Monday, November 10, 2014

Election stories from Discovery News and University of California

This should be the last update of election news from campuses on the campaign trail.  I begin with three stories from Discovery News.

First, Eric Niiler asks Why the Rural-Urban Political Divide?
The red-blue map of the United States got a lot redder this week, as large swatches of the country voted Republican during mid-term elections for the House, Senate and state governorships. Some of this can be explained by swings of the political pendulum, dislike for the sitting president or a low turnout that favored the GOP.

All that is true, but observers also note that the nation’s political and social divisions are also split by residence: How you vote is determined by where you live. The rural vote is solidly Republican, the urban centers remain Democrat.
This is one of many reasons why I'm glad I no longer live in the country; I'm around people with similar politics now.

Follow over the jump for the other two stories from Discovery News plus election news from the University of California, both UCLA and Berkeley.

Discovery News: Republicans More Likely to Let Kids Play Football: Poll
Nov 4, 2014 12:09 PM ET
Football and politics don’t always mix, but according to a new poll, they are often linked.

A recent poll conducted by the RAND Corporation for The Upshot asked people about their attitudes toward allowing their children to play football.

The poll was conducted on the heels of a spate of reports linking football and concussions and brain damage. Most recently, the National Football League stated in federal court that they expect nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems at a “notably younger age” than those in the general population.
Both Republicans and Democrats will watch football, but the Democrats are less likely to want their children to play the game.  This ties into Hipcrime Vocab on the Super Bowl, in which one of the possibilities for the sport was that it would slowly decline from its supply of players drying up.

The final Discovery News article is Repulsed by Disgusting Images? Must Be Republican by Sheila M. Eldred.
Think you’ve got someone pegged as liberal or conservative? Where someone lives or what car they drive may not reveal their political preferences as much as showing them a picture of maggots.

New research from Virginia Tech shows that the intensity of someone’s reaction to repulsive images (think dirty toilets, clogged kitchen sinks, and the aforementioned maggots) can predict their political ideology with 95-98 percent accuracy.

“Remarkably, we found that the brain’s response to a single disgusting image was enough to predict an individual’s political ideology,” Read Montague, a Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute psychology professor who led the study, wrote in a press release.
Welcome to another installment of conservative vs. liberal brains.

Next, two articles from UCLA.  First, The economy elects presidents, but presidents elect Congress.
UCLA professor Lynn Vavreck writes that if the Democrats lose the Senate, it would follow recent electoral history

In 1992, Bill Clinton’s strategist, James Carville, made famous a presidential campaign mantra: It’s “the economy, stupid.” He meant that presidential election outcomes are tied to the nation’s economic conditions, something that should not surprise many people. The same, however, is not true for midterm elections. Those are much more tied to the president himself.

In presidential elections, if the economy grows during the election year, the incumbent president (or the incumbent’s party) is more likely to be re-elected. The correlation is so impressive that political scientists often refer to national economic conditions as part of the structural or fundamental conditions that drive election outcomes.

But while the nation’s economy is a strong shaper of presidential election outcomes, the president himself is the shaper of congressional outcomes. In years when we are electing a president along with a Congress, the newly elected president’s party typically picks up seats in both the House and the Senate. You can think of this as hopping on the party bandwagon — some candidates in the president’s party get swept into office on the winning presidential candidate’s coattails just because they are in the right party at the right time.
Good economic news didn't help Democrats on election day.

Then, UCLA faculty voice: Why don’t women rule the world?
Egyptologist Kara Cooney draws striking parallels between the nearly forgotten female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, and modern women running for office

This November, nearly 200 women are running for Congress. Most are not going to win, if the past is any guide. Of the 535 representatives and senators currently serving, only 99 — 18.5 percent — are women. The financial world is even bleaker: Women hold just 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions. Why are there so few women in positions of political or economic power in this modern age?

One way to answer that question is by examining the story of the greatest woman ever to rule in the ancient world: an Egyptian pharaoh who serves as model and cautionary tale for today’s female politicians.

Hatshepsut understood the obstacles in her path. In Egypt in the 15th century B.C., women were considered sexual companions and the carriers of men’s seed, not rulers. But Hatshepsut found her way to the throne of the richest and most powerful state in the ancient world. Yet few today even know her name, much less how to pronounce it (Hat-shep-soot, if you’re wondering).
Finally, two stories from the University of California at Berkeley beginning with Study identifies effective communication strategies for voter ID laws By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations.
BERKELEY — A preliminary study of state voter ID laws helps allay concerns about whether communicating with voters about these laws could suppress turnout, finding that there seems to be no negative effects, especially when information is disseminated spelling out just what forms of identification suffice and where to turn for more detail.

Research by UC Berkeley professor Jack Citrin, director of the campus’s Institute of Governmental Studies, political science professor Donald P. Green of Columbia University in New York City and University of Southern California political science professor Morris Levy, that was recently published in the Election Law Journal, applies empirical analysis to estimate the impact of different ways of notifying registered voters about new ID rules.

Of various strategies applied in the research experiment to inform and assist voters to comply with the identification requirements, those that provided more detailed information and pointed potential voters to other sources of explanatory information yielded the best returns.
I close with a video: Soda tax?

Berkeley professor, Alan Auerbach discusses the San Francisco and Berkeley initiatives on the Nov 4, 2014 ballot.
If it moves, it doesn't always lead here.  Sometimes, I use it for a finale.

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