The Crosstab Weekly Newsletter 📊 August 19, 2018

FiveThirtyEight launches their House forecast. + Who is buying political ads on social media?

Welcome! G. Elliott Morris — data journalist at The Economist and blogger of polls, elections and political science — here. Happy Sunday! Here’s my weekly newsletter with links to what I’ve been reading and writing that puts the news in context with public opinion polls, political science, other data (some “big,” some small) and looks briefly at the week ahead. Let’s jump right in! Feedback? Drop me a line or just respond to this email. 

This newsletter is made possible by supporters on Patreon. A special thanks to those who pledge the top two tiers is written in the end notes. If you enjoy my personal newsletter and want it to continue, consider a recurring monthly donation of just $2.

Politics and Election Data

Links to last week’s must-reads in politics and elections data:

Forecasting the race for the House

Who’s going to win the House majority?  •  Share

FiveThirtyEight has released their statistical model for forecasting the 2018 US House elections. To be quite frank, the overall probability that Democrats take the House looks quite similar to the one my personal model has been reporting for months. Where the differences lie (besides the obvious improvements in visualization) are in the district level probabilities. The 538 model has quite a few more variables in it, putting more “juice” into the projections it makes and creating (what I think) are more accurate numbers at the district level. Check it out.

Woman vs. Woman: Another Record Is Set for Midterm Elections

MILWAUKEE — In this year of record-breaking advances for women running for office, there is nothing especially extraordinary about two more winning their primaries.  •  Share

Political Ads on Google

Where do they come from? Who buys them?  •  Share

The insane Trump news cycle of 2018 in one chart

Here’s how busy the Trump news cycle has been in just the first half of 2018, as seen in Google News Lab’s data on the googling trends of the public. It shows when and how much people searched about 30 of the biggest news events.  •  Share

Americans’ perceptions of their country’s allies and enemies are hard to change

Despite the president’s best efforts, they see Mexico as a friend and Russia as a foe  •  Share

Independents See Immigration As Defining Partisan Issue

“The Republican Party really has made a concerted effort at this point to make itself not the party of immigrants and not the party that is favorable even toward legal immigration,” David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, said in an interview last week.  •  Share

My take on this Morning Consult data: Political scientists have shown repeatedly now that immigration is a cleavage issue for (a) Trump voters and (b) non-college educated whites. Attitudes toward immigrants are activated frequently with economic rhetoric: IE: “we’re going to bring the jobs back” or “x,y, z company shipped their jobs to Mexico.” The Morning Consult numbers confirm that this dynamic is still at play in American politics. More importantly, we know that this is the cleavage issue in 2018, not just a cleavage issue. Campaigns will be won or lost on how well a candidate caters to their voters on the issue of immigration. Don’t even get me started on racial resentment/anti-immigrant attitudes as they relate to polarization….

How Broad, and How Happy, Is the Trump Coalition?

There’s a popular portrait of a “Trump voter.” He’s a white man without a college degree, and so loyal that he would stick by Mr. Trump no matter what. There’s a reason the stereotype exists: Mr.  •  Share

My take on this NYT interactive: go play with it! It is a very cool way to show (a) very statically sound survey estimates of the white college/non-college educated population (Pew Research Center matched their time-series panel of Americans with data from the states indicating whether someone actually voted) and (b) how those populations voted in 2016.

For Most Trump Voters, ‘Very Warm’ Feelings for Him Endured

In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory, an overwhelming majority of those who said they had voted for him had “warm” feelings for him. By this spring, more than a year into Trump’s presidency, the feelings of these same Trump voters had changed very little.  •  Share

^^^ The Pew data for that NYT interactive ^^^

Think the president’s tweets don’t matter that much? Think again. A recent study from MIT political scientist Nicolas Dumas finds that local protests garner just 60% of the search attention that a Trump tweet on the same topic does. The Birdy Pulpit is pretty strong.

We Looked At Hundreds Of Endorsements. Here’s Who Democrats Are Listening To.

Research by Ballotpedia and Roey Hadar, Lee Harris, Adam Kelsey, Adia Robinson, Meena Venkataramanan and Johnny Verhovek of ABC News.  •  Share

The important number: all else being equal, being a woman has been worth about ten percentage points in extra vote share in Democratic primaries this year. The Year of The Women is not just about their voting behavior, but about being elected too.

Other Data and Cool Work

Other cool stories last week that aren’t related to politics (we all need a break, right?): 

The irresistible rise of internet dating

Meeting a mate online is fast becoming the default in America  •  Share

Nike Manufacturing Map:

Learn more about NIKE, Inc. contract manufacturing network and countries where we do business About this site Virtually all Nike, Inc. products are manufactured by independent contract factories that make products for other global companies, often within the same factory building.  •  Share

Topics and Categories in the Russian Troll Tweets: “So where does that term, and associated terms like "Donald”, belong? These terms apparently were sorted into Category 3, which we’ve called Fearmongers. Once again, this highlights the similarity between political trolls and fearmongering trolls in this dataset.“

What I'm Reading and Working On

Aside from all the links here, I’ve been reading a copy of Tyler Cowen’s new Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible IndividualsA colleague gave it to me – it’s pretty good. I also have been re-digging into my old copy of Phillip Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? Of course, I’m writing for you all full time now, and I have an article about suburban voters coming out in the paper next week. I also am soon releasing my course with DataCamp on using the R programming language to do political analysis. More details on this soon.

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