Thursday, April 26, 2012

Watch Hedgehog News, Be Dumber Than the Ill-Informed

UPDATE II:  Here is Colbert's take on the silver spoon lie: where "Obama makes a cowardly statement about Mitt Romney's wealth, made all the more cowardly by the fact that he never said it." Watch The Colbert Report, Steve Doocy's Silver Spoon Subtext Reporting:

UPDATE:  The ignorance is due to all the Hedgehog News lies in the service to their Republi-con overlords.  Read the Washington Post, Fox News, Steve Doocy and the 'silver spoon' smirk

People who watch Hedgehog News, "the most popular of the 24-hour cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all (after controlling for other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors). [Hedgehog] News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news." Read the reports of the Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, Some News Leaves People Knowing Less and Many think US is bailing out Greece; NPR, Jon Stewart Out-Fox Cable News.

The first report quotes Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the PublicMind Poll, who says that "the results show us that there is something about watching. [Hedgehog] News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all."

Obama in 2012?, Another Forecast Model

UPDATE:  Don't put too much faith in predictive models based on older election results, says one commentator, because of the changed nature of the party coalitions.

"Today the party coalitions are much more stable, and the battle is fought almost entirely between the 45-yard lines of the field. We have not seen anybody win less than 45 percent in terms of two-party presidential vote in twenty years, and it has only happened once in the House vote (to the GOP in 2008). This means that both sides have secured a solid base of 45 percent, and the range from cycle-to-cycle in terms of two-party vote share is now half of what it once was: the average difference in two-party vote share from 1948 through 1984 was 10.9 percent; since 1988 it has only been 5.8 percent. What’s more, between 2000 and 2008 a total of 10 states voted Republican and Democratic for president at least once, but between 1964 and 1972 forty-three states voted for both sides at least once.

(In Congress, this transition from regional to ideological parties has created the polarization that Beltway pundits regularly bemoan. Really, it is just a consequence of 'Democratic' now meaning 'liberal' and 'Republican' meaning 'conservative.' Fifty years ago, that was not necessarily true.) . . .

This is a lesson not just for the wonky backwaters of predictive modeling, but a good lesson for moving forward through this presidential cycle. If the only real swath of persuable voters amounts to maybe 10 percent of the electorate, then we need to be careful in how we look at the horse race. After all, we are talking about a group of people that have virtually no partisan or ideological attachments, pay very little attention to politics, and often create the crazy swings we see in the horse race polls during the course of the cycle. They are at the least fickle and at the worst maddening, as they regularly tell pollsters they have settled opinions when in fact they do not!"

Read The Weekly Standard, 90 Percent of the Electorate Is Probably Locked In.

"Political scientists have long known that you can predict most of what will happen in a presidential election with just a few key pieces of information: how the economy does, for instance, and the incumbent’s approval ratings in the summer. If you have those two numbers — even before you know the opponent, the campaign strategies or the issues — you can usually call the winner.

What these models suggest, in other words, is that the ephemera of elections aren’t that important. Not that this stuff doesn’t matter at all: Elections are often close, and a few percentage points can mean the difference between defeat and victory. But these micro-scandals mostly serve to distract us from the things that really do matter. And I don’t want to spend the next seven months distracted."

Read the Washington Post, 'Scandals' don’t predict election results. But this formula might., which includes a forecast model that "uses just three pieces of information that have been found to be particularly predictive: economic growth in the year of the election, as measured by the change in gross domestic product during the first three quarters; the president’s approval rating in June; and whether one of the candidates is the incumbent.

And compare the results with The New Times forecast model discussed previously.

The Republi-CON Etch A Sketch Candidate

UPDATE VI:  Another move to middle, this one by a potential VP, "defending U.S. involvement in crises abroad," and admiting Obama's not doing such a bad job on foreign policy.  Read the Washington Post, Marco Rubio delivers foreign policy address with bipartisan tone at Brookings Institution.  

UPDATE V:  Shakin it up and makin that move to the middle:

First, a gay senior adviser, for the gay vote.  Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney adviser Richard Grenell faces backlash over tweets, sexual orientation

Next, Obamney, "who vowed to veto the Dream Act, went on the campaign trail Monday with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who favors some legal status for those who would be covered by the act. Romney’s campaign says his claim during a primary debate that the Arizona law was a “model” for the nation referred only to the electronic verification of immigration status. (Alas for Romney, he endorsed the Arizona law more than once.) His campaign also tried recently to disown Kris Kobach, an immigration hard-liner, before admitting that the Kansas secretary of state is an 'informal adviser.'"  Read the Washington Post, Romney won’t be able to shake immigration debate, which notes that "[a]ficionados of the Etch a Sketch will recall a certain flaw in the toy: If you use it often, some of the lines drawn no longer disappear when you shake the device, instead leaving an indelible trace of where you have been."

UPDATE IV:  The latest etch a sketch moment, appointment of a gay spokesman.  Read Mediaite, Anti-Gay Radio Host And Log Cabin Republican Argue Over Romney’s Appointment Of Gay Spokesman.

UPDATE III:  "Perceptions of ideological extremism are one of the few factors that influence voter perceptions of challengers, as George McGovern and Barry Goldwater discovered. So Romney persumably wants to move to the center on as many issues as possible, including the ones Democrats are pushing. And yet this isn’t easy, because Romney doesn’t want a civil war to break out in the GOP.

Dems are currently pushing votes on no less than three major issues, all of which are designed to force Romney to make difficult choices."
Read the Washington Post, The trap Democrats are laying for Mitt Romney.
UPDATE II:  It being general election Etch A Sketch time, watch Ann Romney become pro-choice as she says that politicians "need to respect choices women make." See The Daily Show, Mitt Needs Moms - Motherhood Is Hard, starting at the 1:15 mark.

And at the 1:50 mark, watch Obamney say just three months ago said that mothers should work.

UPDATE:  What will Obamney's position be on immigration, health care, global warming, abortion, foreign policy, or even stay-at-home mothers?  It depends.  Read the Washington Post, Which Mitt will we get?, which notes that "[t]he presidential debates shouldn’t be much of a chore for Obama this fall. He can just stand by while Romney argues with himself."

"In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece on Thursday, the veteran conservative journalist Fred Barnes offered Mitt Romney some advice for improving his campaign, including the sensible (and one might also say humane) suggestion that on immigration, the presumptive nominee 'would be wise to move away from his harsh position in the primaries.'

Then Barnes included this fascinating sentence: 'According to a Romney adviser, his private view of immigration isn’t as anti-immigrant as he often sounded.'"

Read the Washington Post, Tell us more about Romney's 'private' views.

I'm sure this post will be updated regularly with more of Obamney's 'private' views.