The Crosstab Weekly Newsletter 📊 September 16, 2018

Democrats could win a majority of governor's mansions. + the feasibility of third parties, "economic anxiety" among Trump voters

Welcome! I’m G. Elliott Morris, data journalist at The Economistand blogger of polls, elections, and political science. 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. 

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This Week's Big Question

Governors’ Mansions: Can Democrats win a majority of states?

Two polls out this week have Democrat Andrew Gillum leading the governor’s race in Florida, probably the state with the most-watched competitive elections — a tough Senate race, a contested governors contest, and a potential for 3 (possibly more) Democratic House pickups heading into the November midterms.

But Florida is not the only race where Democrats are poised to pick up a governor’s mansion; they’re also leading polls healthily in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, and New Mexico, and by slim toss-up margins in Georgia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nevada. Of course, Democrats might not win in all of these races, but victories in ten would give them control over a majority of state executives nationwide.

As of current polling averages — which are subject to change, likely in the Democratic direction if past midterm fundamentals play out — Democrats should gain about 7 seats half the time, but the possible number of seats gained ranges from 3 to 11 95% of the time. I wrote a quick computer program to simulate the elections in the 16 seats most competitive states.

Though this is what polls say, remember there are other factors to take into account. Eventually, I’ll take a look at what all these factors say for each individual governors mansion. It is worth saying that even if Democrats don’t win 26 or more governor’s races, they will probably have control over a near super-majority of the population.

Politics and Election Data

The polls are coming: Four tips for sorting through the wave of pre-election polls this fall

Labor Day has passed, which in an election year means Americans are about to become awash in polls tapping the mood of voters as they decide which candidate to support in 435 congressional districts and dozens of U.S. Senate and governor’s elections on Nov. 6.  •  Share

Forecasting the race for the Senate

Democrats have a 1-in-3 chance of winning a majority in the chamber  •  Share

House Polls Show Very Close Races but Also Hints of Democratic Strength

In five of nine races in a first wave of surveys, the result is within one percentage point. With just under two months until the midterms, the races that seem likely to decide control of Congress remain strikingly close, according to a first wave of New York Times Upshot/Siena College polls.  •  Share

Americans Are Shifting The Rest Of Their Identity To Match Their Politics

Welcome to Secret Identity, our regular column on identity and its role in politics and policy. We generally think of a person’s race or religion as being fixed — and that those parts of identity (being black, say, or evangelical Christian) drive political views.  •  Share

It's not just CNN's poll. All polling shows Trump's approval rating dropping.

(CNN)President Donald Trump’s approval rating in the latest CNN poll stands at just 36%. That’s a 6-point drop from 42% last month.  •  Share

Right-wing anti-immigrant parties continue to receive support in Europe

PARLIAMENTARY elections in Sweden on September 9th delivered a small note of optimism for European liberals. The Swedish Democrats, an anti-immigrant party with white-supremacist roots, had been hoping to become the country’s second-largest holder of seats in the Riksdag.  •  Share

Other Data and Cool Work

The American middle class is stable in size, but losing ground financially to upper-income families

About half (52%) of American adults lived in middle-class households in 2016. This is virtually unchanged from the 51% who were middle class in 2011.  •  Share

Higher-education spending is falling

OECD countries spent an average of 5% of GDP on education in 2015. Between 2010 and 2015 total spending fell in more than two-thirds of countries surveyed, as belts tightened after the financial crisis.  •  Share

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met

In real life, in the natural course of conversation, it is not uncommon to talk about a person you may know.  •  Share

Life in developing countries continues to improve

SHORTLY before he was assassinated during a presidential-election campaign, Robert Kennedy famously said that GDP—economists’ favoured measure of prosperity and progress—captured everything “except that which makes life worthwhile”.  •  Share

Political Science

In the Red: Americans' Economic Woes are Hurting Trump

Key Findings While the economic anxiety of “working-class” white people is often identified as a key driver in the ascent of President Donald Trump, our research shows how this theory breaks down in key ways.  •  Share

Religious Trump Voters: How Faith Moderates Attitudes about Immigration, Race, and Identity

Increasing political polarization and rising conflict over identity, race relations, immigration, and L.G.B.T. rights have left two increasingly divided extremes with a seemingly elusive moderate middle.  •  Share

Spoiler Alert: Why Americans' Desires for a Third Party Are Unlikely to Come True

Third parties are a perpetual fascination of American politics.  •  Share

What I'm Reading and Working On

I’m writing about the media narrative surrounding ideology and identity politics among the Democrats this week.


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back again next week! In the meantime, follow me online or reach out via email. I’d love to hear from you!

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