Tag Archives: democratic

Chart of the Day: Georgia’s 6th Congressional District

Mother Jones

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Jon Ossoff’s near win in the special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district has spurred a lot of conversation about how this represents a huge electoral shift that may be a harbinger of disaster for Republicans in the 2018 midterms. Maybe. That’s a long time away, and a lot of things can happen between now and then. In the meantime, though, this chart from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives a pretty good idea about what really happened:

This is a district that’s been steadily shifting Democratic for years, in both presidential and congressional races. In 2000 it favored George Bush over Al Gore by nearly 40 points. In 2012 that gap was down to about 20 points. The 2016 election accelerated that trend, with Donald Trump squeaking by with only the barest possible victory. There was unquestionably both a long-term Democratic tailwind in the district and a Trump effect specific to 2016.

During that same period, congressman Tom Price went from a 40-point victory in 2006 (his first as an incumbent) to a 20-point victory in 2016. Remove the incumbency effect and it’s not surprising that Jon Ossoff cut that lead to a couple of points earlier this week. There’s a long-term Democratic tailwind and an incumbency effect specific to 2017.

If Ossoff wins the runoff—or loses a close race—it’s unclear exactly what this means. Is it a huge turnaround in electoral fortunes? Or a modest turnaround fueled mostly by the lack of an incumbent and only a little by the Trump effect? I suspect the latter, though I’m not quite sure what evidence we can bring to bear to sort this out. Come back in eight weeks and we’ll take another crack at it.

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Chart of the Day: Georgia’s 6th Congressional District

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Bernie Sanders Is the Most Popular Politician in the Country, Poll Says

Mother Jones

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According to a new poll, Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America. The Harvard-Harris survey, published first in The Hill, found almost 60 percent of Americans view the Vermont senator favorably.

Among certain demographics, the progressive politician’s ratings are even higher: 80 percent of Democratic voters, 73 percent of registered black voters, and 68 percent of registered Hispanic voters view Sanders favorably.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also scored positively, with 38 percent approving of the liberal icon and only 32 percent disapproving.

This isn’t a marked change from prior polling. In late 2016, Sanders was also viewed as the lawmaker with the highest favorability ratings, earning approval from more than 50 percent of the electorate.

The least popular political figure in America? Look to the White House, but not the Oval Office—though Donald Trump is 7 points underwater, 44/51. His beleaguered chief strategist, Steve Bannon, came in dead last in the survey. Only 16 percent give the former Breitbart publisher a thumbs-up, while a full 45 percent offer the opposite.

“In losing to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders has floated above today’s partisan politics while Bannon has, rightly or wrongly, taken the blame for the administration’s failures,” poll co-director Mark Penn from Harvard-Harris told The Hill. “Sanders is an asset to the Democrats while Bannon is a liability to the administration.”

Read the full findings of the poll here.

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Bernie Sanders Is the Most Popular Politician in the Country, Poll Says

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It’s the Wall Wot Won It

Mother Jones

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Phil Klinkner takes to the pages of the LA Times this morning to tell us that immigration was a big deal in the 2016 election:

Comparing the results of the 2012 and 2016 ANES surveys shows that Trump increased his vote over Mitt Romney’s on a number of immigration-related issues. In 2012 and 2016, the ANES asked respondents their feelings toward immigrants in the country illegally. Respondents could rate them anywhere between 100 (most positive) or 0 (most negative). Among those with positive views (above 50), there was no change between 2012 and 2016, with Romney and Trump each receiving 22% of the vote. Among those who had negative views, however, Trump did better than Romney, capturing 60% of the vote compared with only 55% for Romney.

….Overall, immigration represented one of the biggest divides between Trump and Clinton voters. Among Trump voters, 67% endorsed building a southern border wall and 47% of them favored it a great deal. In contrast, 77% of Clinton voters opposed building a wall and 67 % strongly opposed it.

This gibes with my anecdotal view that a fair number of Trump voters didn’t pay much attention to anything he said except that he was going to build a wall and keep the Mexicans out. All the budget and regulation and Obamacare and climate change stuff was just noise that they didn’t take very seriously. But building a wall was nice and simple, and they thought it would bring back their jobs and keep their towns safe.

Having said that, though, I want to repeat a warning: everyone should stop looking for tectonic changes that account for Trump’s win. Hillary Clinton was running for a third Democratic term during OK-but-not-great economic times, and that’s always difficult. Most of the fundamentals-based models predicted she’d win by a couple of percentage points, and she actually did much better than that—until James Comey decided to destroy her. And even at that, she did win by a couple of percentage points. It was a fluke of the Electoral College that put Trump in the White House, not a historic shift in voting patterns.

The real question is how Trump won the Republican primary. At the presidential level, that’s a far more interesting topic than what happened in a fairly ordinary general election.

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It’s the Wall Wot Won It

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How Do Partisans React to the Election of One of Their Own?

Mother Jones

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Via Gallup, here’s another hot-off-the-presses example of different partisan responses to similar situations:

Republican views of the taxes they pay improved substantially when Bush and Trump were elected—even before any actual changes were made to the tax code—while Democrats had essentially no reaction when Obama was elected. Likewise, Republican views declined sharply when Obama was elected, but Democratic views didn’t decline when Bush and Trump were elected.

Now, this is not a great example. Republicans take taxes more seriously than Democrats, and they expect that Republican presidents will cut taxes. The fact that their view of tax fairness changes even before anything happens may simply reflect their justified confidence that their taxes will indeed go down under a Republican administration.

If, instead, the question were, “What’s your view of racial justice in America?” it’s possible that Democrats would react strongly to the election of a Republican, while Republicans wouldn’t care much. Does anybody know of any actual examples like this?

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How Do Partisans React to the Election of One of Their Own?

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The White House Plans to Keep Visitor Logs Secret

Mother Jones

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The Trump administration will keep its list of visitors to the White House secret, the White House announced Friday. This move—a major retreat from transparency—breaks from the Obama policy, which regularly released a log of White House visitors, with some exceptions.

The Obama administration was the first to voluntarily disclose its visitor logs. Though the data was incomplete—the White House reserved the right to withhold names it deemed sensitive—this public data was important information regarding how the White House did business. The logs were a much-used resource for media outlets. These records may well be more significant in the Trump administration, which is already mired in conflicts of interest due to the vast financial entanglements of the president (and his daughter, son-in-law, and other key advisers).

White House Communications Director Michael Dubke defended the decision to Time, saying the reversal was due to “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.” Administration officials also noted that the decision was necessary to allow the president to seek advice from whomever he wants. The logs will be kept secret for at least five years after Trump leaves office.

Earlier this week, a trio of open-government groups sued the Trump administration, arguing that its refusal so far to release the visitor logs violated the Freedom of Information Act. “Given the many issues we have already seen in this White House with conflicts of interest, outside influence, and potential ethics violations, transparency is more important than ever, so we had no choice but to sue,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, one of the groups that filed suit. Last month, eight Democratic senators urged the president to continue the Obama administration’s policy. “We see no reason why you would be unable to continue policies of your predecessor,” they asserted. “And we urge you to extend those policies to address your decision to regularly conduct official business at private properties that also provide access to certain members of the public.”

Trump’s decision to roll back transparency at the White House clashes with his previous criticism of Obama.

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The White House Plans to Keep Visitor Logs Secret

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