Discover more from The Intersection
The big trends driving polarization
Plus: Latino voters provide opportunities for the GOP, Equis' 2022 postmortem, New York City's political tribes, BLM support drops, top-ranked podcasts
No. 271 | June 16, 2023
“It’s undeniable that the United States has become more politically polarized than it was a decade ago — as well as a decade before that.
In the spring before Harry Truman ran for a full term in 1948, two-thirds of Democrats (68%) and even half of Republicans (50%) approved of his job performance. By the time of Richard Nixon in the White House, the gap between his party’s approval of him and the opposition party’s grew to 47 points.”
Amy Walter: Latino Voters Who Sat Out Midterms Provide Opportunity for GOP in 2024 (The Cook Political Report)
“This week, Equis, an organization dedicated to, among other things, ‘creat[ing] a better understanding of Latinos’ and ‘innovat[ing] new approaches to reach and engage them,’ released an exhaustive, 131-page deck that explores Latino voter trends in 2022 and what those trends "portend for 2024.
While Equis is a progressive organization, I find them and their co-founder, Carlos Odio, to be clear-eyed and transparent. They have a point of view, but aren't trying to sugar-coat or twist the data into a narrative that suits their agenda. This analysis is nuanced and detailed. And it paints a worrisome picture for Democrats who may be hoping that increased Latino turnout in 2024 will cement their gains in key battleground states.’
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2022 Post-Mortem: Latino Voters & the Case of the Missing Red Wave (Equis Research)
“Equis is out today with a high-level analysis of Latino voter trends in the 2022 election. Many narratives — some more substantiated than others — contributed to a sense of uncertainty around Latino voting in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms. But what factors ended up shaping the final results, and what do they portend for 2024?
From the results of the 2020 presidential election flowed a flood of theories & thought pieces on Latino voters… including from us at Equis. (See, for starters, our 2020 post-mortem parts one and two.)
The big question underlying all the post-2020 analysis: was the Trump-era shift in Latino vote choice the start of a reconfiguration in how Hispanic voters — and other non-white voters — perceived the political parties? Or was it a temporary fluctuation, within the norm?”
“New York City is the most diverse city in the world and its electoral coalitions follow these sectional lines. Because voters with similar identities often share political preferences, understanding demographic change helps explain the coalition changes in New York City across forty years: between the 1984 and 2020 presidential elections.
The first significant groups of non-English immigrants, including Germans, Irish, Italians, and Russians came through Ellis Island during the Second and Third Immigration Waves from the 19th century until 1920, establishing the city’s status as an immigration hub. The 1970’s saw another wave of European immigration thanks to migration from what was then the Soviet Union, bolstering the Slavic communities in southern Brooklyn.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Allen v. Milligan last week is neither a beginning nor an ending, although Republican authorities in Alabama and others surely hoped it would represent a form of the latter. Rather, the case is best thought of as a continuation of current law and how the Supreme Court interprets current law — namely, that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the so-called “Gingles test” that undergirds it still exists in the same way we understood them prior to the Milligan decision.
Landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions can sometimes be categorized as either beginnings or endings. In 1962, the court’s Baker v. Carr decision was a beginning: After decades of declining to enter what Justice Felix Frankfurter described as the “political thicket” of redistricting and reapportionment, the Supreme Court opened the door to hearing cases that argued against the malapportionment of voting districts. A couple of years later, the court’s twin decisions of Reynolds v. Sims and Wesberry v. Sanders mandated the principle of “one person, one vote” be used in drawing, respectively, state legislative and congressional districts, kicking off what is known as the “reapportionment revolution.”
🗺️ Data Visualization
Fire weather days — featuring a volatile mix of low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures — have increased in number across much of the Lower 48 states during the past 50 years, a new analysis shows.
The big picture: An analysis from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate science research organization, found that wildfire seasons are getting longer and more intense, especially in the West.
Many parts of the East have also seen increases in fire weather days, the report finds. The trend in fire weather days demonstrates how climate change is altering risk levels at the local and regional levels, with much of the phenomenon tied to human-caused climate change, per Climate Central.
@MattGrossmann: “white migration out of the postbellum South diffused & entrenched Confederate culture across the United States. These migrants laid the groundwork for Confederate symbols and racial norms to become pervasive nationally in the early 20th century.” (Twitter)
@j_kalla: “Important and provocative finding from @seth_j_hill: "when cities raise their minimum wage by 10%, relative homeless counts increase by three to four percent." Full paper at https://osf.io/z2fqj/” (Twitter)
📊 Public Opinion
Nic Newman: Digital News Report 2023 (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism)
“In the light of the squeeze on household spending, we find that many people have been rethinking how much they can afford to spend on news media. We have conducted detailed qualitative research in the UK, US, and Germany with consumers who have cancelled, maintained, and started subscriptions in the last year to understand the underlying motivations for signing up – as well as key barriers. In our country and market pages, which combine industry developments with local data, we see how different media companies are managing the economic downturn with many accelerating their path to digital by shifting resources further away from broadcast or print.
Perhaps the most striking findings in this year’s report relate to the changing nature of social media, partly characterised by declining engagement with traditional networks such as Facebook and the rise of TikTok and a range of other video-led networks. Yet despite this growing fragmentation of channels, and despite evidence that public disquiet about misinformation and algorithms is at near record highs, our dependence on these intermediaries continues to grow. Our data show, more clearly than ever, how this shift is strongly influenced by habits of the youngest generations, who have grown up with social media and nowadays often pay more attention to influencers or celebrities than they do to journalists, even when it comes to news.”
“Ten years after the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag first appeared on Twitter, about half of U.S. adults (51%) say they support the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Three years ago, following the murder of George Floyd, two-thirds expressed support for the movement.
In assessing the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, 32% say it’s been highly effective at bringing attention to racism against Black people. Smaller shares say the same about increasing police accountability (14%), improving the lives of Black people (8%) and improving race relations (7%). Overall, 31% of Americans say they understand the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement extremely or very well.”
📰 Media Habits
“Although it’s much newer than other media like television or books, the podcast ecosystem has created a rich library of content covering a wide range of topics both popular and niche.
A new Pew Research Center study of 451 of the top-ranked podcasts in the United States shows this diversity of subjects: No single topic is the main focus of more than a quarter of these podcasts.
True crime is the most common topic, making up 24% of these top-ranked podcasts – perhaps reflecting the early popularity of Serial. The next most common topics are politics and government (10%); entertainment, pop culture and the arts (9%); and self-help and relationships (8%).”
🗺️ Data Visualization
Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux: The Dobbs Divide (FiveThirtyEight)
“A national research project led by the Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit that supports research on abortion and contraception — indicates that there were 24,290 fewer legal abortions between July 2022 and March 2023, compared to a pre-Dobbs baseline. These people might have remained pregnant or obtained an abortion outside the legal system, which would not be captured in #WeCount’s data.
#WeCount’s monthly estimates show volatile, sometimes confusing shifts as the country reeled from the aftershocks of the decision. After a peak in June — likely caused by a rush of people trying to get appointments before the Supreme Court ruled — abortions fell throughout the autumn, only to rise again in December. After that, abortion numbers mostly continued to rise, with monthly figures in March 2023 topping the high point from the previous June.”
“Social issues are creating a market downdraft for America's mainstay brands — just ask Target, Anheuser Busch, Kohl's and their collective $28.7 billion loss in market value since the beginning of April.
Fiercely contested cultural issues have always aroused political passions, and held sway over electoral politics. Yet Corporate America is finding itself trapped between society's progressive impulses, and the conservative backlash. Reactions and counter-offensives against all things ‘woke’ mean companies can find themselves in the crosshairs anytime, and they can't predict the fallout.”