Stories

To the president and Congress: A message from America’s Budget Heroes
02/19/2013
By Dave Gustafson, Jefferson Institute
As lawmakers move beyond the messages and rhetoric of Tuesday's State of the Union address and consider policy changes to stabilize the country's financial well-being, we thought it might be helpful to share with them some insights we've gleaned from America's Budget Heroes. Video: Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address Feb. 12, 2012: See the video on C-SPAN's website | Full text In his speech, President Obama pressed Congress to pass a series of second-term agenda items aimed at strengthening the middle class -- while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida made the case in his Republican response for a smaller government that gets out of the way of...
2012 Results: Problems for the GOP in the Military Bastions?
12/06/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
Over the past few decades the Republican Party has been a kind of three-legged stool, supported by three key elements – an abiding belief in cutting government and taxes, a strong advocacy of social conservative issues and a solid commitment to a strong national defense. Those issues helped build a winning coalition that included tax-cut favoring suburbanites, Christian conservatives and defense hawks. But the last few elections suggest some of those legs may be getting a little rickety – particularly the one built on national defense. In Patchwork Nation, the shift has been particularly noticeable in the counties we call Military Bastions...
The GOP's Real Concern in the 2012 Results: Losing the Middle
11/29/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
As the votes from the 2012 election have trickled in, the size of President Obama’s victory has grown – it’s now more than 4 million votes. That count should signify two things to Republicans who wanted to portray President Obama’s win as a squeaker. One, while this margin is no mandate, it is bigger than either of George W. Bush’s presidential wins in 2000 (in which he actually lost the popular vote) or 2004. Two, despite some GOP critiques that Mr. Obama won by capturing small slices of the electorate, the net result was a pretty broad win. But looked at through Patchwork Nation, there is one larger overriding concern for the Republicans...
Take-away from US election: Obama's 'small' issues won big
11/27/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
In the weeks since the US presidential election, many analysts have tried to explain the results. One meme in particular has taken root: that President Obama won reelection with a campaign of “small” issues that divided America into different groups, while Mitt Romney lost with a broad attempt to unite America on the economy. But the evidence is weak. Exit polls showed Mr. Romney narrowly carried the day on the economy. And while Mr. Obama carried voters who said health care or foreign policy were their top issues, these can hardly be considered “small.” Foreign policy is a big issue by any measure, and health care was considered a huge...
Politics Counts: The Red/Blue Retail Divide
11/26/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
It’s nice to think that the holidays are bigger than politics. With a long, hard election behind us, the healing can begin as Democrats and Republicans unite in an annual binge of communal consumerism. Alas, it’s not that simple. America’s red/blue divide goes deeper than the ballot box. The socioeconomic targeting and demographic slicing that are all the rage now in Washington actually have their roots in consumer marketing. And as the commercial niche-ing practices have grown (and grown better), the red/blue divide has become another way for retailers to better understand where to place their ads and their stores. What the data...
Politics Counts: The Cliff in Red and Blue Counties
11/19/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
Hyperbole is a staple of Washington political discourse – particularly on the negative side. Speeches are full of references to  “disasters” and “catastrophes” that are lurking just around the corner. But sequestration, the much-discussed “fiscal cliff,” is the rare case where the hazards on the horizon look very real and very far-reaching. The impact of the cuts that would come if the government cannot reach a compromise on a debt reduction plan by January – more than 8% in discretionary funding by estimates – would stretch far beyond the Beltway. When voters think of government austerity, the talk often centers on the halls of congress or...
Women Are Not a Unified Voting Bloc
11/14/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
Of all the big winners on Election Day, one of the biggest may have been a concept: the gender gap in American politics. From President Barack Obama's 11-point edge with women over Mitt Romney in exit polls to Republicans losing two senate seats over troubling statements about rape, 2012 seemed to further the idea that gender is the leading definer of Democratic voters: double x marks the spot. But lumping more than 50 percent of the population into a group and talking about it as a single unit can oversimplify things a lot. Go deeper into the 2012 exit poll numbers to look at the women's vote and picture begins to change. To be...
Politics Counts: Who Won the ‘Growth’ Vote?
11/12/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
In politics winning is always the goal, but not all wins are equal. A win built on declining populations and shrinking voter bases, is still a win. But a win based on growing voter bases brings with it hopes of a naturally rising tide of voter support This is the angst behind the comments of many Republicans, who fear their party’s deep deficit with Hispanic voters in 2012 is a very bad sign. They fear falling further behind in a game that is changing before their eyes. So with that in mind, Politics Counts tried to map the battle for growing America. We went through Tuesday’s presidential results by county and compared them to Census...
Three Quick Lessons in a Mountain of Election Data
11/08/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
Elections produce many things, from balloon drops to new elected officials, but they also produce mountains of data. Analysts will spend weeks going through the 2012 results and exit polls pulling out bits and strands of numbers that explain what this state or that county did. Those facts and indicators will be what future campaigns are made of. But a quick rundown of the 2012 numbers reveals a few big trends of particularly significant note. They are important not only because of what they say about what happened on Tuesday, but also about what they say about the elections to come. And they exist at some important hinge points in American...
The Monied Burb Firewall
11/07/2012
By Dante Chinni, Jefferson Insitute
When the many stories of 2012 are written, there should be a special focus paid to the suburban counties Patchwork Nation calls the Monied Burbs. Those counties have become a reliable Democratic constituency in recent elections and, when all the votes are counted, 2012 will likely show just how strongly. Obama won the election last night because of a Midwestern firewall, but also because of a firewall in the Burbs. At this writing Obama leads in the Monied Burbs by 6 points - as you can see on WNYC's election night map. That’s less than he won them by in 2008, but more than the Democratic candidates won them by in 2000 and 2004. Their...