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Category: Dave Brockington

“Look, when people want to get married, we ought to let them get married”

[ 32 ] August 3, 2012 |

This courageous quote comes courtesy of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.  Being the governor of Mississippi, one might guess that Bryant is white, male, in his late 50s, and very conservative.  As these are predominantly the prerequisites for the job (aside from the Ronnie Musgrove interlude) of the past two decades, no bonus points are awarded for a correct guess.

Before cognitive dissonance ensues, Bryant isn’t taking a political stand unpalatable to an electorate which voted 86% in 2004 to amend the state constitution limiting marriage to opposite sex couples.  Rather, he’s attempting to drag Mississippi, at least the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, boldly into a future where a predominantly white Baptist congregation will allow the wedding of a black Baptist couple (also congregation members) to simply happen in the church.  Of course, those who pressured the pastor into notifying the couple that their wedding was off with 24 hours notice are characterised as a “small minority” of the congregation, that while this action is clearly unfortunate, “(we) have been portrayed as a racist church, we’re not!”.

I doubt it was a small minority of the congregation.  The way the story is told by the groom, the pastor was threatened with being voted out of the congregation if he allowed the wedding to go forward.  While even the pastor characterises the opposition to be a “small minority”:

The church’s pastor, Dr. Stan Weatherford, says he was taken by surprise by what he calls a small minority against the black marriage at the church. ”This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that,” said Weatherford.

They clearly must have been large or influential enough for Weatherford to notify the couple a day before the wedding that it wasn’t going to fly.  Furthermore, the groom has also pointed out that he has encountered what a local reporter calls “mixed reactions” once this story went public.

I’ll let the trail-blazing Governor have the final word:

“We have enough people that won’t go and get married. I want to make every opportunity I can for any couple that wants to, to go get married.” But when asked if that should include couples where both partners are of the same sex, he added: “I wouldn’t say gay couples, no,” Bryant said. “I’d say a man and a woman. Let me make sure, let’s get that right. When I say couples, I automatically assume it’s a man and a woman.”

 

 

 

Women’s International Soccer, Olympic Edition

[ 26 ] August 2, 2012 |

Group play, consisting of three groups of four teams, ended two days ago. The tournament gets interesting now, with all four quarter final matches tomorrow (Friday).  Eight of the twelve sides involved in the tournament qualified for the quarter finals, meaning North Korea, Columbia Colombia (duh), South Africa, and Cameroon worked hard at not doing all that well in comparison.

The quarterfinal brackets (full bracket can be found here) follow (times are BST; subtract five for EDT, eight for PDT). FIFA rankings as of June 1 in parentheses. As Great Britain doesn’t have a FIFA recognised team, I’m using the England ranking with apologies to the two non English players on the side: Ifeoma Dieke and Kim Little, both Scots.

Left Bracket:
19:30: (9) Great Britain v (7) Canada
14:30: (1) United States v (23) New Zealand

Right Bracket:
12:00: (4) Sweden v (6) France
17:00: (5) Brazil v (3) Japan

While this appalls the comedy club writing at conservapedia, the US is placed on the left bracket.  (Seriously, there’s so much potential material in their entry on the 2012 Olympics such that posting about it is impossible due to being overcome with laughter every time I try.)

I’ve only been able to watch parts of a few group matches.  The cable package we have where I live in Oregon can only be called “cable” because, well, that’s how we get TV.  I do have a VPN connection to my home institution back in England, allowing me access to all the BBC feeds, but time zones and other responsibilities haven’t helped.  First impressions on the brackets is that the US got lucky, largely due to Great Britain’s surprising victory over Brazil in front of around 70,000 in Wembley.  Brazil wins, Brazil’s in the USA’s bracket.  The USA v Brazil match in the 2011 World Cup was a classic, and an experience best avoided as long as possible.

The Great Britain v Canada match is interesting.  GB don’t have much of a track record, obviously, while Canada’s is recently spotty.  The Canadians finished 16th out of 16 in 2011.  Canada drew 2-2 against Sweden in the group, while GB drew 0-0 in their only friendly immediately prior to the Olympics.  On paper, Canada should probably win, but I’ll go for Team GB because they’ll be playing in front of a sold out City of Coventry Stadium.  Among the 32,000 there should be a few Canadian fans . . .

Winner: Great Britain

USA v New Zealand.  If this were cricket, rugby union, or nuclear non-proliferation, New Zealand.  However, their women’s soccer side has one single point in the history of the world cup (in 2011), and lost 4-0 to the USA in the 2008 Olympics.  An NZ victory would be more of an upset than GB beating Brazil.  They have two things going for them, however.  Crowd support at St. James’ Park in Newcastle should favor New Zealand, and they’ve been stingy on defence, conceding only one goal in each of their three group matches (including against Brazil).

Winner: USA

The right side of the bracket is a lot tougher, both in terms of competition and predictions.  Sweden v France is a rematch of the third-place playoff in the 2011 World Cup, won by Sweden 2-1.  This match will be a reverse of last year.  In the 20 matches that the French have played since that match, they’ve won 19 and only lost one (the 2-4 against the USA last Friday).  This streak features uneven competition (2013 European Championship qualification and friendlies), but to go 19-0 itself is an impressive achievement, and it includes victories over Japan, Canada, England, and North Korea, all top-ten sides.  I might be mistaken, but Sweden’s last victory of note was defeating the USA in the final group stage match in the 2011 World Cup (a favor the US returned 4-0 in March at the Algarve Cup), and as hosts of Euro 2013 haven’t had to go through qualification.

Winner: France

Brazil v Japan.  Both teams have been uneven in this tournament. Japan had two 0-0 draws (Sweden and South Africa) and only beat Canada 2-1. Brazil of course lost to Great Britain, beat New Zealand 1-0, and buried Cameroon. Although Japan is the current holder of the World Cup, I’ve got to go with Brazil. Japan’s past year has been more erratic, and in Marta and Cristiane, Brazil have two of the best players on the planet, and they’re both still at their peak (ages 26 and 27 respectively).

Winner: Brazil

Semi-Finals:  USA over Great Britain.  Brazil over France (just).

Final: USA over Brazil.  That said, I predicted the USA to march through the knock-out rounds at the 2011 World Cup, where they barely got past Brazil on penalties, struggled against France in the semi final, and ultimately lost to Japan on penalties. Hence, take the above with een korreltje zout.

I’d write about the 2012 men’s tournament, but this is predominantly a U-23 competition, thus making it not as interesting.  It is refreshing to see Ryan Giggs finally playing in an international tournament however, much as I loathe Man Utd.

0 for 32

[ 18 ] July 27, 2012 |

That is not the Seattle Mariners record for the month of July (bless the continued existence of the Kansas City Royals) but the win/loss record for same sex marriage in the league of direct democracy.

This streak might change in November.  Washington’s Referendum 74 will either uphold (a yes vote) the same sex marriage law passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Gregoire this past February, or Prop 8 it (a no vote).  According to the NYT today, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have pledged $2.5 million to the Washington United for Marriage campaign in support of basic civil rights.  Added to previous donations, WUM now has over $5 million raised for the pro Referendum 74 campaign.  The opposition hope to raise $4 million, but according to the wiki page on Ref 74 have fallen somewhat short of this goal (if $132,000 can be considered somewhat short of $4M).

Polling is likewise in favor of Ref 74.  In addition to the three listed on the wiki page (+1%, +21%, +9%), Elway released a poll a few days ago that reports a 10 point lead, but as often occurs with these, there might be some confusion at the margins regarding the meaning of a yes or no vote.

Very, very good news on balance.

UPDATE 1: As commenter John reminds us, there are also ballot propositions in Maryland, Minnesota, and Maine.

UPDATE 2: if you would like to match the Bezos family donation, you can do so here.

Mitt Romney, Diplomat

[ 116 ] July 26, 2012 |

Most of us have seen this, but I still find it fantastic that Romney wasn’t adequately prepared for his trip to London.  Let’s see, travel to London on the literal eve of the 2012 Olympic games hosted by the same, and make some disparaging remarks about a Great Britain’s ability to organise said games.  It really adds to the impact that the UK already has a healthy chip on its shoulder about the United States.  Pure comedy gold.

I disagree with The Guardian‘s headline that “Mitt Romney’s Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama”. Stunned 10 Downing Street, sure. Make any difference in November?  Hardly.

I never thought I’d offer accolades to either, but the best line of this non issue issue either goes to David Cameron:

We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.

Or The Telegraph:

Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive.

When the Olympics gaffe is placed along side this post over at TDS (headline below) we have the makings of a real winner here.

The invasion of Iraq overthrew Iran’s most lethal enemy and replaced it with a regime that is now Iran’s closest and most reliable ally. Depressingly, Mitt Romney has chosen the architects of this massive strategic fiasco as his principal advisors.

It’s a good thing for Romney that foreign policy doesn’t really matter much.

A Tour Through Soccer’s Hinterlands

[ 29 ] July 19, 2012 |

This handy guide describes the venues that Rangers FC (and their travelling support) will be descending upon over the course of the coming season in Scotland’s fourth (and final) tier of professional soccer.  Note that capacities are typically smaller than said travelling support, and average attendances last season ranged from 628 (Elgin City) down to 321 (East Sterlingshire).  The latter, incidentally, are the subject of a decent book I have, Pointless, published in 2006.  It describes a single season in the existence of East Sterling that followed three successive bottom of the table finishes, and should be required reading for travelling Rangers supporters (and hell, the squad).

As there is no automatic relegation out of the bottom division, Rangers need not worry about a dramatically bad season eliminating them from the professional game altogether.  I’d suggest this arrangement would be similar to the Yankees having to play a season in the short-season Single-A Northwest League, but I’ve been to a few of those parks, and they look better than the SFL’s Third Division.

(Above: Shielfield Park, home of Berwick Rangers FC.  Below: Links Park, home of Montrose FC)

Public Opinion and the ACA, Individual Level Edition

[ 24 ] July 19, 2012 |

NPR released a new poll this morning of LVs concerning attitudes towards the ACA and the USSC decision.  Briefly, a) there’s not much new here, and b) most of the interesting stuff is within the MoE anyway.  What these new data do reiterate is that support for both the ACA itself and the Supreme Court decision are heavily mediated by pre-existing partisanship, as highlighted by my post a couple weeks ago on state level support for the ACA (which I’m going to follow up on soon as I’ve added several new variables to that little dataset).

The meat of this survey is in their (small) oversampling of the “battleground” states: CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI (notably, all went for Obama in 2008).  Respondents from these states are marginally yet consistently more critical of both the incumbent and the ACA.  The only item where battleground respondents are more likely than the general population to take the “Democratic” position is ‘ok, let’s accept the Supreme Court decision and move on to focus on the economy etc.’ (page 12) by 53%-44%.  For comparison, BG respondents disapprove of the ACA 39% – 52%, whereas the general population is 43% – 48%.  One would think that this might extend to Obama’s chances in these states in November.

Yet, the tendency of BG respondents to be more opposed to the ACA and the incumbent is not reflected in current polling in those states.  In only two does Nate Silver’s forecasting model predict less than a 60% probability of an Obama victory (Romney is predicted to win both Florida at 50.7% and North Carolina at 70.4%).  Both Silver and electoral-vote.com running polling averages range from marginally to rather significantly in favor of the incumbent, with only E-V’s FL (-1%), NC (-1%) and 538′s NC (-0.6%) even slightly in the Republican column.  It’s difficult to draw any substantive conclusions from this as the ACA might be a choice determinant at the margins with certain subsets of the potential electorate.  However, given that the BG states are predisposed (according to these data) to consider the ACA and the incumbent more critically, that Obama would likely win (at least) ten of these 12 states if the election were held today, this offers a conservative test of the hypothesis that the ACA is not going to swing the election.  As I discussed in my state level post on this issue, the ACA is interpreted through the prism of partisanship, as is the incumbent himself.

Perhaps the most interesting finding from this survey, at least most likely to induce a chuckle, is the response to this question (page 9):

Does the fact that the Supreme Court said the health care law is constitutional make you more likely to support the law, less likely to support the law, or does the Supreme Court decision have no effect on your support for the law?

Overall, 21% are more likely to support the ACA, 16% less likely, and it makes no difference to 58% (again, supporting the hypothesis that it’s all about pre-existing partisanship).  BG voters are a near exact replication of the overall sample (21/17/58). However, when limited to Republican respondents, the numbers are 8/30/56.

30% of Republican respondents are less likely to support the ACA because the Republican led Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.  One might excuse the 6% of Democrats believing this, but Republicans?

Movement Conservatives

[ 121 ] July 17, 2012 |

I’ve always considered this term an oxymoron.  Anybody who knows anything about Burke gets this.  Ideally my students get it as well, given that they should know some of what I know about Burke, which is greater than nothing but shy of authoritative.  This term also illustrates a rift between theoretical expectation and empirical reality.  True conservatives shouldn’t be a movement.  True conservatives should weigh any action against the potential for unintended consequences.  But, then, movement conservatives have as much in common with Burke as I do, a point somewhat illustrated in this excellent read by David Roberts.

Roberts nails two of the conventional wisdoms held here at LGM.  First, increased polarization in American partisan politics is not symmetrically distributed.  Although the left has crawled further left, the right is sprinting towards the cliff.  It’s the right who are moving.  Citing both political science (Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal) as well as Galston (also of The Democratic Strategist) and Mann from Brookings, Roberts offers a compelling account which demonstrates the asymmetry in contemporary polarization.  His argument is perhaps best captured by the following quote:

The national Republican Party, by contrast, has now been almost entirely absorbed by the far right. It rejects the basic social consensus among post-war democracies and seeks to return to a pre-New Deal form of governance. It is hostile to social and economic equality. It remains committed to fossil fuels and sprawl and opposed to all sustainable alternatives. And it has built anepistemological cocoon around itself within which loopy misinformation spreads unchecked. It has, in short, gone loony.

Such an epistemological cocoon allows for this sincere exhibition of hilarious lunacy noted by Erik a few days ago.

Second, “centrist” pundits are, well, idiots.

Instead, pundits — and, to be fair, lots and lots of non-pundits — cling to the presumption of symmetry. Their minds rebel at asymmetry, especially extreme asymmetry. The notion that “partisans on both sides” are preventing a sensible middle course is deeply rooted to the point of catechism.

Which nicely sets up the money shot of Roberts’ post:

Maddeningly, when pundits actually lay out what that sensible middle course would look like, they end up describing Obama’s agenda. Benjy Sarlin at TPM put it best: “Pundits Urge President Obama To Back President Obama’s Proposals.”

It is this political environment that allows for Mitt Romney to vociferously run against an ACA that is close to the very Massachusetts plan that he signed.  It allows for voters in the “center” and the right to disbelieve that Romney supports the Ryan budget when the specifics of the latter are spelled out for them (I saw this within the last week, but I can not find the link / cite to it.  Ergo, I could just be making it up. h/t commenter Howard, I’ve now attached the link.) And it might even allow for John McCain to say, presumably with a straight face, that it wasn’t the 23 years worth of tax returns which cooled McCain to selecting Romney as his VP running mate, it was that Sarah Palin was the better candidate all along.

Back to our pal Burke: ”It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare.”  I wonder whom Burke would find the loudest complainers of the past three 20 years.

h/t Tom Birkland for the Roberts piece.

Framing Matters

[ 62 ] July 12, 2012 |

This is six weeks old, and might have been previously discussed here, but Forbes reports that the Obama Administration has had the slowest rate of increase in Federal spending since . . . Eisenhower.  This leads to two questions.  First, do conservatives still trust that dirty liberal rag?  Second, how is it that Obama has allowed his tenure to be framed as the precise opposite?

It’s not all bad in the framing department.  According to the NYT today, Republicans are deeply concerned that their candidate is being swift boated, and according to one strategist who worked on GWB’s 2004 campaign, “Team Obama is doing just what we did in 2004, which is to define the opposition furiously and early”.  This gives me a brief flutter of rare optimism.

Framing news is not all bad, unless you’re Nike.  Today Nike decided that the Joe Paterno Child Development Center in Beaverton, Oregon will have its name changed.  No shit.  As reported here (I wonder how long that statue will stand on the Penn State campus?), the web page has not been updated.  (UPDATE: it wasn’t a Nike webpage.  But, they should really do something about the sign on the building).  Where Nike needs to do some quick re-framing is an explanation as to why it took them so long.

Scottish Soccer and the Demise of Rangers

[ 40 ] July 4, 2012 |

When I woke this morning (Pacific time), the first thing I wanted to see was the result of the Scottish Premier League vote on whether or not to transfer the SPL certificate from the liquidated “Rangers Football Club plc” to the new corporate structure “The Rangers Football Club”.  The new entity required yes votes from eight of the 12 SPL members (including the old Rangers Football Club plc).  In the run in to the 4 July vote over the past two weeks, enough clubs had publicly stated that they would be voting no such that the newco’s bid to join / remain in the SPL appeared doomed.

Last night (PDT) both Radio 4 and Radio 5 were reporting noises indicating that several of the declared no votes were getting cold feet, and the vote would be deferred.  As I argued elsewhere, it would be surprising if the other clubs in the league did not re-admit Rangers as the Rangers – Celtic rivalry is the financial engine of Scottish soccer.  Lose Rangers, both the Sky and ESPN contracts for the SPL (and the concomitant trickling-down of pennies to the lower three divisions of the Scottish professional game) come into question.

Rangers ultimately failed: “At today’s General Meeting, SPL clubs today voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers newco to join the SPL.”  10 no votes, Kilmarnock abstained, and (old) Rangers voted yes.  I’m surprised that Celtic voted no instead of abstaining, but there was no possible response from Celtic that wouldn’t open them to criticism from some quarter.  Now Rangers have to apply for the Scottish Football League, comprising tiers two through four.  They obviously want to qualify for the First Division.  They would only require a majority, but at present 11 of the 30 clubs want them in the bottom tier.

This is all a bit bizarre to me.  When Rover or Woolworths were liquidated, they were gone.  Rangers ltd owe somewhere between £75 million and £130 million to various and sundry creditors, including Inland Revenue, but the newco was able to buy its most valuable assets, Ibrox, their training ground Murray Park, and the name, for £5.5 million (but not the players, who have lined up at Glasgow Airport destined for anywhere else) and theoretically continue on as if nothing had happened.

For a soccer club to go bust and vanish completely is not entirely rare.  Gretna FC died in 2008 after one disastrous year in the SPL (and here is a list of defunct Scottish clubs).  But this is obviously different.  It would be more analogous if Ajax, Porto, or Anderlecht were liquidated out of their respective leagues rather than the non-existent financial and competitive loss incurred by the absence of Newport County FC in 1989, or the Tampa Bay Mutiny.

Speaking as a Celtic supporter, it’s going to be a less interesting year (or three) in the domestic league, and the inevitable league championships that Celtic collect can’t possibly have the same meaning.

The Labour Party behaving like . . . The Labour Party?

[ 30 ] July 2, 2012 |

The Labour Party in the UK is flirting with re-nationalising British Rail.  Fares are due to increase an average of 6% this year, and Britain already has the most expensive train system in Europe:

Making it clear that Labour agreed with many ideas in the report, which was funded by the main rail unions, Eagle said: “Under the current system we have unaccountable train companies given a licence to print money to operate a monopoly service at high cost to passengers in an industry that still relies on £4bn from taxpayers every year.

“Increasingly franchises are run by subsidiaries of the German, French and Dutch state railways with profits helping deliver ticket prices in those countries that are a third of ours. Labour’s policy review is therefore looking at all options to make our railways work better for passengers with nothing ruled out, including whether the not-for-dividend model that works for rail infrastructure should be extended to rail services.”

In my experience, in addition to being the most expensive, it’s also hilariously inefficient and unreliable.  When I lived in Holland for three years, I used Nederlandse Spoorwegen extensively (as one would living in Amsterdam and later Rotterdam while working in Enschede), and it was cheap (especially with the Vordeelkaart, which for 50 Euros per year gave me a 40% discount off peak) and reliable.  Likewise, given my past life in the beer community, I frequently took the train in Belgium, France, and held a Bahncard for the Deutsche Bahn for three years.  While more expensive than the Dutch card, the Bahncard’s 50% reduction paid for itself with a single return from Amsterdam to Munich.  Bonus, as munich has the odd decent beer.

Such consumer-friendly accoutrements are thin on the ground in the UK.  I’m not sure that this is due to privatization per se, but if Margaret Thatcher considered privatising British Rail “a bridge too far”, perhaps sending the rail network to Arnhem wasn’t the best idea.  While it would have been complicated, and counter to his “third way” rebranding of the Labour Party, Tony Blair could have reversed this in 1997, but he did quite the opposite.

Politically, this is a winner, especially if framed as above (the Germans, Dutch, and French state systems own chunks of ours, and hey look, their fares are 1/3 of ours).  I’d drop references to the “non dividend model” and comparisons with Network Rail (which is a loser), and state it simply: we’re going to nationalise the rail network and bring it under public accountability.  With parties struggling to differentiate themselves (outside of France or Greece), this makes a clear distinction for Labour.

The rail network does not operate as a market.  Each route is run as a monopoly.  I do have choice out of Plymouth, between two services, as far as Exeter (and, on rare occasion, Bristol).  If I want to go to London, there’s one choice.  If I want to go to the northwest, there’s one choice.  It’s not a free market, unless I want to rent a car or take the bus, so stop with the charade.

Determinants of State Level Support for the ACA

[ 10 ] July 1, 2012 |

Now that the constitutional questions regarding the ACA have been surprisingly determined, attention is shifting to the political implications that this has for November.  I’ve built a little (emphasis on little) dataset to casually explore this issue.  In the near future I hope to both examine this on a case-by-case basis as well as add a few additional variables that have come to mind, data availability permitting.

The two key variables in the dataset are state level support for the ACA and the percentage uninsured in the state.  My source for the former is from a paper written by Richard Gonzales, a doctoral candidate at Harvard’s Department of Health Care Policy, which was discussed here at The Incidental Economist.  Gonzales estimates state level support from national Gallup data over a six month period (September 2009 to March 2010).  As this is an estimate, it does introduce an additional layer of uncertainty into the model, but it’s the best data I could find.  The point estimates and error bands appear sound in terms of face validity; the highest levels of support are found in New York, Hawaii, and Vermont, with the lowest in Oklahoma and Wyoming.  The public opinion data are old, but Monkey Cage suggests (and we all pretty much agree on) public opinion on the ACA has been relatively stable.  Percentage uninsured by state level is courtesy of Gallup, which are available here.

The first pass at the data is to run a simple bivariate correlation.  Gallup give us uninsured rates for 2008, 09, and 10; for simplicity I take the average of the three.  The mean is 16.2%, the range 4.6% to 26.6%.  The (state level, N=50) mean of support for the ACA is 48%, range 32% to 63%.  Support for the ACA and percentage uninsured are correlated at -.50.  Meaning, as uninsured goes up by state, support for the ACA declines.  The regression estimate is -0.93 (essentially for every one point increase in uninsured, there is a one point decrease in support).

 

This is obviously counter intuitive, and not the full story.  Hence, I’ve added the change in uninsured from 2008 to 2010 (percentage point change, thanks to commenter Fake Irishman for the observation), the PVI of the state (Cook Partisan Voting Index, a measure of how partisan a jurisdiction is and in which direction), and the percentage of the vote received by Obama in the 2008 election.  Shockingly, the latter two enjoy a very close relationship (correlated at .98) as the PVI is in part calculated from the 2008 election results, so in running the multivariate regression models, I ran one with PVI and one with percentage vote for Obama.  Models were estimated with both the average uninsured from 2008-10 as well as each specific year’s data, and it makes no difference.  The first model below includes PVI, the second the percentage vote for Obama in 2008.

The dependent variable is the percentage by state in support of the ACA.  PVI ranges from -20 to +13 with a mean of -2.5 (I’ve normed Republican PVIs as negative not because, well, I’m not a Republican, but rather it’s more intuitive: I’m assuming Republican states are going to be less supportive of the ACA than Democratic states.  It’s sharp insights like this that a Ph.D. in political science equips me to make).  Chg is the percentage point change in uninsured from 2008-10, mean 1.9%, range -2.3% to +4.9%.

Here we can see the original bivariate results have been flipped.  First, you’ll note only one of the three variables is significant.  I make an argument I’ve made countless times before: it doesn’t matter.  I’m dealing with the universe of data in these models, so slavishly bowing to the cult of significance is not relevant, but for those who care the standard errors and t-tests are included.  Percentage of uninsured, and the percent change in uninsured both have positive relationships with support for the ACA.  Put another way, as the percentage of uninsured increases, so too does support for the ACA.  Likewise, as the percentage of people uninsured grows, so does support for the ACA . . . while controlling for the partisanship of the state in question.  The partisan inclination of the state is the single strongest predictor in this model, which is informative.

This model replaces PVI with state level vote for Obama in 2008 (mean 50.52%, range 32.54% to 71.85%).  This model is consistent with the PVI model, so doesn’t require additional discussion.

These are not groundbreaking findings.  With the usual caveats about the ecological fallacy, support for the ACA is mediated through a pre-existing political prism: Democrats are more likely to support it, and Republicans less likely.  The lesson for the Obama administration should be, post Supreme Court ruling, seize the initiative to frame the issue among independents, but simultaneously focus on the base.  Because of the aforementioned case, the administration has been unable to frame the issue, and while running out of time, now is the time.  The second lesson I take away from this is that, as much as Dave Noon and I mocked the ignorant on facebook using this little quiz, outside of independents who think health care is a salient issue (I’m betting that this is a small percentage), the facts of the issue are not going to sway a significant percentage of the electorate.

As we know about the Republicans, this isn’t about the facts or about good public policy.  It’s politics, about winning and losing.  This is how we have the hilarious situation of Mitt Romney running against what is, essentially, his own policy.  Not ironically, Massachusetts anchors the low end of the range on percentage uninsured at 4.6%.  That’s a talking point worth exploiting.

I do want to add a few more variables to this little dataset as well as look closer at the states in question, especially swing states.  But right now,there’s the small matter of Spain v Italy to attend to.

And In Other News . . .

[ 25 ] June 29, 2012 |

The Europeans are still playing a tournament concerning the soccer.  I managed to watch all of Portugal v Spain Wednesday night, while packing.  That it went to penalties was inconvenient as my bus to Heathrow was departing Plymouth at midnight.  I watched chunks of Italy v Germany during my six hour layover at EWR, where I was surprised to see Balotelli’s finishing prowess the exact opposite of what it was against England.

Sunday, I’ll be able to give the final my undivided attention.  I still suspect it will be Spain who prevail, but Spain have demonstrated some frailties during this tournament, whereas Italy have merely been inconsistent.  I think that their victory yesterday owes more to Germany’s failures rather than Italy’s successes.  Further, allowing England to stay in the match for 120 minutes on Sunday should be scandalous to any top tier international side.

In the words of my friend Niall Ó Murchú, this piece this piece (link corrected) in the Guardian about the tactical questions facing the Spanish is “nerdy but brilliant”, and an excellent read.  Even a non-soccer fan watching Italy would spot the influence of Andrea Pirlo, and the need to close him down.  Xavi can do that, but as the article suggests, this comes with a risk.  The greater risk, of course, is giving Pirlo freedom of the pitch, as England did; it was only Italy’s (especially Balotelli’s) horrendous finishing that prevented Italy from crushing England 3-0.

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