November 24, 2012

IF REPUBLICANS ARE DROWNING IN A DEMOGRAPHIC TIDAL WAVE, WHAT EXPLAINS THIS CHART? State Government Control Since 1938.

Let me offer an alternative theory: The bigger role the national media play in a race, the worst Republicans do. So the GOP does well in state legislative races and governorships, and U.S. House races, because national media basically ignore those. Does worse in Senate races, where national media will sometimes take notice, worse still for Prez, where the national media pretty much control the game.

UPDATE: Reader Rick Licari writes:

Wasn’t there a study that showed Media bias causes the population to move significantly leftward from its natural leanings? I can’t remember the name of it nor who was involved, but it was a highly respected non-partisan professor and there was a mass of outrage after the study was published. This just goes as anecdotal evidence to that point: when people are focused on who will govern in their interests better (do things like not run deficits, provide the basics a government should provide, work for ALL their people, not just politically important groups, etc. and social issues (which are important, but not as important as, I don’t know, the well being of the country as a whole), massive distortions about the impact reducing spending will have on an average person’s life, and where both candidates will appear on a basically even plane for exposure to their own faults whatever they may be (outside of big cities, of course) those people will chose the serious candidate with a plan. At this point in time the ones with a plan are Republicans. Hell, the president himself couldn’t offer up anything except trying what’s already failed on a greater scale…and was allowed to get away with it, but when people looked at local races without hearing about binders full of women, perhaps they realized that those policies were failures (without recognizing they stemmed from the president himself).

I believe the study Rick’s referring to is the one in Tim Groseclose’s Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. “Groseclose contends that the general leftward bias of the media has shifted the PQ of the average American by about 20 points, on a scale of 100, the difference between the current political views of the average American, and the political views of the average resident of Orange County, California or Salt Lake County, Utah.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Gordon writes:

In connection with your commentary on the influence of the national media on the outcome of elections, I would like to say that Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow directly supports your thesis. In fact, as I have been reading it in the days after the election, I am stunned by the number of relevant human thought biases that Kahneman discusses that were clearly exploited by the Democrats. It’s as though they used Kahneman’s points as a playbook, while the Republicans played the naive, straight man.

Your website has been an intellectual oasis, which our thirsty country desperately needs. I could not live without it. Thank you!

Only because of readers’ contributions like these.

MORE: Reader Juliana Vandermeer writes:

I happened to turn the tv and flip through the AM shows on Thanksgiving. It landed on the CBS morning show. Not that I need convincing, but it is clear how bias is woven into every aspect of even the most non-newsy type shows, including an AM show’s entry.

The opening of the show began with a replay of a joke on the Jimmy Fallon show. It was a joke that mocked Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich. I don’t remember the joke – something about fat turkeys – but two republicans were the punch line. This opened the show. Millions of people watch. Drip drip. Seep seep.

Yes, see my earlier suggestion that rich Republican donors would be better off targeting the lifestyle/women’s press than buying a bunch of overpriced TV ads. And note that Cathy Seipp was ahead of the curve on this. “Yes, Ann Coulter is extreme. But Eve Ensler is also extreme, and she’s in women’s magazines all the time.”

MORE STILL: A suggestion from reader Kevin Murphy: “The LA Times, the only newspaper in Los Angeles County, is for sale in bankruptcy. Considering the utter failure of Dems in California, it would be handy if there was a major newspaper willing to point that out.”

STILL MORE: John Hinderaker says I’m wrong.