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2008 Election

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My new column outlines a simple rule for electoral success: Places that white Americans move to vote Republican in the future, while places that immigrants move to vote Democratic down the road: even Dallas and Houston.

In 1980, I met on a train through Italy a couple of English soccer hooligans who were headed for a post-match riot in Turin. When they asked where I was from, I replied, “Houston”, where I had just graduated from college. They had never heard of Houston, so I suggested “Dallas” as a reasonable approximation.

“Who shot J.R.?” the yobs exclaimed in happy unison.

Although Southfork Ranch, the fictional abode of Television Texan J.R. Ewing, was set in Dallas, Houston was even more the capital of capitalist exuberance during the 1970s oil boom.

By 1980, Houston’s Harris County was the third most populous in America, and the downtown business district had sprouted the most outlandish skyline west of the Mississippi (although Dallas wasn’t far behind).

Unsurprisingly, except apparently to the banks, oil prices eventually came down and the Texas bubble popped. Yet the modern Republican Party’s state electorate was forged in the 1970s. In contrast to the housing boom of the last decade in California, in Texas back then construction wasn’t considered “a job Americans just wouldn’t [or shouldn’t] do.” Nor was it yet universally assumed by the Establishment that high wages for American workers were an evil to be fought at all cost.

Back in the 1970s, strong demand bid up workers’ wages in Texas. That lured in large numbers of American workers to Texas from the declining cities of the Rust Belt. Although American newcomers to Texas in the 1970s typically came from places where the Democrats had ruled at least since FDR, they joined with native Texans in trending Republican.

After voting for Carter in 1976, Texas went for Reagan in 1980 and hasn’t wavered since. Texas kept the GOP viable at the national level when California, which voted for nine out of ten Republican Presidential candidates from 1952-1988, flipped Democratic.

Read the rest there and comment upon it here.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Politics 
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Here is the opening of my new column on how thinking through the pros and cons of one of the odder bits of political lore can help explain more general phenomena:

Arguably, the 1845 treaty of annexation gave the new state of Texas the right to split into five states.

With modern Texas providing relatively effective government without high taxes or high land prices, the state has attracted a population (now approaching 25 million) huge enough to justify being divided up into five smaller states.

Here’s a fanciful map by Nate Silver of of what a split-up Texas might look like politically, using Texas’s 254 counties as building blocks.

(Silver’s state names are all wrong, of course. Texans would “Texas” in them—such as South Texas, West Texas, North Texas, East Texas, and Central Texas.)

Divvying up Texas may seem at present irrelevant—none are prouder than Texans of the humongousness of their state. But thinking through the implications of this scenario is illuminating.

Read the whole thing there and comment upon it here.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Politics 
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Voting data wizard Andrew Gelman has a very good post up: “Where does the Hispanic vote really matter?” reviewing the 2008 election. His conclusion: not too many places.

I said much the same things immediately after the 2000 and 2004 election. Hispanics are not a crucial “swing” vote. They’re more of a “flow” vote in that they tend to go with the flow of their white neighbors, just consistently farther to the left. (For example, the high point for the GOP in share of Hispanic vote in House elections was Newt Gingrich’s 1994.)

We hear much obsessing over the Hispanic vote, but some of that was a smoke screen made up by Karl Rove. Rove’s two big successes — 2002 and 2004 — stemmed from mobilizing heavy turnout among white voters and winning a high share of whites. But you aren’t supposed to talk about appealing to whites, so Rove did a lot of hand-waving about how Republicans were going to win via Hispanics, and a lot of innumerate journalists bought it.

McCain, the chief Republican spokesman for amnesty in 2006, did poorly in motivating whites to show up and vote, and did mediocre in attracting whites votes, so he lost. Having an economic crash right before the election and the pointlessness of his own campaign other than as a celebration of his vanity no doubt doomed him anyway, but one obvious lesson is that being a famous amnesty enthusiast is a net loser for a Republican candidate — it doesn’t motivate Hispanics (who aren’t very excited about making illegal immigration easier, and the ones who are are going to vote Democratic anyway) and it depresses non-Hispanic whites.

In the long run, of course, due to immigration and affirmative action, it’s hard to see any successful GOP strategy other than a national version of their success in the South, which is based on carrying 75 percent of the white vote. I think the country would be better off with a competitive two party system in which whites were widely distributed among the two parties, but in the long run, that’s unlikely to happen due to immigration. We’ll either end up with a competitive system with most whites in one party, or we’ll end up with non-competitive, corrupt one-party dominance by the Democrats on the model of the Chicago Machine writ large.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Politics 
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The long-running General Social Survey includes a 10 word vocabulary test, from which you can roughly estimate IQ over large enough sample sizes. (Of course, it’s biased in favor of people who are smarter with words than with numbers or images.) Audacious Epigone looks up the average IQs of white voters for each Presidential candidate 1976-2004.

Presumably, Republican candidates’ voters generally average higher IQs overall — in the exit polls, GOP voters average higher incomes and very similar education levels to Democratic voters — but all the heat on this issue of who is smartest is generated among white people. When white Democrats go on and on about how Democrats are smarter than Republicans, they aren’t thinking about all the blacks who turned out to vote for Obama this year — e.g., in California, where Obama got 61% of the vote but gay marriage, despite the best efforts of Hollywood, got only 48% — which Hollywood has ever since been blaming on media domination by the Elders of Mormon). In the 2008 exit poll, there was virtually no difference in years of education claimed among Obama and McCain supporters when aggregated across all races.

No, white Democrats only care about being smarter than white Republicans.

Audacious’s analysis found several things of interest. On an IQ scale where the white average is set at 100, all candidates’s voters since 1976 have averaged over 100. Dumb people don’t vote as much as smart people and undecided swing voters tend to be not very smart either. Thus, the losing candidate in six of the eight elections had a higher IQ set of voters than the winner. In other words, losers tended to wind up with his base of people smart enough to have a fairly consistent ideology, while winners picked up the people who don’t think about politics much and motivated the people sympathetic to his party in the left half of the Bell Curve to remember to show up to vote.

It’s kind of like Jay Leno vs. David Letterman. Dave pitches his show at viewers with a 105 IQ, while Jay aims his show at 100 (I’m making these numbers up but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were pretty accurate). Jay gets bigger ratings.

Third party voters, with the exception of Perot’s, tend to have high IQs.

Republican whites tended to have higher IQs than Democrats in the early years, and as late as 1996, Dole enjoyed a 0.6 point edge over Clinton, but by 2004, Kerry had opened up a 3.9 point gap over Bush.

The future of the GOP would therefore appear to depend upon mobilizing large turnouts among whites with two digit IQs, just as the future of the Democrats depends upon mobilizing, as they successfully did in 2008, large numbers of nonwhites with two digit IQs.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, IQ, Politics 
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I would assume that Sarah Palin is about as smart as her erstwhile opponent, Vice President-Elect Joe Biden, a man who has gone through life with a giant chip on his shoulder about his IQ. Whether that’s smart enough to be President, I’ll leave up to you.

On the other hand, I’m sure Biden would beat Palin if they took a current events quiz on foreign affairs.


The chief answer is obvious, which means that the mainstream discourse is oblivious to it. Governor Palin is a lady. Specifically, she’s a mom, a mom with a whole bunch of kids. If you aren’t a mom, it’s hard to grasp just how much more interesting your family, and the community they live in, is than the Law of the Sea Conference or the Tbilisi pipeline. In contrast, Mr. Biden, who isn’t a mom, has time on his hands for paying attention to stuff like that because Mrs. Biden worries about the important things for him.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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Here’s an excerpt in which I uncharacteristically show some sympathy for Karl Rove and George Bush from my new column:

It’s important to fully understand why the lessons the two Texans, Rove and Bush, learned in their home state didn’t apply in other heavily Hispanic states.

So far, the mortgage meltdown hasn’t been as bad in Texas as in the four Sand States” (as they were known on Wall Street during the Bubble): California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. These are home to half of the foreclosures and a large majority of the defaulted mortgage money.

Partly this is due to the Oil Bubble, which now appears to be ending. Oil prices over $100 per barrel kept the Texas economy strong in 2008, allowing debtors to avoid foreclosure.

Also, the enormous amount of land and the lack of environmental restrictions on home development in Texas means that when the federal government stimulates demand, the supply of housing increases quickly as well, keeping housing prices reasonable.

Finally, what Rove and Bush missed was how different was Texas’s economic and immigration history over the last three decades relative to the seemingly similar Sand States. Due to OPEC’s oil price increases in the 1970s, Texas experienced a huge construction boom thirty years ago. That mostly attracted construction workers from the rest of the U.S. rather than from Mexico, because Mexico was simultaneously experiencing its own oil boom following massive new discoveries.

When oil prices collapsed in 1982, the economies of Texas and Mexico slumped simultaneously. The big wave of post-1982 unemployed illegal aliens therefore headed for California rather than for Texas.

That’s why San Antonio had “surprisingly low levels” of immigration from 1965 to 2000, according to the important new book quantitatively comparing Mexican-Americans in San Antonio and Los Angeles in 1965 and 2000, Generations of Exclusion, by sociologists associated with the UCLA Chicano Studies Program.

The 2000 Census found that California’s foreign-born population (26 percent of all residents) was almost twice as large as Texas’s (14 percent).

As Texans, Rove and Bush apparently just couldn’t understand the quantity and quality of the immigration situation in the other heavily Hispanic states. In 2000, Texas had a large but fairly well-rooted, stable, and assimilated Mexican-American population that had a reasonable potential to make enough money in resource-extraction or other blue-collar jobs to afford to buy Texas’s cheap houses.

In sharp contrast, California had a huge and mostly new, ill-educated, and unassimilated Mexican-American population that didn’t have even a chance of making enough money in Silicon Valley or Hollywood to afford California’s already expensive houses.

And Nevada, Arizona, and Florida were more like California than they were like Texas. [More]

So, who are the bad guys here: Texans or Californians? That’s what people always want to know: who’s the bad guy and who is the good guy?

The point is that our country’s two biggest states are just very different, and much of that has its roots in their very different terrain.

For example, everybody in California would prefer to live near the Pacific because the climate and scenery are so nice. In contrast, in Texas (and the other Gulf of Mexico coastal states), the threat of hurricanes means people tend to prefer to live inland. Galveston used to be the dominant port of Texas’s coast, until the hurricane of 1900 drowned 6000 people, after which Houston (45 miles inland and 45 feet above sea level) became the main metropolis. So, Affordable Family Formation works better in Texas than in California.

This doesn’t make Texans or Californians good or evil, it just makes them different. And because the two states between them account for 60 million people, it’s crucial that Americans get a better grip on the differences between the two states.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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A married Mormon who gave $1000 to the Proposition 8 anti-gay marriage campaign has resigned as director of a Sacramento musical theater company after being nationally targeted in the ongoing Big Gay Hissy Fit of 2008.

According to the exit poll, for whatever it’s worth, the key to the passage of Prop. 8 was the huge black turnout in California in support of Barack Obama. Blacks voted 70% in favor of the ban on gay marriage, if the exit poll can be trusted. (Supposedly, Hispanics were split almost evenly, but I suspect that has to do with confusion over the wording of the ballot, since it was hard to remember that you were supposed to be for Prop. 8 if you were against gay marriage. Back in 2000, Hispanics voted 65% for Prop. 22, which banned gay marriage, and I can’t imagine they’ve changed much since then.)

Of course, the Stuff White People Like crowd aren’t going after blacks for voting against gay marriage. After all, they’re, well, black. No, they’re denouncing … Mormons, who are white. The whole point of this exercise is for one set of white people to feel superior to another set of white people. That blacks have their own opinions of gay marriage is an unwelcome complication that the SWPLs are trying hard to ignore in order to fully indulge in their hatred of Mormons.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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Lots of good stuff in my column this week, so read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt of things you won’t find elsewhere on what’s wrong with exit polls in general and why they’re no good for determining an ethnic groups’ share of the electorate.

Unfortunately, exit polling is becoming less reliable each election. Its history in this decade has been ignominious.

In the 2002 midterm elections, the exit polls weren’t published because of a software foul-up. (In 2003, I purchased the raw data and crunched the 2002 numbers so they wouldn’t be lost to history.)

In 2004, the exit polls predicted a narrow Kerry victory. In addition, they initially reported that Bush had garnered 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. After I pointed out how unlikely that was, the polling company announced weeks later that the number should have been about 40 percent. (And keep in mind that Bush only got to 40 percent via his Housing Bubble, which poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of Hispanic homebuyers and construction workers.)

In 2008, the lone exit poll predicted an Obama landslide. Karl Rove complained right after this election:

“We can’t be precise, because for the third election in a row the exit polls were trash. The raw numbers forecast an 18-point Obama win, news organizations who underwrote the poll arbitrarily dialed it down to a 10-point Obama edge, and the actual margin was six. [Actually, closer to seven than to six, it looks now.]“[How the President-Elect Did It , by Karl Rove, WSJ, November 6, 2008]

Why are exit polls so bad in this decade?

One problem is that there is more early voting and more mail-in voting each election. In 2008, there was also likely to be a large Bradley Effect in which intimidated Republican voters offer politically correct answers to the young, Democratic-looking pollsters who accost them after voting.

Nevertheless, the most fundamental problem is one that’s common in the marketing research industry, where I worked for many years: it has become a monopoly.

There’s an old saying in the marketing research business that in viable industry segment, there’s only room for 1.5 firms. You’ll notice, for example, that Nielsen doesn’t have any competition for TV ratings and Arbitron doesn’t have any competition for radio ratings. They could enter each other’s field, but then they’d both lose money in both fields. Why ruin nice little monopolies? In contrast, in the supermarket sales data field, there have long been two competitors, with rapid technological advancements resulting. That little industry, however, was long notorious among investors for generating terrible profit margins due to a decade-long price war between the two rivals.

Back in 2000, there were three national exit polls, one sponsored by a group of media outlets (which I’ll call the CNN poll for the convenience of its website), one by the New York Times, and one by the Los Angeles Times. They came up with different figures for the GOP share of the Hispanic vote: 31 percent according to the NYT, 35 percent according to CNN and its colleagues, and 38 percent according to the LAT.

This fuzzy math had the dual benefits of keeping you from being too stridently confident about the results (“Well, all we can say is the real number was likely somewhere in the 30s”) while letting you triple-check your numbers (“Yes, although we can’t be sure, 35 percent sounds like a reasonable estimate.”)

Over the course of the decade, unfortunately, the individual newspapers dropped out of the business. The cartel’s poll has wound up as a monopoly, with the usual results in terms of quality and reliability. Without competition to spur them on, they usually do a bad job.

It’s particularly important to understand that exit polls are not a very good way to determine an ethnic group’s share of the vote. There are all sorts of articles exulting over the huge turnout of Hispanics last Tuesday, but they all seem to reference the exit poll rather than real world results. A huge chunk of Hispanic voters are in California and Texas, both states in which there was little campaigning, advertising, or canvassing because they were all wrapped up.

The CNN exit poll has a long history of exaggerating the Hispanic share of the vote in contrast to the gold standard Census Bureau phone survey of 50,000 households that is conducted immediately after each election but not released until the following year. In 2000, the CNN and friends exit poll reported Hispanics made up 7 percent. The Census Bureau said 5.4 percent. In 2004, CNN said 8 percent, the Census 6.0 percent. In 2008, CNN said 9 percent, while, I’m guessing, based on trends going back to the 1970s, that the Census Bureau will eventually report the 2008 Hispanic fraction as a little under 7.0 percent.

It’s worth noting that this year’s much-publicized 9 percent figure for Hispanic’s share of the vote is from the exit poll’s smaller “national sample.” The blogger Audacious Epigone toted up the figures from the exit poll’s much larger “state sample” and came up with 7.54 percent, which sounds more plausible.

In general, exit polls aren’t very good at figuring out turnout shares. If you stop and think about what’s involved in running a national exit poll, you can grasp why.

Only a tiny fraction of all the polling places in the country are covered, so the polling company has to decide ahead of time where to send their pollsters. That isn’t a big problem for calculating, say, the female share of the vote, because males and females generally live in the same neighborhoods. However, racial groups frequently don’t live in the same neighborhoods. Thus, the polling firm has to choose carefully which neighborhoods to survey in order to get the “right” number of voters from a particular group.

Therefore, long before the election, the polling company must come up with an estimate of each group’s expected share in order to decide which polling stations to cover. This prediction tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The firm’s thinking may go something like this: “Okay, we said the Hispanic share last time was 8 percent, and everybody knows they are growing, so we’d better report Hispanics as 9 percent this time, or we’ll look bad. So, let’s figure out which neighborhoods to send pollsters to in order that 9 percent of the voters they interview are Hispanic.”

Read the rest here.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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So, why did McCain do best, relative to George W. Bush in 2004, in states like #1. Tennessee, #3. Arkansas, #5 Oklahoma, #7 West Virginia, #9 Kentucky, and #10 Alabama?

Here’s a map by counties, with counties where McCain improved relative to GWB in 2004 the most shown in reddest red.

Before reading onward, can you figure out why this pattern exists?


The pattern should be quite obvious to anybody who has read David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed on the four types of Brits in America.

Spoiler Alert:

John McCain, a pugnacious Scots-Irishman, did best in counties full of pugnacious Scots-Irishmen.

Tennessee, home of Andy Jackson, was the state where McCain improved on Bush’s vote the most.

(The other four states in McCain’s Most Improved Top Ten are driven by obvious special factors: #2 Louisiana by the decline in number of blacks due to the hurricane; #4 Alaska by Palin’s status as a Favorite Daughter; #6 Massachusetts by favorite son John F. Kerry no longer being on the ballot; and #9 Arizona by McCain being a Favorite Son.)

Think how amazing that is. According to Fischer, the main Scots-Irish immigration was finished a couple of hundred years ago. And yet, this heritage lives on in voting behavior eight or more generations later.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, McCain 
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State McCain 08 Bush 04 Change
Hawaii 24.8% 45.3% -20.5%
Nevada 39.5% 50.5% -11.0%
Indiana 49.2% 59.9% -10.8%
North Dakota 52.9% 62.9% -9.9%
Nebraska 56.8% 65.9% -9.1%
Utah 62.5% 71.5% -9.0%
Montana 50.1% 59.1% -8.9%
Delaware 37.0% 45.8% -8.8%
California 36.9% 44.4% -7.4%
Vermont 31.8% 38.8% -7.0%
Wisconsin 42.3% 49.3% -7.0%
Idaho 61.6% 68.4% -6.8%
Colorado 45.0% 51.7% -6.7%
Illinois 37.9% 44.5% -6.6%
North Carolina 49.4% 56.0% -6.6%
New Mexico 43.5% 49.8% -6.3%
South Dakota 53.6% 59.9% -6.3%
Michigan 42.0% 47.8% -5.8%
Texas 55.4% 61.1% -5.7%
Iowa 44.3% 49.9% -5.6%
Maine 39.0% 44.6% -5.6%
Kansas 56.5% 62.0% -5.5%
Connecticut 38.6% 44.0% -5.4%
Virginia 48.6% 53.7% -5.0%
Oregon 42.2% 47.2% -5.0%
Pennsylvania 43.5% 48.4% -4.9%
South Carolina 53.1% 58.0% -4.8%
Washington 40.9% 45.6% -4.8%
New Hampshire 44.3% 48.9% -4.5%
Georgia 54.0% 58.0% -4.0%
New Jersey 42.4% 46.2% -3.9%
Missouri 49.5% 53.3% -3.8%
Florida 48.4% 52.1% -3.7%
Rhode Island 35.0% 38.7% -3.6%
Ohio 47.4% 50.8% -3.4%
Minnesota 44.2% 47.6% -3.4%
New York 36.7% 40.1% -3.3%
Maryland 39.7% 42.9% -3.3%
D. C. 6.5% 9.3% -2.8%
Wyoming 66.2% 68.9% -2.7%
Mississippi 57.1% 59.4% -2.4%
Alabama 60.1% 62.5% -2.3%
Kentucky 57.4% 59.6% -2.1%
Arizona 53.7% 54.9% -1.2%
West Virginia 55.3% 56.1% -0.7%
Massachusetts 36.2% 36.8% -0.6%
Oklahoma 65.7% 65.6% 0.1%
Alaska 61.2% 61.1% 0.1%
Arkansas 56.5% 54.3% 2.2%
Louisiana 59.0% 56.7% 2.3%
Tennessee 60.7% 56.8% 3.9%

My reader suggests that energy importing states swung left, while energy exporters drifted right, but it’s hard to tell.

One thing to note is that in the Greater California Foreclosure Zone, McCain got devastated in Nevada (second worst fall) and got hit hard in California and Colorado. He was down only 1.2% versus Bush in Arizona, but he’s the native son, so that’s a bad performance.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there’s a fair amount of randomness injected into these 2004 to 2008 changes by the impact of levels of advertising delivered. It’s hard to prove statistically that candidate advertising has any affect, but it seems hard to imagine that its completely a scam dreamed up by political consultants who get 15% cuts on each ad buy. Lots of states got only minimal amounts of advertising because they are deemed irrelevant to the electoral college results. Other states get a (presumably) offsetting flood from both campaigns. And some states get more ads from one campaign than from the other. This should inject a lot of randomness into the results from election to election, yet affordable family formation continues to dominate three elections in a row now.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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in the title of his 1995 book:

The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as the Basis of Social Policy

White self-congratulation is a dominant motif today since it’s hard to congratulate African-American culture on Obama, at least with a straight face. Here we are, 43 years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the first black President turns out to have had a completely non-black upbringing sequestered out in the Pacific Ocean thousands of miles from any black community.

Obama is exactly the kind of only nominally African-American beneficiary of affirmative action at Harvard, the kind who are either immigrants, outright foreigners (like Barack Sr.) or have a white parent or grandparent, of whom Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier and African Studies honcho Henry Louis Gates have been complaining for years:

Guinier, a Harvard law professor, was quoted in The Boston Globe at the time as saying that most minority students at elite colleges were “voluntary immigrants,” not descended from slaves. “If you look around Harvard College today, how many young people will you find who grew up in urban environments and went to public high schools and public junior high schools?” she said. “I don’t think, in the name of affirmative action, we should be admitting people because they look like us, but then they don’t identify with us.”

Obama likely has more black ancestors who sold slaves to the (Arab) white man than black ancestors who were slaves under the (European) white man. (He also has white slaveowning ancestors in his white family tree.)

Guinier is, by her own standards, another phony African-American. Her mother is Jewish (that’s why she looks so much like the late Gilda Radner) and her father was a famous Jamaican immigrant union leader for the Communist Party USA. But she retains enough of her paternal Marxism to feel guilty about this abuse of class in the name of race.

Of course, if you look at the Obamas, the authentic African-American, Michelle Robinson Obama, whose all-American slave ancestry would put her near the top of Guinier’s list of most deserving of reparations due to ancestry, wasted her affirmative action sinecure at Guinier’s Harvard Law School, giving up practicing law way back in 1993. In contrast, Mr. Obama, the ultimate phony in terms of eligibility for affirmative action reserved for African-Americans, seems to have done pretty well for himself.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Here’s Andrew Gelman’s graph showing that there wasn’t much regional change between 2004 and 2008 at the state level, just a national shift to the left (up in this graph). (I’m not sure what % of precincts reporting he’s using, but I doubt if anything will change much).

The states below the 45 degree line swung toward the GOP — most notably Arkansas and Louisiana. Arkansas is probably still undergoing the process of de-Clintonization and is rejoining the rest of the South. Hurricane Katrina ethnically cleansed some of the poor blacks living below sea level in New Orleans, so the state has moved to the right. I’m not sure what’s going on in Oklahoma. The GOP did well in Alaska, presumably due to Sarah Palin. The GOP also did well in Massachusetts due to a favorite son not being the Democratic nominee.

The real outlier for the Democrats is Hawaii, which is, presumably, a favorite son effect for Obama. Vermont is just becoming Vermontier, Delaware is undergoing a long term shift from being a bellwether purple state to a solidly blue one, Nevada was driven left by the Hispanic influx and the highest rate of foreclosures in the country. I don’t know why Indiana jumped so much to the left — perhaps Gary and the rest of Greater Chicago in Indiana was fired up for the local hero. Utah’s move from being ultra-Republican in 2004 to just highly Republican might have something to do with growing Hispanic presence, or from Mormons being sore at McCain beating Romney. (Nine months ago, I wondered how Mormons would react to the anti-Mormon animus seen in some of the GOP primaries.)

Anyway, you can see the new best fit line would simply have shifted up (in the Democrats’ direction) a few points, with a pretty good fit.

And here’s the quivalent graph comparing 2000 to 2004, with the 45 degree line representing how Gore did in 2000. A very, very similar pair of elections, just with Bush running about 3 points better in 2004 than in 2000 almost everywhere in the country.

If you drew up the equivalent graph for the 1952 and 1956, which featured Eisenhower and Stevenson running both times, it would look more like a random scatterplot. On a state-by-state basis, the political environment was a lot more dynamic in the 1950s than today.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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From the NYT:

And the issue of race proved vexing. The campaign was blindsided when DVDs of the incendiary sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Mr. Obama’s former pastor, emerged and threatened Mr. Obama’s candidacy.

“That was one place where we dropped the ball,” said Mr. Axelrod, his voice growing angry. The campaign’s research operation had not known of the DVDs and was sent scrambling after they were broadcast. “The work just wasn’t done.”

The slip-up violated a key tenet of the campaign: to avoid discussions focused on race. From polling and interviews, the campaign concluded from the outset that it was imperative to define Mr. Obama’s candidacy in terms that would transcend skin color.

“It would be difficult for an African-American to be elected president in this country,” said Cornell Belcher, a pollster who worked for Mr. Obama’s campaign and studies racial voting patterns. “However, it is not difficult for an extraordinary individual who happens to be African-American to be elected president.”

“Blindsided”??? I pointed out that Rev. Wright was going to be a problem for Obama 50 weeks beforehand.

The general cluelessness of America’s white political elites regarding anything touching race is astounding. David Axelrod, who has been in Chicago politics for decades, running Daley’s campaigns, didn’t know that Obama’s preacher, who runs a megachurch, sells his sermons online??? How could anyone imagine that Rev. Wright — Rev. Wright — wouldn’t want to pocket some extra cash and edify humanity at the same time by peddling his graceful digitial presence? All you had to do was Google “Trinity United Church of Christ” and the DVDs were prominently displayed. (I wonder if any McCain aides ever even bought them?) I saw them on sale in early 2007.

And all this stuff about defining Obama as somebody who “just happens to be African-American” as if he’s the second coming of former LA Mayor Tom Bradley … Wasn’t that dependent upon nobody important reading carefully his 460 page autobiography, My 25 Year Struggle to Define Myself as a Black Man? Granted, practically nobody did, so it worked, but still …

What this shows once again is that Everybody Drinks Their Own Kool-Aid. I’d like to imagine David Axelrod as a mastermind cynically manipulating the media, because at least it would show that somebody who is pulling the strings has a brain. But this revelation that Axelrod was completely clueless about Rev. Wright just reveals that the first person these guys brainwash is themselves. Instead of some evil genius pulling the strings, there are just a bunch of guys yanking their own chains before they can yank ours.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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I have to confess that I wasn’t paying that much attention to who would win the election. What I was really looking forward to was the distribution of votes within states. Based on the extremely similar results in 2000 and 2004, I had invented a novel and ambitious theory explaining why American states vote in differing proportions for Republican or Democratic candidates.

My Affordable Family Formation theory isn’t about who wins nationally, it’s about how, given a particular national level of support, which states will be solid blue (Democrat), which ones purple (mixed), and which ones solid red (Republican).

Of course, George W. Bush ran in both 2000 and 2004, so maybe he was the reason my theory worked so well in both elections. Thus, 2008, with its quite different candidates, was a good test. Or maybe the Housing Bubble and its subsequent popping would have changed results dramatically.

Before getting to the results, let me review my AFF theory. It holds that what paints the electoral map red and blue is “affordable family formation” was validated once again. Taking a quick and dirty look at McCain’s and Obama’s shares in each state (plus DC) with 92% of the national precincts reporting, the same two demographic variables that drove the results in 2000 and 2004 showed startlingly high correlations once again.

My basic theory is that Democrats do best in states with metropolitan areas where land for homes is scarce because they are hedged in by oceans or Great Lakes; while Republicans do best in inland areas where homebuyers can look around for homes in a 360 degree radius around job sites. I call this the Dirt Gap: Republicans are found more in areas with more dirt and less water.

This means that homes in inland areas tend to be cheaper because the supply of land within a certain commuting time is greater. In turn, cheaper homes mean that non-Hispanic whites tend to marry earlier and have more children, which means they attract family oriented people and their cultures tend to be more family-oriented, making Republican family values appeals more appealing there. In contrast, “Living by the Water,” which is #51 on the Stuff White People Like website, correlates with Stuff White People Like political views. (You can read about Affordable Family Formation in detail with graphs here.)

Take a look at the Average Years Married between ages 18 and 44 among non-Hispanic white women in the 2000 Census. That’s a statistic I invented to be the marital analog of the well-known total fertility rate measure (which estimates from the latest available year’s birth behavior how many children a woman will have in her lifetime). Likewise, Average Years Married estimates how many years out of the 27 between 18 through 44 will a woman be married. The Average Years Married for non-Hispanic white women does a remarkably good job of predicting McCain’s (or Obama’s) share of the total vote across all races in the states.

Thus, McCain carried 19 of the top 20 states on Average Years Married among non-Hispanic whites, while Obama carried 18 of the 19 lowest states. The correlation coefficient was r=0.88, on a scale where social scientists usually call r=0.2 “low correlation,” r=0.4 “moderate correlation,” and r=0.6 “high correlation.” So, in the social sciences, r=0.88 would have to be something like “extremely high correlation.” This is, however, down from the astonishing 0.91 level seen in 2004, but, keep in mind, the demographic data I’m using is now 8.5 years old. (It was collected on April 1, 2000 for the last Census.)

Looking at the 2002 Total Fertility Rate among non-Hispanic Whites, Obama carried the bottom 15 states, while McCain carried 14 of the top 15. The correlation coefficient was r=0.82. The demographic data is now 6 years old. (In 2004, when the demographic data was fresher, it was 0.86.)

Keep in mind that this is based on incomplete 2008 voting results with 8% of the precincts and who knows how many of the mail-in ballots missing, so the correlations will likely change.

By the way, this explains much of the Sarah Palin Hysteria: with her five children, she elicits the SWPL whites’ secret dread that they are being outbred by the non-SWPL whites.

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Unlike my previous book (my 900-page, but never-released, psychobiography of the subtle childhood dynamics that made John F. Kerry who he is today*), interest in the topic of my new book looks like it will remain strong for the next four years.

* Just kidding.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Obama 
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Here’s the national exit poll via CNN (in all these, first column Obama, second McCain, third Misc.)

By the way, somebody should make a copy of it as it stands now because in a few hours CNN will come along and change all the exit poll splits to make them reflect the actual vote splits.

Vote by Race———————Obama——McCain——-Other

White (75%) 43% 55% 2%
African-American (13%) 96% 4% N/A
Latino (8%) 67% 31% 2%
Asian (2%) 63% 33% 4%
Other (3%) 66% 31% 3%

A Republican can’t win with just 55% of the white vote. Bush got 58% in 2004 and won, but only 54% and lost the popular vote in 2000. And the bar keeps inching up every four years.

And here’s the famous Gender Gap, which CNN lists first out of all demographic measures:

Vote by Sex

Male (47%) 49% 49% 2%
Female (53%) 55% 43% 2%

And here’s the not so famous Marriage Gap:

Vote by Marital Status ———————Obama——McCain——-Other

Married (66%) 46% 52% 2%
Unmarried (34%) 65% 33% 2%

So, Obama did only six points better among women than among men, but he did 19 points better among singles than among marrieds.

In contrast, in 2004′s exit poll, Kerry did 7 points better among women and 17 points better among singles.

Thumbing through the demographics casually, nothing looks terribly surprising, just a broad shift to the left versus 2004, just as 2004 saw a widespread shift to the right versus 2000. Of course, some of the black vote breakdowns by state are pretty funny, with North Korean-like 98-2 ratios.

For example, here’s New York:

Vote by Race ———————Obama——McCain——-Other

White (71%) 52% 46% 2%
African-American (17%) 100% 0% N/A

Take that, Enver Hoxha!

• Tags: 2008 Election 
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Clearly, the 2008 primary system was broken, both for the GOP and the Democrats. The GOP’s large fraction of early winner-take-all primaries resulted in a nominee who, through, sheer luck wrapped it up on February 5, then didn’t do much for the next nine months except get even older.

The Democrats avoided that problem, but too much proportionality combined with too much front-weighting meant that that when the Rev. Wright videos finally emerged on March 13, 42 states had already had their say. And the proportionality of the delegate distribution in the last eight states meant that Hillary’s task was close to hopeless, making the eight states after March 5 anti-climactic.

So, you can see the problems: too much frontweighting and either too much winner-take-all or too much proportionality.

The states have been trying to get their primaries up early so that they get some kind of a say, and the states generally prefer winner-take-all to magnify their importance. The obvious solution is to make the two desires work against each other:

Set a rule that the first state primary or caucus in 2012 has to be 100% proportional and the last state 100% winner-take-all, with a sliding scale in-between. This would give states an incentive to hold back in the calendar so they can be more winner-take-all. Meanwhile, it would prevent premature climaxes like the GOP in 2008 and long-drawn out anti-climaxes like the Democrats in 2008.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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From yesterday’s column (which is where you can find all the documenting links):

We’re going to hear all over again about how crucial the Hispanic vote was to Obama’s win. It’s bunk.

You know—how the GOP killed itself by not favoring open borders abjectly enough, and so forth and so on. Hysterical pundits will announce that the Hispanic tidal wave accounted for 8 or 9 or even 10 percent of the vote!

Then, a year from now, the Census Bureau will quietly announce the results of its huge post-election survey of voting, the gold standard of ethnic voting shares. It will show that the Hispanic share of the vote, which was 5.4 percent in 2000 and 6.0 percent in 2004 actually was only 6.9 percent in 2008, or whatever.

And nobody will pay any attention at all because the fallacious conventional wisdom (10 percent!!!) will already be carved into everybody’s brains.

Moreover, you’ll hear all about how the GOP share of the Hispanic vote dropped from 44 percent in 2004 to, say, 30 percent on Tuesday.

First, as I’ve shown repeatedly, it wasn’t 44 percent in 2004. The exit poll company admitted the mistake several months later. It was about 40 percent.

Second, the reason the GOP even got 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 was because Bush and Rove bought the Hispanic vote via the Great Hispanic Housing Bubble. In part due to Bush’s jihad against down payments on home loans, mortgage dollars borrowed for home purchases by Hispanics increased an insane 691 percent from 1999 to 2006. In 1999, less than 7 percent of first time buyers in California, the black hole of the Bubble, put no money down. By 2004, it was 33 percent, by 2006 a ludicrous 41 percent.

Democrats appealed to Hispanics by being the Tax and Spend party. Bush and Rove resolved that Republicans would win Hispanics over by being the Borrow and Spend party.

And debauching credit standards for Hispanics debauched them for everybody. So there was a huge amount of unneeded construction and remodeling, carried out in large part by Hispanics workers, making Hispanics unusually pleased with the Republican incumbent in 2004.

In 2008, though, as made clear by a recent LA Times article on how Hispanic voters in Las Vegas are trending toward Obama because so many have defaulted on their mortgages, the firehose of Other People’s Money has finally been turned off. And Latinos are returning to their natural political home. [Economic strife drives Latino vote, By Marjorie Miller, October 26, 2008]

The Mortgage Minority Meltdown. The Diversity Recession. And landslide losses anyway. How did the Bush-Rove experiment work out for the GOP—let alone America?

(Cheerful footnote: To combat all this confused thinking, I’ve written a new book about Obama’s life story. As the two parts of the title imply, it contrasts the recent Axelrodian hagiography of Obama as the biracial transcender with the man’s own evasively written but ultimately quite clear autobiography. Thus I call it, in tribute to the upcoming Harry Potter movie, America’s Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s “Story of Race and Inheritance.”

If McCain loses (and I’m writing before any of the polls close), the main demographic reason will be that his share of the non-Hispanic white vote (which will make up 3/4ths or more of the total vote) will have fallen versus the GOP’s 58 percent in 2004. Bush lost the overall popular vote in 2000 because he only got 54% of the white vote. He won the overall popular vote in 2004 fairly easily because he got 58% of the white vote.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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Here’s my new pre-election column. An excerpt:

Mostly, he just talked about what a hero he is.

Okay, he was for offshore oil drilling. And then there’s … uh … nuclear power plants! And, well, some other stuff, no doubt.

The problem is that the things McCain really cares about, like Invading the World and Inviting the World, are death on the campaign trail in 2008.

The Republicans’ winning issue this year could have been mass immigration, both illegal and legal. But they somehow wound up with the author of the 2006 McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill as their candidate!

Imagine if Obama’s illegal alien aunt had surfaced after the GOP candidate had spent the fall defining the immigration issue in the American mind. It would have been the coup de grace. As it was, McCain operative Mark Salter threw the issue away, saying “It’s a family matter”—as if the laws of the United States are an Obama “family matter”. (Maybe they will be, but not just yet).

And what was McCain against?

Well, he was against socialism, redistribution of wealth, and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers!

Yes, but what does Ayers have to do with Obama? Well, they worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

But wasn’t Walter Annenberg the biggest Republican donor of his day?

Okay, now, you know and I know that Old Man Annenberg got taken to the cleaners by some slick leftists who didn’t do a darn thing for the test scores of Chicago public school students, but who built their brand names in the tax-and-grant consuming sectors of Chicago’s leftist fringe by handing out Annenberg’s millions to all their friends and allies. But do the voters?

Maybe there is more of a connection between Obama and Ayers than opportunism. But if McCain was going to use Ayers as his trump card, he should have hired private detectives in Chicago five months ago to document the Obama-Ayers relationship and then leak the findings to the National Enquirer. Heck, anthropologist Stanley Kurtz has singlehandedly done a better job of tracking down the Obama-Ayers links than the entire McCain campaign.

(Don’t you have the feeling that nobody in the McCain brain trust ever got around to buying Rev. Wright’s DVDs?)

In contrast to Obama’s murky dealings with Ayers, the Democratic candidate has long boasted of Wright’s mentorship, devoting most of pp. 274-295 of his first book, Dreams From My Father, to Wright, and borrowing the title of his second, The Audacity of Hope, from Wright’s sermon about how “white folks’ greed runs a world in need”.

Let’s be clear: the reason McCain has gone on and on about Bill Ayers but hasn’t mentioned in six months Jeremiah Wright is because Ayers is white and Wright is black. McCain is terrified that if he mentions Wright, Republicans will be smeared as racists.

Well, guess what? Republicans are being smeared as racists anyway. Heck, Obama smeared Bill Clinton as racist. Of course, the Obama forces were going to do it to the GOP.

The question for Republicans was never whether or not they are going to get smeared as racists. The question was always whether they were going to wind up a smeared loser—or a smeared winner.

McCain chose to be a smeared loser.

If you don’t allow yourself to bring up race, you simply cannot run against the real Barack Obama. You wind up running against the fantasy made up by his strategist David Axelrod, credulously summed up last week by the New York Times’ Brian Stelter as Obama’s “refusal to be defined by his race and his aspirations to bridge the partisan divide”.

Why can’t you run against the real Obama without talking about race? Because the real Barack is all about race.

Look, Obama wrote a 460-page memoir about his successful struggle to define himself as a black man, which he helpfully subtitled A Story of Race and Inheritance.


(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election 
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Mickey writes:

Went to a Halloween party dressed as The Bradley Effect. The elemental conceptual simplicity of my costume somehow failed to terrify, even in a Dem heavy Hollywood crowd. … This may be the first election where average Web-surfing, procrastinating liberal comedy writers know more about the last Insider Advantage poll in Pennsylvania than Howard Fineman does…. Unfortunately, they thought the photo of George Deukmejian on my costume** was Robert Rubin.

**–Pinned to the red half of the costume under a blue flap that–easier to show than tell–flopped over to obscure a photo of long-serving L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, whom they mistook for an Asian man. They had been drinking. …

As a summer job in 1981, I worked for a lady who worked for Mayor Tom. I shook the Mayor’s hand once: A tall, impressive man with an unusual look to him. I thought he looked quite American Indian, much like basketball player Scottie Pippen does. Oddly enough, he also looked much like Anwar Sadat, who was half-Sudanese.

Meanwhile, Christian Lander blogs on Stuff White People Like:

Halloween is so important to white people because they have to wear a costume. It is a chance to literally show everyone how clever you are without having to say a word. … For this reason any white Halloween Party is less of a celebration than it is a contest. And as with any contest, there are a lot of rules.

The first thing you need to know that white people are the only people on the planet who will dress up as a concept. So while your initial thoughts about a costume might be “cowboy,” “policeman,” or “Count Dracula,” white people are more likely to think “math,” “the economy,” or “Post-Modernism.”

Dressing up as a concept is always a major gamble. On one hand, there is the chance that you nail it just right and everyone in the room will recognize how you not only cleverly interpreted the idea but also executed it perfectly in physical form. If you get it wrong, you will be required to spend the entire night explaining yourself. Then again, it is a good way to get white people to talk to you.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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