Poll: Republicans Fail Birther Quiz

Think Progress: “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was born in Calgary, Alberta in Canada in 1970, according to the birth certificate he released two years ago. But a Public Policy Polling poll released on Monday found that 40 percent of Republican voters falsely believe Cruz was born in the United States — compared to just 29 percent who believe the same of Hawaiian-born Barack Obama. Just 22 percent of Republicans said they believe Cruz was born abroad.”

“The poll indicates that a misinformation campaign by Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans has successfully convinced a large plurality of Republicans — 44 percent of those polled — that President Obama was born outside of the United States.”

Among Trump supporters “61 percent said Obama was not born in the U.S., while a mere 21 percent concede that he was American born. The poll also found that a 54 percent of Republican voters believe the president is a Muslim, versus just 14 percent who believe him to be a Christian.”

What the ‘Berni Coefficient’ Tells Us About Support for Sanders

Nate Cohn uses the Gini coefficient (a measure of distribution), which he terms the “Berni coefficient,” to measure the turnout for Bernie Sanders. Despite Sanders’ big crowds, that fact is “as convincing as saying the Connecticut economy is booming because the houses in Greenwich are so big and pretty.”

A Berni coefficient of “one would mean that all Sanders’s volunteers were in one congressional district; zero would mean every district had the same amount. By this measure, the Sanders coalition is even more unequal than the wealth in the United States. The Sanders coefficient clocks in at 0.483. It basically resembles the state of Connecticut, the second-most unequal state in the country (New York is No. 1).”

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“The public opinion polls show the problem. While Mr. Sanders is in striking distance of Hillary Rodham Clinton in Oregon and Wisconsin — and a second New Hampshire poll shows him leading — there are vast swaths of the country where Mr. Sanders has little support at all. He’s down by 68 points in Alabama, 78 to 10.”

Sanders “needs to compete outside his strongholds. Whether he’s doing so — not whether he has great crowds — is the real measure of his success, just as the real measure of the economy is the success of the average worker, not the opulence of the 1 percent.”

Americans on the Move

Christopher Ingraham and Emily Badger: “In any given year, about 8.5 million people move from one metropolitan area to another within the United States — from the Washington, D.C., region up to New York, or from New York to Philadelphia and farther away. These major moves — distinct from the kind you make across town, or even from the city to the suburbs — make up a relatively small share of all migration. Only about one in five movers today decamps for another metro area entirely.”

“In the table below, based on new five-year American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau, we’ve plotted annual migration totals among the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the United States … Surprisingly, 22,000 New Yorkers head to Miami, an unusually large migration for two metros 1,300 miles apart.”

“You can get a sense in this table of how regional proximity plays a big role in metro migration trends. More than 13,000 people head from Dallas to Houston each year, with a similar amount moving in the opposite direction. But the two Texas cities don’t see much in the way of migration to and from the other major metro areas in the chart, and they stand apart for sending particularly few people to New York.”

Republicans Support State Marijuana Laws

Christopher Ingraham: “By significant margins, Republican voters in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire say that states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference. Sixty-four percent of GOP voters in Iowa say that states should be able to carry out their own laws vs. only 21 percent who say that the federal government should arrest and prosecute people who are following state marijuana laws.”

“These numbers come from recent surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by reform group Marijuana Majority. They come as some GOP candidates, such as Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), have stepped up their anti-marijuana rhetoric in recent weeks.”

“Marijuana policy is not a make-or-break issue like jobs or the economy for most voters. But in a crowded primary field, it could mean the difference between, say, a seat at the main debate table and relegation to the sidelines.”

Trump Remains Deeply Unpopular with Hispanics

Gallup: “U.S. Hispanics are still getting to know most of the Republican contenders for president. At this point in the campaign, less than half have formed an opinion of any Republican candidate except Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Partly because of this, Hispanics’ views of most GOP candidates range from mildly positive to mildly negative. The sole exception is Trump, whose favorable rating with Hispanics is deeply negative.”

Hispanics' Views of GOP Presidential Contenders, July-August 2015

German Lopez in Vox: “Hispanic voters are an increasingly important demographic for both political parties, since they’re expected to make up more and more of the electorate in the next few decades and are already a prominent force in several battleground states. Political opinion research group Latino Decisions has estimated, for instance, that a Republican presidential candidate will need more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to win the election.”

“It’s especially concerning for Republicans because Hispanic voters seem to really, really like Hillary Clinton. Gallup found that the Democratic frontrunner has a very strong 40 percent approval rating among Hispanic Americans.”

Could Trumpism Destroy the Republican Party?

Nate Cohn and others: “A review of public polling, extensive interviews with a host of his supporters in two states and a new private survey that tracks voting records all point to the conclusion that Mr. Trump has built a broad, demographically and ideologically diverse coalition, constructed around personality, not substance, that bridges demographic and political divides. In doing so, he has effectively insulated himself from the consequences of startling statements that might instantly doom rival candidates.”

“The breadth of Mr. Trump’s coalition … suggests he has the potential to outdo the flash-in-the-pan candidacies that roiled the last few Republican nominating contests. And it hints at the problem facing his competitors and the growing pressure on them to confront him.”

“Trumpism, the data and interviews suggest, is an attitude, not an ideology.”

Molly Ball: “Trump’s candidacy has blasted open the GOP’s longstanding fault lines at a time when the party hoped for unity. His gleeful, attention-hogging boorishness—and the large crowds that have cheered it—cements a popular image of the party as standing for reactionary anger rather than constructive policies. As Democrats jeer that Trump has merely laid bare the true soul of the GOP, some Republicans wonder, with considerable anguish, whether they’re right.”

How Trump Fills a Policy Void

Lee Drutman in Vox argues that “put simply: While most elite-funded and elite-supported Republicans want to increase immigration and decrease Social Security, a significant number of voters (across both parties) want precisely the opposite.”

“By my count of National Election Studies (NES) data, 24 percent of the US population holds this position (increase Social Security, decrease immigration). If we add in the folks who want to maintain (not cut) Social Security and decrease immigration, we are now at 40 percent of the total electorate, which I’ll call ‘populist.’ No wonder folks are flocking to Trump — and to Bernie Sanders, who holds similar positions, though with more emphasis on the expanding Social Security part and less aggression on immigration.”

Social security and immigration

Paul Krugman: “As pundits are discovering to their horror, there’s probably more to the Trump phenomenon than mere celebrity. The fact is that the central planks of modern conservatism — slashing taxes on the rich and benefits for the public at large — are deeply unpopular. Republicans have won elections only by wrapping these policies in other stuff; it’s about cutting benefits for welfare queens and ‘strapping young bucks’ (that’s a Reaganism, in case you’re wondering) buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. And this in turn means that there is a sort of empty box in U.S. politics waiting to be filled.”

Are Independents Really Independent?

Philip Bump notes that “despite the growth in the number of people who identify as independent — the vast majority still lean toward one party or the other.”

“Not all of those ‘independent’ voters are …. ‘pure independents.’ Most align with either the Democrats or the Republicans. When you isolate those groups, you can see that the number of independent-independents has remained fairly steady.”

“The implication of this? The persuadable middle in 2012 was much smaller than one might assume. And in future elections — say, next year’s — leaning independents are likely to vote like the partisans they lean toward.”

An Uneven Housing Policy for America’s Poor

Gillian White in The Atlantic: “When you look at the nationwide statistics, it’s clear that voucher recipients are able to live in areas of less-concentrated poverty, and that they live in less-segregated neighborhoods than poor families who have no choice but to live in shelters, transitional housing, or traditional public-housing units. (Vouchers are a rent subsidy that people can use to live in privately owned housing.)”

But “finding better neighborhoods with landlords who will accept vouchers can be nearly impossible in some areas.”

Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at Brookings has found “that voucher holders in the 100 largest metro areas lived in neighborhoods where the poverty rate was an average of 10 percentage points higher and the minority population share was 21 percentage points higher than the average for all neighborhoods in the largest metros.”

Difference Between Regional Poverty Rate and Voucher-Holder Poverty Rate

“Part of the issue is that vouchers, made specifically to allow families to move away from highly concentrated areas of poverty and into areas of greater racial and economic integration, often wind up not being all that portable because of discriminatory housing practices, landlords who refuse to accept vouchers, or difficulty identifying and moving to neighborhoods with more economic promise.”

The Key to Financial Success? Be a Man.

Washington Post: m\”Men still out-earn women at every education level, and it may have something to do with the careers that women and men choose.”

“The charts below, created by self-described data tinkerer Randy Olson, illustrate how gender, major and earnings are related. Olson analyzed data on college majors and median earnings after graduation for those under 28.”

“Median yearly earnings are shown on the vertical axis: Majors that appear toward the top of the chart tend to earn more, and those toward the bottom earn less. The gender makeup of the major is on the horizontal axis, with majors that are male dominated on the left and female-dominated majors on the right.”

“One theory that Olson entertains is that male-dominated majors tend to be focused on quantitative skills, which are in general highly valued. Engineering is both male dominated and highly valued and paid by businesses.”

“It could be that society just doesn’t value ‘women’s work’ as much as ‘men’s work,’ due to lingering prejudice and discrimination. The difference could be in part due to different salary negotiation strategies used by men and women. Or it could be because men, who traditionally have been familial bread-winners, are more motivated to seek out jobs with higher incomes, while women prioritize other job attributes.”

Minorities’ Wealth is Not Protected by a College Degree

New York Times: “A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis “raises troubling questions about the ability of a college education to narrow the racial and ethnic wealth gap. ‘Higher education alone cannot level the playing field,’ the report concludes.”

“Economists emphasize that college-educated blacks and Hispanics overall earn significantly more and are in a better position to accumulate wealth than blacks and Hispanics who do not get degrees.”

“But while these college grads had more assets, they suffered disproportionately during periods of financial trouble.”

“From 1992 to 2013, the median net worth of blacks who finished college dropped nearly 56 percent (adjusted for inflation). By comparison, the median net worth of whites with college degrees rose about 86 percent over the same period, which included three recessions.”

“There is not a simple answer to explain why a college degree has failed to help safeguard the assets of many minority families. Persistent discrimination and the types of training and jobs minorities get have played a role. Another central factor is the heavy debt many blacks and Hispanics accumulate to achieve middle-class status.”