This smart chart from City Limits via The Washington Post shows that spending by The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s most prominent gun control group, amounts to only one percent of NRA spending. The Daily Beast’s David Freedlander also points out that the NRA is also way ahead of gun control advocates when it comes to organizing capacity.
Last week’s quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report showed corporate profits soaring to record levels, reaching their greatest percentage of GDP in history. But those profits have not translated to increased U.S. government revenue from corporate income taxes, nor have they meant higher wages for Americans, currently at the lowest percentage of GDP since before WWII.
For years, the corporate income tax as a share of total U.S. government revenues paralleled the rise and fall of corporate earnings, and vice versa. But in recent years that correlation has been broken. The Century Foundation’s Benjamin Landy attributes this to corporations becoming more adept at tax avoidance. MORE
During the 2012 election cycle, campaigns and pundits paid a lot of attention to the Latino vote and the decisive role it could (and did) play in an Obama victory. There focused much less on Asian Americans. But between 2008 and 2012, Asians surpassed Latinos as the most quickly growing immigrant group, and, like Latinos, they voted for Obama by a margin of about three to one.
Some columnists have pointed out that Asian Americans should have been easy for the Republican Party to woo. Writing for Slate, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner argues that, though Asian Americans are generally satisfied with the direction in which the country is moving and are generally in favor gay marriage and reproductive rights, other issues could saw them in a more conservative direction.
“[O]ne might expect these liberal leanings to count for less than the desire of the nation’s highest-income, best-educated, and most conventionally familial demographic group for lower taxes, fiscal austerity, family values, and an end to affirmative action, which benefits blacks and Hispanics at the expense of Asians. And although most Asian Americans are first- or second-generation Americans, they are not the targets of Republican hostility to immigrants; the target is illegal Mexican immigrants, and from elsewhere in Central America.”
In a blog post for The Monkey Cage and an opinion piece for the LA Times, UC Riverside Political Science Professor S. Karthick Ramakrishnan points out that Asian Americans have gradually shifted to support the Democratic Party over the last two decades. In 1992, 31 percent of Asian Americans voted for the Democratic candidate, Bill Clinton. In 2008, 62 percent voted for Obama, and by 2012, that figure was up to 73 percent. Posner’s piece and others like it, he said, do not take the causes of that shift into account. MORE
Although Obamacare will have a hefty price tag, most of the burden will be carried by the federal government. If every state accepted the Medicaid expansion, an additional 21.3 million people would be enrolled by 2022, increasing the number of Americans on Medicaid by 41 percent. In combination with other ACA provisions, it would decrease the total amount of uninsured Americans by 48 percent. States will also see an increase in Medicaid expenses, as the chart below demonstrates, over the next decade a state’s decision to opt in or out of the expansion will not significantly increase state Medicaid spending.
But voters aren’t so polarized on the issue. A report released yesterday by the Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonprofit focused on campaign finance reform, says Americans across the political spectrum are in favor of scaling back the amount of money going into campaigns. Another indication of the same sentiment can be found in Colorado and Montana, where ballot initiatives supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United were approved by an overwhelming percentage of the electorate — 74 percent in Colorado, 75 percent in Montana.
“This is the one area where Democrats and Republicans — people who voted for Obama or Romney, people who voted for Democrats or Republicans — are very close together in their views,” said Democratic strategist Stan Greenberg, whose polling organization worked with the Public Campaign Action Fund to survey voters. “People believe in limits [on spending]. It’s almost a universal position in the country — that there should be limits.”
See charts after the jump.
The 113th U.S. Congress — which convenes in January — will have a record number of female senators thanks to Tuesday’s elections. For the first time in history, women will hold 20 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Tammy Baldwin, the newly elected senator from Wisconsin, will also be the first openly gay senator. The gender shift was part of a larger shift which also saw African-American and Latino voters turn out in record numbers to support Democratic candidates. The infographic below, created by NerdWallet, profiles the new senators, but also shows the gap between the U.S. female population and female representation in Washington, D.C.
The New York Times has a new infographic map that looks at the electoral power of states in which voter ID laws have been proposed or enacted over the past two years. Rather than using geography, each state is represented by a box — the color of the box denotes the status of the law and the size of the box reflects the proportion of votes the state casts to the electoral college. Five swing states — Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Iowa — have new laws and control 62 electoral votes (or 23 percent of the votes necessary to win).
See the entire map at the Data Points blog on The New York Times.
As we work through the debates this month, it’s unlikely that voters will learn many new factoids about where the candidates stand on the primary campaign issues. Obama and Romney’s positions were laid out by the time the conventions rolled around.
But The Guardian has a chart that provides some additional information for the savvy voter, outlining where the candidates agree and differ on less conventional issues. Drawing from the candidates’ own books and journalistic profiles of the two, the chart reveals how Obama and Romney feel about healthy eating, television programs, wooing the ladies and more.
Wall Street was firmly behind Obama in 2008 — but this year, the employees of many big banks have thrown their support behind Romney.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal took a look at Goldman Sachs Group, the corporation that in 2008 was Obama’s biggest backer, with over one million dollars in donations from individual employees. Like most of Wall Street, this year Goldman Sachs employees are behind Romney — data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows they’ve given the Romney campaign $900,000, and given his super PAC an additional $900,000. In the forty years since Congress created the campaign finance system, no corporation has switched sides so dramatically in such a short period of time.
Besides the talking points, the zingers and the straight-to-camera delivery, there’s another way that the candidates communicate with voters: body language. The New York Times presented a fun interactive feature today that attempts to interpret the gestures the candidates favor when speaking publicly.
Peggy Hackney is an analyst at the New York University Movement Lab, and she’s been studying the body language of both candidates during their speeches and debates. If you hadn’t noticed, apparently Obama makes a lot of chopping motions with his hand, while Romney tilts his head and nods a lot. Hackney pulled out six gestures the candidates favor in their stump speeches and analyzes what they tell us about the candidates.
A new report released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center shows that since 2008, America’s Latino voting population has grown by 4 million, or 22 percent, to 23.7 million. Latinos now make up 11 percent of the electorate – an increase from 9.5 percent in 2008 and 8.2 percent in 2004.
The study points out that although the number of Latino voters has increased, their turnout has historically lagged behind other groups, especially whites and African Americans. Voter turnout rates among all racial minority populations have been gradually increasing since 2000, while the voter turnout rate for whites decreased slightly between 2004 and 2008.
Romney’s recent characterization of the mindset of the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes has spurred discussion about who pays what, and how income, taxes and entitlements affect American voters’ decisions in the voting booth. And though percentiles have become a trendy way to describe groups of people, they sometimes aren’t as effective in telling the whole story as we might like.
That said, the Guardian‘s Data Blog has a put together an interactive map that attempts to break down America’s 47 percent even further, showing how different groups of Americans are distributed by state: “The U.S. has become a land of percents: the 1% versus the 99%, the 8% unemployed or the 15% in poverty,” writes Guardian news editor Simon Rogers. His map groups Americans not just by taxes, employment and poverty; it also shows the seven percent who are veterans, the 15 percent without medical insurance, the 13 percent over 65 years of age.
According to a new study, many seniors on Medicare spend all of their assets covering healthcare costs during the last five years of their lives. Among seniors living alone, the figures were even higher.
These charts (via Wonkblog) show the results of a project by Dr. Amy S. Kelly, a professor at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Using information from the Health and Retirement Study, Dr. Kelley took a look at medical costs paid out-of-pocket by seniors nearing the end of their lives. She found that, even with over $500 billion dollars going to Medicare each year, the average senior spends $38,688 during the last five years of their lives. Over 20 percent spend more than $50,000.
Those tales you’ve heard — of teacher layoffs, over-crowded classrooms, cancelled art programs and students having to provide their own toilet paper — may be even worse this year, with per-student spending down from last year in 26 states. These new cuts come on top of steep reductions made in the past few years.
This chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (via Wonkblog) shows that per-student spending in most states is lower now than it was in 2008, when the financial collapse led to drastic reductions in state revenues.
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