Demographics

States With High State Taxes Are Vulnerable to Migration

Gallup: “Residents living in states with the highest aggregated state tax burden are the most likely to report they would like to leave their state if they had the opportunity.”

Percentage of Residents Who Would Like to Leave Their State, by State Tax Burden, 2015

“Nearly half (46%) of Connecticut and New Jersey residents say they would like to leave their state if they had the opportunity. At 13%, Montana has the smallest percentage of residents reporting they would like to leave the state.”

States Whose Residents Are Least Likely, and Most Likely, to Want to Leave, 2015

“States in the first, second and third quintiles have similar percentages of residents reporting they would like to leave their state; however, this percentage increases for residents living in states composing the fourth and fifth quintiles. These data suggest that even moderate reductions in the tax burden in these states could alleviate residents’ desire to leave the state.”

Scalia: Controversial, Yet Unknown

Gallup: From the American public’s perspective, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia “was one of the high court’s controversial figures. In July of last year, popular perceptions of the conservative jurist were evenly divided, with 29% seeing him favorably and 27% unfavorably. Scalia, whom one prominent legal scholar named “the most influential justice of the last quarter-century,” was nonetheless unknown to nearly a third of Americans (32%) and generated no opinion from another 12% in 2015, Scalia’s 29th year on the nation’s top court.”

Trend: Favorability of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

“Interestingly, the modest erosion of Scalia’s popularity over the past 15 years came primarily not from increased Democratic hostility to the Republican-appointed judge but rather because of souring Republican views. In 2015, Scalia’s ‘net favorable’ rating — the difference between his favorable and unfavorable ratings — among Republicans was +6, down considerably from +36 in 2005. This drop — the largest among any of the three major political affiliations — may have been a bitter pill to swallow for one of the court’s most reliably conservative votes.”

z’Paralleling Scalia’s declining popularity among Republicans has been a striking increase in unfavorable views of him among conservatives. In 2005, 36% of conservatives viewed Scalia favorably, compared with 7% who had an unfavorable view. In 2015, Scalia’s favorable rating with conservatives held steady (34%), but his unfavorable rating surged to 26%. Somewhat unexpectedly, Scalia’s 2015 net favorable score among conservatives (+8) was about on par with his score among moderates (+6).”

 

Anti-Incumbent Mood is Strong

Gallup: Barely half of U.S. voters think their own member of Congress deserves re-election, and just 27% say most members deserve another turn. These findings are on par with voters’ attitudes in October 2014 and slightly improved from the historically weak levels seen in early 2014 but otherwise are among the weakest for incumbents since 1992.

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“The historically low levels of Americans saying that their own and most members deserve re-election reflect Congress’ dismal job rating, mostly registering at or below 20% in Gallup’s monthly polling for the past five years. If the anti-incumbent mood continues into the fall, Congress could see relatively high turnover, similar to 1992 and 2010 when fewer than 93% of incumbents were re-elected. On the other hand, incumbents did quite well in 2014 — with a 95% re-election rate in the House — in spite of historically low ‘deserves to be re-elected’ numbers. The turnover that did occur was all in the Republicans’ favor.”

“When anti-incumbency fervor coincides with a presidential year, the other possibility is that the losing party in the presidential race takes the brunt of the seat losses, which happened to Republicans in 2008. And while that’s not a guarantee, the heft of the Republicans’ current majority means the GOP has the most to lose from the public’s desire for change in Congress.”

The Economy Finally Takes Center Stage In the Primaries

Five Thirty Eight: “The presidential race is at last shifting to two states — Nevada and South Carolina — that are actually experiencing the economic turmoil that has often dominated the campaigns of both parties. The results there might provide a clearer window into which candidates are most successfully tapping into voters’ economic anxieties.”

“The first two nominating contests played out in states that are, as commentators have repeatedly noted, far whiter than the country as a whole. Less noticed has been that Iowa and New Hampshire are also extremes economically. Both are small, rural and — especially in the case of New Hampshire — relatively wealthy states with strong local economies. Both states have unemployment rates below 3.5 percent, significantly better than the national mark of 4.9 percent. Neither experienced the worst of the Great Recession, and both are among the most equal states in terms of household income.”

“The next two states on the primary calendar, by contrast, much more closely embody the economic issues that polls show are at the top of voters’ minds.”

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The Fading Dream of Home Ownership

Washington Post: “The housing bust turned a lot of homeowners into renters … As a result, the national homeownership rate has dropped since the peak of the bubble in 2005, by about five percentage points. That decline, though, has been notably concentrated among certain groups: Hispanics, men, older millennials, and people living in certain unlucky corners of the country.”

“These demographics are the most likely to have ‘lost the American dream,’ as an analysis by housing website Trulia puts it. The renter rate is up in every large metropolitan area in the country since 2006, according to American Community Survey data (the study looked at the 50 largest metros, minus a handful with insufficient data). Within those metros, it’s risen the most for these groups. The Hispanic renter rate rose by 8.7 percentage points … For 26-to-34 year-olds, it rose by nearly 11 percentage points.”

Which Residents Are Positive About Their State Economy?

Gallup: “Residents of the U.S. states show wide variation in their evaluations of their state economies, with Utah residents the most positive and Illinois residents the most negative. Those living in North Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, Colorado and Minnesota are also very positive about economic conditions in their state.”

Confidence in State's Economy, 2015

“Americans are much more positive about their state economies than they are about the national economy, and in no state are they more positive about their state economy than in Utah … Residents in several energy-producing states are upbeat about the current state of their economy, but harbor doubts about whether the good times will continue.”

“Illinois, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Connecticut are the four states in which residents are more pessimistic than optimistic about the state economy. Residents’ views of the economy in these states are not necessarily just a reflection of how the state is doing economically. For example, West Virginia has one of the higher unemployment rates in the nation, but Illinois, Rhode Island and Connecticut are closer to the national average. And all but West Virginia saw economic growth in the early part of 2015, with Connecticut and Rhode Island growing faster than the national average. Other factors, such as frustration with the government and real or perceived tax burden, may also color the way residents in these states view their state’s economy.”

Americans Say Experience in Government is Best for Presidency

Gallup: “Almost three in four U.S. adults — 72% — say that governing a state provides excellent or good preparation for someone to be an effective president. This number is slightly higher than the percentages who say the same about being in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives (65%) or serving as secretary of state (63%). Smaller majorities believe that serving as a member of the president’s Cabinet (56%) or being a business executive (51%) provides this level of preparation.”

How Well Occupations Prepare Candidates for the Presidency

“Similar percentages of Republicans (76%) and Democrats (74%) say that being a governor helps prepare someone for the presidency, but there is a major split between the parties on the perceived effectiveness of serving in Congress. About the same percentage in each party thinks serving in Congress is good preparation (43% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans), but only 16% of Republicans believe it is excellent preparation, compared with 30% of Democrats.”

“With majorities still saying they think experience as a governor or a member of Congress is an asset, one of the keys to this year’s election will be how much value voters attach to such experience. If Trump can overcome those views and succeed in winning the election, he will be the first president who has been neither a governor nor a member of Congress since Dwight Eisenhower left office in January 1961.”

U.S. Obesity Rate Continues to Climb to New Highs

Gallup: “The obesity rate among U.S. adults in 2015 climbed to a new high of 28.0%, up 2.5 percentage points since 2008. This represents an increase of about 6.1 million U.S. adults who are obese.”

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“The obesity rate has continued to rise in the U.S. after leveling off from 2011 to 2013, and has done so despite rising public concern. Past research has demonstrated that obesity and its associated chronic conditions including diabetes cost the U.S. economy $153 billion per year in unplanned absenteeism due to poor health, a figure that has increased since the time of that study. And while blacks suffer disproportionately from chronic conditions associated with obesity, the sharp increase in obesity measured among whites since 2008 signifies that this is not a problem isolated to one racial or ethnic group.”

The Upcoming Primary Race: More Like Iowa Than New Hampshire

Aaron Blake in The Washington Post: “The next few weeks of the GOP race look a whole lot more like Iowa than New Hampshire. And that is fantastic for Ted Cruz …. The most evangelical states are pretty heavily front-loaded in this process — thanks in large part to the “SEC Primary” on March 1.”

The below chart, from The Post’s graphics team (more here!) is in order of nominating contests.

It’s About the Issues, Stupid

Gallup: Americans are about twice as likely to prefer that their party nominate a candidate who agrees with them on almost all the issues they care about but does not have the best chance of winning, rather than one who has the best chance of winning but doesn’t agree with them on the issues they care about. Republicans and Democrats have similar preferences.

Americans' Preferences for Their Party's Nomination, by Subgroup

“While Americans of all age groups prefer a candidate who largely agrees with them on the issues they care about, the percentage who have this preference is much higher among voters younger than 30. Between 46% and 59% of adults aged 30 or older are focused on issue agreement, compared with 82% of younger adults — those 18 to 29.”

“The preference for a nominee with greater issue agreement can prove challenging for ‘establishment’ candidates like Clinton, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. Each walks a shaky political tightrope on myriad issues in an effort not to alienate key voting blocs — compared with some of their competitors who don’t seem to shy away from divisive positions that could complicate their chances in a general election.”

Young Americans: Socialism is Fine, But Don’t Take My Money

Nate Silver: “Bernie Sanders proudly describes himself as a ‘socialist’ (or more commonly, as a “democratic socialist”) … Views of socialism are highly correlated with a voter’s age. According to a May 2015 YouGov poll, conducted just before Sanders launched his campaign, a plurality of voters aged 18 to 29 had a favorable view of socialism. But among voters 65 and older, just 15 percent viewed socialism favorably, to 70 percent unfavorably.”

“That doesn’t mean America is undergoing a leftist or revolutionary awakening, however. The biennial General Social Survey has a long-standing question about wealth redistribution, asking Americans whether the ‘government in Washington ought to reduce the income differences between the rich and the poor … perhaps by raising the taxes of wealthy families or by giving income assistance to the poor.'”

“I’ve translated [the General Social Survey] responses to a 100-point scale, where 0 represents the most conservative/right-wing position (no redistribution!), and 100 the most liberal/left-wing position (hell yes, redistribution!). The chart below summarizes how both Americans overall and Americans aged 18-29 have responded to the question over time.”

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“In part, then, the “revolutions” that both Sanders and Paul speak of are revolutions of rising expectations.”

Bernie’s Brand is the Future of the Democratic Party

Matthew Yglesias: “Whether or not Bernie Sanders wins in New Hampshire, or wins the Democratic nomination outright, he’s already won in another, perhaps more important way: His brand of politics is the future of the Democratic Party.”

“There are racial and demographic gaps between Clinton and Sanders supporters, but the overwhelming reality is that for all groups, the young people are feeling the Bern.”

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“What’s clear is that there’s robust demand among Democrats — especially the next generation of Democrats — to remake the party along more ideological, more social democratic lines, and party leaders are going to have to answer that demand or get steamrolled.”

“Though Democrats are certainly the more left-wing of the two parties … they’re not an ideologically left-wing party in the same way that Republicans are an ideological conservative one. Instead, they behave more like a centrist, interest group brokerage party that seeks to mediate between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community.”

“The Sanders contention is that if liberals want to change America in fundamental ways, they need to start by creating an ideologically liberal political party. Once you have control of a party, the chance that your Reagan-in-1980 moment may arrive is always lurking out there in the mysterious world of unpredictable events.”

 

 

How 2016 Will Differ from 2012

Philip Bump: “Last week, Pew Research released data showing that 2016’s electorate would likely be more diverse [than 2008.] They arrived at that conclusion thanks to some relatively simple math. Take the voting-eligible population in 2012, add the number of people turning 18 and become citizens, subtract the number of people who have died, and see the result.”

“Overall, the number of eligible voters will grow by about 5 percent — but the number of eligible white voters will grow only 2 percent, compared to a 6 percent jump in the number of black eligible voters and a 17 percent jump in the number of eligible Hispanic voters.”

“As a raw total, the 2016 election will see more eligible Hispanic voters added than eligible white voters, 4 million to 3.2 million. That’s despite whites outnumbering Hispanics by a wide margin nationally.”

“Given how demographics are shifting, this will probably also be the least diverse electorate for every presidential election here on-out. The ballyhooed 2008 election will likely, in a few decades’ time, be seen as stunningly white.”