Patterico's Pontifications


Romney Took a Dog on a Vacation; Obama Ate a Dog

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:09 pm

So a while back, Mitt Romney put the family dog in a crate on the roof of his car and went on a family vacation.

So a while back, Barack Obama ate a dog.

Here’s Jim Treacher:

Hey, if we’re going to talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago, let’s talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago.

Can you name the author of this quote?

“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”

Yep, that’s Barack Obama, writing about his childhood with his stepfather Lolo Soetoro in Indonesia, from Chapter Two of his bestseller Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

“So what? It was a long time ago,” you say. “He was a lot younger. Customs are different there. He was just doing what his stepfather told him. And hey, you can’t even prove that the dogs were ever left on top of a car, you racist.”

Hey, whatever you have to tell yourself, libs. Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth. And whenever you bring up the one, we’re going to bring up the other.

Treacher has had some fun with this tonight on Twitter (h/t daleyrocks):

That’s just a few of them.

I demand blanket press coverage.

CNN Poll: CNN Has a Lot of ‘Splainin’ To Do

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:24 am

That CNN poll showing Obama way ahead seems suspect. Here is the .pdf of the poll results with all the breakdowns.

The poll’s big news, reported yesterday, was that Obama was coming out ahead 52% to 43% among registered voters, and 53% to 41% among all voters, in response to this question:

Suppose that the presidential election were being held today and you had to choose between Barack Obama as the Democratic Party’s candidate, and Mitt Romney as the Republican Party’s candidate. Who would you be more likely to vote for — Barack Obama, the Democrat, or Mitt Romney, the Republican? (IF UNSURE:) As of today, who do you lean more toward?

But look at the numerical breakdown:

484 to 476, out of 1015 respondents.

484 out of 1015 is about 48%, and 476 out of 1015 is about 47%. (It can’t be registered voters because they say they have only 910, and 484+476 is more than 910).

This means the numerical breakdown, before weighting, is 48/47. Somehow their weighting process takes it to 53/41.

It’s not explained why the weighting is so dramatic. In fact, I can’t find any explanation of their weighting process.

This was pointed out to me by Kevin M, who notes that the poll is an outlier anyway. I see that Hot Air is performing the same analysis with the same results. Ed Morrissey says:

Pollsters weigh results in likely-voter models; in fact, that’s a vital part of the likely-voter modeling process. I’m not aware of the need to weight gen-pop polls unless the demos in the survey are wildly deficient, and since CNN didn’t disclose those, we don’t know — but it hardly imbues these results with confidence.

At the very least, CNN needs to answer some questions about these odd results.

Mediscare and the liberalism of fear

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 6:53 am

[Posted by Karl]

Ross Douthat recently opined on the two faces of liberalism — the optimistic central planner and the demagogue who responds whenever the issue of the collective cost of the plans becomes an issue.  RTWT, as I intend to focus on his cautionary note for this year’s election:

In parts of the conservative press, the president’s increasingly scorched-earth rhetoric is being treated as a sign of his desperation. By resorting so quickly to partisan demagoguery, this argument goes, Obama is effectively conceding that he has nothing else to run on – that his policies are unpopular, that his agenda has largely been rejected, and there is no positive case for a second term that any swing voter is likely to be persuaded by.

There is truth to this: Obama’s legislative achievements are strikingly unpopular. ***

But elections won on fear count just as much as elections won on hope. It was fear that gave George W. Bush the edge over John Kerry in 2004, and it was fear that saved the Bill Clinton from political extinction. (Clinton’s rightward pivot helped him win re-election, but his willingness to savage the Dole-Gingrich Republicans on Medicare was just as crucial to his victory.)

Douthat is likely overstating the situation.  Presidential elections are mostly referenda on the incumbent or the incumbent party.  Jay Cost looked at 2004 and found:

The election that year was a referendum on Bush: people who disapproved of him voted overwhelmingly for Kerry; people who approved of him voted overwhelmingly for Bush. In fact, the Bush approvers/Kerry voters were more numerous than the Bush disapprovers/Bush voters.

Indeed, from Cost’s data it looks like this dynamic was even more true in 1996, when only 4% of Clinton disapprovers voted for Clinton.  Moreover, it seems unlikely that dynamic was due to Ross Perot’s third-party run, as 9% of George H.W. Bush disapprovers voted to reeelect him in 1992, when Perot was a bigger vote-getter.

Nevertheless, Douthat may have a point in identifying Mediscare as part of Clinton’s relative overperformance relative to the economy in 1996.  In the 1996 exit polling, Medicare came in as the second-largest “top issue” to voters.  However, the top “top issue” in 1996 —  the economy/jobs — was the top issue to only 21% of voters, and appears to have helped Clinton.

Can Obama exploit Medicare the way Clinton did?  Probably not.  In 2012, the economy and unemployment are likely to be the top issue with many more voters and not very likely to help Obama.  As of last month, Medicare was an asterisk in Gallup’s open-ended poll of the most important issue to Americans.  More broadly, “healthcare” looks to be a secondary or tertiary issue in most polls, although Gallup suggests it could be as important as economic issues.  Unfortunately, such results are of limited use, as “healthcare” is not the same as “Medicare” and the response likely encompasses things like dissatisfaction with the existence or operation of Obamacare.

Pres. Obama will probably continue to demagogue the House GOP budget on Medicare.  But likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney will probably continue to point out that the unpopular Obamacare law is supposed to be funded with $500 billion in (ahem) “future savings” from Medicare.  Moreover, polls from sources as diverse as Kaiser and Reason suggest the arguments that reform is necessary to save Medicare and will not affect current retirees both create potential majority support for the GOP approach.


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