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Friday, June 15, 2012

‘Moneyball’ Godfather Bill James Tackles Politics In Super PAC Age

Steroids movies religion Kate Upton!!!

in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows for unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, [Bill] James’ analytical approach has become more relevant to the political conversation… much of what James has to offer candidates facing financial deficits is quirky and unconventional. Often it involves throwing the traditional campaign playbook out the window.

“If you’re outspent in a campaign, what you absolutely cannot do is start a pissing contest, pardon my French,” James wrote in an email… Instead of going negative, he advised, a candidate should do the exact opposite. “Talk about your opponent in the nicest terms that you CAN, in order to take certain weapons away from him,” James wrote. “If you’re speaking well of your opponent and your opponent is savaging you, there is a chance he comes off looking like an ass and you can win the election.”

Beyond that, James suggested a candidate run on a platform distinct from either major party (anti-drug war, pro-gay rights). Or a candidate could obsess over an issue completely off the beaten path.  As an example, he highlighted deer-related car crashes in his home state of Kansas. “No one talks about people hitting deer with their cars as a political issue, but in Kansas” it could work, he said…

“There aren’t any good databases” in politics, said Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, an organization devoted to studying sabermetrics… Washington is uniquely behind the curve. Goldstein said he and his colleagues have been approached by a number of industries buying into the gospel of data. Hollywood, in particular, is trying to figure out better methods of turning a movie into a blockbuster. Political campaigns have not yet made that jump…

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has wrung political benefits out of seemingly minor issues throughout his career. Phil Singer, a former Schumer aide, recalled how Schumer campaigned on reducing the cost of breakfast cereal in his 1996 House race, going so far as to demand a Justice Department anti-trust investigation… The most innovative politician when it comes to adopting data-driven campaign theories may be Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)...

An underfunded political campaign and the Tampa Bay Rays “could not be more analogous,” [The Extra 2% author Jonah] Keri said… “The one thing I could think of is to have a very pro-immigration stance,” Keri said…

Democrats have invested heavily in get-out-the-vote operations… James likened the idea of trying to win an election through get-out-the-vote drives as “analogous to trying to win a pennant race by doing better in the close games.” ... “It can happen,” James said. “But it’s a lousy strategy.”

The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:15 AM | 232 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, jonah keri, kevin goldstein, nate silver, politics, sabermetrics

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 15, 2012 at 07:13 AM (#4157417)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has wrung political benefits out of seemingly minor issues throughout his career. Phil Singer, a former Schumer aide, recalled how Schumer campaigned on reducing the cost of breakfast cereal in his 1996 House race, going so far as to demand a Justice Department anti-trust investigation… The most innovative politician when it comes to adopting data-driven campaign theories may be Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)...
And a third one is... um... I can't remember. Oops.
   2. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2012 at 07:50 AM (#4157426)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has wrung political benefits out of seemingly minor issues throughout his career. Phil Singer, a former Schumer aide, recalled how Schumer campaigned on reducing the cost of breakfast cereal in his 1996 House race, going so far as to demand a Justice Department anti-trust investigation


Schumer's House district was overwhelmingly D and I cannot recall him having much of a race in '96. In all likelihood, he could have pushed for higher prices on breakfast cereal and still won re-election.

EDIT: Chuckie won 74.8% of the vote in '96.
   3. Bob Tufts Posted: June 15, 2012 at 07:56 AM (#4157427)
And Schumer was responsible for the start of Anthony Weiner's political career.....and now my Congressional district has been blown up. Thanks!

   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:09 AM (#4157436)
From now on, I'm just voting for me! Until I get corrupt and unresponsive to my constituency,then it's fist shaking time.
   5. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:14 AM (#4157440)
As somebody who has been involved in electoral politics for most of my adult life, and was reading Bill James as a 10-year-old in 1984, I have long believed that the principles of sabermetrics could be used to great effect in politics and policy. This is a fun article, which links to a few books which are also worth reading.

That said, Chuck Schumer has nothing to do with any of this. Chuck Schumer is a politicians who ran for Congress in a strongly-partisan district (in his favor) and then has represented a state that is also highly partisan. His success is not based on innovative thinking.

An example of a couple of politicians who probably would be more interested in an article like this would be John Hickenlooper (a moderate Dem) of Colorado, Senator Ron Wyden (a liberal Dem) of Oregon, or even the pre-2006 Mitt Romney. Even a guy like Tom Coburn, conservative senator from Oklahoma, would probably be interested in this subject.
   6. Bob Tufts Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:17 AM (#4157442)
Shooty - I'll vote for you - and then vote to recall you shortly thereafter!
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:20 AM (#4157445)
kevin goldstein could not be more wrong. it is very uninformed

as a significant contributor to the gop i can state categorically state that my party employs a variety of methods to generate very targeted messaging to actual voters and that the days of the shotgun effect are going by the way side. this has not trickled down to congressional or state elections but that time is coming.

i am certain the dems are doing the same since there have been a number of articles describing the efforts of some computer whizerati hired by the president's campaign staff in 2008 who have been working on refining their system these past four years. the get out the vote is just one high profile effort in conjuction with the serious business of getting re-elected

i am sure things can be improved and improved significantly

but to suggest that politics is ignorant and isn't employing these methods is just wrong.

i know where my money goes and it ain't signs on front lawns
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:24 AM (#4157448)
Shooty - I'll vote for you - and then vote to recall you shortly thereafter!

That's all I ask. Get involved people!

As somebody who has been involved in electoral politics for most of my adult life, and was reading Bill James as a 10-year-old in 1984, I have long believed that the principles of sabermetrics could be used to great effect in politics and policy. This is a fun article, which links to a few books which are also worth reading.


I have a pet idea that I very rarely bore people with is to create some kind of independent group whose goal would be to gather data to try to determine if politicians are actually helping their constituents. It would be problematic because you'd have to decide what's important to measure. I think you could start with levels of literacy, poverty, unemployment, disease (rates of cancer, diabetes, things that may have an environmental cause), level of small business investment, etc. it would be nice to have some kind of objective measure of what's going on to circumvent the ideologues.
   9. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4157449)
As someone involved in lower-level politics, I do feel like traditional GOTV efforts (phone banks, door knocking, lit-dropping) are hugely inefficient, but I'm not sure what the more efficient way to use volunteers would be. It doesn't seem like it costs a lot of money, so maybe it just is what it is.
   10. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:28 AM (#4157452)
His success is not based on innovative thinking.
His success is based on Al D'Amato being a putz-head.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4157454)
the get out the vote only applies to the dems in real terms because gop voters are always motivated and the party hopes to be supplemented by angry independents.

dems need to help:

--the elderly either fill out their absentee ballots or get to the polls
--get legit voters registered especially with all the new voter id laws in place across teh country
--have vans ready to get the guys from the y to the polls to vote a few times (ha, ha)
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:32 AM (#4157456)
i will cut myself off now before the whackos show up in what is going to disintegrate into a politics thread. i posted because goldstein's comment was just way off base by like a few light years.
   13. bookbook Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:38 AM (#4157458)
While not discussing the A's recent string of success, I'm not sure how eager I'd be to see my side adopt "Moneyball" policies as a major driver of their success. I'm impressed this hasn't degenerated into a politics thread yet. (Though I have plenty to say on that subject, I've been dismayed that my golden prose has never converted the crazies on the other side of the fence from me!)
   14. The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4157463)
i will cut myself off now before the whackos show up in what is going to disintegrate into a politics thread.
I know, but I really felt like it was relevant to baseball and sabermetrics. (Perhaps that's an argument for not posting "Obama likes the White Sox!" articles for the hell of it and beating the dead horse. Anywho, hopefully we won't have to worry about any of it with the new site.)
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4157464)
da:

no worries. i think everyone with the sense god gave a rabbit understands the distinction.
   16. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4157467)
I don't think big data is as helpful to an individual candidate as it is to a party or party apparatus...

Nate Silver's work with polling, I think, would be well worth the investment for a national committee -- every cycle there are 'rising stars' who turn out to be duds, while there are a few surprises who make what should uncompetitive races competitive. It's extraordinarily valuable for the DCCC/RCCC/DSCC/RSCC to properly identify where resources should be spent. For example, I know the Dems heavily recruited Bob Kerrey to run in Nebraska, but I'm pretty confidant he's going to lose by 20. A smart DSCC would mine the polling data, know this, and instead -- earmark that money in unconventional places like perhaps North Dakota, where the dollars would stretch even further and Heidi Heitkamp is running surprisingly strong.

I'll 80% agree with HW about GOTV -- having been active on the D side, good operations/good campaigns I've worked for (like the Obama campaign and more than a few local Ds) have extremely accurate voter rolls and are very good at effectively getting their folks to the polls. We have contact targets, a fairly detailed support ranking, and appropriately deploy resources to get those votes out. Bad campaigns -- like both the Kerry and Dean campaign -- don't bother with the nuts and bolts, leave the GOTV and organization to unions and outside groups, and rely on 'events' which do nothing but bring already core supporters out.

EDIT: I'll wait until page 2 or 3 before unloading on the vote fraud ;-)
   17. BDC Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4157469)
I was going to say that if Bill James has as keen a grasp of political strategy as he does of famous murder cases, candidates should avoid him like the pest. But perhaps that would be cruel :)

And the idea of running a somewhat contrarian, or at least idiosyncratic, campaign isn't a bad one. The local politician in my county who has gained the highest profile in recent years is Wendy Davis, a Ft Worth politician who won a state Senate seat as a Democrat with views well to the left of almost any current Texan. She has argued adamantly on feminist issues and particularly on state support for education (in a state where the Romney message "hire fewer teachers" is extremely popular). She may well lose re-election to the Senate, thanks to some redistricting finesses and the fact that she's painted a big target on herself for the Tea Party to toss mud at. But while every other Democrat is trying to position themselves as Conservative and hold the line against taxes and spending, Davis has carved out her own constituency. If a few things break this way or that over the next few years, she could be US Senator or Governor – this is a very red state, but it sometimes happens that voters get fed up with one-party government and look for an alternative, and she's placing herself to become that alternative.
   18. Guapo Posted: June 15, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4157470)
As an example, he highlighted deer-related car crashes in his home state of Kansas. “No one talks about people hitting deer with their cars as a political issue, but in Kansas” it could work, he said…


"If elected, I will launch a fleet of unmanned drones to hover over the highways- and if they spot a deer hoof on paved asphalt, they will unleash HELL"

"Read my lips - no new roadkill"

"In my administration, the Axis of Evil will consist of Iran, North Korea... and Bambi"

I'm having trouble coming up with good pitches for highlighting this particular issue.
   19. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:08 AM (#4157476)
I'm having trouble coming up with good pitches for highlighting this particular issue.

We have nothing to deer, but deer itself.

   20. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4157478)

And the idea of running a somewhat contrarian, or at least idiosyncratic, campaign isn't a bad one. The local politician in my county who has gained the highest profile in recent years is Wendy Davis, a Ft Worth politician who won a state Senate seat as a Democrat with views well to the left of almost any current Texan. She has argued adamantly on feminist issues and particularly on state support for education (in a state where the Romney message "hire fewer teachers" is extremely popular). She may well lose re-election to the Senate, thanks to some redistricting finesses and the fact that she's painted a big target on herself for the Tea Party to toss mud at. But while every other Democrat is trying to position themselves as Conservative and hold the line against taxes and spending, Davis has carved out her own constituency. If a few things break this way or that over the next few years, she could be US Senator or Governor – this is a very red state, but it sometimes happens that voters get fed up with one-party government and look for an alternative, and she's placing herself to become that alternative.


I don't know if it's as much a matter of being contrarian or idiosyncratic as it is simply taking staking out some strong turf... and Texas stays red only as long latino turnout stays abysmal. I fully expect to see a purple Texas in my lifetime.
   21. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4157489)
There are a couple things here.

There is election winning, and there is a ton of analytics (I refuse to call it sabermetrics) already there. Analytics is my field and I have had tentitive offers from my side (Dems) to work on some of their projects. My life is crushingly busy (and it would involve too much travel and too little pay) so I have ignored it, but it is definitely out there on both sides. Having worked with Target's analytics and various other companies with huge amounts of data (and knowing many folsk in the industry) it is crazy how good the efforts are (though there are still misses, just last month I got a Romney fundraising mailer - seriously dudes I fit the demographic {high income middle aged white dude with spouse and kids} but any kind of personalization will tell you you are wasting money).

All that is aimed at the public to "mass personalize" and "micro target" (I think those are the correct terms, but the lingo may have evolved while I wasn't paying attention). Not much is aimed at candidates, for a variety of reasons, most having to do with sample size and getting good metrics.

The other side is politics itself (as suggested upthread). That is a MUCH different animal, and would be harder than even measurin candidates (or potential candidates). Each law is pretty much unique, and the various rules means not all votes are equal and sometimes you are voting against yourself for tactical reasons. Plus way more happens before the votes ever happen, and there are no good metrics for the backroom dealmaking. Plus (again) there are things like constiuent services and other in the weeds things that can easily make or break a politician (especially at the "lower" levels).

I agree above that Kerrey is doomed, but from a strategic perspective having him in the race (instead of "some dude") is that it forces the R team to keep there eye on the election and devote time, energy, and money to it that coudl instead go to some other race. Plus there is always the chance of unforced implosion, and if you have NOT "some guy" you could pick up a random seat just because. "Some guy" will almost never win and enablethe national forces to basically ignore the race - I will point out the guy running against Amy K in MN. he is so completely not going to win that pretty much everyone is going to ignore the race (except Amy who is a very good politician and will work hard and likely win going away).

Regarding GOTV, it is kind of expensive, but is also largely a volunteer driven effort on both sides (with I admit a huge assist from the analytics team) and is very cost effective - especially compared to big media buys (though I admit the relative cost/value of the various money spent varies depending on the level of campaign and what stage you are in).

I wish I had more time/energy to devote to politics.
   22. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4157492)
I don't know if it's as much a matter of being contrarian or idiosyncratic as it is simply taking staking out some strong turf... and Texas stays red only as long latino turnout stays abysmal. I fully expect to see a purple Texas in my lifetime.


People really do admire a politician that stands up for what they believe (even if what the politician believes is not what the voter believes). I suspect this is a strong reason 2010 worked out how it did and is part of Obamas current problem. Take a stand on something, but not everything and don't be crazy about it would be my (very) generic advice. Which is worth exactly what you paid for it.
   23. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4157500)


People really do admire a politician that stands up for what they believe (even if what the politician believes is not what the voter believes). I suspect this is a strong reason 2010 worked out how it did and is part of Obamas current problem. Take a stand on something, but not everything and don't be crazy about it would be my (very) generic advice. Which is worth exactly what you paid for it.


While I happen to think that Obama's gay marriage embrace was heartfelt more than calculated -- I actually think that the calculations work out well through that filter, too.

Anyone whose vote is going to come down to gay marriage was either already definitely voting FOR Obama or AGAINST Obama (I suppose you can make the argument he shored up disaffected liberals). The numbers are rapidly moving towards majority support - but it's still a 50/50 issue and frankly, the media has actually been 'helping' Obama, I think, by discussing quite a bit how this 'hurts him'.

What I think it will do is help him with indies/moderates who may or may not support gay marriage, but are more likely to view it as 'Obama taking a stand' than they are 'Obama taking a stand FOR/AGAINST something I'm FOR/AGAINST'.

Calculated, sincere, or some combination of both -- I think it's smart politics.
   24. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4157508)
#23 - Yeah. The calculation kind of depends on whether you think this is a "base turnout" election (the way to win is through exciting the base, and depressing the other base) or a "appeal to the non-partisans" election. Obviously every election is a combination, but which is predominant. It feels like both campaigns are settling into base turnout mode (for better or worse).

Obama is a very good politician, but on a couple areas he annoys me and gay rights was one of them - the "evolving" bit was pathetic, embarassing and bad politics (no matter your opinion on the subject, multiple years of an evolving opinion is feeble). I was glad he finally "got off the pot" so to speak.
   25. The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4157516)
Here's a piece of data that might have helped the campaign make the call there: It turned out that the majority of people who were against gay marriage thought that Obama was for it anyway :)

(Of course, data is based on what has happened in the past, and sometimes you get the situation where proceeding to act on the data drastically changes the circumstances that created it. One thing that has happened is that Obama's endorsement has itself made gay marriage more popular, driven in large part by the African-American community following his lead. I think that latter number went from 40/60 against gay marriage to 60/40 in favor almost literally overnight. I doubt the campaign predicted that, or if they did at all, certainly not to that extent.)
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4157518)
quick anecdote

i don't give a rats petootie about the whole who is marrying who issue but since my compadres wanted to yammer about it i suggested at one of the conferences we should frame it in terms of trying to keep more folks from having to deal with the marriage penalty in the tax code versus the current route

got a big laugh at least.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4157528)
Having worked on campaigns in a low-level way (both for the Dems and left third parties), I feel reasonably comfortable saying that James et al don't know what they're talking about. The most striking thing here, that shows how deeply uninformed they are, is that they're talking about minor issue-positions and tweaking perceptions of the candidate.

It's interesting that Rick Perry gets brought up, because his campaigns in Texas really did bring in political scientists and actually staged some real-life experiments, and what they found, over and over, was that issue-positions and character perception were terribly money-sucks that didn't actually produce results. What produces results are face-to-face contacts, and the further you get from face-to-face contacts, the weaker the effects. Perry ran up his margins by travelling the state to meet with local elites, charm small-town newspaper editors and businesswomen and sheriffs and pastors, get good press in local media, and develop strong foundations in small communities. He didn't do it by "seeming like he was a nice guy", he did it with the building of social capital and hard work.**

Campaigns, as Harvey and Bitter Mouse say, are spending big and working hard to develop better ways to target voters, better ways to develop on-the-ground social capital, and do the things that actually move votes. I don't doubt they could do it better, but I have a general rule that when political novices start writing up advice on how to manage issue positions and win elections by being "not like a normal politician", I stop reading. They rarely know what they're talking about.

**This isn't to say that you can take whatever issue positions you want and you can avoid going on the air with political commercials with scary low talking voiceover guy. It's just that the margins there are small - once you're positioned well enough, and running enough ads that aren't entirely embarrassing, you've done most of the job you're going to do. Winning votes mostly happens elsewhere.
   28. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4157540)

Obama is a very good politician, but on a couple areas he annoys me and gay rights was one of them - the "evolving" bit was pathetic, embarassing and bad politics (no matter your opinion on the subject, multiple years of an evolving opinion is feeble). I was glad he finally "got off the pot" so to speak.


As a liberal, I agree with you -- but then, frankly, I don't think Obama is especially liberal. I suspect he's not unlike a lot of guys his age and it really did just take him time to get to the point of "this is silly, what am I so afraid of?"

   29. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4157549)
It's interesting that Rick Perry gets brought up, because his campaigns in Texas really did bring in political scientists and actually staged some real-life experiments, and what they found, over and over, was that issue-positions and character perception were terribly money-sucks that didn't actually produce results. What produces results are face-to-face contacts, and the further you get from face-to-face contacts, the weaker the effects. Perry ran up his margins by travelling the state to meet with local elites, charm small-town newspaper editors and businesswomen and sheriffs and pastors, get good press in local media, and develop strong foundations in small communities. He didn't do it by "seeming like he was a nice guy", he did it with the building of social capital and hard work.**


Oh yeah - I think Perry is much better politician than his comedy fest national campaign showed... He was just wholly unprepared for a national campaign and unfortunately for him, a national primary is quite different than running for state office.
   30. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4157552)
I don't doubt they could do it better, but I have a general rule that when political novices start writing up advice on how to manage issue positions and win elections by being "not like a normal politician", I stop reading. They rarely know what they're talking about.


Feel free to generalize this. On pretty much every topic I have ever studied, the more I found out about it the more complex and nuanced it became and the more I discovered that people that were in the area actually did know what the heck they were talking about. Politics, baseball strategy, climate science, contruction, game design, you name it and the professionals really do know more than the amatuers, blow hards and wannabes. This should not be a revelation, but oddly many do not seem to get this.

Of course the flip side is that the experts never know as much as they think they do, and their expertise almost never generalizes past their area of study (See Bill James above).
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4157557)
Oh yeah - I think Perry is much better politician than his comedy fest national campaign showed... He was just wholly unprepared for a national campaign and unfortunately for him, a national primary is quite different than running for state office.
My pet theory, for what it's worth, is that his health was the big issue. Perry had recently had back surgery, and he was still in recovery when he blew up in the debates.

I think that Perry had to work extra hard to succeed because he's so dumb. It gave him thinner margins for error than people thought. So when he entered the toughest campaign of his life at maybe 75%, he just couldn't put in all the extra work he needed to do to make up for his being dumber than everyone else.
   32. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4157559)
Obama is not very liberal. He is a pragmatic center left candidate (basically exactly what he has campaigned as). I just think his waffling was feeble (and worse looked week and indecisive, even if it was genuine).

Yeah I knew Perry was a good politician but a bit dim, but the scope of his implosion caught me off guard. I honestly thought he would win the nomination (since it was a comically bad collection he was running against).

Mitt got plenty of breaks, but given where he started he did much better than I thought he would. He isn't a "natural politician" though so I am fascinated by what is going to happen in the general.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4157561)
Feel free to generalize this. On pretty much every topic I have ever studied, the more I found out about it the more complex and nuanced it became and the more I discovered that people that were in the area actually did know what the heck they were talking about. Politics, baseball strategy, climate science, contruction, game design, you name it and the professionals really do know more than the amatuers, blow hards and wannabes. This should not be a revelation, but oddly many do not seem to get this.

Of course the flip side is that the experts never know as much as they think they do, and their expertise almost never generalizes past their area of study (See Bill James above).
I broadly agree, but I just want to clarify one thing.

You've got the little self-contradiction here, where you say (rightly) that the experts will have their blind spots and their ignorances as well. What I was saying is that one way to tell, in politics, that a novice isn't saying anything interesting or revealing any surprising blind spots of the experts, is if they prattle on about positioning and advertising and "not being a traditional politician". That's when you can be particularly confident there's no there there.
   34. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4157563)
#31 - I suspect a good analysis. The question is, did it ruin his career, or will he rise again? I admit I have no idea. I can not channel what the typical R primary voter thinks and believes AT ALL, so I have no idea if he is damaged goods or how damaged.
   35. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4157565)
Mitt got plenty of breaks, but given where he started he did much better than I thought he would. He isn't a "natural politician" though so I am fascinated by what is going to happen in the general.
Me too. This looks like a true 50/50 election. We haven't had a true 50/50 election with an incumbent in decades. If I weren't so deeply invested in the outcome, it'd be easier to find it fascinating, rather than terrifying. But it's going to be a fascinating natural experiment in how campaigns are won and lost, because campaigning is going to matter significantly more than it does in a usual election.
   36. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4157567)
bitter

hey now, if you are talking about a politician in terms of being able to get deals done mitt romney is the very definition of politician. mitt knows how to make a deal.

if you are talking about a guy who can connect with voters in the clinton i feel your pain kind of way then maybe i will agree. romney is very good in small groups. he is an intense listener. big groups he is still feeling his way.

but romney is learning and if anyone can learn to fake empathy it is mitt
   37. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4157573)
Campaigns, as Bitter Mouse says, are spending big and working hard to develop better ways to target voters, better ways to develop on-the-ground social capital, and do the things that actually move votes. I don't doubt they could do it better, but I have a pretty hard and fast rule that when political novices start writing up advice on how to manage issue positions and win elections by being "not like a normal politician", I stop reading. They rarely know what they're talking about.
Sortof the inverse of college math professors dabbling in baseball analysis as if there weren't already significant research done and they're the first to think of it?
   38. BDC Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4157577)
I should say that I agree with MCoA's points about organization. To invoke Wendy Davis, again, she is a very visible face in her district, and her campaign people are the only ones in years to come to my door and engage my support. She does things very much in the social-capital sense. But she also, as zonk notes, speaks to and for people who are ignored by the extremely standard local-candidate line in North Texas ("I'm a hard-hitting law-and-order type who will cut taxes to the bone"). Her visibility comes from speaking for constituencies that have felt left out (and that's no different from notable right-wing campaigns of the past, either).

   39. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4157579)
HW - I am talking about more connecting with voters and being genuine. He seems to make way too many unforced errors and it always feels in large group settings like he is doing a high wire act and could crash at any second. He never seems to (in a real damaging way though), but he just does not seem comfortable being the politician in the spotlight to me.

I fully admit the whole passage above is just gut feel and worth a vice presidential warm bucket of spit.

As to the back room deals and such I pretty much don't think you get to be where he is without being skilled at that. Of course Obama is as well. I think they both "got game", but - ignoring how skillfully or well they might govern - Obama seems (again my opinion) to be a better campaigner than Mitt.

How much does campaigning matter though? A huge amount of elections is underlying fundementals (like the economy) which has nothing to do with how "likeable" a candidate is. I think it great my guy scores as more likeable in pretty much every survey ever, but I am not convinced it will help except around the edges (so long as Romney runs a tight ship).
   40. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4157585)
I just want to point out this is a very cordial politics thread. Thanks everyone.
   41. BDC Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4157597)
As to Perry, he presents a number of contradictions of interest. Despite the image he presented nationally of stone-stupid Neanderthal elected by people dumber than he is, there are two odd things about him: like Bush 43, he is much more moderate locally than he came across nationally (like 43, he has to deal with real people all the time as Governor, not abstractions); and despite his moderation, he was severely challenged from the even more moderate wings of his party in the 2010 GOP primary (winning just 51% of the vote). And (aside from his own ineptitude) the one thing that cost Perry in debates was his lack of xenophobia. Texas is infinitely to the left of Arizona on immigration issues (in fact, aside from California and New Mexico, it's probably to the left of 46 other states too: having an actual border, instead of just a hysterical image of one, tends to do that). So we had the weird spectacle of Perry, even though he'd shifted his positions rightward to run nationally, still being outflanked from the right by Romney over the issue of whether "illegal" children should get tuition benefits and a path to naturalization. It's hard, as a domestically naturalized Texan myself, not to sympathize with him at times. Though I still make a point of voting against him every chance I get …
   42. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4157603)
I just want to point out this is a very cordial politics thread. Thanks everyone.


Well so much for that.
   43. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4157609)
bitter

well, the president is regarded in washington as being a poor deal maker. romney is regarded with awe in the investment community.
   44. tshipman Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4157610)
This looks like a true 50/50 election.


Only if you believe the Bradley effect thing. Otherwise, this is at worse a 60/40 election (with Obama favored) or even closer to 70/30 than 50/50. We're still a long ways out, obviously.

Also a lot depends on your current read of the economy/jobs picture. Macro forecasting was predicting 2% GDP growth at the start of the year, and that's been cut down slightly so far. Continued GDP growth and even tepid jobs growth (150,000 per month) probably puts O in the catbird seat. Now, most elected Democratic officials are a bunch of pants-pissers, so obviously there's a lot of concern. I don't think there should be.
   45. McCoy Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4157613)
I just want to point out this is a very cordial politics thread. Thanks everyone.

Ray, David, and Andy haven't awakened yet.
   46. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4157617)
intrade has the president's chances at 52.6

in the range seems about right to me
   47. BDC Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4157625)
My favorite aggregator has Obama with 263 EV, Romney with 246 in the latest polls. Split the 29 "ties" down the middle, and Obama would be slightly ahead, but you can't split them: it's fracking Florida :)
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4157626)
Only if you believe the Bradley effect thing. Otherwise, this is at worse a 60/40 election (with Obama favored) or even closer to 70/30 than 50/50.
Well, I don't know that we have the tools to make crisp distinctions between 50/50 and 60/40 environments. And I could be wrong, but I haven't seen 70/30 out there in discussions of the economic fundamentals, at least since recovery winter turned out to be mostly a weather effect.

(Plus there's the overhanging risk of EuroDoom.)
   49. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4157637)
bitter

well, the president is regarded in washington as being a poor deal maker. romney is regarded with awe in the investment community.


I think political deal making is quite different than financial deal making, though --

Everyone in financial deal is out to make money. The only thing to work out is who gets how much (and how much each side is entitled to).

Political deals are fundamentally different in that it's not wholly about money. In almost every case, there are significant and diametrically opposing ideological concerns. Health care? Is it a 'right' or close enough that a non-profit-seeking entity (i.e., the government) should ensure affordable access, or, is it a private enterprise matter; a service like getting your oil changed that the government shouldn't have a role in? Gay marriage? Immigration? Taxes, spending, and the deficit? These just aren't things where the current state of things allows the two-sides to work out a deal.

At risk of spoiling the thread's comity, I would frankly hope a President Romney would deal as recalcitrant a Democratic party as Obama was with the Republican party... I wish we weren't living in such an environment, but frankly -- if, as the Indiana GOP Senate candidate put it, "compromise is you giving up and agreeing with me" -- then I'm just not ready to buy into a governing philosophy that I find diametrically opposed to my own core values.
   50. tshipman Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4157638)
Well, I don't know that we have the tools to make crisp distinctions between 50/50 and 60/40 environments. And I could be wrong, but I haven't seen 70/30 out there in discussions of the economic fundamentals, at least since recovery winter turned out to be mostly a weather effect.


I'm sure you're aware, but others might not be. Nate Silver has Obama at 60% overall, and 80% if the election were held today.

The "Western Route" really, to my mind, favors Democratic politicians at this point in history. O can win while losing Ohio and Florida, for instance.


My favorite aggregator has Obama with 263 EV, Romney with 246 in the latest polls. Split the 29 "ties" down the middle, and Obama would be slightly ahead, but you can't split them: it's fracking Florida :)


No offense, but that polling aggregator seems a little broken. It has FL as tossup with OH leaning R? That is ... not likely.
   51. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4157639)
My favorite aggregator
Why do you like that? It's not an aggregator at all. It just takes the most recent poll of the state and assigns electoral votes based on that. It produces a ton of screwy results - New Hampshire, Tennesse, and Michigan are clearly classified incorrectly, for instance.

Nate Silver's got his numbers up, and I think his are the best right now. Once we get into the fall, Silver's fundamentals-based regressions won't be as much help, but for now I think he's right to pour big glasses of cold water on weird polling in Oregon and Arizona.
   52. The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4157641)
So we kind of have three points of view going on:

? The hip young kids (Nate Silver, Matt Yglesias, Brendan Nyhan, etc.) basically believe that people vote for the ruling party if they like how things are going, vote against it if they don't, and campaign strategy, "gaffes", etc. doesn't matter much at all.

? Silver's semi-brethren interviewed in TFA -- James, Keri, etc. -- seem to think that a campaign's platform and strategy can in fact make a huge difference.

? And then some other semi-brethren here think that it's not platform/campaign room strategy that can potentially make a huge difference, but rather knock-on-the-door retail politics.

This is interesting.
   53. rr Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4157643)
cordial politics thread.


No one is talking directly about his worldview. The threads that are actually contentious are worldview threads, even when they hit baseball topics, like PEDs--not political strategy threads.
   54. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4157650)
zonk

um, you are a true believer if you think washington deals are about anything but money. it's how everything is calculated.

sure there are core beliefs driving the actions. but ultimately the folks there have people they are responding to and the financial impmact is top of the list of concerns.

every so often the moneyed interests and the publics interests align and its a good thing. doesn't happen very often.
   55. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4157654)
So we kind of have three points of view going on:

- The hip young kids (Nate Silver, Matt Yglesias, Brendan Nyhan, etc.) basically think people vote for the ruling party if they like how things are going, vote against it if they don't, and campaign strategy, "gaffes", etc. doesn't matter much at all.

- Silver's semi-brethren interviewed in TFA -- James, Keri, etc. -- seem to think that a campaign's platform and strategy can in fact make a huge difference.

- And then some other semi-brethren here think that it's not platform/strategy that could potentially make a huge difference, but rather knock-on-the-door retail politics.

This is interesting.


I don't think any of the three are mutually exclusive, though -- I think it's a matter of order of importance.

Personally, I'd put them in the order you laid them out at a national level.

Assuming no scandal or other noise in the election, at an individual/local/state level --

1) 'ruling party' essentially means the political/ideological tilt of the landscape... Republicans in conservative districts will get elected and Democrats in liberal districts will get elected. The increasingly few true 'swing' districts will largely hinge on right track/wrong track numbers.

2) Campaign effectiveness can trump 1) only if it's close enough... Harry Reid is a good case in point -- with approvals in the 30s, he should have lost last time out, even against a gaffe machine. However, he ran a super smart, super tough, and frankly -- super vicious campaign -- campaign. Despite the fact he's been in DC forever, he was quite effective in making Angle out to be a creation of a national political movement, not a Nevada political movement.

3) effective GOTV/retail politics can only tilt if 2) isn't abysmal and 1) isn't insurmountable.

I think there are exceptions and reordering possibilities -- if your 2)campaign is just abysmal, you'd better be in a D/R +20 district or red state. If you're in an R/D +20 district -- then chances are you're going to be well-covered by 3) -- poor Democratic candidates don't lose in Chicago proper simply because there's an enormous and effective apparatus that can get the vote out.
   56. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4157662)
zonk

um, you are a true believer if you think washington deals are about anything but money. it's how everything is calculated.

sure there are core beliefs driving the actions. but ultimately the folks there have people they are responding to and the financial impmact is top of the list of concerns.

every so often the moneyed interests and the publics interests align and its a good thing. doesn't happen very often.


I wouldn't say I'm a true believer -- I just happen to think that most people -- left and right -- DO get into politics for the 'right' reasons. The waters get murky when it comes to actually writing and passing legislation, especially sweeping legislation, but I think the number of people who actively look out for 'their people (and 'their money'/'their people's money') first and foremost are few and far between.

Believe it or not - it wasn't a Democrat, but actually a Republican that led me to believe this... The recently defeated Dick Lugar, in fact.
   57. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4157670)
No one is talking directly about his worldview. The threads that are actually contentious are worldview threads, even when they hit baseball topics, like PEDs--not political strategy threads.


Agree to an extent, but I think the NBA thread is cordial partly because it is mentioned and thought of as being cordial,and I hoped mentioning it might just be the Cargo Cult magic needed to keep this thread cordial.

HW - I get what you are saying about deal making and I can't disagree about Romney (though I would argue Obama is underrated), but I am talking just about campaigning and not governing. He went from nowhere to beating the Clinton machine as a black guy with a funny name in just a few years. Seriously the dude has some campaigning chops (love him or hate him), though I admit he had some breaks along the way (but everyone has including Mitt).

If I were to rank importance I would say ... Fundementals are the most important (economy and demographics being the big two, with foreign affairs/national security looming as always), but in a close election (and truly in the primary) campaigns matter. For most campaigns retail matters, but for presidential (especially with an incumbant) it matters less so, but his efforts will matter for down ballot races a bunch (which is why I want him campaigning in marginal states).

As to how close I think it is, my SWAG is 65/35 - since I do believe Obama has some advantages (demographics, incumbancy) and is a heck of a campaigner. Based on my skill of projecting this means Romney is basically assured the presidency.

EDIT: or what zonk said in 55 (which is clearer)
   58. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4157673)
you are a true believer if you think washington deals are about anything but money. it's how everything is calculated


Yes, both DC deals and corporate world deals are about money. But that doesn't mean that there aren't fundamental differences. In the business world one is working primarily with people who are at least somewhat motivated to make the deal. In Washington, one is often dealing with people who have a vested interest in prolonging the argument rather than bringing it to a conclusion.
   59. Sunday silence Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4157678)
). Not much is aimed at candidates, for a variety of reasons, most having to do with sample size and getting good metrics.


Plus I would think Obama and Romney pretty much know how they are going to vote.
   60. Russ Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4157683)
Obama is a very good politician, but on a couple areas he annoys me and gay rights was one of them - the "evolving" bit was pathetic, embarassing and bad politics (no matter your opinion on the subject, multiple years of an evolving opinion is feeble). I was glad he finally "got off the pot" so to speak.


My reading of this in the Audacity of Hope is that Obama doesn't believe that the government should be in the marriage business because he actually thinks churches and religion can be positive vehicles for change and the gay marriage issue really affects that dynamic. I think Obama was truly uncomfortable with the position that by legalizing gay marriage you're opening up several major religions to the possibility of discrimination suits. If you belong to the Catholic church and you're gay, the Catholic church will refuse to marry you, even if gay marriage is protected by law. Even though people can always be married by a justice of the peace (who would be compelled to marry gay people at the risk of being accused of discrimination), what if you really *really* wanted to be married in a Catholic church? Could a gay person sue the Catholic church for the right to be married in such a place? Even if such a suit is unlikely to win due to various interpretations of separation of church and state, the mere fact that religious clergy can bestow legal rights on people is probably challenging for Obama. Given his positive experiences with churches as a community organizer, this was a very sticky wicket for him.

Even if Obama believed that same-sex couples should be able to marry, his legalistic mind combined with his connection to churches probably made it very difficult for him to support legal measures to allow for same-sex marriage (or, in the same vein, to forbid disallowing it). And I think it has nothing to do with political calculation, and more with personal conflicts that he was dealing with. He takes his job as President quite seriously (much more than his opponent apparently would) and it is one of the things that makes him such a strong candidate for re-election.




   61. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4157693)
Plus I would think Obama and Romney pretty much know how they are going to vote.


LOL. Not what I was trying to say, but my lack of clarity is my problem (and your funny). I would explain myself, but the image of running a focus group and then polling to determine if politicians were in fact going to vote for themselves is too darn funny to ruin.
   62. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4157697)
cer:

there is resident inertia to overcome in any deal. there is always some constituency that has the ability to delay the process unless enticed to move.

the real difference is that in washington there are legislative levers that can be pulled. that is why you have cagey folks from the house and senate as part of your inner circle

that more than anything has hamstrung the president. harry reid is no match for mitch mcconnell. it's a joke. in the house pelosi is pretty tough but there are so many dimwits in the dem caucus you might as well be trying to pick up a greased pig with a pair of giant tongs.

in the gop we have discipline. sure the tea party folks get uppity now and then. but mostly we have unified purpose. and its enforced ruthlessly

ve have ways of getting members to.............cooperate
   63. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4157704)
russ

mitt romney is a very serious guy. i don't know how one comes to the conclusion that he wouldn't take this role seriously.

he has been intensely serious about everything he has ever done in life.
   64. Sunday silence Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4157706)
intrade has the president's chances at 52.6


Where do they have CLemens's?
   65. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4157707)
HW - How the Senate works (versus House) makes Reid's job much harder than Pelosi's. That said Pelosi is very tough (and Boehner, ummm, not so much). The Senate rules and traditions are such I am not sure how best to evaluate Reid versus McConnell. I do know Reid did much better (relatively) when in the minority than in the majority - still he has never impressed me all that much (though I was impressed by his last election win, though I admit his opponent helped).
   66. smileyy Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4157709)
(Obama) is a pragmatic center left candidate


The important part of this, if true, is how far to the right the center is. The center seems to involve, at a minimum, multiple endless wars, widespread surveillance and denial of civil liberties.
   67. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4157711)
intrade has the president's chances at 52.6


I would love to see a quatitative analysis of the accuracy of intrade at various points in elections. I suspect it is not that great, but I have no real clue.
   68. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4157719)
#66 - Not to be too cynical but i think big chunks of the Obama foreign policy (though I conceed not all) has to do with appeasing the "washington elite" and other "serious" people and removing foreign policy as a weakness. In polling Obama comes out very well on foreign policy and has none of the usual Dem weakness there (note I am talking public opinion and not my own).

it would be fatal to have weakness in both domestic and foreign policy. Since he had limited control of domestic (we can argue how much he has or had) taking control of foreign affairs and making it a strength was very smart politically.

Of course it could also be what he believes, but that makes for a less fun analysis.
   69. The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4157722)
Where do they have CLemens's?
I guess Intrade doesn't do sports. Surely there must be a place you can go to place a bet on whether a guy will get elected to the HOF, right? But I don't know where. Maybe it only pops up in December for the guys who are on the current ballot? In any event, it'd be interesting to see "official" odds on that.
   70. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4157723)
bitter

mitch is a throwback to lbj in the senate. he's combination folksy bs, arm twister and weasel. i always love when mitch does his righteous indignation routine. kills me every time

reid is no match
   71. zonk Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4157724)
The important part of this, if true, is how far to the right the center is. The center seems to involve, at a minimum, multiple endless wars, widespread surveillance and denial of civil liberties.


I think it is true and I also think it's unfortunate... but it is what it is.
   72. Sunday silence Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4157726)
And I think it has nothing to do with political calculation, and more with personal conflicts that he was dealing with. He takes his job as President quite seriously


you are so crazy. The gay marriage position had everything to do with finger to the wind politics. You could sort of tell it because of the time it took and also because of the way they said his position is "evolving."

Not an objective measure but just an intuitive feel I get. Mostly because he's done this thing before like when he voted to give the telecoms a blanket pardon for any wrongdoing when they let the gov't eaves drop on basically all our emails.

I hate that sh!t. Even now I am getting a pop up on my email: "Do you like blankets? Click here."
   73. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4157729)
bitter

the use of drones is a matter of logic

his base is vehemently opposed to guantanamo
he knows sending folks there is a rallying cry for the bad guys
he committed to drawing down the troops
he stated during his campaign that he would target the bad guys no matter where they were located

so there is no capturing of bad guys. they are killed by technology assisted by intel gathered by elite forces who were already on the payroll before the war and will always be on the payroll.

any dem who gets his britches in a bind over the use of drones should recognize that it was his own party that forced the president down this path.

it's the only logical recourse
   74. Sunday silence Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4157736)

LOL. Not what I was trying to say, but my lack of clarity is my problem


No actually your insight is really cool but you start to throw around terms like SWAC and GOTV or whatever and it totally loses me. Now I finally get it: Get Out the Vote. I was thinking it was some new TV channel or something. Beyond acronyms you can write clearer by sort of breaking down your sentences like into two ideas and then try rewriting one complex sentence as two simple ones. Some guy who annoys me on another forum told me this and it really works...



Of course the flip side is that the experts never know as much as they think they do, and their expertise almost never generalizes past their area of study (See Bill James above).


But I think a larger part of it is that anytime you have a peer group review (such as this forum) the level of thinking is self corrected and it rises probably to the highest level possible. Bill James is creative and intelligent but even he says things maybe 25% of the time that are just bat sh!t crazy. With others around to police that sort of thing, you can seperate the wheat from the chaff very quickly.
   75. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4157745)
you can write clearer by sort of breaking down your sentences like into two ideas and then try rewriting one complex sentence as two simple ones


I pretty much write like crap here, but in real life I've basically made a career out of this advice.
   76. The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4157748)
No actually your insight is really cool but you start to throw around terms like SWAC and GOTV or whatever and it totally loses me. Now I finally get it: Get Out the Vote. I was thinking it was some new TV channel or something.... Some guy who annoys me on another forum told me this and it really works.
Was it Bill James? Because he says that all the time about acronyms ;-)
   77. BDC Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4157797)
Why do you like that? It's not an aggregator at all. It just takes the most recent poll of the state and assigns electoral votes based on that

I like it because it's simple. It actually doesn't disagree with Silver very much at all (it agrees with him on all the states people have been mentioning except Michigan), and I think it gives a good quick sense of what would happen were the election to take place tomorrow. Silver, I admit, had an awesomely good sense of what eventually happened in 2008, but I find his whole methodology a bit of a black box – it's like reading third-remove power rankings of the major-league teams instead of looking at the morning standings :) Probably like baseball, I just don't have the heart to look at somebody's poll lead now and translate that into a ten-point swing the other way come November; it seems to me that now is now. In November, November will be now, and we'll see what happens.
   78. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4157798)
you are so crazy. The gay marriage position had everything to do with finger to the wind politics. You could sort of tell it because of the time it took and also because of the way they said his position is "evolving."
That was less finger-to-the-wind than circumstances. Between North Carolina and then Biden, it was impossible for the President to not have a position on the issue. (Note that it was also impossible for Romney to avoid the issue as well, and his answer(s) was/were clearly not calculated.)
   79. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4157819)
what has gotten campaigns into high gear on analytics is the increasing concern they are not reaching a reliable cross-section of voters in polls. that the public is working ever harder not to be reached and that polls are headed down a path where the only people responding are those desperate to respond. (or encouraged to respond by their party)

like the couple in glengarry glen ross where jack lemmon makes the sale only the kevin spacey office manager tells him the sale is a joke because the buyers are known loons who just like to speak with salespeople.
   80. The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4157826)
Couldn't Obama have staked out a federalist position; essentially, that it just wasn't a federal government problem? (This would go along with the position of declining to defend DOMA that he had already taken.)

Admittedly, this strategy does not work if you're Rudy Giuliani trying to justify a pro-choice position in a Republican primary. But it's quite different when you're the incumbent President, trying to justify a position on a social issue in an election that will center on the economy, and in any event a position that has won 25 of 25 statewide elections, or whatever the number is.

I don't think Obama necessarily "had to decide"... I assume he felt that gay community enthusiasm and money would outweigh the various disadvantages of the decision, especially since, as stated, it's not a key issue for the median voter, and lots of people thought he was for it anyway.

what has gotten campaigns into high gear on analytics is the increasing concern they are not reaching a reliable cross-section of voters in polls.
Yeah, certainly this has gotta be a huge issue for them, with so many people dropping landline phones, and with Internet polls being very problematic.
   81. Russ Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4157829)
mitt romney is a very serious guy. i don't know how one comes to the conclusion that he wouldn't take this role seriously.


Serious people change their mind, but explain in plain terms why they've changed it. I don't blame Romney for reversing almost all of his political views in the last 10 years, but I do blame him for not once coming up with a convincing reason (or even trying to come up with a convincing reason) for why they've changed. In other words, serious politicians take their constituents seriously. There is no evidence that Romney does this. He pays attention to what they say, but it is clear from everything that I've seen and read about him (in both liberal and conservative sources) that he does not take the American public seriously.


   82. Rants Mulliniks Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4157839)
I love how you guys can talk about US presidential politics like its some game of strategy game on a distant planet that has no outcome on your own dad-to-day life.
   83. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4157843)
I love how you guys can talk about US presidential politics like its some game of strategy game on a distant planet that has no outcome on your own day-to-day life.

I always thought people talked about it here like a strategy game on this planet that has significant outcome on their day-to-day lives. What are you looking for that you aren't getting, exactly?
   84. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4157849)
russ

that's just wrong. what gets mitt in a twist is he doesn't want to be branded as having lied to someone as in ever. being a business guy branding is critical to him and on a personal level he is all about personal integrity.

i am not a mitt guy i am a newt guy but i will speak to mitt's positives and negatives.

and stating he does not take his fellow americans seriously could not be further from the truth.
   85. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4157873)
russ

i am only this definite because i know this perception to be inaccurate and unfair to mitt

look, he's not my kind of guy. he's a private equity guy who takes the whole shareholder value thing to the max versus sometimes taking a longer view to keep the business viable and folks employed. he has clearly flip-flopped on topics for political expediency but that is because his party has a resident wing of whackos where you have to bow/scrape before getting their blessing and even then they can turn on you like pit vipers. his hair is too perfect and he looks dumb in jeans and for the christ i wish he would stop trying to pretend to be human because he made his bones being a money making can do machine and that is how he should sell himself

but he takes the public seriously. like he does everything else
   86. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4157875)
What is Romney serious about? He's serious about making money. He's serious about winning the election. I don't see a lot of evidence that's he's serious about policy.
   87. Rants Mulliniks Posted: June 15, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4157880)
What are you looking for that you aren't getting, exactly?


Maybe some recognition that politicians are lying sacks of ####?
   88. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4157892)
Maybe some recognition that politicians are lying sacks of ####?

More than the rest of humanity? Eh. Not seeing it.

But I still can't grasp what this has to do with what you expressed in #82.
   89. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4157894)
i am being put in the rare position of having to defend mitt romney since nobody has savaged him more in the lounge than me

mitt can go toe to toe on a lot of policy issues. he is not mr. sophisticated on foreign items unreleated to trade or the impact of european debt on american markets. the president would be well served in exploiting this gap as the gov. relies on reciting party doctrine which is often narrow in its scope and impractical

but anything in the contiguous 48 he is on it like a cheap suit. he eats, breathes, sleeps the facts/figures.

if you don't like some of his facts/figures it's likely because he is shading them to smear the president. that's politics
   90. squatto Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4157895)
i will cut myself off now before the whackos show up in what is going to disintegrate into a politics thread. i posted because goldstein's comment was just way off base by like a few light years.

This thread has been entertaining so far. I'll give Goldstein, et. al. the benefit of the doubt. There's not much in the way of publicly available datasets to work with. I'm glad that someone with analytics experience chimed in. The proprietary data that are available are extraordinary, and you've got some scary smart people using it in the commercial sector. The tools and techniques are improving and increasingly penetrating other realms.

I forget where I found the article because I'd like to link it. It discusses a huge initiative that the Dems are undertaking to merge their different datasets together to vastly improve their analytic capacity. Big, big money is going into the project. Suffice it to say that the Dems aren't being stupid about this.
   91. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4157900)
really the country has a unique opportunity this election year

1, you have two very different views from which to choose. anyone who suggests both parties are the same is deranged

2, you have two really smart guys. sure they have flaws but the nation should be pleased that folks of this quality want this awful, ridiculous job
   92. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4157904)
His success is based on Al D'Amato being a putz-head.

This. No one cared that D'Amato called Schumer a putzhead -- heck, his anti-PC behavior was part of his charm -- only that he inexplicably denied saying it, thereby making him appear dishonest.
   93. booond Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4157905)
1, you have two very different views from which to choose. anyone who suggests both parties are the same is deranged


Three views - Mitt past, Mitt present and Obama.
   94. squatto Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4157906)
Yeah, certainly this has gotta be a huge issue for them, with so many people dropping landline phones, and with Internet polls being very problematic.

You've nailed a couple of hot buttons. First, an internet poll can be just as accurate as any other so long as the principles behind representative sampling are followed; as they should be with any mail-based, phone-based or in-person interview poll. Of course a "poll" that collects data from any internet idiot who wants to respond is garbage, just as a poll based on questionnaires filled out by anyone who wanted to in person is garbage. All internet polls are not created equal, and some are very reflective of the population they're meant to reflect.

Second, there's a lot of on-going effort to create cell phone sampling frames to reduce coverage bias. More of an issue, I suspect, is non-response bias. That's a problem that crosses data collection modes. Mixed mode is the way to go, and if you look at the program of the annual convention at something like the American Association of Public Opinion Research you'll see lots of presentations on how survey methods are changing to adapt to changing communication technologies. Address-based sampling appears to be the next wave, from what I can tell.
   95. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4157908)
1, you have two very different views from which to choose. anyone who suggests both parties are the same is deranged


Yep: 2012 will present a clear choice between the millionaire, corporatist, power-grabbing, pro-death-penalty, War-on-(some)-Drugs-continuing, civil-liberties-trampling, deportation-happy Security State warmonger... and the Republican.
   96. OCF Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4157921)
The news today includes the fact that President Obama is issuing an executive order that offers the children of undocumented immigrants who came to the US young and graduated from high school or served in the military both a guarantee of non-deportation and a renewable work permit.

Of course there are political motivations. But I'll say this: I personally know more than one person who will directly benefit from this, and I'm very happy for them.
   97. Rants Mulliniks Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4157923)
Yep: 2012 will present a clear choice between the millionaire, corporatist, power-grabbing, pro-death-penalty, War-on-(some)-Drugs-continuing, civil-liberties-trampling, deportation-happy Security State warmonger... and the Republican.


Exactly.

And Lassus, re: 88. Sociopaths gravitate to politics like moths to a flame, and as a rule (that has been in place since at least Machiavelli's time) the most extreme of the lot rise to the top, because they are unburdened by a functioning conscience. As a result, they can lie without regret, give orders to kill (hundreds, thousands, and yes, millions) without remorse, and do any number of other unethical acts. Do we need government? Of course, but the only check that has ever been effective against them is an informed populace with a high capacity for critical thought, and we all know that does not exist in North America today.

I'm not going to continue with this thread because it will just be a rehash. I just don't understand human psychology well enough to grasp how people can listen to campaign after campaign full of promises, then suffer through administration after administration of complete reversals on said promises, and still be optimistic enough to sign up to do it all again. If that doesn't fit Einstein's definition of insanity I don't know what does.
   98. Randy Jones Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4157931)
I just don't understand human psychology well enough to grasp how people can listen to campaign after campaign full of promises, then suffer through administration after administration of complete reversals on said promises, and still be optimistic enough to sign up to do it all again.


I totally agree with this. And I even have a degree in psychology.
   99. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4157937)
cold

there is change. it may not come at the speed folks want but change does happen.

the govt and in turn this country is a huge apparatus. it's a bit unreasonable to expect things to evolve rapidly

just my two cents
   100. squatto Posted: June 15, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4157940)
I just don't understand human psychology well enough to grasp how people can listen to campaign after campaign full of promises, then suffer through administration after administration of complete reversals on said promises, and still be optimistic enough to sign up to do it all again.

It's amazing that there's not more suicide. You're going to die; what's the point of living? Or as Alvy Singer put it, what's the point? The universe is expanding!

Hope, besides being a thing with feathers, is harder to kill than antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I don't know why that is, or why the old lady swallowed a fly. I think it's one of the great things about humans, myself.
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