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If you were a bookie... Polls and bets on the 2004 elections

 
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2004 08:19 pm
Maps maps maps gotta love maps.

Those are great Soz. A month or so ago I first found a link in Dalythoughts.com to a site where someone tried to solve that question by putting up a county-by-county map that worked with shades - like, if a county was Republican but sparsely populated, it would be a very grayish red, and if it was densely populated, bright red; same with the Dems but then a scale from grey to blue. Was interesting. Cant find the link back anymore though, alas.

But the NY Times Interactive thing did pick up on the same idea as well, except that they work with bubbles. Here it is (again pilfering it in pre-emption of where it might go over time ...):

http://home.wanadoo.nl/anepiphany/images/bush-kerry_counties_bubbles.gif
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2004 08:21 pm
I have to show this part too, really interesting and directly related to the polarization argument we were having on another thread...

... oh I should post it there. Just a sec.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2004 08:34 pm
And here's yet another different way to look at it.

After all, America isn't really divided up neatly in red and blue - not even after these elections. It's still, in varying degrees, purple.

Someone thought of a way to visualise that, too. Well, MSNBC did, apparently. And one Michael J. Totten posted it on his blog. Here we are:

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/images/Purple-USA.jpg


Of course, if you can do it by state, you can do it by county. They thought of that, too.

From a Princeton Univ website (more precisely, from the 2004 Elections page of Robert J. Vanderbei), we get:

http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/purple_america_2004b_small.gif


Check out the one he's got on 2000 too and look for the differences (not easy to spot). Also click that link to see a version of the map where he turned high-density population areas into "mountains".

What's funny is that he notes having been asked to "warp the counties so that each county's area is proportional to its total vote count", but that he hasn't seen any at the county-by-county level and that he "can say that making a cartogram with so many individual elements (counties) would be very difficult." But, we know it's possible, cause Soz just posted one <grins>.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2004 08:42 pm
The purple map's cool.

Obama's so gonna make that part of his campaign... ;-)
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2004 09:36 pm
Post deleted.

See here why Embarrassed
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 11:57 am
Found a good 3-D map. Its from ESRI, the folks whose software was used by CBS on election night. This outfit also produces USA Today's election maps, and for many of the official mapsUS National Atlas published by The US Department of The Interior and The US Geograhical Survey.

http://www.esri.com/industries/elections/graphics/results2004_lg.jpg
From the above representation, one reasonably could extrapolate that this election's Democratic Support indeed was heavilly concentrated, strikingly disproportionately so, within a relativey few, isolated, mostly urban pockets which stand in stark contrast to the overall National Picture. Sorta shines a light on the term "Metrosexual", doesn't it? The term "Flyover Country" comes immediately to mind as well. I think that map very illustrative of The Way Things Really Are, but then mebbe that's just me. And ESRI. And CBS (who must be chagrinned). And USA Today. And The US Government. Seems to me the ONLY folks who see a "Deep Divide" are the Democrats isolated within those clearly defined pockets of abberational (as compared to the overall apparent National voter sentiment) political bent. I think it no coincidence that the Masters of Media themselves headquarter within those pockets. That likely explains the persistence of the "Deep Divide" meme. They really Don't Get It.

The National Atlas 2-D map might cheer Democrats a bit ... the color assignments have been reversed :wink: :

http://nationalatlas.gov/elections/elect14.gif
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 12:38 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Found a good 3-D map.


I bet, you did! Now, at least all the other continents are reduced to their adequate dimension.

(There's still some work left, timber, for the ... ehem ... country in the North and all those in the South!)

:wink:
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 03:35 pm
I can see both the Empire State Building and the Sears Tower on timber's map.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 03:50 pm
I can't make out the edges, you know where they write "here be dragons" or was that just in the olden days around old europe where they were warning about the "new world"? Gog has come to live in Dallas, I guess Texas will be renamed Magog.
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 04:05 pm
dyslexia wrote:
Gog has come to live in Dallas, I guess Texas will be renamed Magog.


It'll never work. "Deep-In-The-Hearta-Magog?"

timberlandko wrote:
From the above representation, one reasonably could extrapolate that this election's Democratic Support indeed was heavilly concentrated, strikingly disproportionately so, within a relativey few, isolated, mostly urban pockets which stand in stark contrast to the overall National Picture.


The National Picture gives the appearance of a Red Sea being several miles wide and an inch deep. Or is that red tide?
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realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 04:12 pm
There was a clever joke on Prarie Home Companion (which I can't really do justice to) to the effect that the Repubs will continue to ignore environmental issues in general and global warming in particular...and those blue states on the west coast and east coast will disappear.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 04:20 pm
Damn ... they're on to our plan. Wonder what tipped 'em.
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 04:32 pm
You know, timber, I don't think it is a matter of us not getting 'it'. Rather it's more that we don't want 'it'.

The areas of America that went so strongly Democrat are multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. They are the parts of America that intersect with the rest of the world. The areas that went strongly Republican don't want to intersect with the rest of the world, for, as dys so hilariously points out, 'there be dragons', strange clothes and accents and inappropriate facial hair and scary ideas.

Which American area, one can ask, is more like Afghanistan? Which political ideology, religious and socialy conservative, or liberal, is a closer reflection of the Taliban?

In this election, in both Dallas and Houston, Bush gained a lower percentage of votes than he did four years ago. Even modern mid-continent cities, like the port cities, are increasingly connected to the rest of the world.

The isolationism, and this is what the red votes yearn for, cannot last. Communications, trade, and the movements of peoples work inexorably against it. The red votes will try to fight it, just as Georgia tries, just as Saudi Arabian schools try, but it is doomed to failure in Wyoming precisely in the same way as in Central China.

It's no coincidence that social conservatives in America are happy to go to war with social conservatives in the Middle East, and for liberals in both places to despise this radicalism.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 05:06 pm
George Will has a fascinating observation on the Demographics and the 'don't get it' syndrome. The link is to the NY Post but Will's column appears in most newspapers across the country:

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/33489.htm
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 09:29 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Seems to me the ONLY folks who see a "Deep Divide" are the Democrats isolated within those clearly defined pockets of abberational (as compared to the overall apparent National voter sentiment) political bent.

LOL!

I have no problem with Timber's overall point of how "heavily concentrated" the Dem support is (though I like PDiddie's "shallow Red Sea" retort, if we're talking metaphors) -- and the map is really great, thanks.

But, "aberrational"? (doubts between Laughing , Shocked and Rolling Eyes )

48% of the popular vote, we're talkin' of here. Take 100 fellow American voters, and 48 outa them voted Kerry. And they're all of an "aberrational political bent"?

Seriously. aberrational = deviating from the moral standard or normal state. Since when is the moral standard or normal state of a country determined by surface rather than population? Isn't it the people who make up the standard?

Just to show how surreal this kind of thinking is, let us check those exit polls again. What do they show? That this year, women came out to vote distinctly more than men. All in all, women made out 54% of the electorate (and still Kerry lost <groans>), men 46%.

This, of course, clearly shows that men are of an abberational gender bent - you know, as compared to the overall apparent National voter sexuality.

And those who attend church at least every week (42%) are of an aberrational bent, too - "out of the mainstream", is what I say. Those who think the national economy is in a good state (47%) or the Bush tax cuts were good for the economy (41%) - aberrational: their opinion clearly deviates from the norm set by normal Americans. Those who think the Iraq war has made the US more secure (46%) - of an aberrational opinion, compared to the overall apparent National voter sentiment. And lets not forget those who believe abortion should be at least mostly illegal (42%) - they, too are obviously of an of aberrational cultural-political bent.

If only ...
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 09:32 pm
Thanks, nimh. I was stuck at the emoticon stage, and then forgot about it.

This reminds me though, "political sweet spot", fascinating concept, will come back to it.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 09:38 pm
Here we go:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/04/business/04scene.html

Sorry, I kept trying to find the most pertinent part to cut and paste and then had to move this way for that to make sense and that way for this to make sense and lo I had almost the whole thing so I just went ahead with the last little bit.

Quote:
God and the Electorate
By VIRGINIA POSTREL

Published: November 4, 2004



HAVE religious issues become more important in politics because too few Americans go to church?

That is the surprising suggestion of a new working paper by the Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser and two doctoral students, Jesse M. Shapiro and Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto. (The paper, "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," is online at http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty /glaeser/papers.html.)

The paper starts with a puzzle: In a majoritarian system like ours, political economists generally predict that candidates will converge toward the center of the spectrum, so as to attract as many votes as possible. This is the "median voter theory." But it doesn't seem to describe what's happened in American politics. On divisive religious issues like abortion, the two parties aren't hugging the center. They're abandoning it.

While most people know that the Republican Party has taken an increasingly strong anti-abortion position, the authors note that the Democratic Party has simultaneously moved in the opposite direction.

In 1976, the Democratic platform said, "We fully recognize the religious and ethical nature of the concerns which many Americans have on the subject of abortion," while terming a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade merely "undesirable." In this year's platform, by contrast, Democrats declared that they "stand proudly" for a woman's right to an abortion, "regardless of her ability to pay."

Conventional theory doesn't explain this shift. Even if voters were getting more religiously polarized - splitting into secular and fundamentalist camps - candidates would still have an incentive to split the difference.

"If some people are religious and some not, and voters simply choose the politician with views closest to their own, then a right-wing politician would want to take a stand on religious matters that is only just barely to the right of his opponent's position," Mr. Shapiro explained in an e-mail message. "That way, he captures the entire religious vote, but also avoids leaving the middle ground open for his opponent to invade."

So what's going on?

The economists propose a two-part answer.

First, there are actually two important voting decisions - not just whom to pick but whether to vote at all. Candidates need to get their voters excited enough to come to the polls (or possibly to give money). Extreme positions can do that.

But positions that energize your base may also encourage the opposition to come out against you. That's where the second part of the model comes in. Candidates need a way to target their messages so their supporters are more likely to respond than their opponents.

That's where social groups like churches and unions come in. These groups provide friendly forums for candidates' direct or indirect messages. While outsiders may know something about a candidate's more extreme positions, group members know more - because the messages are aimed specifically at them.

"When I go out and say, 'I want to tax all the rich and I want to end outsourcing,' I can give that message to an economically left-wing audience without the economically right-wing audience hearing it with exactly the same probability," Professor Glaeser said. "All you need is some ability to target your message, and then you're going to go to extremes."

Those in-group forums work, however, only if the groups are just the right size. They have to be small enough to be homogeneous and big enough to be influential. "The model has this very odd prediction that the power of social groups is most when they're roughly 50 percent of the population," Professor Glaeser said.

If a group is too small, it's not worth courting. But if it's too big, it includes too many of your opponent's supporters, making targeted messages impossible. If everybody goes to church or belongs to a union, membership in either group will not predict voting behavior.

"This is exactly what you see in the data," Professor Glaeser said. "The degree of polarization around religious issues is greatest in the places that are in the middle. It's not the Philippines, which are 100 percent religious, and not Scandinavia, where no one has attended a church in 40 years except for a wedding or a funeral. It's really these places like the U.S. that are in the middle."

Similarly, in states like South Carolina where most people go to church regularly, whether someone attends church does not predict how he or she will vote.

During the period studied, about 62 percent of South Carolina voters attended church at least once a month, but the churchgoers were only 4 percent more likely to vote Republican. In California, by contrast, only 38 percent reported monthly church attendance, and they were about 11 percent more likely to vote Republican.

The same is true for changing church attendance over time. In the 1970's, 57 percent of Minnesotans attended church at least monthly, and churchgoers and nonchurchgoers split their votes about the same way. By the 1990's, only about 45 percent of Minnesotans were regular churchgoers. About 40 percent of them voted Republican, versus 23 percent of nonchurchgoers.

Over the past several decades, the nation's church attendance has shrunk to the political sweet spot, while union membership has become too rare to reward sharp tilts to the economic left. Political platforms have diverged on religious issues and converged on economic issues.

Yet abortion rates show no significant change with the party in office, while tax rates rise significantly under Democrats - the opposite of what the political rhetoric promises. This result suggests that politicians move away from the social center mostly to get votes ("strategic extremism") and diverge from the economic center because they actually prefer those policies ("nonstrategic extremism").

Since the success of extreme messages depends on keeping your supporters better informed than your opponents, the model suggests that changing news media could be as important as changing social groupings.

"If every time you say something in private to a religious group or a feminist group, it ends up on Drudge within three minutes in screaming headlines," Professor Glaeser said. "It's going to stop people from going to extremes."
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 10:16 pm
nimh, I don't claim Democrats are abberational in and of themselves. What is abberational is the support distribution. And I really do think it more than coincidental that The Masters of Media are headquartered within those scattered pockets of vastly disproportionate Democratic support. All in all, Democrats are average Americans, just as are Republicans. The leadership of The Democratic Party, and, I suspect, the most vigorously activist members of The Democratic Party, and The Media Elite do not live in Average America. And they don't realize that.
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JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 10:25 pm
Oh oh oh oh, my. Am I the only one here who thinks the average voter has been over-analyzed to the point of silliness? I just read Sozobe's link...bless her heart for all that work, but oh, oh, oh, oh, my.

<Think I need a break from all this analyzing stuff>
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2004 10:58 pm
Well, but JW, did you know that the average, 43-year-old, near-balding, four-door-car-driving, Dire Straits-loving, suburban voter actually prefers Burger King over his neighbourhood fast food joint if and when he does feel like a Cheeseburger, partly because how he hates it when the person in line in front of him takes the last ketchup package, and that he vaguely senses - or at least those of them residing in the Midwestern battleground states and attending Church more than once a month but less than once a week do - that this really is something the government either is to blame for or should do something about?

When will the Democratic Party rise to the challenge, I ask?! It's time for some serious self-reflection folks, and it is these data we need for that.
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