Discover more from The Intersection
Biden struggles to mobilize infrequent voters
Plus: The House on a knife's edge, free speech in trouble, moderate messages move voters, the graduate wage premium in the UK and US, and mapping NYC's neighborhoods
No. 291 | November 3, 2023 — 4 days until the launch of Party of the People
Nate Cohn: Why Less Engaged Voters Are Biden's Biggest Problem (New York Times)
“Mr. Biden may be weak among young, Black and Hispanic voters today, but that weakness is almost entirely concentrated among the voters who stayed home last November. As a consequence, Democrats paid little to no price for it in the midterms, even as polls of all registered voters or adults show Mr. Biden struggling mightily among these same groups against Mr. Trump.
These less engaged voters might just be the single biggest problem facing Mr. Biden in his pursuit of re-election, the Times/Siena data suggests. If there’s any good news for Mr. Biden, it’s that his challenge is concentrated among voters who still consider themselves Democrats — a group that, in theory, ought to be open to returning to the president’s side.”
David Wasserman: 2024 House Overview: A Year Out, the House is a Game of Inches (Cook Political Report) 🔒
“The recent speakership fracas, set off by just 3.6% of the Republican Conference overthrowing Kevin McCarthy, underscores why most Republicans are desperate to expand their majority next fall and gain some breathing room to govern. It's also supercharged House Democrats' confidence that they can flip the five seats they need to reclaim the chamber by convincing swing voters that "dysfunctional" Republicans can't be trusted with the keys to power.
By the numbers, Democrats have a strong opportunity to wrest at least five seats back: There are 18 Republicans sitting in districts President Joe Biden carried in 2020, compared to just five Democrats in districts carried by former President Donald Trump. Eleven of those 18 “Biden Republicans” are in California and New York, states where Democrats underperformed in the midterms and where presidential-level turnout could help revert districts to their column. What’s more, 11 of those 18 Republicans are freshmen who have less established political brands.”
📊 Public Opinion
Nate Silver: Free speech is in trouble (Substack)
“College students aren’t very enthusiastic about free speech. In particular, that’s true for liberal or left-wing students, who are at best inconsistent in their support of free speech and have very little tolerance for controversial speech they disagree with.
Moreover, this attitude is broad-based — not just at elite schools. I was frankly surprised at how tepid student support was. A significant minority of students don’t even have much tolerance for controversial speech on positions they presumably agree with. There are partial exceptions at some schools — including my alma mater, the University of Chicago — suggesting the attitudes of professors and administrators play some role in trickling down to students. But this looks like a major generational shift from when college campuses were hotbeds of advocacy for free speech, particularly on the left.”
“My sense is that traditionally, politicians try to make themselves sound more moderate than they are. Barack Obama often insisted that his policies were just common sense or based only on the evidence, untouched by ideology. Donald Trump would lie and say he cared passionately about clean air and water, even as his EPA eased up on these rules. Regardless of how the internal debate over Willow really went, once you decide you’re not going to block it, why not position yourself as moderate? When accused of strangling American oil production, the White House will mention that actually, output is at an all-time high, but it’s never something they brag about as part of Bidenomics. But why not put forward the most moderate possible face?
My tendency when talking about this stuff has been to assert that for any given policy, a more moderate frame is more popular. But is that true? I partnered with a public affairs group to conduct a few message tests and their data suggests that, yes, if you are going to build a wall and approve oil projects, you may as well claim credit for it.”
The Intersection is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
“New data from the U.S. Census shows that around 820,000 people moved out of California and 550,000 out of New York in 2022. They join more than 8 million Americans who moved states in 2022.
Why it matters: The rising cost of living is pushing people out of expensive coastal areas, and the trend doesn't look likely to change in coming years: four in ten Californians and three in ten New Yorkers say they're considering moving out of state.”