Motivated reasoning part 10 million

From the latest Elon University poll of NC:

Of course Trump voters are right not to believe these women.  It’s not like Trump’s own words have ever suggested he would act in this way.


Map of the day

Love this.  Amazing how concentrated our population actually is.


Change is scary!

If you are a Republican.  Interesting– though not at all suprising– stuff from Matt Grossman via twitter:

Fundamentals for Clinton

One of my favorite political scientists, Alan Abramowitz, makes the case that the fundamentals still very much suggest a Clinton victory.  Yes, the polls right now scare and frustrate the hell out of me and I’ll take polls just before an election over “fundamentals,” but some good points here:

Since 2000, party loyalty and straight ticket voting have set new records. More voters than ever claim to be independents, but the majority of those independents lean toward a party and vote for the party they lean toward. In 2012, for example, 91% of independent Democrats voted for Barack Obama and 91% of independent Republicans voted for Mitt Romney. Very few voters, less than 10%, have no party preference.

So what does all of this mean for the 2016 presidential contest? Despite the fact that both Clinton and Trump have high negative ratings, overwhelming majorities of Democrats and Republicans strongly prefer their party’s candidate to the opposing party’s candidate. Very few Republicans will vote for Hillary Clinton and very few Democrats will vote for Donald Trump.

Neither candidate’s supporters are likely to be swayed by events like the Comey letter, no matter how dramatic they appear to be. And there are probably too few undecided voters to sway the outcome of the election either. So the outcome will probably depend on whether more Democrats or Republicans actually vote.

In a strongly partisan electorate with few undecided or persuadable voters, Clinton has the advantage over Trump because there are simply more Democrats than Republicans. Democrats currently have about a six point lead over Republicans in party identification in the nation. And they have a lead in most of the swing states as well.

The fact that there are more Democrats than Republicans doesn’t guarantee that Democrats will always win. In midterm elections, Democrats are less likely to vote than Republicans. That’s why Republicans did so well in the 2010 and 2014 elections. In presidential elections, however, Democrats have outnumbered Republicans in every contest since 1992 except 2004 when there was a tie. That’s the main reason Democrats have won the popular vote in every presidential election since 1992 except 2004.

If Democratic and Republican voters turn out at rates comparable to 2012, Hillary Clinton should win the national popular vote by at least three percentage points and that should be enough to produce a decisive win in the Electoral College…

Despite the many twists and turns in the 2016 presidential campaign and the unpopularity of both major party candidates, the stability of voters’ party loyalties means that in the end the results will probably look very similar to the results of the 2012 election.

Oh, there’s a lot resting on that “probably” in the last sentence.

Map of the day (the kids are alright)

Electoral college map of K-12 students as surveyed by Scholastic.  Of course, as you probably know, young Americans are way less white than Americans as a whole.  That’s surely a good part of this.  Interestingly, these surveys have been quite accurate over history, only missing in a couple close elections.

The awfulness of cable news

With Donna Brazile being fired from CNN, Jack Shafer goes off wonderfully on the whole complete-joke-of-journalism to have paid partisan professionals from both parties as some sort of pretend balance.  There’s pretty much nothing less worth seeing in news coverage.  Shafer:

Her deceit reveals an ugly aspect of news talk that will probably go unremedied as Brazile is tarred and feathered by the ethics cops: That is, the whole show-business concept that places paid partisan yakkers on television is corrupt and venal and deserves burial in a shallow grave. The yakkers populate the news shows not because they add much in the way of substance to our political knowledge, but because they’re a cheap form of on-air talent for television’s 24/7 programming needs, and television has been over-relying on them for a long time. [emphases mine] A partial list of notable politicians or political operators who’ve worked their way into TV includes Tim Russert, Bill Bradley, George Stephanopoulos, Joe Scarborough, Van Jones, William Safire, James Carville, Jeffrey Lord, Kayleigh McEnany, Pat Buchanan, Rick Santorum, Paul Begala, David Gergen, Chris Matthews, Peggy Noonan, Sarah Palin, Jennifer Granholm, David Axelrod, Tony Blankley, Mary Matalin, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Mike Huckabee, John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, Eliot Spitzer and Corey Lewandowski.

TV hires these people and their ilk not for their spellbinding political insights but because they’re known quantities who will provide safe and predictable idle talk. By dividing their partisan contributors between Republicans and Democrats, TV creates the illusion of impartiality and inclusion. The contributors take the job because it’s easy—anybody can fill the air with platitudes and generalization, and all that face-time makes them more marketable on the lecture circuit. Working as a paid pundit is such a good deal, the contributors tend to conform to the expectations of the producers putting on the show. They hit their marks, fill the dead spaces with palaver, keep the commercials from bumping into one another, and sit at attention until called on—or interrupt should the show stall.

Not every TV contributor moment is a complete botch. Most of these people, with the exception of Lewandowski, know something about politics. Much more than you do. Much, much more than I do. But it’s not in, say, David Axelrod’s interests to share a damaging insight about Barack Obama, the horse he rode to prominence on. Almost to a one, the contributors pull punches and dilute the political conversation to the weakest of teas so the people in the bar and riding the elliptical trainers at the gym don’t have to strain to follow the Punch and Judy of it all.

What transpires during the paid contributor segments isn’t journalism. It isn’t politics. And it’s rarely even entertaining. I’d call it the worst sort of tasteless soy filler, only that would be an insult to soy, which is nutritious. There’s no reason outside of pragmatism that justifies their continued employment on the news shows.

Yes, a thousand times, yes.  Not that I expect any of this to change.  But until it does, cable news will continue to be the absolute lowest form of “journalism.”

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