“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How does a Republican win the presidency?

Where They Live
From David Graham, here is the graph of the 47% -- a.k.a. "non-payers" -- by state. The ten states with the highest share of "non-payers" are in the states colored red. Most are in southern (and Republican) states. Meanwhile, the 13 states with the smallest share of "non-payers" are in blue. Most are northeastern (and Democratic) states.
How They Vote
The easiest thing to say about this map is that "non-payers" ironically seem more likely to vote Republican and "payers" seem more likely to vote Democratic. But we can't say that for two reasons.
The first reason is that low income earners are much more likely to vote Democratic, even within Republican states. In 2008, Obama lost Georgia by 5 percentage points but he won 70% of voters who earned less than $30,000 -- which is precisely the demo most likely to owe no federal income tax. Obama lost Mississippi by 14 percentage points, but picked up 66% of voters who earned less than $30,000. As a general rule, Republicans win among richer voters -- both in the red states and the blue. [Graph below viaSuper-Economy]


  1. Romney has all the charisma of your accountant. Romney has crafted Obama with a Canali teflon suit.

  2. It is an interesting strategy on Romney’s part since 10 states with the highest percentage of zero-tax payers are all red, and the 10 states with the least percentage are all blue. Dazzling.

  3. Oh well, it was Romney's turn, just like it was Grandpa's turn last time. Next time it will be Olympia Snowe's turn.

  4. Republicans wandering in the wilderness...

  5. I always figured Bob al-Harb for a non payer.

  6. It's just the 1930's all over again - with the added twist that the Democrat is Black.

    Interesting to see all those poor, white Bubbas voting against their own self-interests.

  7. One pundit pointed out, correctly I suspect, that many of those that pay no "income" tax don't realize that they pay No income tax. The way the tax form is set up they think they're paying income tax when all they're really paying is Social Security taxes.

    Said pundit's group ran the numbers (household income, family size, etc) on some of the most vociferous Anti-47 Percenter "callers" and blog commenters, and found that it was very likely that many of them were firmly ensconced in the group they were railing against.

    Even more bemusing is that it's very likely that Romney, himself, falls into the 47% from time to time.

  8. Of all the demographic groups, the over 65 crowd is the one that has the most potential of being hammered by a Ryan/Romney win. This is the ONE Demographic that is solidly in the Romney/Ryan camp.

    Go figure.

  9. It looks like Florida has slipped back into the pure toss-up category. If so, this ain't no done-deal by any stretch of the imagination. Romney takes Fl, and Wi, and the board changes dramatically. Romney takes Fl, Wi, and Colorado (and, quite possibly Iowa,) and this race is a dog-fight.

  10. The one "true fact" that we can take away from the post is "Poor People Tend Not to Vote."

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. "Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. Forty-seven percent of the country, he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

    This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

    It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

    It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.

    The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor. "

  13. The next round of polls will be interesting. Most of the Obama convention bounce will have worn off, and we'll start to get some idea of whether there are any lasting effects from the partisan get-togethers. My guess is about a one point gain for Obama. This is looking a lot like a 50.5 to 49.5 election, to me.

    1. And, although Rasmussen tends to lean republican right up until the last week or two, you can't discount his Romney +2, completely.

    2. Gallup (registered voters) is down to Obama +1. That's where they were before the conventions.


      Electoral College
      Obama: 247 - Romney: 196 - Toss-up: 95

    4. RealClearPolitics

      Ohio Obama +4.2
      Virginia Obama +2.8
      Florida Obama +1.4
      Wisconsin Obama +1.4
      Iowa Obama +0.2
      Colorado Obama +1.7

  14. .

    IMO, the Romney remarks will have little effect on the election. It's not going to change any minds. The only things the remarks will do is further stall the Romney effort as he spends the next week explaining them. They took a quick poll on CNBC asking how viewers (a substantial portion of which qualify for the 1%) view the remarks. 48% said they were more likely to vote for him while 24% said they were less likely and another 24% said no change. In reality, anyone taking part in the poll likely would have voted that way anyway.

    What did the Dems do? The first thing the Obama team did was send out a fund raising letter.

    And so it goes.


    1. I agree. No one seems to see themselves as part of the 47%.

  15. .

    The problem with today's GOP is that they actually believe, in spite of the evidence to the contrary, some of the myths that have inculcated conservative Republican thought for the past 30 years. In this case, while Romney correctly identified the tendancy for people to want to vote in their own self-interest, he was just wrong on the basic details involved and didn't recognize that in many cases people have a strange idea as to what is actually in their interest.

    Another, more agregious, example is the GOP belief in supply-side or 'trickle-down' economics. Being naturally cynical myself, I've always just thought their arguments merely a cynical justification for their grabbing the biggest piece of the pie. However, I've recently come to the belief that these guys, despite the evidence to the contrary, actually believe the crap they are spouting.

    CNBC presented the results of a Congressional Research Office study released just this week that purported to show that over the past 65 years the evidence shows that while tax cuts to the rich increased income inequality dramatically, it did nothing to increase growth or jobs. It did not say lower taxes on the rich hurt growth or jobs but merely that they did not help.

    The CNBC host had Howard Dean and James Petakoukis on to discuss the results. JP, unable to argue with the results of the study, changed the subject. He brought up the slower growth in Europe as 'proof' that lower taxes lead to more growth and jobs. Stuck in a causation versus coorelation miasma, he ignores all the differences between the EU and the US that contribute to the differnces in rates and reverts to simplistic urban legends rather than deal with facts. To show his inconsistency, when asked about growth rates in China he began arguing the differences, median imcome, wages, governmental structure, etc.

    A few words spoken by Romney aren't going to change minds on either the hard right or the hard left and likely few of those in the middle.


    1. Yeah, I would be absolutly amazed if anyone could prove, after the election, that this kerfuffle moved the needle as much as 1/2 of one percent.

      The people that don't know who/what Mitt Romney is, by now, are very unlikely to ever see this video (or care if they do see it.)

    2. but what they do keep hearing is how Romney keeps screwing up and the just adds to general perception that he isn't very good.

    3. That, of course, just depends on "Where" they're doing their "listening." I'll guarantee that if they get their news from Fox all they're hearing is "OORAH!"

    4. I think most folk hear all sorts of stuff from many different sources and form general impressions based on that. It is only the junkies, like you, who pay close attention.

  16. Fake Lesbian Alert...

  17. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in setting aside a lower-court ruling in favor of a voter identification law, asked the judge to revisit his decision and assess whether all citizens will be able to obtain allowable forms of ID.

    Enacted in March, the law requires voters to present a state-issued ID, or an acceptable alternative such as a military ID, to cast a ballot. Opponents of the law said probable Democratic voters, such as the elderly and the poor, are those least likely to have a valid ID by election day. Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of State began offering new ID cards as a last resort for those unable to obtain a valid substitute.

    Today, a majority of the court said the state wasn’t living up to the law’s requirement that it provide “liberal access” to alternate forms of ID. The American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law, said today only 9 percent of a state- estimated minimum number of alternate IDs have been issued. In order to decide whether the ID law is workable, more information is needed on the availability of such ID, the court held.

    “It’s certainly a victory in the sense that it vacates the adverse result below,” plaintiffs’ lawyer David Gersch, who argued the case before the supreme court, said during a teleconference after the ruling. How Commonwealth Court Judge Richard Simpson will go about supplementing his earlier ruling is unclear, Gersch said.


  18. Another tidbit from Businessweak

    Eleven years ago, eliminating income taxes for low-income Americans was an applause line for a Republican president. The party’s candidate for president in 2012 sees the number of people paying nothing as a problem.

    Elderly Americans and low-wage workers make up most of those who don’t pay income taxes. For 2011, 46 percent of households didn’t pay federal income taxes. About half didn’t pay because of standard deductions and personal exemptions designed to exclude subsistence levels of income from taxation.

    The rest received tax breaks including the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit, an exclusion of combat pay and tax benefits for older Americans such as the exclusion of Social Security benefits from income.

  19. On this day in 1862, Union General George McClellen allows Confederate General Robert E. Lee to withdraw after the Battle of Antietam, squandering a key chance to end the Civil War early.

  20. If Obama is elected for a second term, just think of the mess he will inherit this time.


    They're not happy in Gaza ..
    They're not happy in Egypt ..
    They're not happy in Libya ..
    They're not happy in Morocco ..
    They're not happy in Iran ..
    They're not happy in Iraq ..
    They're not happy in Yemen ..
    They're not happy in Afghanistan ..
    They're not happy in Pakistan ..
    They're not happy in Syria ..
    They're not happy in Lebanon ..


    They're happy in Australia .
    They're happy in Canada .
    They're happy in England ..
    They're happy in France ..
    They're happy in Italy ..
    They're happy in Germany ..
    They're happy in Sweden ..
    They're happy in the USA ..
    They're happy in Norway ..
    They're happy in Holland .
    They're happy in Denmark .

    Basically, they're happy in every country that is not Muslim and unhappy
    in every country that is!


    Not Islam.
    Not their leadership.
    Not themselves.


    AND THEN; They want to change those countries to be like....

  22. The current standoff with China was, indeed, driven by Japan's leading nationalist, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who made an audacious bid this spring to buy some of the disputed islands from private Japanese owners for his regional government. Mr. Ishihara vowed to develop the islands aggressively, to cement Japan's control, actions he knew to be provocative to Beijing.

    Mr. Noda's government originally tried to ignore Mr. Ishihara's quest, but then grew alarmed by the outpouring of public support for an online fundraising campaign, and concluded it had no choice but to have the national government step in.

    While Mr. Noda and aides insisted that would be less incendiary to China than Ishihara control, that distinction seemed irrelevant to China, which saw it as an unacceptable upending of the status quo—triggering the latest wave of Chinese protests.

  23. The latest trials are thought to have failed because the drugs were given to patients too late in the disease process to have an effect, or were unable to pick up subtle changes in cognition over a relatively short period.

    Alzheimer's, which is marked by the build-up of sticky protein clumps – amyloid plaques – in the brain, is thought to take at least 15 years to develop and by the time symptoms appear, it is too late to reverse.

    Existing drugs, such as donepezil (Aricept), have limited benefits.

  24. A Brevard Community College math instructor is being investigated by the college for allegedly using class time to urge students to vote for President Barack Obama and for distributing campaign material that says “I pledge to vote for President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket."

    Associate Professor Sharon Sweet, 58, requested and was granted an unpaid leave of absence Monday morning as senior college officials look into the matter. Sweet did not return phone messages or an email seeking comment Monday.

  25. Tim Tebow, known for his unexpected plays as an NFL quarterback, seems to be getting closer to declaring an interest in a future political career.


    Tebow did not tip his hand about his own politics, but when it comes to public praise, at the height of "Tebowmania" he earned kudos from Republicans on the House floor and during GOP presidential debates. President Obama last month called him "a wonderful young man."

  26. The Bank of Japan took surprisingly strong steps to further ease its monetary policy on Wednesday, following similar steps by the Federal Reserve, as it tries to tackle entrenched deflation, an export-sapping strong yen and the impact of slowing global growth.

    The central bank's policy board decided at the end of a two-day meeting to increase the size of its asset-purchase program...