One of the most important things in understanding public opinion on politics is quite how little attention most people pay to it. I constantly see comments in here asking what effect a news event will have on voting intention. Most of the time the answer is none. This is should be evident from looking at the polls, which have had a steady Labour lead of 10 points or so for months, despite lots of “things” happening. The reasons are that firstly people aren’t watching anyway – most people don’t read broadsheet newspapers or pay much attention to the news, secondly, those that do normally interpret events and stories through their pre-existing political preferences, so they are more likely to re-inforce their existing views than change them.

If you are reading this website in the first place, you are probably a bit of a political anorak. At the very least you are interested in politics. Most people are not, and no matter how little attention you think people pay to political events, you are probably still *vastly* overestimating it. To illustrate it, think of something you care absolutely nothing for – celebrity magazines perhaps, soap operas you don’t watch, US baseball, whatever doesn’t float your boat. Do you know what the big story was in that field last week, how has it changed your opinion of the big players in that field, do you even know who the big players are? That’s most normal people’s attitude to what happened at PMQs this week.

The lack of public interest and awareness of what is going on in politics first really struck me looking at some Populus polling Lord Ashcroft did for his book “Smell the Coffee” back in 2005. It is easy to ask people if they have heard about a story, but it is not the best way – they may not want to look stupid, they may misremember having heard about the story*, the act of prompting people about the story may make people remember it when they’ve forgotten it and so on.

What Lord Ashcroft and Populus did was each day, between January 2005 and election day, ask 250 people if they recalled anything the Conservative party had done or said that week. There was no prompting, it was just what people recalled. Most of them noticed noting at all – sometimes up to 90% of people had noticed nothing (recall, this was just before an election was interest was at its height). The biggest score of anything was Michael Howard pledging to cut immigration, which peaked with 30% of people noticing it straight after Howard’s announcement. The key Conservative election pledges on things like cleaner hospitals, cutting taxes, more police were normally recalled by well under 5% of people. Never forget how little of politics gets through.

Anyway, seven years later and we have another bit of polling from Lord Ashcroft on a similar vein. He’s asked people to list what political news stories they have heard over the last few weeks, again unprompted. The most recalled, by far, is Andrew Mitchell and plebgate, which was recalled by 33% of people, followed by George Osborne not paying for a first class ticket which 13% of people recalled and 8% who recalled stories about the Scottish independence referendum. 7% recalled cuts to child benefit, 6% recalled the story about MPs “swapping flats” to claim more expenses. 5% recalled the increase in GDP figures and the row about prisoners voting, everything else was below 5%.

The second half of Ashcroft’s poll gave people a prompted list of stories and asked if they had heard of them, and also how important they were. The proportions of people claiming to have heard of a story were higher, but “plebgate” still came top (many of the other differences were timing related – in the unprompted question people cleared tended to give stories from the previous couple of days, when the prompted question included things from weeks or months back). People did tend to rate the solid policy stories as more important than the “political soap opera” stories, but the “soap opera” stories were more widely recalled.

What it shows, especially the unprompted question, is that people are more likely to pay attention to and remember the rather trivial but human stories that they think are unimportant than stories about policies and proposals. People may say they think it is comparatively unimportant that Mitchell called a policeman a pleb… but a third of people recalled it unprompted. Try getting a third of people to recall a party’s tax or economic policy unprompted. One might be seen as petty and one might be seen as important, but if people are only aware of the petty one is it going to inform their view of the party.

That’s different, however, from saying they necessarily make an impact. As I said at the start of this post, the reason most events don’t have any impact on voting intention or other trackers isn’t just that they aren’t noticed, it is also that people view them through the prism of their existing political views. So if a Labour MP does something awful, Conservative supporters will probably think it is disgusting and corrupt and must taint the whole of the Labour party… but they weren’t supporting Labour anyway. Labour supporters will probably tend to take a more charitable view, it was an understandable mistake, just one rogue MP and there are bad apples in all parties, the leadership acted strongly to punish them, etc (and of course, it works the other way round if a Conservative MP does something awful).

Even if they do have an effect, it is probably so subtle it is impossible to measure. No one is, in three years time, going to think “Well, the Conservatives have done well in government, I think David Cameron is the better leader, but one of their MP was a bit rude to a policeman three years ago so I’m voting Labour”. However, they might well think “the Conservatives are out of touch with ordinary people and look down on those less wealthy, they aren’t the party for me, I’m voting Labour”. Some of that view could have been contributed to, or reinforced by, a Conservative MP allegedly calling a policeman a pleb. Could we ever prove or disprove this through an opinion poll, not really, no. If we had polls tracking whether people thought the Conservatives were in touch or not from before and after the event we could infer it – but it is tricky to isolate an event, and most changes cannot be distinguished from margin of error variation.

In short, as I’ve said here before, there are three ways of understanding public opinion and its impact on people’s views. The first is crude support or opposition – do people approve or disapprove, like or dislike something. Very easy and straightforward to measure – they don’t like politicians swearing at policemen. The second is salience – is is important to them compared to other issues? Are they even away of it? This is trickier to measure, but in this case we know a significant proportion of people were aware of the Andrew Mitchell story, but also that most didn’t think it was that important. Thirdly, what impact does it have on their wider perception of the party – does it make them think the Conservatives are more out of touch, just reinforce existing views, or neither? We really can’t tell, and its not something that polling can easily tell us.

(*on people misremembering stories that they haven’t actually heard about, the Ashcroft poll today included two fake stories. 14% of people said they had heard at least something about Labour MP Audrey Cockburn using union funds to decorate her flat. Given neither she nor her flat exist, those 14% of people are wrong)


310 Responses to “On whether political trivia matters”

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  1. Apparently Florida is still counting votes, what a sham. It’s likely it will go to Obama, the Dems and Reps have called it, but officially it’s still not ready to declare a winner and the deadline is today.

  2. Good Afternoon All.

    That Corby Poll looks like about a 12% swing, which would be a good swing for Labour, but not a great swing.

    However, for the Lib Dems to get 7%, just behind UKIP would be quite something.

  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives_elections,_2012

    Dems won the most votes in the House election too, very narrow margin but still a win for Dems, yet Reps have a sizeable majority.

  4. @MITM

    Nate Silver tweeted yesterday that nationwide there were still 10M approximately votes to count – mainly in California, or other Dem bastions. I think these relate mainly to the Pres election, but it may also relate to the HoR election.

    It’s been said here by quite a few that Rep state legislatures have taken a cavalier approach to redistricting HoR electoral boundaries, which may explain the seats/votes disparity in the HoR election. I would presume though that Dem state legislatures would do the same.

  5. Back to polling then after, somewhat surprisingly, my pretty measured contribution on the Newsnight debacle was deleted. A good article in the New Statesman (well, we get the Spectator regularly quoted on here, don’t we??) that challenges some of the polling recovery assumptions that are currently giving the Conservatives dubious comfort. Assumptions that quite often get trailed on these very pages by Conservative sympathisers (I’ll resist the term “righties”!) and, apparently, according to the article, shared by people at the very highest levels in the Tory Party. This article gives another perspective on what some may see as complacency.

    You’ll like this, Anthony, because the article name-checks UKPR!!

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2012/10/why-tories-are-wrong-hope-thatcher-style-poll-recovery

  6. Thought Colin would be interested in the QE interest issue. Agree with him that the Treasury taking the interest is something that needs to be scrutinised.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-2230579/Treasury-receives-35bn-money-Bank-England-QE-gilts-interest.html

    The BOE issued the extra money to buy existing gilts that Banks, Insurance companies etc held as their investments, so money was put into the financial system. These gilts would have attracted interest from the Treasury and the Treasury is just taking this back.

    As Colin suggests, if the BOE has handed over all the interest that would have been due, then this is not a good idea. The BOE would surely need to keep some of the interest to boost its ability to act as the reserve bank, without the need to print new money every time. Remember the consequences on the value of peoples pensions every time new money is printed. Some of this interest could have been used to buy more gilts.

    Obviously the Treasury has decided that the £35bn would be better used reducing the deficit. Not sure whether this best or not, without reading the relative argument.

  7. Let’s get “Drunk Anthony Wells” trending…

  8. An interesting analysis of the failures in the Republican Orca IT system that may have affected their get out the vote attempt in swing states:
    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/11/inside-team-romneys-whale-of-an-it-meltdown/

  9. I think the Orca breakdown goes to a fundamental issue within the GOP. You can’t both deny and denigrate the worth of people like Nate Silver, then try to depend on the important and beneficial work of people like Nate Silver.

    You end up having to hire the people who are willing to work with you, and you end up having second or third rate people providing you “Solutions” you don’t understand and and do not use correctly if they can be used at all.

    The same happens in all scientific disciplines, use them as political footballs then wince in pain when you *need* support in action from that discipline to govern or campaign or respond to a crisis. Something that more local parties to us also need to learn.

  10. @SoCalLiberal – ” she’s going to find other things to do with her life… ”

    Here’s the video of Bono Mack’s partial concession at 1am on election night… I think it lends credence to your view that she had been having doubts about how the race was going for some time, probably since before the debate:

    h
    ttp://www.mydesert.com/VideoNetwork/1952915627001/Mary-Bono-Mack-all-but-concedes-defeat-Election-Night

    She’s in great shape. If the reports from Edra Blixseth’s party last year are anything to go by, she still knows a thing or two about having a good time… and to keep the celebrity trivia theme going, here is a list of some famous people who share Mary Bono Mack’s year of birth (in age order, some sadly no longer with us):

    Lloyd Cole, William Hague, Eddie Murphy, Suzy Lamplugh, George Clooney, Michael J. Fox, Boy George, Ricky Gervais, Meera Syal, Carl Lewis, Diana Spencer, Billy Bob, Scott Ritter, Woody Harrelson, Barack Obama, Bill Hicks, Liam Fox, Heather Locklear, Will Self, Laurie Anderson, K.D. Lang, Jill Dando, Meg Ryan, Arundhati Roy, Ann Coulter and Ingrid Betancourt.

  11. @Billy Bob
    That Billy Bob was a great loss to the entertainment industry :)

  12. The world has gone crazy, been involved in an argument with a friends friend who has Labour membership, accusing me of jealousy for saying the simple principle of the rich should pay more tax, he argued that if people are willing to pay employees that much, then they are entitled to just as much of it as lower percentage terms, effectively arguing for a flat tax.

    Consider me flabbergasted. Last week Paulcroft was calling me Maninthecentre right, now I’m apparently to the left of a member of the labour party.

  13. @Raf

    There’s talk of a come back.

  14. @Raf

    You said “…That Billy Bob was a great loss to the entertainment industry…”

    It was getting married to Angelina Jolie that dun him in… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  15. AMBER

    @”You still don’t understand QE, do you?”

    A little better than you I think :-)

    But your innovative ideas are always entertaining .

  16. Yes QE is money printing, but then all borrowing is money printing, that’s the way it works. When the govt borrows money from the banks or when you borrow money from the bank, that money is printed by the bank. This is of course done on computers with just a few key strokes. In the case of government when it borrows it gives a gilt(a promise to pay) in exchange for freshly printed digital money. When we buy a house it the same thing, we sign the mortgage agreement(a promise to pay) and the bank prints up the required amount with a few key strokes. This private bank printed money is more than 97% of our total money supply. The only money printed by the govt is the notes and coins. All other money is debt, without debt there can be no money. The banks have a near monopoly on printing money, the only limits to their ability to print money is their willingness to lend and the borrowers willingness to borrow. Sorry for being boring and repeating this point over and over but its necessary because I see from various comments that its a fact that people easily forget. I understand how easy it is too forget this, for a long time I had to struggle to not let it slip out of my consciousness, as a great man said “the process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled” which is why we have trouble remembering something which just seems to be against the laws of nature.

  17. Good Evening All.
    Has anyone seen the BBC article about a USA Supreme Court case concerning voter registration rules?

  18. RiN

    @” Talking about the fiction of the BoE selling gilts back into the market place when we all know this will never happen is embarrassing”

    Whether they do or not really doesn’t matter to the principle at work.

    If they hold their Gilts to redemption, it has the same effect-ie removing the additional liquidity they injected when they bought them.

    If they sell back today-the market loses liquidity as it re-purchases the gilts.

    If they hold to maturity the Treasury passes funds to BoE in repayment, necessitating an issue of new gilts by the Treasury which extract liquidity from the market & re-finance the Treasury.

    The difference is merely one of timing-ie how long is it necessary to allow the additional liquidity created by BoE to remain circulating in the market.?

    BoE will make their decision on when to unwind QE based on economic circumstances & it’s mandate & objectives.

  19. Interesting facts about Corby, the Conservatives are throwing the kitchen sink at the by election with money and manpower. Labour on the other hand are mailing all party members for donations and manpower to try to compete.
    If Labour win with a thumping good majority then they will have gained from the tories their first by election success since 1997.
    Taking into account the disparity in resources the Labour victory will all the more greater

  20. Colin

    What is the point of retiring the money printed as QE by the BoE by replacing it with money printed by the private banks?? The only point would be to raise interest rates

  21. RiN

    We have a different concept of how this works.

    You are free to check BoE website-or indeed write to them.

  22. “If they hold to maturity the Treasury passes funds to BoE in repayment..”?

    Why would the Treasury pay the BoE for bonds that the Treasury already own? They must own them because BoE has given the Treasury the interest earned on them. If they reach maturity either the BoE gives the Treasury the value of the Bonds or more likely the Treasury gives the Treasury the value of the bonds or, better still, they just lapse.

    For the Treasury to give the value of the bonds to the BoE when the BoE are holding them on behalf of the Treasury would be stark staring mad. Which probably means that is exactly what happens.

  23. @Colin

    But your innovative ideas are always entertaining .
    —————–
    Thank you; that’s pretty much the way in which you dissed me when I explained that the interest which was being paid to the BoE for QE actually belonged to the Treasury & the Chancellor could have it back from the BoE whenever he asked for it.

    And that’s exactly what the Chancellor is now proposing. So, either I understand QE somewhat better than you;
    or George Osborne reads UKPR & likes my “innovative ideas” so much that he takes them to the Treasury & the BoE for implementation!

    Either way, I think I’m a bit ahead of you at this QE game. ;-)

  24. @Amber

    Or both :)

    It probable GO did not even think about it until it looked as if he,would miss his deficit target. And then he consulted UKPR…

  25. @ Nick P

    For the Treasury to give the value of the bonds to the BoE when the BoE are holding them on behalf of the Treasury would be stark staring mad. Which probably means that is exactly what happens.
    ———————–
    Indeed; & then a few months after having (for political purposes) redeemed the bonds from the BoE, the Chancellor will ask for the redemption money to be returned back to the Treasury (just like the interest is to be used). Then it can be used to reduce UK debt (just like the the interest is to be used).

    Having been created, it is not going to ‘disappear into itself on maturity’ despite what Colin thinks! The BoE explained the double entry book-keeping to Colin without explaining the substance of the transaction. It was LOL funny. :-)

  26. @ RAF

    :-)

  27. Nick p

    Well if they could borrow the money from private banks to pay back the BoE without crashing the economy they would.

    Because private printing is prefrable to public printing, only private banks can be trusted with the money supply, govts would be too greedy and just print money without reason, and of course its only fair that the banks which are taking on this weighty responisblity should be allowed to charge interest on the money they print. We should all understand that these interest payments would never lead to banks printing too much money thereby fueling asset price inflation because that would be disastterous in the long run and markets would punish any bank doing that because markets are always instantly self correcting

    At least that’s the theory

  28. Was Tory,interested in your comment.How do you know that the Tories are
    Throwing everything at this?From what I have read they have given it up as a
    Lost cause.Just like to know your reasoning here.

  29. So if Nicks Saturday theory is correct,we should expect a 7 point labour lead
    Tonight!

  30. Oh,for goodness sake!

    [Ann – you’ve spelt you email address wrong (there’s an o missing), so the software thought you were a new person and held you back for moderation – AW]

  31. The Corby swing from the GE to latest poll is actually 16% if measured against the two coalition parties. I think that’s pretty impressive.

  32. I am not sure about the exact relationship between the BOE and the Treasury in relation to QE. It was Alastair Darling that authorised the original QE and this has been extended by George Osborne. I suppose the Treasury is ultimately responsible for money supply and used the BOE as the vehicle for this. The BOE printed the money buying the Treasury gilts previously issued and I suspect that the Treasury is not automatically entitled to receive the interest.

    But it would highly surprising if Mervyn King were to have told Osborn that the BOE wanted the interest. Of course he has just told Osborne that the Treasury can have the interest for these gilts. If they use it to reduce the deficit then the government creates less further debt for this year. There is more QE to come over the coming years and I guess it will be used in the same way.

  33. Good Evening.
    Paul.
    How do you calculate the 16% swing?

  34. Apparently Barack Obama said in March 2009 that shares were now a good investment.

  35. Chris:

    Labour were 18% behind combined con/ld in 2010 and 14$ ahead in latest poll.

    So 32% difference divided by 2 and bob’s yer uncle.

  36. NICKP

    @”Why would the Treasury pay the BoE for bonds that the Treasury already own?”

    Treasury issues Bonds-gets cash from buyer.

    Bond life ends-5 yrs/20yrs/6mths whatever-Treasury repays buyer.

    Bonds are State IOUs=loans for a fixed term

  37. Colin

    That would mean the issuer would pay the owner. The owner being the Treasury and the issuer being..?

  38. wolf “Apparently Barack Obama said in March 2009 that shares were now a good investment.”

    apparently obama opponents said romney was going to win by a landslide

  39. Maninthemiddle-‘The world has gone crazy, been involved in an argument with a friends friend who has Labour membership, accusing me of jealousy for saying the simple principle of the rich should pay more tax, he argued that if people are willing to pay employees that much, then they are entitled to just as much of it as lower percentage terms, effectively arguing for a flat tax.

    Consider me flabbergasted. Last week Paulcroft was calling me Maninthecentre right, now I’m apparently to the left of a member of the labour party.

    There is a small minority in the party who, to put it quite simply, just shouldn’t be in our party. They don’t stand for anything resembling social democratic values and I don’t know what in God’s name they ever saw in our party to begin with. I can only conclude they joined during the Blair years and didn’t realise the Blair years were just a temporary aberration in our party’s history, and don’t get that we’re now drifting back to what we’ve been for almost all of our history, that is a social democratic party whose aim is to radically reform capitalism.

    This fifth column in the party is small but very loud on blogs. They include people like Dan Hodges, Rob Marchant, Peter Watt and a few regular commenters on Labour List.

    As I say, they’re loud but they only speak for a tiny section of the party.

  40. has the sunday times yougov poll come out yet? i used to love it when the following days polls used to appear the previous night on here.
    looking forward to the final popular vote count for the us election. romney supporters were hoping it would be close so they could try to say obamas win lacked credibility.
    janet daley at the telegraph and many other commentators now look silly

  41. @Paul Croft

    Nate Silver has tweeted Obama 50.6%, Romney 47.9%. That must be a latest figure though as some states (esp California) are still counting.

  42. @SoCalLiberal / Billy Bob

    Allen West still won’t concede to Patrick Murphy the House seat for the 18th Congressional Distrct in Florida. This is despite being 2,400 behibd with all votes counted (two wide a difference for West to be entitled to a recount).

    West is challenging the reliability of totals in St Lucie where he alleges that prior to a software glitch, he was 1,700 ahead, whereas once the glitch was corrected and people re-voted he ended up 4,000 behind.

    West believes some votes after the glitch were double counted, or people voted twice (votes counted twice). He wants officials to check the registered number of voters on that day, with the vote totals to see whether they match.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/10/rep-wests-florida-seat-remains-undecided/

  43. Okay, I slept for like over 12 hours last night (and still feel tired this lovely Saturday night). This is what happens when you go to bed late and get up early for work and early for a 14 hour election day during the week. So I’m sorry if I haven’t responded to you guys all a lot sooner.

    @ RAF

    “Allen West still won’t concede to Patrick Murphy the House seat for the 18th Congressional Distrct in Florida. This is despite being 2,400 behibd with all votes counted (two wide a difference for West to be entitled to a recount).

    West is challenging the reliability of totals in St Lucie where he alleges that prior to a software glitch, he was 1,700 ahead, whereas once the glitch was corrected and people re-voted he ended up 4,000 behind.

    West believes some votes after the glitch were double counted, or people voted twice (votes counted twice). He wants officials to check the registered number of voters on that day, with the vote totals to see whether they match.”

    Well West is a certifiable lunatic so I’m really not surprised by his behavior. I think he’s living proof that partisan Republicans will vote for ANYONE. I mean I imagine it’s kind of like Zoolander, maybe West will come back to DC, attempt to use his Congressional office, and attempt to get sworn in.

    I think West is going full on Bob Dornan. He’s trying to create plausible deniability. Attempt to find a way to explain this loss to himself or see if he can’t get the House to go in, issue its own recount, and declare him the winner. This might be helpful to Murphy who will no doubt have a tough race in 2 years.

    I sincerely doubt that this happenned. I mean, this county happenned to be one in which Murphy performed most strongly. I would imagine that Florida OFA had voter protection people all over the place and I doubt that you could have an error that glaring without someone noticing first…..even in Florida (insert eye roll). Results match up with what I predicted. Even though what is now the FL-18 is a fairly Republican leaning District, it apparently voted for Barack Obama last time by a 51%-48% margin. That matched Obama’s results statewide. Now that Florida is done, Obama has won the state 50%-49%. So having West and Murphy at 50% apeice with Murphy ahead by 2400 votes doesn’t really surprise me.

    Now how’s this for ungracious and obnoxious behavior? (And perhaps a tad cheauvinistic?).

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/tammy-baldwin-ron-johnson-federal-budget_n_2102760.html?ref=topbar

    I think this will push the bounds of this continual Midwestern/rustbelt state tradition of electing two Senators who have completely polar opposite political and ideological views and expecting them to work together. Basically these states do the equivalent of electing both George Osborne and David Blunkett to their respective Senate seats. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa all seem to fit into this pattern.

  44. @ Billy Bob

    “Here’s the video of Bono Mack’s partial concession at 1am on election night… I think it lends credence to your view that she had been having doubts about how the race was going for some time, probably since before the debate:”

    Thanks for the video. I had not seen it. Here’s the moral of the story. If you’re going to go after the gays, the Latinos, and the Indians, you need to make sure that you don’t have a whole lot of them living in your district. I think she knew how things were going in the race because she wouldn’t have agreed to debate him and launched into that highly viscious and nasty attack against him in her opening statement.

    “She’s in great shape. If the reports from Edra Blixseth’s party last year are anything to go by, she still knows a thing or two about having a good time… and to keep the celebrity trivia theme going, here is a list of some famous people who share Mary Bono Mack’s year of birth (in age order, some sadly no longer with us)”

    Now pardon my ignorance but who is Edra Blixseth? I can be bad with celebrities. I’m weird in that I get far more starstruck by politicians than I do by celebs.

    I wonder how many celebrities voted for Obama out of duty and also marked the bubble next to Henry Waxman’s name as they voted down ballot thinking that their vote didn’t matter much because they weren’t in a swing state?

    I wonder too if Petra Ecclestone (now a resident in this Congressional District) is a U.S. citizen and could vote in this election.

    @ RAF

    “Nate Silver has tweeted Obama 50.6%, Romney 47.9%. That must be a latest figure though as some states (esp California) are still counting.”

    Right now, there are about 700,000 ballots left to be processed in Los Angeles County. About 325,000 ballots left to be processed in San Diego County. There are 124,498 left to count in Orange County. There are 86,000 in Riverside County. About 80,000 approximated in Santa Clara County.

    And I just looked at the Secretary of State’s website and there were over 3.3 million at last count that remain to be counted. This year I realize now would be extremely problematic. That’s because online voter registration was introduced and a lot of people took advantage of this new tool to get registered to vote. Well this led to a lot of new registrations but then problems at the polling place because polling place books weren’t really updated in time. And so this led to a lot of newly registered voters having to cast provisional ballots. This is going to take a while for it all to get counted.

  45. @ RAF

    “Nate Silver tweeted yesterday that nationwide there were still 10M approximately votes to count – mainly in California, or other Dem bastions. I think these relate mainly to the Pres election, but it may also relate to the HoR election.”

    Nate Silver is right. Last night I checked and there were still 300,000 to count in Washington State, half of them in King County. Obama’s popular vote margin is likely to be decisive even though it won’t be quite as high as 4 years ago. It does relate to the HoR election too. The difference there though is that there isn’t a Democrat on the ballot in every Congressional District.

    “It’s been said here by quite a few that Rep state legislatures have taken a cavalier approach to redistricting HoR electoral boundaries, which may explain the seats/votes disparity in the HoR election. I would presume though that Dem state legislatures would do the same.”

    Yes, but in how many states did Democrats control the trifecta for 2011 redistricting and for how many did Republicans? Republicans controlled the process in the following states:

    Wisconsin
    Ohio
    Pennsylvania
    North Carolina
    Indiana
    Utah
    Michigan
    Georgia
    Alabama
    Tennessee
    Louisiana
    Maine
    South Carolina
    Missisippi

    They also did have control in Florida and Texas. But then in Texas, the courts wound up redrawing the maps. And in Florida, they were required to draw a non-partisan map.

    Democrats controlled the process in Maryland and Illinois.

  46. @ Billy Bob

    I just watched that video. Omg…..that is a trainwreck all around. I watched her statement to reporters and then her statement to her supporters. You have to admire her for denying the results in Ohio. I laugh because Ohio was irrelevant at that point. Colorado had gone to Obama and Virginia had gone to Obama and those two states meant that even if Ohio had been wrongly called, Obama had still won. It’s like a bit of denial. I think at the point I went to bed on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Waxman was trailing by 3% in the 33rd and Ruiz was statistically tied with Bono but I think behind by a few hundred votes or maybe ahead by a few hundred. At that point, Virginia was declared. I think Nevada was too.

    In fairness to the GOP being denial about CO and VA, so were many liberals. One girl at work I thought was Republican because last week she said that voting in Virginia didn’t matter since Romney was obviously going to win Virginia this year. Well I found out on Friday that actually she voted for Obama but was just really pessimistic. My brother seemed so convinced that Obama would lose and that Democrats would suffer devastating defeats that Elizabeth Warren winning would be the only highlight on a bad night. Made me think he was secretly happy to go into an anxiety attack when he saw Waxman losing. When Rachel Maddow announced the results in VA, she said “I am honestly stunned.” So maybe we’re all just a pessimistic bunch.

  47. Does anyone have an easy (free) way of contacting Populus?

    I have ben doing surveys for them for a while, but, the last few have been broken – and loaded without the text.

    I’ve tried leaving a message on their forum, but, nobody has replied.

    I’ve also tried emailing at the following adresses :

    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    I have no credit on my phone, so, cannot phone them.
    Any help greatly apreciated.

  48. @ Jay Blanc

    “Not to mention that in the 50-60s, a “Southern Democrat” was more like a current Republican than a current Democrat. There even used to be “Liberal Republicans”, as the current strong social issue ideological divide between the two parties didn’t start till Reagan’s election and focusing on Evangelical churches to support the campaign.”

    Earl Warren was a Liberal Republican. So was my mom. I think there are some still out there but they tend to be broadly apolitical.

    @ John Murphy

    “Thanks for all your interesting and stimulating contributions here on the course of theelection they were always something I looked forward to reading – even going over threads I’d missed.”

    You’re welcome. I hope you’re enjoying your time in the Golden State.

    @ Nick P

    “Mitt Romney canceled all staff credit cards & cell phones after loss, leaving team stranded across the nation w/ hotel bills.”

    I can’t confirm it personally but it’s what news sources are reporting. But it doesn’t surprise me if true. It is a really sh*tty thing to do though. At least let your loyal soldiers get home and end the campaign with some decency and humanity. You should especially not treat your campaign staffers that way. They give up their lives and make major sacrifices and they take the losses worse than anyone else. To leave them stranded is a terrible thing to do them.

    I appreciated the President’s tears btw the other day (if you haven’t seen the video, let me know and I’ll post it for you). And he was talking to his paid staff in Chicago but it actually was an address to all the various supporters. It was the most heartfelt thank you and I really appreciated it.

    It took a lot of work and effort from a lot of people to go out there and get this done. It’s nice to know that there is some realization of that and appreciation of that. It was a lot easier in 2008 when Obama was almost a pop culture sensation and his election was destined and proforma (with the only question being whether the Bradley Effect would kick in). When all that buzz quickly wore off after the heady days of 2009, it was a lot harder to find people who wanted to donate to the campaign and volunteer for it.

    @ Couper2802

    “The Tea Party is in The Republican party? From what I have heard they seem to be a party within a party like Militant within Labour.”

    The Teabaggers are a lot like the militant. I’m glad you see this similarity. Like a bizarro right wing version of the Militant. I think it’s why leading Tories didn’t particularly care for Romney. Tories are sensible people generally and they don’t care for that sort of thing. Hard to imagine Maggie Thatcher embracing teabagging.

  49. Labour lead 12

    Latest YouGov/Sunday Times results 9 – 11th Nov –

    CON 32%…LAB 44%… LD 8%… UKIP 8%

    APP -31

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2012/11/11/update-labour-lead-12/

  50. @Gracie

    You just pipped me to the post!

    :-)

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