Author Archives: jly

Josh Zingher on social group membership and the evolution of political parties

Josh Zingher has posted his paper “An Analysis of the Changing Social Bases of American Political Parties: 1952-2008” on SSRN. Josh is is a Doctoral Candidate in Political Science at Binghamton University.  His research focuses on several aspects of American politics, including mass political behavior, minority and immigrant politics and Congressional elections.  He can be reached at . Here is the abstract for the paper:

In this article I assess how the social bases of the American political parties have evolved over time. To accomplish this task, I first determine which social group memberships significantly influence individual vote choice with a multivariate analysis of ANES data. I then measure how many votes each politically relevant social group contributed to the party coalitions in each presidential election from 1952-2008. I discuss how group contributions have changed over time and establish the demographic and behavioral causes of group contribution change. I find that the party coalitions have been restructured as a result of groups’ changing voting behavior and the changing ratio of groups in the electorate.

Do Policy Messengers Matter?

If you download this paper, it will change your life — I mean, it will if you believe in the whole ‘Butterfly Effect’ phenomenon …. My co-author, Scott Boddery, recently posted our paper “Do Policy Messengers Matter? Majority Opinion Writers as Policy Ques in Public ‘Buy In’ of Supreme Court Decisions “ on SSRN. Here’s the abstract:

To what degree does the identity of the majority opinion writer affect a citizen’s level of agreement with a U.S. Supreme Court decision? Using a survey experiment, we manipulate the majority opinion authors of two Supreme Court cases between two randomly populated groups. By investigating ideological incongruence between a case’s policy output and the majority opinion author we are able to empirically test the extent to which individuals are willing to agree with a Court opinion that is authored by an ideologically similar justice even though the decision cuts against their self-identified ideological policy preferences. Our study provides insight on the extent to which policy “buy in” by citizens is affected by policy cues represented by the policy messenger of a political institution. We find that, although individuals generally give deference to the Supreme Court’s decisions, a messenger effect indeed augments the specific level of support a given case receives.

Trading cards for presidents?

Collectible presidential trading cards – an entirely new way to invest for retirement – without mutual fund fees. 🙂

There’s President Ronald Reagan

President George Washington

President George W. Bush

President Barack Obama cards

But for the serious collector there is this signed photo of President George H.W. Bush and Babe Ruth

Who knew that ‘Dirty Dancing’ was so political?

H/T Althouse

Belated Labor Day post

Inspiring tales for new college graduates

Our old pal Buzzfeed has a post on people who had some tough times in their twenties before eventually becoming successful. Now is perhaps an appropriate time to tell such stories as thousands of 22 year old college graduates are starting their careers. There are people you recognize here — Jon Hamm, Kristin Wigg, and other celebrities — in fact almost the entire list is from the entertainment industry in one form or another. So, if I had to give some advice I would say, um, uh …. if there’s a good take away from this list of stories it would be uh … be very good looking, yes, that’s it … be attractive ….

1. Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm

At 27, Hamm couldn’t find any work and was dropped by the William Morris Agency. He vowed to quit acting if he couldn’t get his career rolling by 30. Fortunately, he landed a role on the NBC drama Providence at age 29.

Image by Jason Merritt / Getty Images Continue reading

Star Trek technology … today

Well, kinda – but pretty astounding really …  H/T reddit

1. Quantum Teleportation

2. “Geordi Visors” that help the blind “see” with their tongues

3.  Tractor beams – albeit wimpy ones