Tag Archives: Barack Obama

2016: Is It Already Over?

ASSESSING THE INEVITABILITY MYTH …

To hear the pollsters and pundits tell it, the 2016 election is over.  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is going to defeat GOP nominee Donald Trump in a popular and electoral landslide – and that’s that.

It’s a done deal, they say.   You can “take it to the bank,” “stick a fork in it,” “cue the fat lady” or use any other turn of phrase you wish.

How inevitable is a Clinton victory?  According to the website FiveThirtyEight.com,  Clinton currently has an 85.8 percent likelihood of winning the White House on November 8.  Trump, on the other hand, has a 14.2 percent chance of victory.

Take a look …

Continue reading 2016: Is It Already Over?

Can Government Data Be Trusted?

CAVEAT EMPTOR …

It’s been said that numbers don’t lie.  It’s also been said there are “lies, damn lies and statistics.”

Obviously, we know politicians lie.  And we know media outlets like to lie about politicians.  And at this point it’s become abundantly clear traditional polling lies about elections.

But shouldn’t we be able to trust the data that’s produced by government agencies (using our tax dollars)?  Shouldn’t basic economic data – employment, income, GDP growth – be held to a higher standard than faulty political polling?

It should be … but increasingly it isn’t.  In fact, it appears as though this data is more and more prone to manipulation – especially in advance of popular elections.

That’s a scary proposition to contemplate, isn’t it?  Yes.  But it frankly isn’t surprising.  If we think long and hard about the numbers we’re bombarded with on a daily basis … we know things aren’t as good as the government bean counters tell us.

That’s why it is critical to assess the information government provides us – to break it down in an effort to determine whether we are being told the truth.  

And if groups like Market Research Foundation don’t do the assessing/ breakdowns, no one will.

Consider this …

Continue reading Can Government Data Be Trusted?

Has Trade Policy Become A Voting Issue?

YES …

In an election year dominated by the illegal immigration issue, are there any other hot-button topics capable of moving the needle among America’s angry electorate?   Yes, according to a new survey from veteran pollster Pat Caddell.

Conducted on behalf of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), Caddell’s latest survey explored public sentiment regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a massive global trade deal currently being pursued by U.S. president Barack Obama and certain Republican members of Congress.  At first blush, a majority of respondents (51 percent) said they “didn’t know enough” about TPP to form an opinion of it – hardly qualifying the issue for “hot button” status.  Meanwhile 22 percent oppose the agreement (9 percent strongly) compared to 15 percent who support it (3 percent strongly).  Another 11 percent were undecided.

Informed of the deal’s potential to “open the door for more foreign workers to enter the American job market without any restraints” and to “benefit entrenched global corporations but hurt working Americans, small businesses and startups,” public perception on the agreement changes dramatically.  Even when coupled with positive statements about the TPP – including the claim that it will “lead to improved wages, economic growth, and access to other markets” – the informed vote on the trade deal becomes decidedly negative.

After hearing both positive and negative information on TPP, opposition to the deal more than doubles from 22 to 45 percent – including 17 percent who strongly oppose it.  Meanwhile the percentage of respondents who support the bill peaks at 32 percent – including just 5 percent who strongly support it.

That’s a big intensity gap – one that continues expanding the more people learn about the controversial pact.

Continue reading Has Trade Policy Become A Voting Issue?

Nevada: The (Latino) Bellwether

COULD THE NATIONAL ELECTION HINGE ON WESTERN BATTLEGROUND’S HISPANIC VOTE?

Since joining the union on October 31, 1864, libertarian-leaning Nevada has picked the president in 31 of 38 national elections – prompting University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) professor David Damore to refer to it as “the original swing state.”

Nevada and its six electoral votes are in play again in the 2016 election – and could be decisive in a close contest.  With its surging Hispanic population, Nevada has become a force to be reckoned with at the national level.

“The Silver State” has maintained its swing status despite dramatic demographic shifts.

Twenty years ago, nine out of ten Nevada voters was white.  In the coming election, one in five is expected to be Hispanic.  Latino turnout in Nevada is likely to be especially high during the 2016 cycle because in addition to a competitive national election – there are Hispanic candidates on both U.S. Senate (Catherine Cortez Masto) and U.S. congressional ballots.

The opportunity to make inroads isn’t lost on top tier candidates.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, for example, has hired Emmy Ruiz and Jorge Neri – two operatives who helped Barack Obama score a whopping 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012.

Meanwhile GOP candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have been aggressively touting their Latino credentials.  Bush, for example, received the support of 61 percent of Latino voters during his 1998 gubernatorial race in Florida while Rubio won 55 percent of the state’s Hispanic vote in a three-way race in 2010.

Of course Bush and Rubio enjoyed success with Latino electorates that were disproportionately Cuban. Nationally, there are only an estimated 2 million Cuban-Americans – whereas there are more than 31 million Mexican-Americans.

And more than half of the United States’ Cuban-American population resides in Florida.

In other words Bush, Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz – a Cuban-American who got roughly 35 percent of the Lone Star State’s Hispanic vote in 2012 – must craft their outreach plans to account for a diverse Latino electorate.

According to 2010 data, two-thirds of Nevada’s Hispanic population had Mexican roots, while seven percent hailed from Central America and six percent came from the Caribbean.  Another 16 percent did not specify their Latino roots.

Can the GOP find a way to connect with this traditionally Democratic voting bloc?  Can its candidates capitalize on the 200,000 voting age Hispanics in Nevada who are currently not registered to vote?

Depending on how tight the national election is, their success or failure in doing so could conceivably decide which party wins the White House.

***

Oregon’s Independent Streak

PARTY REGISTRATION SHOWS RISING INDEPENDENT PRESENCE

Last week this website unveiled a new report looking beyond partisan identification – or the percentage of the electorate identifying itself as Republican, Democratic or (increasingly) independent – and delving into the ideological matrices that drive people’s voting behavior.

To read more about the study, CLICK HERE.  To read the study itself, CLICK HERE (.pdf).

Prior to this nationwide study, Market Research Foundation (MRF) conducted research on party loyalty in South Carolina.  The Palmetto State is reliably Republican – voting for the GOP presidential candidate in the last nine presidential elections.  But South Carolina is home to a strong (and emerging) independent streak – one you can read more about in our report HERE.

All the way across the country is Oregon – a reliably Democratic state that hasn’t voted Republican since 1984 and which elected Barack Obama by 16-point and 12-point margins in 2008 and 2012, respectively.  According to The Oregonian, voter registration in the Beaver State in advance of the 2014 midterm elections has surged to 2.2 million people – a record for a midterm election (and just 7,000 voters shy of the 2012 record).

Naturally record midterm voter registration means an increase in both major party bases, correct?

Wrong.  As Oregon’s electorate is expanding, the share of Democratic and Republican voters is declining.

“Voters who are non-affiliated or registered with one of the minor parties — particularly the Independent Party — now constitute 32.1 percent of the electorate, a record for Oregon,” the website reported this month. “For the first time in at least modern Oregon history, Republicans have now dipped below 30 percent of the electorate while Democrats are at 37.9 percent of the electorate.”

By contrast, forty years ago the independent percentage of the electorate stood at only 4.2 percent.

In red states and blue states – and the “swing states” in between –  there is a clear trend toward voter independence.  Smart campaigns would be wise not just to acknowledge it, but understand the ideological underpinnings of this movement.

What Is Catalist?

FORMER JUSTICE ATTORNEY CALLS DATABASE THE LEFT’S “BORG”

In the 1996 science fiction film “Star Trek: First Contact,” USS Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew did battle with a cybernetic enemy dubbed the “Borg.”  With the goal of forced assimilation into its collective consciousness, the Borg perpetually expanded itself via overwhelming force and instantaneous adaptability – instructing its targets that “resistance is futile.”

According to former U.S. Justice Department voting section lawyer J. Christian Adams, “Democrats and the institutional left” have an electoral tool at their disposal that rivals the Borg when it comes to seamlessness and sophistication.

“Every Borg unit can see what all the other units see,” Adams wrote for PJ Media. “They share data and react in unison. Similarly, the data feeding the central Catalist database is coming from a wide swath of sources. Public records, pollsters, campaigns, nonprofits, activist groups, unions, parties, commercial data. For example, when an environmental group does neighborhood door-knocking for cash, the results of those contacts are fed into Catalist.”

According to Adams, Catalist’s ability to instantaneously collect, sort and disseminate this data gives Democrats a decided electoral advantage owing to the fact “Republicans don’t have anything even close to this sort of data.”

Not only that – the database is driving the ideological direction of the country by enabling Democratic candidates to veer further to the left without sacrificing votes.

“Catalist is rendering moderation obsolete,” Adams wrote.  “Steering a moderate (and cautious) course made perfect sense before Catalist. But now, failing to appeal to an activated and motivated political base spells doom, as the last two presidential elections have demonstrated.”

There’s also a cost factor associated with this ideological shift – as these active, motivated political bases require little investment to get to the polls.  “Moderates,” on the other hand, are a tremendously costly proposition.

“Catalist is also devastating to Republicans because it sends them on an expensive goose chase to spend gobs of money to target moderates and independents while Democrats turn out their base cheaper, and with more certainty,” Adams wrote.  “A ‘moderate’ voter costs more to persuade than a far fringe ideological leftist. Even a usually politically unmotivated welfare recipient is cheaper to get to the polls than a ‘moderate’ and ‘thoughtful’ undecided moderate who speaks in terms of ‘voting for the candidate on issues and not the party.'”

In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney spent millions of dollars attempting to persuade these “thoughtful moderates” to turn out for him, while Barack Obama focused his effort on turning out his core constituencies in key swing states.  Romney’s rush to the middle not only failed to earn him the support he needed, it also alienated his conservative base – suppressing the very voters that should have been the most motivated to support him.

MRF’s Bill Wilson has written previously on how the left’s technological superiority and ability to turn out its base has continued to impact races beyond 2012 – most notably the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race.  Count on us to continue following these developments as the 2014 midterm elections approach.