Monday, October 25, 2010

Interesting poll and good football

In all the haze and navel-gazing from a media who is trying as hard as they can to get the Republicans back in power (or at least get money from their ads and have lots of interested viewers on Election Night), comes this poll from Newsweek which shows Obama and Dem approval at higher-than-usual levels. Well, how is this so? CHECK THE CROSSTABS. 11.5% of voters under 30, and about 40% under 50, which is much below the other polls I've been ripping earlier (remember the poll that had under 35 as "N/A"?) . This is probably much closer to what the real voting population will be compared to the earlier polls.

Newsweek also takes the extra step most other pollsters haven't recently, TALK TO PEOPLE ON CELL PHONES. 1/3 of the respondents were reached by cell phone, 2/3 by landlines. Again, this is probably closer to reality, but I'm sure it'll be laughed off as some left-wing outlier. Let's just say that we'll see in 8 days which model is right- the one based on population and demographics, or the one based on an arbitrary picture of the "likely voter."

I'm hoping Election Night goes half as well as it did for Wisconsin football teams this weekend. I'd argue Bucky's comeback at Iowa is a bigger win than OSU due to all the injuries they had to fight through, and the fact that Iowa's offense came to play in its own building. Bucky's bye week couldn't come as a better time, because these exhilarating wins take a lot of toll, despite being so fun.

Then the Pack hang on against Brent and the Vikes. Notice that Favre's limp got worse whenever he INT'd or threw an INC pass? I am Jake's complete lack of surprise on that one. Brent really is a lot like the Republicans- self-absorbed, past his prime, gets far more media coverage and reverence than he deserves, really doesn't have a helluva lot to say, and goes out of his way to remind you how put-upon he is, despite having more money and breaks than any of us know what to do with. We'll see if this "fractured ankle" miraculously heals in time for Brent to trade notes with Brady next week on how to bang hotties.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

UW 31, OSU 18!

Now that was a helluva lot of fun to be a part of! Best crowd I've been a part of at Camp Randall since at least the Dayne Game in 1999, and that was more of an "we're going to see Dayne break the record" feeling than being there solely to cheer on Bucky. The place was intense from the first play to the last, and the scratchiness that is my voice today is a reminder of that.

Now, as Winston Wolfe might say "let's not start sucking on each other's popsicles quite yet," especially with another huge game against Top 10 Iowa next week. But I'm going to savor this one for now, and always remember it, as I'm sure fellow Badger grads Russ Feingold and Tom Barrett did as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stimulus still stabilized and beats the GOP's record

The most recent unemployment numbers came out last Friday, and featured some fretting due to 95,000 jobs being lost in September . Certainly no good, but as you will see, it should in no way be seen as proof of the ARRA stimulus being a "failure."

The fact that it was the September numbers is noteworthy, as September 2008 featured the failure of Lehman Brothers and record job losses over the next several months as Bushism and supply-side was (or should have been) discredited forever. But it didn't just start in September of 2008. Jobs were bleeding out the 12 months prior to that collapse, and were barely gaining in the year before that. By comparison, we now have more jobs than we had this time last year, despite large declines in recent months due to government and Census job losses, which is pretty remarkable when you see where we were:

Oct. 06- Sept. 07 - +1.215 million jobs
Oct. 07- Sept. 08 - -1.384 million jobs
Oct. 08- Sept. 09 - -6.426 million jobs (over 500K a month!)
Oct. 09- Sept. 10 - +0.344 million jobs

It's also intriguing to compare the year-over-year job changes with what happened in the 2 years following the passage of the first Bush tax cuts (you know, the ones that are supposed to end in 2 months but the ones that GOPs want to make permanent). I left out Sept.- December 2001 from this comparison because that was in the 3 months after 9/11, and Bush should not be held to account much of those changes due to the major buying changes that happened in those months.

Jan.-Dec. 2002- -0.540 million
Jan.-Dec. 2003- +0.087 million
COMBINED- -0.453 thousand

That's right, in the last year, we have seen nearly 800 thousand more jobs in the Obama Administration post-stimulus than we saw in 2002 and 2003 put together. And yet the GOPs want to unwind the stimulus and go back to the Bush years? I mean, really?

And another reason why the jobs numbers aren't as bad as right-wing propaganda tries to make it to be is the cut in government employment. Check the top of the table that breaks down employment by industry. You'll see that private-sector employment has grown by 873,000 in 2010. Granted, 97,000 a month is no great shakes when you need 100-150K to keep up with regular population growth, but it's a whole lot better than losing 500K a month like we saw in '08-'09.

The reason why you haven't seen a lot of stories of dropping unemployment or huge job gains is the drop in government payrolls. The government sector has lost 248,000 thousand jobs this year, including 205,000 at the local level- the teachers, fire fighters, and police officers that were frequently mentioned when Congress was debating (and finally passing after GOP obstruction) aid to communities earlier this year. And unlike what the paid hacks on comment pages may say, these people pay taxes too, and they buy houses and consume other goods and services, just like anyone else, so if they lose jobs, others will too, and those potentially lower taxes from fewer gov't employees won't mean a whole lot when you aren't making as much money yourself.

As I theorized earlier , the mistake of the stimulus was that it played up recovery, instead of stabilization. And its success in stabilizing and starting to reverse the disastrous course we were on in 2007-2009 is unmistakable. Why anyone would want us to go back to where we were is absolutely beyond me, and I maintain faith that most understand this, and won't be stupid enough to give GOPs the gains the media wants them to have.

I think the GOP knows it too, which is why they want to get back into power and gum up the works, because while it would toss the economy back down the hill that we've been trying to climb up and destory the lives of a few more millions, it might increase their chances of winning and staying viable in 2012 and beyond. And the GOP would rather be on top of an Empire of Dirt, than be second place in a prospering and improving nation. It's seditious, but that's just the way they roll. See through their cynical act, and make the Republicans hurt in 3 weeks. Please.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brent and the banged-up Pack

Not a good weekend for the Pack. Too many injuries, not enough execution in key moments, and a very mediocre head coach makes me start to think that this year isn't going to go as well as we thought. I just hope those Finley and Matthews injuries aren't more than a few weeks (and I thought Finley might be done for the year- now doesn't appear to be the case), because if they are, their playoff chances are toast with the schedule getting tough in November. And they still won't do much if McCarthy refuses to run the ball more than 10 times a game.

However, I also want to discuss tonight's Viking-Jet game. Fascinating game with the Moss return to the Vikes and Favre return vs. the Jets, in addition to the fact that the Jets have played as well as anyone the last 4 weeks, and the Vikes are staring at 1-3 with a loss (with a game against an equally desperate 1-3 Cowboy team next week). But that's not why I want to discuss it. I want to discus Brett Favre's sexting to Jenn Sterger.

1. It's borderline hilarious to me because I can make "check out my Wrangler jeans" references throughout the game. And it's not like it's surprising that Brent is a self-centered douche- the only creepy part is Sterger's comparsion to a young Deanna Favre.

2. We know why ESPN can't stay away from this story, because ESPN can't help but ignore a story that involves a. Brett Favre b. Something in NYC, and c. (most importantly) A GAME ON ESPN. Put them all together, and there's more self-pleasing than Brent's pulling in this (alleged) video.

Should be good times to check this game out tonight. Probably more fun than what OSU might do to Bucky on Saturday, or what might be left of the Packers after this week's game.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Polls still biased, Feingold/ Barrett doing better than media says

The media is still lazily running with poll figures that still don't match the reality of who votes in Wisconsin. The most recent Marist poll has Scott Walker up 8 points over Tom Barrett, and Ron Johnson up 7 over Russ Feingold among 500 "likely" Wisconsin voters. But then you go inside the numbers, and there are some suspicious assumptions. The biggest problem is the overestimating of conservatives in these polls. In the Marist poll, Feingold leads by 21 points among self-described moderates, and Feingold leads by 80 points among liberals, while Johnson leads by 72 among conservatives. With those numbers, shouldn't Russ be up big? Well, not if you think conservatives are around 48% of those voting, as this poll does.

The problem for RoJo and the other GOPs is that the electorate is NOT 48% conservative. Kristin Solis recently ran an article mentioning this overstating, and it features a great graph showing the ideological breakdown of voters . It shows the liberal-moderate-conservative breakdown consistently around 20-45-35. For the sake of argument, I'll be nice to the Sykesists, and make Wisconsin's electorate at 20-40-40. Then, we'll plug in the numbers from this poll to that 20-40-40 electorate, and see what we get.

Feingold - 90% liberal support + 58% moderate + 12 conservative = (.9 x .2 = 18.0%) + (.58 x .4 = 23.2%) + (.12 x .4 = 4.8%) = 46.0%

Johnson- 10% liberal + 37% moderate + 84% conservative = (.1 x .2 = 2.0%) + (.37 x .4 = 14.8%) + (.84 x .4 = 33.6%) = 50.4%

So that 52-45 just dropped to 50-46 based on a realistic setup of the electorate, 4 sounds a lot closer than 7, don't it? Let's do the same for Barrett vs. Walker.

Barrett - 90% liberal + 56% moderate + 13% conservative = (.9 x .2 = 18.0%) + (.56 x .4 = 22.4%) + (.13 x .4 = 5.2%) = 45.6%

Walker - 7% liberal + 34% moderate + 83% conservative = (.07 x .2 = 1.4%) + (.34 x .4 = 13.6%) + .83 x .4 = 33.2%) = 48.2%

So this race has just shrunk from 51-43 to 48-46, a statistical toss-up.

And I'm not even mentioning the Marist poll's different results when the wider universe of "registered voters" come in instead of the "likely voters" the Journal-Sentinel ran with. Both of those polls have Barrett and Feingold 4-5 points closer. So in other words, if you adjust the wider voting universe to fit what the real electorate tends to be in Wisconsin BARRETT AND FEINGOLD LEAD.

We also aren't mentioning age bias. For example, Wisconsin has 2nd highest turnout and percentage of voters under 30 in the last midterm election, and had the highest share of voters under 30, at one in 6. But nevertheless, most polls of Wisconsin have the percentage of people polled under 30 at 5% or less. You think people under 30 might vote for Russ Feingold or Tom Barrett? You bet they will, and if the polls reflected how many of them were out there, Barrett and Feingold would rise in the polls. Why are these organizations ignoring this reality? Couldn't be because a Feingold/ Barrett win gets in the way of their narrative of "Republican resurgence through voter anger", could it? NAAAAH!

Bottom line, if a normal Wisconsin electorate turns out, Feingold and Barrett are in great position to win (even more so when we'll see in debates that Walker and Johnson have NOTHING to offer past talking points and failed ideas). Don't let the sliding media fool you, not only can Barrett and Feingold win, but if they seize the momentum I can definitely feel on the ground (the Barrett/ Feingold signs have sprouted all over the place since Obama came to town), they WILL win.