• Yes, certain businesses would like more immigration, but they don't represent many votes, and those who vote republican do so for other reasons. This makes Immigration a false (or ineffective) wedge because of the relative voting numbers on either side of the split, i.e. big, nativist numbers (who don't need another base issue) vs a small population of business interests who MIGHT take offense and go Democrat.

    Immigration is a big fat, emotional wedge that tries to split white, working class dems fearful of losing jobs from the rest of the democrat, and only mildly splits the Republicans.

    Look at a specific red districts where you might think Immigration would work as a wedge against the Republicans. For example Marilyn Musgrave's CO-04 which has a large and growing immigrant population, lots of farmers who need good workers, packing plants in Greeley which just experienced INS raids splitting up families by deporting a bunch of workers. Those farm areas vote deep red, and they continue to do so for reasons other than immigration.

    Or, look at rural Ohio with relatively low ACTUAL immigration impact, but considerable EMOTIONAL impact. Again, the hard-core Republican base doesn't need additional persuasion, but if immigration can scare the middle into voting Republican, than it has succeeded.

    The point is, to understand how a wedge works you have to go into the mind of Karl Rove. Look specifically at how the demographics are distributed unevenly and what is happening in the swing states.

  • comment on a post Cynical GOP Sens Walk Away from Own Immigration Bill over 7 years ago

    The Republican base is already voting Republican; they don't need more hot-button issues to retain their base.

    No, immigration is an issue only because (1) it is emotional (and evokes racist psychologies), and (2) has some power as a wedge issue to split the Democratic coalition. But, to really understand the opinion polling immigration, and why it works as a wedge issue against the Dems, you need to ignore the aggregates and look at how immigration polls disaggregate with different demographic groups, racial groups, regions, and most important, swing districts.

    The 2008 election is all but determined in most states or districts due to the clear dominance of one perty or another. How does immiration play in Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania, which are some of the largest swing states.

    Does fear of immigration resonate sufficiently well in these states to pull off some of the Democrat supporters? I'd like to see this kind of specific opinion polling.

  • Here in the West we expect honest and service-oriented city governments. We don't have the inevitable machine tradition, or neighborhoods with deep-seated ethnic cohesiveness, we don't even have much political conflict between black-white interests. We're seeing a lot of people moving back into the cities. Even our public schools in urban settings are often quite good (some flight to schools, but not like suburban Maryland.

    So, the way you describe Nutter, good-government, providing city-services, support for business community strikes me as pretty darned normal. Perhaps the active phrase is "modern city governance".

    I've only passed through Philly one time, years ago, but I lived in Boston a while back. I suspect that the old, multi-generational ethnic neighborhoods and the ward-system just aren't as tight as they used to be. Is Philly seeing significant impact from the younger, new-urbanism movement, the so-called high-tech or "creative class" like so many other cities? How about stable, middle-class neighborhoods and condo developments for city loving empty nesters?

    Cities are improving across the country, wherever the economy is doing reasonably well.

  • Income level is a poor predictor of how someone will vote. Basically, there are a lot of rich Democrats and poor Republicans. If people really voted their pocket book, the Democrats would have swept into power long ago.

    Class culturally-defined, may have more explanatory power, but this is even fuzzier than measuring religion. No less important, which is why we saw the Republican mailing machine pursuing subscription lists of hunter magazines and recreational vehicle owners. Thus... psychographics.

    Economic status IN COMBINATION with some other demographic dimension starts to be more interesting.

    Maybe you are thinking that class interests are a strong motivator when it comes to the the very wealthy trying to protect their legacy for their family. Or, maybe you are referring to business executives sitting on each other's Boards of Directors.

    Those kinds of class structures are about power and control. We're talking about a very, very small slice of the populace, so it a different analysis than trying to understand how they'll vote.

  • comment on a post The Most Important Political Demographic Of All over 7 years ago

    Things get really interesting when you look at the demographics WITHIN each party, as Chris dabbled with here on the white-religious vs not. I posted on Regional Differences in Democrat & Republican Coalitions a year ago after becoming completely fascinated with the Pew Typology Study "Beyond Red and Blue".

    The Pew Typology study really sensitized me to the uneven regional distribution of religion, and how that affects the demographics of each party's base.

    One point is that religion, one of the most significant factors for understanding political values, is not tracked by the census, so we have to look to opinion polling instead, which is less accurate and gives us less coverage over time and space.

    The second point, is that State legislatures are gerrymanded by examining historical voting results, but if religion is such a significant factor in how people vote, we would like to know religious makeup and how it is distributed geographically, and how it is changing with time. I posted on Religious Gerrymandering once before:

    Simply looking at Dem vs Rep voting results by district is insufficient for predicting voting patterns. Better understanding results by looking at how the Parties' coalitions and demographics are distributed by district. In other words, looking at the cross-tabs in each the district is essential to understanding why the Republicans lost in 2006, what to expect in 2008, and what strategies to use for redistricting the next time around. More than that, it helps understand the ideological trends as well.

    With respect to certain Colorado US House districts, heavy concentrations of Christians in Colorado Springs and Fort Collings (South and North, respectively), go a long way to explaining Doug Lamborn's and Marilyn Musgrave's successes.

    More importantly, this uneven distribution of Religious, on the one hand, and Urban on the other, goes a long way to explaining the dominance of the right-wing on Republican politics. Primarily because of such concentration Colorado has three winger Republicans and not a single moderate Republican.

    It could be fatal for the Republicans; how can the moderate wing ever take back control if the religious right is so powerful and dominant in local areas?

  • Immigration is a wedge issue, not a Republican issue. The purpose is not to solidify the Republican base, so much as to split the Democrats. Yes, there is a rabid base, but they are already sworn to uphold the unitary Party.

    The business interests appreciate getting good workers at good prices (whether that is cynical, moral or practical, isn't the point). But, it isn't just big business. Many rural farmers (dyed-in-the-wool Republicans) appreciate good farmhands as well.

    The Democrats are split by immigration because many of our best supporters in lower-economic brackets are worried about losing their jobs. It takes some 'splainin' to get past their economic insecurity:
     - Immigration is a humanitarian issue, not an economic one
     - Immigrants supply about $20,000 each to the US economy
     - Immigrants buy/rent houses and shop in stores owned by previous generations of immigrants.

    (Call that the moral, cynical, practical Democratic retort to Tancredo)

  • comment on a post The Most Important Political Demographic Of All over 7 years ago

    The Demographic mantra of the Three RRRs.

    When you fold in region, things get very interesting. White, Christian Southerners are a large PART of the reason Republicans do well in the South. But, take out the Urban centers, and you find the many parts of the country are more white, more Christian and more republican than the South.

    The main political difference between Kansas and Colorado or Oregon and Idaho is that Kansas or Idaho doesn't have a major Urban center. Looking at rural and small-town Colorado or Oregon, the Republicans have quite a lot of support.

    The interesting thing is that class (economically defined) is much less politically determinant than the Three RRRs. I suspect there are class-cultural factors that are more important than exactly how much money you have. That is, small-town business owners identify Republican because they view themselves as rugged industrialists who hate taxes and unions. Urban professionals identify more with liberal-cultural ideals, like environmentalism and good coffee.

  • comment on a post The Most Important Political Demographic Of All over 7 years ago

    Of course some evangelicals claim Catholics aren't Christians; Mormons also are apostate.

    That doesn't mean Christians are not important to the Democratic coalition. Church is a significant cultural foundation to Black Americans. And, Hispanics are heavily Catholic.

  • comment on a post Only Seven Months Away over 7 years ago

    The race for who's got the first Primary is a stupid way to run things!

    The Partys would conserve more money in the primary season PLUS get a better idea of who has the momentum to win nationally if we set up a system of Super-Regional primaries in early February followed by a Superduper-Regional primary a month or so later. Start with small states that were representative of the region, say:
     - Iowa in the Midwest
     - New Hampshire in the Northeast,
     - South Carolina in the South,
     - Oregon in the Westcoast
     - Michigan in the Midwest
     - New Mexico in the Southwest
     - Some smaller Urban state... uhh... DC?

    Each of these states are single media markets (dominated by a single metro-area), so the candidates could get a clear measure of how they would do in the bigger states in each region without spending as much. Run the demographics of the primary voters to give an idea of who is supported by whom. The weaker candidates would bail rather than waste money, or make alliances with the stronger candidates.

    I know, it is too rational to be taken seriously.

  • Colorado has two strong Republican districts, and two strong Democratic districts.The three other districts are moderately Democratic (Perlmutter), mildly Republican (despite the Democrat John Salazar), and rather Republican (Musgrave).

    Udall is a good Liberal and comes from the second most Liberal district in the state. In contrast to Udall's positioning, Colorado is a mildly purple state. Yes, Colorado has many strong Liberals, but it also has many rigid Conservatives. State-wide winners tend to be Conservative or Moderate in character, rarely Liberal. In other words, Udall isn't an automatic winner, despite good name recognition and good positives.

    The Democrats are winning in Colorado due to careful political positioning, and the fact that the Republican Party is dominated by extremist right-wingers and religious conservatives. The main-street, moderate Republicans are leaving the Party, but that doesn't mean they are all Democrats. The big difference between Colorado and Kansas, is that we have a large metro area with a diverse, Liberal population.

    Schaeffer winning the GOP primary continues the above formula. That would be a good thing for our side, but let's not call it the inevitable collapse of the GOP.

  • comment on a post On Hillary Clinton's Positives over 7 years ago

    Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war,  which by itself isn't a deal-breaker since other establishment Democrats did the same.  She is a failure, not because of the mere fact of her vote, but because she keeps trying to justify it using the excuse of  "what she knew then."

    Like hell. This is just BS.

    I'm one guy sitting in my living room in Colorado just  before the war. I could see the Bush war-propaganda machine coming down the tracks like a locomotive. I'm not privy to Congressional hearings and I'm not part of Bill Clinton-administration war councils, so I don't have any special insider information.  Even so, I knew at the very beginning that George Bush was lying and Iraq was a fiasco waiting to happen. WTF when our Democratic, political leaders are so blind. This is even more true for Hillary Clinton who was on the receiving end of a lot of right-wing nonsense, and should have seen it coming.

    In other words, if she is claiming that "what she knew then" justified voting for the war, then she really is saying that she trusted George Bush, Cheney, the neo-cons, and the Republican Party. Why was she so stupid or craven to buy their line?

    I think she was just trying to roll with the political waves. This does not demonstrate appropriate leadership skills. And even today, she still wants to be against the war, but not really be against the war.

    Either stand up to Bush, or get out of the way.

  • Some of the Obama-supporting demographics are more likely to  attend caucus or primaries: Higher income, Higher education. Clinton's has an big advantage among High School educated, but that demographic is much less likely to vote. The least likely voters are from the combination of young & HS.

    Clinton's advantage remains with the older voters who are more likely to attend caucus or primary.

    Are younger voters angry enough or politicized enough to decide to participate more than they have done in the past?  If Obama's strength is younger, better educated voters, then a goo strategy would be to get them registered and voting.

    Too bad the Republicans didn't push for a draft!

  • When I can't read colors and interpret them, its time to hang up the keyboard.

  • (Sorry, in the above plots the Blue-Red coding follows the standard. OTHER plots in their paper have the colors flipped.)

    They did look at the possibility of other dimensions, which are vaguely suggested in their statistical analysis, but abandoned them. The correlation of the Liberal-Conservative dimension is so strong, that bringing in additional dimensionality has virtually no effect.

    The whole paper is a must-read for MyDD wonks.

    Watch the time-series of partisan divide for the four states. Even before the 2006 elections, California steadily goes more partisan. It is interesting to note that in Pennsylvania, the least polarized state of the study, the divide remains virtually stable over time.

  • Here in Colorado, I would guess that the Republicans would be very Conservative and the Democrats moderately Liberal, at least within the legislative branch.

    Another interesting thing in the article, is the observation that Legislator ideology doesn't evolve, rather it changes as candidates die or are replaced. That is why the bridge politicians provide such a highly correlated estimator for mapping from the Federal level back to the states.


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