Youth turnout

Oddly enough, I get regular requests from infographic creators to include them on my blog.  More of than not, the graphics are cool, but not really fitting with something I want to say.  In this case, this infographic on turnout has an interesting summary of social media usage among Obama and Romney voters.  Now, I wouldn’t say Obama “won” due to social media, but it certainly speaks to his much greater appeal to and outreach towards younger voters. Here’s the key part:


And this fits nicely with a post from a friend, Alan Reifman, at Texas Tech from my days there (he’s in health psychology but a political junkie).  The youth vote was a huge story in 2008, but largely ignored in post-election analysis this year– I think largely taken as a given.  But, there had been many stories suggesting that there would surely be a huge come-down from 2008.  Actually, not so much.  Reifman:

According to the research group CIRCLE, which studies youth civic engagement, an estimated 50% of eligible 18-29 year-olds voted in the 2012 election. This figure is only slightly shy of the 52% turnout of this age group in 2008.

Further, 18-29 year-olds comprised 19% of the 2012 electorate, according to exit polls reported by In 2008, the 18-29 group made up 18% of voters.

CIRCLE director Peter Levine was quoted as follows: “Confounding almost all predictions, the youth vote held up in 2012 and yet again was the deciding factor in determining which candidate was elected President of the United States.”

In the closing weeks of the 2012 campaign, several observers suggested that many young Obama voters from 2008 were now becoming “disillusioned” with the President, and would either switch to voting for the Republican Mitt Romney or skip voting altogether (herehere, and here).

Instead, voters age 18-29 gave Obama a strong majority over Romney last Tuesday, 60% to 37%. This year’s pro-Obama margin among the young was not quite as extreme as his 66%-32% rout of Republican John McCain in 2008, but was still decisive.

In fact, CIRCLE contends that the 18-29 year-old vote was crucial to Obama’s victories last Tuesday in the crucial swing states of Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Now, we just need those young people to vote again in 2014.  Alas, probably not going to happen.  Though, a reasonable goal is to prevent a drop-off as precipitous as the 2008 to 2010 drop-off (here’s Tomasky on the problem).

Political pizza wars

Well, it’s widely known that the owner/founder of Papa John’s is quite the right-wing nut.  I still really like his pizza anyway.   My guess is that there’d just be too few products left for me to enjoy if I knew the politics of the makers of all my favorite things.  Anyway, this odd little article compares Little Ceasar’s to Papa John’s:

Let’s compare two Pizza chains. For the record: Not all Pizza chain owners are dicks. Case in point: Little Caesars is owned by the Iiltch family and has been in their family since 1959. The family has not collectively endorsed President Obama but a private fundraiser was held by Denise Iiltch which brought in $40,000 a plate.

The event was not tied to Little Caesars headquarters — It was Ms. Iiltch’s decision.

Denise Ilitch, a Democrat, is a busy mother of three who is also co-publisher of Ambassador Magazine, runs a jewelry design business and is chairwoman of the University of Michigan regents.

Detroit CBS Local reports:

“Denise Ilitch is looking to help military brides by offering them designer jewelry as a gift for their big day as a thank you.Ilitch, eldest offspring of Mike and Marion Ilitch, announced her Michigan Military Brides Program to give back. “Supporting and honoring our troops and their families is very dear to me,”said Ilitch, who owns Denise Ilitch Designs.“They are giving up so much serving our country that I wanted to come up with somethng to tell them how much we appreciate them.”

She’s pure evil, I tell ya’!

Through all of her dealings, she has not obfuscated her status as an employer by directing her staff on who to vote for, or consequences would be dearly paid. That’s the trend with Republicans as of late; blackmail your employees, while feigning to be job creators. She was not in the news threatening employees if they did not vote for Barack Obama.

In contrast, meet Papa John. As reported here, the partisan pizza maker, John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s, had a public hissy fit over ObamaCare, so much so that he announced to the world that he is forced to raise his prices due to the new health care law. Schnatter is raising his prices 11 cents, likely in protest.

And now, we learn that Schnater is also cutting down on employees’ hours.

We actually get quite a bit of Little Caeasar’s despite it’s mediocre quality.  There’s something to be said for having a pepperoni pizza always ready for you for $5.  And before all you pizza snobs weigh in again, read this comment.

Photo of the day

So, I was watching a recent PBS Nature this morning with David and Sarah (oh, my, does Sarah love TV shows with animals) about animals of different species that form close relationships.  The last segment was about a great dane and a deer that have formed an amazing bond.  Here’s a photo, and you can read more about it here:

Furry friends: The pair bonded but critics say the fawn should not have been taken in by Isobel Springett

Map of the day

No, it’s not going to be a regular feature now, but I absolutely love this Buzzfeed compendium of maps under different voting rules during our nation’s history (i.e., no women, no minorities, etc.).  Here’s the 1870-1920 map– only men could vote:

Map 2: 1870

2012 returned us to our recent historical pattern where a majority of women voted Democratic and a majority of men voted Republican (in 2008, Obama carried men by a whisker).  Many more cool maps at the site.

Polling questions answered

Figured it was only a matter of time Nate Silver got around to this.  Unlike that other analysis that only looked at final national polls, Silver rates pollsters based upon all the state-level polling of the past few weeks.  That internet polling is looking pretty good and PPP drops way down.  And Gallup.  Poor Gallup.

But that was just pollsters who polled a lot.  He then does a similar analysis throwing in all the small-time pollsters (i.e., many university and smaller news organization polls) and aggregates across methods used, and we get this chart that I’ve basically really been waiting for:


Wow.  1)  How ’bout that internet.  2) Yes, Virginia, polling cell phones really matters.  Here’s Silver’s take:

In my view, there will always be an important place for high-quality telephone polls, such as those conducted by The New York Times and other major news organizations, which make an effort to reach as representative a sample of voters as possible and which place calls to cellphones. And there may be an increasing role for online polls, which can have an easier time reaching some of the voters, especially younger Americans, that telephone polls are prone to miss. I’m not as certain about the future for automated telephone polls. Some automated polls that used innovative strategies got reasonably good results this year. SurveyUSA, for instance, supplements its automated calls to landlines with live calls to cellphone voters in many states. Public Policy Polling uses lists of registered voters to weigh its samples, which may help to correct for the failure to reach certain kinds of voters.

Personally, I think the robo-pollsters still have a pretty good future.  PPP and SurveyUSA show that you can be pretty good if you are smart and go the extra mile with it.  Plus, this method offers huge cost savings over traditional phone polls.  Now, what I’m really unsure of is the cost factor of the high quality on-line polls relative to the robo-pollsters.  If they are cheaper, that’s clearly the way to go, but my understanding is that it is expensive to do high-quality on-line polling (though, still cheaper than regular phone surveys).   Knowledge Networks, for instance, actually buys internet connections for it’s (initially) randomly contacted panel.  Of course, they get a whole bunch of polls out of them then, but it’s still not exactly cheap.  Will be really interesting to see how the polling world responds to this and what Nate Silver is making sense of in 2016.

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