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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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   201. The District Attorney Posted: June 15, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4158402)
What's that Larry Manhken quote again?
"Boy, I can't wait to see a dead deer on the Yankees."
   202. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:00 PM (#4158404)
I said:
I'm sure you can cite these people and link to their cutting, cogent analysis.
Esoteric, while I'm glad for you that you have a job working in Washington and have taken to posturing on the internet that you're a very important person, a simple "no" would have sufficed.
   203. greenback calls it soccer Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4158418)
Living in Indiana, where Lugar just lost in a senatorial primary, I can't believe anyone is buying this stuff about the Tea Party being under control. I suppose hubris is a necessary part of being in the Establishment.
   204. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 12:06 AM (#4158424)
Living in Indiana, where Lugar just lost in a senatorial primary, I can't believe anyone is buying this stuff about the Tea Party being under control. I suppose hubris is a necessary part of being in the Establishment.

But the real question would've been this: If Lugar had won, how many Tea Partiers would've sat out the general election and risked giving the Dems control of the Senate? That's what Harvey was getting at wrt to the presidency, but the same point applies to the downticket races.
   205. Loren F. Posted: June 16, 2012 at 01:14 AM (#4158438)
With all due respect to everyone, I completely believe that Esoteric has encountered a shift in sentiment on the presidential race. However, I suspect we will see several shifts of similar magnitude between now and November. (I would bet money that the Romney campaign does not consider Obama a "walking dead man," although it would please me if they made that mistake.)

Actually, are there any political scientists (I use the term here without irony) who know if research has been done on whether shifts in sentiment in presidential races have increased in frequency -- IOW, do the polls swing back and forth from 55%/45% to 45%/55% and the like more frequently now than 30 years ago? Or 50 years ago? Are the swing voters who move the 10%-20% that's actually in play in national polls swinging more frequently now due to the volume and velocity of information/communication in our 24-hour news cycle, Internet, Twitter, smartphone world?
   206. Lassus Posted: June 16, 2012 at 06:29 AM (#4158469)
Agreed. The thread has outlived its usefulness, it's just spitballing now. Close please.

"The fact that I'm not enjoying this means no one else should be able to."

   207. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 07:46 AM (#4158472)
Actually, are there any political scientists (I use the term here without irony) who know if research has been done on whether shifts in sentiment in presidential races have increased in frequency -- IOW, do the polls swing back and forth from 55%/45% to 45%/55% and the like more frequently now than 30 years ago? Or 50 years ago? Are the swing voters who move the 10%-20% that's actually in play in national polls swinging more frequently now due to the volume and velocity of information/communication in our 24-hour news cycle, Internet, Twitter, smartphone world?

Paranoid that I am, I check RCP at least twice a day. Just in the last month, I've seen Rasmussen's daily tracking polls** go from Romney +4 to Obama +2 (less than a week ago) to Romney +2 (yesterday), with every point in between. Whatever shifts there have actually been beyond sampling errors certainly don't seem to be lasting for more than a few days at most. It's hard for me to believe that the outcome of this election will be determined by anything beyond (1) the economic indicators; (2) how well the Dems can get their base to the polls (you know the GOP base will be motivated); and (3) how the campaigns can frame those economic indicators to the other party's disadvantage among the small number of voters in the relatively small number of states that are truly undecided at this point.

The other factor is Super PAC money, but I don't see that as being all that critical on the presidential level if the Dems and their allies concentrate their resources in the swing states. It would, however, be nice to see a few key personalities take up E. J. Dionne's suggestion for a group of public-spirited billionaires and multi-millionaires to pledge to counter the Kochs' and the Adelsons' contributions on a one-for-one basis and level the playing field. When you look at Warren Buffett's holdings and compare it to all the Super PAC money they're talking about, you quickly realize that for someone like Buffett this would amount to little more than chump change. But once again, it comes down to conviction, not resources.

**which are supposed to be Republican-biased, but I haven't seen any real evidence of that, and anyway it's the shifts in the numbers I'm talking about, not the numbers themselves
   208. Sunday silence Posted: June 16, 2012 at 07:48 AM (#4158473)
I understand that you will reject everything I've just written here because it doesn't accord with your hopes and desires...


Jesusfukinchrist dude, get a clue. I have no love for Obama, if you read my previous post it was about how Obama had sold out on the telecomunications act. I have little rooting interesting this time around, I will say that Obama doesnt seem corrupt and neither does Romney; as Harvey said they are actually some of the better choices we seem to have had in recent years.

Some of you really should check your medication levels.
   209. Sunday silence Posted: June 16, 2012 at 07:50 AM (#4158474)
"The fact that I'm not enjoying this means no one else should be able to."


This. Let people vent whatever the hell they want to...
   210. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4158492)
You guys have strayed off the topic of what BILL JAMES thinks about SUPER PAC.

This thread needs to be moved to a closed wing of the site. Nobody here wants to talk politics.

Except for the usual suspects who have posted in this thread, including:

Harveys
Sunday Silence
greenback
Loren F.
cercopithecus auethiops
Tripon
Bob Dernier Cri
smileyy
Der K
Jack the seal clubber
DA Baracus
Don't want to hear the truth; just wanna see some dingers
Squatto
OCF
Russ
Crosseyed and Painless
Shooty
Bob Tufts
Larry M


   211. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4158506)
gb

dick lugar had a lot of baggage of his own making. very similar to gaylord nelson losing to bob kasten in wi in 1980

the tea party could have been any group of upset voters

there is a longer discussion here and inter party dynamics

the tea party has a role. but only the media is stupid enough to believe that these people who hate the president with the fire of a 1000 burning suns are going to do anything that will help by either action or inaction
   212. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4158512)
which are supposed to be Republican-biased, but I haven't seen any real evidence of that


I thought the evidence was that they consistently over-estimate the actual Republican vote, but I haven't paid much attention to polling data for a while.
   213. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4158519)
[Rasmussen polls] are supposed to be Republican-biased, but I haven't seen any real evidence of that

I thought the evidence was that they consistently over-estimate the actual Republican vote, but I haven't paid much attention to polling data for a while.


That spurred me into trying to remember what Nate Silver had written about Rasmussen, and here's the wiki summary of his findings. You have to read to the bottom of the final paragraph to realize that it's not always quite so clear.

In 2010, Nate Silver of the New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight wrote the article “Is Rasmussen Reports biased?”, in which he mostly defended Rasmussen from allegations of bias.[25] However, by later in the year, Rasmussen's polling results diverged notably from other mainstream pollsters, which Silver labeled a "house effect".[26] He went on to explore other factors which may have explained the effect such as the use of a likely voter model,[27] and claimed that Rasmussen conducted its polls in a way that excluded the majority of the population from answering.[28] Silver also criticized Rasmussen for often only polling races months before the election, which prevented them from having polls just before the election that could be assessed for accuracy. He wrote that he was “looking at appropriate ways to punish pollsters” like Rasmussen in his pollster rating models who don’t poll in the final days before an election.[29]

After the 2010 midterm elections, Silver concluded that Rasmussen's polls were the least accurate of the major pollsters in 2010, having an average error of 5.8 points and a pro-Republican bias of 3.9 points according to Silver's model.[30] He singled out as an example the Hawaii Senate race, in which Rasmussen, in a poll completed three weeks before the election, showed incumbent Daniel Inouye only 13 points ahead, whereas in actuality he won by a 53% margin[31] – a difference of 40 points from Rasmussen's poll, or "the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998".[30] Silver named Quinnipiac University Poll as the most accurate poll of the election cycle. However, according to RealClearPolitics, in toss-up races where both Rasmussen Reports and Quinnipiac polled, the Rasmussen Reports final poll was closer to the mark in every race.[32][33][34] The two firms projected the same candidate to win every race but the Florida gubernatorial race, where Rasmussen correctly projected Rick Scott's victory, while Quinnipiac showed Alex Sink with the lead.[35]
   214. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4158526)
Nate Silver demonstrated that Rasmussen was highly inaccurate in its 2010 polling, the worst of the major polling firms.

This doesn't mean anything nefarious was happening - polling can go badly for any number of reasons. But since Rasmussen has retained their Republican lean in polls since 2010, and since they did not demonstrate superior understanding of the electorate in 2010, it seems reasonable to mentally correct Rasmussen's polling a point or two back to the Dems.

I do think that national polling probably slightly overstates Obama's position. As John Sides has shown at 538, the economic fundamentals project Obama to do a step or two worse than his current polling. I tend to think that Obama's personal popularity is a bit of a bubble that will be popped once the campaign begins in earnest. The extent of the bubble is not nearly so large as to support the claims of Esoteric's special friends from his power lunches with Sally Quinn. But I think the personal popularity bubble explains the difference between myself and tshipman - polling projects Obama at 80/20 right now, regressed to 60/40 for the election, but I think that once the bubble pops the election will project at about 50/50.
   215. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4158534)
He wrote that he was “looking at appropriate ways to punish pollsters” like Rasmussen in his pollster rating models who don’t poll in the final days before an election.


That's kind of an unfortunate turn of phrase. He shouldn't want his models to "punish" anyone, since that will lead to charges of bias on his part. He should have just said what he actually tries to do -- weight each poll appropriately based on everything he knows about how, when and by whom it was conducted.
   216. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4158545)
But I think the personal popularity bubble explains the difference between myself and tshipman - polling projects Obama at 80/20 right now, regressed to 60/40 for the election, but I think that once the bubble pops the election will project at about 50/50.

Which by strange coincidence is almost exactly where the current polls position the race right now: Almost exactly 50/50.
   217. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4158549)
Which by strange coincidence is almost exactly where the current polls position the race right now: Almost exactly 50/50.
It isn't, though. Pollster has the national race at Obama up one or two points, and state polls / battleground polls show better results than that. Fivethirtyeight has Obama at 80% if the election were today, because of his lead in the polls. That lead of a couple points is precisely what I think is the extent of the popularity bubble.
   218. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4158562)
Which by strange coincidence is almost exactly where the current polls position the race right now: Almost exactly 50/50.

It isn't, though.


Matt, the current RCP average of the national polls has Obama ahead by 0.8 points. I agree that the electoral college projections show Obama with a solid lead of varying proportions, but since that's not the question we're addressing, I'm not sure why the RCP average wouldn't pretty much prove my point that right now the race is seen as a tossup.
   219. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4158565)
1) Because of the battleground polls. For contingent reasons, the firms doing most of the national polling have a slight rightward drift, while the firms doing most of the state-by-state polling have a leftward drift. This causes the overall polling of the election to be more Obama-friendly than just the national polling. See Nate Silver on house effects and national/state polling.

2) Use Pollster, not RCP. RCP just takes the most recent six polls and averages them. Pollster doesn't throw out data just because a new poll was released - they maintain a rolling, regressed average.

EDIT: Eh, I'll just quote Silver at length:
One of the confusing aspects of this presidential race so far is that national polls have often shown a race that is nearly tied — or Mr. Romney sometimes leading — while Mr. Obama has more often had the lead in polls of crucial battleground states. Sites that project the presidential outcome based on the state polls have thus seemed to show a tangible advantage for Mr. Obama, while those that look at the trend in national polls seem to imply that the race is too close to call.

Any evaluation of the presidential race needs to reconcile this discrepancy. That America is highly divided along partisan lines does not negate the basic mathematical identity that the whole must equal the sum of the parts.

One hypothesis might be that Mr. Obama enjoys some sort of intrinsic edge in the Electoral College — and that, like Mr. Bush in 2000, he could win the Electoral College while losing the nationwide popular vote.

Our analysis suggests, however, that this is not necessarily the case. The model’s simulations estimate that there is only about a 2 percent chance that Mr. Obama will win Electoral College while losing the popular vote. Meanwhile, there is only about a 3 percent chance that Mr. Romney will do so.

Instead, the disparity between state and national polls probably stems from a more banal factor: it likely results from the different types of polling firms that are active in each of these domains.

The polling firms that have dominated the national polls are Gallup and Rasmussen Reports, each of which release national tracking numbers on a daily basis. These firms have had Republican-leaning “house effects” so far, meaning that they show more favorable results for Mr. Romney than the consensus of polls.

Meanwhile, some pollsters that are more active at the state level, like Public Policy Polling and Marist College, have had Democratic-leaning house effects, giving Mr. Obama better results than the consensus does.
   220. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4158567)
I'm not sure why the RCP average wouldn't pretty much prove my point that right now the race is seen as a tossup.


To put this into a baseball context, this is like quoting a player's raw OPS and proclaiming them the best player in the league. It's not a terrible measure, but there are much better ones.
   221. BDC Posted: June 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4158590)
quoting a player's raw OPS and proclaiming them the best player in the league

Josh Hamilton, yay!

No, I'm truly an idiot :)
   222. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4158609)
I'm not sure why the RCP average wouldn't pretty much prove my point that right now the race is seen as a tossup.

To put this into a baseball context, this is like quoting a player's raw OPS and proclaiming them the best player in the league. It's not a terrible measure, but there are much better ones.


To both of you: The operative words in my comment are "is seen". Meaning as seen by the non-specialized commentators and by the public at large. I fully understand the points about the bias of both the national polls and the state polls, but----since RCP and Pollster both give Obama a plurality but not a majority of the electoral college, and since you're also saying that the state polls are biased towards the Democrats----doesn't that mean that when you allow for that bias that the race today is pretty much a tossup? By which I mean that if the election were actually held today the outcome would depend on a small number of states where the margins are within the margin of error. It seems to me that the Obama 0.8 advantage that the RCP average currently shows is about as close to being accurate as anything else out there.

And BTW the difference right now between the RCP average (0.8%) and Pollster (1.4%) amounts to all of 0.6%. And Pollster's electoral map Obama advantage is actually 5 points smaller (69 to 74) than RCP's. I can't see any big difference here.

   223. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4158622)
Where do you get 80% Matt? It (539) is at 62.6% and has been lower.
   224. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 16, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4158638)
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?"
The problem with that theory is that he endorsed gay marriage already, years ago.
   225. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4158652)
To both of you: The operative words in my comment are "is seen". Meaning as seen by the non-specialized commentators and by the public at large.


Well, this is a stupid point, then. So people who are relatively less sophisticated see the race as a tossup. Okay. So what?

People at Esoteric's cocktail parties see the race as significantly leaning R. I'm sure there's someone Pauline Kael-ish in Hollywood who sees the race as significantly leaning D.

All of these points of view, even if we could prove them to be empirically true, are meaningless.

And by the way, you're changing the goalposts. Your original statement was this:

Which by strange coincidence is almost exactly where the current polls position the race right now: Almost exactly 50/50.


Now you're modifying it to say that the race is perceived as something.
   226. Johnny Slick Posted: June 16, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4158673)
To get all the way back to the OP and a couple comments after it... yeah, I think James is way off, and way off in the way that smart people who are pretty well learned in one area can get way off in another completely different one. As noted, people *have* begun to introduce statistical analysis to political campaigns, and while I think some of James' ideas are neat as thought experiments, the strength of his work and sabermetrics as a whole has always been asking the questions first but then sifting through the data to see if they're right now not, not just asking the questions by themselves.

I do have to say that I recent read Popular Crime and I just don't think it's as bad as some people here do. Okay, the "statty" bits were not useful except as thought experiments (I do, in fairness, "get" a statement like "Lizzie Borden's guilt index was 32" a lot more easily than "Lizzie Borden probably didn't kill her mom and dad") and some of his conclusions were flat-out out of left field (blaming libs for the increase in crime from the 60s through the 80s for instance), but I have to say... I have never read Bill James as a guy whose viewpoints I could just ingest and then spit out to someone else. He has always been for me a writer who is entertaining first and persuasive second, that is a guy whom you can disagree with but, even as you disagree with him, understand and even enjoy the thought processes behind his disagreements. I also think a *lot* of people get on his case because Win Shares isn't as accurate as wOBA or whatever, which frankly is not why Bill James got where he is today.

I think this thing may be a bit more of the same with this issue, although to be fair there is a point to be made that with sabrmetrics he was right that there was a lot that people just weren't looking at whereas that just may not be the case with politics. I *do* absolutely think that local races in particular ought to be places where individuals and parties can experiment with low-risk races but do not do so by and large. Would responding to vicious attack ads with politeness work or would it make the candidate look meek? I don't think anyone knows because nobody anywhere has been willing to try to act meek (although it should be said that plenty of candidates - the Clintons first and foremost - have responded to negative campaigning by going negative right back and on top of that decrying the other side's cynical approach, and this has been very effective, and, well, why stray from what works?).

I will say that I think James has completely missed the point of SuperPACs, which is not to prop up negative ad campaigns by candidates but to cause 3rd party money to come into a race and define it in its own terms. If Americans for a More American America come in on behalf of Jim Glorp and attack Bob Libmediabad by saying "BOB LIBMEDIABAD WANTS TO GIVE MEXICANS GREEN CARDS AND FREE GAMES OF YAHTZEE IS THIS WHAT WE WANT TO DO WITH OUR SOCIETY????", not only is Bob Libmediabad getting killed, if Jim Glorp ever *thought* of softening his stance of immigration (in this case), now he can't because if he did then voters would just think he was exactly the same as Bob. Also, I honestly don't think that voters automatically associate a conservative attack ad on a Democrat with the Republican who is running against him in the race, particularly if you don't have the "My name is Jim Glorp and I approve of this message" blurb at the end of it. I don't think that voters are morons or anything, but I do think that their thought process goes like this:

1. Is this issue meaningful to me?
2. If so, is this allegation true?
3. If #1 or #2 are false (and many people don't have the time to do the legwork to figure this out), who is responsible for this falsehood?

Even for a diligent voter, tripping all the clauses down to #3 isn't necessarily going to fill him with ire at the not-attacked candidate unless it's clear that the candidate himself endorsed the ad. Mitt Romney got away with this (or managed to not be wrapped in the umbrella of the SuperPAC that put the ads out) several times during the Republican campaign. OTOH, Newt Gingrich got pilloried for those populist anti-Romney ads he ran, in large part because he never bothered to disassociate himself with them.
   227. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4158677)
To both of you: The operative words in my comment are "is seen". Meaning as seen by the non-specialized commentators and by the public at large.

Well, this is a stupid point, then. So people who are relatively less sophisticated see the race as a tossup. Okay. So what?


So it's reflected in the averaging of the major national polls, that's what. And I'm not sure I'd call reporters like Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza all that unsophisticated.

People at Esoteric's cocktail parties see the race as significantly leaning R. I'm sure there's someone Pauline Kael-ish in Hollywood who sees the race as significantly leaning D.

All of these points of view, even if we could prove them to be empirically true, are meaningless.


I've never cited either Esoteric or deceased movie critics in anything I've written above.

And by the way, you're changing the goalposts. Your original statement was this:

But I think the personal popularity bubble explains the difference between myself and tshipman - polling projects Obama at 80/20 right now, regressed to 60/40 for the election, but I think that once the bubble pops the election will project at about 50/50.


Which by strange coincidence is almost exactly where the current polls position the race right now: Almost exactly 50/50.

Now you're modifying it to say that the race is perceived as something.


I'm saying that the polls reflect the general perception that the race is currently more or less a tossup. That's also how I see it at this point. And if the Gallup / Rasmussen polls lean R while the state polls lean D, then once you adjust for both of those biases then you've got convergence towards the 50/50. Are you really trying to say that at this point that one party has any clear systemic advantage that isn't offset by another systemic advantage held by the other party? Make your case, but I'm from Missouri.
   228. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4158749)
On immigration – as I mentioned upthread, Romney blew Rick Perry out of the water in part by taking fulminous aim on Perry's relatively moderate record on young illegals in Texas. If he changes his mind and adopts a Perry-like policy now, that's just Mitt being Mitt :)

Edit: They may be already shaking the Etch-a-Sketch, IOW. And if it helps immigrants, good on them.
I was just thinking about this line this week, because I was remembering that earlier discussion here on BBTF about whether that would be a major gaffe that would somehow harm Romney; my position was that it would be quickly forgotten. And I hadn't heard any mentions of it in months.
   229. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4158764)
Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.
Can anyone explain why it's okay to deport a 31-year old illegal who has been here almost his whole life and graduated from HS/served in the military? I assume that the answer is "politics," but it can't be the simplest explanation, because a 30-year old is no more sympathetic a figure than a 31-year old. Is it just to hold the overall number of beneficiaries below an artificial threshold?
   230. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4158773)
On immigration – as I mentioned upthread, Romney blew Rick Perry out of the water in part by taking fulminous aim on Perry's relatively moderate record on young illegals in Texas. If he changes his mind and adopts a Perry-like policy now, that's just Mitt being Mitt :)

Edit: They may be already shaking the Etch-a-Sketch, IOW. And if it helps immigrants, good on them.


I was just thinking about this line this week, because I was remembering that earlier discussion here on BBTF about whether that would be a major gaffe that would somehow harm Romney; my position was that it would be quickly forgotten. And I hadn't heard any mentions of it in months.

Romney hasn't really clarified his position on immigration recently, but he's due to speak before a large Hispanic group sometime in the next week or two. Let's see what he has to say then.

But in the meantime, notice that he ducked the obvious question that was posed to him yesterday: If he were to be elected, would he cancel Obama's executive order?

Can anyone explain why it's okay to deport a 31-year old illegal who has been here almost his whole life and graduated from HS/served in the military? I assume that the answer is "politics,"

Yes

but it can't be the simplest explanation, because a 30-year old is no more sympathetic a figure than a 31-year old. Is it just to hold the overall number of beneficiaries below an artificial threshold?

Yes.
   231. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4158791)
I'm saying that the polls reflect the general perception that the race is currently more or less a tossup. That's also how I see it at this point. And if the Gallup / Rasmussen polls lean R while the state polls lean D, then once you adjust for both of those biases then you've got convergence towards the 50/50.


What the hell does this even mean? Would you pick what you're arguing for, please?

Is your argument that the perception of the race by whoever is that the race is 50/50, or that the race is actually 50/50?

Because you've made both those claims depending on what I say.

Are you really trying to say that at this point that one party has any clear systemic advantage that isn't offset by another systemic advantage held by the other party?


Yes. Obama is the incumbent during a period of (weak) economic growth. That is a very large, clear systemic advantage.

A secondary advantage is that he currently holds a relatively strong electoral majority due to a majority of the out-party's support being concentrated in relatively few states. Obama can win a re-elect without Ohio or Florida (and is going to win Pennsylvania barring catastrophe). It's been a really long time since a Democratic candidate could have said that.
   232. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4158822)
Is your argument that the perception of the race by whoever is that the race is 50/50, or that the race is actually 50/50?

Because you've made both those claims depending on what I say.


I think that the race is a tossup at this point, and I think that the constantly shifting polls reflect this. It's not that complicated, whether you agree with it or not. If the election were held today, I think Obama would win enough of the swing states to get past 270, but unfortunately we've still got nearly five months of economic uncertainty in front of us.

Are you really trying to say that at this point that one party has any clear systemic advantage that isn't offset by another systemic advantage held by the other party?

Yes. Obama is the incumbent during a period of (weak) economic growth. That is a very large, clear systemic advantage.


That's more of a Democratic talking point than the reality that most people seem to feel in their own lives. And while it's true that this is largely the fault of the current Congress and the spillover from the global economy, that's a winning political argument only if you can get swing voters to agree with it.

A secondary advantage is that he currently holds a relatively strong electoral majority due to a majority of the out-party's support being concentrated in relatively few states. Obama can win a re-elect without Ohio or Florida (and is going to win Pennsylvania barring catastrophe). It's been a really long time since a Democratic candidate could have said that.

That's a much stronger argument, and to that you could have added the shifting demographics, but that's only going to work if those new voters actually vote. And with the European economy teetering on the brink of self-destruction and the possible domestic spinoff, I think you can make an equally strong case that that's a countering advantage for the Republicans, undeserved as it may be.
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