Who Else Are The Major Candidates' Supporters Considering?

The first Democratic debates are coming up this Wednesday and Thursday. Last week, Data for Progress fielded a survey allowing voters to rank their preferred candidate for the Democratic Presidential primary. In addition to selecting as many candidates as they wanted, respondents would then rank those favorites, up to a maximum of five. Here, we report on the results among 463 likely Democratic primary voters, which includes voters who said they were “definitely” or “probably” going to vote in their state’s upcoming Democratic primary or caucus. In our previous write-up of the survey (the questionnaire and raw data are also available!) we mentioned that we have 476 such voters in our overall sample of 1,030 but, amazingly, 13 likely Democratic primary voters were not happy with any of the candidates, having selected “None of these” in our primary choice item. Go figure!

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F*ck Gerry(mandering) Post-Primary Changes

The Virginia primaries were held a couple weeks ago, and congratulations to all the winners. We didn’t want to step in any intra-party contests, so Round 1 of FuckGerry(mandering) was dedicated to races where Democrats already had their nominee. Now that the Democrats in every district have decided who’s carrying their torch, it’s time to adjust who’s included in the FuckGerry(mandering) roster, and expand the playing field a bit. We’re adding in four Senate races, while in the House, we’re adding in three while taking another three away, where Democrats look like they’re in much better shape than last time we checked in.

So far, Fuck Gerrymandering has raised $60,000 from 1,200 donors,

As of the last campaign finance filing, the fourteen candidates we’ve chosen to support in Round 2 have a combined $869,000 of campaign funds on hand. Their Republican opponents have a combined $2,197,000. That’s over two and a half times as much money, and a raw gap of $1,328,000. Over the next five months, let’s close it.

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Major Rent Law Passes In New York, But The Fight For Affordable Housing Is Just Starting

The national fight for rent control scored a major victory in New York last week. Finally acknowledging the depths of the affordable housing crisis across the state, both houses passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 that represents nearly everything in the Universal Rent Control platform that the state-wide tenant campaign Housing Justice for All has fought for over the last two years. The final version is a dramatic swing in political fortunes in favor of tenants and against the worst speculators within the real estate industry. This was confirmed when Governor Cuomo quickly and quietly signed the bill into law over the loud protestations of the powerful developers who have funded his campaigns for years.

Across the media landscape, big corporate landlords and developers are crying out that this law will single-handedly kill the state’s real estate industry and make the housing crisis worse. That is just absurd alarmism. On the other hand, for many tenants, this bill won’t impact them either way - yet. Let’s dig into the details to see what this bill actually does and doesn’t do and how this sets up the bigger battles to come.

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AOC and Bernie Have a Plan to Take on Loan Sharks. It's a Game Changer for Young People.

In a March 2019 clip that only garnered widespread attention months after the fact, finance guru Suze Orman insisted that the financial hardships of the millennial generation could be traced to their purportedly irresponsible coffee-consumption habits. While the well-deserved mockery she received tended to point out glaring truths about generational inequality, very little coverage of her comments identified a more amusing irony of Orman's backstory: She derives her legitimacy as a self-help guru from her struggles during her upbringing, but was privileged enough to have received a loan of $50,000 from friends, interest-free. The problem for millennials is not their individual choices but the structural policies holding them back. Therefore, the solution is policy, not pedantic life advice. The recent Loan Shark Prevention Act introduced by AOC and Bernie Sanders is a crucial and popular first step towards a solution.

The average millennial, financially precarious and victimized by usury, couldn't conceive of such a proposition. A 2018 survey by CNBC found that 51% of millennials have at least considered taking payday loans to make ends meet, despite the enormous APR associated with so-called "cash advances." While abstaining from coffee might put a couple bucks back in the pockets of young people, it is  laughable that the record one trillion dollars of credit-card debt that the millennial generation accumulated would be meaningfully reduced by altered caffeine habits.

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A Better Measure of Candidate Support by Demographic Groups

As we talked about previously: with such a large field (and with it being this early) in the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, it is difficult to measure candidate support in a useful way. This problem is even more acute when looking at differences across groups, since the data becomes even harder to parse as the number of observations decreases. None of this has stopped pundits from discussing age gaps, ideology gaps, and race gaps between supporters of various candidates. This analysis relies on comparing topline support between different demographic groups, which means that it is generally only comparing voters’ first choices and is therefore ignoring the broader contours of support.

In the previous blog, I used survey data and a random utility model to identify support for candidates beyond the number-one choice. I extend this method here, using new data from YouGov Blue and a MaxDiff model to estimate variation in support across different subsets of voters. The YouGov Blue survey ran from May 30 to June 3, and includes 625 voters whoindicate they will probably vote in the Democratic primary. To measure support, they gave voters sets of five candidates to compare and asked them to select their top and bottom choice from those five candidates. I then modeled that selection as a function of latent candidate support, which itself was a function of voter demographics: ideology, race, sex, age, income, and education. And the end results show candidate support for different demographic groups while holding all else constant. Formally, this is a Hierarchical Bayes MaxDiff model.

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How Well Does DFP’s Progressive Issue Model Reflect Vote Choice?

In a recent GQ magazine article, Way to Win co-founder Tory Gavito and DfP co-founder Sean McElwee presented compelling new evidence on the question of whether Democrats should persuade swing voters or galvanize their base to have the best chances of retaking the White House. One graphic in particular gained significant attention:

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Who Is The Most Progressive Democrat?

The 2020 Democratic Primary features a large number of candidates sending signals regarding their ideological commitments, with many of them attempting to claim the label of being the most “progressive.” But what do they mean when they say “progressive,” and which of them is, in fact, the most progressive? While being progressive is inherently vague and context-dependent, we can provide more than mere guesswork and armchair assumptions. The Washington Post recently started providing data on what stances each of the Democratic candidates are taking on a variety of issues. We can use this resource to compare candidates across issues and provide an overall metric of where each candidate stands comparatively.

For those of you interested in the details, I explain in full how I use a latent variable method to estimate candidate progressivism further below. In general, I combine the positions collected by the Post along with a data collected from DfP volunteers on how progressive positions are relative to each other to place the candidates in a single dimension of ideology. This is done by assuming that each candidate selects the position that is closest to their own ideology.

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Economic and Racial Attitudes in a Comparative Perspective

“Economic populism” and “identity politics” are mutually exclusive, the pundits tell us. Progressives can either embrace an agenda of economic justice, downplaying (or even moving to the right on) issues of race, identity, and immigration; or they can embrace racial justice, downplaying economic and kitchen table issues, but not both. While some countries’ ideological landscapes may suggest some invidious trade-offs be made between emphasizing these two priorities, at least in the United States we don’t have to; they go hand in hand.

The World Values Survey and European Values Study have been conducted every few years since 1980. Looking at data from countries in the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of industrialized peer countries of the United States, we built statistical models to explore the association between economic ideology and racial resentment cross-nationally.

We created an index for economic ideology from data on attitudes towards economic redistribution, the appropriate role of the state in the economy, and economic competition. We used data on attitudes towards people of other races and immigrants to construct an index for racial resentment. Adjusting our models to control for education and religiosity, we find a strong association between left-leaning economic views and lower levels of racial resentment (and between right-leaning economic views and higher levels of racial resentment) in the United States. Interestingly, this relationship is stronger in the United States than it is in other countries.

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Dick Saslaw is a Dick

Decades ago, in a more conservative Virginia, Dick Saslaw became the leader of Senate Democrats. And since then, he’s just...stuck around, with his outdated attitudes and deep corporate ties just as bad as they’ve always been. Saslaw has a long history of thinly-veiled Islamophobia, was the lone Democrat to defend Ralph Northam during the governor’s blackface scandal, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dominion Energy. But just saying “Dick Saslaw is an Islamophobic blackface-enabler bought and paid for by Dominion” doesn’t do it justice.

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The Public Supports A Right To Repair

Today’s farm equipment has more in common with computers than plowshares. Modern tractors have can steer themselves and cost more than a few hundred thousand dollars. But the technology inside can be used to prevent farmers from repairing or altering the machines they own. Many farm equipment manufacturers, such as John Deere, build software into their equipment that prevents anyone other than “certified dealers” from making repairs. This puts farmers in tough situations.

Imagine a farmer’s tractor breaks down on a Monday. Previously, if this farmer was capable of fixing the issue, they could simply make the repairs themselves and continue on with their day. But with many modern machines and their coded restrictions, farmers have to bring in a technician approved by the manufacturer. This might be a few days and costs money just to request. This situation is causing consternation among America’s farmers.

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