Courting the UFC vote
Plus: Mississippi postmortem, the flip-side of Dobbs, tipping culture, experts overestimate the effects of policy, how not to get caught stealing an election
No. 294 | December 1, 2023
🐘 Party of the People
Patrick Ruffini: Book Excerpt: Party of the People (Sabato’s Crystal Ball)
“The story in the 2020 presidential election was largely that of an electorate that had made up its mind on Donald Trump four years earlier, with just the right number of votes in just the right states turning a narrow victory into a narrow defeat—but with one crucial exception. In most of America’s nonwhite communities—especially those filled with first- and second-generation immigrants—Trump did better than he had in 2016.
In many Hispanic and Asian communities, the shift was in double digits. Estimates from the Democratic data firm Catalist show that, nationally, the Hispanic vote shifted the most, by a net of 16 points on the margin. Between 2012 and 2020, a blend of available data sources shows Hispanics shifting a total of 19 points in a Republican direction, African Americans 11 points, and Asian Americans 5 points. The GOP’s underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterms did not see a reversal of these trends. Republicans had their best midterm ever with Hispanic voters, and the Republican share of the Black vote for the House rose to at least 13 percent, which, while modest, also happened to be their best showing in a midterm election in recent memory. The fact that all racial and ethnic minority groups swung toward Trump is notable in light of the fact that the rest of America—and by this I mean white America—swung against him. Areas dominated by whites with college degrees swung several points against Trump, furthering the white educational divide, while the white working-class vote trended one or two points against him. The net result was a somewhat weaker Trump coalition, a bit more downscale than the one in 2016—but much more diverse.”
“Donald Trump’s campaign is well aware of the slew of polls showing that young voters are growing dissatisfied with President Joe Biden, and will try and capitalize on it.
Already, Trump has ramped up his visits to sporting events: He’s shown up at UFC fights, attended major college football games, and even spent time at a college fraternity, where he threw footballs out to a crowd of students. The former president, known for his obsession with TV ratings, has appeared on a number of non-traditional media platforms with younger followings. In July, he sat down with a popular UFC podcast, and he’s also done sitdown interviews with shows like the Full Send Podcast.
A senior Trump advisor said the campaign is also doing outreach and closely tracking how Trump is viewed by users on major social media platforms, while at the same time tailoring their messaging for young voters, too, by emphasizing the impact of things like rising interest rates and the cost of living. The hope is to marry Trump’s base of young conservative voters with a mix of disaffected Biden voters and more politically marginal voters that can be reached outside conventional media.”
Kyle Kondik: Putting Biden’s Troubles with Young Voters in Perspective (Sabato’s Crystal Ball)
“Polling this far out from a presidential general election is often not predictive, and it is a good thing for President Joe Biden that this is the case, because his polling right now against his most likely general election opponent, former President Donald Trump, is poor.
Trump has led Biden in most recent national surveys included in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, with Trump leading by about 2 points in the average.
One of the features of many (though not all) of these polls is striking weakness for Biden among what has become a very Democratic-leaning group of voters: 18-29 year olds. In 2020, Biden defeated Trump among the 18-29 group by roughly 25 points, according to the 2020 exit poll conducted by Edison Research for a variety of news organizations, a different exit poll from NORC at the University of Chicago conducted for the Associated Press and Fox News, and a post-2020 analysis by the Democratic firm Catalist. So it is a bit jarring to see Trump competitive with or even leading Biden among the youngest voters in polls (defined in some polls as 18-29 and others as 18-34). But that is indeed what many of these polls show.”
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“According to a basic polling average,* Biden's approval rating is currently at one of the lowest points of his presidency. But he wasn't always this unpopular. When he was sworn into office, Biden's approval rating started in the high 50s, but it dropped below 50 percent in summer 2021. That overlapped with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the delta variant of COVID-19, which seemed to put an end to Biden's honeymoon period.
Biden's approval rating continued to decline for nearly a year, bottoming out near 40 percent in summer 2022 as inflation reached 40-year highs. But it rebounded that fall, not long after the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned federal abortion rights. Still, the president's approval rating hovered in the low 40s through the rest of 2022 and through the first few months of 2023, and by this summer, it had started to sag again.
But with which demographic groups is Biden losing the most support? We looked at the crosstabs of his approval polls to find out. Biden's approval rating has consistently been highest among Black Americans and lowest among white Americans. But while white Americans have been lukewarm about Biden for a majority of his administration, the president is losing support at a faster clip among people of color. That's consistent with what other sources have found: The latest New York Times/Siena College polling found signs that Biden was losing ground among Black voters. And Democrats have been warning about signs of Latino voters turning toward the GOP for years.”
Lakshya Jain and Armin Thomas: What Happened In Mississippi? (Split Ticket)
“On a night of surprisingly strong Democratic performances in the 2023 elections, Brandon Presley’s 3.2% loss in Mississippi’s gubernatorial election stands out. Facing an incumbent governor in a Trump +17 state in the Deep South, most had already written off the Presley campaign. Then, a catastrophic October Democratic underperformance in demographically-similar Louisiana made Presley’s chances look even slimmer.
Presley’s surprise overperformance was powered by three factors: strong Black turnout, exceptional Black support, and relatively strong white support. Tapping into the white electorate was one of the biggest reasons that Mississippi was so much closer than Louisiana. Furthermore, while Black turnout was abysmally low in the latter state, it was remarkably robust in the former”
Armin Thomas: The Flip Side to the Dobbs Effect (Split Ticket)
“Media coverage of elections has presented theories of how abortion-focused messaging has allowed Democrats to beat expectations. From June 2022 and beyond, this has largely been true — with the voters of states such as Ohio and Michigan recently electing to protect abortion rights in their states. Despite the position’s general popularity, there are communities where Democrats are seeing backlash to this stance — whether due to strong religiosity or high antipathy to social libertarianism, these areas do exist.
2022 and 2023’s recent elections where abortion loomed large demonstrate good test cases to gauge the scope of these pro-life areas.”
📊 Public Opinion
“Welcome to Tipping Point, the small town with a big-city feel! Pew Research Center created Tipping Point to showcase some of our recent survey findings about Americans’ tipping attitudes and behaviors – and to give you a chance to compare your tipping habits with those of the overall public.
Many Americans say that how they think about tipping depends on the situation. So as you explore our town, you’ll be given a few opportunities to leave a tip for various kinds of services. In each scenario, tell us how often you’d leave a tip, and then we’ll show you how your answers compare with those of the nearly 12,000 U.S. adults we surveyed in August 2023. At the end, you’ll get a “receipt” summarizing your choices.”
Lauren Mora and Mark Hugo Lopez: Key facts about U.S. Latinos with graduate degrees (Pew Research Center)
“Nearly half of all Hispanics with graduate degrees (48%) live in 10 metro areas. In fact, more than 500,000 Latinos with graduate degrees live in just two metro areas: New York (280,000) and Miami (230,000).
Notably, the list of metro areas with the most Latino graduate degree holders differs from the top 10 metro areas by Latino population overall. For example, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are on the list of top metro areas for Latinos with graduate degrees, but not for Latinos overall. Both cities are hubs for jobs that may require advanced education, such as in technology or policy.”
📰 Media Habits
“A declining share of U.S. adults are following the news closely, according to recent Pew Research Center surveys. And audiences are shrinking for several older types of news media – such as local TV stations, most newspapers and public radio – even as they grow for newer platforms like podcasts, as well as for a few specific media brands.
Pew Research Center has long tracked trends in the news industry. In addition to asking survey questions about Americans’ news consumption habits, our State of the News Media project uses several other data sources to look at various aspects of the industry, including audience size, revenue and other metrics.”
🤖 Artificial Intelligence
@jakezward: We pulled off an SEO heist using AI. 1. Exported a competitor’s sitemap 2. Turned their list of URLs into article titles 3. Created 1,800 articles from those titles at scale using AI 18 months later, we have stolen: - 3.6M total traffic - 490K monthly traffic (X)
@SteStuWill: Experts greatly overestimate the effects of policy interventions https://doi.org/10.1017/XPS.2023.28 “Those who declare themselves expert in the area relevant to the intervention are particularly resistant to new information that the treatment is ineffective.” (X)