Catalist tells us what happened in 2022
Plus: Are Evangelicals sold on Trump? How $89 million disappeared, the problem of duplicate online survey responses, the post-2020 exodus from big cities
No. 267 | May 19th, 2023
“The 2022 election defied conventional wisdom and historical trends. In a typical midterm election year with one-party control of the presidency, House and Senate, the incumbent party would expect major losses. Instead, Democrats re-elected every incumbent senator and expanded their Senate majority by a seat, won the overwhelming majority of heavily contested gubernatorial elections, gained control of 4 state legislative chambers, and only narrowly lost the U.S. House.
Recent midterms have typically involved national waves that favor one party over the other, particularly when there’s backlash against a party that controls the presidency and both chambers of Congress.”
“The issue of abortion could be one of former President Donald Trump’s biggest weaknesses in the Republican primary — and Ron DeSantis is trying to take advantage of it. “He won’t answer whether he would sign it or not,” the governor of Florida said on Tuesday, referring to a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. As recently as last week, Trump was noncommittal about what kind of abortion restrictions he would support, and claimed in an interview on Monday that “many people in the pro-life movement” think a six-week ban — which DeSantis himself signed in April — is ‘too harsh.’
In the months since the 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans generally underperformed, Trump has been clear that he thinks the GOP’s hardline stance on abortion bans is responsible. But that’s putting him in a tricky position with white evangelical Protestants — a cornerstone of the Republican base that was central to his election in 2016 — and potentially opening up an opportunity for another GOP candidate to siphon religious conservative votes away from Trump. After Trump’s comments about the six-week ban, an influential anti-abortion activist said on Twitter that he was “abandoning pro-life voters.’ In response, Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats tweeted that the Iowa caucuses were “wide open.’”
The Intersection is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
“The upcoming Senate map has been on “borrowed time” for Democrats for almost two decades, but a mix of exceptional candidate quality and excellent environments have kept them afloat for quite some time. In 2006, Democrats defeated six of the so-called ‘Class I’ Republicans, flipping the Senate in a wave fueled by the unpopularity of the Iraq War and a number of House Republican scandals. Next, 2012 saw five Democrats elected in states that simultaneously voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by double digits. Most recently, in 2018, despite losing incumbents in three red states, Democrats capitalized on a favorable political environment to flip Arizona and Nevada while holding seats in six Trump-won states, including Montana, West Virginia, and Ohio.
Since 2012, though, accelerating polarization has made states’ presidential results much more predictive of outcomes in simultaneous Senate contests. In the 2000 election, voters in 10 states chose a presidential and Senate candidate from two different political parties. By 2016, the winning parties for both offices were the same nationwide – a first in the modern history of the Senate chamber. This phenomenon almost repeated itself in 2020, but moderate Republican Susan Collins pulled off an upset in Maine by outrunning incumbent Republican President Donald Trump by 18 points.”
🗺️ Data Visualization
“A group of conservative operatives using sophisticated robocalls raised millions of dollars from donors using pro-police and pro-veteran messages. But instead of using the money to promote issues and candidates, an analysis by The New York Times shows, nearly all the money went to pay the firms making the calls and the operatives themselves, highlighting a flaw in the regulation of political nonprofits.
About 90 percent of the money the groups raised was simply sent back to their fund-raising contractors, to feed a self-consuming loop where donations went to find more donors to give money to find more donors. They had no significant operations other than fund-raising, and along the way became one of America’s biggest sources of robocalls.”
“An intergenerational transfer of wealth is in motion in America — and it will dwarf any of the past.
Of the 73 million baby boomers, the youngest are turning 60. The oldest boomers are nearing 80. Born in midcentury as U.S. birthrates surged in tandem with an enormous leap in prosperity after the Depression and World War II, boomers are now beginning to die in larger numbers, along with Americans over 80.
Most will leave behind thousands of dollars, a home or not much at all. Others are leaving their heirs hundreds of thousands, or millions, or billions of dollars in various assets.”
📊 Public Opinion
“The ability to collect survey responses from online sample providers has significantly changed the insights industry. However, collecting high-quality survey responses remains a major challenge for all researchers in this space. Although most researchers are aware of practical considerations, like preventing fraud and incentivizing respondents’ attention, few consider how the confusing and overlapping marketplace of online sample can negatively impact the quality of survey results.
To demonstrate how the same respondent might be sourced from different panels, our team explored patterns of responding. Using respondent fingerprinting (to be the subject of a future ‘How We Do It’ post), we isolated respondents who submitted more than one response across a collection of Morning Consult surveys in the United States fielded in the second half of 2022.”
“The college graduates who fill white-collar jobs in the San Francisco area began to leave in growing numbers about a decade ago. More and more have moved to other parts of the country — an accelerating outflow of educated workers that, in a poorer part of America, might be thought of as brain drain.
When the pandemic arrived, these departures surged so sharply that the San Francisco area has lately lost more educated workers than have moved in. Over this same time, a similar pattern has been taking shape on the other side of the country:”
@cinyc9: Census released its 2022 incorporated place population estimates. I now have an interactive version of this map. The default map is 2020-22 PCT Change. Click the Menu button to toggle between PCT or Numerical change and the years you want to see. (Twitter)
📰 Media Habits
“Just over a year ago – on April 14, 2022 – Elon Musk announced his intention to buy Twitter. With Musk now at the helm, here are four facts about how adult Twitter users in the United States are using the site.
Musk himself has become a far more common subject of discussion on Twitter since acquiring the platform. On average, adult Twitter users in the U.S. mentioned Musk in a tweet just once between Jan. 1 and April 13, 2022, before he announced his intention to acquire the platform. Since then, however, references to Musk have become much more common on the site. These users tweeted about him an average of three times between April 14 and Oct. 26, 2022 – while Musk was in the process of acquiring the platform – and an average of six times in the months after the sale was finalized.”