A Few Observations From The Polls

I have visited my local voting place twice today. Don’t worry–I didn’t vote twice–my husband was handing out information, and I went to provide food and moral support. While I was there, I picked up some literature from the Democrats and investigated the talking points on their local website.

This is what I learned.

Their website states:

Democrats are standing up for the American Dream: an economy and government that works for everyone, not just the few.

Found on their Twitter page:

Hi kids, this is your Mom. Remember to vote on 11/6. If Trump cuts my Social Security and Medicare I’m moving in with you!

Both these statements are totally misleading.

The American Dream is more accessible to everyone under President Trump than it was under President Obama, a Democrat. According to a Western Journal article posted December 18, 2017:

The national unemployment rate for black Americans, ages 16 and over, is the lowest it has been in 17 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In November 2016, the unemployment rate for black people was at 8 percent, and in November 2017 that rate dropped to 7.3 percent — a percentage not seen since the months of September, October and November 2000.

As reported by CNS News, black unemployment rate during the Bush and Obama era’s fluctuated between 7 and 17 percent.

BLS data also shows that labor force participation among African-Americans rose from 61.9 percent in November 2016 to 62.2 percent in November 2017.

Unemployment rate for the Hispanic demographic fell from 5.7 percent to 4.7 percent — the lowest it’s been in 44 years, while the unemployment rate for whites and Asians hovered around 3 percent, roughly the same as one year prior.

About Social Security cuts–none of us can predict the future, but we can draw conclusions based on past behavior. This is the chart showing Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to Social Security in recent years:

I know that it’s only a coincidence that one of the biggest increases in Social Security occurred in 2011, a year before the 2012 election.

As far as Medicare is concerned, the statements are also misleading. The Republicans are not the ones who have cut Medicare. Medicare funding was cut to fund ObamaCare. On August 13, 2012, Forbes Magazine reported:

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the Obama campaign, but there’s only one Presidential candidate in 2012 who has cut Medicare: Barack Obama, whose Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare by $716 billion from 2013-2022. Today, the Romney campaign reiterated its pledge to repeal Obamacare, and promised to “restore the funding to Medicare [and] ensure that no changes are made to the program for those 55 and older.”

If any of the above is news to you, you need to reconsider where you are getting your news. If you were already aware of the above information and voted Democrat, then it is obvious that facts will not get in the way of your opinion. Facts are such inconvenient things.

An Interesting Perspective On Events In Washington

Nate Silver is a statistician who used to do baseball statistics. He took his methods of statistical analysis and applied them to the American political scene. He has been very successful in both predicting performance of baseball players and predicting political trends.

Yesterday Nate Silver posted an article at grantland.com about the impact of the government shutdown on the mid-term elections. Some of his comments on the shutdown include rather colorful language, so I suggest that if colorful language offends you, you avoid the quotes to follow and don’t follow the link to the original article.

The article points out:

However, presidential elections are more the exception than the rule. As I discuss in my book, the more common tendency instead is that people (and especially the “experts” who write about the issues for a living) overestimate the degree of predictability in complex systems. There are some other exceptions besides presidential elections — sports, in many respects; and weather prediction, which has become much better in recent years. But for the most part, the experts you see on television are much too sure of themselves.

That’s been my impression of the coverage of the shutdown: The folks you see on TV are much too sure of themselves. They’ve been making too much of thin slices of polling and thinner historical precedents that might not apply this time around.

Mr. Silver lists six observations about the government shutdown:

1. The media is probably overstating the magnitude of the shutdown’s political impact.

2. The impact of the 1995-96 shu4. The polling data on the shutdown is not yet all that useful, and we lack data on most important measures of voter preferences.tdowns is overrated in Washington‘s mythology.

3. Democrats face extremely unfavorable conditions in trying to regain the House.

4. The polling data on the shutdown is not yet all that useful, and we lack data on most important measures of voter preferences.

5. President Obama’s change in tactics may be less about a change of heart and more about a change in incentives.

6. The increasing extent of GOP partisanship is without strong recent precedent, and contributes to the systemic uncertainty about political outcomes.

The bottom line here is simple–we really don’t know how what is now happening in Washington will impact the 2014 mid-term elections. Frankly, I think many Americans are thoroughly disgusted with both political parties.

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