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You've probably noticed that it takes certain kinds of congressional districts to elect certain kinds of Representatives. At an instinctual level, you can probably guess that a mostly non-white district in a northeastern city is going to elect a liberal Democrat, and a mostly white district in the rural south is going to elect a conservative Republican. Things get a little more complicated with, say, a middle-class suburban district in the west; that's the kind of place where candidate strength, fundraising, and what the direction the national winds are headed all play a role. But there a lot of other variables that go into shaping a district's makeup, and those variables can tell us something about a district's political potential.

Why talk about this now, with the next election more than a year and a half away? Partly because now is the time when targets get picked and candidates get recruited; competitive races don't usually just pop up out of sheer will but require a lot of groundwork. But more importantly, the Census Bureau finally graced us last month with demographic information for the nation's congressional districts. Although the most recent Census has been in the books for several years now, things got slowed down by the redistricting process (which, of course, relies on the Census' initial population figures); they had to wait until the new district lines were finalized to be able to calculate new district data.

With access to that data, finally, I initially planned to write a piece about the various superlatives in congressional districts (whitest districts! poorest districts! best educated districts! and so on). That's interesting trivia, of course, but by itself doesn't tell us much about how we can reshape the House in 2014 and in future years, so I also decided to pinpoint Republicans in the districts with the demographic categories that seemed most hostile to them (say, for example, the five congressional districts with the highest percentage of African-American residents that are still represented by Republicans).

Rather than put up dozens and dozens of tables, though, that left me wondering: which variables actually matter the most? Which particular demographic categories are most strongly related with whether a district tends to elect a Democrat or Republican? That way, we could focus on only a few most important categories. So, with that in mind, I calculated correlations for each of the categories in the Census' release, factored against the percentage the Democratic candidate for the House got in each district. Some of the results are predictable, but others were a total surprise. Here's a chart of the characteristics that had the strongest positive and negative relationships with Democratic share of the House vote:


Positive
Relationship
Correl. Negative
Relationship
Correl.
Renter % 0.59 White % -0.58
25-34 y.o.% 0.43 Veteran % -0.49
Black % 0.38 Some College % -0.32
"Some Other" race % 0.38 Male % -0.31
Asian % 0.30 10-14 y.o. % -0.27

Some of the other things that you'd think might matter turn out not to matter much at all. For instance, the correlation coefficient on median household income is only 0.02, meaning no relationship in any direction. (With correlations, 1 or -1 means a perfectly corresponding relationship within the data, while 0 means nothing but random noise.) It's tempting to think of the Republicans as the "party of the 1 percent" and to think of all the Democrats representing blue-collar districts in the cities, but stop and think about the number of affluent suburban districts that elect Democrats, or the number of abjectly poor areas in the Appalachians that elect Republicans.

Follow over the fold for full discussion on why these factors might matter, and the promised lists of Republicans vulnerable according to these criteria ...

So what is it about the percentage of renters (or, more technically, the ratio of renter-occupied housing units to total occupied housing units) that makes it a decent predictor of Democratic fortunes? In large part, it's because it points to urban areas; more people tend to rent in urban areas than rural areas. And it takes only a quick glance at last year's election results to see that Democratic votes are most heavily concentrated in the nation's metropolitan areas.

Although the Census Bureau will, at some point, calculate what portion of a congressional district is rural and what portion is urban, they didn't include that in their initial release. (You can see the entire data set here in a Google Doc that I assembled.) However, I have run the correlation between urban/rural percentage and Dem performance in years before, and it wasn't as strong a relationship as "renters" is now. (It had never occurred to me to try a "renters" category before.) Either that urban/rural divide has gotten more precise (as a result of better gerrymandering and/or more self-sorting of Democrats to the cities and GOPers to rural areas and exurbs), or else "renters" incorporates an extra element that makes it even more powerful.

My theory is that while it includes urbanites of all stripes, it also encompasses the rural poor, while avoiding the heavily-Republican rural middle-class (who, because of the relative costs, seem more likely to own property than the urban middle-class). You can see that especially with the most-renter-heavy district that's occupied by a Republican, California's 21st district in the Central Valley, which is represented by David Valadao. This district is a mostly-rural area bookended by Fresno and Bakersfield that's heavily Hispanic, mostly agricultural workers, and one of the nation's poorest districts.

So, the following three charts of districts are: first, the five districts with the highest percentage of renters (heavily focused on New York City, unsurprisingly), and second, the five districts with the lowest percentage of renters (affluent suburbs with low density and mostly single-family homes, particularly in the midwest). And third, the five most-renter-heavy districts with Republicans. These are all districts with large Hispanic populations, though only CA-21 and TX-17 are largely rural; they also include inner-city districts in Miami (FL-27) and Houston (TX-07).

The #2 district, Kenny Marchant's TX-24, may be the most interesting one: it occupies the suburbs between Dallas and Fort Worth around DFW airport. Marchant has never seen much of a challenge before and Dems are only beginning to build a bench here, but this is one of the most rapidly Hispanic-trending parts of the country. Redistricting (and the creation of the adjacent, Hispanic-majority TX-33) may have helped Marchant rest easier for a few years, but even his newly-configured district is rapidly changing.


Rank District Rep. Renter %
1 NY-15 Serrano (D) 91.2%
2 NY-13 Rangel (D) 90.3%
3 NY-07 Velazquez (D) 79.1%
4 CA-34 Becerra (D) 78.6%
5 NY-12 Maloney (D) 73.2%

Rank District Rep. Renter %
431 IL-06 Roskam (R) 20.2%
432 MN-06 Bachmann (R) 19.8%
433 NY-03 Israel (D) 19.7%
434 NJ-03 Runyan (R) 19.6%
435 IL-14 Hultgren (R) 16.0%

Rank District Rep. Renter %
44 CA-21 Valadao (R) 49.6%
45 TX-24 Marchant (R) 49.4%
50 FL-27 Ros-Lehtinen (R) 48.8%
54 TX-07 Culberson (R) 48.1%
77 TX-17 Flores (R) 44.5%

The second strongest factor, and the strongest negative correlation with Democratic House vote, seems a lot less surprising: the percentage of white residents in the district. It's interesting that "white" is a stronger predictor than any other specific race; considering that African-American voters went around 95 percent Democratic according to exit polls last year, you'd think that might be a stronger predictor.

However, we're talking about districts as a whole, and there are a lot of black residents in rural districts in the deep south where there's a Republican Representative. The same is true of Hispanics, who put up large percentages in Republican-dominated places like west Texas. The absolutely whitest districts, percentage-wise, tend to be in pretty thoroughly Republican places, like Appalachia and the rural midwest. (You'll notice one exception shows up below: upper New England, one of the whitest parts of the country, nevertheless distinctly prefers Democrats.)

Looking at the chart of Republicans in the least-white districts, I would have expected the top one to be Gary Miller in CA-31; that's a Hispanic-majority district in San Bernardino where Miller won a fluky victory thanks to a bizarre outcome in the state's new top two primary, where two Republicans wound up advancing thanks to a heavily split Dem field. However, he's second behind an unexpected neighbor: Ed Royce in CA-39 in north Orange County. This isn't a heavily Hispanic area, but the sum total of Asians plus Hispanics in this area is apparently large enough to push Royce into first place. Democrats haven't been very competitive in this area in the past (it is, after all, Orange County), but this part of the OC is rapidly changing and indeed the Dems are starting to come alive here (case in point, Sharon Quirk-Silva's surprise election to the state Assembly in 2012).

At #3 is Rob Woodall, who represents Gwinnett County in Atlanta's suburbs; this used to be one of the most right-wing areas in the country (it's Newt Gingrich's former district) but it's also one of the most rapidly changing areas in the country, based on a mix of new black, Hispanic, and Asian residents, and former residents white-flighting out of there to newer exurbs further north. Right behind him are two northern Louisiana representatives in districts with large black populations, but not quite large enough to elect a Democrat. (It's hypothetically possible to draw an ugly-looking second black-majority district in rural Louisiana—in fact, one used to exist in the 1990s—but one doesn't seem to be forthcoming.)


Rank District Rep. White %
435 NY-15 Serrano (D) 16.9%
434 HI-01 Hanabusa (D) 17.5%
433 NY-05 Meeks (D) 17.8%
432 NY-13 Rangel 24.6%
431 TN-09 Cohen 28.2%

Rank District Rep. White%
5 WV-01 McKinley (R) 95.1%
4 VT-AL Welch (D) 95.2%
3 OH-06 Johnson (R) 95.3%
2 ME-02 Michaud (D) 95.5%
1 KY-05 Rogers (R) 96.7%

Rank District Rep. White%
375 CA-39 Royce (R) 55.1%
371 CA-31 Miller (R) 57.0%
369 GA-07 Woodall (R) 57.6%
360 LA-04 Fleming (R) 61.0%
358 LA-05 Alexander (R) 61.3%

The factor with the second strongest positive relationship with Democratic performance is the percentage of 25-34 year olds. That's not too surprising; younger people tend to be more liberal in general, and the Millennial generation is, at least for now, a particularly Dem-friendly generation. However, you may be wondering why 25-34 year olds perform better than 20-24 year olds. Nobody's more idealistic than a college student, right?

Well, again, it has more to do with the districts as a whole than individual people. My guess is that 25-34 year olds tend to be out of school and newly-employed, and likelier to be in cities or close-in suburbs, so their numbers boost, but also get commingled with, the overall Democratic lean of urban areas. By contrast, 20-24 year olds are likelier to be in college towns, which, while they're very liberal pockets, are in many cases surrounded by and balanced out by rural areas. (A larger proportion of 20-24 year olds may also still be living with their parents, rather than having moved to the big city yet.)

In fact, here's the full list of what age groups correlate most and least with Democratic performance:


Under 5 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-59 60-64 Over 65
0.07 -0.20 -0.27 -0.04 0.26 0.43 0.17 -0.15 -0.16 -0.26 -0.20

So what's with the large bulge in the relationship between Republican performance and 'tweens (10-14 year olds)? While it's tempting to point out the similarities between Republicanism and childishness, there's potentially a better demographic explanation, as the children themselves obviously aren't voting. Parents with children are more likely to have sought out more elbow-room in the suburbs or exurbs. You can also see that in the bulge of Republican performance among people on the older side of middle age. Note that I'm not attempting to assign any causation to the idea that having children, or owning a house, somehow "make" you more conservative, simply observing that families with children are more likely to be in the suburbs and suburban areas are more likely to elect Republicans than, say, urban areas.

Also worth noting: as much as we like to stereotype Republicans as being the party of angry old people—and, indeed, exit polling did show senior citizens as one of the GOP's strongest blocs—districts that are particularly heavy on the over-65 set aren't as strongly Republican as certain other districts. Plenty of seniors still remember the impact of the New Deal, or were unionists when labor was stronger, or both.

At any rate, you can see from the charts below that the districts heaviest on the 25-34 year olds are in major cities; in fact, these are fairly affluent, largely-white districts within major cities (Manhattan, north Chicago, San Francisco). The ones with fewest 25-34 year olds are, with the exception of a Long Island suburban district, all retirement areas in Florida, the four districts that would be on top if you ran a list of highest percentages of persons over 65.

The Republican-held districts with most persons 25-34 are mostly in Sun Belt suburbs and yield some familiar names: Kenny Marchant in the Dallas suburbs, Gary Miller in San Bernardino. There's one other name that stands out, though: Lee Terry in Omaha's NE-02. That's not a city that you think of as a real youth destination, but it does underscore a pattern that's especially pronounced in Terry's case among House GOPers: very competitive races in presidential years, easy races in off-years with lower youth turnout.


Rank District Rep. 25-34%
1 NY-12 Maloney 25.9%
2 IL-05 Quigley 23.3%
3 CA-12 Pelosi 22.8%
4 MA-07 Capuano 22.2%
5 NY-10 Nadler 21.3%

Rank District Rep. 25-34%
431 FL-18 Murphy (D) 9.5%
432 FL-06 DeSantis (R) 9.3%
433 FL-16 Buchanan (R) 9.0%
434 NY-03 Israel (D) 8.8%
435 FL-11 Nugent (R) 8.6%

Rank District Rep. 25-34 %
19 TX-24 Marchant (R) 17.9%
27 TX-07 Culberson (R) 17.0%
41 TX-02 Poe (R) 16.2%
49 CA-31 Miller (R) 15.8%
55 NE-02 Terry (R) 15.7%

The second most significant factor that has a negative relationship with Democratic performance is the percentage of residents who are veterans. This makes some instinctive sense, since veterans are likelier to have the pro-military stances that one associates with Republicans. But there are also demographic explanations for that; percentage of veterans is for the most part a strong proxy for percentage of male residents, which, if you refer back to the very first table, is a strong predictor in its own right. It's also a proxy for the elderly, as WWII, Korea, and increasingly, Vietnam veterans are all in the over 65 category.

As you can see, the lowest percentages of veterans tend to be mostly non-white districts in major cities. Although it's a measure of veteran status, not active-duty status, the highest concentrations still tend to be around large military installations anyway, where both recent veterans tend to hang around and older veterans also tend to retire (Virginia Beach, Colorado Springs, Pensacola, Bremerton).

The districts with the fewest vets that are represented by Republicans, again, tend to be urban districts with mostly non-white populations (several in Miami, several in California). Staten Island's NY-11, held by Mike Grimm, is a bit of an exception; it's mostly white, though it's certainly urban.


Rank District Rep. Veteran %
435 CA-40 Roybal-Allard (D) 1.9%
434 NY-07 Velazquez (D) 2.0%
433 NY-09 Clarke 2.4%
432 CA-34 Becerra 2.4%
431 NY-15 Serrano 2.4%

Rank District Rep. Veteran %
5 WA-06 Kilmer (D) 16.5%
4 FL-01 Miller (R) 16.6%
3 FL-11 Nugent (R) 17.6%
2 CO-05 Lamborn (R) 18.5%
1 VA-02 Rigell (R) 19.8%

Rank District Rep. Veteran %
423 FL-27 Ros-Lehtinen (R) 3.3%
420 FL-25 Diaz-Balart (R) 3.5%
398 NY-11 Grimm (R) 4.9%
395 CA-39 Royce (R) 5.1%
386 CA-21 Valadao (R) 5.3%

Finally, let's look at one more category: the third-most-significant category with a negative relationship with Democratic performance. It's also the strongest correlation of any category of educational achievement. And it's kind of an odd one: the "some college" category. In other word, someone who took at least some college classes but never received a degree of any sort. That's one I don't have an easy explanation for; it may have to do with what the "some college" types aren't.

In other words, the persons with the lowest educational achievement tend to also be persons who are poor and/or persons of color, which are groups that tend to vote Democratic. And high educational achievement tends to correlate with Democratic voting. It's natural to think "rich doctors and lawyers, party of the 1 percent, bla bla bla," but in fact probably the largest group of persons with graduate degrees in the country is public school teachers with M.Eds, a pretty solidly Dem constituency. And, at any rate, in the last few decades we've seen well-educated suburbanites in general increasingly move toward the Democrats, perhaps motivated by the GOP's "Mayberry machiavellian" and generally anti-science, anti-progress tendencies.

That tends to leave persons of middling educational attainment leaning more toward the Republicans, creating kind of a U-shaped curve (which isn't limited to this kind of demographic analysis; it tends to show up in exit polling too):


Less than 9th 9th-12th gr. HS diploma Some college Associates Bachelors Graduate
0.30 0.12 -0.24 -0.32 -0.21 0.07 0.20

Of the districts with the lowest percentage of "Some college" residents, they're all in or near northeastern cities; four are wealthy districts with some of the highest percentages of persons with bachelors and graduate degrees, while the other (NY-07) is heavily skewed toward the poorly educated end of the spectrum. Interestingly, the "some college" category is at its strongest in the rural west; it's a heavily Republican bunch of districts, with Peter DeFazio's OR-04 the only exception (a district that's light-blue only because of the presence of, ironically, two large universities). In fact, you have to work your way through the 22 most strongly "some college" districts before you find one that isn't in the west (and that one's in Texas). I'm not sure what it is about the rural west that encourages starting and leaving college, but it's definitely a trend.

The list of Republicans in the district with the fewest "some college" residents is kind of a mishmash: there are two districts in affluent northeastern suburbs that are more skewed toward graduate degrees. Jim Gerlach in PA-06 is used to seeing strong challenges, while Rodney Frelinghuysen in NJ-11 certainly should, especially since his district had to become bluer in redistricting to accommodate Republican plans to wipe out one Democratic district. There are also two rural districts in Pennsylvania's Appalachian-flavored middle that lean heavily toward high school grads, and then there's FL-27 in Miami, which seems rather polarized between the well-educated and the poorly educated without much in between.


Rank District Rep. Some college %
435 NY-10 Nadler (D) 9.8%
434 NY-12 Maloney (D) 10.4%
433 NY-07 Velazquez (D) 11.7%
432 MA-05 Markey (D) 12.7%
431 VA-08 Moran (D) 12.9%

Rank District Rep. Some college %
5 AK-AL Young (R) 29.9%
4 CA-04 McClintock (R) 30.1%
3 OR-04 DeFazio (D) 30.1%
2 AZ-04 Gosar (R) 30.7%
1 CA-01 LaMalfa (R) 30.9%

Rank District Rep. Some college %
430 NJ-11 Frelinghuysen (R) 13.8%
428 FL-27 Ros-Lehtinen (R) 13.9%
422 PA-09 Shuster (R) 14.4%
420 PA-06 Gerlach (R) 14.9%
419 PA-05 Thompson (R) 15.0%

You may have noticed some of the same districts keep showing up on the lists of Republican "outlier" districts: two of them are CA-31 and CA-21, which Dems lost in 2012 mostly because of recruiting failures and which are at the top of everyone's target list this year. But there are some other recurring ones, like CA-39 in Orange County, TX-24 in the Dallas suburbs, and FL-27 in Miami, that have never been serious Democratic targets before. They might not be targets this cycle either, but soon should be, given the accelerating pace of demographic change.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 01:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Houston Area Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My district, NY-03 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, joedemocrat, Vatexia, NevDem

    seems like it should be an R district. I guess with Steve Israel as my Rep, some might say it is...

    Society is merely organized injustice. Clarence Darrow

    by Van Buren on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:15:42 PM PDT

  •  Excelllent data and analysis, thanks for the diary (23+ / 0-)

    I also have to wonder what percentage of renters are also single? I ask because President Obama did so well with single voters.

    One of my past professors pointed to an organization that advocates for Unmarried Equality. I see that there may be some overlap with your data.

    My impression is that this is a population that isn't often talked about, yet runs counter to the image politicians like to present that we are a nation where the vast majority of households are married. They rarely direct their message to single people and may miss the opportunity to enlarge their base.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:15:43 PM PDT

  •  Detailed and interesting analysis of factors (7+ / 0-)

    not usually considered when looking for areas where Democrats should be looking to turn over seats in the US House.

    Tip'd, REC'd & Tweeted.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:26:10 PM PDT

    •  I think it is very interesting... (5+ / 0-)

      and excellent statistical analysis...also tipped/rec'd.

      I wish there was a better correlation between incomes & voting behavior.

      As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

      by joedemocrat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:30:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure that there IS a better indicator of (4+ / 0-)

        financial status/income than whether or not a person rents - with some corallary data on zip code and Median income & rental costs (to adjust for areas with significantly higher rent prices vs income, like NYC for instance).


        "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

        by Angie in WA State on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:54:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another aspect to be considered (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grubber, CrissieP

        As a landlord (and lifelong democrat), I am quite interested in the renter data.  I am very much interested in expanding my business.  I live in a Red State.   If I can attract dems to my units, perhaps I can help turn red states blue.  Likewise, I would consider expanding my business to other red districts in other states so that I can more effectively attract democratic voters.

        The trick is to find overly blue districts with "excess" voters, who may want to spend an election cycle or two turning a red district blue.  With an excess of dem voters, this is a tactic that is more likely to be available to dems than to repubs, who have no voters to spare in the majority of districts.

        Rental laws are somewhat tricky in that I can not legally make a renters voting preference a criteria a deciding one in establishing, who I will rent to and frankly I never discriminate against anyone, since ultimately from a business perspective I must choose among those, who best able to pay and be stable renters.  Nonetheless, I do have latitude to better understand the market, since ultimately I want my residences (I rent homes not apartments) to provide stability and value to the neighborhoods in which they are found.  For numerous obvious and not so obvious  reasons, a blue neighborhood is far more favorable to my business than a red one.

        Any other landlords out there, who have similar inclinations?  If so, have you considered this and if so, what other thoughts might one add along these lines?  If any lawyers out there want to pipe in, I would be more than eager to hear your thoughts as well.  What are the differences in nuance from state to state.  

        In most red districts the margins of victory are only a few thousand votes, so that given the 10 year cycle for gerrymandering, this approach might well doom gerrymandering as a political tactic if one can build a sufficient number of like minded landlords (and tenants).

        That said, the r value for renters is particularly low and may not reflect statistical cause and effect or significant predictor value as a single co-variates alone.  This kind of analysis needs to be done not univariately for variable, but in a multiple regression or multi-block design context.  If one is interested in utilizing these statistics for predictive value, one needs to identify linear combinations of variables that are most important.  I strongly suggest that the author look seriously at discriminant functions analysis to identify those linear combinations of co-variates that provide the greatest discrimination.  

        Huitema (1980) provides a useful look at certain multivariate techniques surrounding covariance analysis that are well worth the look, especially for categorical variables such as those being dealt with here.  The author would do well to check this out, if he is not already familiar with these statistical techniques.

        In any event, great post.  Keep up the good work and help make the data more readily available so that we can mine it with the hope of striking blue.

      •  there is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joedemocrat, MichaelNY

        see here.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:44:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. I can only add scientist (4+ / 0-)

      While reading it, I kept trying to think of something to add, but David covered everything I wanted to say before I got to the comments.

      The only thing I can think to add is that scientist are breaking more and more with the Democrats, probably for the same reason teaches do.

      One of the great political shifts in the past decade has been the move of scientists toward the Democratic Party, a casualty of the Republican Party’s war on reality. It’s not about politics for scientists, it’s about the fact that only one party accepts scientific findings on everything from global warming to evolutionary theory to what does and doesn’t prevent pregnancy. Only 6 percent of scientists identify as Republican, whereas 55 percent identify as Democratic. In October of 2012, 68 Nobel-winning scientists co-signed a strong endorsement of Obama, saying the President “has delivered on his promise to renew our faith in science-based decision making.”

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:39:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Register renters (13+ / 0-)

    We should be doing door-to-door registration drives in apartment buildings. We didn't do that, at least in my area, in 2012. Too many renters are not registered or their registration is not up to date because they moved.

    Then when we do GOTV based on lists of registered voters, we miss potential Democratic voters.

    •  i sometimes do ad hoc GOTV (8+ / 0-)

      on election day, just by walking to the apartment complexes in my neighborhood and reminding people to vote. way less shoe leather required than canvassing a suburban neighborhood, and a very high % of left leaning voters.

      •  That's a pretty bad idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Englishlefty

        The issue is that some people are much much more responsive to GOTV door knocks than others, and the main predictors of GOTV impact are variables that don't geographically segregate well (Mostly voting history). The people who cut GOTV lists, at least in high level races, use sophisticated modeling to make sure you talk to those people and not waste your time with the vast majority of people for whom door knocks don't accomplish much.

        Also, you also have the issue that 1) Tons of people you meet aren't going to be registered to vote (Less of an issue in NH and WI because of same day reg), and 2)Unless you're canvassing a black neighborhood or maybe a UW dorm room, at least 30% of the people you talk to in a blind knock are going to be Republicans. A standard OFA GOTV list, on the other hand, would probably be closer to 5% Republican.

        •  Not a bad idea (3+ / 0-)

          Not an efficient idea necessarily, but not bad. Dealing with stats and high probability door knocks, you are going to leave a lot of potential votes out there. If OFA etc are hitting the high percentage targets, random knocks like this helps fill in the gaps.

          Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

          by grubber on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:03:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  unless you're in precincts that are 80-90% (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          Democratic.  Then you might have 5-10% being Republicans.

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:50:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  there are less than 25% registered republicans (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skibum59

          in my city (college town in nor cal), and the overwhelming majority of them are older affluent homeowners living in the swanky neighborhood near the golf course, not apartment-dwellers. the inefficiencies are not going to be republicans, they're going to be foreign grad students, in my experience.

          you're assuming the choice is between swing state-grade OfA organizing and doing this, when more practically speaking, it's between doing this and doing something else. OfA in safe dem like this is generally focused on GOTV for out of state or out of town races, california is a colony for dem political organizing and donations, by and large.

          some times it matters for local races or state races as well.

  •  I live in NM-03, Ben Ray Lujan's district. (7+ / 0-)

    Wit the exception of Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Farmington (Rio Rancho and Farmington are Republican) the district is extremely rural and heavily Democratic. The only area where many people rent would be Santa Fe. My County, which is over 70% Democratic is made up of ranchers, 4-7 persons per square mile.

    I guess we don't fit your model.

    I didn't understand your very first table. Can you explain it for us non-math speakers?

    Thank you for the analysis!

    And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! -Leonard Cohen .................@laurenreichelt

    by TheFatLadySings on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:30:44 PM PDT

    •  Correlations (6+ / 0-)

      are measured from 1 to -1.  1 implies the strongest relationship.  For example, being Black and voting Democrat would have a correlation pretty close to 1.  On the other hand, being evangelical would be pretty close to -1.

      Hope that helps.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:01:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  non-math explanation of first table (5+ / 0-)

      We are trying to determine what numbers are predictive.  Imagine a variable that means nothing at all, say electric vs gas stoves (no idea if it is actually true).  I can tell you the number in all districts and then the math has no correlation.  It would give you a zero.

      Now, imagine a variable that has everything to do with it and is perfectly predictive.  Lets call it percent of voters for the Democratic congressional contestant in two way vote.  This variable would accurately predict which districts are D and R everytime, the greater the percentage the more likely the D wins until you fall below 50%, then Republicans win.  This variable gives you a 1.  The Republican opposite (voters for R cong ect) would yield a -1.  This number perfectly predicts voting because, surprise, it is voting.

      Statisticians look for the variables where the math yields as close to 1 or -1 as possible.  I'm not 100% remembering but I think that .1 to -.1 are effectively seen as zero.  So that chart is the five strongest variables eachway rated from strongest to weakest.  So renters is the strongest variable from the census data, beating out even white voters, despite being imperfect.

      •  Look at linear combinations not single variates (0+ / 0-)

        Variables may be relatively more highly correlated than others, but not necessarily predictive.  Yes, it seem counter-intuitive, but keep in mind that all such variables are likely to be proxies for the latent, underlying variable that you seek.  

        From your data, it is clear that you really have NO highly correlated variables (an r value of .8 or higher would be generally regarded as strong in most studies dealing with organisms).

        You would do much better to understand the associations among combinations of your variables and then target those populations that best fit that particular combination of co-variates.  

        What you are saying you want to do is to perform discriminant functions analysis or alternatively principal components analysis to better understand the latent variables of most interest, which are in this case far more relevant to the prediction of democrats than any of your variables alone in a series of multiple uni-variate analyses.  This will be especially true if you fail to correct for experiment wise error (the more tests you perform the greater the probability that you will reject a true null hypothesis by chance alone; if you set alpha at 0.05 then 5 out of 100 such tests should be expected to reject the null hypothesis of no difference by chance alone).  

        Use Dunn-Bonferroni or Sheffe tests when multiple comparisons are being made, unless you can a priori identify a smaller number of tests, in which case Fisher's Protected Least Significant Difference Method or Bryant Paulson's modification of Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference Method, all of which can be used for multivariate designs.

        Discriminant functions analysis provides you with at linear combination of variables that provides the greatest prediction.  Principal components analysis would provide you that linear combination of variables that explains the most variance in the sample.

    •  I'll give it a try. (6+ / 0-)

      "Correlation" means that, after many different measurements, it becomes apparent that there is a relationship between two different types of measurement.  The mathematical "correlation" is a measure of how strongly these two types of measurements are related to each other.  Its value can range from +1.0 to -1.0.  If correlation is positive, then as one measurement increases, so does the other.  If the correlation is negative, then as one measurement increases, the other decreases.  The larger the (absolute) value, the stronger the correlation.  If the correlation is zero, then there really isn't any kind of relationship between the two measurements.

      In the very first table, one of the measurements here is always the percentage of votes for the Democratic Congressional candidate in the 2012 election.  The other measurements are the percentages of people who are renters;  who are white;  who are 25-34, and so on.  We see that the largest positive correlation (0.59) with people voting Democratic is for people who rent.  So, districts that have a lot of renters tend to send Democrats to Congress.  On the other hand, the largest negative correlation with voting Democratic (-0.58) is with the percentage of white people in the district.  So, the whiter the district, the more likely the Congressional Representative is a Republican.

      I hope this helps.

      -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

      by gizmo59 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:12:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't be too sure (6+ / 0-)


      Look at Española, Chama, Pecos, most of rural Rio Arriba county, Ojo Calliente, Truchas, Taos, and Questa for examples. Most of those people are renters, not in apartments but in all those adobe casas and trailers.   Santa Fe is too damm expensive for renters anymore.  

      If I remember correctly that district is mostly Democratic until you get east of the Pecos, then it turns into the Plains farmland.  I will say, having grown up there, Northern New Mexico is different, everyone talks politics, and pays attention to what is going on.  

      ... the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." - Carl Schurz; Oct. 17, 1899

      by NevDem on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:30:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I vote in NM-02, which is not too different. Lots (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, TheFatLadySings

      of sparsely populated areas, but more Republican than northern NM. You guys have done a great job of electing progressive Dems and meanwhile we're stuck with that jackass Steve Pearce. I'll jump for joy if/when he's deposed.

      The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

      by Hanging Up My Tusks on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:36:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  difference (3+ / 0-)

        seems to be higher citizenship rates among Hispanics, and lots of Native Americans too.  NM-02 Has lots of Hispanics, but not many vote.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:52:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In northern NM the Hispanics tend to be (6+ / 0-)

          descendants of the old Spanish land grant families who settled the area long ago. In southern NM, the population tends to be Mexican and more recently arrived in the state. You're right about Native Americans; they're predominantly in the northern half of the state. My observation of sameness was essentially that the entire state has huge areas with little population.

          I remember visiting OH relatives as a child and thinking that every 10 miles there would be another small town, whereas in NM you might go 50+ miles before reaching another town. Lots of wide open spaces, punctuated by spectacular skies.

          The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

          by Hanging Up My Tusks on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:10:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The previous commenters (3+ / 0-)

      have already, collectively, done a good job of explaining it, but, yes, the left column is the five variables that are most strongly associated with voting Democratic (at the House level), and the right column is the five variables most strongly associated with not voting Democratic. 1 or -1 indicates the strongest possible relationship; 0 indicates no relationship at all.

      So the fact that nothing here goes far beyond 0.5 or -0.5 shows that none of these are especially strong relationships in terms of actually predicting voter behavior (as some other stats-minded commenters have correctly pointed out, elsewhere in this thread), but they do at least point us in the right direction and get the conversation started.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:35:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I see we're (IL-14) number 1 in something! (6+ / 0-)

    Depending on which end of the list you start, of course.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:32:32 PM PDT

    •  IL-14 (0+ / 0-)

      covering the world's best farmland with generic subdivisions.

      IL-10 to IL-07 by way of -09, -17 and -18.

      by GaleForceBurg on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:09:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True as that is, it's too harsh (0+ / 0-)

        The tri-cities still have a certain character -- much as St. Charles is doing everything it can to eliminate anything that might be interesting.

        I believe the city has a special patrol that seeks out opportunities to replace anything wonderful with big ugly condos.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 03:59:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a well-kept secret: (3+ / 0-)

    We're all renters in one way or another.

    There are two classes in this country: The Owners and the Workers.  And the Owners are constantly finding ways to get the Workers to pay them "rent."

    Whether it is interest on mortgages or tax dollars funneled to private corporations or a million other ways, we are constantly paying "rent" to the Owners.

    Republican masses, it seems, are working class loyalists to the Owners.  

    Democratic party members see that the Owners are abusing the workers and try to change it.  The problem is that Democratic party officials and leading politicians are all Owners too.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:33:24 PM PDT

    •  Paid Off Mortgage = Renter? (0+ / 0-)

      29.3% of homeowners are fully paid off and truly own their homes. How are they renters?

      Taxpaid corporate welfare is bad, but how is it rent?

      Aren't the million other ways you reference also not rent?

      Yes, America has owners and workers. But "wage slavery" doesn't equal "rent". It's a bad metaphor, because the actual rents (obvious and otherwise) are their own different problem.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:50:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  rent-seeking behavior is not limited to houses. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        Anytime you pay to use someone else's property can be rent.

        Patents are a form of rent.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:38:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, exactly. Any excess value paid is rent. (0+ / 0-)

          We pay rent to monopolies due to the excess prices they are able to charge due to their monopoly position.  

          Who benefits from monopoly profits?  

          The Owners. The top of the 1%. We pay them rent in many ways.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:07:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

          You're correct in your definition of rent.

          But not all rent is bad. Many who don't buy could buy, but use it anyway - so they rent. Not all rent is unjust: the owners work and spend to make and keep it rentable.

          Yes, some form of rent is unjust. Like patents: they're an artificial monopoly created by the government. The overriding of free expression by patents is justified in the Constitution on 18th Century economics, which is probably wrong for a lot of patents, especially on intangible inventions (like software, and certainly ideas like business processes). And then it's perverted beyond even the original justification of promoting progress by protecting a chance to return on investment for a limited time - the time when limited is far longer than necessary, and the time is often unlimited. Copyright is even worse, especially in its unlimited renewals. These monopolies protect unlimited profits, not progress. The rent they enable is unjust and counterproductive.

          But lots of rent is not unjust. And as I said, people whose mortgages are paid off are not renters.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:51:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You confuse "rent for a place to live" as the (0+ / 0-)

        sole view of "rent."

        Owners extract rent from Workers in many ways. You don't think taxing the poor to transfer that money to the rich is not rent?  Well, that's ok with me.  I'm not going argue with you.

        But there is another way of viewing it:  

        The concept of economic rent can be generalised as an unearned income and need not apply to physical land.
        The wealthy profit most from the beneficial conditions provided by public infrastructure, yet every trickle-down tax cut leads to the working people paying for more and the wealthy less.  That's unearned income too - profiting from an infrastructure which delivers to the owners, yet charges the workers to build it.

        There are many other ways of describing rent.  Still paying property taxes on your mortgage-free home?  Who benefits the most from those?  There may be a difference between red states and blue states.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:05:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's Not Rent (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          Rent is not merely any "unearned income". In fact, plenty of rent is earned. Who paid to build that house I used to rent? Not me. Who paid to renovate it when I moved in, and fixed the plumbing? Who bought the oil, maintained the boiler? In fact, who bought it and raised their family in it when the neighborhood was so bad even I wouldn't have lived there, and I've lived in some pretty bad places? Not me - my landlord did. Since I didn't, and I wanted to live there, I had to pay rent. That rent wasn't unearned: the landlord took risks for years, and did work himself, both on the house and to get money to pay other workers, including recruiting and managing me.

          That's pure rent, and it's not unearned.

          There's other rent than that, including on residences and other real estate, that isn't as well earned. But the point is simply that "unearned income" isn't a good definition of rent.

          Rent is the cost of using something that you don't own. Earned or not, though if you don't own it the rent is earned by the owner because they own it and let you use it at your discretion. Only if someone expropriates property from you and rents it back could the rent be unearned, but it's the expropriation that's wrong. The rent is just a perverse consequence that underscores the wrongness of the expropriation.

          Taxes are not rent, either. The case of paying for the use of a country you don't "own" is not rent, because in fact you do own it. Just jointly with so many that you don't directly control it. You have to pay for its operations. Property taxes are pretty arbitrary, since they're based on old calculations of the productive value of the property that haven't been valid for at least several generations. But they're not rent. They're the shared cost of the shared property.

          Even though the cost of the property includes paying the people who disproportionately control the shared property. It's still not rent.

          The workers who build it are not charged to build it. They're paid to build it. They do also pay to have it built, but that payment is by definition a fraction of what they're paid to do anything, a fraction of the fraction that is the tax fraction of their income.

          Yes, our tax system is unjust, taxing people more who work more, rather than taxing the capitalists who might or might not work as much but who do get more out of the system, financially and otherwise. Yes, economics have forced more property into the hands of fewer owners, while more people rent what they use instead of owning it. But not all rent is unjust; not all rent is involuntary or the only or best choice; and not all unjust economics is rent.

          As I said, paid-off home owners are not renters, even though they might pay taxes. They might even rent things like cars, but most do so because they don't get the value out of the property that makes the overhead of actually buying (and even maybe reselling) it worthwhile. Some people would be better off buying what they rent, but don't - but most have the choice, and don't take it.

          So I'm not going to just call economic injustice "rent" and stop thinking. The real problem is the bigotry and preferentiality of credit that's based on factors other than demonstrated risk of repayment. Many who rent can't get loans to buy, though they're lower risks than others who get loans. That's a bigger, more root problem than the renting.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:46:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is an entire branch of economics (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skibum59

            devoted to economic rent.

            You insist on tying it to property, but we are all in fact paying rent to the owners, regardless of having a mortgage or not on a house, owning a car outright or not, etc.

            It seems we are on different levels regarding the use of the word.

            Consider that bank profits are almost entirely taxpayer money.  

            The banks own this government and extract rent from us. You might not like the use of the word, but what happens to us if we refuse to pay the rent?  Off to (debtors) prison! How does "owning your home" save you from that?  

            It doesn't because you owe rent, regardless.

            Please see: Why the Rich Act the Way They Do - about economic rent.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:48:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's Not Rent (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              YucatanMan

              There is indeed a lot of talk about "rent". There is a lot of economics in there. A lot of economics, not just in this rent talk, is just talk - no value, no real sense. Our economy is managed by legions of economists whose quality is reflected in the terrible state it's been in for generations.

              You point at "Why the Rich Act the Way They Do" as explaining "rent". Well, that points to "rent seeking behavior" for its definition of "rent seeking behavior", which in turn points to a Wikipedia article "rent-seeking". That article is not about the rent itself, but about the political economics of rent seeking: eg. bribing Congress to require people pay someone else without people deriving value from that someone else. It's about the bribing, not even about the payment without getting value. BTW, that article also says

              A simple definition of rent seeking is spending resources in order to gain by increasing one's share of existing wealth, instead of trying to create wealth. The net effect of rent-seeking is to reduce total social wealth, because resources are spent and no new wealth is created.

              Which is false, because the resources spent are paid to someone else, so the net "social wealth" (undefined, but evidently just net wealth) is the same, not less. So that whole article is both riddled with bad economics (and invalid logic), and an irrelevant derivative of the actual topic, rent. That's not rent, and building a series of DKos articles on it as the basis for an argument delivers a dwelling in which I wouldn't let my understanding live, even if offered free.

              Now it turns out that in your latest comment you made the distinction of economic rent. Which makes it clear that you are simply conflating two kinds of rent: economic and contract. All the rent I have described is contract rent, the default meaning of  renting. That is simply payment for use of property one doesn't themself own.

              If you want to use Wikipedia as your definitions, you'll have to stick close to

              Economic rent typically describes the difference between the amount paid for the inputs to a production process and the amount that would be paid for those inputs assuming a unitary (or greater) elasticity of supply.

              Economic rents use control of the resource to drive its price beyond the cost of its use to its owners. It's artificial pressure on the supply/demand ratio. It sounds unfair, but it is the basis of all profit, including the inconvenience of finding and negotiating with yet another supplier. While profit is any retained exercisable value beyond mere bare subsistence.

              So yes, some economic rents are unfair. And they lead to rent seeking, which is inherently economically unfair. And indeed we all are subject to many economic rents when we interact with our economy, which even paid off mortgage holders do, and indeed all taxes are economic rents.

              But:
              1. That is not the rent I have been talking about in specific terms, which you have been saying is economic rent. The rent you're referring to is not the rent I have been. And your rent is quite obscure compared to my rent.

              2. Not all economic rents are either unfair, or unnecessary, or incompatible with progressive values. Taxes are progressive - when they're progressive, meaning some are, meaning some economic rent is progressive.

              So owning your home protects you from contract rent, as I said (though I didn't specify "contract", because that is the common meaning of "rent" when talking about home ownership, and what I described is "contract").

              Nothing protects anyone from economic rent. And not all of it is unjust. Unless you're comparing to say a pure communist or pure libertarian society, which you might as well compare to Oz or some other magical place.

              I think we disagree only in semantics. But the distinctions between economic rent and contract rent, and even moreso between economic rent and rent-seeking, are important. Conflating them sees us disagreeing, or not even comprehending each other.

              Maybe if we can get the respective terms applied properly to their respective definitions we can finds something worth disagreeing about :).

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:22:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, we agree. Almost always, actually! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DocGonzo

                I think the Owners are always conspiring to squeeze more money from the Working people in every way possible.  

                The times we live in are not so economically different from Feudalism.   The serfs pledge allegiance to their giant corporations (lords) and the lords pay as little as possible. Currently corporations hold record profits and record amounts of cash on hand, but there have been precious few raises in wages.

                Small business and independent workers all are beholding to banks and suppliers, which all end up being Owners in the final analysis (Owners are those very few people who do not have to work for a living.  They live only upon the rents they collect whether interest on loans they've given, investments, actual real estate, etc)

                I don't think I'm stopping my thinking. I just see it as a different perspective regarding "rent."

                Of course, I agree with you as to real property, but I also think it carries on to "economic rent" which is money transferred from the working class to the ownership class in my view.  

                For over 30 years, policy has intentionally funneled money to the owners.  That is what has to change, but there is no sign that it is going to.  After watching video of Obama's neoliberal economics speech, I'm sorta depressed.

                "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                by YucatanMan on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 10:16:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  More Mutual Correction (0+ / 0-)

                  Yes, we're on the  same side. I appreciate a dialectic argument: hones both the point and the sharpening tools.

                  I suppose that "economic rent" is "rent" since it's a cost paid to someone else who controls what's rented, and it's "economic" since it's a consequence of the economics (eg. a labor monopoly or a government tarrif increasing costs down the line), that's "economic rent". But that is so different from "contract rent" that economists should use a word different from "rent", and any modifier not as redundant as "economic". Semantics is not negligible when it confuses.

                  BTW, why "YucatanMan"?

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:36:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yucatan! I'm there much of the time. (0+ / 0-)

                    And soon, perhaps, full time.   Not Cancun or any of the crazy and crazy-priced resort towns.  (A Ben& Jerry's ice cream is more expensive in Cancun than New York City).

                    Over in the opposite, sane and violence-free corner of the peninsula is the capital of Yucatan.  One million people, strong city services, excellent health care.

                    And then, the Maya.  And history. And no cold winters. and.....

                    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                    by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 02:09:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yucatan (0+ / 0-)

                      I spent an equinox in Chichen Itza, and I honeymooned in Tulum, had a gravitational hallucination on the beach at Progreso. Never bothered with Cancun. I banged around Merida with a middle aged character out of a Jimmy Buffet song who claimed his father had been governor for a long time. Yucatan is my favorite part of Mexico.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:06:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. There's a top of the front page story (0+ / 0-)

            about this right now which is related:  Market didn't redistribute wealth upward, it was deliberate policy

            For example, trade policy was quite explicitly intended to place segments of the U.S. workforce in direct competition with low paid workers in Mexico, China and other developing countries. The predicted and actual result of this policy has been to push down the wages the bottom 50-70 percent of the workforce to the benefit of those at the top. [...]
            Unearned income.
            The government has also helped management against labor by having laws that asymmetrically punish workers and management. If workers have a strike that is ruled illegal, the case can immediately go into court and the leaders of the strike can be thrown in jail. By contrast, when management breaks the law to prevent workers from organizing, the case goes to the National Labor Relations Board, where it can be dragged out for months or even years. Management will almost never face imprisonment as a result of its lawbreaking.
            Unearned income.
            In the last three decades the government has allowed banks to merge and grow large enough so that they enjoy an implicit guarantee from the government. This guarantee provides a subsidy to the big banks that has been estimated to be as large as $80 billion a year.
            Unearned income.

            Who pays the costs and who benefits?  
            Rent is money extracted to pay the cost and Ownership benefits.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 09:01:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  My district is an abomination (5+ / 0-)

    The Maryland 3rd, the most gerrymandered district in the country - gerrymandered by Democrats, six blocks wide and about 125 miles long adding together its several tentacles.  I have no idea how you could collect data from such an abomination.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:33:25 PM PDT

    •  If there were any Constitutional Amendment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Navy Vet Terp

      raised in the modern era, which would have the most impact - and still be desired by and supported by a vast majority of ALL VOTERS, even the TBagRs, I think....

      Congressional districts should be, so far as is possible, roughly rectangular in shape and hold about 750K to 800K population.

      This would throw all the damned Gerrymandering out the window in one fell swoop. It would then reflect the actual desire of the voters - because the Districts would reflect the actual voters and not the desires of the politicians running in them.

      For Democrats, of course, it would be a big winner - because the younger population is trending Democratic in large measures due to social issues which they support (marriage equality, 14th Amendment rights for all classes of Americans and not just some, progressive taxation for federal purposes).

      Imagine if the Democrats took up this issue for the 2014 election cycle:

      Voters - have you seen how past politician have rigged elections via Gerrymandering? Drawing District lines so as to include neighbors they like and toss out ones they don't? LET's STOP this practice and support a Constitutional Amendment which provides Equal Access to representation which best reflects the populations of our Districts!


      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

      by Angie in WA State on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:27:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NO! (8+ / 0-)

        "Congressional districts should be, so far as is possible, roughly rectangular in shape and hold about 750K to 800K population."

        NO! This would create strongly unrepresentative districts that benefit Republicans. See http://www.dailykos.com/...

        It's impossible to create a legislature that doesn't systemically under-represent Democrats unless you have relatively ugly districts that split up cities.

        Otherwise you just have nice square Urban districts where Obama gets 80% of the vote, and all the other districts are at a great 45% Obama sweet spot.

        •  why geography (0+ / 0-)

          Sometimes I wonder why we're completely stuck on geography as a way to divide up representation.  How about dividng the population by age, so if there's 3 districts, then the lower third, middle third, and upper third of age ranges each get their own rep.

          I'm still mad about Nixon.

          by J Orygun on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:01:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Just because a district looks pretty... (5+ / 0-)

        Doesn't make it representative of the population it represents. Aesthetic appeal should never be a requirement of redistricting.

        Actually, if you really want to eliminate gerrymandering, either do pure proportional representation, or create multi-member districts, where you don't have to care about districts being equal and are simply allotted by how many people are in those districts (not sure if it would be constitutional though).

        Politics and more Formerly DGM on SSP. NM-01, 26 (chairman of the Atheist Caucus)

        by NMLib on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:00:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  However, not breaking county lines, etc (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronx59, Angie in WA State

          can be a very good idea.

          Most of the gerrymandering maps that I've seen have no need to have crazy shapes.  Counties that reliably vote 60+% to one party nonetheless get split.

          Just lowering the number of intrusions into various sub-district political units would be a big win.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:41:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Multi-member districts (0+ / 0-)

          I remember when I was a teen in the 1960's (yes I was a political junkie even then) and the courts declared Maryland's state legislative districts unconstitutional.  The House of Delegates districts hadn't been redrawn in decades and each county got the same number of state senators - rural counties on the Eastern Shore had the same number of senators as Baltimore City or Baltimore County.

          The result, until post 1970 reapportionment, was that most of the districts in Baltimore City and the adjacent suburbs in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties had seven representatives.  When there are 30 or 40 names on a ballot and you are asked to choose 7 and you don't know who all but 2 or 3 of these people are, that, IMO, is not very Democratic.

          Since then, the most populated urban and suburban districts elect 3 delegates, and 1 senator.

          "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

          by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:05:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

            In my perfect world, people would vote by party and the party would select the slate of candidates. Providing that you have ideologically cohesive parties, this would be the most democratic way to do it (as ultimately it's a lot easier to just look up a party's platform). It seems to me that individual-based elections for legislators is kinda stupid, so long as you have ideologically cohesive political parties.

            Politics and more Formerly DGM on SSP. NM-01, 26 (chairman of the Atheist Caucus)

            by NMLib on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:22:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  God no (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Englishlefty, skibum59

        1) Partisanship aside, people don't live in rectangles. Like population groups spread out in weird tendrils, following rivers, highways, lakes, whim.

        2) From a partisan perspective, GOD NO. Take Illinois. IL-13 (currently a swing district) is butt-ugly. If you were to draw the area in even rectangles you'd get several Republican districts as you'd get nice boxes containing a single Democratic leaning city and then a ton of dark Red countryside.

        About half of the Republican advantage in 2012 came from their maps, the other half came from the propensity of Democrats to naturally gerrymander themselves.

        IL-10 to IL-07 by way of -09, -17 and -18.

        by GaleForceBurg on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:07:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  renters aren't terrified of property taxes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp, Odysseus

    The non-crazy-racist anti-tax section of the Republican Party demographic is probably motivated by an ingrained fear and hatred of property taxes. That is, suburban semi-rural homeowners who feel, rightly or wrongly, that they are carrying the weight of the urban centers with spiraling property taxes. This is why the national Republicans know they have a winner with a "no taxes, ever" because the Democrats are too wishy washy (sold out? different thread) to make a statewide argument that a fairer Federal / corporate / capital gains tax rate could be ... uh ... trickled down (?) to alleviate state property taxes.

    To fight this fight the progressives are going to have to put making the social safety net and poverty programs much more efficient on front and center as well as defending them and make a coherent argument for "speculators taxes" and a fairer tax rate.

    Where Occupy got it wrong (well, one of the many areas) was the idea of "the 1%" - it's a bad meme. It's either, per Krugman, "the .1%" - that is Wall St excess, or, more depressing but more realistic, it's the 25% who aren't in the top 5% but got theirs and don't want to be taxed to pay for things like bottom 30% healthcare or housing or jobs programs.

    Until the Democrats can make a credible argument that they aren't going to overtax the suburban home owner - worth mid/high 6 figures asset but not income - the Republicans will always play this card (as the rest of their culture war cards are getting stale)

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:36:12 PM PDT

    •  That's a misnomer (9+ / 0-)

      because renters do, in fact, pay property taxes.  The tax rate the owner pays is a factor in determining the cost of rent.  

      The big difference, though, is that the owner gets to deduct the property taxes from their income while renters in most states simply eat the cost without getting to deduct it.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:57:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  electorally, however, you're wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bluemeanies, Odysseus

        Renters can, and do, move. Suburban homeowners feel their property devalued by spiraling property taxes. It isn't, but they feel it in their wallet.

        For instance, I don't own a car but I technically pay a gasoline tax as just about everything I buy is shipped by truck. However if the Feds decided to raise the gas tax - which I'd be in favor of from a green standpoint - I wouldn't immediately feel it, I wouldn't feel singled out.

        From an electoral standpoint arguing that suburban homeowners should have a firmer grasp of macro economics is a non-starter as well. A misnomer to you is a Republican dominated political environment since Reagan to me. (because ... different thread ... I always thought of Clinton's triangulation and Obama's HCR as old style not crazy Republican lite)

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:16:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  well the tax deduction (0+ / 0-)

        also affects the cost of rent just like the tax itself.

        That quote about GDP by Robert Kennedy

        by erichiro on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:26:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But property taxes are local. (0+ / 0-)

      And, in any case, I'm not sure that's true.

      I know TONS of Repubs who moved to the burbs for the schools and their tax rates are much higher than us in the city.

      Maybe they figure property taxes is all they should pay?

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:21:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but that doesn't stop grousing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jgnyc

        Owners care more about property taxes because they are more aware of property taxes.  When a tax is invisible, or included in the sticker, it is much easier not to think about it.  Property owners receive a bill.  It might not determine their location choice but having to actively pay it makes them more likely to think of it and wish they had that money.

        •  exactly - they've been sold all taxes bad (0+ / 0-)

          Unless the Dems start making the case for tax reform that ... trickles down ... the House is always going to be a problem.

          If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

          by jgnyc on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:34:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You Got It Wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      birdboy2000

      Renters pay property taxes - in their rent. Where else do the property owners get the money to pay the property tax?

      And OWS getting "the 1%" wrong? That's the part they got most right. Now everyone in America knows we're talking about the uppermost class, a tiny minority, that's extremely privileged over the 99%, the vast majority, in a democracy that's supposed to rule by majority. The specific percentage doesn't matter: nobody thinks it's exactly 99:1, and most of us get that it's more overwhelming than that. And if you don't think the 1%, who collect upwards of $340K income a year, are more part of the problem than those plagued by it, you've got a lot more wrong about OWS.

      You probably also think that OWS not producing leaders or demands was wrong. What makes you an expert on what OWS should have done more right? What revolutions have you pulled off?

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:55:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so I don't get to have an opinion? (0+ / 0-)

        I think OWS was/is fine but have opinions about what went right and wrong. And I'm certainly not convinced that it was the "movement that changed everything". Sorry if that hurts your feelings.

        And what have you personally accomplished lately? Just asking. I thought the meme was wrong then, was vocal about it, I think it's wrong now. You have a problem with that? Smash the state and I'll get back to you.

        Expecting suburban homeowners to internalize macro economics is kind of not happening. They, rightly or IMO wrongly, buy the "all taxes bad" jive that has been sold to them since Reagan. That's my point that it's not THE ONE PERCENT. It's the 25 +/- percent who got theirs and don't feel any common cause with the bottom 30 percent. If the focus is Wall St all the time that crew might be reached. Strangely that's coming out of some conservative blocks now and the center right Dems might miss the boat. The usual suspects of the left - that would include Occupy - are demographically much too small. The rest of the country perceived the movement correctly as the serial protestors. 30% of this country is far right and wants nothing to do with any of that. Sorry.

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:33:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You Have a Lot of Wrong Opinions (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't say it was the movement that changed everything.

          I also didn't say you don't get to have an opinion. I just said your opinion is wrong.

          And you didn't hurt my feelings. You're good at being wrong.

          So you go on being wrong:

          Suburban homeowners don't "internalize macroeconomics"? I'm a suburban homeowner, I'm in that 25% you're attacking, and I don't know about "internalize", but I don't think "all taxes bad". Neither did a lot of us who voted for Obama and higher taxes. This diary actually says that there was no correlation of a district's median income with the party of who its voters voted to represent them. You are so wrong.

          OWS was not "the serial protestors". I was down there myself, and I'm not a serial protestor. Neither were the majority of people down there, including several on DKos who became fairly high profile because of it. You are wrong again.

          BTW, your sig disagrees with your opposition to OWS.

          Then you say OWS is counterproductive because "30% of the country is far right". Your logic says that if it's not acceptable to the far right, or to the rightmost 30%, then it's not happening. HA! I'm not going to bother explaining how that's wrong.

          You are so totally wrong about everything you're spouting. Yes, you're entitled to think those things. Indeed, you're entitled to be wrong.

          But you're not entitled to shoot your mouth off in public with your wrong opinions without being challenged. You're wrong. If you had any sense you'd keep it to yourself.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:29:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're wrong (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryduck

            You may be a homeowner (or not, this is the internet) but the electoral history since 1980 is on the side of my argument. Reagan and on have sold all "taxes" as "evil". Still going on as we speak. Dems (and this is a Dem, not OWS, site) have paid a big price for not enunciating tax fairness.

            This wasn't supposed to be yet another thread with the valiant warriors of Occupy but ...

            It's been generally accepted, including some strange academic study, that not only was OWS the "serial protestors" but that is how the general public perceived it. I'm basing many my opinions on living walking distance from the W in OWS. I was also there. < 1000 people in a city of 8 1/2 million. A half a block away downtown going on as usual. Ipads on one side and meth deals on the other. And that was a general media assessment as well. Having been to lots of demonstrations - including labor on Broadway that didn't get anywhere near the media bubble - I stand by my statement - and the academic study - that says "serial protestors" (I include myself over the decades)

            My point about the 30% being far right is they look at a bunch of (us) hippies and say "You're not the 99%". Had this discussion outside of New York City with some Republican (and Independent which seemed to mean voting Democrat but not in public) friends. Even the sympathetic (working class) Republican was very adamant that some yuppies with ipads and street people in Zuccotti didn't represent him or his community. He may have been sympathetic to the idea of Wall St out of control but that's not the message he or his community was getting from OWS.

            So you're wrong. And if you're going to be wrong in a comment thread try to stick to the original argument.

            If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

            by jgnyc on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:32:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're Still Wrong (0+ / 0-)

              So you live in Wall Street and your Republican out of towner friend agrees with you that OWS was just a bunch of yuppies with iPads who all go to all the other protests.

              Sounds like you're just projecting.

              Because for one, "all the other protests" aren't filled with "yuppies with iPads". That's not even the corporate media story, which is that the "serial protestors" are all commies, at best college professors and students, not yuppies with iPads. It's a simple contradiction, though I expect that's indeed what Fox News portrayed it as in stories mutually exclusive from each other's meaning - and from the truth. And I expect that's where your Republican friend gets their news, or at least what they repeat in public with people "not  from here" like you, because that's where people like that get their news and their need to hide how they actually vote.

              For another, OWS wasn't just a bunch of yuppies with iPads. There were lots of college age and somewhat younger people down there to speak out about what Wall Street had just done to their chances of being a yuppie with an iPad, or anything else. There were also plenty of the permanently disenfranchised, who saw an unusual chance to maybe get their lives on the radar of the public in that extraordinary event.

              The mass media recognized this was a broad cross-section of society engaged in an unusual display, not the "every protest with the usual suspects" that the mass media long ago completely ignored (despite the public relevance of any given protest). That's why OWS got so much coverage, and spread to so many other places. Until the mass media directors realized that the spread threatened their incumbency, and then the security forces that protect their incumbency started beating the OWS people, so the cameras and the "this is new" story had to stop.

              So you're wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

              You were also wrong when you said:
              * I said it was the movement that changed everything.
              * I said you don't get to have an opinion.
              * You hurt my feelings, in a really primitive attempt to win while being really wrong.
              * Suburban homeowners don't "internalize macroeconomics" and "think taxes bad".

              Even your sig thinks you're wrong.

              And now you're criticize me for "not sticking to the original argument". I am sticking to it. But chasing down the various spurious factors you introduced so you could work on being wrong about everything requires some flexibilty. I guess your whining about my chasing your tangents goes along with your equating my saying you're wrong with saying you can't have an opinion.

              So here's the core of the argument:
              54% of Americans said they approve of Occupy Wall Street when polled just before last year's presidential election. That's over a quarter more than approved of Obama, who won reelection handily the next month, and people trusted to run the country for another 4 years.

              You're wrong about everything. And you're getting boring to demonstrate as wrong. At least be wrong in a more interesting way if you want to keep getting these free corrections.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:44:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  walking distance son (0+ / 0-)

                I'm rent stabilized on the island of Manhattan.

                I was in Z park on and off and know what I saw. FWIW friends are still involved on the other coast and doing good stuff well bellow the radar.

                The rest of your screed isn't worth responding to. You're not a "home owner", you're a generic blog warrior. Fight on.

                If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

                by jgnyc on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:58:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Where Occupy got it wrong. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jgnyc

      I disagree.  

      Occupy got it wrong by wasting time occupying places other than the ballot box.  Marching in the street, occupying buildings, parks, etc. isn't going to do the trick.  What is needed is targeted occupation of marginal red districts with excess dems from blue districts, who show up to vote in numbers.  

      If this were begin to happen in substantial numbers, all of a sudden a lot of GOP reps in blue states would become "reasonable".  The irony is that in many cases this could be achieved by only moving a few thousand a few miles from one's present location, if the movement were organized enough.

      The entire concept would scare the bejezzus out of gerrymandered "safe" GOP reps.

      •  interesting but not sure about mechanics (0+ / 0-)

        > targeted occupation of marginal red districts with excess dems from blue districts

        That's either voter fraud or everyone moving. After 2004 it was joked that a lot of New York City should move to a much smaller state that also had two Senators so our votes would count more.

        I don't have any big ideas on beating the gerrymander. I'm hoping that the centrist Democrats in control of the Senate and WH have a plan. If so it's probably a game of inches but they won 2012 with a game of inches so ...

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:41:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need to get this to big-shots who target races (5+ / 0-)

    I used to be an intern at the DNC and the data they used to target races is not this advanced.  At least it wasn't when I was there.

    If we could get some of the top-ranking donors and strategists to read this article, it might make a real difference to the 2014.  Everybody send links from this article to anyone u can think of who is active in the democratic party!

    It's crazy NOT to complain to the Dems when they surrender. Why are we on this site, if not to influence policy? (202-456-1111 White House)

    by WanderMan on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:40:23 PM PDT

    •  Defeats the purpose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Englishlefty

      This is more of a poli-sci "Why do people vote the way they do" deal than a "How can we predict which districts are trending our way or which districts can we win?". There are much much better ways to answer those questions (Presidential vote results and party registration trends), and the DNC has that data, and much much more, at their disposal.

      The actual issue behind resource allocation isn't really a lack of smart guys at the party knowing where to spend the money, it's all political. Politicians in safe seats, who generally tend to be the ones collecting the money, are irrationally afraid of losing their seats, which is why giant sums of money were spent in New York in 2010 instead of swing seats.

      •  There *are* a lot of swing districts in New York (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davidshor, Odysseus, MichaelNY

        In 2010, 6 seats changed between parties (we lost all of them), and there were an additional 4 seats where the results were within 10 points.

        In 2012, there were 3 seats where the party changed, and an additional 5 races were within 10 points.

        Your first point is exactly correct, but your second point misses that a lot of swing districts happen to fall in safe states.

        Politics and more Formerly DGM on SSP. NM-01, 26 (chairman of the Atheist Caucus)

        by NMLib on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:56:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was talking about the Schumer race (0+ / 0-)

          Schumer specifically spent a ton of money on ads for Chuck Schumer in the expensive New York Media market. That's what I was complaining about.

          On the congressional side, you see a lot of politicians in D+8 or D+10 seats who still run major campaigns even though that doesn't make sense at all if you're trying to maximize your chance of controlling the chamber.

  •  Can you share your dataset? (4+ / 0-)

    I'm interested in replacing "Controlled by Democrat" with "Democratic vote share", and doing a stepwise or subset regression on the covariates.

  •  This was absolutely fascinating (4+ / 0-)

    I love stuff like this.  Thank you.

    20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    politicohen.com
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

    by jncca on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:59:06 PM PDT

  •  I guess I should be a Repub. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch

    Except that I hate rednecks.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:17:02 PM PDT

  •  Some college includes trade schoolers, accountants (0+ / 0-)

    and groups like this. Many of the men in this group are very much Republican leaning.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:18:33 PM PDT

  •  About predictability .... (0+ / 0-)

    The correlation coeeficient doesn't speak directly to predictability.  There is always, except for perfect correlations of 1 or -1, some variability.  For a sense of predictability, then, what you want to know is how much of that variability you can account for by your measures.  In other words, how much does the % of renters account for whether a district votes Democratic or Republican.

    The measure to use to answer that kind of question is the square of the correlation.  So, if the correlation for % renters is 0.59, then you can account for 35% of the variance in Dem voting districts by knowing the % renters (i.e., .59 X .59).  For age, the highest correlation was .43 so age accounts for 18% of the variance (variability) in which party control a district.  When looked at in this way, the relationships are not as impressive.  However, that doesn't mean that targeting certain populations couldn't affect things on the margins, but just that those margins might be quite small.

    And it's worth repeating that correlations do not speak to causation.  Is there a higher % of renters in Dem districts because Dems tend to rent or because Dems are attracted to places with lots of rental property?

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:21:33 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, David, for this post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    I love analysis like this and suspect others do, too. This is the stuff I live for and why I'm a political junkie. More, more!

    The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

    by Hanging Up My Tusks on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:31:22 PM PDT

  •  Good Democrats? Or More Democrats? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    I dunno if renters make good Democrats. The top 5 renter districts are all Democrats: Serrano (D-NY-15), Rangel (D-NY-13), Velazquez (D-NY-07), Becerra (D-CA-34), Maloney (D-NY-12). But how good are they? Serrano is a leader in the Progressive Caucus. Rangel is a notoriously corrupt tool of big business coasting for decades on past relevance. Velasquez votes against banking regulation. Becerra was on Simpson/Bowles, the "Supercommittee" that gave us the Sequester and the committe that "solved" the Fiscal Cliff by making Bush Tax Cuts permanent. Maloney is the 114th most progressive congressmember, and mixes some good legislation with a long history overseeing intel and other "reforms" that remain out of control.

    That's a pretty mixed bag. While the people in those districts might be "good Democrats", they send to Congress over and over again people who are more definitely "Democrats" than reliably "good".

    I'm more interested in seeing the demographics that districts have in common who send the worst Democrats to Congress. Because political change in America comes from primary elections. They are the elections with the worst media vacuum. Therefore, they are the natural place for Daily Kos to focus its efforts to elect not just more, but better Democrats. Get representatives elected in primaries who represent their districts better than their incumbents, Republican or Democrat, and help them win the general on that basis.

    Yes, it's early. Primaries are just a year away. Now is the time to focus on the most effective work Daily Kos and its members can do.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:44:22 PM PDT

    •  Excellent Point (0+ / 0-)

      Progressives need to do better at controlling the primaries and hence the final political outcome.

      An examination of the census data in terms of searching for latent variables that turn out more progressive voters rather than simply democratic voters, would be far more helpful to reach the intended effect.  

      If one is going to look for progress its important not only to look at whether a candidate actually can be expected to promote progress but also at the rate at which such a direction once taken could lead to results.  Certainly conserva-dems are far better than republicans, but the trick is figuring out how to get change to occur at a faster pace.  One could die before one sees any progress at all otherwise.

  •  It's Not Just The Internet..... (0+ / 0-)

    Priebus wants to limit the number of debates, & he wants to pick the moderators.
    MSNBC offered commentary after their debates.  That's why they lost.....according to Prebibus.  

    They can't have their candidates debating in prime time anymore.  Someone may slip up & talk about self-deportation or the audience will boo a gay soldier serving in Iraq or clap loudly in agreement to letting a 30 year old w/ no insurance die.

    Or someone like Rick Perry will forget the top three government programs he wants to gut.  Or one of their candidates will make a $10,000.00 bet on air.

    Fewer debates equals less exposure.  

    Too late.....the country already knows what they stand for.  

  •  The key demographic to disenfranchise (0+ / 0-)

    The Rs need to do some serious disenfranchisement, and soon, if they are to avoid being swamped by the demographic tide.  Yet they can't get their controlled state leges to directly disenfranchise by race, both because of the XVth Amendment and because of publc opinion.

    But property qualifications for the franchise are clearly constitutional.  Most states had them in the beginning.  They got rid of them, but not because of any federal law or amendment that made states give up property qualifications.  Obviously, keeping the working poor from voting would be a huge benefit to the othe side.

    But if the courts can't keep the other side from having their red states do this, keep the working poor from voting, then public opinion would keep them from doing this.  All the states quit having property qualifications for voting because public opinion evolved, and made such laws unacceptable to a consensus of public opinion.

    Well, for one thing, that consensus has been broken.  It is now one of their memes that a big chunk of the electorate, the 47%, and all those urban voters, are moochers who cannot be trusted to vote in their country's interests because they are too busy voting their own interests in the continuation of the welfare state.  Restricting the franchise to keep it out of the hands of the moochers might be acceptable to their voters.

    Sure, doing anything against any group of potential voters is risky business.  You motivate them to go to the polls to throw you out.  But disenfranchisment is the one bad thing you can do to a voter that avoids this risk.  Successfully disenfranchising a big chunk of D voters could work.  But they would still much prefer that disenfranchising the poor not be baldly and openly a disenfranchisement of the poor.

    This is where disenfranchising apartment dwellers comes in.  It actually would work much, much better for them, as the post explains, than disenfranchising on the basis of income or property ownership levels, since the rural poor tend to vote for them.  But besides being the best discriminating factor to use to target an effective disenfranchisement, it's much better PR than targeting the working poor directly and openly, in those terms.

    The way they'll get at it will be as a voter fraud prevention issue.  They will vote in length of stable address as a criterion, perhaps combined with automatic registration of the addresses of home-owners, but a requirement that apartment dwellers jump through complicated and expensive hoops to confirm their place of residence.  Between those two sorts of measures, all but the wealthiest apartment dwellers, the one type of apartment dweller who migh vote R, could be effectivel disenfranchised -- all without the laws that accomplish the disenfranchisement having to say anything openly about taking away the vote based on wealth or income.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:46:00 PM PDT

    •  The states must be abolished. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins

      If the US were more homogeneous and the constitution not so constructed this might be something worth arguing for, but from a practical political perspective its very much a waste of time.  We need to play the hand we are dealt to the best of our ability, which shouldn't be that difficult given that the numbers are actually in democrats favor.  We need to better motivate democrats to more focused progressive goals that are more immediately achievable so that a momentum for progress can be established.

      Certainly mobilizing renters, should they actually prove to be a favorable demographic for dems, could be a good priority.  I have no problem with this as I am a landlord.  A healthy, fair, and stable rental market is good for landlords as well as renters.  We need to spend less time on the us versus them aspects and better sell progressive wares as the logically better alternative.

      •  We don't get to choose if there's a fight or not (0+ / 0-)

        We only get to choose whether to fight back or not.

        Politics isn't a cooperative venture.  One side wins and gets to implement the policies it thinks are best, while the other side has to suck eggs, at least until the next election.  Except that the other side has shown quite a bit of interest lately in insuring itself through disenfranchisement against having to pay any price at the next election for policies it seems to know will be horrible for most of us.

        Politics is nothing but us versus them.  We were spoiled after the New Deal destroyed the other side, by two generations of RINOs who didn't dare fight against the New Deal because FDR had so thoroughly beaten them into submission.  They gave up after they couldn't beat Truman with Dewey, and turned to a New Deal Democrat to switch parties and run as a RINO to save the party from total irrelevance.

        Those days are over.  Their side is no longer ashamed or afraid to declare that the New Deal and the Great Society are socialism that must be destroyed.  Two generations of fake bipartisanship are dead and gone, and our politics is back to being a fight.  Well, their side is fighting.  We seem to still imagine that, any day now, the other side will calm down and go back to being RINOs -- and all we have to do to make that happen is to not get too excited or too negative.  

        The states must be abolished.

        by gtomkins on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:29:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rob Woodall - 7th District (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    You have one error about Rob Woodall and changing demographics.   Although the 7th district includes PART of Gwinnett County, it also includes a big portion of Forsyth county.   Forsyth is still white, Red neck, tea party conservative.  It won't change any time soon.  

  •  As a resident of TX-24 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    I agree with you regarding the demographic changes. One of the reasons that I don't think this district will change is because it is surrounded almost entirely by the white Evangelical population, a large portion whom happen to be renters. Land and cheap apartments abound. Churches hold great influence in this area and the "don't mess with Texas" attitude runs strong. While there are bright spots for D's (Wendy Davis and Marc Veasy), it will be a long time IMO before the winds change here.

    "If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."-Thoreau

    by mishal817 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:20:50 PM PDT

  •  Converted to %, target Obama % for district (5+ / 0-)

    Coefficients:
                                   Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)    
    (Intercept)                     0.94121    0.13385   7.032 1.49e-11
    X5.to.9.years                  -1.58673    0.77414  -2.050 0.041305
    X10.to.14.years                -2.21591    0.79712  -2.780 0.005797
    X55.to.59.years                 2.17958    0.85947   2.536 0.011745
    Black                           0.66964    0.04377  15.300  < 2e-16
    Hawaiian..Pacific.Islander      3.85195    1.88095   2.048 0.041482
    Two.or.More.Races               1.87115    0.52947   3.534 0.000477
    Hispanic..any.race.             0.39078    0.04440   8.801  < 2e-16
    Renter.Occupied.Housing.Units   0.31442    0.08564   3.671 0.000288
    X9th.to.12th.Grade..No.Diploma -2.40221    0.38598  -6.224 1.72e-09
    Some.College                   -0.84595    0.17629  -4.799 2.57e-06
    Bachelor.s.Degree              -0.72435    0.18327  -3.952 9.75e-05
    Civilian.Veterans              -1.15075    0.26338  -4.369 1.74e-05

    Kids at home: R, Thinking about retirement: D
    Renters FTW

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:43:48 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the absolutely great diary (0+ / 0-)

    So fascinating!

    I hope Steve Israel is taking all of this into account in recruitment strategies. But given the stats on the charts above, it looks like he also needs to watch his back, and the Republicans should be going after him every 2 years.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:40:59 PM PDT

  •  Great Research (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Focusing on renters in the 27 House races that the GOP won by less than 10% and in the vulnerable 2014 Democratic Senate seats that are up should produce a lot of bang for the buck.

  •  P values for correlations (0+ / 0-)

    Has someone checked the P values for these correlations to make sure they are better than just random chance ?
    Some correlations are just due to the way the answers cane in, but done on a different day the correlation could be very different.  P-values are a way of making sure the correlation is real.

  •  The 10-14 population is interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman, MichaelNY

    Linking it with the suburbs makes sense, but might it also reflect heavily Republican districts with large Hispanic populations? Many adult Hispanics will be non-citizens, whilst a large proportion of the community will be too young to vote. What you're therefore picking up is a smaller voting universe, where each Republican votes counts more.

  •  The key thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    The key thing is we have to be willing to look at more than than just the last election results or the partisan voting index when looking for winnable races. we have to be willing to see if other factors suggest districts we've been overlooking, and we should apply this to other offices than just the US House, though I get that the point of the post is seeking a way to win a House majority.

    Longer term, looking at demographic groups rather than states or districts where we're weak might suggest trying to win more of those groups, presuming that will make more districts competitive.

  •  Apparently former Representative Tom Davis Agreed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    From his Wikipedia page:

    Smart growth development

    Davis also appeared at a local zoning meeting to oppose a smart growth plan near the Vienna Metro station. Approval of the project, to build what was called a "mini-city" within walking distance of the Metro, was considered routine. Some of the longest commutes to work in the nation begin in Virginia – second only to New York City — and in Prince William County in particular.[22] The project was a key resolution to congestion in the congressional district. Davis's pledge to approve the legislation led several county supervisors to accuse him of meddling in a local land-use issue.[23][24]

    One politician who spoke to Davis says the congressman told him that he opposes Pulte Homes' MetroWest project because "all it does is produce Democrats."[25]

    In July 2006, Davis wrote a letter to Virginia's then-Governor Tim Kaine discouraging the state from constructing an underground Metrorail through Tysons Corner. According to a July 17, 2006 story in The Washington Post, Davis said switching to a tunnel in Tysons would require reviews that could delay the rail line by as much as two years. On February 26, 2007, The Post reported that Davis switched positions.

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