he was just going to World Series every year.  But it turns out, he was traded to the Red Sox in 1995 and didn't join the Yankees until 1997.  I guess I forgot.  Stanton was a good left-handed relief pitcher.  Despite WAR not being that high for almost any relief pitcher, Stanton managed to have four seasons above 2 WAR according to Baseball-Reference.  His career ERA+ was slightly higher than average at 112 (100 is average).

Rondell White-N/A
White played for some of my favorite teams, by suiting up for the Montreal Expos and the Minnesota Twins.  White had three good seasons where he was almost at an All-Star level.  He's actually one of the few players who is better than I remember.  I honestly thought White was closer to replacement level than he ended up being.  I guess that's why there's a waiting period for the Hall of Fame.

Todd Walker- N/A
Walker was the best position player on the Twins when I first started rooting for them.  Walker was not very good at all.  It's a miracle that I survived and kept rooting for the Twins despite trotting out Walker as if he was a star.  Walker is one of my favorite Twins of all-time just behind Ron Coomer.

Jose Mesa- 9.95
Mesa is probably most famous for giving up the game-winning hit to Edgar Renteria in the 1997 World Series when Cleveland lost the World Series.  Mesa has always struck me as this type of pitcher who lucked into the closer role despite not being that great.  But looking back, Mesa wasn't terrible.  His 1995 season was very good and he came in 2nd in the Cy Young vote that year.  His ERA+ was 418. 

Royce Clayton- 12.57
This is ranked just on his baseball career, not his acting career.  Clayton was the classic no-hit good-glove shortstop.  His value was almost all tied up with his glove.  As he approached closer to hitting league average, his value increased, too.  His best season was 1999 when he hit .288/.346/.445 which put him at an OPS+ of 98 (average is 100) and his rWAR (Baseball Reference WAR) was 3.3.  Just to let you know, 0 WAR is replacement and 2+ is starter.

Woody Williams- 13.62
Williams was probably the best August 31 waiver deadline pickup in the history of the August 31 trade deadline.  Williams was more or less an average pitcher from 1997-2004.  People tend to underrate how valuable league average pitching is.  League average pitching is quite valuable because it allows the bullpen to rest while it keeps you in the game.  He was providing his team with about 2-3 wins each of those years which is fairly valuable.

Lee Smith- 16.91
I have Smith a lot lower than the actual Hall of Fame voters.  So, we'll look at pros and cons.
Pros: Was all-time leader in saves.  All-time ERA+ is 132.
Cons: Basically a one inning pitcher his entire career.  There's not a lot of value with closers in baseball.  Basically got to his career totals by being healthy and managers using him as a one inning pitcher.  I don't think the value that the closer adds is anywhere near worthy of the Hall of Fame outside of Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman. 

Aaron Sele- 17.34
Sele had 6 seasons of being an average to above average starter.  Sele is an exact average pitcher according to ERA+ (his career total is 100).  Sele provided all of his value by being a slightly above average pitcher for a couple of years.

Ryan Klesko- 19.23
Like all players from the Braves from the mid-1990s, I love them irrationally.  From the eye test, Klesko was terrible on defense and it shows up in his WAR.  Multiple seasons Klesko was worth negative wins in terms of defense.  Klesko had two seasons where he played close to an All-Star level in 2001 and 2002.  In 2001, he hit .286/.384/.539 with 30 homeruns and, surprisingly, 23 stolen bases.  In 2000 he stole 24.  Does anyone know why he was able to steal 20 bases in those two seasons?  Most people who ever saw Klesko, I'm sure, are surprised Klesko could steal bases.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Just a few thoughts

I have a few thoughts that are not quite long enough to generate posts but are just a few things that I've been thinking about the last few weeks.

1. I still think that the Republican party is headed for a major transformation.  Based on the polls before and after the election, it shows how people are leaning towards the left on social issues, such as gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, etc.  A lot of the people who are further on the right than the majority of the Republican party would never go for leaning towards the middle.  Instead, they are separating.  A lot of people who are Tea Partiers are calling long-standing Republicans RiNOs, for letting some Bush tax cuts to expire or raising the debt ceiling, etc.

1a. So, the Republican Party can move to the middle and leave the Tea Party behind.
1b. The Republican Party can stay on the fringes of the Right.
1c. The Republican Party can do nothing and effectively leave the Tea Party behind.

That's pretty much it.  They haven't done very well in articulating what they want to accomplish.  Right now, the focus is still on Obama.  This type of focus which was evident in 2012 was that whoever they run, it'll be better than Obama.  Romney constantly found himself opposing Obama on every issue, possible.  That's been the focus of the Party itself, too.  The Republican Party needs to, at some point, focus on the future.  Barack Obama will only be President for four more years.  The loyalty from the Right is basically only there because they're unified to beat Obama or oppose him.  What's going to happen when Obama steps down in 2016? 

2. Paul Ryan is done with national elections.  He may show up in the Republican presidential primaries but his favorability numbers are almost filled at this point.  It's almost impossible to change someone's opinion of you in a large scale.  Barack Obama's favorability fluctuates a bit but it doesn't even fluctuate that much and he's at near 100% on the favorability numbers.

3. The more I think about the 2012 election the more I think Romney didn't have the right strategist leading his campaign.  In a state/local election, you win by energizing your base and making inroads into demographic groups that you typically lose or into areas you typically lose.  For example, if you're running for governor and you're a Democrat.  The state is 40/40 on terms of party id.  So, then you look at where you can make the biggest catch-up.  Say you're down 75-25 in a particular city.  If you can make that a little bit closer, then you stand a better chance of winning the election.  That's what Romney essentially did.  I noted earlier that Romney's strategy was somewhat smart because it might make a big impact in swing states.  But he made the inroads with the black vote but it didn't help because in states that had larger minority populations, he lost.  He made the popular vote closer but we still have an electoral college.

4. We're becoming more partisan than ever.  It's not a good thing.  It's a dumb thing.

5. At the same time, we're getting closer to a point where parties might be able to split into smaller groups.  I think the social issues might be the driving force behind these splits.

6. I really want to launch the Up, Simba Project.  Which is the next step for me.

A fun podcast

There's a fun podcast out there with Nate Silver and Bill Simmons.

Republican Presidential Power Rankings

Alright, took too long of a break from posting my power rankings.  There's been a bunch of polls out there and we're looking at them to determine the rankings.  We're primarily using Public Policy Polling's polls.  Say what you will about them, they also had a perfect election day in terms of their predictions of what would happen on election day with the swing states.  They were one of the few polls that I saw that had Obama winning Florida.  Anyways, the're welcome to look at one of the polls, I'll be quoting from here.

1. Marco Rubio: Here are the numbers behind my ranking.  Among all voters, Rubio's favorability ratings are 35/27.  38% are not sure.  That number is large.  That's a good thing for Rubio.  If we look at someone else, such as Joe Biden, his favorability numbers are 46/44 with only 10% not sure.  It's much easier to convince someone with no opinion of someone to have a favorable opinion than changing someone's opinion from unfavorable to favorable.  Among those polled who voted for Romney, Rubio's favorability numbers are 65/7 with 28% not sure.  Those numbers are fantastic for Rubio.  Among those who don't remember who they voted for or voted for someone other than Obama or Romney, his numbers are 30/23 with 46% not sure.  Ideally, you'd want that number to be higher on favorable opinions, closer to 35 or so, but that 46% not sure is something that potentially could be great for Rubio.  Broken down, ideologically, Rubio's favorability for those who identify as somewhat conservative are 51/10 and very conservative are 75/11.  Rubio's numbers among moderates are not very good, he has 24/33 with 43% saying not sure.  You'd want the numbers for favorability to be higher but not sure isn't terribly bad.  But, if you're thinking that Rubio is going to win the Hispanic vote, you might want to note that his favorability among Hispanics are 24/42.  At that point, it's getting harder to assume that he would do well with Hispanic voters.  Interesting to note that Rubio has high marks among seniors 43/24.  Among Republicans, Rubio's numbers are 62/11.  Also, among Republicans polled he was the highest vote getter for who they would want to see as the GOP candidate for President at 18%.

2. Bobby Jindal: Surprisingly, Jindal was not listed in the Public Policy Polling's poll.  Because of this, it's hard to find numbers on Jindal at the national level.  In PPP's poll, Republicans listed someone else or not sure when asked the question about who they would like to see as the GOP candidate (the question had Rubio, Christie, Huckabee, Palin (!), Rand Paul, Ryan, Santorum, and Rice) at 7%.  So, even if he received 100% of those votes he would only be at 7%, total.  But, since he's not listed in the question, it's possible that people forgot about him or were unaware that they could say someone else or not sure.  Only the ardent supporters of a candidate would list him, if he wasn't in the original list.  I think if Jindal was listed his numbers would be higher.  When there are more polls with him listed on there, he will finish much higher and we can gauge how he might compare to the other candidates.

3. Chris Christie:There's actually a very strong argument for Christie being the number one choice for this power rankings.  Christie's overall favorability ratings are 48/26 with 26% unsure.  His scores with those voting Romney in 2008 are not as good as Rubio but his scores among those who voted for Obama are much higher.  He has a 43/27 with Obama supporters.  No other Republican candidate has in the 40% favorable ratings.  Condi Rice is the only one in the 30s.  Christie has higher favorability numbers with those who voted for Obama in 2012 than many of the Democratic choices.  Christie is the moderate choice for the Republican presidential nomination. If the Republican party moves to be a more moderate party than Christie is the choice.  Unfortunately, a lot of Republicans look at Christie and call him a RiNO (Republican in name only) and blame him for the failure of Romney in 2012, well they also blame ACORN.  Among those, from both parties who define themselves as somewhat liberal 50/18 with 32% unsure, among those who are moderate 48/23.  Among Republicans who define themselves as very liberal his favorability is 85/0.  Christie was the 2nd choice among Republicans for the presidential nod in 2016 with 14%.  If the Republican party decides that they don't want to move to the middle, Christie is going to tumble.  If the party splits, like I think it does, Christie could be the crossover candidate to try to win.  For those Republicans who define themselves as moderate, he's 51/28, somewhat conservative 54/24, and very conservative 42/31. 

4. Mike Huckabee: Huckabee basically the opposite choice compared to Christie.  Huckabee's overall favorability is 38/39 with 23% unsure.  Huckabee's ratings among Obama supporters is 12/60.  With Romney supporters, he's slightly lower than Rubio with 73/13.  Huckabee also has low ratings with people who voted for another candidate or can't remember at 24/42.  With those who identify themselves as very liberal, 7/70, somewhat liberal 14/52, moderate 27/47, somewhat conservative 60/21, and very conservative 77/12.  Putting Huckabee on the ticket would essentially be punting those in the center and the left, again.  I don't think Huckabee is electable in the current environment. Because party identifiers are trending towards Democratic right now.  If the Republican party wants to win in 2016 and beyond they either have to move closer to the center as a party or run a more moderate candidate in 2016.  Oh well. Anyways, Huckabee doesn't too poorly with those who identify themselves as independents 41/36.  What that means to me is that a number of people who identify themselves as moderates are actually involved in the Democratic party and that a number of conservatives are actually independents.  The question for the Republican party, since they are losing people from the party, itself, is how do they get the people who identify themselves as conservative independents to joining the party, itself?  A related question is what makes these conservatives vote Democrat over Republican. Anyways, Huckabee has the highest favorabilit (tied with Condeleezza Rice) at 73/15 among Republicans.  But curiously, that does not translate to him being picked as the GOP choice for Presidential candidate at 11%.  I think people are making a conscious decision to make a pragmatic choice when they say who they want to be named as the GOP presidential nominee.

5. Jeb Bush: Jeb is tied with Paul Ryan with the 3rd highest amount of votes from those polled on who they would like to see be the nominee for the GOP in 2016 with 12%.  His overall favorability is 38/38.  He does very well with the Republican base, those who identify as somewhat conservative or very conservative.  His marks among those who are more liberal are not very good at all.  Among Democrats, his favorability is 16/62 and those who are Republicans, his favorability is 66/12.  For those who identify as Independents, his favorability is 42/28 whic is comparable to Christie.  There was some speculation from some, including me, who thought Bush would do well with the Hispanic vote but his favorability is 32/49.  Surprising to me, is that Jeb seems to do much better with the more conservative part of his party.  This might be helpful to him if he chooses to run.  I actually think Jeb has a chance to move up this list if he continues to do well with the further right of his party.  There are issues where Bush is more moderate than the rest of his party and I am surprised that he's not doing better with the moderate sections of his party.

6. Scott Walker: Walker was not included in the poll, so I have no idea what his favorability numbers are nationally.  But Walker is clearly thinking about national politics compared to state/local politics.  Walker has made several speeches in California about his legislative agenda for Wisconsin.  This has raised several questions from people in Wisconsin, questioning why he would state his legislative agenda in California, as compared to talking to Wisconsinites about it.  There has been talk in pundit-land about Walker being a national political figure.

7. Paul Ryan: Ryan is going to linger around here for awhile.  Ryan's running out of room for his favorability ratings.  While many of the other candidates have more than 20% saying they're not sure if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of a candidate.  Ryan's favorability rating is 41/42, nationally.  Ryan's favorability comes almost completely from conservatives.  Among those who classify themselves as very liberal, 12/74.  Among somewhat liberals, 11/62.  Among moderates 27/59.  Then, for somewhat conservatives are 65/15.  For those who consider themselves as very conservative 86/5.  That's just impressive right there.  Ryan is among the most polarizing politicians in the country.  Ryan can be chosen to run as the Republican nominee, but I don't see it as very likely.

8. Bob McDonnell: McDonnell has mainly been out of the news for a little bit now.  That might be helpful for him as no news is good news in politics, for the most part.  Being in the news allows for criticisms from pundits and analysts.

9. Allen West: West has made comparisons between himself and a great president.  This has fueled some speculation that West might try to make a run either for Senate or for the presidency.But as passionate as his supporters are, he's just not that electable as a candidate in his own district much less a national election.  On the plus side for him, West seems to be a more than capable fundraiser, which is a giant asset in trying to run a national election. 

10. Rand Paul:  Is Paul going to follow in his father's footsteps and run continually for the Presidency?  It seems possible.  It might depend on when he wants to do.  His favorability is 32/38, overall.  This is the lowest mark among serious candidates, Sarah Palin ranks lower, but I think her time is past, now.  I don't want to parse the numbers but Paul is a longshot at this point.  But Paul has 7% of Republicans who were polled about who they would like to be the GOP nomination.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Democratic Presidential Power Rankings

Wednesdays will be our Democratic Presidential Power Rankings:
Love him or hate him, Barack Obama has four more years as President of the United States. As he was fond of saying on the campaign trail, this is his last campaign. Unless wacky Republicans are right and Obama can somehow make himself President for life, then we will have someone running in 2016 different than him. But who will it be? A caveat of this, of course, is that 2016 is a long ways of f and it’s possible, if not probable, that a candidate will emerge in the next four years that we’ve never heard of.
1. Hillary Clinton- she is the current favorite to run in 2016, despite that she has been saying that she plans on retiring from the public life. Some people have taken this to mean that she will spend the next four years recuperating and primed for a Presidential run in 2016. Clinton still commands the respect and disdain of rivals and allies. But the biggest deterrent to her running, in my opinion, is her age. If she decided to run she would be one of the oldest first term Presidential candidates in history. I have her number one despite these concerns because of her name recognition.
2. Joe Biden- Biden cryptically stated that this would not be the last time that he voted for himself. Some have taken this to mean that Biden would run for President in 2016. His biggest problem is his age, as well. Biden recently turned 70 and is older than Clinton. Biden’s name recognition and experience will mean that he is a popular name to throw out there as someone who might run in 2016. This is before they realize his tendency to go “off the cuff” is potentially a pitfall. The Onion would love if Biden ran.
3. Martin O’Malley- O’Malley has gotten some publicity and name recognition for his “rivalry” with Bob McDonnell, as well, as being a surrogate during this election for Barack Obama. O’Malley has a strong chance, if he decides to run, to be in the Democratic primaries.
4. Cory Booker + Julian Castro- I’m lumping them together to deal with them at the same time. Castro was mentioned, because he made the keynote address at the 2012 DNC, something Obama did in 2004. Booker has been mentioned because of his name recognition, popularity, being young, and being a minority. Booker and Castro’s largest problems are that the highest offices that they have held are being mayors. Their largest stumbling block is the lack of experience that they have. At least, Obama was a Senator before being President. If Booker and Castro somehow manage to gain some larger experience in the next four years, they’ll definitely move up this list.
5. Elizabeth Warren- she proved to be a fund-raising giant in defeating incumbent Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senatorial race. She’s kind of the “hip” name among Democrats to talk about potentially running in 2016. She has fairly high name recognition because of the popularity of the race but Democrats might shy away from her, because of her lack of experience.
6. Rahm Emanuel- Emanuel, despite being a mayor like Castro or Booker, is not listed with them because he has served closely with two different presidents. Serving under two presidents might give him some experience that is needed. But are we really going back to where Chicago is the heart of politics, again?
7. Andrew Cuomo- current governor of New York. Cuomo has a lot of name recognition, particularly among Democrats, coming in 2nd in some polls as an early frontrunner for the 2016 election. Cuomo seems like a favorite to be in the Democratic primaries, if he decides to run.
8. Al Franken- The former Saturday Night Live actor/writer has gotten some notoriety in politics for his close election in Minnesota and his petitions to try and overturn the Citizen’s United ruling. It’s unclear if enough people take him seriously to run for President. His age might also preclude him from running.
9. Independent/Republican Convert X- It’s possible that a high-profile Republican/Independent converts to being a Democrat and gets into the Democratic primaries. The people that I think might be possible for this to happen is Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg is an independent candidate and mayor, who has expressed interest in running for President in the past. Bloomberg also endorsed Obama after Hurricane Sandy because of climate change issues. He has been in the spotlight for a number of things whether, it was for his guns bill/law or trying to limit the amount of sugary drinks we can consume. Another possibility is Chris Christie. Christie has been blamed by some Republicans for failing to endorse Romney in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there is a slight possibility that Christie becomes disenchanted with the Republican party if they continue down this path. It’s also possible that Christie runs on the Republican side in 2016.
10. Celebrity Candidate Y- This has a popular idea by Democrats on some websites. The idea is that the Democrats would want a celebrity candidate who has little or no government experience to run for President. Michael Moore in his book Dude, Where’s my Country? argued for Oprah running. The popular name that has been thrown out now is Rachel Maddow. Let me say, that this is absolutely a terrible idea. I don’t believe the Democratic party would be able to recover if they allowed a celebrity to run for president. That being said, they might do it.

Republican Presidential Power Rankings

Every Tuesday until I get tired of it, I will be running power rankings of Republican presidential candidates. The goal is to accurately predict who will be running in 2016. Although, the vice-presidential power rankings were ultimately a failure because we were unable to predict who would be nominated, it was one of my favorite things to write.
Mitt Romney has been the looming specter of the Republican primaries. He has run in 2008 and 2012 in the primaries. So much, in fact, that many Republicans might be sick of him. Romney proved himself to be a masterful fund-raiser and once again proved that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a ton of negative ads in Ohio. So, what will happen in 2016? Will Romney run again?
1. Marco Rubio- Rubio will be #1 for the foreseeable future. He is my Erubiel Durazo. Congratulations to the one person who will understand that joke/reference. Rubio was featured prominently in my vice-president power rankings and figures to be featured here, as well. What does Rubio bring to the table? Well, he is relatively young. He is also a racial minority. He has good name recognition. His niche in politics, at this point, seems to be his stance on immigration issues. This makes him different than almost any other candidate, unless something drastic changes. Politicians, especially those running in the presidential primaries like to find their niche and stick with it. This could be his niche. If he chooses to run, he figures to be a force to be reckoned with.
2. Bobby Jindal- Jindal has already started his presidential run by distancing himself from the “gifts” comments Romney has made. Jindal has been one of my favorites since about 2010 or so. He was chosen to voice the Republican response to the State of the Union address. He has been the governor of Louisiana for some time and is also a minority, two things that might work in his favor. His biggest problem is that a presidential run might lead to intense scrutiny to his policies. I haven’t looked at them. But there might be things in there that might hurt his chances.
3. Jeb Bush- The Daily Show has not hesitated to link Jeb Bush to the 2016 presidential election. They even called the 2012 RNC: the road to Jeb Bush 2016. Bush has essentially retired from politics and there is no indication that he would run. But if he steps back in, he would definitely be a favorite for the Republican party. The Republican party is headed for a split or a return to the middle, both of these things help Jeb Bush. A more extreme Republican party would not be a good fit for Jeb.
4. Paul Ryan- I, personally, think that Ryan’s political career is over at this point. But he might decide to go out with a bang. Regardless of how Republicans feel about him now, there are factions of the Republican party who blame, rightly or wrongly, Ryan for the Romney loss. While Karl Rove is marching towards irrelevance, he did say that if you couldn’t win this election, you should get out of politics.
5. Bob McDonnell- McDonnell has some name recognition for being the governor of Virginia, for being a Romney surrogate, transvaginal ultrasounds, and being the leader of the Republican Governors Association. Like Jindal, his policies might hurt him, if he decides to run.
6. Brian Sandoval- a somewhat moderate pro-same-sex marriage Republican? What better way is there to announce that the party will be more moderate?
7. Chris Christie- As we get further from the election, Christie’s stock will rise. Numerous Republicans blame Christie’s failure to re-endorse Romney after Hurricane Sandy for Romney’s loss in the election. I thought Christie provided a nice moment both for him and Republicans by not bringing up politics where there was no point to. That moment will look better with the passage of time. His typical bulldog style/attitude will play well in the primaries.
8. Allen West- while he’s still complaining about a recount in the Florida Congressional election, he is still a favorite among Tea Party. If the Republican party splits, West could be mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. There was some talk in 2012 about a potential Gingrich/West ticket. That never came to fruition.
9. Scott Walker- Honestly, I have not understood why the media keeps saying that Walker is a Republican darling. He survived a recall election, bully for him. His policies in Wisconsin have been unpopular. He was never a fundraising giant until his back was up against the wall and got bailed out by his fellow Wisconsinite Reince Preibus and the Republican National Committee. But Walker continues to be mentioned as a possibility, so I’ll list him here.
10. Nikki Hayley and Kelly Ayotte- Both were mentioned as potential vice-presidential candidates for Romney. Hayley is the governor of South Carolina and reportedly declined the offer. There was a small scandal in her state around the same time. She denied any wrongdoing but a presidential run might put the spotlight on her. Ayotte was an early supporter of Romney. She is also an East Coast Republican who might connect with the Midwest (Ohio, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, etc.) much like Romney in 2012. I imagine the Republican party learns from the mistakes in this election.
Honorable mentions: Scott Brown, if Brown had been re-elected in 2012, I would have placed him on the list. As it stands, he does not seem to have the popularity to win his home state much less compete in a nationwide election.
General Petraeus- This sex scandal will hurt his chances. But it’s also possible that we just forget about them in four years. If Newt Gingrich can claim the moral high ground, anything is possible.
Mike Huckabee- there is a good chance that he will be moved much higher on this list as we move forward. Republicans have strong feelings towards Huckabee. He is leading early polls with Republicans and it’s ultimately up to him. If he decides to run, he’ll be a decided favorite for some time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Treating patients with Medicare

So, this sounded troubling.  It still sounds troubling a bit, when we're using the words "expect" and "supposed to."  Because of the fee that will increase in every state, federal officials expect to attract more physicians to treat Medicare patients.

The Showdown

At the end of this year, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire.  President Barack Obama has been clear that he will let them expire for those making $200,000+ (or couples making $250,000+).  Many members of Congress have signed the Grover Norquist pledge not to raise taxes.  These Congressmen (and women, I presume), have to make a decision whether or not they will be able to compromise between letting these tax cuts expire and actively voting to raising taxes.  It will be an easy explanation that the vote for a smaller tax increase will not equal allowing the tax cuts to expire to their expected level.  Economist Paul Krugman has argued that Barack Obama should not back down and allow the tax cuts to expire alleging that the compromise talk is on par with blackmail.  So, we'll have a showdown, coming.  It's up to the members of the House of Representatives to initiate a bill that will allow this or not allow it, after all, all tax bills have to originate in the House.  Barack Obama, I assume, is set to veto any law that continues the Bush tax cuts. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Small businesses as job creators?

There are always discussions about how small businesses are creating our jobs in America.  But according to this study only about one-fifth qualify as employers.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Raising taxes on small businesses?

"The problem with raising tax rates on wealthy Americans is that more than half of them are small-business owners. Raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs that everyone says they want." - John Boehner

Boehner is wrong when he says that.  Michael Steel, Boehner's spokesperson, has already that he misspoke.  So I won't harp too much on Boehner, but only about 8 percent have an income of $200,000 or more. But Boehner is correct, sort of, that 53 percent of business income would be taxed in the top two brackets which President Obama wants to raise taxes on.  Those businesses are not necessarily small, though.  A more in-depth study found that more than 90 percent of small-business owners wouldn't be affected by Obama's proposal. The vast majority of people affected, over 90 percent are not small business owners.

Exit Polls: When did you decide to vote

There is a prevailing idea that running for President means you have to be stong up until the very end.  But, at least in the last two presidential elections this probably isn't true. 

Today (3%): This actually went down 1% from 2008.  In 2008, it was 4%.  Barack Obama won the people who decided the day of the election in both times.  In 2008, Obama won 50-45.  In 2012, Obama won the same category 51-44.  5% of this category gave no answer or answered with other.  It would be interesting to see if it's because they voted for other or it's because they may not remember who they voted for.

Last few days (6%): In 2008, they didn't list this as a choice.  But they listed last three days and in the last week.  McCain actually won those categories with last three days 52-47 and last week 50-48.  Obama actually won the last few days in 2012 50-45 with 5% saying other or no answer.  There's the idea that Hurricane Sandy played a role in the election probably coming to fruition.  But those deciding in the last few days to a week are the same as 2008.

In October (11%): Obama did well with voters who decided in October in 2008 winning it 54-45 but in 2012, he only won it 49-48. This overall number went down by 4% since 2008.

In September (9%): The overall number who said they decided that they made up their mind in September went down by 5%.  Romney did very well with voters who made their decision in September.  Obama won in 2008 54-45.  Romney won in 2012 53-45.  That is huge.  This probably has to do with Benghazi and the attacks on the Embassy.

Before that (69%): This percentage went up by 9% from 2008.  Obama won this category in 2008 52-47.  In 2012, Obama won 53-46.  Basically what we're saying is that by August 31st nearly 70% of the electorate has already decided who they would vote for.  70% already decided and the slight majority favored Obama by that point.  The idea that this was a close race, is wishful thinking by people.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Exit Polls: Income

Ugh...CNN isn't as good with their exit polls in 2012 as they were in 2008. 

Less than $50K (41%): Wow, it's the exact same as 2008.  In both 2008 and 2012, Obama won this category 60-38 both times.

More than $50K (59%): Romney made up a lot of ground here.  In 2008, Obama and McCain tied this vote 49-49.  But Romney won it in 2012.  He ended up winning it 53-45. 

But, how much did the richer influence this.

$50-100K (31%): Surprisingly, McCain and Obama tied this category, too.  Romney won this category.  He won it 52-46. 

$100K or more (28%): Wow, McCain and Obama tied this category, too (49-49).  Romney swung this a lot.  Romney ended up winning this category 54-44. 

I saved income for less because I knew that it would be the deciding factor in this election.  I didn't know that Obama and McCain tied for these categories in 2008.  But you can see that Romney did better with those making $50K or more than McCain did.  For whatever reason.  I'm going to look at all of the categories that changed 5% or more from 2008 to 2012.  But I'm basing my conclusions on what we found in these exit polls.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Exit Polls: Religion and...

So, there's a few here.  We can do religion and race...sort of...

Non-white (28%): This is really where Obama excelled in 2008 and 2012.  In 2008, Obama won this category 79-18 and in 2012 Obama won this category 80-18.  Interesting to note that the number of people saying other or no answer went down.

White, no religion (8%): This is a giant swing for Romney, here.  Obama won the category in 2008 71-26 and in 2012 he won it 63-31.  The amount of people saying other/no answer went up by 3%.  Lots of interesting stuff, there.

White protestant (39%): McCain won this category quite handily 65-34.  Romney did even better than McCain in 2012 at 69-30.  Pretty big swing that helped Romney, there.

White Catholic (18%): Obama who won Catholics overall, lost both times with White Catholics.  In 2008, McCain won 52-47.  Romney excelled compared to McCain.  Romney won the White Catholic vote 59-40.  Impressive, there.

White Jewish (2%): Giant swing, alert.  Obama won in 2008 at 83-16.  Obama still won this category in 2012 but Romney gained 13 points.  Obama won 71-29.  Wow....

White-other religion (4%): Another large swing.  Obama won it in 2008 67-28 and in 2012 it declined to 61-35.  Huge gains in two categories for Romney there.

Or we could do religion and attendance...

Protestant/weekly (15%): This is a big category for Republicans.  McCain won this category 67-32 in 2008.  Romney did even better than that and beat Obama 70-29. 

Protestant/not weekly (14%): This is a much more stable category comparing 2008 and 2012.  McCain won 54-45.  Romney won 55-44.  That is essentially the same thing.

Catholic/weekly (11%): This is a huge gain for Romney from 2008.  By the way, we can probably assume that the Catholic weekly attendance gains are due to the fact that those Catholics who attend weekly are probably white.  But anyways, McCain won this category in 2008 50-49.  Romney made huge gains and won 57-42.

Catholic/not weekly (13%): Romney made slight gains here...Obama won this 58-40 in 2008 and in 2012 won 56-42. 

All others (46%): Romney did better with this category than McCain.  Obama won 63-35 in 2008.  Obama won 58-39 in 2012.  The number of people said no answer/other went up by 1.  So it was a combination of Romney doing better than McCain in 2008 and Obama doing worse.

Exit polls: Religion

Vote by church attendance.  This is always an interesting category to look at for me.

Never (17%): Surprisingly, a pretty big swing here.  In 2008, Obama won this category 67-30.  In 2012, Romney made up ground, Obama lost a ton of ground.  Obama won the category 62-34.  There was a 1% increase in the amount of people saying other/no answer.  Interesting.

A few times a year (27%): Romney made up ground here.  Obama won the category 59-39 in 2008 and in 2012 he won the category 56-42.  I'm assuming that we'll see it be more stable as church attendance goes up.  But we'll see.

Monthly (13%): Starting to see it become more stable.  Only changing 2%. But a surprising switch. Obama won 2008 the category in 2008 53-46 but in 2012 Obama widened the gap and got it up to 55-44.  This is interesting, to me.

Weekly (28%): This is getting to the Republican stronghold.  In 2008, McCain won 55-43.  In 2012, Romney widened the gap to 58-41. 

More than weekly (14%): I was dead wrong about it being stable.  In 2008, McCain won the category 55-43 but Romney dominated this category and stretched it to 63-36.  This is probably why I thought it was more religiously charged then it looked like, initially.

CNN breaks it down another way.

Never (17%): See above.

Occasionally (40%): Obama won this category in 2008 57-42.  In 2012, this changed slightly to Obama winning 55-43.  So not a big swing. But something interesting.

Weekly (42%): Pretty big change as we can guess from the above data. McCain won this category 55-43 in 2008 and Romney stretched this lead to 59-39 in 2012.  So, fairly big change. 

Exit Polls: Religion

Let's take a look at the exit polls for the 2012 election compared to 2008.  We've taken a look at most of the other indicators and now we're on religion.  I'm particularly interested in this part of the exit polls because of how religiously charged it seemed this election was. 

Protestant (53%): Romney did slightly better with Protestants than McCain did.  In 2008, 54% of Protestants voted for McCain and in 2012 57% voted for Romney.  1% answered other or no answer both times.

Catholic (25%): Romney made up some ground in the Catholic vote, too.  Obama won the Catholic vote 54-45 in 2008 and won it 50-48 in 2012.  2% answered other or no answer in 2012 compared to 1% in 2008.  Romney made up ground in both categories. 

None (12%): Obama dominated with people who identified with no religion in 2008, 75-23 in 2008.  While Obama did well with this category in 2012, he lost a lot of ground.  It fell to 70-26 in 2012.  The amount of people who said other or no answer went up 2% from 2008.  So, that's interesting.

Other (7%): This was pretty much the same from 2008 to 2012. Obama won 73-22 in 2008 and 74-23 in 2012.  The amount of people who said other or no answer went down two percent.  Very rare in 2012 to see the amount of people saying other or no answer actually went down. 

But, we're  not done with slicing the data for this category. We'll post the rest on separate posts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Secretary of State Power Rankings

In 2008, Hillary Clinton was reportedly offered a choice between the position of Secretary of State and vice-president by Barack Obama. Clinton took the offer to be Secretary of State and has completed her job. There are reports circulating that she will retire before President Obama begins his 2nd term. If the reports are true, then President Obama would have to appoint a new person to take her place. Since I am a sucker for Power Rankings, even if they’re inaccurate, I present the Secretary of State power rankings. Of course, all this will be for naught if Clinton does not retire.
1. John Kerry- the 2004 Democratic nominee for President has been rather close to President Obama, even standing in during mock debates. Kerry is the prohibitive favorite for the nominee.
2. Susann Rice- current United States ambassador to the United Nations (or the UN). Rice would be a fine choice with her experience. Rice’s potential nomination would receive an outcry from the Republican community. She was featured prominently after the attacks of Benghazi. Some people fear, irrationally, that the United Nations are the steps to a world government. Because of this, a nominee that was an ambassador there might be challenged.
3. Colin Powell- If Obama wants to maintain the idea that he will work harder for bipartisanship then Powell should be in play. Powell who is more or less retired, now, might be speculated about. Powell who held the position under George W. Bush might not want it and Obama might not offer it.
4. Rahm Emanuel- Emanuel is the current mayor of Chicago. He has worked closely with President Obama and former President Clinton. He is Jewish and his nomination might be an indication that we might have a closer relationship with Israel in the next four years. I don’t think his nomination is very likely. If he was nominated, can you imagine the outrage over the Chicago political machine?
5. Bill Clinton- I’m not sure if this is allowed under the Constitution. But, if it is, Bill should totally be the choice.

Exit polls: Education

One of the Republican memes that has been gaining more traction over the last year is that colleges/universities are liberal bastions where all the professors will teach you with their liberal bias(es).  But they also like to claim that the dumber you are the more likely you are to vote Democratic. So, let's look at the numbers.

There are quite a few categories that CNN breaks down for us.  This is the highest level of education

No high school (I assume this means that they have no high school diploma): This basically stayed the same from 2008 to 2012.  Obama got 63% of these votes in 2008 and McCain got 35%.  In 2012, Obama got 64% of these votes and Romney got 35%.  Boring.  Let's move on.

Graduated high school: Again, basically the same.  Obama got 52% in 2008 and 51% in 2012.  McCain got 46% and Romney got 48%.  Is education going to be a constant indicator?  I'm going to get bored.  I like seeing differences.

Some college: Obama got 51% in 2008 and 49% in 2012.  McCain got 47%.  Romney got 48% in 2012.  The percentage of people who answered with other or no answer increased by 1 point to 3%.  Which is the highest among education levels besides postgraduate which is also 3%. 

College graduate: Finally, some bigger changes.  Obama's vote with college graduates in 2008 were at 50% and in 2012 it declined to 47% in 2012.  McCain got 48% of the vote there and Romney was able to gain ground there and got 51% of the vote in 2012. 

Postgraduate: This changed slightly (or a lot if you're just comparing to education levels).  Obama got 58% of the postgraduate votes in 2008 and that declined to 55% in 2012.  Romney was able to gain ground in this demographic by increasing it from McCain's total 40 to 42%.  The number of people saying other/no answer increased by 1%.

Education levels stayed relatively stable which is interesting and will probably be expanded on later. 

2012 Republican Response to the Election

The Republican response to the 2012 election troubles me.  There have been petitions to secede from the United States from some states.  Others have merely claimed that there is widespread voter fraud.  They have claimed that there are overvotes in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida (which those three states taken together add up past the electoral college victory for Obama).  There are petitions to institute a recount of the election.  I am troubled by this. It seems like this is a problem. I will make a longer post about why it troubles me.  I'm just saying it troubles me for now.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Exit polls: Ideology and Party ID

So, the three ideologies that CNN uses is liberal, moderate, and conservative.  The Party ID's that they use are Democratic, Republican, and Independent.  Again, I'll expand later on swings in demographics by 5 or more points.

So, those who identified themselves as liberal in 2008 went 89-10 for Obama over McCain with only 1% saying other or did not answer.  In 2012, liberals went 86-11 for Obama over Romney with 3% saying other or did not answer.  Those who identified themselves as Democratic went for Obama 89-10 over McCain.  In 2012, Obama got 92% of the votes from those who identify as Democratic and Romney fell to 7%. 

Those who identify themselves as moderates supported Obama in 2008 60-39.  This declined in 2012 from 60 to 56 and the number of people who stated other or no answer went from 1% to 3%.  Those who identify themselves as independent supported Obama in 2008 52-44 with a whopping 4% saying other or no answer.  In 2012, those who identified themselves as independents did a huge swing for Romney, where he lead with independents 50-45.  5% of independents said other or gave no answer.  This is a huge swing for Romney. I'll go over this when I expand on these things but typically you would assume that those who identify themselves as moderate would also identify themselves as independents but it doesn't seem to match up with the statistics if 56% of moderates voting for Obama but 50% of independents are voting for Romney.  Just something interesting to think about.

Are we getting more partisan as a country?  I would really like to expand on this at some point.  In 2008, those who identified themselves as Conservative supported McCain 78-20 with 2% going with other/no answer.  In 2012, those who identified themselves as Conservative voted for Romney 82-17 with 1% saying other/no answer.  Those who identified themselves as Republican supported McCain 90-9.  This increased for Romney to 92 in 2012. 

Just so you know, those who identified themselves as liberal went up by 3 from 2008 to 2012.  Moderates went down 3% and Conservatives went up by 1% in the same timeframe.  But those who say they're Democratic went down by 1%, Republicans stayed the same, and Independents went up by 1%.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why am I looking at 2008 exit polls instead of 2010

I don't know how predictive looking at mid-term elections are for looking at the next presidential election.  In my Political Behavior classes, we concluded that the out-party always significantly outperformed the in-party in the mid-term elections. Presidential elections always have higher turnout so you have a higher sample size and there's something to be said for comparing like things. 

So, just a few small reasons.

Exit Polls: Race

Be prepared to read information about exit polls. Nothing really exciting.

White voters (72% of exit polls), overall, favored Romney 59-39.  Public Policy Polling tweeted during their release of their final polls that Romney needed to win the white vote, by at least 20 points in swing states to have a chance of winning the election.  In 2008, McCain won the white vote 55-43.  So, Romney gained points with the white vote from 2008.  But where is this lead coming from, so we can break it down by gender or age.  White male voters, overall, supported Romney 62-35 which is basically Romney gaining five points since 2008.  White women also supported Romney more than they did McCain, gaining 3 points, from 53 to 56.  I guess it's helpful to look at it that way.  But maybe there's an explanation found in the age groups.  White 18-29 year olds supported Obama in 2008 54-44 and in 2012 that switched to Romney 51-44.  That's a huge swing for Romney.  It's actually the biggest one we've seen so far.  White voters 30-39 were not included in CNN's exit polls of 2012.  They only listed 39-44 which is not included in the 2008 exit poll data, by itself.  Whites aged 45-64 supported McCain in 2008 56-42.  In 2012, Romney gained a significant edge and got up to 61.  Obama fell to 38.  White seniors (65+) gave three points to Romney in 2012. The biggest gain for Romney in white voters was with younger voters. 

Black voters (13% of exit polls), heavily supported Obama 93-6.  Which is down slightly from 2008, 95-4 Obama in 2008.  Black men's support for Obama heavily declined from 2008 to 2012.  In 2008, black men went for Obama 95-4 and in 2012, it ws 87-11.  Black women stayed the exact same in their support for Obama from 2008 to 2012.  Young black voters, declined from 95-4 in 2008 (in favor of Obama) to 91-8 in 2012.  Black voters aged 45-64 declined slightly in their support of Obama from 2008 to 2012.  Black seniors stayed the same.

Latino voters (10%), increased their support of Obama from 2008 to 2012.  Obama gained a total of 4 points in the Latino vote.  Latino women was a huge swing for Obama from 2008 to 2012.  Obama gained 8 points in that category (from 68 to 76).  Latino men were essentially the same.  Continuing the trend of 18-29 year olds losing support for Obama from 2008 to 2012 by losing two points with them.  But geez, Obama picked up a lot of support with Latinos aged 45-64 going from 58 to 68.  Latino seniors slightly declined their support of Obama from 2008 by three points.

I'm going to expand in later posts about certain demographics that changed 5 or more points from 2008-2012.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Housecleaning and a first look at the 2012 presidential election

Sorry, I've been really busy with my new job being a "student information associate" for a for profit university.  I don't know how much I'm allowed to talk about it or how much I'm allowed to complain about on a social media site.  I haven't posted here for awhile.  Most of my quick thoughts are shared on our Facebook page, where I've been grouchy/grumpy with people primarily because of my new job of being a "student information associate." 

But, anyways..

1. Barack Obama got re-elected.  I wonder who could've predicted this. What have we learned from this election or how will this affect other elections later on?  Here's more or less, the results of the election.  Obama won the popular vote 51-48 and got over 300 electoral votes.  As a side note, I only got one state wrong in my projections of the electoral college (damnit Florida).  But we'll look at some exit polls, for the rest of my numbered points.

2. Probably unsurpising to most casual observers of politics, Barack Obama won the votes of women 55-44.  The gender gap was going to be crucial in this election.  Despite Romney's best efforts to change that, at least early in the campaign, Obama held onto his lead.  Romney's roundabout answers to questions about gender equality such as what he would do in the Lily Ledbetter situation hurt him.  President Obama played up these situations in his campaign.  It worked.  Mitt Romney won with men 52-45.  Romney needed to win that by a wider margin if he wanted a chance of a victory.
2008 comparisons:  Obama won both men and women in 2008.  With men, Obama won 49-48.  Obama won women 56-43.  Essentially, the gender gap is the same thing.  Romney/Ryan did better with men than McCain but the same with women.

3.  What propelled Obama to victory was his lead with young voters.  18-29 year old voters went for Obama 60-37.  While it is only about 20% of the voting, those leads are hard to overcome.  Obama won 30-39 year olds 55-42.  Basically, with about 35% of the electorate, Obama had a huge lead.  Romney did win 40-49 year olds 50-48, 50-64 year olds 52-47, and ran away with seniors (65+ years) at 56-44. 
2008 comparisons: Despite concerns that Paul Ryan's Medicare plans would turn seniors off, according to exit polls, Romney/Ryan fared slightly better than in 2008.  They went up 3 points.  Romney made up ground with younger voters, as Obama won young voters (18-29) 66-32 in 2008.  30-39 year olds stayed about the same but Romney lost a couple points there.  40-49 year olds are the same thing, essentially. 50-64 year olds switched over to Romney by three points.  But age, seems to be fairly stable from 2008-2012.  So, there's that.
I'll look at other portions of the exit polls but I wanted to start with age and gender...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Global Warming and Me

So, it looks as though global warming has taken a 16 year break. People are reacting predictable; those who believe global warming is a threat to mankind aren't going to let the good news get them down and those who don't believe in global warming at all are declaring themselves the victors. Me, I'm feeling pretty neutral.

I believe that the world is warming and that humans have something to do with it. I don't have any relevant training or understanding of the science behind it, so I defer to those who do. What I do know is that the science is really complicated, so I'm skeptical of the numbers climatologists put out. I always wonder when I read a news article that says some professor says that it will be 3.4 degrees hotter. Is the decimal really significant? How much less likely is it to be 3.5 or 3.3 degrees? I don't think that there is anyone who could convince me that what they are doing has any real accuracy. The only thing that all these studies has convinced me of is that it will probably warmer. The earth may warm less than they are predicting, or it may also warm more. I don't think anyone knows. Actually, I know nobody knows.

With that being said, even if the earth were to warm a lot, I'm not particularly worried. Why? Because we're trying to predict things 100 years from now. As uncertain as the climate may be, human civilization is much more uncertain. Look at how different life is now from 100 years ago, and apply it to global warming. How much more prepared are we now to deal with global warming than we were 100 years ago? Air conditioning, food processing, agriculture, transportation, and medicine have advanced so much in the last century that we are in a much better place to deal with warming now than we were then.

And I'm not just talking about American's. Over the century, the lot of every person on earth has gotten better. Some nations have really flourished, others not so much, but I don't think any have regressed in any meaningful way. If this continues, who knows how well off some countries will be in 100 years. Look at South Korea. They went from one of the poorest countries to one of the richest in about two decades. Who knows what could happen to other nations in ten decades?

So, how much better are we going to be able to deal with warming in another 100 years? Just like the climate itself, I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure we will be better able to deal with it. Plus, any of the downsides of a warmer planet will develop gradually. Yes, some farmland in Mexico may become untenable, but it will happen slow enough not to cause a huge disruption in food production and we will have time to start planting more farms in northern Canada. Yes sea levels will rise, but they will rise at a slow enough rate that we can move inland without huge numbers of refugees, or build dikes to keep out the rising water, or do something else that no one has thought of yet.

The best part of this view is that I can be optimistic almost under any circumstance. I'm allowed to believe that humanity will be better off if the world is hotter or colder, or if it stays the same. Sure, I can't claim that people who disagree with me are evil, but I'll deal with it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

We are losing

Every once in awhile on Facebook, I'll post something, followed by we are losing.  Here's what I mean by this.  I mean that people are blindly following something partisan even if it's not rational, at all.  Ideally, people would not blindly follow whatever their party said.  They would think rationally about something instead of immediately throwing support behind whatever the talking heads of their party said. 

The Debate: Mediscare and Health Scare

1. "First of all, I think it's important for Governor Romney to present this plan that he says will only affect folks in the future. And the essence of the plan is that you would turn Medicare into a voucher program. It's called Premium Support, but it's understood to be a voucher program."

That's probably an accurate claim to make.

2. "It was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year."

Possible.  But it's based on outdated analysis.  It might not cost that much and according to analysis done before Obamacare, analysts found it cost 9% less.  But the authors concluded that if Obamacare was successful in lowering Medicare costs than the new plan might cost more than the Medicare offered by the government.

3. "AARP thinks that the savings that we obtained from Medicare bolstered the system, lengthened the Medicare trust fund by eight years."

Not just AARP thinks that.

4. "They're now going to have to be paying co-pays for basic checkups that can keep them healthier."

Yes, probably.  I mean that is covered in Obamacare.

Mitt Romney:

1. "And by the way, if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer premiums that are as low as the private sector, people will be happy to get traditional Medicare."

Well, that might be happening with Obamacare but you want to repeal it.  No comment beyond that.

2.  "This is an idea that's been around a long time, which is saying, hey, let's see if we can't get competition into the Medicare world so that people can get the choice of different plans at lower cost, better quality."
Exactly, universal health care, right?

3.  "But my experience -- my experience is the private sector typically is able to provide a better product at a lower cost."

Fundamental disagreement between essentially Paul Ryan's competitive plan and Obama's regulation plan.

The debate: Still working through it

Over 5,000 words in, so far.  Let's continue.

A new segment....yay!

Barack Obama:

1. Appeal to pity.  His grandmother's story is a textbook definition of an appeal to pity.

2. "$716 billion we were able to save from the Medicare program by no longer overpaying insurance companies, by making sure that we weren't overpaying providers, and using that money we were actually able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600, and we were also able to make a significant dent in providing them the kind of preventive care that will ultimately save money throughout the system."

This is the underlying assumption of Obamacare and how it is going to save money for Medicare.   In all honesty, I cannot find an answer to the claim that it lowers prescription drug costs.  My assumption, like usual, is that it's not as good as it sounds.  It might save seniors but it might not save $600, if that makes sense.

Romney's response:

1. " So if you're 60 or around 60 or older, you don't need to listen any further."

Well, sort of.  Romney has repeatedly stated that they plan on repealing Obamacare.  He said it earlier in the debate, instead.  There's going to be changes made to seniors because of the repeal.  Until Romney announces what he would replace it with, seniors should know that changes will be made to their current health care coverage.  For instance, preventative care with no out-of-pocket costs.  Or the doughnut hole.  "The law gradually closes the so-called 'doughnut hole' for seniors on the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program over 10 years. Before the law, seniors whose annual drug costs exceeded $2,830 shouldered the entire payment without government assistance until they hit an out of pocket limit of $4,550. Once 'catastrophic coverage' is triggered, the government paid 95 percent of costs.  The health care law gives beneficiaries who reach the doughnut hole a $250 tax-free rebate. Federal subsidies will kick in, gradually reducing the patient’s share of the payment from 100 percent to 25 percent by 2020."

So, it will change.  But we just don't know how.

2. "Some 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes say they won't take any more Medicare patients under that scenario. We also have 50 percent of doctors who say they won't take more Medicare patients."

I can't find where they studied this, either.  My assumption is that it's lower than 15% and lower than 50%. 

3. "I want to take that $716 billion you've cut and put it back into Medicare."

It's not a cut.  It's figuring out a way to solve it.  But, here's FactCheck.  But anyways, PolitiFact reports on this, too.  But, is that $716 billion going back to Medicare a good thing?  Maybe.  Quoting directly from PolitiFact's study here, "Marilyn Moon, vice president and director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research, used official data to compute how out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries might increase. We reached Moon, and she reviewed her methodology with us.
She calculated that restoring the Medicare spending would raise co-payments and premiums by by $342 a year on average over the next 10 years. By 2022, the annual increase would rise to $577."

A few of my own thoughts on the debate

1. If we take it at face value, what each of the candidates are saying.  The following will happen: the economy will jumpstart, my taxes (since I'm not higher-income), we'll balance the budget, healthcare will be fixed, Medicare and Medicaid will be fixed, we'll stop spending money at the federal government level, and we'll all have jobs.

2. If someone told you that they made up their decision by the debate, slap them in the face.  Seriously.  Do it.  Then link them to this blog for fun.  If they don't want to read me rant and rave about stuff then link them to PolitiFact and FactCheck. 

3.  Romney's responses were all part of what he's said before.  Including an almost verbatim quote from the RNC about the economy tax.  It's interesting that it's party propaganda when it's the party's convention but it's true if spoken in the debate.

4. Barack Obama also said things that are a favorite part of his stump speech.  They're no more true now than they were, the first 100 times that he said it. 

5. The rest of my thoughts are going to be on these posts, I've been doing.  It's really frustrating. But, these are some general thoughts.

The debate: I will never be done

My goal is to write more about the debate than any other person, ever.  I'm well on my way.

Obama's response: "There has to be revenue in addition to cuts. Now, Governor Romney has ruled out revenue. He's ruled out revenue."

Romney interrupts and says, yes, I have.  Also, "You never balance the budget by raising taxes."  Except that time in the 1990s when we did it under President Clinton.  Do we have amnesia?  Romney states that we don't want to go down the path of Spain.  But, there's this...from Paul Krugman,"But what Greek experience actually shows is that while running deficits in good times can get you in trouble -- which is indeed the story for Greece, although not for Spain -- trying to eliminate deficits once you're already in trouble is a recipe for depression.These days, austerity-induced depressions are visible all around Europe's periphery. Greece is the worst case, with unemployment soaring to 20 percent even as public services, including health care, collapse. But Ireland, which has done everything the austerity crowd wanted, is in terrible shape too, with unemployment near 15 percent and real GDP down by double digits. Portugal and Spain are in similarly dire straits."

But Obama, continues.

"When it comes to corporate taxes, Governor Romney has said he wants to in a revenue-neutral way close loopholes, deductions -- he hasn't identified which ones they are -- but thereby bring down the corporate rate. Well, I want to do the same thing, but I've actually identified how we can do that. And part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. Right now you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn't make sense."

Which is true. There are tax breaks for people who send jobs overseas.  "The Bring Jobs Home Act would stop tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas, and instead provide a 20 percent tax credit to businesses that bring them back home and hire American workers. The tax benefit can be used for costs associated with moving a production line, trade, or business located outside the country, back to the United States. The legislation would also close loopholes for shipping jobs overseas by stopping the deduction companies can currently take for the costs associated with outsourcing."  Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate blocked this bill from even coming to vote.

Obama appeals to pity, next. 

Romney's response:

1. " But don't forget, you put $90 billion -- like 50 years' worth of breaks -- into solar and wind -- to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. So this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure. "

It's a good thing that FactCheck is here.  Anyways, let's look at it, step by step.

a. Obama probably did forget.  Since he only spent $21 billion on solar and wind.  FactCheck has the exact breakdown at the link, I posted. 

b. Even if it was $90 billion, the figure Romney is using to come up with 50 years is $2.8 billion.  Or nearly $3 billion. If you just had to estimate, on what 90/2.8 would be...would you say 30 or 50 years.

c. But the $2.8 billion is not even accurate.  According to the Congressional Research Service, it is closer to $3.9 billion/year.

d. The industry says it's closer to $8.5 billion.

e. I'll go over the list of winners and losers, later. 

2. "The second topic, which is you said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas -- look, I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant. But the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case."

Which is simply not true.

3. "Let states do this. And, by the way, if a state gets in trouble, well, we could step in and see if we could find a way to help them."

Interesting.  Unfortunately, that would expand the deficit, would it not?  Let's say, we give states the chance to do Medicare and Medicaid by themselves but they fail.  The federal government has to intervene to fix it.  Doesn't that cost more money to begin with?  I'm grumpy today.