Showing posts with label 2012 Election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 Election. Show all posts

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Trump's GOP Opposition in Utah Gave Romney Some Backbone

Mitt Romney becoming the first Senator in the President's party to vote to convict on one of the charges in Trump's impeachment trial did raise some eyebrows.  It may not be as surprising given that he and Trump have butted heads.  However other Republicans who have butted heads, with Trump in the past, such as Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz, were fine with giving him a blank check for future abuses of power.  Could there be another explanation for Romney's not towing the line?

Utah has been one of the reddest states in the union for decades having not voted for a Democrat since 1964.  In 2012 Romney received 72% of the vote there over Barack Obama for President.  That was the highest percentage of the vote he received that year. He received 63% of the vote when he ran for the Senate there in 2018.  

The election numbers for the state look different in 2016 for Utah.  Ted Cruz won the GOP caucus there with 69% of the vote.  In the general election, Trump won the state with only 45% of the vote.  Independent candidate Evan McMullin received 21% of the vote in the state while Hillary Clinton received 27.8% that year.  

This year, the support for Donald Trump in Utah is at 52% as of December 2019 while his disapproval is at 44%.  This gives him a +8% net approval rating.  At the same time, neighboring Wyoming is the state with the strongest net approval rating with +27% (62% approve and 35% disapprove).  

These numbers were not enough to persuade Utah's other Senator, Mike Lee, to vote to convict, but clearly they did not dissuade Romney from doing so.  It may still be a tall order to get the state to go blue this fall but it clearly has an independent streak with lukewarm support for Trump.  William Weld should spend a lot of time campaigning there.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A General Profile on Utah & PA

Having been in Utah for one month, I thought I would give my readers a brief introduction to the state.  I haven't seen the arch above it's in the South of Utah.  I have seen plenty of views like the one on the left from where I work at the VA in Salt Lake City.

Unlike Pennsylvania the population of the state has been growing.  It picked up one seat in the US Congress in the last Census whereas Pennsylvania has been steadily losing seats for decades from a high of 36 in 1920 to 18 today.  Pennsylvania has been evenly divided politically but Utah has been solidly Republican since 1964.  The election map from 2012 shows that Republicans had more than 60% of the vote in all but 4 counties in Utah.  Democrats won 14 out of the 67 counties in PA while carrying the state. 

We all know about the state being founded by Mormons (they call themselves LDS or Latter Day Saints) in the 19th century who were fleeing religious persecution in the east.  Pennsylvania was founded by the Quakers (who call themselves the society of friends) fleeing persecution in England.  Utah has retained it's Mormon majority while PA has become more religiously diverse.  

I did a profile of poverty in Pennsylvania where the Census Bureau  estimated the rate at 13.7% in 2013 while Utah's was significantly lower at 12.6% while the uninsured rate in Utah was higher.  The differences are as glaring as the similarities.

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The Impact of the ACA (Obamacare) in Utah and Pennsylvania by Ethnicity and Race

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Adjusting Exit Polls? Assumptions Make All The Difference (Response to Charmin)

The last post has provoked a strong reaction from Charnin and another on my argument on voter fraud and exit polls.  Another response to this is, in  2004 some were claiming voter fraud with Diebold automated voting machines, especially in the state of Ohio.  Bush carried the state by about 100,000 votes over Kerry officially.  There were other problems in Ohio such as long lines in Democratic precincts that year.  If Kerry had won that state he would've won the electoral college while losing the official popular vote margin.  

Fast forward to 2012, Ohio is still a big battleground state but Obama barely carried it this time.    In the clip above Bush's brain Karl Rove bitterly disagreed with Fox News' own election projection bureau which had just called Ohio for Obama with the same Diebold machines.  Is this just Kabuki theater to cover up the fraud?  Should Obama have won by a larger margin?  Didn't they have these less high tech voting methods in 2000 and before where fraud on a massive scale would be harder to cover up than with today's machines with no paper trail?

Richard Charnin may be right in his theories.  I am not calling him a liar like Stewart is calling Karl Rove, either to himself or to the world.  Stewart is looking for laughs.  I believe that he believes his findings.  Probability models only show the likelihood of an event.  Hard data is needed to back up the predictions and/or claims.  I agree that a paper trail in elections is important for protecting against fraud but one must be careful to assume that just because the potential for it exists doesn't prove that the fraud exists.

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2012: A 2004 Election Rerun?

The Need for Exactness


Friday, August 16, 2013

Adjusting Exit Polls? Assumptions Make All The Difference

I was sent this post by a friend of mine from Healthcare 4 All PA on how the unadjusted exit polls in the Presidential Elections from 1988-2008 show voter fraud in favor of the Republican Candidate. It argues that the polls were adjusted to reflect the official election results.  The post can be read here:

Election Fraud: An Introduction to Exit Poll Probability Analysis

Blog author mathematician Richard Charnin claims that the graph above proves that there is massive election fraud as the size of the margin of error in local election exit polls seems to have decreased over the last 20 years.  There were a total of 126 exit polls that exceeded the margin of error over this period and 123 of them were won by the GOP.  He also argues that the popular vote percentage is consistently greater for the Republican winner than the Democrat in the exit poll.  

He relies on Richard Roeper's Roper Center Public Opinion Archives for the raw poll data which are unadjusted.  He seems to assume that the raw data are more reliable are more accurate than the adjusted numbers.  Charnin does a decent job of discussing the normal, binomial, and Poisson probability distributions and uses them to argue that the Democrat should have won every Presidential election since 1988-2008.   The author does not seem to consider that the totals are adjusted for population differences and/or sampling error.  For some this sounds like fudging of the numbers but there are theoretically valid ways to adjust sample values to estimate population values.

I have written many posts which have taken exit poll results at face value except for one in the Healthcare 4 All PA/PUSH where I noticed an inconsistency between national, PA exit poll results in 2012 and previous poll results on whether the public wants a better health care law.  Does this support Charnin's claim that exit polls are skewed to mask voter fraud?  Not necessarily,  It takes a lot more data to prove that there is systematic skewing of the data.  The assumptions one makes can invalidate the best of statistical methods and the most beautiful of graphics.

Dean Chambers of argues exactly the opposite of Charnin with Romney winning with 51% and now insinuates that there was massive voter fraud against him.  His method page was taken down now but I saw it before and critiqued it here.  He made similar assumptions to Charnin and used methods to fit his beliefs.  All of this may confirm to the layman the adage "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."  A more careful reading of the numbers can separate the signal from the noise (as Nate Silver would say)  to find the relevant info.

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Monday, January 21, 2013


This is the phrase that Charlie Sheen popularized when he was fired from his sitcom Two and a Half Men.  We all want to back a winner but we never ask what the price of winning is. Today Barack Obama has been inaugurated for a second term after garnering 51% of the vote over Mitt Romney last fall. He has many challenges coming up on gun control, the economy, Afghanistan, and who knows what else.  He had to raise billions of dollars for his campaign and millions more to pay for the ceremony today.  How many favors will be expected in return?

In April, the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh will be honoring Sheen's father Martin for his peace activism.  I'm not saying he doesn't deserve the recognition but please don't ask him about Charlie.  His activism has not come without a price just like it has for the rest of us.

Lance Armstrong has finally come clean to Oprah Winfrey (but not yet under oath) on using performance enhancing drugs.  I have written before about how abuse of these drugs goes far beyond Armstrong. He is an extreme case of gaming the system.  If he had raced clean and finished in the top 20 seven years in a row in the Tour de France would that have been any less heroic? Sure he wouldn't have had all the money or fame which he so desired but we all wanted a hero for cancer survivors everywhere who suffer with the disease and get no recognition.  I still wear the Livestrong rubber bracelet which he first popularized in 2005 and people ask me why.  Yes Lance is flawed and who isn't.  He can still become a hero even without winning bike races or heads a foundation.  Is the Livestrong Foundation bad because of his extreme bullying to preserve his titles?  Life is full of contradictions that we must negotiate.

So much energy, legal and illegal, is invested in winning.  We need to ask ourselves when is the price worth it?

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2012: A 1916 Rerun


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Monday, December 31, 2012

Will Our New Secretary of State be Swiftboated?

Now that the election is over President Obama has been reshuffling his cabinet.  One position he will have to fill is Secretary of State as Hillary Clinton is stepping down, possibly to run for President in 2016 if her health allows.  His first appointee, UN ambassador Susan Rice, was withdrawn due to controversy over the Benghazi, Libya attack.  She was replaced with 2004 Presidential nominee John Kerry. 

Right now he seems to have smooth sailing in the Senate with the country focused on the fiscal cliff and New Years celebrations.  There is always the possibility of eleventh hour "swiftboating" when the confirmation hearings heat up.  Back in 1971 John Kerry, then 27, debated the Vietnam War with fellow swiftboat veteran John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett show.  John O'Neill  would go on to head the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth which campaigned against his 2004 run for the White House and may have planted enough doubt in voters minds to cost him the election.  Below are the first two video clips from the Cavett show.  The whole show can be watched here.  Former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel has also raised controversy with his appointment as Secretary of Defense with many of his GOP colleagues threatening to block his appointment.  Right now he seems a better candidate for swiftboating but the the original swiftboaters haven't given up on Kerry.

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2012: A 2004 Election Rerun?


We've All Neglected Our Wars (Me Too) 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Year End Post

I don't have anything to say about the Newtown shootings or the fiscal cliff.  I've written posts on those topics before on the mass shooting which occurred a mile from where I live in 2009 and on the debt ceiling talks which are now being made and rerun from July 2011.  In my last post on 'The Secret' I talked about how good things and bad things happen and 'positive energy' only goes so far.  I've written many posts on the 2012 Election, not merely to forecast the winner like Nate Silver but to use statistics and analytical tools to ask deeper questions. I have also written many posts on the PUSH/Healthcare for All PA website on the developments in healthcare this year while I also managed their page.  There were also many other topics covered on the blog which can be seen at the labels cloud on the right such as PodCamp, history, and statistics.  I'll leave you with an image of my sustainable Christmas Tree.
My Reusable Natural Christmas Tree

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Using the Disabled as a Prop for a Larger Racist Global Agenda

Rick Santorum, Glenn Beck and the right made an effort to show that they can still flex their muscle now that the election is over by campaigning against the UN treaty on the Disabled which failed yesterday in the US Senate to make the needed two thirds majority of 67 by 6 votes.  The treaty in the US is mostly symbolic because the Americans with Disabilities Act covers most of this territory but it is significant in much of the world.  This rejection also does not affect the treaty in other countries. 

The greater significance of this action is to still show the same contempt for international cooperation that impedes US 'sovereignty.'  This is a token victory which may be reversed after the new Congress is sworn in in January.  The rhetoric above resembles that of the southern states to protect their sovereignty in the Civil War.  

An Anti-War March in 2005
Another Anti-War Marcher in 2005

The Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq without UN authorization is definitely a more extreme case of the right showing contempt for global democracy than this one.  Remember "freedom fries" replacing French Fries in Congressional Cafeteria?  That one resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and created possibly millions more disabled Americans and Iraqis over weapons of mass destruction that did not exist at the time of the invasion.  Now we're hearing the same rhetoric now over Syria and Iran.  The average Iraqi is a better judge of how democratic their country is now than any pundit on Fox News.

Santorum again uses his youngest child Bella in his arguments against the current treaty just as he did against the health care law while many lower status children and adults with disabilities need these types of protections.  Santorum and Beck even call the UN disabled treaty 'fascistic.'  Doesn't anyone see that this is all really a ploy to subvert real democratic processes among nations?  The scale may differ but the intent is the same.  Many other global issues such as terrorism and climate change require global cooperation just as the states have to cooperate to solve national problems. This contempt for the UN is really thinly veiled racism.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012: A 1916 Rerun

Now that the election is over it's time to focus on politics.  Much has been made of Nate Silver's having been shown to be right about the results while the pundits, especially at Fox News, were not.  Many still do not understand what he was forecasting.  They assume that because his model gave Obama a 90% chance of winning with 51% of the popular vote and over 330 electoral votes that Obama had won by a landslide.  Even though he had won most of the battleground states such as Ohio, most of them were by a small margin.   

The county map on the left shows the subtleties across the nation better and how close the popular vote really was.  The over 3,100 counties are coded on a range of red for Romney to blue for Obama.  In the next two to four years there could still be a shift in the political winds.  

1916 was a close election after between Woodrow Wilson and Charles Evans Hughes.   Hughes was just as confident as Mitt Romney that he was going to win but lost by just over 3% of the popular vote.  Hughes went to bed election night thinking he had won.  A reporter telephoned to interview Hughes.  He was told (as Doris Kearns-Goodwin tells it) "the President-Elect is sleeping" the reporter responded "when he wakes up you should inform the President-Elect that he is not the President-Elect anymore."  That election was followed by the landslide of 1920 by Warren G Harding who promised a "return to normalcy" under prohibition with the US not participating in the League of Nations.

Could this happen today as two states, Washington and Colorado, actually voted to legalize marijuana this year?  The battle now turns to the states and the humdrum of budgets and foreign policy.  In my home state of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is under pressure from the right not to implement the Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare) and may be forcing the faculty of the state's 14 publicly owned universities into a strike affecting over 120,000 students.    Nationally a high stakes debate on the budget has begun between Obama and Congress (the 'Fiscal Cliff') and wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan which strangely resembles the political chess game in the new Spielberg movie on Lincoln which covers a similar topic.  What happens next depends on what happens now.  

Some are predicting an apocalyptic event on Dec 21 of this year.  This qualifies as a scientifically testable theory as it can be proven true or false, just as Nate Silver's forecast on the outcome of the election was.  Though with a much lower probability of success.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Strikes

It was a good weekend at PodCamp which I shall summarize later.  As I work on other projects today I'm hearing plenty about Hurricane Sandy today. Above is it's projected path for the next 5 days based on probability models.  I posted about this twice during the Republican and Democratic Conventions on how it seemed ironic that nature was flexing it's muscles as the political parties are again making their stretch run for the White House.  After there was no mention of climate change in any of the presidential debates, yet again the news media makes little mention of climate change which fuels massive storms like Sandy.  The response more resembles Jersey Boy John Travolta's performance in the movie Grease in 1978 when he sings to his lost love played by Olivia Newton-John.  Watching that clip is more entertaining than reiterating what was in my previous posts which are linked below.


Sandy has wreaked terrible losses on the mid-Atlantic states.  The news media has done a good job covering the losses from the storm but mostly has stayed away from what might have caused the maelstrom. Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks on Current TV (Al Gore's network) gives a good summary of the media coverage which summarizes the Sandy video aboveFor example Paul Ryan's workout received three times the coverage of arctic ice melt.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Polling Pulsification: Telling People What They Want to Hear

I have stayed away from the election horse race to talk about the election's deeper issues.  Polls and surveys can be used as tools of propaganda as well as a valuable means of informing us on how the rest of the public thinks as the clips from Stewart (above) and Colbert (below) show.  The unemployment data which came out last week contradicted what Romney supporters wanted to hear so they came out and aggressively claimed that the report was fraudulent with no supporting evidence.

This final clip discusses a blog which seems to be taking the poll spinning to the extreme.  The blogger Dean Chambers at  claims to have recomputed the estimated percentages of each recent poll according to what he believes are the percentages of the political parties and ideologies in the US population.  He doesn't state his source for these percentages which are probably themselves estimates subject to some imprecision.  Colbert and others in the media have done the public a disservice by giving this blog a national forum without adequately skewering him.  Undoubtedly, if Romney wins, Fox News will hire Chambers as the conservative antidote to Nate Silver.  That is my election prediction.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

2012: A 1912 Rerun? (Only if you make it)

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for Wednesday's debate I give you audio clips from the 1912 election.  Below are the actual voices of Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft in campaign recordings from that year (presented in the order that they finished).  Phonograph records were the Facebook/YouTube of it's day.  Radio didn't become prevalent until the 1920's with the birth of KDKA in Pittsburgh.

Woodrow Wilson called "the schoolboy in the White House" was the Democratic candidate.  Glenn Beck and some other conservatives now blame him for the problems we have today. He enacted the Federal Reserve, the Progressive Income Tax, child labor laws and most famously the League of Nations which was the forerunner of today's UN. He also was a southern born racist who hosted a showing of the pro Ku Klux Klan film Birth of a Nation at the White House.  Does his rhetoric sound inflammatory today?  You be the judge.  This is the first in a six part series that can be heard on YouTube.

Former President Theodore Roosevelt left the Republican Party to form the Progressive or Bull Moose Party when his former friend William Howard Taft refused to give him the Republican Party nomination.  He is also sometimes criticized by Glenn Beck for his domestic policy.  Like Wilson he also engaged in gunboat diplomacy in Latin America while pursuing progressive policies at home.  He finished 2nd in his bid for a third term.  This clip is the first in a 9 part series.

William Howard Taft succeeded Roosevelt for President in 1908.  I found this speech from the Library of Congress on prosperity from 1912 where he criticizes his opponents.  He finished third winning two states and later served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court until he died in 1930.  His descendants are still active in conservative Ohio politics. His son Robert became a US Senator, wrote the anti union Taft-Hartley Act which impedes union organizing to this day, and almost defeated Gen. Eisenhower for the GOP Presidential nomination in 1952.

Democracy Now will have an expanded debate where third party candidates will be given time to speak in addition to Obama and Romney. The lamestream media will focus on whether Romney is a carbon copy of John Kerry or Michael Dukakis.

I begin the third year of CSI without Dead Bodies with this announcement.  This Sunday, Oct 7 at 7:30-9:30 there will be a concert by Mike Stout and the Human Union Band to raise money for the Thomas Merton Center and PUSH/Healthcare for All PA at the Frick Fine Arts Center in Pittsburgh.  For those of you unfamiliar with his band you can see it in the clip below with their tribute to the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire which inspired many of the reforms which Wilson and Roosevelt advocated in 1912.  The reforms still took many years to enact and some are still hard to enact because they are interrupted by wars.


Much has been made of Obama's timid debate performance.  Here are the third party candidates Johnson (Libertatian on YouTube), Stein(Green), and Anderson's (Justice) virtual participation in the debates.  Were they as timid?  You decide.


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Need for Exactness

Whether truthfully or not, stating the need for exactness is an effective tool for planting doubt in the public's mind about your opponents claims.  Some birthers and JFK conspiracy theorists will never be satisfied with the official explanation of their respective claims.

At the bi-Monthly Goo Goo Gathering that the Pittsburgh Coffee Party held, there was a lot of discussion of the PA Supreme Court's decision to have the lower courts reconsider whether the State's voter ID law is feasible.  The Republicans, who passed the law, publicly stated that it is intended to prevent voter fraud but insiders like PA House Majority leader privately stated something else:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Blood in the Water - Mike Turzai's Voter ID Remarks
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Opponents of the law demanded to see one case of voter fraud and stated that many of the state's poor and minorities would be disenfranchised because of inability to obtain an ID. 

Another example of the need for exactness is Mitt Romney's claim that the 47% of the US who were dependent on the US Government for assistance.  Many of his opponents, once they found out about his comments, were quick to point out who the 47% were: mostly the elderly and the working poor. 

I was also asked another question at the Goo Goo gathering about electronic voter machines that have no paper trail.   How can they be checked for accuracy.  He said he had a sample size of 20 machines to test for malicious software out of about 5,000 in Allegheny County.  He wanted to know if that sample size would be able to detect anything.  I computed the margin of error for the sample for the percent of machines found to be defective.  With a sample of 20 that would mean a margin of error of +/- 22.4% with 95% confidence.  This means that if 50% of machines were found to be defective in the sample (10 out of 20), the actual population proportion would be between 72.4% and 27.6%.  This is a wide margin but we could be confident that the population proportion was different from zero.  He said that these tests have been done before but they have always come out to be 100% not defective.

Another method of checking the machines I told him would be to compare the machine vote totals to the exit poll data or even hold a mock election.  The 2006 CNN exit poll accurately predicted that Bob Casey would defeat Rick Santorum with 59% of the vote (margin of error +/- 2%).  Granted one or two defective counting machines would not have an overwhelming effect on the statewide totals with millions voting.  If precinct level exit poll percentages could be compared to corresponding vote totals, that could provide a better indication on the reliability of the machines.  If that is not feasible then holding mock elections with no secret ballot could be the next best thing with the 20 machines.

I have a similar problem looking at my blog traffic statistics which I will discuss in depth on my second year anniversary post.  My post 100th post is listed as the top post for the month on the built in stat counter for blogger but hardly registers for Google Analytics and Stat Counter and I have a similar post on the PUSH blog with inflated statistics.  That is why independent verification is important.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Issac, Leslie, and Katrina: Still Lessons of Hubris

In my last post I talked about a variety of issues related to sports, politics, and climate change.   This post is meant as a follow up.

The GOP convention got off with a one day delay, a mild walkout by Maine Ron Paul supporters who were naive enough to want real democracy at the convention, a truth-stretched VP acceptance speech by Paul Ryan, and a strange speech by Clint Eastwood to an empty chair.  Maclachlan still looks good in Romney's role if HBO want's to do a movie in a Blue Velvety/Twin Peaksy fashion.

This week it's the Democrats turn in Charlotte, North Carolina which is also no stranger to hurricanes.  Tropical storm Leslie (they are named in alphabetical fashion) is in the Caribbean now but is not expected to hit Charlotte though the remnants of Isaac might (see map in previous post).  Another storm Kirk blew harmlessly out to sea.  This convention could be a snooze fest then for four days.

Comparing this hurricane season to 2005 when Katrina hit New Orleans seven years to the day before Isaac.  As stated before this season has had about about the same number of storms as 2005 did so far as the lettering of storms indicates.  What is often not discussed is that in 2005 there were so many named storms in the Atlantic that the National Weather service used up the letters of the alphabet and had to go to the Greek alphabet all the way to Zeta (Omega is the last letter).  The strongest storm that year was Wilma, not Katrina, which was in October of that year. 

Isaac caused flooding in the deep south (in states that could benefit from Medicaid expansion) but nowhere near the damage Katrina did because they were better prepared in New Orleans.  In the upcoming election there may be some discussion of the role of government in diagnosing, combating, and remedying the problems caused by climate change but I heard little at the GOP convention.  Will there be this week in Charlotte?

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