Showing posts with label Wisconsin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wisconsin. Show all posts

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Progressive Soul Searching in Wisconsin, PA, & other Red Gov. States

The failed attempt this week to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has left many of his opponents to scratch their heads and wonder "was it the money?", "Was it better organization?", "Was something wrong with the exit polls?", and "What does it mean for Obama's reelection?"  While these questions are interesting there are other questions, races, and issues that can be overlooked.  My state Pennsylvania has it's own Scott Walker as Governor, Tom Corbett.  On May 18 there was a great rally at the Pittsburgh Opera against their giving him an award for his lifetime contribution to the arts as can be seen in the clip above.  The primary and secondary teachers unions were well represented but I didn't see any of the University activists there. 

The graphic below shows that PA is one of the worst states when it comes to cuts in Higher Education with a 13.4% decrease in spending with further cuts proposed this coming year with the state related Universities (Jan Brewer's Arizona and Walker's Wisconsin are the second and third worst at 25.1% and 20.9% respectively behind New Hampshire at 41.3%).  Of the 18 states that are dark red in the map below 13 have Republican Governors.

Below the CNN exit poll shows that in Wisconsin this week, Walker and his challenger Tom Barrett split the 18-24 college age vote in Wisconsin while Barrett won the 25-29 year olds and Walker either won or split the older age groups.  The under 30 age group only comprised 16% of the electorate in Wisconsin (they are about 20% of those over 18 in the state) while they are the ones most likely to adversely affected by Walker's cuts to higher ed.  50-64 year olds were over represented (34% of the electorate but about 20% of the electorate).

CNN Wisconsin Exit Poll

AgeTotalBarrettWalkerOther/No Answer
65 or Older18%44%56%N/A

It is true that this is one issue among many at play in the recall race.  It is helpful to look at the data to see where the revealing patterns are about which groups we need to reach out to for 2014 when Walker and Corbett are up for reelection.  I can assure you that their people are looking at population data to see what the trends are for 2012, 2014, and beyond.  Not only are they sitting on a mountain of cash.  They are also sitting on a mountain of data.


The Pew Research Center has come out with a survey showing how the partisan divide has grown larger over the last 20 years.  I asked a question that was posed to Michael Dimock, the primary investigator on C-SPAN's Washington Journal at about the 15:10 minute mark about what is causing the divide.

**Related Posts** 

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States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy


Change at My Alma Mater, IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Undergrads Getting Squeezed


Making Sense of the Pat Toomey-Joe Sestak Senate Race

Sunday, March 6, 2011

States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy

As the standoff at the State Capitol in Wisconsin continues over public employees and teachers to continue to have the right to collective bargaining with no end in sight a similar bill in the Midwestern state of Ohio passed it's State Senate this week by a vote of 17-16 with protesting crowd sizes maxing out at 8,500.  According to the Dayton Daily News "The bill undoes much of the 1983 law allowing public employee collective bargaining. It bans strikes, ends binding arbitration for police and firefighters, creates a merit pay system and layoff system using criteria other than seniority."   The State House is expected to vote on the bill this week and be signed by Gov John Kasich-R (who is a former Fox News contributor).  

If one state is successful in passing this law while the other is not it will be bad for unions and workers in that state but it does present an opportunity for public policy and social science researchers to study the effects of these types of laws.  Both Wisconsin and Ohio are Midwestern industrial states of similar climate, industry, and demographic makeup.  This type of study would be called a quasi experiment (not a true experiment because the law is not randomly assigned).  A wide variety of variables could be studied as the workplace has an effect on a wide variety of quality of life issues.  The strain that public employees are under can have ripple effects throughout the state especially in times of crisis when services are needed from the State.  Even in normal times stress on the employees can have effects in their homes, on their marriages, and their kids.  If their incomes are affected so can the surrounding communities' economies. 

There is plenty of other "experimenting" going on in other states both on the left and the right.  For example Vermont is trying to pass a Single Payer law to cover everyone (see Related Post below) while Pennsylvania 42,000 adults lost health insurance due to the Adult Basic Program being ended on March 1 of this year.  In the chart on the right many states including Vermont (single payer controls costs better than private insurers) are cutting spending to below prerecession levels providing many consequences for those dependent on spending and opportunities to study the effects of these consequences.  Pennsylvania can now be added to the map in red.


Last night the Wisconsin state Senate may or may not have bended the rules and passed the law 18-1 banning collective bargaining without the quorum present.  Whether it stands or not will depend on whether court challenges to the law and/or efforts to recall Senators who voted for the law are successful.  Governor Walker can be recalled in January 2012.  This could be a different kind of experiment in democracy than what we're seeing in Ohio and other states.

The Worden Report: Protests in Wisconsin and Bahrain: Similar or Different?


Measuring Democracy in the World?


Vermont single payor | The Incidental Economist 


Variability in Health Care Survey Reports but not in Vermont's Health Care Plan