Monday, August 27, 2012

National Pulse Index Update - August 27th

To understand what this is, read this.

No big swings in the last week for either party:

But the big story is the trend chart:

Remember, since the presidential polls haven't changed much, this essentially represents poll-over-poll changes in all the other races (Senate and House). This has been a relentless trend since The Naked Dollar started posting Pulse Index numbers in April. One wonders how long this can go unnoticed. Because it is, unnoticed.

The obvious point is that Senate and House races are trending very well for Republicans. The less obvious point is that there's plenty of upside for Romney. Lots of people have been switching their intentions towards local candidates, but those same people seem reluctant to do the same with Romney. It is reasonable to speculate that the Romney hagiography over the next few days of the convention will convert many of these voters.

Friday, August 24, 2012

(Yet) Another Way of Looking at the Election

The Naked Dollar has speculated that there is no one in America who voted Republican four years ago who will be switching their vote to Obama this time. I've asked over 100 people if they know of such a person, and the answer is always no. If you DO know anyone like this, by all means leave a comment, and describe their motivation as best you can.

Of course, we all know lots of people going the other way. Obama's approval numbers are down substantially with every one of his major support constituencies.

Obama won by 6 1/2 points. This means that if 3 1/2 voters out of 100 change their vote, Romney wins. Hard to imagine that won't happen, but leave that for a moment.

For fun, let's assume no one changes their vote. Obama wins by 6 1/2, right?

No. This assumes the makeup of the electorate is static, and it never is. Simply, the demographics of every election are different. So, here's a statistical experiment: how will the election turn out if no one changes their vote, but the people who show up, as broken down by party affiliation, are the same as 2010, not 2008.

It took a while to find the data I needed, but eventually I dug it up. The results of our hypothetical election: Obama 51.7%, Romney 48.3%. Margin: 3.4%. Now were down to fewer than 2 people who need to switch their votes.

The problem for Obama is that lots of people are likely to switch their votes. Just look what happened to the independent vote in '10. Obama won independents 56-44, but in 2010 the outcome flipped to 44-56 (for Republicans). If there's a result close to this in 2012, Romney wins with relative ease. Current polling suggests that independents will go for Romney, and, further, Republicans are far more fired up than Dems to vote.

Note: this analysis is only of the popular vote, which, of course, is not what counts. Interestingly, it looks like Romney may have a slightly tougher time with the Electoral College than with the popular vote. It's not beyond imagination that he wins one and loses the other.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Can’t Mitt Say These Things?

A couple of weeks back, The Naked Dollar begged the Romney campaign to start getting specific. You don’t get a mandate to do big, important things unless you tell the country first, “elect me, and this is what I will do.”

Allow me the fantasy that someone was listening. The piece ran as an op-ed in the New York Post, so who knows? Congressman Ryan has brought wonderful clarity to the race, and he has specifically said you need talk about the big things before you get elected, not after. The bland campaign is no more.

Now I’m going to push my luck and try again. Ever want to scream at the television, “Come on, say it, just say it!” For conservatives, this has long been so, points you just couldn’t understand why your guy wasn’t pounding into the table.

So, here are my two, and both involve taxes. The first concerns Hauser’s Law. Ever hear of it? Didn’t think so. I doubt many politicians have, either. It is the most important fact almost no one knows. (Notice I said “fact,” because it is based on empirical evidence, not fuzzy theory of the sort the Nobel committee is so enamored.)

Hauser’s Law points out that ever since World War II, the average amount that the government collects as a percentage of GDP has averaged 19%, with incredibly little variation:

But here’s the thing, the top marginal rate has varied between 28% and 92%. In case that’s not sinking in, let me put it this way: no matter what the top rates are, tax revenues are about the same as a percentage of the economy. Incredible, if you think about it. High rates discourage economic activity, so they never produce the outcome desired by their political authors. Low rates have the opposite effect.

So, logic would dictate lowering rates until Hauser’s Law no longer held. This would maximize both government revenue and personal liberty, which should please both liberals and conservatives alike, except that if you feed a liberal a Chardonnay or two they will usually tell you the tax code isn’t just to raise money, it’s an instrument of  “social justice.” They need to be called out on that.

My other point concerns capital gains. They are taxed at 15%. This rate is lower than most income tax rates, but that’s for very good reasons. First, this is investment, or “risk,” capital. We want people to risk money on things because this is where jobs come from. Stuffing your cash in a mattress creates no jobs. Bet on a start-up, and your investment probably goes right to someone’s salary. My own start-up, I’m proud to say, has created 40 jobs, but we had to do a hell of a job convincing people it was worth the risk. If their investment in us was being taxed at a much higher rate, it might have been impossible.

Second, money used to make investments was already taxed when the investor first made it as income. It didn’t appear out of nowhere, right? Mitt Romney has been paying capital gains rates because he hasn’t had a job in a while, but all that money was already taxed at higher rates.

These are simple things. Why are they so hard to say?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Go Sustainables!

New York City has a high school named the Rockaway HS for Environmental Sustainability. Have you ever heard of such a dumb ass thing?

And since when do high schools take a "position?" Is the "High School for Barack Obama" next? what if I'm not for sustainability? What if I'm pro-trash? Will I be discriminated against?

It looks, though, like the teachers are even less motivated than the students, because they don't seem to actually be showing up:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

National Pulse Index Update - August 16

To understand what this is, click here.

Not a lot of drama, poll-wise, over the last week, with a slightly favorable showing for Republicans:
The basic story, though, is intact, which is that we have an unbroken trend-line since the beginning favoring Republican candidates:

(Note that very little of these data come from after the Ryan announcement.)

Here's what's interesting, though. As you know, this metric looks at all polls, whether for president or the 3rd District in Ohio. The presidential polls really haven't moved very much, so what's driving the upward trend for Republicans is all the other races. This disparity can't continue; either the GOP house and Senate numbers will snap back, or Obama's numbers will erode.

What is likely happening is that as GOP House and Senate members have been getting their message out and it's selling. Perhaps people were more entrenched in their presidential views, so those polls remain stickier. But should these trends persist, it is likely that they will eventually be reflected in the presidential race numbers. Obama is skating on thin ice, as it were.

Check in next week to see if there's a "Ryan effect."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Slightly Better Week for Democrats, but...

To understand what this is, click here.

I fully expected to see a huge swing back to Democrats over the last week, what, with Obama seemingly bubbling up in most polls. the data say otherwise, though, because while there was a nice move by Dems, it was very brief, and by yesterday the momentum had shifted slightly back to Republicans:

Further, you can see from the following graph, that the basic trend is unbroken:

Again, this is cumulative, poll-over-poll changes, nationwide. Up is good for Republicans, down good for Democrats. If you were a Wall Street trader, and this was a stock, you would be "long" Republican. This remarkably consistent trend is something that seems completely unnoticed, or at a minimum, unreported.

And remember, despite the fact that the Naked Dollar believes it is vital to our nation's future to remove Democrats from power, this model is impartial. It's just a new way of looking at polling trends.