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"Outliers" for May 28

Topics: 2008 , Barack Obama , Gary Langer , IVR Polls

Gary Langer reviews the two new California polls on same-sex marriage and offers reasons why they produce divergent results.

Kathy Frankovic thinks the "big" issues are due for a comeback.

Ruy Teixeira says Obama is "where he needs to be" with white, working class voters (via Smith).

Peter Hart's Virginia focus group finds much voter ignorance (via Sullivan). [Update: More coverage of the Hart's Charlottesville Virginia focus group here, here, here and here. According to Polman it included "12 independent voters" in who "are not close followers of politics" and did not vote in Virginia's Democratic or Republican primaries).

John Sides reviews historical evidence of partisans unifying during the fall campaign (with sources and more details here).

Jay Cost continues his profile of Obama's primary voting coalition.

Ben Smith reminds reminds us of various poll results showing "out of the mainstream" views held by many Americans.

Markos considers the IVR poll methodology and its critics (via PPP's Jensen).

Poblano updates his pollster ratings.

Mark Mellman finds bias in the Electoral College.

David Hill urges candidates to stick to credible promises.

Brian Schaffner sees more support for Obama where gas prices are higher.

Carol Joynt inteviews Mark Penn (via Paybarah via Smith):

 

Comments
kingsbridge77:

Ben Smith says that 23% of Americans claim to have seen a ghost.

I once saw a ghost: My grandfather, who was not even in the USA. I was sleeping in bed here in NY at approx. 3 AM, when all of a sudden I saw, or dreamed of (not sure) a sillouete: a person who was my grandfather but without the features. That "thing" gave me a kiss in the forehead and I immediately woke up agitated, told my mom what had happened and went back to sleep.

3 hours later, around 6 AM, my parents and I received a phone call announcing that my grandfather had passed away. He had emphysema.

And no, I had not heard that my grandfather's death was imminent, in case you are wondering.

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hardheadedliberal:

The Jay Cost post is a total waste of time. Cost concludes that Obama has a very narrow coalition east of the Mississippi (other than New England) and a broader one west of the Mississippi.

Obama "has been like two different candidates. In the west, his candidacy has been broadly based and relatively diverse (though he has lagged behind with Hispanics). In the east, it has been more narrow, largely failing to build a real cross-section of the electorate, at least outside New England."

Cost chose the wrong geographical dividing line. The Mason-Dixon Line, not the Mississippi River is the boundary of the area in which Obama has "failed to build a real cross-section of the electorate." In both of the Southern regions, the "narrow" base consists of 80 to 90 per cent of Obama's vote against Clinton. Everywhere else, Obama's "base" consists of from 50% to two-thirds of his voters.

In the East, Obama's base was in the 60-70% range in the Mid-Atlantic Region and in the North Central Region. West of the Mississippi, Obama's base constitutes 60 to 65% of his vote in the Lower Mid-West.

In the East, Obama's base was 50% of his vote in New England. West of the Mississippi, the base was just over 50% of his vote in the Pacific West, just under 50% of his vote in the Mountain West, and between 50 and 60% in the Upper Mid-West. What do almost all the states in these regions have in common? They have very small percentages of African American residents.

Cost's analysis is interesting, but the result is almost trivial: below the Mason-Dixon Line, Obama's votes almost all come from young whites, wealthy whites, and African Americans. Duh.

Overall, Obama's base support as a percentage of his total vote varies directly with the proportion of the voting population that is black. In other words, the higher the percentage of African American voters in a state, the higher the proportion of Obama's voters that come from his "base" of young whites, wealthy whites, and African Americans. Or stated conversely, the higher the per centage of lower education, lower income whites in a state (a group of whites who are most likely to have racially tinged anxieties), the higher the percentage of Obama's total vote that comes from his base.

In sum, the larger the proportion of white voters who perceive that they are hurt by greater opportunities for blacks, the lower the percentage of Obama's vote that comes from outside his base. Again, Duh.

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hardheadedliberal:

On the Peter Hart focus group:

Sullivan notes that this was a focus group of Non-voters. The info does not include the part of Virginia these non-voters live in. Their information is so lacking that it seems likely to me that they are from Southern Virginia somewhere other than Richmond.

Seven of 12 of the non-voters in this focus group think Obama is Muslim.

IMHO there is a reason these folks are non-voters. They do not have the interest in being voters to seek out accurate information. It is unfair for Daniel Polman to call them "wilfully ignorant" unless they declare that they have a real desire to vote.

These 12 non-voters sound like folks who don't have much money, who may have to work two jobs apiece in order to keep above water, who aren't active in non-political community affairs, who don't have any acquaintances who are politically literate. These non-voters sound like the lower income families who are victims of the Republican policies that have frozen real wages for males with no education beyond high school for at least the last 30 years. Many of these families don't have the time or the energy to pay attention to political news.

And these non-voters will probably stay non-voters. Why did Peter Hart bother to circulate the memo on this group of non-voters?

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Mark Blumenthal:

@Hardheadedliberal:

I updated the post with links to additional coverage of the Hart focus group. The group was conducted in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Also, to clarify: All the articles describe the participants as "voters" presumably because they are registered and plan to vote in November. However, Polman also describes them as "independents" who "are not close followers of politics" and did not vote in Virginia's Democratic or Republican primaries. Sullivan called them "non-voters," which is not quite right. They are non-voters in primary elections only.

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