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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OTP November 2012 - Moneypoll! The Pundits vs. The Election-Data Nerds

Come next Tuesday night, we’ll get a resolution (let’s hope) to a great ongoing battle of 2012: not just the Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but the one between the pundits trying to analyze that race with their guts and a new breed of statistics gurus trying to forecast it with data.

In Election 2012 as seen by the pundits–political journalists on the trail, commentators in cable-news studios–the campaign is a jump ball. There’s a slight lead for Mitt Romney in national polls and slight leads for Barack Obama in swing-state polls, and no good way of predicting next Tuesday’s outcome beyond flipping a coin. ...

Bonus link: Esquire - The Enemies of Nate Silver

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM | 11298 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mr president, off-topic, politics, sabermetrics, usa

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   2101. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4293526)
steve

i do get cranky when i cannot find hendricks gin at the liquor store

so i hear you
   2102. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4293527)
i am far more suspicious of financial instruments than i am fracking


It's not an either or requirement, Harv.
   2103. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4293529)
i do get cranky when i cannot find hendricks gin at the liquor store


Cucumbery goodness.
   2104. Lassus Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4293531)
i am getting worn out explaining the same thing 4 different ways.

Oh, I understand your explanations. I'm just telling you why I think they're wrong. ;-)
   2105. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4293533)
there have been govt warnings on cigarettes since the mid 60's. i made a lot of money invested in tobacco companies

i have no issue with tobacco companies


I don't, either, beyond their existence.
   2106. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4293534)
Christie seems like the perfect test case for telling the far-right to #### off and running as himself without the pandering. ...

It's interesting how much Christie's stock seems to have improved here. Two months ago — hell, two weeks ago — he was just a loudmouth jerk whose act wouldn't play anywhere outside New Jersey, and whose prospects for reelection were seen as so-so. Now, after hugging Obama and some people hurt by Sandy, he's Best of Class on the right.

***
It's probably easier at this point for the party's money men to try and create more stupid, uninformed, reactionary voters than to recruit and assemble a coalition of supporters who aren't stupid, uninformed, and reactionary. It's not like the money men really care either way, as long as their bank accounts don't take a hit.

Right, as opposed to the Dem party, whose main constituencies are the "youth vote," low-skilled workers, and downscale minorities. Well-educated, high-information voters, all of them.

***
See, Democrats don't require ideological purity. We'll support the lesser of two evils if that's what it comes to. Doesn't mean we agree with every position that politician takes.

And people who vote for Akin or Mourdock believe they're voting for the lesser of two evils. Dems don't have a monopoly on that.

***
It's a recognition of human nature. When you remove accountability, people do terrible, reckless things.

This sounds a lot like the standard conservative ethos, not the standard liberal ethos.
   2107. The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4293536)
i am far more suspicious of financial instruments than i am fracking


Amen to that.
   2108. Mefisto Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4293538)
There are plenty of arguments against life tenure, but I tend to think putting a limit like this on terms is a bad one. Maybe a mandatory retirement age. But I'd rather not have someone on the bench with three or four years remaining suddenly start to think about what he needs to decide strategically to set him or herself up financially for the post SCOTUS portion of their life.


This is a fair enough concern, but I don't think it would work out that way in practice. Most Justices don't get an appointment until their mid-50s. The exceptions to that rule are noteworthy (and usually despised by one side or the other), but they're still exceptions. Even if someone got an appointment at 47 (quite young as these things go), s/he will be 65 upon retirement. I'm not too worried about the afters in that case. Plus, they do get pensions and we could always pass laws against certain behavior if it's perceived to be a problem.

The big gain is that we'd reduce partisan fighting about the Court by quite a bit. With each Justice serving a limited term, and with each new President getting 2 guaranteed appointments, the existing absurdity of judicial appointments would be mitigated a lot.

If you don't like the 18 year proposal, another option is to put an age limit of 75. Of course, that incentivizes younger appointments so I'm not a fan. An upper age limit on officeholders, OTOH, would be a good idea.
   2109. Lassus Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4293539)
Two months ago — hell, two weeks ago — he was just a loudmouth jerk whose act wouldn't play anywhere outside New Jersey, and whose prospects for reelection were seen as so-so. Now, after hugging Obama and some people hurt by Sandy, he's Best of Class on the right.

Please note I have no problem calling Christie an assshole, as I did earlier. My belief in his possible ability to tell the rest of the GOP to pound sand does not mean I think he's somebody I want to spend time talking to or see in power.
   2110. Greg K Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4293542)
It's a recognition of human nature. When you remove accountability, people do terrible, reckless things.

That's still better than what happens when you removed reason and accountability.
   2111. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4293544)
I see Gallup zapped 80% of their pre-Sandy Romney lead, and they've now got him a +1 rather than +5. Wonder what their final poll tomorrow will be like.
   2112. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4293545)
HW: i have no issue with tobacco companies
Andy: I don't, either, beyond their existence.


So... do you feel that way about alcohol producers? Marijuana or cocaine companies if they were legal? Manufacurers of garbage foods?
[sincere question]
   2113. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4293546)
technology has been good to me. i went from sleeping in a mattress stuffed with corn husks and no climate control to having a single device in my hand hwere i can converse with anyone, handle my finances, listen to the radio, and pretty much do whatever.

   2114. zonk Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4293548)
steve

i do get cranky when i cannot find hendricks gin at the liquor store


Heh... yet another reason why you're my favorite Republican, HW...
   2115. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4293549)
He's not declaring Obama a certainty, of course, but if Romney wins the EC we can be sure Nate's model missed something very, very big.


We can? Isn't it just a probability model? Same like PECOTA? Just because PECOTA projects Melky Cabrera as a .700 OPS hitter and he goes out and hits .900, doesn't mean the model missed something.
   2116. DA Baracus Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4293550)
Get the lawyers ready. Preferably with tin foil hats.

Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as “uncertified ‘experimental’ software patches” being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties.

The story included a copy of the contract [PDF] between Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office and ES&S, the nation’s largest e-voting system manufacturer, for a new, last-minute piece of software created to the custom specifications of the secretary of state. The contract itself describes the software as “High-level enhancements to ES&S’ election reporting software that extend beyond the current features and functionality of the software to facilitate a custom-developed State Election Results Reporting File.”


   2117. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4293551)
by the way, i am all for taxing the sh8t out of pot growers

not legalizing the other stuff. but we have tried all the other ways and it has not worked

so let it grow and then levy the bejeezus out of it.

   2118. Danny Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4293552)
My favorite aspect of the right wingers who are convinced that most polls are biased against Romney because their Party ID splits aren't compatible with the way things "feel" at the moment is that they're latching onto a party ID split that's far more ahistorical than any of the polls they're bashing.

While many right-partisans dismiss or "adjust" polls that have Party IDs that they "feel" are too similar to 2008, they've latched onto Rasmussen's Party ID weighting (the only major poll I'm aware of that actually targets a specific party ID split). So what split is Rasmussen using that makes so much more sense than the ones being reported (not used for weighting or targeting) by other firms? Rasmussen thinks the electorate will be 39% Republicans and 33% Democrats, a six point advantage for self-identified Republicans. How does this compare to previous presidential elections? Since exit polls have been used, the electorate has never had more Republicans than Democrats. So Rasmussen's model thinks the party ID split for the 2012 election will far more friendly to Republicans than any presidential election ever has been.

No wonder the Barones and JoeKs of the world see a Romney landslide; to them, 2012 "feels" like the greatest year ever for Republicans.

All hypocrisy aside, it's still silly to focus on Party ID.
   2119. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4293553)
edit: Replying to something 100 posts old and already covered.

eta: "not legalizing the other stuff. but we have tried all the other ways and it has not worked

so let it grow and then levy the bejeezus out of it."

Hippie!
   2120. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4293555)
No wonder the Barones and JoeKs of the world see a Romney landslide; to them, 2012 "feels" like the greatest year ever for Republicans.


It's almost as if they're trapped inside some sort of "epistemic bubble" where they've convinced themselves that 2010 wasn't midterm election, with the demographics thereof, and a particularly high turnout of angry old white people, but rather the "new normal."
   2121. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4293556)
Great wrap-up in 2057, zonk.

There are plenty of arguments against life tenure, but I tend to think putting a limit like this on terms is a bad one. Maybe a mandatory retirement age. But I'd rather not have someone on the bench with three or four years remaining suddenly start to think about what he needs to decide strategically to set him or herself up financially for the post SCOTUS portion of their life.


A lot of people have said there should be a viable third-party, from the center. But things get tricky when you get to a platform, because most people fall to one side or another on issues, and while they may not agree with either party on all the issues, they probably do on the issues that matter to them. Its also hard to find a moderate position on certain issues.

But what about a third party that is more interested in process rather than results? A Constitutional Reform party. Proposals could include term limits for Congress, term limits for the SC, elimination of the Electoral College, Balanced Budget Act (debatable), pay-go rules for the Senate, elimination/modification of cloture and filibuster rules, revising many of the Congressional rules on amendments and earmarks. Even these issues would be debatable, but the driving goal would be a more efficient, well-run government, no matter what the size of it. On substantive issues, members of the party could vote however they want - pro life/pro choice, no new taxes/expanded welfare state. The party would be indifferent on those matters.

Anyway, I would be interested in a thread (there might be on already) on what you guys would do to reform the Constitution and any other procedural reforms this country needs.
   2122. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4293557)
scott

nah, that's common sense. you have a demand and we are making the wrong people rich as the suppliers.

again, cannot cut the demand. cannot stop the flow. law enforcement needs to be focused on other things.

employers drug test now and folks still do it.

even if it was legal i don't see why employers cannot still test in the pre-employment screening.

   2123. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4293558)
While many right-partisans dismiss or "adjust" polls that have Party IDs that they "feel" are too similar to 2008, they've latched onto Rasmussen's Party ID weighting (the only major poll I'm aware of that actually targets a specific party ID split). So what split is Rasmussen using that makes so much more sense than the ones being reported (not used for weighting or targeting) by other firms? Rasmussen thinks the electorate will be 39% Republicans and 33% Democrats, a six point advantage for self-identified Republicans. How does this compare to previous presidential elections? Since exit polls have been used, the electorate has never had more Republicans than Democrats. So Rasmussen's model thinks the party ID split for the 2012 election will far more friendly to Republicans than any presidential election ever has been.

No wonder the Barones and JoeKs of the world see a Romney landslide; to them, 2012 "feels" like the greatest year ever for Republicans.

If you really believe Rasmussen is weighting his polls according to a GOP+6 electorate, you've done a great job faking your way through these polling discussions in recent weeks. You're off by at least 8 points. (And if you believe a GOP+6 electorate is somehow yielding only a Romney +1 lead, then this would be one of the best years in history for Dems, at least relative to the expectations a GOP+6 electorate would imply.)
   2124. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4293560)
Anyway, I would be interested in a thread (there might be on already) on what you guys would do to reform the Constitution and any other procedural reforms this country needs.

It's not clear that the U.S. needs procedural reforms. The bigger problem is that there's nothing resembling a consensus on the long list of issues you mentioned in #2121.
   2125. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4293561)
HW,

Oh, I pretty much agree with you on this issue. I was just teasing. I might have a problem with employers being able to screen out people who are doing something legal, especially since it'd largely apply to lower skill jobs (no one pre-screens their accountant, lawyer, or doctor) and thus basically penalizes poor people. But that happens under the current law anyways and with added criminal penalties that only make it harder to stay legally and gainfully employed. Otherwise, we're on the same page.
   2126. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4293562)
A lot of people have said there should be a viable third-party, from the center.


Yeah, a lot of people want to self-identify as above it all, but what exactly is the "centrist" position that the Democrats don't currently cater to again?
   2127. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4293563)
HW: i have no issue with tobacco companies

Andy: I don't, either, beyond their existence.

So... do you feel that way about alcohol producers?


No, because alcohol addiction isn't programmed into the product. The percentage of social and moderate drinkers is far greater than the percentage of occasional smokers.

Marijuana or cocaine companies if they were legal?

I'd treat tobacco exactly as I'd treat marijuana: Decriminalize it, but restrict branding to a plain line of company identifier on the package. And no advertising or brand promotion, period. IOW take the profit motive out of it to the greatest extent possible without making pariahs out of the smokers, and then let nature take its course.

As for cocaine, while I wouldn't decriminalize it entirely, I'd reduce the possession penalty for small amounts to a misdemeanor and a fine.

Manufacurers of garbage foods?
[sincere question]


I'd require the simplified nutritional label that Mark Bittman recently proposed, but beyond that, and the existing FDA requirements, I'd just keep trying to promote public awareness of what they're consuming, and hope that it gradually sinks in. I'm a nice nanny, I am....
   2128. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4293564)
PREDICTION:

Electoral Vote: ROMNEY 295; OBAMA 243
Popular Vote: ROMNEY 51.55; OBAMA 47.45

Romney will carry all the McCain states, as well as Indiana & North Carolina, by comfortable margins. Romney will also carry these states more narrowly (~5% or less), listed in order of the expected margin: Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire & Wisconsin. I won't be shocked if we are in the midst of a preference cascade that allows Romney to do even better, perhaps even costing David Axelrod his mustache by capturing Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota. The House won't move much, less than 5-10 seats either way, and if I'm correct, or close, on the Presidential race, it's more likely to go toward the GOP, IMHO. The Senate should be +2 toward the GOP, leaving it 51-49.

On the other hand, I'm never very comfortable with predicting election outcomes, even when I've been right on the money. For all the reasons discussed in the polling wars, I could be wrong, but I think not.

   2129. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4293565)
The bigger problem is that there's nothing resembling a consensus on the long list of issues you mentioned in #2121.


Yeah. I'd never join that constitutional party because I've got serious problems with about half the stuff on that list. And I'm pretty heavily in favor of some procedural reforms (18 year terms for SCOTUS, end of the filibuster, national popular vote) but I simply can't get on board with the others (term limits and earmark elimination are ideas that sound good but are actually pretty dumb and make democracy work less well, and a strict balanced budget amendment would consign ourselves to great depressions on the regular).
   2130. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4293566)
i am far more suspicious of financial instruments than i am fracking


You should probably be more suspicious of fracking than you are. I know a surprising # of people here in western PA who are having problems as a result of it.
   2131. BDC Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4293567)
reform the Constitution and any other procedural reforms this country needs

I'd be interested in proportional representation and a simplifying and standardizing of voting regulations nationwide, and direct popular election of the President (with runoff if no candidate gains a majority). On the human-rights side, explicit 14th-Amendment-like recognition of both sex and sexual orientation (the model being the old, defeated ERA). But there are a lot of things I like about the current Constitution. I have no problem with life tenure on SCOTUS. Term limits are a bad idea, I think – including those on the Presidency.
   2132. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4293569)
Now, after hugging Obama and some people hurt by Sandy, he's Best of Class on the right.


That's not a particularly high bar, Joe.
   2133. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4293570)
In anticipation of wingnut criticism, NBC skewed its poll results. Wimps.

So... do you feel that way about alcohol producers? Marijuana or cocaine companies if they were legal? Manufacurers of garbage foods?
[sincere question]
Marijuana doesn't fit with the other three examples.

He's not declaring Obama a certainty, of course, but if Romney wins the EC we can be sure Nate's model missed something very, very big.

We can? Isn't it just a probability model? Same like PECOTA? Just because PECOTA projects Melky Cabrera as a .700 OPS hitter and he goes out and hits .900, doesn't mean the model missed something.


Yes, I think we can say that. First, there isn't nearly the level of variation in predicting from polls as there is in baseball players' seasonal variations. They're not alike at all. Second, the nature of variance in polling is entirely different from the variance in hitting a baseball, where luck is a huge factor. If Romney takes Ohio and, say, Iowa and New Hampshire and Virginia, it won't be because five hundred thousand voters just happened to get in their cars, ricochet off a fielder's glove, and end up in a polling booth. It will be because of things like Nate's adjustments missing a chunk of the evangelical vote. If the exit polls are accurate, he'll know exactly where he missed and by how much. I have to think some of that is simply vagaries of turnout: weather, lines, and so on. I suppose that's 'luck' in some sense, but it's a far cry from the luck involved in what results to swinging at a major league pitch.

Maybe it's more to the point that if Melky has a huge season, to some degree we are able to tell why. We have BABIP, so we can determine what proportion of the improvement is due to luck. We can see which pitches he's hitting better. We can look at the caliber of the pitchers he faced and compare that to the caliber in previous season. We can take a lot of the noise out of Melky's season, and get a good sense of what the signal tells us. I'm pretty sure that's the route Nate will follow in any case, but especially if Romney wins.

re 2116: if you think a last-minute software patch ordered by a partisan Secy of State directly involved in vote suppression efforts isn't something to look deeply into, I have a unicorn to sell you.

A lot of people have said there should be a viable third-party, from the center. But things get tricky when you get to a platform, because most people fall to one side or another on issues, and while they may not agree with either party on all the issues, they probably do on the issues that matter to them. Its also hard to find a moderate position on certain issues.
It's impossible to find one on abortion, and more than anything that's the issue that will scuttle a third-party trying to be viable nationally, on a par with Dems and Pubs.

It's fine, too, to say to your candidates, 'adopt our platform and do whatever else your conscience tells you', but as soon as you announce prolife or prochoice you've defined your base, and no matter how terrific the rest of your platform is, a prochoice candidate simply won't snare a prolife voter.
   2134. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4293573)
I won't be shocked if we are in the midst of a preference cascade that allows Romney to do even better, perhaps even costing David Axelrod his mustache by capturing Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota.


I can't speak for the other two, but I live in PA, and saying that Romney has any realistic chance at the state right now is crazy talk.
   2135. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4293574)
Anyway, I would be interested in a thread (there might be on already) on what you guys would do to reform the Constitution and any other procedural reforms this country needs.


1. A super-majority of both House of Congress with a presidential imprimatur should be enough to override a Supreme Court decision. It is transparent beyond all peradventure that the Supreme Court has become just another political organ. It always had this tendency, true, but now it doesn't even have the decency to protest.

2. Increase terms of representatives to four years; decrease those of senators to four years; and everyone runs with the president.

3. History should have made it clear, but just to drive a stake into the outworn creed of State Rights, make it definite and unambiguous: the national government, in relation to all US governing bodies and jurisdictions, is big casino.
   2136. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4293575)
That's not a particularly high bar, Joe.

Ha ha. Don't make me start talking about the Pirates, Vlad.
   2137. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4293576)
An unedited version of PolitiFact's Greatest 2012 Campaign Hits.....

It's been a busy campaign for PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter, which has rated more than 800 claims by the presidential candidates, the political parties and super PACs. Here are some of the most significant fact-checks of the campaign.

Barack Obama: "Mitt Romney's companies were pioneers in outsourcing U.S. jobs to low-wage countries."
July 3, in a campaign commercial
Half True. Bain invested overseas but it's a stretch to call them "pioneers." The trend was well-established by the time Romney and Bain joined in.

Mitt Romney: President Obama promised "he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent" if the stimulus passed.
May. 17, at a private campaign fundraiser
The ruling: Mostly False. Obama didn’t say that. Rather, his Council of Economic Advisers predicted that the stimulus would hold it to that level. Their report included heavy disclaimers that their number was a projection and might not hold true.

Barack Obama: The Obama administration has created "5 million jobs … over the last 30 months in the private sector alone."
Oct. 16, in the second presidential debate
The ruling: Half True. It’s correct only using the most cherry-picked time frame. A more reasonable method -- starting the count at the beginning of the recovery -- shows a gain of 3.6 million jobs.

Jennifer Granholm: Romney's response to the auto crisis was 'Let Detroit go bankrupt.'
Sept. 6, at the Democratic National Convention
The ruling: Half True. Romney did not support Obama’s plan for the auto industry, which ultimately proved successful. This line came from an op-ed Romney wrote for the New York Times, suggesting he wanted to let the auto companies go out of business. Actually, he advocated a managed bankruptcy for the automakers.

Mitt Romney: Stimulus dollars paid for "windmills from China."
July 18, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Mostly False. Many American firms connected to the wind industry expanded during the years of the stimulus. In some cases, they purchased wind turbine parts from companies in China. But no windmills were built in China using stimulus money.

Barack Obama: Says Mitt Romney "backed a bill that outlaws all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest."
Oct. 24, in a TV ad
The ruling: Pants on Fire! There’s no evidence that Romney ever specifically opposed exceptions for rape and incest. While he supported the "human life amendment," there are many versions and the most recent ones allow abortion after rape or incest. Romney said recently he supports those exceptions.

Paul Ryan: President Obama "funneled" $716 billion out of Medicare "at the expense of the elderly."
Aug. 29, at the Republican National Convention
The ruling: Mostly False. The law limits payments to health care providers and insurers in order to spur efficiency and reduce the rapid growth of future Medicare spending. The cuts do not reduce benefits. Those savings, spread out over 10 years, are used to offset costs created by the health law, so that it doesn’t add to the deficit.

Bill Clinton: Paul Ryan attacked the president for "the same amount of Medicare savings that (Ryan) had in his own budget."
Sept. 5, in a speech at the Democratic National Convention
The ruling: True. Both Democrats and Republicans are trying to rein in future spending, and Ryan included Medicare savings from the health care law in his own budget. Ryan said later he did so only because it is current law.

Barack Obama: Romney "would turn Medicare into a voucher program."
Aug. 15, in remarks at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa
The ruling: Mostly True. The Romney-Ryan approach pretty much matches the dictionary definition of "a form or check indicating a credit against future purchases or expenditures."

Mitt Romney: Barack Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China." at the cost of American jobs.
Oct. 29, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Pants on Fire! Italy-based Fiat was in talks to buy Chrysler before Obama took office. The Jeeps it makes in China are sold in China. Meanwhile, its American auto plants have expanded and added jobs since the auto bailout.

Barack Obama: Says Mitt Romney plans to "fire" Big Bird.
Oct. 8, at a campaign event
The ruling: Pants on Fire! Romney wants to cut federal funding for PBS, and his idea isn’t specific to Big Bird. A Sesame Street executive said the show itself receives little funding through PBS, and the character is safe.

Mitt Romney: "We're only inches away from no longer being a free economy."
Jan. 7, at a Republican primary debate
The ruling: Pants on Fire! International statistics show that the United States still ranks low in total tax burden and high in economic freedom.

Priorities USA Action: Says Romney wants to "take away early childhood education, slash K-12 funding, and cut college aid … to pay for a $250,000 tax break for multi-millionaires."
Oct. 8, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Mostly False. The Ryan budget that Romney supports could impact education, but the ad takes liberties as it tries to fill in the blanks.

Mitt Romney: "Under President Obama: $4,000 tax hike on middle-class families."
Oct. 10, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Pants on Fire! The campaign makes a giant leap and assumes interest on the public debt will be paid for with increased taxes on all income levels. We actually don’t know how the tax code will spread around the pain of paying for the debt. Obama proposes tax increases only on high earners.

Barack Obama: Says Mitt Romney "called the Arizona law a model for the nation."
Oct. 16, in a presidential debate
The ruling: False. Romney was actually praising Arizona’s mandate that employers electronically verify the legal status of employees, which was passed in 2007, and was not part of the later law that allowed local police to ask people for immigration papers.

Mitt Romney: The U.S. military is at risk of losing its "military superiority" because "our Navy is smaller than it's been since 1917."
Jan. 16, at a Republican primary debate
The ruling: Pants on Fire! A wide range of experts told us it’s wrong to assume that fewer ships means a weaker military. The United States is the world’s unquestioned military leader today because each ship is stocked with top-of-the-line technology and highly trained personnel.

Barack Obama: "Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of" President George W. Bush’s policies and the recession.
Sept. 23, in an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes
The ruling: False. Obama misstated his own source by using four years rather than the 10 included in the analysis. And he engages in cherry-picking by assigning pricey programs to Bush’s column even though he himself supported, or supports, many of them.

A chain email: In July 1996, Mitt Romney helped locate the missing teenage daughter of a partner at Bain Capital.
Jan. 30, circulated on the Internet
The ruling: True. The effort by Bain employees was central to the effort to locate the girl, and Romney reportedly played a significant role. She was found and returned safely to her parents.

Mitt Romney: "Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt."
June 28, at a press conference
The ruling: False. The government’s official estimates find that the health care law does not add to deficits, due to its new taxes and reductions in future Medicare spending.

Barack Obama: Says Romney wants to add $2 trillion to the defense budget that the military hasn’t asked for.
Oct. 3, in a presidential debate
The ruling: True. Independent analysts confirm that number, which the Romney campaign does not refute. Military leaders have testified in support of the president’s spending plan, and we found no evidence of disagreement behind the scenes.

Paul Ryan: Says six studies verify that the math adds up for Mitt Romney’s tax plan.
Oct. 11, in a vice presidential debate
The ruling: Mostly False. We found only one fully independent study out of the six claimed. None of the studies could accurately model Romney’s tax plan because he has said so little about how it would work.

Mitt Romney: "Redistribution" has "never been a characteristic of America."
Sept. 19, in a press conference
The ruling: Pants on Fire! Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of it, but redistribution has been a basic principle of the U.S. tax system and many federal programs that have long attracted support from Republicans.

Crossroads GPS: Oil production is "down where Obama's in charge."
April 10, in a Web ad
The ruling: Half True. The decline represents a single year that followed years of substantial gains and occurred only offshore in the wake of a major oil disaster. Also, federal policies take years to affect oil production.

Mitt Romney: Obama promised to "cut the deficit in half."
Oct. 3, in a presidential debate
The ruling: True. Obama promised in his early presidency to cut the deficit in half, which he never achieved. When asked about it, Obama said the recession was deeper than anyone knew at the time.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "Mitt Romney is the first major party candidate for president of the United States in modern times not to release at least 12 years of tax returns."
Aug. 12, in an interview on FOX News
The ruling: False. While Romney has only released two years of tax returns, other candidates have also chosen to release only a few years, such as Ronald Reagan.

Barack Obama: "A few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia."
Oct. 22, in the final presidential debate
The ruling: Half True. Romney has twice drawn the distinction between his concerns about Iran and Russia, calling Russia the biggest geopolitical foe or enemy for the U.S. -- but he has said the biggest threat is Iran.
   2138. Mefisto Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4293577)
I'd be interested in proportional representation and a simplifying and standardizing of voting regulations nationwide


You don't need an amendment for these to happen. Congress has express power under Art. I to set the "time, place and manner" of federal elections. And states could change the way the House members get selected.
   2139. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4293578)
It's impossible to find [a moderate position] on abortion...


I guess "split the baby in half" is out, then?
   2140. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4293579)
It's not clear that the U.S. needs procedural reforms. The bigger problem is that there's nothing resembling a consensus on the long list of issues you mentioned in #2121.


It's not, and it shouldn't be, about consensus: it's about governing. It's ridiculous to hold that nothing should be possible unless there is a "consensus". What the hell is that, anyway? The majority should get to decide an issue--that's sufficient consensus.
   2141. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4293580)
"She's just a girl who claims that I am the one. But the kid is not my son."
   2142. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4293581)
But I'd rather not have someone on the bench with three or four years remaining suddenly start to think about what he needs to decide strategically to set him or herself up financially for the post SCOTUS portion of their life.


FWIW, retired justices get their full salaries after they retire (assuming they reach certain age and service targets). You could combine this (with targets altered to reflect the mandatory retirement age and a clause escalating payments when current justices get pay increases) with pretty severe restrictions on post-SCOTUS income to build something that looks less prone to corruption. A justice's salary isn't Wall Street lobbyist money by any means, but it's at about the 95th percentile of US household income. That's a pretty solid pension.

   2143. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4293582)
Rasmussen is reporting that Dems and Reps are tied on their Generic Congressional Ballot, 46-46, a change from a 46-43 Republican lead one week ago.

Is this information of any practical, predictive use? It seems much more useless than national polls for the President, for example, but has anybody (Nate?) looked at whether it might tell us anything at all?
   2144. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4293583)
Popular Vote: ROMNEY 51.55; OBAMA 47.45

That's...bold.
   2145. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4293584)
Don't make me start talking about the Pirates, Vlad.


Why not? We could walk through the possible solutions to the team's catching problem. That'd be at least as interesting as the minutiae of polling samples, wouldn't it?
   2146. Ron J2 Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4293585)
In a scenario where the US split into two countries, no way DC could stay the capital of the north. It just doesn't make sense to put you capital right on the border.


It does make sense in some contexts. Tehran is the capital of Iran in no small part because of Soviet claims on (I guess more like aspirations -- nobody took seriously the justifications that Uncle Joe put forward) the northern part of the country.
   2147. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4293586)
Jack, I think that each of those relatively unhealthy things (yeah, smoking pot's unhealthy) I mentioned is pretty different from each other. (For the record, I'm pro-legalization pretty much across the board w/ appropriate taxation - though I'm not sure how ease of growing at home would impact marijuana taxation.)

***

We could walk through the possible solutions to the team's catching problem.

Vlad, now now, this should be a happy time.
   2148. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4293588)
If we're talking about popular vote and House seats isn't there a different base line between 1992 and 2012?

It seems pretty clear that both Obama and Romney are going to get higher percentages of the popular vote than both Clinton and Bush in 1992. Clinton's share of the popular vote as a whole isn't really relevant in a discussion of congressional seats is it? Clinton gets 43% of the vote and Bush gets 38%, but they're getting 100% of the seats.

Greg, yes, definitely a different baseline between 1992 and 2012. That was my original point a few pages back.

In 1992, the Dems already held 267 seats in the House (61 percent), and then Clinton only received 43 percent of the national vote. Even if we assume he would have gotten ~7 points of Perot's votes, it still barely gets him to 50 percent. In that situation, one wouldn't expect the Dems to make further gains in the House, since they were already at 61 percent.

In 2012, the Dems hold just 191 seats in the House (42 percent), while Obama is projected to get over 50 percent of the popular vote. The Dems have much more room for improvement in 2012 than in 1992, but the projections are that the Dems will only gain five or six House seats, and some are suggesting that the Dems could even lose House seats at the same time Obama wins reelection. Incumbency and gerrymandering might account for some of it, but I doubt it accounts for all of it. The GOP has only held the House for less than two years.
   2149. Danny Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4293589)
If you really believe Rasmussen is weighting his polls according to a GOP+6 electorate, you've done a great job faking your way through these polling discussions in recent weeks. You're off by at least 8 points. (And if you believe a GOP+6 electorate is somehow yielding only a Romney +1 lead, then this would be one of the best years in history for Dems, at least relative to the expectations a GOP+6 electorate would imply.)

I haven't much discussed Rasmussen's methodology for weighting by Party ID, other than saying it's silly to do so, so I haven't been faking anything. My understanding was that Rasmussen used the previous three months of his "Party Affiliation survey" to target respondents for their surveys for the next month. That's what he did in 2008, at least. From July 2008:

As we have noted many times, there is a disagreement within the polling industry as to whether or not polling firms should “weight” or adjust their sample to reflect a specific mix of Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters (see recent article on why some polls produce different results).

Rasmussen Reports does weight our sample to a set of partisan targets and bases those targets on surveys conducted in preceding months. Entering the month of June, our targets for the month were set so that the sample would include 9.44% more Democrats than Republicans.


Is he using a different methodology this year? If so, what is his new methodology? And why is he weighting toward a party ID split that's so thoroughly contradicted by his own party ID surveys?
   2150. Ron J2 Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4293590)
The game is easy for the Wills and the Barones.


Darrell Huff (in "How to Take a Chance") made the point that as a general rule people only notice your hits when you're either making short term predictions or backing a favorite, but what they tend to notice is your hits when you are making either long term projections or a are picking the underdog.
   2151. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4293594)
Is he using a different methodology this year? If so, what is his new methodology? And why is he weighting toward a party ID split that's so thoroughly contradicted by his own party ID surveys?


In today's Daily Presidential tracking poll report, he explicitly projects an electorate that is 39% Dem and 37% Republican. He also notes that Romney leads by 11 points among Independents. The combination of those three facts is consistent with Romney leading 49-48 (if, for example, you assume Obama and Romney are both winning their own party, 95-5).
   2152. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4293597)
   2153. Greg K Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4293598)
Why not? We could walk through the possible solutions to the team's catching problem. That'd be at least as interesting as the minutiae of polling samples, wouldn't it?

Is giving McKenry a shot the current plan? Looking at his minor league track record he's not exactly thrilling, but beggars can't be choosers and it looks like he has some power by catcher standards.
   2154. Danny Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4293599)
In today's Daily Presidential tracking poll report, he explicitly projects an electorate that is 39% Dem and 37% Republican. He also notes that Romney leads by 11 points among Independents. The combination of those three facts is consistent with Romney leading 49-48 (if, for example, you assume Obama and Romney are both winning their own party, 95-5).

So where is he coming up with D+2? Is he still targeting a sample based on party affiliation, or is he no longer weighting by party ID and is now simply reporting what respondents tell him?

If the former, why isn't he targeting the party affiliation he gets from his polling, as he claims to have done in 2008? If it's the latter, why does he still have the "The Value of Party Weighting for a Tracking Poll" article up with his methodology?
   2155. spike Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4293600)
One more for the spreadsheet -

Peggington goes Romney!
   2156. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4293601)
gold star

that's the title to a song isn't it? the 99 problems?
   2157. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4293602)
Darrell Huff (in "How to Take a Chance") made the point that as a general rule people only notice your hits when you're either making short term predictions or backing a favorite, but what they tend to notice is your hits when you are making either long term projections or a are picking the underdog.

Jeanne Dixon made an entire career on "predicting" the JFK assassination. Here's how that "prediction" is described in her Wiki entry:

Dixon reportedly predicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the May 13, 1956, issue of Parade Magazine she wrote that the 1960 presidential election would be "dominated by labor and won by a Democrat" who would then go on to "be assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term." She later admitted, “During the 1960 election, I saw Richard Nixon as the winner”,[11] and at the time made unequivocal predictions that JFK would fail to win the election.[12] In the 1956 pronouncement, she merely stated that a President would "be assassinated or die in office", not necessarily that one would be assassinated. By emphasizing a few coincidentally correct predictions and ignoring those that were wrong, she acquired both fame and notoriety. The ability to persuade the public in this matter is known as the 'Jeane Dixon effect'.
   2158. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4293603)
Daily Mail reporting Romney internals show him +1 in Ohio.

Brit tabloid - caution.

Leaked internal polling - caution.

Internal polling leaked to Brit tabloid - caution squared.

ADDENDUM: From Silver:
FYI: Internal polls released to the public have a 6-point bias, on average, as we saw in Wisconsin recall earlier this year.
   2159. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4293604)
that's the title to a song isn't it? the 99 problems?
Yes, by Jay-Z.
   2160. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4293605)
It's impossible to find [a moderate position] on abortion...


Actually, it's quite easy to find a moderate position on abortion. Just look at Roe v Wade. "Viability" *is* the ####### moderate position on abortion you gits.
   2161. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4293606)
In today's Daily Presidential tracking poll report, he explicitly projects an electorate that is 39% Dem and 37% Republican. He also notes that Romney leads by 11 points among Independents. The combination of those three facts is consistent with Romney leading 49-48 (if, for example, you assume Obama and Romney are both winning their own party, 95-5).

As has been said many times, this whole definition of "independent" depends on the pollster's framing of the question. The Washington Post has independents as split 50-50 in their latest poll, which has Obama ahead by a single point overall. Any of us here could probably rattle off half a dozen definitions that would pass the plausibility test, and they'd probably yield half a dozen different results in the presidential poll.
   2162. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4293607)
Barack Obama: "A few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia."
Oct. 22, in the final presidential debate
The ruling: Half True. Romney has twice drawn the distinction between his concerns about Iran and Russia, calling Russia the biggest geopolitical foe or enemy for the U.S. -- but he has said the biggest threat is Iran.
I thought Politifact had lost most of its credibiltiy. Of course that's what Romney said. There's no half truth about it.

March 26, 2012 Romney interview with Wolf Blitzer:

"This is without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world's worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed."

Blitzer asked Romney if he thought Russia is a bigger foe than Iran, China or North Korea.

"I'm saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation that lines up with the world's worst actors," Romney said. "Of course the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran, and a nuclear North Korea is already troubling enough. But when these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the United Nations looking for ways to stop them ... who is it that always stands up with the world's worst actors? It's always Russia, typically with China alongside. And so in terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that's on the Security Council that has the heft of the Security Council, and is of course is a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe."


There's nothing out of context in Obama's remark. He's not obliged to note what Romney said about Iran as a nuclear threat. He was talking about the perceived greatest 'geopolitical foe'.
   2163. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4293608)
Is giving McKenry a shot the current plan? Looking at his minor league track record he's not exactly thrilling, but beggars can't be choosers and it looks like he has some power by catcher standards.


Hey! No baseball talk here!

Take that stuff to the OT-OT Baseball thread!
   2164. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4293609)
It's not, and it shouldn't be, about consensus: it's about governing. It's ridiculous to hold that nothing should be possible unless there is a "consensus". What the hell is that, anyway? The majority should get to decide an issue--that's sufficient consensus.

But we're not talking about minor issues here. If consensus swings from 52-48 to 48-52 and then back to 52-48 all within a few years, it's kind of crazy to be passing, repealing, and re-passing legislation that overhauls the U.S.'s system of government, budgetary process, healthcare system, etc., etc.
   2165. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4293610)
Is giving McKenry a shot the current plan? Looking at his minor league track record he's not exactly thrilling, but beggars can't be choosers and it looks like he has some power by catcher standards.


Right now, it looks like they're going to bring in a vet on a one-year deal, someone from approximately the Laird level of crappiness, and do a job share.

If they can't attract any veterans at all, then they probably give Sanchez a long look as the other half of the job-share in ST, and panic if he doesn't look up to the task.
   2166. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4293611)
that's the title to a song isn't it? the 99 problems?


The original lyric is "99 problems, and a ##### ain't one"
   2167. Ron J2 Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4293612)
Can't edit 2150. Short term all people tend to notice is your misses.
   2168. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4293613)
it's kind of crazy to be passing, repealing, and re-passing legislation that overhauls the U.S.'s system of government, budgetary process, healthcare system,


So it's safe to say that the Republicans won't be trying to repeal Obamacare, right?
   2169. zenbitz Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4293614)
I'm pro-legalization pretty much across the board w/ appropriate taxation - though I'm not sure how ease of growing at home would impact marijuana taxation.


It's pretty easy to brew beer and wine (legal) and even distill (generally illegal).
   2170. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4293615)
Actually, it's quite easy to find a moderate position on abortion. Just look at Roe v Wade. "Viability" *is* the ####### moderate position on abortion you gits.

Not to mention that if the actual goal is to reduce abortion's numbers, the surest way to do that would be to provide free contraceptives to the girls and women who are most likely to get pregnant unintentionally. Obviously that may send a different message than we'd ideally like, all other things being equal, but in terms of reducing abortions, it'd sure be more humane and more effective than the alternative of criminalization.
   2171. Greg K Posted: November 05, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4293617)
It's pretty easy to brew beer and wine (legal) and even distill (generally illegal).

Out of curiosity, how easy is it to grow tobacco in your backyard?
   2172. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4293618)

It's not clear that the U.S. needs procedural reforms. The bigger problem is that there's nothing resembling a consensus on the long list of issues you mentioned in #2121.


I think if there is a consensus on anything in this nation, its that "Washington is broken." We've tried both parties. I think most would say its the system itself that needs reforming.

Of course there is no consensus on all the issues I list. You don't need a consensus, you need enough of a minority that you can build a coalition to get something done.

It's impossible to find one on abortion, and more than anything that's the issue that will scuttle a third-party trying to be viable nationally, on a par with Dems and Pubs.

It's fine, too, to say to your candidates, 'adopt our platform and do whatever else your conscience tells you', but as soon as you announce prolife or prochoice you've defined your base, and no matter how terrific the rest of your platform is, a prochoice candidate simply won't snare a prolife voter.


There would be no official party position on abortion, so no "announcement" at all. If we have a prochoice candidate than can't snare a prolife voter, well then, so what? I'm not looking to get 100% of the vote here. Each candidate would be judged on abortion on their own. So you'd probably have prolifers in red states and prochoicers in blue states. But unlike the other two parties, this party as a brand would not be associated with either position, which is what hurts Dems in red states (even if they're pro-life) and Republicans in blue states (even if they're pro choice).
   2173. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4293619)
Not to mention that if the actual goal is to reduce abortion's numbers, the surest way to do that would be to provide free contraceptives to the girls and women who are most likely to get pregnant unintentionally.


Unless you're Rick Santorum, in which case you say that birth control LEADS TO MORE teen pregnancies.
   2174. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4293621)
If consensus swings from 52-48 to 48-52 and then back to 52-48 all within a few years, it's kind of crazy to be passing, repealing, and re-passing legislation that overhauls the U.S.'s system of government, budgetary process, healthcare system, etc., etc.


First, that's not likely to happen. Second: Why? Why would that be crazy? As Lisa Simpson said when Bart forgot his consent form for the school outing and couldn't go: it's the only way he'll [they'll] learn. Much too much energy is spent imagining and fearing bogeyman phantom contingencies.
   2175. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4293622)
Obviously that may send a different message than we'd ideally like, all other things being equal, but in terms of reducing abortions, it'd sure be more humane and more effective than the alternative of criminalization.


Right, because we'd hate to send the message "women have every right to have sex for pure recreational enjoyment, for no reason other than the enjoyment of their own existential selves." We're much better off continuing to send the message that the only valid reason for a woman to have sex is in order to make a baby for a man.

Good ####### lord.
   2176. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4293624)
Can't edit 2150.

We'll forget that within a page or so.

It's pretty easy to brew beer and wine (legal) and even distill (generally illegal).

Not as easy, as I understand it... though not hard, no. Anyway, meant as a caveat in my case.
Out of curiosity, how easy is it to grow tobacco in your backyard?

Isn't the bigger issue prepping/curing it? (Comment based on going to a tobacco museum, like, 28 years ago.)

As for your nutrition label, Andy - I take issue with a few things, principally with how they define welfare and I imagine it'd be impossible to come up with a definition that makes everybody happy. Well designed, though.
   2177. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4293625)
I think if there is a consensus on anything in this nation, its that "Washington is broken." We've tried both parties. I think most would say its the system itself that needs reforming.


The problem is that different people mean wildly different things when they say that "Washington is broken". Tea Partiers think Washington is broken, because they're spending too damn much money. The Occupy movement thinks Washington is broken because it's in the pocket of Wall Street. Liberals think Washington is broken because the Republican minority in the Senate has the ability to filibuster, until the Republicans win the majority there, at which point, Conservatives will think Washington is broken because the Democratic minority in the Senate has the ability to filibuster. Some folks think Washington is "broken" because taxes are too high (on some people); some think Washington is "broken" because taxes are too low (on some people).

In order to "fix" Washington, you have to have a sense of what a "fixed" Washington would look like and what it would do in terms of policy. And there's no real consensus among "Independents" on what that is/should be.

Ultimately, in the real world, I don't think you can divorce policy from process.
   2178. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4293626)
Isn't the bigger issue prepping/curing it?


1. Fields.
2. Tobacco.
3. Tobacco barn.

Now, it's a pretty big difference between that product and a tar and nicotine laced death stick, but dude, tobacco is as natural as pot. It's a friggin' plant.
   2179. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4293628)
In order to "fix" Washington, you have to have a sense of what a "fixed" Washington would look like and what it would do in terms of policy. And there's no real consensus among "Independents" on what that is/should be.


The only real consensus among "Independents" is that it's terrible that people don't agree with their perfectly reasoned middle-of-the-road positions and the only thing to do about it is to stand around sing-songing "Can't we all just get along?!"
   2180. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4293629)
I get that Sam, but I just meant that it's probably more inconvenient to grow your tobacco supply than it is to grow your marijuana supply.
   2181. zonk Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4293630)
Rasmussen is reporting that Dems and Reps are tied on their Generic Congressional Ballot, 46-46, a change from a 46-43 Republican lead one week ago.

Is this information of any practical, predictive use? It seems much more useless than national polls for the President, for example, but has anybody (Nate?) looked at whether it might tell us anything at all?


I doubt it -

It was sort of under-reported, but the real lasting impact of 2010 was the GOP seizing several state legislatures, which led to some very, very tough redistrictings. Of course, the Dems did the same in state legislatures they owned -- but only Illinois and maybe California look to actually yield any fruit - maybe NY, too.

Second, the Dems had a really poor House recruiting cycle... a few rematches to seats they lost in 2010 (a couple of which they should win back), but there were a ton of good opportunities left on the board due to weak fields on the D side.... PA in particular.

Finally, while the GOP actually had a few more retirements than the Dems -- the Dems had several retirements to seats that they really have no hope of retaining without an entrenched incumbent (Mike Ross in AR, Dan Boren in OK, a few others).

National Journals' final poll also had some really good 'generic ballot' news for the Dems -- but in the current landscape, I just don't see where there's enough turf to even get the Dems into double digits. I see absolutely zero chance for them to win back the House. My House guess was D+6, but it wouldn't shock me to see it come out in a wash or near wash. I believe Sabato has it D+2 and Cook, IIRC, has it D+1.

If one is of a mind that the Dems need more ideological purity of their own, the silver lining is that the Blue Dog caucus might be damn close to nonexistent after this cycle -- it's already down to about 14, and it will almost certainly be single digits when the dust clears from tomorrow.

What will be real interesting is that there's increasing buzz that Pelosi may step aside - at least from leadership, if not congress entirely - when this is all said and done. Steny Hoyer has been the heir apparent since about forever -- but his power base IS the blue dogs, and there just aren't many of them left. Anthony Weiner was supposed to be the progressive/liberal leadership up-and-comer, but he's obviously gone. That leaves Clyburn as one possible candidate.

Actually - both caucuses could have mildly interesting leadership fights... If Obama wins the WH, the Dems keep the Senate, and somehow manage to get into the high/mid single digits in House pickups - it wouldn't at all shock me to see Cantor make a play for the gavel.
   2182. GregD Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4293631)
The problem is that different people mean wildly different things when they say that "Washington is broken". Tea Partiers think Washington is broken, because they're spending too damn much money. The Occupy movement thinks Washington is broken because it's in the pocket of Wall Street. Liberals think Washington is broken because the Republican minority in the Senate has the ability to filibuster, until the Republicans win the majority there, at which point, Conservatives will think Washington is broken because the Democratic minority in the Senate has the ability to filibuster. Some folks think Washington is "broken" because taxes are too high (on some people); some think Washington is "broken" because taxes are too low (on some people).
Kiko is right. Here's one way of thinking of this. If you took a poll asking "Are federal taxes at the right level?" You might get something like 85% No, 15% Yes (picking out of the air.) So obviously there's a consensus that federal taxes must be changed, right?

But that 85% No might include, say,

40% who think taxes are too high
25% who want taxes at Clinton levels
15% who want taxes at Reagan levels

Or whatever.

The result being that even a policy can be both very unpopular and yet every alternative can also be very unpopular. (Taxes may not be the right one, here, but you get the drift.)

The underlying issue is that "change Washington" like "change taxes" is a slogan not a platform. It has no content. People cheer for slogans and buy products for slogans, but they don't endorse slogans since there isn't anything to endorse.
   2183. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4293632)
85% think taxes are too high. And that includes people who don't even pay taxes. In other words, the irredeemably stupid.
   2184. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4293633)
I'm pro-legalization pretty much across the board w/ appropriate taxation - though I'm not sure how ease of growing at home would impact marijuana taxation.


It's pretty easy to brew beer and wine (legal) and even distill (generally illegal).
How much would a Pall Mall, filterless cigarette sized joint cost, once taxes were levied?

Growing the good stuff takes some care. You'll also have some regs added that make small scale farming tough. Home grown won't be a big market, but a lot of folks will have a little patch in the backyard, or a few pots on the balcony. I could be wrong, though. There might be a real flourishing of the pot equivalent of small breweries.

The problem is that different people mean wildly different things when they say that "Washington is broken". Tea Partiers think Washington is broken, because they're spending too damn much money.
It's more that 'they' are spending money on the wrong things.
   2185. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4293636)
The problem isn't consensus. The problem is the system. And one of the problems with the system is that it makes consensus impossible.
   2186. BDC Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4293638)
A justice's salary isn't Wall Street lobbyist money by any means, but it's at about the 95th percentile of US household income.

Justices write books and give lectures and such – I don't know if and law forbids them to profit by such activities. I guess who the hell's going to tell them what's legal or not? :)

   2187. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4293640)
Not to mention that if the actual goal is to reduce abortion's numbers, the surest way to do that would be to provide free contraceptives to the girls and women who are most likely to get pregnant unintentionally. Obviously that may send a different message than we'd ideally like, all other things being equal, but in terms of reducing abortions, it'd sure be more humane and more effective than the alternative of criminalization.
There's no evidence that knowledge of, or availability of, contraception has any effect on "unwanted pregnancy." (That is, women who get pregnant unintentionally do not list inability to obtain contraception as a reason.)
   2188. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4293641)
There would be no official party position on abortion, so no "announcement" at all. If we have a prochoice candidate than can't snare a prolife voter, well then, so what?
Wait--your individual candidates are going to have to make their positions known, right? We'll call you the Good Government Party for the moment. Once the GGP candidate in Missouri mentions he's pro-choice, he's running for what are now Democratic votes. How does he get elected?

I like your idea, but I just don't see how your candidate is fighting for anything other than half the votes. I don't see paths to victory.

   2189. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4293642)
We are a nation very much prone to addiction. Mostly it's because we can afford it.
We should want to make us less addicted, not more. I fear that legalizing all sorts of #### is not going to make things better in that regard. It will make things, I think, a whole lot worse with regard to that. With that will come tremendous costs--not just economic, but economic in spades anyway. Just think of only the legal ramifications of booze. Now, you want to multiply that by how much?
   2190. BDC Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4293643)
Oh, and in addition to proportional representation, I would greatly increase the size of the House of Representatives. It should have 2,000 members. I know there are practical objections, like having to build a bigger Capitol and trying to whip the resulting goat rodeo into condition. But how about some democracy where you have some fighting chance to actually know your Representative? The Senate is fine as it is, if one wants some counterbalance. I don't really see why legislating with 2,000 is going to be harder than doing it with 435. Nobody knows everybody in the House as it is. And with minor parties and coalitions ensuing, we might actually have legislation that is responsive to the will of the people.
   2191. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4293644)
I get that Sam, but I just meant that it's probably more inconvenient to grow your tobacco supply than it is to grow your marijuana supply.


I'm not sure it is more inconvenient to grow, but probably more goes into processing. But that's probably a function of expectations - people think of tobacco products as the mass produced things they get today, not something you grow and dry in your home garden. Regardless, either product is easier to produce locally in small batches than alcohol of any sort.
   2192. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4293647)
It's not, and it shouldn't be, about consensus: it's about governing. It's ridiculous to hold that nothing should be possible unless there is a "consensus". What the hell is that, anyway? The majority should get to decide an issue--that's sufficient consensus.
Keep trying; eventually those trains will run on time.
   2193. Lassus Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4293649)
There's no evidence that knowledge of, or availability of, contraception has any effect on "unwanted pregnancy." (That is, women who get pregnant unintentionally do not list inability to obtain contraception as a reason.)

Did 15-17 year old girls list "not wanting to be thought of as a whore or told 'no, you're too young' when trying to buy birth control" as a reason instead?
   2194. zonk Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4293650)
85% think taxes are too high. And that includes people who don't even pay taxes. In other words, the irredeemably stupid.


Actually, the recent polling on taxes shows a pretty even split -- Gallup has numbers going back 60 years and while I can't find, I believe the last Pew omnibus where america stands on things has similar numbers.

One other big problem -- we've increasingly seen a lot of the tax burden shift to the state and local level, and in many cases - more in the form of "fees".

I'd actually have a tough time responding to such a poll question myself... I think federal income tax rates are too low, but I think an awful lot of 'fees' that nickel and dime us in the masses are out of hand.
   2195. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4293651)
Oh, and in addition to proportional representation, I would greatly increase the size of the House of Representatives. It should have 2,000 members. I know there are practical objections, like having to build a bigger Capitol and trying to whip the resulting goat rodeo into condition. But how about some democracy where you have some fighting chance to actually know your Representative? The Senate is fine as it is, if one wants some counterbalance. I don't really see why legislating with 2,000 is going to be harder than doing it with 435. Nobody knows everybody in the House as it is. And with minor parties and coalitions ensuing, we might actually have legislation that is responsive to the will of the people.
This creates the problems you specify without solving the problem you want it to. If you increase the House to 2,000 from 435, then you decrease the number of people represented by a Representative from about 700,000 to 150,000. I don't think that a guy representing 150K people has any "fighting chance to actually know" his constituents.

To actually create such a "fighting chance," you'd probably need to make it, say, 10,000. Which is... silly.
   2196. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4293652)
Keep trying; eventually those trains will run on time.


What's a train? You are so last millennium?
   2197. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4293654)
I'd actually have a tough time responding to such a poll question myself... I think federal income tax rates are too low, but I think an awful lot of 'fees' that nickel and dime us in the masses are out of hand.


Now, that's a smart observation. And what's the cost for administering and enforcing all that picayune stuff?
   2198. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4293655)
Nate has a lot riding on the outcome of this election. To deny that seems pointless.
   2199. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4293656)
Nate DOES have a lot riding on the outcome of this election. What I don't understand is why nobody else seems to. Gallup, RCP, PPP, Rasmussen, all those talking heads... you know those guys are all still going to be on top of the mountain no matter how wrong they get things. Only Nate seems to be in any danger.
   2200. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 05, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4293657)
Nate has a lot riding on the outcome of this election. To deny that seems pointless.


There is a distinction between discussion of what is and discussion of what ought to be.
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