The Growing Political Might Of Ethnic Voters In The 2012 California Elections

latino-votersBy Mark DiCamillo, Director, The Field Poll

The 2012 elections may prove to be a turning point in California politics – one that has been many years in the making – as the political might of the expanding ethnic voter population fully exerted itself in this year’s statewide elections.

According to the network exit poll,1 Latinos, Asian Americans and African Americans collectively made up about 40 percent of the state’s voters in this election, roughly equivalent to their share of the state’s overall registered voter population. This means that turnout among the state’s ethnic voters was about equal to the turnout of their white non-Hispanic counterparts, a first in California election politics.

The preliminary vote counts have President Barack Obama carrying California by more than 20 percentage points, despite white non-Hispanics supporting Mitt Romney by eight points, a reversal from four years ago when they preferred Obama over John McCain by six points. Obama was supported by overwhelming margins among the state ethnic voters, meaning his entire victory margin here was due to their turnout and support.

The network exit poll showed the President winning among California’s Latinos by 45 points, Asian Americans by 58 points and African Americans by 93 points.

While not as extreme, the same pattern was seen in the vote on Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown’s tax increase initiative. It leads in the preliminary returns by about nine points. While white non-Hispanics divided their votes evenly in the exit poll, ethnic voters collectively supported it by 20 points, again giving it its entire margin of victory.

When I first began polling at The Field Poll in the late 1970s, the influence of ethnic voters on California election outcomes was less, and top-of-the-ticket races were typically more competitive affairs, with each party winning their share of the elections. For example, in the 16 elections for president, U.S. Senate and governor between 1978 and 1994, Republican candidates won nine times, while Democrats won seven times.

The 1994 election marked a turning point, as ethnic voter participation began its ascent. What appeared to stimulate this surge was the passage of the highly divisive illegal immigration initiative, Proposition 187, which had the full support and backing of the Republican Party and of Governor Pete Wilson, who was running for re-election that year.

A comparison of Field Poll estimates of the composition of the state’s registered voters in 1994 to what it is today illustrates the dramatic effect that the growth in ethnic voters has had on the electorate over the past 18 years.

In 1994 there were 14.7 million registered voters in California. Today there are 18.2 million voters. Of the 3.5 million voter increase over this period, about 3 million – or nearly 90 percent of it – came from Latino and Asian American voters.

As this transformation in the state’s electorate was occurring, California’s Latino and Asian American voters were becoming more supportive of Democratic candidates. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it was not unusual for Republicans statewide to win more than 40 percent of their support.

Ronald Reagan did it in his re-election run for president in 1984. George Deukmejian also did so in his re-election bid for governor in 1986, as did Wilson in his first-term election as governor in 1990. Compare that to this year’s presidential election, where Latino and Asian American support for Romney was about half this level.

It is no coincidence that since 1994 California has changed from a competitive purple state in presidential politics to one of the nation’s bluest of blue states, with the Democratic ticket winning the last four presidential elections by double-digit margins, the last two by more than 20 points.

As the state’s ethnic voters have taken on greater prominence, The Field Poll has allocated more of its polling resources to examining their opinions and reasons behind their voting preferences. Seven of the thirteen Field Polls conducted in the 2010 and 2012 election years were conducted in six and sometimes seven languages and dialects. These polls also allocated 300-400 additional interviews among Chinese American, Vietnamese American, Korean American, and sometimes Filipino Americans, to obtain a more detailed accounting of the polyglot of voters that comprise California’s Asian American electorate.

When combined with the poll’s Latino and African American samples, these multi-ethnic surveys help explain the factors pushing them more to the Democratic column.

The first relates to what should be done about the approximately 2.5 million illegal or undocumented immigrants currently living in California. Large majorities of the state’s voters, including 85 percent of Latinos, view this as a salient issue and support government policies that would provide these residents with a path to citizenship.

While the issue of immigration usually comes to mind first in discussion about ethnic voters, if I had to cite one area that best explains why ethnic voter support for Democratic candidates is growing, it would relate to their view of the role of government.

The network exit poll showed California’s white non-Hispanics evenly divided about whether the government should do more to solve the nation’s problems or whether it was doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals. By contrast, ethnic voters believed that government should be doing more nearly two to one.

A concrete example of this is how ethnic voters here view the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. Since its passage in 2010, Field Polls have shown Californians consistently supporting the law by double-digit margins. Whereas white non-Hispanics are evenly divided, the law is strongly supported by ethnic voters. A main factor behind this support is their belief that the law will benefit them and their families, whereas whites are skeptical.

Other findings from the multi-ethnic Field Polls provide additional clues as to why ethnic voters are increasingly migrating to the Democratic Party.

For example, we found a huge generational divide between the opinions of younger ethnic voters compared to their elders on several social issues. While majorities of older ethnic voters oppose gay marriage and marijuana legalization, majorities of the state’s ethnic voters under 35 support both.

This can be viewed as a continuation of America’s long tradition of becoming a melting pot for immigrants, especially when it comes to their sons and daughters. However, it undercuts the notion that on most social issues ethnic voters may be more in sync with the traditional values and beliefs of the Republican Party.

This bodes poorly for the long-term electoral fortunes of the Republican Party in the state, since the demographic changes now unfolding in the California electorate will continue well into the foreseeable future. Demography marches on.

As GOP voter registration in the state now dips below 30 percent, and we witness an election in which the Republican presidential candidate is preferred among white non-Hispanic voters by eight points, but loses the election statewide by more than twenty, it’s probably time to begin listening more attentively to the views of the state’s fast-growing ethnic population.

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46 thoughts on “The Growing Political Might Of Ethnic Voters In The 2012 California Elections”

  1. Frankly

    Mr. Toad croaks!

    The GOP certainly has some work to do. The Democrat party apparatus has grown stronger and more sophisticated specifically because it got so soundly beat for so many years. Citizens United has changed the game with respect to the money of politics. The GOP knows it has to bring mountains of cash next time. However, the cycles of politics will continue. That is the beauty of American democracy… the winners will first get smug and righteous like Mr. Toad. Then they get lazy while the opposition retools.

    Think about it this way… “Rich people are stealing your money”, “Republicans hate you” and “It is Bush’s fault”… those three things were/are the entirety of the Democrat platform. They worked this time, but only because voters were clinging to that 2008 dream that was the undefined miracle of Barack Obama. They just could not let go of their addiction to the cool minority President that made them feel so good about themselves while still living in their parent’s basement.

    But 2016 will likely be a disaster for the Democrats. The primary reason – one that folks like Mr. Toad don’t seem to be capable of understanding – is that we are beyond fully leveraged. The strength of the Democrat party relies on giving away free stuff. There is no more money to fund the free stuff. We cannot even afford to help the hurricane Sandy survivors. Thank God for all those rich Republicans that donate!

    Economic indicators are crashing all around us.

    [quote]U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession, signaling more trouble for the economic recovery.

    Half of the nation’s 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders have announced plans to curtail capital expenditures this year or next, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal of securities filings and conference calls.

    Nationwide, business investment in equipment and software—a measure of economic vitality in the corporate sector—stalled in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. Corporate investment in new buildings has declined.

    At the same time, exports are slowing or falling to such critical markets as China and the euro zone as the global economy downshifts, creating another drag on firms’ expansion plans.[/quote]

    One of the worst things any political party can do to destroy itself is to be in power. Add the long list of commitments made with the absolute inability to deliver them, and the Dems have dug themselves a fantastic hole that the GOP will be only too happy to help shovel heaping piles into.

    Will the same divide and conquer strategy win again for the Democrats? Can they leverage their strong Hollywood-media-union connections to paint the Republicans as haters of all protected groups? Can they continue to foment class war and blame Bush? It is highly unlikely. It is more likely that minorities, women and young people will finally recognize the empty chair and sprint back toward the party that tells them the truth and gives them the best chance to earn that same Great American Life that caused their parents to migrate here in the first place.

    The GOP certainly needs to reach out to these groups that feel they are disenfranchised. However, I expect these groups to also reach out to the GOP after another four years of abuse by the Democrats.

  2. Don Shor

    Jeff, I agree with you that elections tend to be cyclical. 2006 was a Dem sweep, 2008 Obama elected, 2010 Republicans take the House, etc. But this is what you’re up against in California. This chart is from Orange County:
    [img]http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/files/2012/10/VoterReg2.jpg[/img]
    So Democrats go up and down a bit, as expected. But Republican registration is dropping like a rock, consistently over multiple election cycles.
    The only way Republicans will win statewide office in California is by attracting Independent voters. The only way they’ll do that is by moderating their positions. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the prototype for Republican party success. Do you see any likelihood that the Republicans will put forth candidates who are moderate on social issues, speak inclusively about immigration, and hold to traditional fiscal conservatism? That’s their (your) only hope. “Mountains of cash” aren’t going to do any good. The problem is the message and the messengers.

  3. Rifkin

    I have not yet read this column, but I have a specific comment about its author and his polling company: They lack credibility. I am not saying the gist of anything he writes here is wrong. The headline “The Growing Political Might Of Ethnic Voters In The 2012 California Elections” is quite evident to everyone.

    But I think there is something screwed up in the methodology that the Field Poll uses. They will say this number or that comes with a 3% margin of error and on election day they are off by much more than that all the time. In other words, I could stick my finger in the wind and probably make a better guess at what will happen with a given vote than what the Field Poll says will happen.

    Here is an example. On November 2, just 4 days before the election (and well after most mail-in ballots had been cast), the Field Poll said about the repeal of the death penalty (Prop 34), “Currently 45% ([url]http://field.com/fieldpollonline/subscribers/Rls2432.pdf[/url]) of this state’s likely voters are voting Yes while 38% are voting No.” That was a 7% margin in favor of the Yes vote. But it lost by 4.6%. The Field Poll was wrong not just wrong–it missed by 11.6%. There is no way to say that late deciders all swung to the anti side. The only reasonable explanation is that Field has methodology problems.

    In an earlier poll, Field had Prop 32 (which would have disallowed unions and corporations to fund candidate’s campaigns) winning by 4%, with more than 20% still undecided. Prop 32 lost by 12.6%. I am less critical here because the undecided numbers were so high and because this was taken 6 weeks before election day. However, I think there is good reason to believe that Prop 32 was never ahead and never stood a good chance of passing.

    Another example is the Field Poll’s prediction in the presidential vote. Field said on 11-3-12 that Obama would win California 54%-39%, a 15% lead, with 5% undecided. Obama won by 21.8%, 59.7% to 37.9%. There is something that the Field organization is doing wrong. It missed the Feinstein win in equal proportion to its miss on Obama.

  4. Rifkin

    [i]Do you see any likelihood that the Republicans will put forth candidates who are moderate on social issues, speak inclusively about immigration, and hold to traditional fiscal conservatism? That’s their (your) only hope. “Mountains of cash” aren’t going to do any good. The problem is the message and the messengers.[/i]

    The Republicans over the last 48 years have slowly but steadily become a regional party. They no longer have a message vague enough to appeal to a national electorate. Their appeal is one which is very compelling to the Confederate states and a few very rural, low population Western states. If you prefer Country and Western music, you probably like the GOP of 2012.

    The result of this regionalization of Republican philosophy is that the GOP wins by big margins in Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Utah and Idaho. But it loses by similar margins in California, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts and most of the rest of the northeast and upper Midwest.

    We are now at a point in the Electoral College where it is very easy for the Democrat to exceed 270 votes and very hard for the Republican to do so. Obama could have lost Florida and Pennsylvania and Ohio and he still would have been reelected. And this is only going to get worse for Republicans as young Latinos become a larger share of the vote and whities born before 1960 become a smaller share.

    If the Republicans don’t change their message–that is, move back to the center on a number of issues in order to appeal to Americans who do not listen to Hank Williams’s music or pray for Jimmy Swaggart–their only real hope is that the Democrats overreach to the left. I suspect the Republicans will start to change their message some. They will modify their hatred of gays, for example. That only hurts their party. But given that Rush Limbaugh is still the voice of conservativism, drug addiction and all, the more likely reprisal for the GOP will come with the Democrats making Democrats worthy of scorn.

  5. Rifkin

    I agree, David. After the election, Nate Silver did a piece on which polls were reliable, which weren’t, and which methods worked best. Surprising to me, he found that the best polls used some internet polling, exactly how I do not know. Silver also reported, as I suspected, that the approach used by Rasmussen, land-line only robo calls, was missing younger voters and underestimating the Latino vote. As a result, Rasmussen’s predictions were among the worst.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    It’s funny the conservatives on here continually cited Gallup and Rasmussen to show Romney to be in better shape, but it turned out those were least reliable.

    It turns out that there were two problems. First, the polls they cited were cherry picked because of the result. But second, citing one poll is not the best way to analyze a race. That goes against a lot of conventional wisdom, but it turns out I made the same mistake they did by citing Field in believing 34 would pass.

  7. sonoliz

    Jeff and Don, very good!

    It’s not how much money we throw into an election. afterall it’s the Dem’s that throw money into elections; but the media always twists things around.

    It’s the Rep. party that has failed to get out it’s message out about being histotically progressive. Media want’s the niave to think that they helped minorities, not so. Shall we start with Jim Crow Laws. Southern Dem’s. change the Black vote from historically Rep. to Dem.- go back to Pres. Kennedy, when it really started to take hold. One of the better WEB sites I have found for those needing some history should visit NBRA.

    Anyway, like stated above, there is so much money to go around and so much “free” stuff. I have worked it the medical field over 35 years, and we are so stretched as it is. Obamacare might make you feel good, but it will be YEARS before new medical personnel can get the experience they need. What a pity. More recent Stats show that almost 50 % of current medical workers are ready to retire in the next 5 years! What then? A person working on you to with 2-3 years experience? Not me, I know the system.

    Failure–The Rep. party needs to stop some of the social issues as Don stated. Gov. needs to get out of the patient-Dr. consult-period. Religion is a personnal feeling, but even Ryan, Romney, Rubin, have there doubt’s about some of the Abortion issues. Yes, there are reason’s to allow abortion. It is not a case of aborting cute little babies, contrary to that, most women (couples) want a healthy baby. I can not begin to cover the number of abnormal babies I have seen over the years. In biblical times, they would have died in Utero or at birth. But now we do whatever is MODERNLY possible to keep them living. If you are truely a religious person, Nature should be allowed to take it’s course in this area. The best example is a women who carries to term, knowing the baby is very abnormal; but holds that baby until it’s last breath. As a Catholic, I believe this is the best way. But for older women, and some medical issue won’t allow this, then it becomes one life or the other. THIS IS HOW R,R,R feel, so why not just say it and stop worring about the ultra-conservatives who are emmotional and uneducated in this area.

    Immigration-Military service or service to country in some form, not Free education. Prove you will give and not take.

    Death penalty, change it.
    Gays- States right’s YES, national, not so much. Because this effects many area’s. Start slow, see how it works first with states. I was in the Military when DADT began. It was also around the time of AIDS and the fear of blood. Go check that one out, we in the medical field pushed for safety of this unknown terrible DZ. We know better now.

    Yes, we who are more conservative then liberal (most independents)have views that are out numbered in California, but I think the the Divided States of America will once again be United, or we are a doomed nation.

  8. Frankly

    Don, California is a different Animal because of the public employee union hold on the political system. Until that is fixed, there is nothing that Republicans can or should do other than wait for the Democrats to run out of excuses for the decline they have caused and will continue to cause.

    I just read an interesting article that studied the migration of Californians to other states and how it transformed them from red to blue. Oregon, Nevada and Colorado are examples. I find that very interesting… almost like a fiscal malaise cancer that spreads out from the source. The Democrats create a fiscal mess and this eventually causes an exodus of Democrats where they take their left-leaning politics to the next state… and the phenomenon repeats.

    There is another measurable left political connection: population density. The denser the population is the more Democrat it is (I can say that again!) This makes sense to me as living in high density generally requires lots of government services. Urban people learn to assign greater value to government involvement in their lives, and also learn to accept living with a longer list of rules enforced by a semi-competent bureaucracy because it protects them from the idiot living just a thin wall away. So, Republicans have that demographic phenomenon working against them too. It is hard to make a case for smaller government when those urban voters cannot put their pants on without some government service allowing them and helping them to do it.

    But getting back to the GOP challenge…

    Certainly the GOP needs to drop most of the social issues. (Frankly, I think they mostly have… except for the extreme element that gets all the media play). We are a fiscally-conservative and socially-moderate nation. We have been for some time… since the late 60s. There exists all the political maneuvering space the GOP needs in the fiscally-conservative area. But there is still some room to maneuver in the social area. For example, the majority of Americans still believe there should be some limits to abortion rights…. i.e., late-term abortions. The GOP message needs to stop with the moral absolutism for abortion and start going after the militant feminist position that seem likely to progress to the point that they would demand their full-grown children as their body-right. Taking a page out of the Dem playbook, it is time to do some GOP divide and conquer here. Militant feminists are not connected with the beliefs, wants and needs of the average voting-age woman.

  9. Frankly

    In terms of gay-rights… the game is over. The GOP should stop the social fight about homosexuality acceptance in our civic lives, and instead focus on the broader issues of private rights. It is time to play the victim card for attacks against the rights of the pious to hold their private religious beliefs. Religious people are now persecuted and attacked much more than gays. This is amazing given the genesis of this country was to flee religious persecution.

    It terms of the Latino vote. The GOP should continue to demand that our laws be obeyed and enforced, but without malice toward any good people currently here. The GOP should also continue to demand the border is sufficiently protected. But at the same time, the GOP should reach out to the Latino population to explain why Democrats are very bad for their long-term financial prospects.

    I remain unconvinced that the GOP has to do any about face on illegal immigration. Frankly, if that is what is required, then we might as well just change our country’s name to the United States of Mexico as the soft invasion of millions more of poor uneducated illegal immigrants will just continue. I know quite a few second and third generation people of Mexican descent. All of them dislike illegal immigration and want it to stop. All of them support tougher border enforcement. All of them support ridding ourselves of the criminals that come from across the border. Where they stall is the idea that we are going to deport people that have established roots here… especially the children of these people. What the GOP should do is negotiate with the Dems to support a current amnesty if Dems would support a much greater investment in border protection and expedited criminal proceeding against criminals and deportation of new illegal immigrants. I think the majority of Latino voters will support that approach.

    The main Latino attraction opportunity to the GOP is economic. For this, the GOP needs to do a much better job explaining why their ideas and principles of governance are better for the average Latino family. That message will be made easier to deliver with the Dems in control of the White House and Senate for another four years… and California’s unemployment rate staying high from Democrats tax more and spend more policies.

    But again, the primary strategy for the GOP is to just wait… because the absolute worst thing for a party brand is to be in power. The Dems in office might as well be on the GOP campaign payroll given how much they will do to help the GOP win in 2016.

  10. K.Smith

    Also, science.

    The GOP has a serious science problem that needs to be ironed out if they have any hope of attracting a younger and more diverse demographic to their party. And if the main body of GOPers have no problem with commonly-accepted scientific facts (like the age of the earth), then they need to shout down the yahoos from their own party who constantly put their feet in their mouths where science is concerned.

    A recent example is the Marco Rubio “I’m not a scientist, man” kerfluffle. He apparently sits on the Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology in his state’s legislature. There have also been some other GOP yahoos who have spouted off science misinformation who also sit on the same Committee (or other science-related committees). The genius of “The body has ways of shutting that whole thing down” notoriety is one of these individuals, if I remember correctly.

    Refusing to believe modern-day, commonly-accepted science hardly qualifies one to be any kind of leader, economic or otherwise. The age of the earth is not, Mr. Rubio, “[o]ne of the great mysteries.”

    Quit playing to the evangelical base and step into the 21st century. It’s nice here! Really.

  11. K.Smith

    [quote]…the militant feminist position that seem likely to progress to the point that they would demand their full-grown children as their body-right. Taking a page out of the Dem playbook, it is time to do some GOP divide and conquer here. Militant feminists are not connected with the beliefs, wants and needs of the average voting-age woman. [/quote]

    I don’t know too many militant feminists who are clamoring to kill their fully-grown children. This is a ridiculous claim.

    We have, however, seen instances where women die because they are not allowed to have abortions for medical reasons. This is a “militant” position that does play out in real life.

  12. Frankly

    [i]Silver also reported, as I suspected, that the approach used by Rasmussen, land-line only robo calls, was missing younger voters and underestimating the Latino vote. As a result, Rasmussen’s predictions were among the worst.[/i]

    I don’t disagree with this conclusion; but in defense of those other pollsters that failed to match Silver’s accuracy… the voter turnout for minority and youth was higher than 2008 and this was unprecedented for a second term election for a President presiding during record unemployment.

    There are a lot of Einsteins in Hindsight media talking heads spouting off about how stupid these other pollsters were… but these same media talking heads report in the same breath how freaking amazing it was that the Democrat ground game got out so many minority and youth votes. Much of that goes to Citizens United for helping the unions spend and dedicate armies of free labor. Some of it goes to the Democrats early and expert use of data and social networking media to attract the youth vote. Conversely, 3 million white male voters failed to show up.

    This election will certainly reset the polling methodology for everyone in the business.

    Nate Silver smells like the rose for this election similarly to how Peter Schiff smelled predicting the Great Recession. But like the Great Recession, there were variables in this election that set new benchmarks. Did Silver predict those new benchmarks, or did his methodology just happen to capture them? I don’t know. But I think we should be honest that very few people predicted this turnout, and a more statistically average turnout would have more closely matched the other pollsters predictions.

  13. K.Smith

    [quote]It is time to play the victim card for attacks against the rights of the pious to hold their private religious beliefs. Religious people are now persecuted and attacked much more than gays. This is amazing given the genesis of this country was to flee religious persecution. [/quote]

    Just curious. Can you cite one single instance where a “religious person” (and by that, I assume you mean “Christian”) was “attacked” (and by that, I mean physically attacked–like many gays have suffered) in this country?

    If you are talking about the so-called “War on Christmas” or the fights to -not- cover contraception on certain insurance plans, then we really aren’t talking about the same type of “persecution” or “attack.”

  14. Rifkin

    [i]”I remain unconvinced that the GOP has to do any about face on illegal immigration. Frankly, if that is what is required, then we might as well just change our country’s name to the United States of Mexico …”[/i]

    Explain this one to me, Jeff: why is the GOP so adamantly opposed to the Dream Act? It would grant citizenship to veterans of the US military who came to the U.S. as children illegally and it would do the same for college graduates of American universities. Yet the Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly opposed the Dream Act. In the GOP primaries all the candidates (not counting Gary Johnson) were strongly against it. That is an insanely stupid position for the Republicans to take.

    A personal anecdote … When the United States decided to enter World War I in 1917, my maternal grandfather had been a non-citizen resident of the U.S. for two years*. He was then a low-paid garment worker, a tailor, in San Francisco. The factory he worked at was staffed entirely by immigrants, much like you would find at any sweat-shop today. Because the US Army needed a lot of men to join its ranks, their “recruiters” came to my grandfather’s workplace. He told the immigrant males: “You have two choices–join the Army and get your citizenship; or we will send you back to your native land.”

    My grandfather, a Polish Jew, had no interest in going back to Poland (which was then still a part of Russia). He had fled the Russian Army back in 1904 in Siberia, where he was sent to fight against the Japanese. So he “volunteered” to fight for the US in WW1, and when he got back to the States after the War, he was made a U.S. citizen.

    That idea, of giving citizenship to immigrants who serve in our military, is a long established American tradition. It goes back to the Revolutionary War. Yet today’s GOP opposes. It refuses to grant “amnesty” for those illegals who served the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

    Why would any moderate support that party on that policy?
    ————————
    *I am not sure if he was legal or illegal. He did not sneak in to the U.S. But I think back then, if the government wanted to exile you and you were not yet a citizen, it could do that rather easily.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    “the voter turnout for minority and youth was higher than 2008 and this was unprecedented for a second term election for a President presiding during record unemployment.”

    It’s actually not in fairness because part of what polling is supposed to measure is party ID and who is likely to vote. When conservatives saw the measures not comporting to what they believed would occur – they chose to ignore the measures. Turns out the measures were accurate.

  16. Rifkin

    [i]”Nate Silver smells like the rose for this election similarly to how Peter Schiff smelled predicting the Great Recession.”[/i]

    Nate Silver smells like a rose because he knows what he is doing. He is not using political methods. He is using science.

    Back in 2006, Silver’s methodology smelled like a rose. Same in 2008 when he got every state right but one (Indiana, which Obama won). Same again in 2010. It was only after the New York Times purchased his blog–it started as his own blog on his own website–that Republican nuts who hate science decided that Silver was some sort of liberal version of themselves.

    I know Nate. He is a liberal. I am not a liberal. But Nate is first and foremost someone who uses scientific method. As I said in another thread, Nate is a fan of the Detroit Tigers. We met many years ago when he and I were heavily involved in sabermetrics. He had not yet invented his player evaluation system called PECOTA. Nate’s methods for analyzing player performance did not generate results based on his biases. They did not make one think Willie Horton, a pretty good, but not great Tiger, was anywhere nearly as good a player as Willie Mays. It was the same thing with his poll analysis. He didn’t call all the states as he did because that would favor Obama. He used rigorous and unbiased methodology to reach his conclusions.

  17. Frankly

    [i]why is the GOP so adamantly opposed to the Dream Act?[/i]

    Rich, a Deam Act, or any increased benefits paid to people that are here illegally… without doing a much better job preventing new illegal immigrants… and without establishing a cutoff for those here now and those that would come after the fact… is an idea in fiscal unsustainability because it will attract more of people to come here illegally.

    Many GOP leaders have come out in favor of the ideas contained within the Dream Act; but they have demanded comprehensive immigration reform. But the Democrats rejected it. And you know why Democrats rejected it? Two reasons: one – it would provide them a political wedge issue; two – they see the flow of poor and uneducated Latinos as a ready supply of Democrat voters. Both reasons appear to have been validated.

    We have been through this before when Reagan approved an amnesty bill with promises from Congress that it would pass bills dealing with border security and strengthening deportation of those coming after. That was never done.

    The issue is one of ethics and law. We cannot be a country of laws if we only enforce those that are convenient or politically opportunistic. All of us benefit from living in the type of country that has limited corruption and has a focus on doing the right thing relative to our laws. If we just ignore our laws because our emotive sense of justice, then it opens up a big Pandora’s Box of crap that we can also ignore.

    That is why Mexico is still a third world country. They tend to only support and enforce the laws that are convenient and politically opportunistic.

  18. Rifkin

    [i]”They did not make one think Willie Horton, a pretty good, but not great Tiger …”[/i]

    For the record, this Willie Horton:

    [img]http://bioproj.sabr.org/bp_ftp/images3/HortonWillie.jpg[/img]

    Not the murderer from Massachusetts who became a household name in the 1988 presidential election:

    [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/50/HortonWillie.jpg/250px-HortonWillie.jpg[/img]

  19. Rifkin

    [i]”Rich, a Deam Act … will attract more of people to come here illegally.”[/i]

    Isn’t the issue whether these folks will be good contributors to the United States? Doesn’t the fact that they, unlike most of us, fought in our wars for us, suggest they have earned the rights of citizenship?

    Keep in mind, the Dream Act only affects immigrants who came here as children. It’s unconscionable, in my opinion, to hold the “crime” of a child’s place of birth against him. And moreso in cases where that immigrant has demonstrated through concrete actions that he has earned his citizenship.

    My strong belief is that we need to discern between immigrants who are or have been harmful to the rest of us–for example, people who have serious criminal records* or who have in other ways behaved badly toward our fellow men or women or children–and those who came here to work and have shown by their record of work or scholarship that they have been and will be decent, law-abiding and productive citizens.
    —————-
    *I don’t count minor things like a speeding ticket or littering. I mean by serious crimes any felony or very dangerous misdemeanor.

  20. Frankly

    [i]I don’t know too many militant feminists who are clamoring to kill their fully-grown children. This is a ridiculous claim.[/i]

    It was hyperbole intending to make a point. Frankly, though I’m not so sure that feminist “progress” won’t start demanding this after we “progress” to a point that allows late-term abortions and partial-birth abortions (those not threatening the health of the mother… which most conservatives support).

    Here are the talking points that lead us to that type of progress:
    1.The moral significance of fetal development is arbitrary.
    2.Prior to personhood, human life has no moral claims on us.
    3.Any burden on the woman outweighs the value of the child.
    4.Any burden on the woman outweighs the value of the child.
    5.The value of life depends on choice.
    6.Discovery of a serious defect is grounds for termination.

    If you doubt that these points are being discussed in extreme feminist circles, then I have some new east coast coastal property I would like to sell you.

  21. Frankly

    [i]Isn’t the issue whether these folks will be good contributors to the United States? Doesn’t the fact that they, unlike most of us, fought in our wars for us, suggest they have earned the rights of citizenship?[/i]

    I don’t have any ax to grind or animus against illegal immigrants in general… especially their children.

    The fundamental problem is the lack of sufficient control and the attraction for continued illegal immigration. I can separate my heart from my head looking at the longer term consequences. You can isolate those that are good contributors, but in this approach it rewards them while creating a bigger mess of unsustainable expense for taking care of all other others.

    If we could somehow draw a line today and say “enough is enough”, and effectively close the border to illegal immigration, require all people in this country today to get a legal ID, deport all serious criminals… and deport all immigrants that do not have a legal ID, then I would 100% support the type of things in the Dream Act.

    We have a growing flood from a leak, and that flood is destroying more and more property while also creating a new and growing lake. The Dream Act is in effect celebrating the new lake and the value of all the new water without addressing the damage and without stopping the leak. Let’s deal with the damage and the leak first… or at least at the same time.

    More specifically, lets enforce our laws or else change them.

  22. Frankly

    [i]The GOP has a serious science problem that needs to be ironed out if they have any hope of attracting a younger and more diverse demographic to their party[/i]

    K. Smith – I think this is a De Minimis issue for the GOP. The majority of voters don’t believe in the theories of anthropogenic climate change… right or wrong. I think there is opportunity here for the GOP to use this as a wedge issue that the Democrats are in bed with environmental extremist and collectivists that want to destroy American industry and the jobs that would otherwise be made available. It is just an inconvenient truth that scientists are caught in the middle with their emailgate, etc.

  23. David M. Greenwald

    “The majority of voters don’t believe in the theories of anthropogenic climate change… right or wrong. “

    According to a poll last week, 68% do (and it was a Rasmussen poll).

  24. Frankly

    I’m basing my point on a Pew poll and several others that came out over the last few months that show less that half agree that global warming is mostly casued by human activity.

    The Pew poll done mid October had 42% agreeing that global warming is mostly caused by human activity.

    But, maybe we should ask Nate Silver? 😉

  25. K.Smith

    @Jeff Boone:

    [quote]Here are the talking points that lead us to that type of progress:
    1.The moral significance of fetal development is arbitrary.
    2.Prior to personhood, human life has no moral claims on us.
    3.Any burden on the woman outweighs the value of the child.
    4.Any burden on the woman outweighs the value of the child.
    5.The value of life depends on choice.
    6.Discovery of a serious defect is grounds for termination. [/quote]

    But your whole point kind of fails, since you’re predicating it on late-term (or so-called ‘partial birth’) abortion. You realize that a ridiculously tiny percentage of abortions each year are considered ‘late term,’ right?

    Militant feminists are also strong proponents of contraception, and the most militant among them that I know would not–in the case of contraception failure–wait until late in her term to get an abortion just because she’s an Evil Militant Feminist and Therefore Can.

    So, I don’t agree with your progression. Not going to happen.

    All of these points can be debated, certainly, but if they are non-issues in the vast majority of cases (by 12 weeks of gestation or at whatever point the vast majority of terminations take place), then how are we arriving at your alarmist progression?

  26. K.Smith

    @Jeff Boone:

    [quote]I think this is a De Minimis issue for the GOP. The majority of voters don’t believe in the theories of anthropogenic climate change… right or wrong.[/quote]

    I did not even have in my mind the issue of anthropogenic climate change when I responded to your comment.

    I was thinking more along the lines of the science behind contraception and reproduction (the recent comments from Team Rape), GOPers clamoring to have “intelligent design” taught alongside evolution in public schools, teaching legit sex ed, and similar issues.

    Still, as David’s stat suggests, I don’t think we can write off climate change as a ‘de minimis’ issue.

  27. Rifkin

    There is a funny thing about the Republican political willingness to pretend that science is not science: educated Republicans know that their party’s policies (with regard to evolution, climate change, birth control, etc.) are wrong, but for purely political reasons never speak up; the rest of Republicans are some combination of stupid, blinded by religion and or ignorant. This reminds me of otherwise decent men, like a Bill Fullbright, who came from the South, knew that the South’s racist policies were wrong, but never would speak out against them because the voters would hold the truth against them.

    Yahoo news has a story up today about all of the Republican contenders for 2016 ([url]http://news.yahoo.com/creationism-controversies-norm-among-potential-republican-2016-contenders-180354094–politics.html[/url]), and it notes that even on something basic, like the age of the Earth, these educated (but obviously cynical) Republicans are unwilling to speak the scientific truth*. Even Chris Christie, whose entire fame has been based on his willingness to say it like it is, won’t answer questions about evolution or geology or biology. No one is asking him things one needs a science degree in. These are basic questions. They refuse because they know that a large number of Republican voters — and frankly, I am sure a large number of low-income Democrats, too — are frickin’ idiots who would be offended to know that the Bible has a number of things wrong, including the age of the Earth, the evolution of species, whether a whale is a fish, et cetera. The retardation on global warming and whether a woman who is raped can become pregnant from that rape are just a part of this larger pattern.
    ————————
    *This willingness to lie or to fool oneself is not all that dissimilar to the Democrats in California claiming that their party is not owned and operated by the unions who hurt our state’s economy and harmed our schools and have made our public budgets so unmanageable, to the point where services are cut so that unions have eat a second serving of dessert.

  28. Frankly

    [i]I was thinking more along the lines of the science behind contraception and reproduction (the recent comments from Team Rape), GOPers clamoring to have “intelligent design” taught alongside evolution in public schools, teaching legit sex ed, and similar issues.[/i]

    Got it.

    I still think your original point that the GOP has some problem with science is a bit of media hype. I support teaching intelligent design in its context as a theological-based explanation of the natural world in conflict with the theories of evolution supported by the scientific community. It would be beneficial for students to understand the conflict as a humanities topic at the very least.

    Look at it this way, conservatives have less of a problem with scientific beliefs in conflict with their religious beliefs than do the liberals have a problem with religious beliefs in conflict with their ideological beliefs. For one, religious folk have had a lot more practice dealing with challenges to their spirituality.

    My issue is not the validity of one theory over another… it is the persecution of, and lack of demonstrated tolerance of, people holding different views that those held by the intelligentsia. I assume that you would find it abhorrent that some totally conservative school district in the south would teach intelligent design as a scientific theory… even if the teacher qualified the theory as not being supported by the majority of the secular scientific community. But then, what about a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses that reject blood transfusions because of their interpretation of biblical scripture? What about the Amish that reject technology?

  29. wdf1

    JB: [i]But again, the primary strategy for the GOP is to just wait… because the absolute worst thing for a party brand is to be in power. The Dems in office might as well be on the GOP campaign payroll given how much they will do to help the GOP win in 2016.[/i]

    You know, the Mayans predicted it would all end this way.

  30. Mr.Toad

    Securing the borders, creationism, global warming deniers, indifference to reproductive choice, I encourage you to keep beating this drum for it is marching you to irrelevance. The Republican party in California will be irrelevant after January 1 and as they say California sets the trends for the nation.

  31. Mr.Toad

    By the way they will be irrelevant not because they have a minority of seats but because they have a super-minority of seats and no statewide elected officials. So Dreamact away until the Republicans stop making unrealistic demands their return to power will remain unrealistic.

  32. SouthofDavis

    Jeff wrote:

    > Don, California is a different Animal because of the public
    > employee union hold on the political system. Until that is
    > fixed, there is nothing that Republicans can or should do
    > other than wait for the Democrats to run out of excuses…

    I’m no fan of the public employee unions, but they did not make the GOP pick “God, Guns and Gays” as their top three issues (that most people in California don’t care about)…

  33. Mr.Toad

    SOD I have a different take. I think the GOP lost because they refused to offer any meritorious solutions to our problems. Jerry Brown came in as Gov and the GOP refused to work with him to fix the structural deficit. The result was props 30 and 39, two approaches that resulted from the unwillingness of the state GOP members of the legislature to have any purpose beyond no new taxes. If you are only for no the voters will reject you every time when the solutions needed to fix real problems are ignored that is what happened to the GOP in California.

  34. K.Smith

    @Jeff Boone:

    [quote]I assume that you would find it abhorrent that some totally conservative school district in the south would teach intelligent design as a scientific theory… even if the teacher qualified the theory as not being supported by the majority of the secular scientific community. But then, what about a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses that reject blood transfusions because of their interpretation of biblical scripture? What about the Amish that reject technology?[/quote]

    I would find it abhorrent only in that I believe religious views or so-called “theories” have no place being taught in -public- schools. If you’re talking about a private conservative school, I would have no problem with that. Again, you seem to be approaching this debate by implicitly equating “religious” with “Christian.” So, can we teach other religions’ creation theories in -science- classes, even if the teacher qualified to teach these theories provides a disclaimer that the majority of the secular scientific community doesn’t accept them? I thought not.

    The problem I and other non-conservatives have is when the far right-wing religious folks attempt to push their views on those of different religions or those who are not religious at all by attempting to force certain things in the public schools (like intelligent design), or suppress certain things that are just facts of life (e.g. recognizing that some children do, indeed, have gay parents and should not be made to feel like four-headed alien freaks because of that fact).

    I would find none of your other examples abhorrent, since those are private, personal decisions that do not affect anyone else other than the people holding those beliefs. I do, however, find it abhorrent when religious beliefs are forced onto people who do not subscribe to those beliefs. And the abortion debate would be a big one there (and the recent example of a non-Catholic woman dying a completely preventable death because abortion is illegal in Ireland as long as a fetal heartbeat can be detected), as well as the debates surrounding contraception, since the vast majority of arguments against those are predicated on religious belief.

    In the past, you have been big on distinguishing between “material” versus “non material” harm. -Not- allowing religious people to push their views on others doesn’t pose material harm to religious people. They are free to worship in private or in their churches. Pushing religious views onto others, in my opinion, does cause material harm, whether in the form of health risks to mothers, to psychological risks to children with gay parents, to misinformation provided in science classes in the name of “teaching the controversy.”

    I think you might have a slightly skewed perception of the extent to which Christians (because even though you did not respond to my previous comment about this, I am convinced you are using “religious” to mean “Christian”) are “persecuted” or “attacked” in this country. From what I can see, you have to pander to the Christian evangelicals if you want to have a shred of a hope to attain any kind of political office.

    Most examples people cite of so-called religious persecution in this country are really Christians feeling persecuted or attacked because they aren’t allowed to foist their religious views on others. Again, I don’t think I’ve heard of one cited example where a Christian in this country has been physically attacked for their beliefs (like gays have been for being who they are).

  35. Frankly

    K. Smith: [i]The problem I and other non-conservatives have is when the far right-wing religious folks attempt to push their views on those of different religions or those who are not religious at all by attempting to force certain things in the public schools (like intelligent design), or suppress certain things that are just facts of life (e.g. recognizing that some children do, indeed, have gay parents and should not be made to feel like four-headed alien freaks because of that fact).[/i]

    See the following:
    [quote]The problem I and other conservatives have is when the far left-wing anti-religious folks attempt to push their views on those of different religions by attempting to force certain things in the public schools like:

    – Man is killing the polar bears and melting the ice caps and if we don’t shrink industry more animals and people will die;

    – No prayer in school;

    – No indications of Christmas in any public space or institution,

    or suppress certain things that are just facts of life (e.g. recognizing that some children do, indeed, have orthodox religious beliefs and should not be made to feel like four-headed alien freaks because of that fact).[/quote]
    Science cannot trump religion. Science is not a religion, although it appears that the secular left has adopted it as such. Science does not and cannot explain everything about our world and life. Science is as fallible and as exploitable as is religion. Both have to live together in managed harmony. For that to happen, the secular left has to stop with the vitriol against religious views [b]that do not cause any material harm to others[/b], and stop with the manufactured claims of religious “hostility” toward those owning some victim designation that is simply disagreement.

    Note, that I am mostly a secular guy. I rarely attend church. I think spirituality is a personal thing. However, I recognized my roots, and this country’s roots, of spirituality being primarily comprised of Judea-Christian beliefs and values. I also honor our country’s founding principles, for example: “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Here is my perspective: if it [b]does not cause material harm[/b], and it does not force some to subordinate their beliefs to others, and the beliefs and practices are already ingrained into our culture… then just leave it alone.

    I do side with you on opposition to any public school teaching intelligent design as a substitute for the scientific theories of evolution. However, I absolutely disagree that intelligent design should be stricken from all mention in public school instruction. We don’t strike Greek mythology. We don’t strike explanation of the beliefs of the American Indians. We don’t strike the extended conjecture (mostly just editorial opinion) about the impacts and effects of climate change. Education is rife with opinion. The strongest of which is the 80% non-verbal and paralanguage of the teacher in front of the class… a teacher that is increasingly secular, atheist, anti-religion and liberal. So, yes, I am fine with the religious beliefs of others being taught in public education… if only to counter the brain-washing coming from the other side.

  36. K.Smith

    Jeff:
    [quote]– Man is killing the polar bears and melting the ice caps and if we don’t shrink industry more animals and people will die;

    – No prayer in school;

    – No indications of Christmas in any public space or institution,

    or suppress certain things that are just facts of life (e.g. recognizing that some children do, indeed, have orthodox religious beliefs and should not be made to feel like four-headed alien freaks because of that fact).[/quote]
    I’ll give you the polar bear argument, because of the items you have listed, it’s the only one likely to cause any sort of “material harm” to someone (industry). (I’m ignoring for the sake of argument the material harm on the part of the polar bears and people from pollution, etc.)

    I fail to see, however, how -not- allowing prayer in schools or -not- allowing copious Christmas decorations, etc. causes those with religious convictions “material harm.”

    From what I have seen, in this community at least, there is a wide range of holiday displays allowed in the schools and in the community. We have the Davis Christmas Tree and all of the celebration that surrounds that. At my daughter’s school (Da Vinci/Emerson Junior High), I believe decorations are put up representing more than one holiday that is celebrated at this time of year.

    The school is even putting on “A Christmas Carol” as their winter play, after some controversy that almost had it shut down because of the mere mention of “Christmas”–even though the play is for all intents and purposes secular (much like Christmas has become at large).

    Again, I think you have a skewed perception of the extent to which all expressions of Christianity are suppressed from the culture (they’re not from my standpoint). Have you been watching Bill O’Reilly’s “War on Christmas” series too much already this year? 🙂

    Children are not materially harmed by -not- having their religious beliefs formally recognized in school. Does little Johnny sit in class thinking to himself, “No one’s talking about my Christianity. I feel excluded because I’m seeing a lot of other religions discussed and I’m left out.” I don’t think this happens because I think (at least when you get into the higher grades), the major religions are discussed pretty equally in the curriculum that includes world religions.

    On the other hand, little Susie could very well be thinking to herself, “We’re talking about families, but why aren’t we discussing families that have two moms, like mine? Or two dads? My family is not represented, and I feel left out. And why was the librarian in trouble for reading _And Tango Makes Three_?” (which really happened at North Davis Elementary School, BTW).

    I would argue that gay children or children of gay parents -do- have the potential to be materially harmed if they are allowed to be bullied, because ignorance is propagated by not at least acknowledging the range of diversity in families–which is what happens when religious people try to make such topics verboten as a topic of discussion or at least mention in passing.

    I don’t think it’s “manufactured claims of religious ‘hostility'” when there is such a hue and cry from the religious right (particularly Christian evangelicals) in this country to, for example, constantly monitor women’s reproductive freedoms. This causes very real material harm to women and their families while not impacting the religious folks at all. How does it cause material harm to religious people if a woman wants to use birth control or have an abortion? By your definition of material harm, it assuredly does not.

    [quote]We don’t strike Greek mythology. We don’t strike explanation of the beliefs of the American Indians. We don’t strike the extended conjecture (mostly just editorial opinion) about the impacts and effects of climate change.[/quote]
    We don’t include Greek mythology or Native American creation myths in our science classes. If you want to bring in intelligent design, the appropriate place for it would be a humanities course (as you suggested previously). None of them belong in a science class, while from what I know there is scientific consensus surrounding anthropogenic climate change (and therefore a good argument to be made for including this under the umbrella of science).

  37. Frankly

    [i]If you want to bring in intelligent design, the appropriate place for it would be a humanities course (as you suggested previously). None of them belong in a science class, while from what I know there is scientific consensus surrounding anthropogenic climate change (and therefore a good argument to be made for including this under the umbrella of science). [/i]

    K. Smith – I am in general agreement here…. although, it would be difficult to make room for the theory of intelligent design in a humanities class because it is scientific in content and context. I think science could use the theory of intelligent design to help strengthen the teaching of the currently adopted theories of evolutionary science. At the same time it would help students understand that there are other people out there that have strongly-held beliefs in conflict with science. It is a typical approach using contrasting theories. Many scientific theories that have been taught as absolute have been subsequently debunked or changed as a result of new research and discovery. Isn’t the theory of relativity constantly challenged this way?

    [i]I fail to see, however, how -not- allowing prayer in schools or -not- allowing copious Christmas decorations, etc. causes those with religious convictions “material harm.”[/i]

    I do NOT think it results in material harm. However, I do not think allowing these things results in material harm either. That being the case, I would prefer we just leave our standard American culture and social practices as is and not attempt to “progress” them to some unattainable secular nirvana where absolutely nobody gets offended.

  38. wdf1

    K. Smith: [i]From what I have seen, in this community at least, there is a wide range of holiday displays allowed in the schools and in the community.[/i]

    I have also seen the DHS choirs (Madrigals, Jazz Choir) perform the Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah. Also seen them sing Christian religious inspired songs, like Christmas carols.

  39. wdf1

    [quote]Mitt Romney turns blue ([url]http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Mitt-Romney-turns-blue-4051525.php[/url])

    Of course Mitt Romney wants to settle in a blue state.

    According to the Boston Globe, Mitt and Ann Romney will likely move into their home in La Jolla, the San Diego suburb that is sometimes called “where the money meets the sea.”

    But it is also in La Jolla where the local Democratic councilwoman was just re-elected, giving the San Diego City Council a 5-4 Democratic majority.

    And it is in La Jolla where the longtime Republican congressman was just beaten by a Democrat.

    And it is in La Jolla where, according to the New York Times, there are six gay households within a three-block radius of the Romneys’ $12 million home.

    This is not to mention that La Jolla is part of the bluest of blue states, California, where Republican registration just fell below 30 percent, and where voters said “yes” to a tax increase on people just like the Romneys.
    [/quote]
    I thought taxing the “makers” would make them move elsewhere.

    Related article from 10 years ago: The Rise of the Creative Class: Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race ([url]http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0205.florida.html[/url]).

  40. Don Shor

    Once upon a time, San Diego County was more conservative than Orange County. La Jolla is part of a liberal stronghold that stretches from Del Mar and Solana Beach, down along the coast, and including the older parts of San Diego city. La Jolla has the university and a lot of tech businesses all around UCSD. But the county went for Obama in 2008 and 2012, breaking a strong Republican streak extending back to Roosevelt (except Clinton carried a bare plurality in 1992 thanks to the strength of Perot).
    The Romney’s house is in a pretty nice neighborhood there, just uphill from Windansea Beach, and a few blocks downhill from where I went to high school. One of the interesting things about remodeling homes there is that you can’t go above a certain height. So if you want to add a huge garage, you pretty much have to go underground. Hence the infamous elevator.

  41. Frankly

    Romney gets his income from capital gains. The state differentiation is not as big a deal as it is for business owners that get slammed from Brown’s income tax increase. It is those wealthy that are fleeing along with the jobs they produce. C

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