Archive for the ‘2018 Midterm Elections’ Category

Economist: The demography of American voters…

November 13, 2018

Conclusion: All politics is “identity politics”.


The Economist and YouGov, a pollster, have surveyed thousands of Americans and built a statistical model to predict political party preferences.

Think: generic ballot for Congressional elections.

What did they find?

America’s founding fathers envisioned a republic in which free-thinking voters would carefully consider the proposals of office-seekers.

Today, however, demography seems to govern voters’ choices.

Specifically, Economist and YouGov identified a dozen demographic characteristics that highly predicted how people would vote in Congressional elections.


Let’s drill down on the the findings…


Déjà vu all over again?

November 9, 2018

Florida’s tax migrants may not be out of the woods yet … but they may be holding an ironic high card.


OK, let’s recap the the bidding…

On election day, FL Gov. Rick Scott (R) edged incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D) by a razor thin margin.

Similarly, Congressman Ron DeSantis edged Socialist-Democrat Andrew Gillum for the Florida Governorship.

Gillum conceded the race to DeSantis.

Looked like Florida was safe as a tax sanctuary … at least for another 4 years.


Then the worm turned.

Let’s walk thru that … and, a predictable end-game that I haven’t heard from the pundits yet.


America’s “Exhausted Majority”…

November 8, 2018

Post-election, can they muscle up to pull us together?

A lot of punditry these days about American Tribalism … categorizing people by common interests …  usually with a demographic slant (i.e. race. gender, and location – urban, rural; coastal or Heartland).

Those “tribes” are usually characterized as warring factions with little in common.

The result: sharp differences and apparently intractable political polarization.


An organization called More in Common did some research that takes a different cut at the situation.

Their study – America’s Hidden Tribes – identified seven distinct groups of Americans. These are our Hidden Tribes of America: distinguished not by who they are or what they look like, but what they believe. (Below – at end of this post – are descriptions of the groups)


The study reached three fundamental conclusions…


Bottom line: The stock market likes the results.

November 7, 2018

Brace for 2 years of Congressional theatrics, legislative gridlock, Executive Orders and  judicial appointments.


Here are a couple of morning after thoughts from the election:

  1. Big win for prognosticators … on balance, the election turned out the way Silver, et. al., said it would – split decision with an expanded GOP majority in the Senate.
  2. Money down rabbit holes … big money bets by Bloomberg, Streyer, Soros, etc., made for some tight races, but no wins.
  3. Obama was a non-factor … the candidates that he stumped for came up short: Gillum, Abrams, Cordray (former head of BHO’s CFPB)
  4. So were the celebs … think: Oprah, Buffett, oh yeah, Taylor Swift.
  5. MSNBC first with many calls … I was flipping channels and MSNBC beat Fox to the punch on many calls (e.g. Cruz over Beto); big exception was Fox’s early call that the House would flip.
  6. Another Reid Rule kicks in … remember how Harry Reid refused to take up hundreds of bills passed by the GOP led Congress? Well, what goes around, comes around … gridlock is alive and well.
  7. Time for “pen and phone” … remember how a stymied Obama turned Executive Orders into a governance art form? A favorable judiciary looked the other way as Congress was rendered inconsequential.  Bet on Trump to apply the precedent.
  8. Here come the judges … no secret that the GOP will use its Senate majority to pack the courts with Constitutionalists … again, big thanks to Harry Reid for implementing the nuclear option.
  9. Tax migrants sigh relief … couple of close calls – especially Florida – but tax & spend progressives were fended off … whew!
  10. Stock market is up … past couple of days have been good and today’s futures are up … let’s see if that trend is enduring.



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If you’re one of the 155 million people on employee-based health insurance plans …

November 4, 2018

Here’s the main reason why YOUR health insurance premiums have gone up.

Since Dems have made pre-existing conditions a centerpiece in their midterm campaigns, lets flashback to a 2009 post which injected some sobering facts into the debate…


All the healthcare attention seems to be on the 20 million people who are getting insurance via Extended Medicaid or ObamaCare Exchanges.

Virtually no light is being shined on the vast majority of folks who are covered by employer plans.

Case-in-point: the soaring premiums being paid by employees … hardly the $2,500 reduction that was promised.

Here’s one of the reasons that premiums have gone up not down …


Most people – probably bordering on all – would agree that people with pre-existing conditions should be able to get health insurance.

I accept that as a non-debatable point.

But, I got curious about the economics of so-called “guaranteed coverage”… i.e. how much does it cost, and who pays for it?

Specifically, for folks covered by employer plans, how much of their increase in health insurance premiums over the past couple of years is attributable to guaranteed coverage?


Let’s take a whack at the numbers …


Has ObamaCare provided more healthcare?

November 3, 2018

Not really: it just covered more people with health insurance?

Since Dems are making ObamaCare an election issue, let’s flashback to a prior post and inject some facts…


In my consulting / problem-solving class, I emphasize asking the right question before starting to gather data, doing analyses, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Then, would someone please explain to me why the politcos (on both sides) obsess over health insurance coverage (how many people are covered) and largely ignore the quantity & quality healthcare that Americans are getting?



Source: AAMC

My conclusion: More Americans now have health insurance, but healthcare hasn’t increased … it has just been re-distributed.


Remember when an ObamaCare architect called you stupid?

November 1, 2018

Since Dems are making a big deal of ObamaCare in the mid-terms, let’s flashback to a November 2014 post ….

Once again, they’re counting on the “stupidity of the American people.” (<= their words, not mine!)


Even if you believe that “the end justifies the means”, this has gotta make your skin crawl.

Some background: Prof. Jonathan Gruber is an MIT economist who helped on RomneyCare in Massachusetts and was one of the primary architects of ObamaCare.

He was caught on video  speaking quite frankly about the crafting of ObamaCare.

His basic message:

“The bill was written in a tortured way … to be sure that the CBO didn’t score the mandate as a tax …  otherwise the bill would die … so, it was written to do that.

With regards to the subsides … if people figured out that healthy pay in to give sick people money, it wouldn’t have passed … lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.

Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or what … that was critical to getting the bill to pass … yeah, it would be better to be transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

Watch the video … it’s even more chilling to hear Prof. Gruber say the words: “obfuscate” and “bank on American stupidity”.

How do these guys sleep at night?



P.S. Another Gruber video got some wide play..

He’s on tape saying that the specific language in the bill that only provided subsidies for folks going through state exchanges was intentional to motivate states to build exchanges,

ObamaCare supporters started claiming that  it was just a typo that didn’t represent intent.

The Supreme Court agreed with them … with life & death consequence for ObamaCare.

As Forrest Gump would say:” Stupid is as stupid does.”



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Is Trump on the midterm ballot?

October 31, 2018

Of course, he is …. presidents always are.


Interesting analysis by Pew which asked people:

Will your vote (in the midterms) be a vote FOR the president, AGAINST the president, or isn’t the president not much of a factor?

Here’s what they found:


Let’s drill down on the numbers…


Uh-oh: The end of Florida as a tax haven?

October 26, 2018

A lot of friends have packed up and moved to Florida.

Some say it’s because of the winter weather.

Most concede that it’s because of the favorable state tax structure.


Andrew Gillum is a far  left progressive … even to the left of Bernie Sanders.

He advocates extensive government spending on social programs … think: Medicare for all and expansion of Medicaid.

His campaign is built around the “power of free”.

It’s relatively silent on the details of paying for the freebies.

So it surprises me is that I haven’t heard any chatter about the inevitable rise in taxes if Gillum gets elected governor.

Maybe, the FL legislature will still be controlled by the GOP … containing any tax increases in the short-run.

But, eventually the tax piper will need to be paid if the majority of Floridians vote for big spending.

All of which raises the question: what happens when a tax haven turns Blue.



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A Never-Trumper asks: Is it too late to get one of those red hats?

October 19, 2018

We previously posted results of a Rasmussen survey that showed 64% of Republicans are “very angry” about the way that Kavanaugh was treated … and practically all of them are more likely to vote in the midterms than they previously were.


Today, let’s provide some human context to the numbers…


About that “blue wave” that’s coming …

October 18, 2018

Post-Kavanaugh, momentum seems to have shifted.

A few weeks ago, most pollsters predicted that Dems would win a Congressional majority and that they stood a shot at taking the Senate.

That picture seems to have changed … quite a bit.

RealClearPolitics is a down-the middle source that reports several polls-of-polls.

One tracks Congressional races, slotting them as likely Dem, likely GOP or toss-ups.

It takes 218 seats to control the Congress (which has 435 representatives).

A couple of weeks ago, RCP was reporting 206 seats as likely Dem, 191 likely GOP and 38 toss-ups.

Now, the RCP recap is Dems 206 and GOP 199 … with  30 toss-ups.

The Dem “hard” advantage has narrowed from 15 seats to 7 … with most of the GOP gain coming from the toss-ups (note the near mirror image of the GOP and toss-up lines).


What’s going on?


Shocker: Hearings stoked anger and likely voter turnout.

October 15, 2018

And, advantage seems to go to GOP.

In a prior post, we reported an NPR survey finding that  Dem’s enthusiasm advantage has evaporated.

There’s some directional support for that conclusion from a recent Rasmussen poll.


Let’s drill down….



62% of vote-eligible Republicans say that they’re more likely to vote in the midterms because of the Kavanaugh controversies.

The 62% compares to 54% for Dems and 48% for Independents.

Arguably, the GOP and Dem numbers are a wash.


64% of likely Republicans voters are “very angry” about the Senate’s treatment of Kavanaugh

Less than half (48%) of Dems are “very angry” about the Senate’s treatment of Dr. Ford.

I’d call 64% to 48% statistically significant.


Rasmussen’s conclusion:

“Republicans are madder about the Kavanaugh controversy than Democrats are and more determined to vote in the upcoming elections because of it.”


Technical note: Rasmussen is often disparaged by pollsters because it’s a robocall survey. 

But, in 2016, its method was one that early-captured the “hidden” Trump voters … in part because the method doesn’t require admitting a controversial opinion to human pollsters.

So, I often refer to Rasmussen for clues … but, wouldn’t bet the house on its specific findings.

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NPR: Dem’s enthusiasm advantage has evaporated.

October 4, 2018

“Kavanaugh Effect” awakening GOP voters.

Interesting study conducted by NPR

Prior to the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings, 78% of  Dems considered the midterm elections to be very important.

The obvious underlying force: adversity to President Trump.

Only 68% of GOP considered the midterms to be very important.

Chalk that up to midterm complacency and confidence that all folks would appreciate that the economy is doing quite well.

That’s a 10 point gap in a proxy measure of voter enthusiasm and likelihood of turning out to vote.

Survey Results

Recent events have closed that gap…


GOP narrowing the Congressional “generic ballot” gap, but…

August 13, 2018

Will ‘hate trump love’ in the midterm elections?

Lots of chatter re: a forthcoming ‘blue wave’ in the 2018 midterms.

The usual quantitative metric is the so-called Generic Congressional Ballot …. which queries folks on which parties’ (unnamed) Congressional candidate they’re likely to vote for.

At the end of 2017, the Dems had a 13 point advantage.

That gap has narrowed to under 4 points in the RCP poll-of-polls.


And, the the most recent individual polls indicate that the gap is continuing to close…


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