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November 17, 2012

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One has also to consider the possibility that all the 'game-changers' cancelled each other out. In the case of Sandy, it might have even been self-cancellation, i.e. the good press for Obama mobilised some extra voters but others stayed at home because they had to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

The illustration was clearly done specifically for the Jerusalem Post article - it has a clear illustration credit (Avi Katz) and the article is about China (depicted by Katz as the Red Queen) influencing/leading Israel (depicted as Alice.) The "kova tembel" that Alice is wearing and her sandals mark her as obviously Israeli (at least to an Israeli audience.)

I'm not going to argue the point very hard, but Romney's first debate really put a dent in Obama's chances for a few weeks, so I think it was more the second sort of race. Those of us who followed Nate Silver daily (which I assume includes a fair number of people here) were biting our nails as Obama's chances were dropping depressingly close to the 60 percent level. Then they started climbing again. I also thought that there was something of a bump after the Democratic convention--at any rate, I think many of us anti-Republicans were feeling relatively complacent in September. We were feeling sorta sick in early through mid-October. The remaining debates went okay and Obama's position in the polls gradually improved, to the point where in the last few days I think most of us started feeling almost as sure (with some misgivings, in case the polls were biased) as we had in September.


Neither side made a hideous, game changing blunder, neither side made a brilliant tactical move. So the election was decided by the fundamentals.

In this case, Romney impolitically identified the relevant fundamental: If you're dependent on government, you will generally vote for Democrats, and the President has successfully made a terrifyingly high percentage of the population dependent on government for their day to day survival.

Unfortunately, the Curley effect really does work, so thing don't look good for the GOP in the long run.

Neither side made a hideous, game changing blunder, neither side made a brilliant tactical move. So the election was decided by the fundamentals.

Um, what?

Romney didn't understand that he was losing. He thought he was going to win. That's a huge blunder. If you know that you're losing, you start doing things differently. But if you're delusional and think that you're winning while everyone can see that you're losing, well, you don't really have a chance, now do you?

Knowing what you don't know is a huge part of leadership. Building an organization that tells you the truth rather than kisses your ass is one of the toughest things that a leader can do. And Romney failed at that pretty spectacularly.

The Curley effect? Oh, yes, I know that one:

Some people are Moes, who hit others.

Some people are Larrys, who get hit and wonder why.

Some people are Curleys, who also get hit but at least understand why and can shrug or smirk instead of just staring sadly.

Some Moes are Republicans and some are Democrats. Only Moes ever run for office.

Some Larrys are Republicans and some are Democrats. The Larrys of each party wonder how anyone could belong to the other, except for certain Larrys like the Log Cabin Republicans, about whom everyone is puzzled.

Curleys are almost all Democrats or members of minority parties.

The nation's colleges and universities were created to turn out better Moes. As a side effect, they also turn a lot of Larrys into Curleys. This is why Democrats are so big on universal education.

I've dealt with politicians before, worked in campaigns. Not admitting they're losing is pretty much a standard trait. It isn't impossible to look at what works better and worse, and adjust your strategy accordingly, while remaining delusional about your chances. You just work the math with an illegitimate constant in your favor worked in.

It was, after all, always possible that Obama would self-destruct in some fashion. Not much point in giving up when you're only wasting other people's money and time.

But Romney and Ryan and their core team were genuinely shocked about losing. Romney hadn't even bothered to write a concession speech.

It is one thing for candidates to be over-optimistic, but losing touch with reality is another thing entirely. And I get why a candidate wouldn't tell the world "meh, I really don't think we're going to win this one", but you should at least prepare yourself and the senior staff.

It was, after all, always possible that Obama would self-destruct in some fashion.

"I expect to win by a significant margin (PA is in play!)" is very different from "I'll probably lose, unless the other guys screws up in some spectacular way, perhaps by eating his kids' puppy on live TV".

If you don't know what's happening around you, you can't do anything properly.

Interesting stuff. While I don't like the 'election is an x' metaphors, might a better one be that it is like a football game? For any number of games you can say who is going to win and some people, by dint of hard work and observation, can give you the point spread, so that, barring any 'game-changer', you know what the outcome is. That seems different than the contest has already been decided.

The big Romney camp problem is then that they didn't realize they were going to lose and so did not try some bizarre play, like a flea-flicker or a Statue of Liberty, to try and change the results. (or alternatively, choose to do something like spear the quarterback or something similar)

Bear with me for a moment. This article about Kevin Garnett and his encyclopaedic knowledge of NBA offensive plays might be related. A clip:

Kevin Garnett, in that profanity-laced mental Rolodex of his, has seen a lot of coaches and respective coaching calls come and go in his combined 50,871 regular-season and playoff minutes. So much so that, if the seven-second delay of the television mics will allow, you can hear him calling out the opponents' play while his Celtics settle into their relative line of scrimmage on defense.

Note that even with this ability, the Celtics are still mediocre. That's because:

Anticipating play calls or even stealing signs is nothing new in the NBA. Just as it is with a fastball in tight during a baseball stare down, or a run off tackle in football, the league still comes down to executing simple designs and hoping the talent wins out. Garnett, even with all his experience, isn't alone in seeing a play call from out of the corner of his eye.

OK, I said this was a bit roundabout. Now read this Atlantic article (via Gary Farber's FB feed) about the technology team behind Obama's election.

This all puts Bill O'Reilly's plaints about why the Republicans lost in a bit of perspective, specifically the notion that "The white establishment is now the minority".

I don't know how a Republican party as it is currently constituted can feel comfortable with people like Harper Reed. (and it should be noted, it's not like the Dems were welcoming to folks like that, it is only the latitude that Obama running for a second term that created a space to bring those folks in)

The question is, will the strategy to get back in the game be to actually be more accepting and inclusive, or will it be to try and disenfranchise and isolate them?

Why wouldn't they be shocked at losing? Had they ever lost before? No. This was the first lost general election either of them experienced.

If Obama had lost, it would have been HIS first general election defeat, too. You might have seen some shock on his part, too.

It's easy to confuse, "I've never been beaten!" and "I'm unbeatable!"

Had they ever lost before?

Romney has only won elected office once. Every single other time he has run, he has lost.

And the issue isn't that he was surprised at losing; the issue is that he didn't know he was losing. He had no clue what was going on: he had no situational awareness.


(and it should be noted, it's not like the Dems were welcoming to folks like that, it is only the latitude that Obama running for a second term that created a space to bring those folks in)

Wait what?

Why do you think Harper Reed wouldn't have been welcomed by previous Dem campaigns?

@Donald Johnson:

I suspect that some of the see-sawing in the poll-dependent predictions (like 538 and Princeton Election Consortium) is from the parties getting excited at different paces. The DNC was more effective than the RNC at getting their respective bases fired up, so Obama got a decent sized bounce after the conventions. The first debate went Romney's way, which helped to fire up the Republican base, and he bounced back. But most of the people who got excited about the election based on those events were going to get excited enough to come out to vote anyway, so all that was going on was different timing in when people got excited.

I'm not sure, though, that this is something inevitable about any election, or if we just had an anomalously predictable one. Some elections have genuine surprises, like the financial crisis striking in the middle of the 2008 campaign or Ross Perot's jumping out and then back in in 1992. One of the things that is notable about 2012 is how many outside shocks that could have upset the electoral calculus- a Euro crisis that spilled over to send the US back into recession, a major terrorist attack on US soil, etc.- didn't happen.

Sam Wang was also talking about the great stability of the race months in advance.

I think the one thing that really moved it was the first debate, but Obama largely made up for that loss and the race regressed back to the mean where it had been for much of the year. If the election were held right after that first debate, the result might have been very different, at least much closer--but elections are not held right after the first debate, for exactly that sort of reason.

Technically speaking, a major terrorist attack DID happen on US soil. Embassies count as such, you know.

The administration just decided to pretend it wasn't a terrorist attack, (Kind of like they insist the Fort Hood attack was just "workplace violence" instead of terrorism.) and most of the media played along.

Heck, if they'd just not delayed the latest economic figures until after the election, it might have changed things. "Record number of people on food stamps!" not being the sort of headline an incumbent wants the day before an election...

No, there were plenty of things going on that could have changed the outcome. But only if we'd had a media interested in reporting on them.

...the issue isn't that he was surprised at losing; the issue is that he didn't know he was losing.

I think Turb is onto something here. When Obama had a bad first debate, he and his campaign knew he had messed up, and needed to do something different next time. But when Romney had a problem, he appears to have been blissfully unaware of it, or at least unaware of the magnitude of the problem. And if you don't know when you screw up, you can't correct your mistakes.

Why the difference? I think it comes down to the echo chamber effect. Both sides tend to listen mostly to people who agree with them. But the Republicans do a far, far more effective job of insulating themselves from anything which contradicts their perferred world-view. (And if something does sneak in, it is immediated construed as not just lies, but evil-intentioned lies specifically designed to confuse them.) Some Republicans, especially among the governors, have a better handle on the real world that they are working in. But the base, the legislators, and (apparently) the Romney campaign, all seem to manage to stay insulated.

Technically speaking, a major terrorist attack DID happen on US soil. Embassies count as such, you know.

Technically speaking, this is completely wrong. First, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi is not an embassy. Secondly, extraterritoriality does not apply.

if they'd just not delayed the latest economic figures until after the election, it might have changed things.

Can you give a cite showing which economic figures were delayed until after the election please?

Technically speaking, a major terrorist attack DID happen on US soil. Embassies count as such, you know.

That was a terrorist attack, but there's certainly room to dispute whether it classifies as "major" for the purposes of influencing an election. It seems to me that an attack like the one in Benghazi is less likely to have a dramatic impact on an election because it happened overseas and resulted in only a handful of American deaths. People certainly seem to have been willing to shrug off the simultaneous truck bombings of our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, even though they caused many more deaths. In contrast, an attack in a major US city the size of Oklahoma City presumably would have a much more dramatic effect on the election. I think the Madrid train attacks are a good example of the kind of effect something like that could produce.

And BTW, the Benghazi attack was against a US consulate, not an embassy.

Interesting the hue and cry about Benghazi by Brett (truly a sad incident because of the lives lost etc.) and not much mention of the Colorado movie shooting, or the Wisconsin sikh temple shooting, each of which caused more deaths. But, gulp, terrorism! Should have protected against! That's cuz we got to have guns! And we got to coddle domestic shooters!

2002: U.S. Consulate In Karachi, Pakistan, Attacked; 10 Killed, 51 Injured.

2004: U.S. Embassy Bombed In Uzbekistan.

2004: Gunmen Stormed U.S. Consulate In Saudi Arabia.

2006: Armed Men Attacked U.S. Embassy In Syria.

2007: Grenade Launched Into U.S. Embassy In Athens.

2008: Rioters Set Fire To U.S. Embassy In Serbia.

2008: Ten People Killed In Bombings At U.S. Embassy In Yemen.

2012: Embassy security becomes a big deal with Republicans.


What can you say to that that doesn't violate the rule here that you must respect people who deserve no respect?

On Romney, I'm surprised there's any debate about what Turb said--it was a big news story on or right after the election that the idiots in the Romney campaign (including Romney) really believed their campaign hype about winning. Sensible outsiders thought they were just playing smart politics--to have any chance of winning at all they had to play up their certainty, to get their supporters enthusiastic. But no, they weren't just hoping the polls had some systematic bias (which according to Silver was the only way they had a non-negligible chance of winning), they really thought they "knew" it. Ideology aside, I really don't want people this delusional in the White House.

Roger--I think your analysis in the 7:38 post is probably right.

" Ideology aside, I really don't want people this delusional in the White House."

Not that there weren't plenty of other reasons for my desire that Romney lose.

According to Brett's fantasy that people dependent upon the government vote for Dems, record numbers of people dependent upon Food Stamps should be good news for Democrats.

But the fantasy is bullshit that has been debunked repeatedly. It isn't just Romney who refuses to acknowledge information that interferes with the made-up reality inside his head.

Brett, we can agree that the welfare state was much larger in the 70s than today, right? And we can agree that while the nature of the recession in the 70s wasn't as severe as the current one, the consequences of the recession (unemployment, inflation, interest rates, etc.) were pretty bad, right?

So based on those things, you would naturally assume that with a bad recession combined with a much larger welfare state, that Carter would have clearly sailed to victory over Reagan because of the "gifts" that his administration handed out in the form of welfare-state benefits that helped people out during a severe recession.

But that's not how it worked, did it? And given that it didn't work that way, and given that "bad economy" normally means "bad outcome for incumbents", how does your claim that, "dependence on government caused Obama to win" make any sense?

It makes more sense simply to assume that people like Obama, he's doing a decent job under the circumstances, and Romney didn't have any positives that were sufficient to overcome the incumbent.

I don't think it's all that surprising that a fair number of people got the state outcomes right or nearly so.

Forty or so states could be called easily, and those that couldn't be had some healthy correlation, so the possibilities are limited.

Hi Turb,

I was thinking of what was said by Madrigal in the link, which was

And yet, the very things that make Reed an interesting and beloved person are the same things that make him an unlikely pick to become the chief technology officer of the reelection campaign of the President of the United States. Political people wear khakis. They only own long-sleeve dress shirts. Their old photos on Facebook show them canvassing for local politicians and winning cross-country meets.

I asked Michael Slaby, Obama's 2008 chief technology officer, and the guy who hired Harper Reed this time around, if it wasn't risky to hire this wild guy into a presidential campaign. "It's funny to hear you call it risky, it seems obvious to me," Slaby said. "It seems crazy to hire someone like me as CTO when you could have someone like Harper as CTO."

My take was that it was/is pretty groundbreaking to hire someone likes this to go into the inner circle and I can't really think of a campaign either Dem or Repub, in my lifetime to do that. Sorry for the confusion.

Sorry, that should be 'my take on what Madrigal is saying is'

Romney hadn't even bothered to write a concession speech.

This just beggars belief.

By which I do not mean "Turb, you must have this wrong", because I've seen this reported in a number of quite reliable places.

It just beggars belief on its face.

That's not confidence, it's something else.

No, I entirely believe he didn't bother to write one. He wasn't planning on losing. This isn't to say he wasn't aware of the possibility on an intellectual level, but what does writing your concession speech contribute towards winning an election? If you think you have any chance at all of winning, you're going to devote your time to trying to win.

Concession speeches you can work on once you know for a fact you need one.

In this case, Romney impolitically identified the relevant fundamental: If you're dependent on government, you will generally vote for Democrats, and the President has successfully made a terrifyingly high percentage of the population dependent on government for their day to day survival

And that's why all of the poorest states in America are red on the maps above!

Wait . . .

Food stamp spending has doubled in the last four years. To the conservative mind, this is a fantastic secret proving the diabolical evilness of Democratic politicians and their moocher base.

This also explains how defense contractors, bankers, oil company executives, and farmers consistently vote for Democrats.

With such powerful forces in alignment, the conservative cause obviously has no hope.

What keeps them going?

The poorest states tend to be heavily rural states. In rural areas, poverty and dependence do not necessarily go hand in hand, as a considerable degree of self sufficiency is compatible with poverty in rural areas.

The poor areas that run Democratic are places, like inner city ghettos, where poverty absolutely implies dependence. If you're poor inside a city, no garden or hunting is going to put food on the table.

In short, don't conflate poverty and dependence, they're not the same thing.

Share and enjoy.

addicting info

business insider

bloomberg

NYT

Feel free to rebut this with statistics showing that rural areas collect disproportionately fewer federal government benefits.

Or, continue to spin colorful tales about how the Hatfields and McCoys don't need dirty federal money.

He wasn't planning on losing.

The probability of Romney losing was over 90%. This is like saying you aren't planning on dying, so why bother to write a will?

Brett's vision of hardy self-reliant countryfolk who can feed themselves by gardening or hunting and thus avoid "dependence" on the Yankee guvmint is charming in a way. It would be positively delightful, even, if only you could grow books in a little garden plot, or gather penicillin in the woods, or fish the occasional kilowatt out of the creek. Short of that, rural poverty is just plain poverty combined with ignorance and isolation. Which I suppose is charming to some people.

--TP

sconstant:

Thank you for explaining the iconography! I thought the Alice figure was some kind of Asian school uniform ...

In rural areas, poverty and dependence do not necessarily go hand in hand....

Unless, of course, you are a moocher http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lowest-income_counties_in_the_United_States>Native American.

To follow up bobbyp -- back in the spring, Republicans (not just Romney) should have known that they were the underdogs. Brett, did you ever get the impression that Team Red were underdogs, that it was going to be an uphill battle? I'm asking you because you seem to have a pretty good sense of what Republicans in general are thinking and talking about, at any given time.

It's not just that on November 5th Republicans and their media thought Romney was going to win, it's that they don't seem to have seen this coming for *months*.

"Concession speeches you can work on once you know for a fact you need one."

That's just silly. Obama had two speeches ready. Even if you had only a ten percent chance of losing you should prepare for that. I suppose Jill Stein and Gary Johnson could be forgiven for not having any victory speeches written.

But anyway, it's a bigger issue than not having a concession speech ready. The issue is that of living inside a delusional conservative media bubble, where you actually start believing your own propaganda. That mindset can lead to much worse things, like the Iraq invasion.

what does writing your concession speech contribute towards winning an election?

Brett, writing your victory speech doesn't contribute anything towards winning an election either, does it? And yet Romney had written one of those.

I would think that any candidate would spend the latter part of election day drafting both speeches. At that point, there really isn't much that you can do, as a candidate, to help out. Maybe make a brief appearance at campaign HQ to encourage the troops, but not a lot. Maybe you write the speech you expect to need first, but draft both anyway. As the returns come in, you can polish up the one that you are going to need. But have a solid draft of both ready to go by the time the polls close.

It's a matter of doing decent contingency planning -- one of the things that you really, really want a President to get done.

County-level map of welfare distribution in the United States. Looks to me like somebody here might be full of beans, but hey, whatever supports the narrative, right?

On the topic of the prescience of some electoral analysts: as far as I followed your election it appeared to me that at least three quarters of all your states fell into one political column or the other, leaving about 12 "swing" states. Also obviously, given the less than perfect success of President Obama over the last four years, and the appalling record of the Republicans over the prior eight, you would inevitably have a close election: probably within a few percentage points. Given the very small universe of plausible outcomes, and the comparativly large number of published predictions, it seems pretty much inevitable that one or two predictions would come very close, even "creepily" close to the result. That hardly invalidates the campaign. Given the stakes, does anyone agree that either party should not (from their own point of view, of course) have done all they possibly could to win.

"Brett, did you ever get the impression that Team Red were underdogs, that it was going to be an uphill battle?"

That's been my impression from the start, and all along. There was a moment after the first debate when Romney might have taken the lead, but he didn't do what was necessary to hold it. He wasn't the kind of guy who would; For instance, Obamacare remains unpopular, but Romney, of all Republicans, could not plausibly attack it.

Between the media headwind, and the ever increasing fraction of the population who are net consumers of taxation, and the engineered demographic changes, (Electing a new people, called it that before I ever heard of Bertolt Brecht.) the underlying fundamentals are gradually getting worse and worse for Republicans. Winning becomes, with each passing year, more of an outlier event. America is gradually turning into a welfare state, and why would you expect Republicans to do well in a welfare state?

You shouldn't mistake my doubts that the polls were reliable, for a conviction they were wrong.

In rural areas, poverty and dependence do not necessarily go hand in hand,

Except that it works that way in practice. In fact, rural America is unsustainable outside of government subsidies to keep it afloat.

If rural poverty were so great, the urban poor would go there. The opposite is what happens, though: the rural poor leave their poor rural areas to move to the cities.

Who said rural poverty was so great? Not me, and I've seen it first hand. All I said is that it's not automatically associated with dependence, the way urban poverty is.

"the rural poor leave their poor rural areas to move to the cities."

Sure, voting for your income is great work, if you can get it. Beats grubbing in the soil and eating road kill any day. (Not that I haven't eaten it myself; But you really want to know it's fresh.)

The problem for society, in the long run, (This is where the Curley effect applies.) is that only so many people can be employed voting before the dead weight on the economy starts dragging things down. Voting may get you a paycheck, but it's still not productive work.

The employment to population ratio today sucks, big time. It's worse than it's been in decades, and in contrast to previous recessions, it didn't start back up again after the recession was "over".

This wasn't a quick down and up recession. Looks more like a phase change in the economy, to me, and not for the better.

"All I said is that it's not automatically associated with dependence, the way urban poverty is."

You're quite right, you did say that. However, several people have linked to articles and statistics that say you're wrong.

No, they've linked to articles and statistics that say it generally IS so associated. Which misses what I'm saying:

It is quite possible, in rural areas, to be both poor and independent.

It's essentially impossible in urban areas.

This is a real difference, even if there are plenty of dependent poor people in rural areas, too.

"It is quite possible, in rural areas, to be both poor and independent."

It's essentially impossible in urban areas."

Do you have any proof of that? All you've done so far is assert it.

The data I and others have linked to suggests that rural living is more strongly associated with federal aid than urban living, i.e. the relationship is the precise opposite of what you're saying. Poorer, more rural, more Republican states like Missouri and Kentucky get more federal benefits like welfare etc than richer, more urban, more Democratic states.

While it's possible that the urban poor of Democratic states receive more per-capita federal benefits than the rural poor of Republican states do, I have yet to see an article suggesting that. All we have to go on is your stern McCarthian prose. Do me a favor and find something to prove it.

This isn't to say he wasn't aware of the possibility on an intellectual level, but what does writing your concession speech contribute towards winning an election? If you think you have any chance at all of winning, you're going to devote your time to trying to win.

Someone should have told Eisenhower that.

Regarding the Curious Incident of the Romney Campaign in the Night-Time, (by which I mean their inexplicable confidence in victory), here is an interesting story line that could provide a rational explanation.

The poorest states tend to be heavily rural states. In rural areas, poverty and dependence do not necessarily go hand in hand, as a considerable degree of self sufficiency is compatible with poverty in rural areas.

The poor areas that run Democratic are places, like inner city ghettos, where poverty absolutely implies dependence.

To follow up on Phil's response, here are county by county numbers on SNAP / food stamp participation as of 2009.

Long story short, Brett's claim does not hold up. At least, using SNAP and/or food stamps as a measure.

It's great that rural folks can hunt and grow their own vegetables out in the yard. They still consume federal aid at rates comparable to or greater - often significantly greater - then their urban counterparts.

Nice try, though.

I think Brett's mistaked comes from another mistaken assumption: the assumption that food stamp users are able bodied people who could go out and support themselves if they wre so lazy and dependent.

Food stamp users are almost always people who are not able bodied. On the contraty they are the elderly, the sick, the disabled, or children. There are able bodied people who get foodstamps even though they have jobs: Wlamrt employees are so underpaid that many of them qualify for food stamps even though they are working.

IF you want to look for dependent people check out Ms Walton who depends on the taxpayers to feed her employees because being a billionaire isn't rich enough for her.

Long story short, Brett's claim does not hold up.

You might want to retain this sentence (e.g., as a macro?) for ease of further use.

The ten states with the lowest number of people who pay zero net Federal income tax: NH, MA, RI, NJ, AK, DE, MD, WA, WY, ND

Obama won 7/10

The ten states with the highest number of people who pay zero net Federal income tax: ID, NM, TX, AR, MS, LA, AL, GA, SC, FL

Obama won 1/10

(data)

is there any data at all that can support this latest "conservative" talking point? or, is this more "conservative" gut math?

Long story short, Brett's claim does not hold up. At least, using SNAP and/or food stamps as a measure.

In Texas, Brett's claim does hold up as to Democratic constituencies. The counties with the highest percentage SNAP/Food Stamp consumption all voted heavily for Obama.

Seems to me, the correct correlation is how the SNAP/Food Stamp recipients voted, or how their counties voted.

The counties with the highest percentage SNAP/Food Stamp consumption all voted heavily for Obama.

Brett was talking about the relationship between how rural an area is and how large a fraction of its people depend on government benefits. You're talking about the relationship between government poverty supports and partisan voting. That is a completely different relationship. Even if it is true, it can't possibly support Brett's claims.

No, there were plenty of things going on that could have changed the outcome. But only if we'd had a media interested in reporting on them.

Another opportunity to tell the story of the late Lars-Erik Nelson, former DC Bureau Chief of the New York Daily News. He was on C-SPAN one morning during the 1990's listening to some caller talking in impressive detail about alleged Clinton scandals that, he complained, the press didn't cover. Nelson asked him: "How did you hear about them?"
Very little of what we think we know, whatever the immediate source, didn't ultimately come from the mainstream media.

In Texas, Brett's claim does hold up as to Democratic constituencies.

As Turb notes, the claim I was contesting was whether there was a meaningful correlation between population density (i.e., rural vs urban) and participation in federal aid programs.

That correlation does not seem to appear in the actual data.

How folks vote, either as a function of the amount of aid they receive, or as a function of urban vs rural, different story.

Wlamrt employees are so underpaid that many of them qualify for food stamps even though they are working.

also:


From 2008 to 2009 military families were using food stamps at twice the rate as civilians, 25 percent to 13 percent. About $31 million of food stamps were used in nationwide commissaries.

moochers.

right?

cite, for the above.

But anyway, it's a bigger issue than not having a concession speech ready.

It is, but I think it's not exactly what you describe. There are too many business types - usually not very smart ones - who hate the idea of "negativity" seeping into their plans. The need for "positive thinking" is paramount, and often inhibits needed criticism. If you don't think the boss's plan to paint some of the new cars with polka dots then you are "being negative," never mind your honest opinion that polka-dotted cars aren't going to sell.

Now, frankly, some of this is OK. There are sourpusses in the world. But far too often it reaches a level where suggesting any changes is close to treasonous. "Gee boss, PA looks like a loser. Maybe we should shift some money from there down to FL," would likely have been a reasonable statement by a Romney worker. But if the mindset is that talk of losing PA is "negativism" rather than realism, then it doesn't get said.

There are too many business types - usually not very smart ones - who hate the idea of "negativity" seeping into their plans.

The thing is, Romney was running for President, not applying for a job as a business CEO.

In a political context, one and only one person is going to win, and the etiquette of the situation is that if you lose, it's a good thing if you can do so gracefully.

If you get passed over for a CEO position, there is no expectation that you will publicly and gracefully acknowledge the fairness of the outcome. If you lose a political election, it is *expected* that you will do so.

Failing to make even the most perfunctory preparations for losing - drafting a concession speech, for example - is just really hard to explain (it seems to me) without seeing it as some variety of dysfunction. So, extraordinary hubris, or massive denial, or remarkable detachment from the real context of what he was doing.

None of this contradicts your point Bernie, I'm just giving my own reaction to Romney's failure to make the most normal and basic preparations for what was an entirely possible outcome. Even the most optimistic reading of events would not rule out a Romney loss.

It just strikes me as really really weird. I think the man lives in a serious bubble.

"Brett was talking about the relationship between how rural an area is and how large a fraction of its people depend on government benefits."

No, I was not. I was talking about the relationship between how rural an area is, and how dependent poor people are on government benefits. My argument was simply that rural poor have options urban poor don't have. You can hunt, garden, when you can't afford propane to heat you can use the wood stove... You can't do any of these things in urban areas.

I think dependence, knowing you have no other option but the government if you're to survive, messes with people's minds, in a way which is advantageous to Democrats.

And I think Democrats know it, too...

so, all of those folks *receive* federal benefits, but it's different than when folks in urban areas do, because they aren't *dependent* on them?

because they can hunt and grow their own vegetables?

if you were to ponder this for a bit, you might discover that, just as there are resources available to rural folks that are not readily available to city folks, the opposite is also so.

have you ever actually lived in a city?

and not for nothing, but noting that rural poor folks don't *need* federal aid (because they can hunt and have a garden), but are quite happy to *take them anyway*, does not really place them in a particularly positive light.

so, not "dependent", but just lazy? instead of taking uncle's money, why don't they get off their @sses and get their own food.

shiftless good-for-nothing hillbillies, the lot of them.

I don't think dependency messes with people's miinds except when the people confuse their dependency with a sense of entitlement.

For example the Missouri farmer who, after accepting a million dollars worthh of farm subsidies, put up a billbpoard oo his property that attacked welfare recepients and blamed them for the deficit which was primarily caused by the people like him who voted for Bush, ,many of them also dependent people like the farmer.

Or the red state citizens who expect goverment money to fund schools, PO, subsidize farming ranching and mining, retire on Social Security and Medicare but blame big government programs for "high taxes" when their taxes aren't particularly high and can only get higher if they keep electing Repubicans who waht to cut taxes for the 2% and leave the costs of their dependency to fall on themiddle class.

Or people like my ex-father-in-law who was supported by WPA, later watered his orchard from the Bonneville Power Admin., then retired on Social Security but voted for Reagan because of all those (brown and black) people who were dependent.

And REpubloican politicians know this. Even Ron paul kkows that if he doesn't deliver gifts to his constituents how won't get re-elected.

Yup dependency ca mess with people's heads by making them hypocrites and liars.

"but noting that rural poor folks don't *need* federal aid (because they can hunt and have a garden), but are quite happy to *take them anyway*, does not really place them in a particularly positive light."

No, I'd agree with that.

Brett, I think you are succumbing Rousseau's noble savage myth. I probably won't convince you otherwise, but if rural life is so much more fruitful for people living on the edge, why, in all of history, people move from rural to urban? The only time you can get them/us to clear out is if you get some sort of plague like conditions.

I was a huge fan of those Foxfire books when I was a kid and still love to imagine being able to live off the land. (for others who share my fascination, check out this link">http://www.bluelagoonislands.com/">link and the link to the free ebook 'An Island to Oneself', by Tom Neale) and I think there is a longing to be able to live like that. But that longing is a longing is in part because it imagines a perfectly healthy young person with no ties. No family to be concerned about, no older parents to worry about. Perhaps a faithful dog who would help tree squirrels and let me know when danger is about, but that would be the extent of it. It isn't just the longing for the independent life, it is the longing for the period of one's life when the flu would just be an inconvenience, not something that keeps you in bed for 2 days while you try to figure out how to make up all the work you are missing.

Despite my longing for that period of my life when I could sleep in my car for a week until an apartment opened up, (if I did that now, I would be permanently crippled, I think) if something happened to me that put me suddenly below the poverty line, I know I would head to the city. Maybe a place to squat, dumpsters to dive in, and other people around, if not to offer charity, to at least make sure that the basic constraints of society function.

I imagine this hasn't convinced you, because perhaps you are assuming that there is some sort of Darwinian motivation here, and the strong are the one who go out to the back country and survive on their own, while the weak dependent ones are those who huddle in the city when things get bad. Of course, if you make survival your main metric, you could argue that, but then you lose the artist with some incredible talent, the musician who never had a chance to pick up the instrument that fit them. Just because you don't see that loss doesn't mean that it is not there.

"...why, in all of history, people move from rural to urban?"

Because most people are lazy and are, like monkeys, dazzled by the shining things.

"No family to be concerned about, no older parents to worry about. Perhaps a faithful dog who would help tree squirrels and let me know when danger is about, but that would be the extent of it. It isn't just the longing for the independent life, it is the longing for the period of one's life when the flu would just be an inconvenience, not something that keeps you in bed for 2 days while you try to figure out how to make up all the work you are missing."

No. Before the big corporate farming operations neighbors helped each. Communities helped their members.

Any how, the Amish and similar types manage to do what you say is impossible.

Actually, all you have said is that it is impossible for you because you aren't used to hard work and you are soft and lack the life skills/social midset to make it outside of the city and the cubicle/nanny state environment.

As for artistic development, well there's plenty of music and art in the most rural areas. Even better, instead of music being the possession of some mega production company, rural music is a community activity; a social glue (e.g. see Appalachian mountain music).

Just saying, counters to your assertions do exist to this day.

"The employment to population ratio today sucks, big time. It's worse than it's been in decades, and in contrast to previous recessions, it didn't start back up again after the recession was "over"."

The ratio has also been declining for decades. In Germany, the ratio has been about 10% lower than the US ratio since WWII, and yet Germany has been touted as an economic success story over the last decade.

"...why, in all of history, people move from rural to urban?"

Because most people are lazy and are, like monkeys, dazzled by the shining things.

No, they go because that's where the jobs are. And living conditions are generally better.

Because most people are lazy and are, like monkeys, dazzled by the shining things.

Funny how the grinding rigor, the boredom, the isolation, the extreme want, the dirt and disease and filth, and the absolute terror of rural life is exalted as the triumph of individual liberty (the Bellmore paradigm). Because liberty is defined, not in terms of a social ideal, but extreme, almost narcissistic isolation...because your wants are only constrained, by, pure f*cking magic no less, your abilities, your drive, your testosterone level (because let's face it, women can't hack it), and the extent to which you unleash your inner sociopathy on well, others (yes, they appear to have a part in this morality play. Go figure).

It's enough to make me truly appreciate the high school torture of Willa Cather's My Antonia. Oh, Liberty!

Disputing the fact that people have, since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, moved out of the countryside with startling alacrity, the rural Borg is invoked (the Blackhawk postulate) to prove that critics of the idiocy of rural life "aren't used to hard work". This is a common view of those troubled by the "zionist entity", backwater evangelical grifters, and Tea Partiers blithely unaware as they celebrate libertarian commutarianism, suffocating social uniformity, and primitive communism....barn raising as the penultimate human activity. Why my old hippie friends smoking really bad weed in their little candle shops back in the 60's would agree wholeheartedly between tokes.

So who are the real Amurikans, anyway? Those rugged individualists, those socialistic rural pioneers? A strange brew indeed, decanted through the grinding atomism of (crony) market capitalism, social Darwinism, and religious cant...or those who, to survive, moved to the great cities to work in the satanic hell of the mines and the mills and become.....wait for it now and listen carefully...... moochers?

How did we let this happen? Make it a double, barkeep.

A lot of those Amish "farmers" are puppymillers. Really horrific puppy mills.

From a Pennsylvannia dog rescue website a description of an Amish puppymill:

Every month, Main Line Animal Rescue will spotlight a different commercial dog breeding kennel in Pennsylvania. We will link to the kennels’s inspection reports and you can read the reports and decide for yourself if the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (charged with licensing and inspecting these kennels) is doing its job and enforcing the laws in place to protect these animals.Turkey Hill Kennel in East Earl, Lancaster County, was cited by state inspectors in January 2010, for numerous violations (all later dismissed by a local district magistrate). What’s disturbing about this kennel, aside from the reported frozen solid water buckets, rodent droppings, dogs with dental disease and eye and ear infections, dirty food receptacles, and the dogs’ feet falling through the uncoated wire flooring of their cages (all in violation of PA law), is the fact state inspectors needed respirators to inspect this kennel. The stench inside the kennel was so strong, inspectors had difficulty breathing and the high ammonia levels burned their eyes. There were 364 dogs in the kennel at the time and inspectors (called “dog wardens”) left almost 400 dogs behind that day in conditions that were clearly hazardous to the health of the dogs. They could have taken measures to remove the dogs from these conditions, but did not.

In March (two months later), conditions hadn’t changed and once again inspectors needed respirators in order to proceed with their inspection of Turkey Hill Kennel. Dogs’ feet were still falling through the wire strand floor of their cages, there was a build-up of excreta under and around the enclosures, and the inspectors once again found dogs in need of veterinary care. There were 344 dogs in Turkey Hill Kennel at the time. Again, state inspectors left the dogs behind in an atmosphere in which they themselves had difficulty breathing.

We jump ahead to June. Turkey Hill is once again inspected and cited, ammonia levels inside the kennel are still high, dogs feet are still falling through the flooring of their cages, food receptacles are still dirty, there are still dogs in the kennel in need of veterinary care, there is no fan in one kennel (in case the temperature exceeded 85 degrees), and the inspectors need flashlights to see some of the dogs in the dark, solid box portion of their cages/hutches. And yet state officials there that day stated Turkey Hill Kennel operator Marlin Zimmerman “has made tremendous efforts in the past month” to improve conditions in his kennel. These officials fail to understand their job is to protect the dogs in these facilities, not act as cheerleaders for those individuals operating substandard kennels.

Turkey Hill Kennel also received a waiver from the Department of Agriculture exempting it from key aspects of our new dog law until October 2012 (four years after our new dog law regulating commercial kennels was passed). Waivers were issued based on good faith – obviously, if this kennel is cited for the same things over and over, Mr. Zimmerman is clearly not operating in good faith

Puppymills are very profitable and are under the protection of the Pennsylvannia Republican party.

Even better, instead of music being the possession of some mega production company, rural music is a community activity; a social glue (e.g. see Appalachian mountain music).

Don't confuse the suburbs with the city. The city has plenty of not-at-all-corporate scenes involving communities of people digging on commercially non-viable music just for the love of it. As great as bluegrass and country blues and such may be, there's also plenty of bad-ass punk rock and jazz and underground whatever to be had in the city. Get thee a clue.

I live in a rural part of one of the poorest counties in my state and all this stuff about people supportig themselves through gardening and husbandry and communal outbreaks of music looks pretty naive from my perspective.

The majority of folks around here cannot get a job a living wage because they don't exist. Driving tothe nearest city for work isn't an option siice who can afford the gas? So that leaves meth, backyard dog breeding and blackmarket oddjob work. Of course we just leagalized marijuana so maybe some folks will get some income from that. But the bottom line is this: unless a person is working for the goverement or has one of the very few union jobs at the plywood factory, there are no jobs at a living wage and very few with benefits.

Any how, the Amish and similar types manage to do what you say is impossible.

Actually, all you have said is that it is impossible for you because you aren't used to hard work and you are soft and lack the life skills/social midset to make it outside of the city and the cubicle/nanny state environment.

Bringing up the Amish is interesting, but completely undercuts against your point. Amish culture, as any rural culture where you are dependent on your neighbors for particular goods and can't simply choose to go somewhere else, is quite conformist and if you can't abide with those strictures and rules of behavior, you are shunned. You might be able to catch the National Geographic special called Amish: Out of order that details this.

As far as my hard work and social skills go, I can safely say that you have no idea what my capacities are in that regard. I'd like to see you function in a Japanese environment, which has more social etiquette than you could imagine. Given the impression you have given me from your comments, you wouldn't last a day.

So, at the risk of 'sniping' at you, I'm sorry to say that this is a(nother) good example of a comment where you are again talking out of your backside. Maybe you are the topic of conversation so often because you basically lob these softball pitches that anyone with half an ounce of sense can send back down your throat. Maybe pitching less, or considering more might be an option?

A lot of those Amish "farmers" are puppymillers. Really horrific puppy mills.

Posted by: Laura Koerbeer | November 19, 2012 at 10:41 PM

A lot of them also rely on selling baked goods and crafted products at weekly urban and suburban farmer's markets and flea markets. My local farmer's market has a lot of Amish vendors.

I think dependence, knowing you have no other option but the government if you're to survive, messes with people's minds, in a way which is advantageous to Democrats.

You know what cities are full of? All those churches and food banks and extended families that you guys are always saying should provide the social safety net.

HSH, I know you've spent time in NE Ohio - are you at all familiar with the now defunct music space Speak In Tongues?

"The ratio has also been declining for decades. In Germany, the ratio has been about 10% lower than the US ratio since WWII, and yet Germany has been touted as an economic success story over the last decade."

Maybe it's been declining for decades in Germany. Not in the US. Don't know how to provide a link with the formating pre-set, but if you follow http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000>this and reset the starting date to 1948, you'll see what I'm talking about. Our economy underwent a change between the '70s and 90's, to a higher employment mode, and it looks very much to me as though it may have just reverted to the old low employment state.

I expect that's good news for Democrats, you did very well when employment was low, the US was practically a one party state. The economy? Not so well.

There are a number of signs indicating that the recent "recession" was an entirely different sort of beast from prior recessions, not just worse, but different. And not in a good way.

Unless you're a party which benefits from bad economic times, and people being dependent on government for their very survival. From THAT perspective, it might be a good sort of change.

Our economy underwent a change between the '70s and 90's, to a higher employment mode, and it looks very much to me as though it may have just reverted to the old low employment state.

You mean the 1950s, when lots of women weren't working outside the home, wasn't a paradise after all?

And when life-expectancy was considerably lower? That's the other big reason why the ratio of the employed to those over 16 has changed. All those old people mooching off the young. Why aren't the Republicans complaining about them?

On in other words, the statistics you linked to tell you nothing useful about employment for those of working age. You'd need breakdowns by sex and age to talk about this meaningfully. (I'd also expect there to be fewer people under 20 employed now than in the 1950s, as the number of jobs you can get without training diminish).

Right, and all these factors you cited abruptly changed in just a couple of years. We're back to 1950's demographics, that explains why employment is so much lower, and in contrast to past recessions, is just sitting where it dropped to, instead of heading back up again.

I don't think the 1950's were paradise. Granted, there were some good aspects to them; For instance, if we could get back to 1950's rates of unwed motherhood, we'd consider it a towering triumph.

But employment levels didn't abruptly drop to where they were decades ago because good jobs became so common that single income families became the norm again. The jobs are just as lousy, or worse, it's just there are fewer of them available. And have been for long enough now that a large part of the population have given up looking for them, and so no longer count as "unemployed".

Actually, all you have said is that it is impossible for you because you aren't used to hard work and you are soft and lack the life skills/social midset to make it outside of the city and the cubicle/nanny state environment.

If I'm not mistaken, you work a white collar job in the insurance industry and raise horses as a hobby.

I'm a candy-@ss suburban white boy, born and raised, but I have a number of family members who grew up quite familiar with the ass end of a mule or it's equivalent. To a person, when they got the chance, they got the f**k off the farm.

Lazy monkeys, maybe, but they still worked their @sses off once they got the big city. They just didn't have to crap in a hole in the ground anymore.

So, a handful of data points for you.

To Brett's point upthread, it is correct that folks in rural areas are more likely to hunt or fish for meat, or grow their own produce. Hunting anyway, a lot of city people actually do fish for food.

One reason for this is obvious: the means for doing so is readily available to them. There's not that much land available for farming in cities. There's not that many animals worth eating, unless you like squirrel or pigeon, and it would be problematic to have thousands of people shooting at them in the middle of a city.

In general, the simple physical reality of population density makes many things impractical. And it also means that anything you do is more likely to interfere with someone else, in one way or another.

One result of this is that, in cities, it's much more likely that the basic stuff of life is provided through some more or less complex supply chain, rather than directly. Because, in cities, that's the *most efficient way* to do it.

In city culture, therefore, the ideal of self-reliance and "do it yourself" is less highly valued. Because it's counterproductive in many cases.

There are lots of examples of folks who live a highly DIY lifestyle in cities, however they are generally more marginal. Squatters, dumpster divers, etc.

You can look at all of that and see a "culture of dependence", or you can look at it and see millions of people more or less getting along, most of the time. To some degree, what you see will be colored by your own cultural preferences. That's true in both directions.

What is also more than certainly true is that folks who live in cities work their @sses off and generate enormous amounts of value, of all kinds.

So, yes, they heat their home with gas from a public or publicly-regulated utility, and their water comes from a city reservoir, and they ride public transportation, and a city employee picks up their trash, etc. etc. etc.

But that's because it would make no freaking sense for a couple of million people living in a few square miles to go chop down trees to heat their homes, or each drill a personal well, or each own and operate a car, or each take their trash out back and burn it in a barrel.

Cities aren't for everyone, and that's fine. But what looks like a "culture of dependence" is largely just a rational response to high population densities.

I expect that's good news for Democrats, you did very well when employment was low, the US was practically a one party state. The economy? Not so well.

same old story: "conservatives" fnck it up and liberals are called in to clean up the mess. then, when things turn around, "conservatives" are given another shot and... then fnck it up again.

over and over and over and over and over and ...

"...why, in all of history, people move from rural to urban?"

Because most people are lazy and are, like monkeys, dazzled by the shining things.

May I suggest, Blackhawk, that you try putting in some time doing farm work. I'm not even talking about subsistance farming here (although that is out of comparison worse), just regular first-world farm work. I think you may revise what appears to be your definition of "lazy."

I've done a variety of kinds of work over the years. In my experience, farm work (which is what we are talking about when we say "rural") is by far the hardest work going. In fact, if you've done that, and get a different kind of job, you are likely to discover that you've got a reputation as a hard worker, while feeling like you are coasting along. Yes, even if you are doing manual labor, digging ditches or heavy construction.

It's just a whole idfferent world. Which is why people move out of rural areas. Even when they are not going to get any kind of welfare at all. Even when they are going to be working two minimum wage jobs to survive. Because it is still going to be less grinding drudgery than farm work. There is a reason why farmers who try to get the urban unemployed to replace their migrant (mostly immirgant Hispanic) farm workers end up seeing close to 100% turnover in under 2 weeks. And it isn't, certainly not in all cases, because those people that they managed to hire are lazy.

Hunting anyway, a lot of city people actually do fish for food.

Yep. All summer long - or really from at least May to October - the piers and parks along Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, and in the close suburbs of Lakewood, Bratenahl and Euclid, are packed with people fishing. And they're out there early, before 6am.

So, yes, they heat their home with gas from a public or publicly-regulated utility, and their water comes from a city reservoir, and they ride public transportation, and a city employee picks up their trash, etc. etc. etc.

Of course, hundreds and hundreds of rural dwellers would have probably moved to the cities and suburbs half a century or more ago if not for the hard work of the TVA in providing electricity to their communities. Damned moochers.

Living in the city is a heck of a lot more efficient than living in a rural area. More efficiency makes people better off. I thought Americans were defined by their fanatical pursuit of economic efficiency.

One example is Brett's heating your house with a wood stove idea. That might look cheaper than paying the natural gas company in the city to heat your house...if you live somewhere that has lots of trees on land you own and you're in good enough shape to chop and split wood all day. But then there are the hidden costs. Burning wood releases fine particulates into the air that damage lungs and cause cancer. Sitting by a wood fire is probably more dangerous than smoking. So maybe you can save a few bucks heating your house with wood. But you'll end up paying them back and then some later on when you develop cancer or when your kids develop asthma or recurrent respiratory infections.

"What is also more than certainly true is that folks who live in cities work their @sses off and generate enormous amounts of value, of all kinds."

Value? What constitutes "value" is, well, based on values. "Hard working" city types find "value" in junk bonds and other uncomprehensible financial instruments (since puppy mills are brought up as evidence of rural decadence).

I will admit that when our cities contained the factories that produced the machines that drove an expanding economy (yes, understanably people left the farm to work at Ford Motor in Detroit), the cities were producers of value.

Otherwise, the "value" coming out of cities is not as obvious at you assume it is. Much of the "value" is only means something to those living in the city. The hard working NY Sanitation guy is only producing value because people in NYC need to have trash removal, functioning sewers, etc.

No over-populated megatropolis, no value.

All you have done, for the most part, is describe a system based on the division of labor and then declared the division of labor, itself, to be the value.

The problem here that no one wants to bring up is that there are too many people. Period.

You can have population growth coupled with an increasing standard of living *if* the economy is also expanding *and* it is expanding in a sustainable fashion over the medium term at least (the long term always seems to be beyond the vision of participants). This was true of the US up until maybe 1960 +/-.

Now third world countries are becoming industrialized and due to technological developments production is able, simultaneously, to become global. Jobs go overseas, but the population keeps on growing. Additionally, with women entering the work place, there is more competition, even if given a theoretical static population growth, for the decreasing job opportunities.

So, bottom line, more people of employment age and fewer jobs in all employment sectors. How does this get better? It doesn't. A hard rain is gonna fall on all of those city dwellers who have lost the ability to live by the sweat of their brows and with little of luxury. The handouts are gonna slow to a trickle one of these days. They have to.

Population control is the one mechanism available that will reliably stop the decline.

"Living in the city is a heck of a lot more efficient than living in a rural area. More efficiency makes people better off. I thought Americans were defined by their fanatical pursuit of economic efficiency."

Huh. I thought Americans are a nation of obeses slobs that like to eat. Where is all of that food going to come from?

Where is all of that food going to come from?

From the 1%-2% of the population required to grow the food to feed everyone else.

"Oh, yes, Romney is only ahead 46-44, he's really imploding.

I take it you've been following the polls that over-sample Democrats? Yeah, Obama would probably be sitting pretty if Democratic turnout was going to exceed Republican by a considerably greater margin than any election in living history".

...

"You know, it's that flat refusal to confront anything coming from a source you don't like that has trapped so much of the left in an echo chamber. Your dislike of Rasmussen and Breitbart doesn't do anything to change the percentages of Democrats and Republicans showing up to vote, vs the percentage being polled by various pollsters. Polls that wildly over-sample Democrats might provide you with entertaining reading, but are they a good basis upon which to make plans?"

Brett Bellmore, August 12, 2012.


"You shouldn't mistake my doubts that the polls were reliable, for a conviction they were wrong".

Brett Bellmore, November 19, 2012.

Brett, if those were just doubts, what would conviction read like? Still think "the left" should let Rasmussen into their echo chamber?

Has Brett or McKinneyTexas responded to this article?

Republican-Heavy Counties Eat Up Most Food-Stamp Growth

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in May that he’d written off votes from 47 percent of Americans who are collecting government aid. Turns out many of them are part of his political base.

Seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. They include Republican strongholds like King County, Texas, which in 2008 backed Republican John McCain by 92.6 percent, his largest share in the nation; and fast-growing Douglas County, Colorado.

By the way, did poor folks come out in bigger numbers than usual, this campaign cycle?

and when all else fails, just claim it was fraud!

i'm sure we can all trust Mr Unskew to know exactly WTF he's talking about this time.

Glad you brought that up, Duff. Related:

Fordham University has published a ranking of the most accurate pollsters of the 2012 in terms of national trends, and (both) top spots were held by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, the North Carolina-based firm.

Director of Fordham's Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy, Dr. Costas Panagopoulos, based the study on pre-election polling and compared it against the results from election day.

"For all the ridicule directed towards pre-election polling, the final poll estimates were not far off from the actual nationwide vote shares for the two candidates," Panagopoulos said in a statement. Here's the whole list:

1. PPP (D)*

1. Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP*

3. YouGov*

4. Ipsos/Reuters*

5. Purple Strategies

6. NBC/WSJ

6. CBS/NYT

6. YouGov/Economist

9. UPI/CVOTER

10. IBD/TIPP

11. Angus-Reid*

12. ABC/WP*

13. Pew Research*

13. Hartford Courant/UConn*

15. CNN/ORC

15. Monmouth/SurveyUSA

15. Politico/GWU/Battleground

15. FOX News

15. Washington Times/JZ Analytics

15. Newsmax/JZ Analytics

15. American Research Group

15. Gravis Marketing

23. Democracy Corps (D)*

24. Rasmussen

24. Gallup

26. NPR

27. National Journal*

28. AP/GfK

HSH, I know you've spent time in NE Ohio - are you at all familiar with the now defunct music space Speak In Tongues?

No. My time in Greater Cleveland has been mostly restricted to fairly unhip environs - like creepy dive bars and nuclear plants. But I have been listening to a lot of Devo lately.

Yeah, Obama would probably be sitting pretty if Democratic turnout was going to exceed Republican by a considerably greater margin than any election in living history

The thing is, that Brett conveniently forgot, was that Republicans are embarrassed to call themselves Republicans by a considerably greater margin than any election in living history.

And Brett himself, for a guy who fancies himself an "independent" and/or "libertarian", conveniently always comes down on the pro-Republican side of things.

That was, in case you didn't notice, in response to earlier polls showing not a close election, (Such as we actually experienced.) but an Obama blowout. Didn't I say that the polls would tighten as we got closer to the election, and the polsters started employing their accurate models to avoid being embarassed on election day? And so they did.

Democratic turnout was higher than Republican. It was not remotely the highest Democratic to Republican ratio in history, as the early sampling reflected. Consequently the election was not nearly was one-sided as those early polls suggested.

....and the polsters started employing their accurate models to avoid being embarassed on election day?

So pollsters employ their inaccurate models early in order to......????????????????????????

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