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101  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: IA - PPP: O'Malley and Booker lead the pack (O'Malley internal poll) on: March 18, 2017, 01:03:11 am
Sandberg? As in Ryne Sandberg, great second baseman of the near-miss Chicago Cubs of 1984?

Of course the 1984 Detroit Tigers would have been waiting for them.
102  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Report: Russian oligarchs invested $100 million in Trump buildings on: March 18, 2017, 12:36:25 am
It sounds like money-laundering. These are money-losing activities, but they are also money-churning activities.

There are great amounts of resources to privatize, and there is plenty of dirty dealing. The crooks want to translate their loot into legitimate assets, but just imagine what trouble one has if one simply takes money from such a deed as gun running or embezzlement to some giant American bank and says "Invest this!"

103  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Tillerson: "Strategic patience" ended with DPRK, military action on table on: March 17, 2017, 08:48:02 am
I am more concerned with what happens to Seoul, an obvious target for military retribution by Emperor Kim Jong-un.
104  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Health insurance for the asset rich? on: March 17, 2017, 08:44:27 am
The super-rich are entitled to drive the same roads, use the same airports, get the mail from the same letter carriers, enjoy the same protection of property and person... they can be taxed more.

Asset rich? Some people have nominal assets that they could never sell. Fur coats, pearls, and dream houses are horrible investments. Someone who used to have a high income and no longer has might have a ten-year-old Mercedes Benz, BMW, or other once-expensive car that is really hard to sell. (Old high-end cars are not very marketable; they are costly to repair, and their durability is often suspect).

Add to that, housing might have a high nominal value even if it has no marketability. Thus Youngstown, Ohio or Detroit, Michigan. 

Some rich people are certifiably crazy.
105  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US states consider laws allowing Creationism to be taught by science teachers on: March 17, 2017, 08:35:04 am
Two years of shop/engineering class
Why? Forcing everyone to spend half of their time in high school on something only a fraction of them will find remotely useful sounds like hell.

Some could choose classes on sartorial elegance instead.

Heck, participation in music seems to correlate more strongly to educational success than anything direct. I did not need any course to teach me how to use a PC for web surfing; I simply played with the computer.

Drafting could be very useful.
106  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: Trump claims Obama wire tapped Trump Tower. on: March 17, 2017, 08:26:56 am
If you have a real investigation you do not leak what  you have. You keep secretive about it and let the investigated person or entity make mistakes -- like destroying evidence but creating more evidence in the process. That's how the Feds nailed John Gotti. You keep the persons investigated  loose because you don't want them to have a clue and you think that he can do no more damage except to their cases. Let them think themselves getting away with murder.

Barack Obama is an attorney. He knows this, and he could apply it on the job. Donald Trump doesn't know this; he needs yes-men whose ruthlessness and blind loyalty matter more than competence. 
107  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump calls on Americans to "embrace our glorious national destiny" on: March 17, 2017, 08:14:41 am
"Glorious national destiny" sounds worryingly authoritarian.

"Restore the glory of the Roman Empire"... to his credit, the "Sawdust Caesar" did not restore slavery and  the gladiatorial games.

Somehow I prefer the Polish formula "For our liberty and yours".
108  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US states consider laws allowing Creationism to be taught by science teachers on: March 16, 2017, 03:07:55 pm
How about teaching both viewpoints? Or teaching evolution and at least mentioning the ideas of creationism?

We do not teach the Axis side of World War II. We do not teach the alternatives to the reality of the near-spherical earth not the center of the universe. We do not teach that astrology has value. We do not teach Afrocentrism. We do not teach sex education from the standpoint of sexual criminals. We do not teach about unicorns, leprechauns, griffons, and fire-breathing dragons as genuine living things.

Children need not be taught nonsense.
109  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: March 16, 2017, 03:02:05 pm
They also poll the generic House ballot here:

Dems 46%
GOP 41%

It's really early, of course, but a 5 point popular vote win wouldn't be enough for the Dems to take back the House, given the GOP's structural advantage in how the district lines are drawn.

5% is roughly where it was at for much of 2016. Just like with Hillary, it imploded as Trump surged in the end. Five points is simply not enough, and doesn't indicate people are turning on Republicans - yet. Once we start seeing double digit numbers - even low, like 10, 11 points, or consistently high-single digits (8-9) on a regular basis, I think that is when the GOP should worry.

Double-digit numbers as a difference indicate that the GOP has big problems to solve, probably best while figuring things out as the minority party. 
110  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US states consider laws allowing Creationism to be taught by science teachers on: March 16, 2017, 12:17:06 pm
Creationism? In the same league as flat-earth and hollow-earth nonsense. It teaches no moral values.

So a bunch of people barely out of the hunter-gatherer stage of economic and social development get  natural history and earth science terribly wrong? What else would you expect?

The only way in which I could accept creationism as truth would be to accept that God created the Universe in six literal days to look more than 13 billion years old just to trick the rationalists and free-thinkers  into believing things that damn them to Hell for insufficient faith.  But even that requires blaspheming God as a vindictive forger.
111  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: McDonald's tweets to Trump: 'You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President on: March 16, 2017, 11:48:28 am
It sounds fake to me.
112  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: March 16, 2017, 11:45:33 am
A legit PPP national poll of registered voters: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2017/PPP_Release_National_31517.pdf

Approve 43% (-2)
Disapprove 50% (+2)

They also poll the generic House ballot here:

Dems 46%
GOP 41%

It's really early, of course, but a 5 point popular vote win wouldn't be enough for the Dems to take back the House, given the GOP's structural advantage in how the district lines are drawn.

Obviously, sustained or intensifying unpopularity of President Trump can grow that gap.   
113  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: March 15, 2017, 10:24:23 am
New Jersey, the Q.

Trump -- approve 34%, disapprove 59%. No change in the map.



Probably our best approximation until about March.


Not likely useful until March.

Even -- white

Blue, positive and 40-43%  20% saturation
............................ 44-47%  40%  
............................ 48-50%  50%
............................ 51-55%  70%
............................ 56%+     90%

Red, negative and  48-50%  20% (raw approval or favorability)
..........................  44-47%  30%
..........................  40-43%  50%
..........................  35-39%  70%
.......................under  35%  90%

White - tie.
Colors chosen for partisan affiliation.  

*National poll, and not a state poll -- the national poll is much more flattering to the President, who is shown in deep trouble in that state, and is likely closer to reality.

114  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Trump's approval in 2020 is in the 20-29% range... on: March 15, 2017, 08:58:53 am
For an elected incumbent running for re-election as Governor or Senator one can typically add an average of 6% or 7% to his approval rating at the start of the campaign season and get his share of the non-Third Party/Independent vote in a binary election against the average challenger. Because almost all Presidents were Governors or Senators, before becoming President, this is the best that I can do for predicting how an elected President wins or loses re-election.


This applies in normal elections and wave elections. This applies to politicians who have done very well and those mired in incompetence and scandal. This applies for both Parties, and in all regions of the USA. It adjusts for demographic change.  The logic is simple: while governing or legislating a politician must make decisions that dissatisfy some who voted for him in the previous election. Maybe people do not fully understand what the politician promises and misinterpret what he says, only to find that what was promised isn't what one really wanted.  The politician who wins 52% of the vote in the previous election usually finds approval ratings in the area of 45-46% three to five years later campaigns for his political life and ends up winning 52-48.

OK, but what about breaking scandals? The incumbent with a not-yet-broken scandal operates with more fear and less optimism than pols without such a problem; that is not good for a positive image. The news media usually avoid plugging that pol if they are already collecting material that will be announced at some time before the election. Such a pol already has depressed approval ratings before the fecal matter hits the blades of a spinning fan. So the approval rating goes from 38% to 9%... but people not in the media have no idea why Senator Snake is as unpopular as he is. The voters are the last to know that Senator Snake is collecting bribes or messing with children.

I used the model with Barack Obama in 2012, and it worked reasonably well. His approval ratings were just above 45% and he got just over 50% of the popular vote. Dubya was shakier in 2004, but he still barely won. Clinton in 1996? Ignore the Third Party nominee and the model works. Reagan 1984? Would you have expected otherwise? Nixon? Perfect timing for his re-election bid.

But note the caveats:

1. There must be a free and fair election or all bets are off. This has never been a problem in American history -- but we have a President acting much like a dictator. Lots of pols could go down with him, and he could take down some well-heeled special interests who have much to lose, including wealth and freedom, with him should he prove monstrously corrupt.

2. The incumbent must be elected and not appointed. One assumes that an incumbent already knows how to campaign for the office that he holds. Appointed pols have never shown their ability to win the election for the current office, and might be inept campaigners. The record for appointed Governors and Senators winning re-election bids (and this also applies to Representatives) is awful.

Gerald Ford demonstrates this. He was not a truly bad President; he became Vice-President without having ever won a statewide election, so he did not really learn how to campaign. He could lose to one of the weakest campaigners ever for the Presidency. But this is not germane to 2020 if Donald Trump or Mike Pence is President.

3. There must not be a significant Third-Party or independent nominee. Should Donald Trump be running against a divided Democratic Party, then he could win with 25%  or so approval. But should the Republican Party be significantly split with pol from a dissident wing of the Party be running against him, then he is likely cooked in that election.

4. It can't predict how good a nominee the challenger is. If Donald Trump is facing the New FDR as an opponent, then he is going to need much more than an approval rating than 45%. 

5. It can't predict how votes will be distributed in the Electoral College unless one applies it to statewide polls. residential election is a contest of fifty unequal states, five roughly-equal Congressional seats, and one city.

6. It can't predict the presence or absence of voter suppression that can decide a key state. That is a choice of governors to do out of Party loyalty or to reject on principle or for ineffectiveness in that election. A Democratic nominee  has far better chances of winning Florida or Wisconsin if those states have Democratic Governors in 2020.

7. It can't predict weird events happening, and it can't predict the effects of those weird events. Please don't ask me what those 'weird events' could be. 
115  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has officially gone full White Nationalist on: March 14, 2017, 11:49:16 pm
Why should Republicans force Steve King to resign? The Iowa district that he represents loves him? Why didn't Democrats condemn Cynthia McKinney for her crazy remarks when she was a Georgia congresswoman before she lost her primary to Hank Johnson, who is also crazy?

We did.

Let him say what he wants, even if it may be crazy. This is America, not North Korea. Stop the double standards. This is why I am a Independent, both parties are full of double standards and hypocrisies.

It will be up to voters in Iowa-01 to vote the bastard out, whether in the Republican primary or in the general election.
116  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Schumer threatens government shutdown if GOP includes Wall in budget on: March 14, 2017, 10:47:04 pm
The wall is a budget-buster, and I can see plenty of other things that the  unds could be better spent on.
117  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: March 14, 2017, 10:37:52 pm
This is probably just an outlier just like the 45-49 number earlier this week was. Real number is probably aound net negative high single digits.

Middle single digits.

PPP hasn't polled approval ratings of rattlesnakes yet.
118  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump voters in Michigan like economically populist Democrats on: March 14, 2017, 11:28:14 am
if the midwest is the only region of the country which matters, sure.

For the House -- so does Florida. So does Texas. Maybe the white people of the Mountain and Deep South will finally recognize Donald Trump and his Congressional stooges intent only on making easy money available to the wrong sort of white people while doing things to everyone else. 

Do you know what happens when white voters in the Mountain and Deep South  start turning against the Trump clique? Democrats end up with a revival of the New Deal coalition.

I have seen statewide polls of approval of Donald Trump in Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- and those look bad for him. A poll in the "Safe Republican" district of Speaker Paul Ryan suggests that he is safe in a re-election bid even if his district opposes some Trump policies decisively.

The data isn't all in yet. But it does not look good for the President or for Congress. Yes, Republicans could fare well in re-election bids in the House when Obama was President when Congress had 30% or so approval ratings... but with an unpopular President, people start wondering about their Congressional Representative if he is with a President that they dislike.   

119  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: U.S. Citizens Now Being Forced To Provide Their Social Media Passwords On Return on: March 14, 2017, 11:11:12 am
Reasonable responses --

1. Do not take a smartphone out of the USA. Use a 'dumb phone' (probably pre-paid wireless)  for which you activate throwaway service, and rent a tablet for use in the Free World, including Canada but apparently not the USA anymore, if you must. Or quit using social media altogether outside the USA. Isn't the Uffizi Gallery, the Prado, or the Rijksmuseum more interesting without it? Do you really need to tell people that you are listening to the Vienna Philharmonic while you are at the concert?

Photos of the Alps in their truest glory? Do you need to send those in real-time? Use a separate camera.

2.  Use private browsing for social media. Treat American politics as if it requires the same circumspection as if it were pornography. The President has been acting much like a dictator, and he may already be confused between his role and that of the Presidency as defined in the Constitution, by statue, and by precedent.

3. Assume that American surveillance is as oppressive as that of China.  

4. Stay clear of Daesh and other known terrorist states (like North Korea) and organizations.
120  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: March 14, 2017, 10:33:52 am
New PPP poll of WI-01 (Paul Ryan's district):


50% Favorable
47% Unfavorable


49% Favorable
44% Unfavorable

This is a district Trump won by 10%.
Trump got 52%.
MOE of this poll is about 4%
PPP was AWFUL during the election. For instance they had Clinton +7 in WI...
It is not even a public poll.

Just saying.

Hillary Clinton got only 39% of the vote in this district. That is a 12% margin. Paul Ryan will probably win this district in 2018 despite standing for some unpopular measure; that is how it is with someone who wields power in the House. After all, he might be good for getting a desirable highway or public-transportation project passed in his district under a Democratic administration in 2021 or so.

PPP missed the sudden swing for Demagogue Don; it quit polling on Wisconsin rather early. But current polls seem to be showing Americans just about everywhere recognizing his agenda (just create more profit as the collection of rent, and dismantle nearly 90 years of social progress to resuscitate 'dirty' industry) as a non-solution to their personal distress.
121  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: March 14, 2017, 10:08:25 am
New PPP poll of WI-01 (Paul Ryan's district):


50% Favorable
47% Unfavorable


49% Favorable
44% Unfavorable

This is a district Trump won by 10%.
It's a Democratic Internal, for an anti-Ryan PAC.

Even if so it says some things. If things were all peachy and rosy for House Republicans, then Donald Trump and Paul Ryan would have something like 60% approval or favorability in that district.

Some other questions:

Q5 Would you support or oppose an independent investigation into Russia’s involvement in the
2016 Presidential election?

(Support 50%, oppose 40%)

Q6 Do you support or oppose taking away funding for essential healthcare services like birth
control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers in Racine, Kenosha,
and Delevan?

(Support 37%, oppose 55%)

Q7 Do you support or oppose Paul Ryan and the Republicans’ new health care bill, which would
cause millions to lose their health insurance?

(Support 37%, oppose 46%)

Q8 What comes closest to your view of what should happen with Medicare and Social Security: do you think we should protect and strengthen them, do you think we should expand them, or do you think we should cut them?

(Protect and strengthen 77%, expand 11%, cut 8%)

Q9 Some in Congress have proposed selling off national public lands, like national forests,
national monuments, and wildlife refuges. Do you support or oppose this proposal?

(Support 18%, oppose 77%)

Q10 The Trump Administration is proposing budget cuts to the Department of Interior and a hiring freeze, which could mean fewer park rangers, fewer wildland firefighters, limited wildlife
monitoring, and a limited ability to address the backlog of maintenance needs in America’s
National Parks.  Do you support or oppose these budget cuts?

(Support 35%, oppose 55%)

Q11 The Trump Administration is proposing a 97% decrease in money to clean up the Great
Lakes. Do you support or oppose these budget cuts?

(Support 25%, oppose 62%)

Q12 President Trump just ordered the EPA to rescind clean water rules, a move that would
reduce protections for 60% of the nation’s waters from toxic pollution and put the drinking
water of 117 million people at risk.  Do you support or oppose this?

(Support 28%, oppose 60%)

(Geographic reality on Q11: Paul Ryan's WI-01 lies on the shore of Lake Michigan).

In these questions we already see how Democrats can frame the 2018 midterm and 2020 general election. Speakers of the House rarely get defeated in re-election bids, and Paul Ryan is unlikely to be in danger of losing his House seat, but they can easily become House Minority Leaders when things go bad for their Party. Sure, this might be an internal poll by a Democratic group... but don't be surprised if the next poll of Wisconsin shows Donald Trump with something like a 40% approval rating.
122  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Casinos should really be banned except for resort destinations like Vegas on: March 14, 2017, 09:47:35 am
Casinos are no different from Wall Street

"Wall Street" sells a return of investment, and anyone not looking at the return on investment is effectively gambling. I have been a buy-and-hold investor. Even day trading is betting on the predictability of events. 
123  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: Trump claims Obama wire tapped Trump Tower. on: March 14, 2017, 09:44:39 am
Are you actually dumb enough to not realise that this if this were true it'd be extremely damning for Comrade Trump
You don't find a presidential candidate being bugged by the President in the name of "national security" and the CIA a little familiar? You haven't heard this story before?

This is just another conspiracy theory with zero evidence, and it is not being backed by the intelligence community.

You know what IS being backed by the intelligence community? That Trump and his team colluded with Russia to win the election.

And anyway, even if the wiretapping did happen, you just said it was in the name of national security. Wouldn't a presidential campaign working with a foreign power to hack our election system be a threat to our national security?
Finks the intelligence agencies. Remember this place called Iraq? The intelligence agencies have already borderline flirted with treason numerous times before and they will do so again if not reigned in.

The intelligence community worked very well with Obama as President.
124  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Conway: Obama may have spied on Trump through a microwave on: March 14, 2017, 09:43:03 am
She is a smart person.

Intelligence and paranoia are not mutually exclusive.
125  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: March 14, 2017, 09:40:34 am
New PPP poll of WI-01 (Paul Ryan's district):


50% Favorable
47% Unfavorable


49% Favorable
44% Unfavorable

This is a district Trump won by 10%.

Terribly unflattering. If this district expresses a general shift of 5% the vote in Wisconsin, then a state that went for him by less than 1% would be a bare loss for him if nothing really changes before 2020. Should the economy tank or the American good fortune (having Obama as President might have made that possible for eight years) of not having military or diplomatic calamities come to an abrupt and shocking end, then the President could be facing a landslide loss in a re-election bid.

This and extant polls of Michigan and Pennsylvania suggest that if the 2016 election were held again, Trump would lose.  Support for the rest of the Trump agenda also looks weak even in this district.

Paul Ryan looks as if he would squeak by in a re-election bid. But that bodes ill for many other incumbent Republicans in the House.
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