Iowa preview, Americans on the edge (of politics)
Who Republicans see as the most conservative, Pew's 2024 demographic profiles, what's next for AI
No. 299 | January 12, 2024
Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman: Previewing the Iowa Caucus (Sabato’s Crystal Ball)
“There is an old saying that there are ‘three tickets out of Iowa,’ meaning that the traditional kickoff caucus doesn’t necessarily anoint the presidential nominees, but it does serve a purpose in winnowing often-bloated presidential primary fields. As we will discuss below, Iowa does indeed have a spotty record of supporting the eventual nominee, particularly on the Republican side.
It is also the case that finishing in the top three in Iowa has not been a prerequisite for winning the nomination. In recent cycles, both 2008 GOP nominee John McCain and 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden finished fourth in Iowa but still ended up winning their party’s respective nominations in races that ultimately were not even that close.”
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Statewide Ted Cruz (yellow) won the caucuses 27.6-24.3% over Donald Trump (red). Cruz' strength was largely in the rurals, esp Dutch NW IA. Trump and Rubio-won territory was largely in the cities - Rubio esp college towns. (X)
“Based on which states they’re strongest in, we calculated how many delegates each candidate should have won by now to be on pace to win the nomination.
Each candidate has different delegate goals on different dates. Here’s how many delegates they need at each point in the calendar and whether they’ve historically been over or under their benchmarks.”
“Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie polled poorly pretty much everywhere in his now suspended bid for the GOP nomination. The exception to that was New Hampshire. Christie leaving the race changes what was already a tight race in the Granite State into one that is way too close to call.
Our CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire had Donald Trump at 39% to Nikki Haley’s 32%. Christie was back in third place at 12%. The poll also asked about who voters wanted as their second choice. The vast majority of Christie backers, 65%, said Haley. Less than 1% chose Trump.
So what happens when you look at the horserace but reallocate Christie supporters to their second choice? It’s Trump at 40% to Haley at 40%. In other words, the race is a tie by any definition.”
“Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is having a moment. At 11 percent nationally and 30 percent in New Hampshire, she is polling higher than ever in the Republican presidential primary and has arguably eclipsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the main alternative to former President Donald Trump. And, not surprisingly, it looks like the group of Republicans who were slowest to accept Trumpism are driving Haley's rise: college-educated voters.
We dove into the crosstabs of Republican primary polls to identify what demographic groups are leading the Haley coalition. At the top of the list are college-educated Republicans, a fifth of whom would choose Haley for president, according to a basic national polling average.* Haley's next-strongest group of supporters are men, who — perhaps contrary to conventional wisdom — are more likely than women to support Haley.”
Dan Hopkins: Which of the GOP contenders do voters see as most conservative? (Waiting for the Dawn)
“With days until the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump faces two main competitors for the GOP nomination—Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In ideological terms, how do voters see the three of them, and what might that tell us about the dynamics of the race?
In 2016 and again in 2021, Georgetown University’s Hans Noel and I teamed up to measure the perceived ideologies of leading American politicians. In contrast to the dominant approach using roll-call votes, we provided political activists with pairs of high-profile politicians and asked them to tell us which of the two was the more liberal or conservative. Part of our motivation was that it’s far easier for respondents to evaluate a pair of observations than to rank dozens of people at once. We then used the Bradley-Terry method to order the politicians’ perceived ideologies on a single, continuous scale.”
📊 Public Opinion
Tuning Out: Americans on the Edge of Politics (Pew Research Center)
“In a fractious political environment often dominated by the loudest voices on the left and right, some people are saying: Count us out.
Last year, we talked to a group of people who, while they may vote, are not strongly attached to either political party. They don’t closely follow news about politics or government, though some feel guilty when they don’t. By and large, they look at the nation’s politics as a topic better avoided than embraced.
With the first votes of the 2024 election about to be cast, these are people whose voices are largely overlooked. Last May, we conducted six focus groups of adults who have soured on politics and political news.”
“Whether parents and children report having a healthy, low-conflict relationship varies by certain key characteristics of the parents and children. Adolescent children have lower-quality relationships with their parents than younger children do, but their parents are less likely to view them as out of control or argue frequently with them. Married or divorced parents (compared with never-married parents) generally report higher-quality relationships, as do biological parents compared with other relatives, adoptive parents -- or other arrangements. Finally, ideologically conservative parents report higher-quality and more harmonious relationships with their children compared with liberal or moderate parents.
There are few if any nationally representative surveys that collect information on parent-child relationship quality. Gallup’s work in this area is meant to provide baseline results to inform future research and better understanding about the circumstances and beliefs that drive mental health and wellbeing.”
“Latinos have grown at the second-fastest rate of any major racial and ethnic group in the U.S. electorate since the last presidential election. An estimated 36.2 million are eligible to vote this year, up from 32.3 million in 2020. This represents 50% of the total growth in eligible voters during this time.
Every year, about 1.4 million Hispanics in the U.S. become eligible to vote. Although then-President Donald Trump made gains among Hispanics in 2020, a majority of Latino voters (59%) voted for current President Joe Biden that year, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of validated voters. In presidential elections, turnout rates among Hispanic Americans have typically trailed those of some other groups.”
“Asian Americans have been the fastest-growing group of eligible voters in the United States over roughly the past two decades and since 2020. Their number has grown by 15%, or about 2 million eligible voters, in the past four years. That’s faster than the 3% growth rate for all eligible voters during that span and the 12% for Hispanic eligible voters.
Asian Americans typically lean Democratic. In 2020, 72% of English-speaking, single-race, non-Hispanic Asian voters said they voted for Democrat Joe Biden for president, while 28% said they voted for Republican Donald Trump, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of validated voters.”
“The number of Black eligible voters in the United States is projected to reach 34.4 million in November 2024 after several years of modest growth. And Black eligible voters stand out for turnout rates that are higher than among Latino and Asian eligible voters.
Black voters could play an important role in determining the outcome of key 2024 elections, including for U.S. president. In Georgia, a closely watched swing state, Black Americans account for a third of eligible voters.”
Regina Widjaya and Sono Shah: About 1 in 10 restaurants in the U.S. serve Mexican food (Pew Research Center)
“Mexican culture is widely established in America’s restaurants. Some 11% of restaurants in the United States serve Mexican food, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from SafeGraph, which curates information about millions of places of interest around the globe, and the user review site Yelp.
Although especially common in California and Texas, Mexican restaurants are found in a large majority of counties in the U.S. Some 37.2 million people in the U.S. trace their ancestry to Mexico, making Mexican Americans by far the largest Hispanic origin group in the nation.”
🤖 Artificial Intelligence
“The 2023 Expert Survey on Progress in AI is out, this time with 2778 participants from six top AI venues (up from about 700 and two in the 2022 ESPAI), making it probably the biggest ever survey of AI researchers.
People answered in October, an eventful fourteen months after the 2022 survey, which had mostly identical questions for comparison.
There are few confident optimists or pessimists about advanced AI: high hopes and dire concerns are usually found together. 68% of participants who thought HLMI was more likely to lead to good outcomes than bad, but nearly half of these people put at least 5% on extremely bad outcomes such as human extinction, and 59% of net pessimists gave 5% or more to extremely good outcomes.”
Ethan Mollick: Signs and Portents (One Useful Thing)
“As we begin the second year of our AI Moment (it is still too early and dramatic to call it the AI Age), it is time to consider the future.
To be clear, nobody can tell you the future of AI accurately, except that AI development seems to be happening much, much faster than even experts expected. We can be confident about that because a new paper just came out surveying almost three thousand published AI researchers, following up on a similar paper published a year earlier. The average estimated date for when AI could beat humans at every possible task shifted dramatically, moving from 2060 to 2047—a decrease of 13 years—in just the past year alone! (And the collective estimate was that there was a 10% chance that it would happen by 2027).”