Tag Archives: poll

Our schizophrenic attitude toward war

It wa just a couple of years ago that we were still stinging from starting the never-ending Iraq war. We didn’t want to invade anybody. We didn’t want to bomb anybody. We wanted to get out. That attitude was so yesterday. According to a new CNN poll, we are ready to R-U-M-B-L-E with ISIS.

I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have any good answers for ISIS or Syria, or for Afghanistan for that matter. All of these places look like black holes in which we can throw both troops and money at the problem for years without resolution. Our money isn’t infinite. Our resources are limited.

If we are to believe the press, ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is a threat to the United States. They aren’t a threat some time in the future. They are a threat today. We’ve gotta do something. Now.

Glenn Greenwald points out the obvious. In 2003, six months after we invaded Iraq, a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents thought that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. The press and the White House have led us down this road before. Hopefully, we are older, smarter and wiser now. We can listen to Senator John McCain or we can sit back and think. How can we really neutralize or eliminate ISIS without throwing trillions of dollars into the Middle East money pit and killing thousands of innocents?

Why the Right Got It so Massively, Completely and Totally Wrong

For four years, the Right have been developing, building and constructing their own universe. There is ample evidence that Republicans continue to insulate themselves from the real world. In the Republican world the new Black Panthers are worthy of endless coverage. Sure, there are only five of these guys and 99% of all blacks in the United States have never heard of them, but to Republicans they are mainstream news. In the Republican world, the problem with United States is not that women don’t get paid at the same rate as men for doing the same job. Instead, the problem is women in the workplace. In the Republican world, we should not withdraw from Iraq. Instead, we need to use Iraq as a base to bomb Syria. And, while we’re bombing Syria, we should consider bombing Iran also. In the Republican world, it is not improbable, but impossible for a black man to grow up and become president. There must be something nefarious going on. Maybe, just maybe, that black man was born in Kenya. (In the bizarro world the Republicans live in, somehow it is easier to become president if you’re born in Kenya and immigrate to United States than if you’re born in United States. Don’t ask me to explain it.)

Just to show you how truly warped the Republican world is, Mitt Romney had his own pollsters. Now, having your own pollsters is not a bad thing. As a matter fact, it can be a good thing. But, if you ignore everybody else’s polls and only accept yours as the real, true polling in America, you’re in trouble. Now, take your time and watch Karl Rove meltdown on the set of Fox News. The only reason that Karl Rove would have this response would be if he truly believed that every other poll in the world was wrong except for Mitt Romney’s.

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So what happened? How did Barack Obama win?

Several weeks ago, some Americans made broad pronouncements that Barack Obama had lost the election. He was desperate. It was over. I stated that the widely available facts did not support this conclusion; that Barack Obama was going to lose, nor that he was in trouble. There are any number of blogs and websites for tracking polls and giving us, the voters, real time information. By far, the best and most accurate was Nate Silver’s 538 blog, which is now part of the New York Times. Nate Silver is part of the New York Times, not because he is a liberal, but because he has developed a model that is extremely accurate. He has the ability to take an individual poll, compare it to historical values and then weigh the poll accordingly. I have known about and followed Nate Silver since 2006 or 2007. All I can tell you is that he is a geek who knows that he is extremely smart and he understands that his reputation is on the line every time he makes a prediction.

As we learned in 2000, in the United States with the current configuration of its electoral college (which should be abolished, but I’ll save that discussion for another day), the popular vote doesn’t matter. If you want win the White House, you have to figure out how to win the electoral college. Early in this race, every thoughtful pundit knew that there were simply a handful of states that mattered. I’m not arguing whether that is right or wrong. I am stating this as a fact. Large states like Texas, Alaska, California and New York simply don’t matter. No amount of money that Barack Obama would spend in Texas was going to switch Texas to a Democratic state. On the other hand, there’s no amount of money that Mitt Romney could spend in California or New York that would turn either to a red Republican state. So, we knew the contest came down to swing states. These are states that have an unusual population. They have a balance of big cities and rural areas. Rural areas tend to go Republican. Large metropolitan areas with diverse populations tend to vote Democratic. There are only a few states that have the right mix – Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. The presidential election came down to these states.

The other thing that we have to factor into the equation is the fact that Barack Obama had more electoral votes in his pocket at the beginning of Tuesday than did Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney started with 180 electoral votes. Barack Obama start off with 186. These were states that were clearly in the bag. These were states that everyone knew the back in December how they were going to vote. Then, over the next several months, Arizona and North Carolina broke for Mitt Romney, giving him an additional 26 electoral votes. At the same time, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada and Pennsylvania broke for the president. This gave the president an extra 57 electoral votes. So early Tuesday morning, before any of the polls opened, Barack Obama had 243 electoral votes in his pocket. Mitt Romney had 206. Mitt Romney had to come up with 64 electoral votes and Barack Obama had only come up with 27. While some people were freaking out over this state or that state the contest really came down to Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin – 89 electoral votes. Mitt Romney basically had to run the table.

Mitt Romney and his campaign staff decided that they could win the election if they could manage to win white males by a landslide. That didn’t happen. Barack Obama won the youth vote. Barack Obama won the Latino vote, the Black vote and won 42% of white women. Barack Obama also won the majority the Jewish vote in states like Florida. Barack Obama won the majority of Americans making under a hundred thousand dollars a year. This broad coalition of minorities, women and the non-rich equals victory.

Barack Obama put together a winning coalition. Mitt Romney decided he did not need a coalition. He could win the United States by alienating everybody and embracing white men. Thankfully, in 2012, that’s not a winning strategy.