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Election year myths

Story: "the people are poor and pissed!"

Data: "not so fast"


"They’re as happy as they were in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won a landslide reelection. They largely approve of their president. They overwhelmingly support free trade and oppose immigration restriction, and in both cases the public is becoming more pro-globalization, not less. Donald Trump won a Republican primary where turnout, as always, was low, and got as far as he did on the votes of a relatively small fraction of Americans."

"Americans feel about as good about how things are going as they did in the mid-2000s, or in the mid-1980s. They feel much better than they did in 2012."

"Not only did the typical household see its income rise by 5.2 percent, or $2,800 in real terms, but the growth was concentrated at the bottom."

"According to polling Gallup conducted in June, only 25 percent of respondents report disliking both candidates; that's higher than the 11 percent of respondents in 2012 who disliked both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, but it suggests that a large majority of Americans have at least one candidate they view favorably."

"The timing for this turn against trade, however, is puzzling, given that the share of Americans saying trade is an “opportunity” rather than a “threat” hit in 2016 its highest point in Gallup’s polling"

"More intriguing still, Americans' split on the issue by party has changed over the past couple of decades. While Democrats used to be more skeptical of trade, and Republicans more sympathetic, now Democrats are likelier to say it's an opportunity."

"Polling from the Pew Research Center earlier this year found that while 58 percent of Americans say that having many different ethnic groups present makes their country a better place to live, the numbers are far worse in countries like Sweden, Germany, Italy, and Greece."

"While the share of Americans calling for reduced immigrant inflows peaked in 1993 and 1995 at 65 percent, according to Gallup, the share has plummeted to a mere 38 percent. "

"While 76 percent of millennials say that immigrants strengthen the country, only 48 percent of baby boomers do. "

"Over the past 10 years, more people have immigrated from the US to Mexico than vice versa"

"The murder rate is half of what it was in 1991"

"state legislative election outcomes are much more a consequence of national factors than local ones... He correlated respondents' reported votes in state legislature races against their approval ratings for their legislature, governor, and the US president. He found that presidential approval has a significantly larger effect on state legislature voting choices than either of the other, more relevant approval ratings."

That one suggests federalism, as in electing different levels of government, might be obsolete.

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Damien Sullivan

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