Tag Archives: Voter

New study: which group of voters correctly answered questions about basic facts?

Let's take a look at some data and learn how the world really works
Let’s take a look at some data and learn how the world really works

The non-partisan web site Just Facts has been cited as an authority by IBM, PBS, Vanderbilt University, the Wall Street Journal, etc. In their latest study, they tested conservative and progressive voters to see which group had reality-based views of education, taxes, healthcare, national debt, pollution, government spending, Social Security, global warming, energy, hunger, and poverty.

Here is what they measured:

The findings are from a nationally representative annual survey commissioned by Just Facts, a non-profit research and educational institute. The survey was conducted by Triton Polling & Research, an academic research firm that used sound methodologies to assess U.S. residents who regularly vote.

While most polls measure public opinion, this unique one measures voters’ knowledge of major issues facing the nation—such as education, taxes, healthcare, national debt, pollution, government spending, Social Security, global warming, energy, and hunger.

I just wanted to list out a few of the questions, so that you would be able to see the topics, and know that the answers are measurable quantities. This is important because we want to know which groups of voters understand just the facts about the world we live in.

Education sample question:

On average across the United States, how much do you think public schools spend per year to educate each classroom of students? Less or more than $150,000 per classroom per year?

Correct Answer: More than $150,000. The average cost to educate a classroom of public school students is about $332,000 per year.

Correct answer given by 36% of all voters, 26% of Democrat voters, 45% of Trump voters, 46% of males, 28% of females, 25% of 18 to 34 year olds, 40% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 33% of 65+ year olds.

Taxes sample question:

On average, who would you say pays a greater portion of their income in federal taxes: The middle class or the upper 1% of income earners?

Correct Answer: The upper 1%. The Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Treasury, and the Tax Policy Center have all documented that households in the top 1% of income pay an average effective federal tax rate of about 33%, while middle-income households pay about 13%. These tax rates account for nearly all income and federal taxes.

Correct answer given by 18% of all voters, 6% of Democrat voters, 30% of Trump voters, 21% of males, 15% of females, 11% of 18 to 34 year olds, 19% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 19% of 65+ year olds.

Spending sample question:

Do you think the federal government spends more money on social programs, such as Medicare, education, and food stamps—or does the federal government spend more money on national defense, such as the Army, Navy, and missile defense?

Correct Answer: Social programs. In 2018, 62% of federal spending was for social programs, and 18% was for national defense. In 1960, the opposite was true, and 53% of federal spending was for national defense, while 21% was for social programs.

Correct answer given by 36% of all voters, 14% of Democrat voters, 59% of Trump voters, 40% of males, 33% of females, 23% of 18 to 34 year olds, 36% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 41% of 65+ year olds.

National debt sample question: 

What about federal government debt? The average U.S. household owes about $122,000 in consumer debt, such as mortgages and credit cards. Thinking about all federal government debt broken down to a per household basis, do you think the average federal debt per U.S. household amounts to more or less than the average consumer debt per U.S. household?

Correct Answer: More than $122,000. Federal debt is now $23.1 trillion or about $180,000 for every household in the United States.

Correct answer given by 77% of all voters, 76% of Democrat voters, 81% of Trump voters, 75% of males, 80% of females, 84% of 18 to 34 year olds, 79% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 75% of 65+ year olds.

Global warming sample question: 

Thinking about the whole planet, do you think the number and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms have generally increased since the 1980s?

Correct Answer: No. Comprehensive global data shows that the number and intensity of cyclones and hurricanes has been roughly level since the 1980s. This data was originally published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in 2011 and updated this year. Likewise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported: “There is low confidence in any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity (i.e., intensity, frequency, duration), after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.” Regional data that extends back for more than century shows the same.

Correct answer given by 32% of all voters, 4% of Democrat voters, 59% of Trump voters, 40% of males, 25% of females, 19% of 18 to 34 year olds, 36% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 30% of 65+ year olds.

Pollution sample question: 

Thinking about the United States, in your opinion, is the air generally more polluted than it was in the 1980s?

Correct Answer: No. EPA data shows that ambient levels of all criteria air pollutants have declined significantly since the 1980s. Criteria air pollutions are those that are deemed by the administrator of the EPA to be widespread and to “cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare….” Likewise, combined emissions of hazardous air pollutants have declined by about 50% since the 1990s.

Correct answer given by 56% of all voters, 44% of Democrat voters, 67% of Trump voters, 67% of males, 46% of females, 47% of 18 to 34 year olds, 63% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 49% of 65+ year olds.

Energy sample question: 

Without government subsidies, which of these technologies do you think is the least expensive method for generating electricity? Wind turbines, solar panels, or natural gas power plants?

Correct Answer: Natural gas power plants. Determining the costs of electricity-generating technologies is complex, but data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that natural gas is considerably less expensive than wind, and wind is considerably less expensive than solar.

Correct answer given by 40% of all voters, 23% of Democrat voters, 57% of Trump voters, 53% of males, 29% of females, 25% of 18 to 34 year olds, 43% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 41% of 65+ year olds.

Hunger sample question:

On an average day, what portion of U.S. households with children do you believe will have at least one child who experiences hunger? Less than 1%, 1% to 10%, or more than 10%?

Correct Answer: Less than 1%. Per the latest data from the USDA, 0.14% or less than one out of every 700 U.S. households with children have any child who experiences hunger on an average day. This includes children who are hungry due to poverty, not those who skip meals because they are late for school, don’t feel like eating, or are trying to lose weight.

Correct answer given by 12% of all voters, 2% of Democrat voters, 22% of Trump voters, 15% of males, 9% of females, 3% of 18 to 34 year olds, 12% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 13% of 65+ year olds.

Social Security sample question:

Some policymakers are proposing that individuals be allowed to save and invest some of their Social Security taxes in personal accounts instead of paying these taxes to the Social Security program. In your view, do you think such proposals generally improve or harm the finances of the Social Security program?

Correct Answer: Improve. As shown by analyses conducted by the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and a bipartisan presidential commission, proposals to give Social Security an element of personal ownership generally strengthen the program’s finances. Although some tax revenues that would have gone to the program instead go to people’s personal retirement accounts, these tax revenues are more than offset by the savings of not paying these individuals full benefits.

Correct answer given by 22% of all voters, 11% of Democrat voters, 33% of Trump voters, 28% of males, 17% of females, 31% of 18 to 34 year olds, 20% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 23% of 65+ year olds.

Health care sample question:

In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” This law uses price controls to save money in the Medicare program. Do you think these price controls will worsen Medicare patients’ access to care?

Correct Answer: Yes. As explained by Medicare’s actuaries, the price controls in the Affordable Care Act will cut Medicare prices for many medical services over the next three generations to “less than half of their level under the prior law.” The actuaries have been clear that this will likely cause “withdrawal of providers from the Medicare market” and “severe problems with beneficiary access to care.”

Correct answer given by 50% of all voters, 17% of Democrat voters, 80% of Trump voters, 53% of males, 46% of females, 38% of 18 to 34 year olds, 52% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 49% of 65+ year olds.

Poverty sample question:

Including government benefits and private charity, how much worth of goods and services do the poorest 20% of U.S. households consume on average each year? Less than $20,000, $20,000 to $40,000, or more than $40,000?

Correct Answer: According to the latest government data, the poorest 20% of U.S. households consumed an average of $57,049 of goods and services per household in 2010.

Correct answer given by 13% of all voters, 6% of Democrat voters, 20% of Trump voters, 13% of males, 14% of females, 15% of 18 to 34 year olds, 16% of 35 to 64 year olds, and 9% of 65+ year olds.

You can read the full methodology, references and results.

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Health premiums up $4,865 since Obama promised to lower them $2,500

Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?
Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?

Barack Obama had a lot of confident words and personal charisma during his campaign speeches in 2008. Many young people want to believe that their positive emotional reaction to confident words will somehow make plans “work out”. But can you really compel the universe to give you goodies just by having positive feelings? Does your emotional response to handsome looks and confident words mean that somehow the universe will give you what you desire?

I want to use this article from Investors Business Daily to illustrate the importance of not picking a President based on confident words and personal charisma.

It says:

Employer-based health insurance premiums climbed 4.2% this year for family plans, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation report. That’s up from 3% the year before.

Since 2008, average family premiums have climbed a total of $4,865.

The White House cheered the news, saying it was a sign of continued slow growth in premium costs.

[…]”We will start,” Obama said back in 2008, “by reducing premiums by as much as $2,500 per family.”

That $2,500 figure was Obama’s mantra on health care. You can watch the video if you don’t believe it.

And Obama wasn’t talking about government subsidized insurance or expanding Medicaid or anything like that. He specifically focused on employer provided health care.

For “people who already have insurance, and the employers who are providing it,” he said at one campaign event, “we will work to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family.”

Let’s watch the video. I want everyone to see how confident a clown can sound when he lies about being able to solve problems that he knows nothing about.

He had no record of achievement in this area. None, Zero, Zip. And the same goes for his claims about keeping your doctor, keeping your health care plan, and so on.

But America voted to elect him. There were a lot of voters who did not want to think too hard about economics in 2008, and again in 2012. They did not want to have to put in any work to study the achievements of the candidate in the area of health care policy, to see if he had actually done anything to reduce health care premiums. They had a problem: health care costs are too high. A charismatic clown stepped forward and made their fears go away with confident talk. They made a decision to believe him. They wanted to believe that serious problems could be solved by the words of a charismatic clown, so that they would then be saved from having to evaluate the records of the candidates, to see which of them had put in place policies that had solved similar problems in their past. That’s too much work for the American voter. Better to just pick the one who seems to be able to solve the problem based on surface qualities, like confident words that produce emotional reactions. The universe will adjust because we have a positive attitude.

This is an attitude that no practical engineer like me could take. It’s a recipe for disaster. Nothing important in life – from designing e-commerce web sites, to developing cures to sickness, to constructing jet fighters – is conducted in such a stupid, emotional way.

Now, I’m pretty angry that two of my candidates, Rick Perry and Scott Walker, are out of the 2016 election. And why? Because an unqualified leftist clown is ruining the process with brash, insulting confident talk. Again, we are dealing with a clown who has no record of actual problem-solving in the areas where the American people need problems solved.

This article from Investors Business Daily explains:

Which of these two sounds like someone on an ego trip, someone content to let the Middle East go up in flames and, like Barack Obama, someone overconfident in his own abilities to persuade others? And which sounds like he would practice the sober, principled foreign policy of Ronald Reagan as president?

Yet it is the latter, Scott Walker, who was just forced to drop out of the race, the reality TV star front-runner having sucked so much air out of the room that it was becoming impossible to survive. He laudably called it his patriotic duty to depart, thus consolidating the opposition to Trump.

Walker is one of the most successful governors in the country, having brought unemployment down from over 8% to about 4.5%, and turning Big Labor’s targeting him for destruction into three successive electoral victories in a blue state.

A week ago a governor with a longer record of accomplishment, in a state Americans are flocking to for its vibrant jobs-rich economy, was also forced to drop out. In doing so, Rick Perry of Texas made a statement affirming his rock-ribbed commitment to free-market principles, traditional values and a strong America on the world stage.

Perry and Walker are both leaders of substance. Eight years of the inexperienced, self-obsessed Obama had many Republicans concerned about 2016 looking to the governors’ mansions for someone with a proven track record of actually solving crises and reversing misguided big-government policies. These two may have been the most accomplished figures in the nation in that regard. How is it that they are early dropouts?

Political journalists are having a ball dissecting the ins and outs of fundraising and styles of campaign managing to explain Walker and Perry’s exit. But there is no ignoring the 800-pound loudmouth in the room.

In Donald Trump, the left’s caricature of conservatism — the bombast, the misogyny, the hype-above-substance — is defeating the real thing.

I do hiring interviews in my company. I always make sure to ask questions to test the claims on the candidate’s resume. It’s not hard to find out whether a person knows how to do what they claim to know how to do. Many of the people who show up for interviews try to finesse their way through engineering questions with confident talk, and emotional appeals. We don’t hire them. Why is it so hard for the American people to understand what is at stake here?

Obama supporters shocked and angry at new tax increases

Mathetes posted this Washington Times story in a comment and I had to use it.

Excerpt:

Sometimes, watching a Democrat learn something is wonderful, like seeing the family dog finally sit and stay at your command.

With President Obama back in office and his life-saving “fiscal cliff” bill jammed through Congress, the new year has brought a surprising turn of events for his sycophantic supporters.

“What happened that my Social Security withholding’s in my paycheck just went up?” a poster wrote on the liberal site DemocraticUnderground.com. “My paycheck just went down by an amount that I don’t feel comfortable with. I guarantee this decrease is gonna’ hurt me more than the increase in income taxes will hurt those making over 400 grand. What happened?”

Shocker. Democrats who supported the president’s re-election just had NO idea that his steadfast pledge to raise taxes meant that he was really going to raise taxes. They thought he planned to just hit those filthy “1 percenters,” you know, the ones who earned fortunes through their inventiveness and hard work. They thought the free ride would continue forever.

So this week, as taxes went up for millions of Americans — which Republicans predicted throughout the campaign would happen — it was fun to watch the agoggery of the left.

“I know to expect between $93 and $94 less in my paycheck on the 15th,” wrote the ironically named “RomneyLies.”

“My boyfriend has had a lot of expenses and is feeling squeezed right now, and having his paycheck shrink really didn’t help,” wrote “DemocratToTheEnd.”

“BlueIndyBlue” added: “Many of my friends didn’t realize it, either. Our payroll department didn’t do a good job of explaining the coming changes.”

[…]The Twittersphere was even funnier.

“Really, how am I ever supposed to pay off my student loans if my already small paycheck keeps getting smaller? Help a sister out, Obama,” wrote “Meet Virginia.” “Nancy Thongkham” was much more furious. “F***ing Obama! F*** you! This taking out more taxes s*** better f***ing help me out!! Very upset to see my paycheck less today!”

“_Alex™” sounded bummed. “Obama I did not vote for you so you can take away alot of money from my checks.” Christian Dixon seemed crestfallen. “I’m starting to regret voting for Obama.” But “Dave” got his dander up over the tax hike: “Obama is the biggest f***ing liar in the world. Why the f*** did I vote for him”?

If there was one thing that conservatives made clear on our blogs over and over again, it’s that Obama could only get $80 billion a year by restoring the Clinton-era tax rates on people who earn over $250,000 per year. All the conservative bloggers knew that we had run up over $5 trillion in deficits during Obama’s first term, and that a few billion wouldn’t put a dent in it. You have to wonder how these liberals are informing themselves before voting. Do they pay attention to actual numbers, or is it all just emotional for them? Everyone knows that the Democrat Party is the party of higher taxes, and everyone should have known that they would never be able to pay for all of their spending by taxing only the top earners.

UPDATE: Nancy Pelosi, who would like to get rid of the debt ceiling completely, has now called for more taxes in future fiscal cliff deals. Surprise, surprise – this is the only way that they can pay for the trillions in spending.

Are people who vote Democrat smarter than people who vote Republican?

Video from Neil Simpson’s round-up.

The Pew Research Center, a liberal organization, actually did a study on this uninformed voter problem.

Excerpt:

So Republicans are more knowledgeable than Democrats, contrary to what many would like to believe.

According to whom?  None other than the Pew Research Center, a left-of-center organization.  Moreover, Pew’s latest survey only reaffirms previous surveys demonstrating the same result.

In fact, the results weren’t even close.

In a scientific survey of 1,168 adults conducted during September and October of last year, respondents were asked not only multiple-choice questions, but also queries using maps, photographs and symbols.  Among other subjects, participants identified international leaders, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, nations on a world map, the current unemployment and poverty rates and war casualty totals.

In a 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and Democrats outperforming Republicans on just 1 of the 12.  In the latest survey, however, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions.

[…]Those Pew results are confirmed by some surprising other sources.  According to a New York Times headline dated April 14, 2010, “Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated.”  Shattering widespread myths, that survey revealed that Tea Party supporters were more likely to possess a college degree than their counterparts (23% to 15%), and also more likely to have completed post-graduate studies (14% to 10%).  Tea Partiers were also more likely to have completed “some college” by a 33% to 28% margin, and substantially less likely to have not completed high school than non-supporters (3% versus 12%), or to possess only a high school degree (26% versus 35%).

Previously, I posted about how Democrat voters understand very little about economics, whereas Republicans understand more.

Excerpt:

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents’ (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics.

The first question was “Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.” The unenlighted answer for that one is “disagree”, since restrictions on development reduce the supply of available housing. Demand stays the same and so there is a shortage, and prices rise. D’uh!

Here are the others:

The other questions were: 1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).

And the results:

How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

It’s true, the majority of Democrat voters are people who don’t work at all, or they “work” for government, or they “work” in education, or they hold picket signs while on strike, or they are in prison, or they are chasing ambulances, or they are Hollywood celebrities. No economics knowledge is required for any of that. Republicans work in private industry, and many of us own small businesses. So we actually have to work to earn money, because we have competitors to watch out for and consumers to please. Many of us are married and many of us have to get along with our spouses and raise children. Republicans don’t need the government, we do fine making our own decisions, and making our own way without help from the government.

UPDATE: I think this ad says a lot about who votes Democrat:

Their great plan is to borrow money from our children in order to provide contraceptives to unmarried college students. Is that something to vote for? Remember the Life of Julia? Their vision is cradle-to-grave government dependency, with husbands and fathers made completely unnecessary.

Polls show voters swinging to Romney after decisive debate victory

Robert Stacy McCain reports on the latest post-debate polls, but urges us to be cautious about believing them now, just because they are in our favor.

He writes: (links removed)

Nevertheless, for several months, I had been saying that I thought the outcome of the election would hinge on the debates, and the one-sided ass-whupping Romney put on Obama may have triggered a decisive shift that the polls are already beginning to detect.

If you check the Real Clear Politics national average, you see that Sept. 26/Oct. 1, Obama held a lead of four or more points after having been tied with Romney just a month earlier. According to Gallup’s tracking poll, Obama had led by 6 points most of the way from Sept. 19/Oct. 2. Both of these key indicators now show a trend toward Romney, who has closed the gap to 3 points in Gallup and 1.6 points in the RCP, which is mirrored in recent state-by-state results for Florida, Ohio, Colorado andWisconsin.

However, to emphasize again, polls are a lagging indicator. What is important in studying election polls is to follow the trendline, and we don’t yet have enough results from different firms to be able to say (on Oct. 7) that Romney’s looking like a definite winner for Nov. 6.

And McCain also links to this story about one of the bluest counties in the United States: (links removed)

You’d have to reckon that our president’s handlers thought that he would be safe visiting Cleveland, Ohio, a place that helped him win Ohio four years ago. Cuyahoga County yields the majority of Democratic votes from our state. But there’s trouble for Team Obama there today, in a dearth of Democrat registrations.

Here was how Mr. Obama was greeted at a local market:

An Ohio market vendor told President Barack Obama on Friday that his business has been going “terrible” since the president’s arrival, according to media reports.

Obama was greeting different vendors at Cleveland’s West Side Market when he came upon the proprietor of Rolston Poultry.

According to the White House pool report, Obama asked the man how business was going.

“Terrible since you got here,” he replied.

[…]That small business owner summed up the sentiments of many Ohioans, reflected in the new Rasmussen poll, also cited in the PJ Media piece on Obama’s Buckeye state woes.

So, there’s a problem with registering Dems in Cuyahoga County? That’s according to analysis by Clinton Cooper of Election Insights, who has been involved in local and regional government and politics for the last 10 years, including at The Ohio State University and in a policy advisory role for several government agencies and consulting firms in Ohio. Mr. Cooper claims that his data shows that the changes in voter registration in Cuyahoga County have made it extremely difficult for Obama to win Ohio.

Remember, the Paul Ryan vs Joe Biden VP debate is on Thursday night this week.