Friday Reads: I’ve got a golden ticket!!Posted: October 31, 2014
Good Morning from One excited Hillary Clinton Fan!!
I’ve got my Saturday all planned around the Senator Mary Landrieu event! I’m canvassing in my neighborhood in the morning, then headed out for Moms Grams for Mary which includes new Grandmother Hillary Clinton as the special guest and featured speaker.
The Landrieu campaign said Clinton will speak about women in the workforce, particularly how to get more women into science, technology and mathematics fields. Clinton is considered the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race.
I’m going to follow up some of BB’s comments yesterday with some news on the ground. I spent most of the evening phone banking for Mary and talking to some really enthusiastic women of color and men that are all for her re-election. I think that the the turn out of minorities may actually be pretty good this year because the obvious, ugly racism is igniting some really huge fires. The ugly, misogyny is also heating some fires under women. I’m just hoping the Latino vote has the same degree of fire! Still, many polls show a Republican take over. Do polls undercount Dem supporters?
A couple of elections in which polls tilt slightly Republican aren’t enough to prove anything. The polls have erred before, only to prove fine over the longer term.
But the reasons to think that today’s polls underestimate Democrats are not based on just the last few years of results. They are also based on a fairly diverse set of methodological arguments, supported by extensive research, suggesting that many of today’s polls struggle to reach Democratic-leaning groups.
Supporters of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada shortly before the 2010 election, which he won by six points despite a series of polls showing him behind. Nevada is a particularly difficult place for pollsters. Credit Isaac Brekken for The New York Times
“The problems that we’re having with getting representative samples tend to lead us toward people who tend not to be Democrats,” said Scott Keeter, the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center. The most highly regarded pollsters, like those at Pew, have made many adjustments to compensate. But other polls, including many of those informing polling averages and Senate forecasting models, are not nearly as high in quality. Another highly regarded pollster, who requested anonymity, put it more bluntly, calling the new challenges “scary.” Many pollsters are reluctant to say things on the record that might undermine confidence in their own polling; others are unwilling to say anything at all, even to offer basic methodological information.
There are reasons to question whether the problems will be as acute this year, because many of the young and nonwhite voters who pose the biggest challenges to pollsters will most likely stay home in a midterm election. Even if the polls are again biased toward Republicans this year, there are reasons to doubt whether Democrats will retain control of the Senate. The Republicans might have a large enough advantage to withstand another round of modest polling errors.
But the larger concerns will remain, and they might be more significant in 2016 — when younger and nonwhite people are expected to vote in larger numbers.
No race illustrates the issue better than the Nevada Senate race in 2010. Senator Harry Reid easily won re-election, by 6 points, after trailing in every nonpartisan poll conducted over the final few weeks of the race. It was one of the biggest general-election upsets in recent memory, but it is perhaps less surprising when viewed in light of polling’s challenges today.
Nevada can be a nightmare for pollsters. It has the country’s third-most urbanized population; the fastest rate of population growth between 2000 and 2010; and the second-fastest growth in the nonwhite share of eligible voters. Hispanics represent 17 percent of eligible voters — the sixth-largest share in the country. All of these circumstances present problems for pollsters.
Perhaps as a result, the polls have underestimated Democrats in every competitive statewide contest since 2004. It is a microcosm of the polling challenges across the country.
Many of the difficulties stem from the declining response rate to telephone surveys. The share of households responding to telephone surveys plummeted to 9 percent in 2012, from 36 percent in 1997, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Young, nonwhite and urban voters can be hardest for pollsters to reach.
In a different era, the varying response rates among these demographic groups would not have mattered so much. In the past, the young did not vote so very differently from the old, nor the rural from the urban; divisions were more likely to be along religious or regional lines. Nonwhite voters were a sliver of the electorate.
But today, Democrats predominate in large metropolitan areas and among younger people; Republicans dominate the countryside and the older. Nonwhite voters represent a far larger share of the electorate, and the Democratic coalition, than even a decade ago.
To compensate, most polls sponsored by the news media weight their sample to match the demographic composition of the adult population. Specifically, some pollsters weight their samples to a long list of census targets, like race, age, gender, education, region, household size, telephone use and population density.
But many of the less rigorous polls do not weight to all of these targets, and not correcting for one can potentially bias a survey.
Most of this year’s state polls, for instance, do not weight their sample by population density. Some weight their sample to make sure that voters from broad geographic regions are properly represented, but even within those regions, respondents might be less likely to be urban. In Nevada, some pollsters use “Clark County” as a region, which includes the city of Las Vegas, its surrounding suburbs and thousands of square miles of desert occasionally punctuated by a small town. Population density, Mr. Keeter said, could be a “killer” to any poll that doesn’t compensate for it.
Even when pollsters do try to use the right weights, it may not be enough.
One problem is that the targets for weighting lag behind demographic change. Most polls sponsored by the news media weight their samples using products from the Census Bureau, like the decennial census or the American Community Survey. The catch is that many of these are a few years out of date. As a result, polls are typically weighted to reflect the slightly whiter America of a few years ago, rather than the America of today.
Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu said Thursday that the issue of race is a major reason that President Barack Obama has struggled politically in Southern states.
“I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” Landrieu told NBC News in an interview. “It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”
Noting that the South is “more of a conservative place,” she added that women have also faced challenges in “presenting ourselves.”
The comment prompted a fiery response from Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who called it “remarkably divisive.”
“She appears to be living in a different century,” he said in a statement. “Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity. That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana and I flatly reject it.”
Really. Does Bobby Jindal really think that the reason he feels the need to lighten his skin in portraits, changes his given name and his religion to something more “American” sounding, just something he felt like doing? Louisiana Bloogger Lamar White reminds our Governor of some few facts:
Mary Landrieu says, “The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” and the rightwing goes apoplectic. Bobby Jindal accuses her of being “remarkably divisive.”
Here’s a quick recap:
1. 250 years of slavery
2. The Civil War
3. White-only primaries
4. Jim Crow laws
6. Anti-miscegenation laws
7. The Ku Klux Klan
8. David Duke
9. Generations of codified employment, educational, and housing discrimination
Louisiana hasn’t elected an African-American to a statewide office since Reconstruction, even though they comprise more than a third of the population.
Louisiana is the prison capital of the world, and the overwhelming majority of our prison population is African-American. There are 5400 inmates in Orleans Parish; 400 of them are white.
It astounds me that a politician can’t even say that “the South hasn’t always been the friendliest place for African-Americans” or make the suggestion that maybe, just maybe this is one of the reasons the nation’s first African-American President has never been popular without Republicans acting as if she’s calling every white person a racist.
We really need to grow up. We need to be honest about our history and honest about the enduring ugliness of racism.
Twenty years ago, the leading Republican candidate for Louisiana Governor was the former Grand Wizard of the KKK. The past is sometimes more present than you think.
“Sometimes I do vote against the president — contrary to what these two say — because I do whatever it takes to deliver for the people of Louisiana,” Landrieu said.
Meanwhile, Cassidy connected nearly every major issue facing the nation to the the president’s Affordable Care Act, trying to sell to voters that Landrieu is as much to blame for the direction of the country as Obama.
He blamed the ACA for killing jobs and hurting the economy. If a government agency is struggling financially, Cassidy said it’s because Obama and Landrieu took money from them to pay for the health care reform.
“Is six more years of the same policy going to bring [people] to a better life? If you think so, vote for Sen. Landrieu. If you want a senator that’s going to stand up to Barack Obama and not vote with him 97 percent of the time…vote Bill Cassidy,” Cassidy said.
Maness also hammered away at Landrieu — and to a much lesser extent Cassidy — as he touted his position as the conservative, anti-Washington insider.
As a retired colonel, he leaned heavily on his military experience in the Air Force while calling for change in Washington, a tighter grip on the treasury’s purse strings and “ripping out Obamacare by the roots.”
“What these two represent is hyper partisanism,” Maness said.
Landrieu argued she was the better choice to represent groups like women, students and the elderly. She criticized Cassidy for not supporting her efforts to reduce student loan debt and for wanting to raise the retirement age to 70.
“You expect them to work their whole life, pay into a system and get nothing back? I will never vote for a raise in the age,” Landrieu said.
Cassidy said his plan wouldn’t have an immediate impact on people approaching retirement while solving a Social Security program headed for bankruptcy.
“The difference between us is her way doesn’t work. The actuaries say it doesn’t work,” Cassidy said.
Maness wouldn’t give a solution. Instead he called for people to work together and search for an acceptable solution that both sides can live with.
Old controversies also surfaced during the debate. For Landrieu, it was her campaign charter flights paid for with Senate funds. For Cassidy, it was his refusal to debate in all of the scheduled debates.
Landrieu said she returned the money to the treasury and took responsibility for her mistake. Cassidy said he didn’t need five debates to remind people Landrieu voted for the ACA.
The candidates also discussed border security. Landrieu talked about her efforts to beef up the number of security officers and provide extra funding for a smart fence and the Coast Guard. Cassidy and Maness said the border might not ever be secured as long as Obama and Democrats controlled the Senate.
Cassidy and Maness also used Ebola as another example of where the president — and in their minds Landrieu — had failed to protect the nation. Landrieu said she supports a 21-day quarantine, which is contrary to the president’s position.
They also discussed the Islamic militant group ISIS. Landrieu said she supports airstrikes and is open to boots on the ground, but is hesitant to use foot soldiers. Cassidy and Maness said the president has failed in handling the situation. Maness criticized both for not returning to Washington to authorize a strategy.
Yes, despite the fact we are a major resource for medical research on tropical and highly communicative diseases, no republican politician is leaving the Ebola panic stone unturned. Bobby Jindal–supposed health policy authority–has joined the hysteria in call for doctors who are experts in the field to ignore the premier infectious, Tropical diseases to not come to their major conference in New Orleans if they’ve been any where near any of the Ebola-infected nations. Is this even legal?
The Jindal administration is telling scientists and medical experts who have recently dealt with the Ebola virus to stay away from a national conference that starts Sunday in New Orleans.
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which is staging the conference for more than 3,500 people from nearly 100 countries, is urging compliance by its members but criticizing the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
“While the state of Louisiana’s policies are outside of the scientific understanding of Ebola transmission — and acknowledged by the state health officials’ own admission, we recognize that the state has determined its policy in this matter. ASTMH does not agree with the policy,” the society said. “These heroes are serving the global good by working in West Africa to end this outbreak and prevent additional death and suffering. The society firmly believes that policies that hinder the work of health care workers are ineffective and counterproductive.”
The group’s leadership volunteered to reimburse the registration fees of members who stay away.
State officials sent a letter to members of the society “disinviting” those who have been to the West African countries impacted by the deadly virus in the last three weeks or who have treated any patients on American soil. The state public health advisory bans people who have traveled to one of the Ebola-stricken countries or cared for people with the virus in the past 21 days from using public transportation or joining large groups. “That’s what the Department of Health and Hospitals felt is the best way to protect our citizens,” state Medical Director Dr. Jimmy Guidry said.
The public health advisory is the latest in Jindal administration edicts taken in the wake of the first U.S. death from Ebola — a Liberian national who died at a Dallas hospital.
Guidry said there is no way to know who and how many of the conference registrants fit the banned-from-attendance list. “The organization could not give us that information,” he said.
He said the state is trusting the medical professionals, many of whom specialize in infectious diseases, to do the right thing because “they know the risk.”
“I’m telling them the best thing is to come after 21 days to avoid this many people getting together with folks exposed,” Guidry said.
The incubation period from Ebola infection to onset of symptoms is two to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms.
First symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and, in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, according to the World Health Organization.
The 63rd annual meeting begins Sunday with an opening address by the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, and continues through Thursday. The group’s website describes it as “the premier forum for exchange of scientific advances in tropical medicine and global health.”
An email letter from society leadership to conference registrants notes that the state mandate exceeds recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for “low asymptomatic individuals” who have recently been in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
“We regret that some of our attendees may be affected by the state’s travel advisory, and we request your cooperation with the policy,” they wrote, adding that states have legal rights and responsibilities to set their own public health policy “to meet perceived local public health needs and concerns.”
Ebola is considered a tropical disease because it thrives in warm and wet conditions. Some of the conference registrants are Ebola specialists, and two symposiums are scheduled on the subject.
I am so freaking embarrassed to be represented by such morons as a citizen of Louisiana. Elected Republicans are a freaking menace to civilization! This is the man that said they should not be “the party of stupid”? It seems he’s leading the pack of them!
But Jindal, eyeing a 2016 bid for president, has completely abandoned his anti-”stupid party” crusade, desperately doing all he can to burnish his Know-Nothing credentials.
Some of the latest evidence emerged Wednesday, when his administration issued a letter asking Ebola researchers who had recently traveled to afflicted west Africans not to attend an upcoming conference of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans. Experts have condemned such sweeping bans as not based in science, noting additionally that travel bans and other restrictive measures targeting health workers and researchers may well discourage other professionals from traveling to Ebola-stricken countries. But Republicans, happy to demagogue the Ebola issue ahead of the forthcoming midterms, have little interest in the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and public health advocates. And Jindal is happy to join in.
The same day Jindal’s administration told Ebola researchers to keep away, the governor was in Kentucky, rallying support for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The same guy who lamented that his party was “simply being the anti-Obama party” tore into the president with an ad hominem attack, impugning Obama’s intelligence and suggesting that he should recoup his tuition fees from Harvard.
“There’s actually one lawsuit I’m happy to endorse. You see we have gotten so used to saying we have a constitutional scholar in the White House, we’ve gotten so used to saying we have a smart man as president. But I’m beginning to wonder if that’s really true,” Jindal said.
“I’m beginning to wonder what did he really learn in three years at Harvard Law School,” he continued. “The lawsuit I’m willing to endorse? I think he should sue Harvard Law School to get his tuition money back. I don’t think he learned a darned thing while he was there.”
Perhaps Jindal should team up with conservative carnival barker Donald Trump and demand that the president release his academic transcripts.
Jindal’s latest forays into right-wing rhetorical red meat come on the heels of other public statements that put the lie to his self-fancied image as the GOP’s ideas man. He was among the first conservatives to rush to the defense of homophobic “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, alleging Robertson’s critics were engaged in a “war on religion” and suggesting that pushback against anti-gay remarks somehow threatened free speech. Meanwhile, the Brown University biology major and Rhodes Scholar won’t say if he accepts the theory of evolution or climate science, putting him to the right of the pope on those issues.
So Bobby Jindal, recognizing that thought and ideas are anathema to the contemporary GOP base, no longer has any interest in eradicating the stupid from the stupid party. Instead, he’s angling to become its leader — once he’s gained a little more weight.
I will try to get some pictures Saturday and maybe some “live” blog comments of Hilary’s Speech for Mary. Meanwhile GOTV for sanity!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?