Military officers against Trump

Interestingly, this is from a couple weeks ago, but I came across this survey of military attitudes towards Trump twice today.  The key charts:

(Philip Kightlinger/Staff)

In one way this does make particular sense– officers are mostly college grads and enlisted are mostly not college grads and that’s a pretty well-established division on Trump.  I really wonder how much of this is just that.  Some, but far from all, I expect.  I don’t know a lot of officers, but the Lieutenant Commander I do know (NCSU PS grad) is very much a conservative Republican but loathes Trump because he thinks he is an absurdly ignorant and unqualified commander-in-chief.  I’m sure he’s not alone in that (in fact, I am sure, that’s what he told me).  What I would really want to see is how these numbers compare to approval of previous presidents.

Also, what’s with the Marines?!  The article says it’s the Mattis effect, but I also wonder if there’s something specific about Marines that finds Trump uniquely appealing.  Anyway, interesting stuff.

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Virginia changes everything! 

Sorry.  No it doesn’t.  Sometimes can’t resist fake hyperbole.  Love John Sides‘ measured take on things:

A few days ago, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver worked up a back-of-the-envelope model of 90 open-seat governor’s races since 2001. Based on the state’s average partisanship and the generic congressional ballot, Northam should have won by 9 points. He won by 8.6 points.

In other words, without knowing anything about the candidates, without knowing who ran what ads about immigration, and without knowing what tweets Trump sent, it was possible to predict this particular election very accurately. None of this means that the candidates or ads “didn’t matter,” but it does tell us that neither Northam nor Gillespie ran much ahead or behind of where they “should have” run…

I’m not as sure. The polls overestimated Gillespie’s vote, but I don’t see any reason to doubt the polling trend, which did show Gillespie closing the gap in October. Of course, perhaps the race would have narrowed even if Gillespie had focused on health care and entitlement reform. We won’t know. But I wouldn’t say that Gillespie failed. He achieved exactly what the fundamentals suggested he should.

Of course, politicians will use this outcome to advocate for whatever they already think. Immigration hawks like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) think the party should have nominated someone even more conservative than Gillespie. More moderate Republicans think this shows the bankruptcy of a Trumpist campaign. No surprises there. I’m just not sure the evidence supports any of these interpretations.

Don’t expect a turn away from Trumpism.

I agree that the election was a referendum on President Trump. There is a great deal of evidence that down-ballot elections are increasinglydriven by national forces. The Virginia map last night looked a lot like the map in 2016.

But does that mean that Republican candidates will start breaking with Trump, or running campaigns focused on immigration reform rather than a border wall? I’m not so sure. The most important thing to remember is that the parties were changing in a “Trumpist” fashion before Trump ran for president. The polling data show whites without a college degree shifting to the GOP before 2015-2016.

Right.  I certainly would not argue that this means Republicans will turn away from divisive ethno-nationalist politics.  That said, had Gillspie won, I think we could have expected and decided and dramatic turn towards it.  Sure, it will still happen, but I firmly believe it would have been way worse had Gillespie won.  That not happening is a really good thing.

Like Yglesias‘ take, too:

A funny thing happened on the way to Ralph Northam getting elected governor of Virginia: He improved on Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in an already-blue state despite running a campaign that struck most observers as somewhere between lame and disastrous. And even more striking is how he put his coalition together — he just did better than she did.

He did better in the suburbs of Washington, DC, but also better in the small cities of Richmond and Norfolk and in their suburbs. But he also did better in the small swath of Appalachia that cuts through Virginia. And he did better in the small, rural part of the state that constitutes the Southern end of the Delmarva Peninsula. The New York Times’s excellent map of the vote switch shows that Northam didn’t literally do better in every single precinct, but he did do better in the clear majority of them and in most regions of the state.

The lesson here is that most of the broad public handwringing about Democratic Party geographic and demographic targeting is misguided. Actual candidate and campaign professionals do need to make some fine-grained decisions about how to allocate resources. But much of the conversation about “winning back” working-class white voters versus pursuing new “Panera Democrats” in upscale suburbs is misguided.

Trying to win in the Sunbelt versus trying to win in the Rust Belt is a false dichotomy. So is trying to mobilize people of color versus trying to make inroads in rural white areas. Nobody is equally popular everywhere and nobody ever will be. But winning campaigns tend to just do better in all kinds of places and with all kinds of voters than losing ones.

And this from Nate Silver on the polling:

Nonetheless, it’s been interesting to see how television pundits adapt to the post-2016 environment. Pretty much everyone on Monday morning’s “Morning Joe” panel predicted that Gillespie would would win in Virginia despite Northam’s modest lead in the polls, for instance.

Not that anyone should take it all that seriously — but the segment was a bit worrisome in that it suggests that political pundits and reporters learned the wrong lessons from 2016. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the polls weren’t that far off last year — they were about as accurate as they’d been in past elections. But they were filtered thru a lens of groupthink that was convinced Trump couldn’t possibly win — and so pundits routinely misinterpreted polls and ignored data showing a competitive race.

It’s healthy to take away the lesson from 2016 that polls are not always right. And the uncertainty may be higher in some cases than others. As in last year’s presidential election, for example, there are a large number of undecided in the Virginia governor’s race — which could indicate a polling error in either direction.

But that polls aren’t always right doesn’t mean that one’s gut instinct is a better way to forecast elections. [emphasis mine] On the contrary, the conventional wisdom has usually been much wronger than the polls, so much so that it’s given rise to what I’ve called the First Rule of Polling Errors, which is that polls almost always miss in the opposite direction of what pundits expect. That the “Morning Joe” panel thinks Gillespie will win might be a bullish indicator for Northam, in other words — but we’ll know more in a few

Also like Drum’s chart on the increase in youth turnout.  One state, one election, but this bodes well:

 

 

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