Monday, May 21, 2012

Wisconsin: Not Solidly in the Sansabelt

Swing Voters and Elastic States. (FiveThirtyEight, Nick Silver's Political Calculus, The New York Times, 5/21/2012)

Excerpt: Let’s define an elastic state as one that is relatively sensitive or responsive to changes in political conditions, such as a change in the national economic mood. (This is in the same way that, in economics, an elastic good is one for which demand is highly sensitive to changes in prices.) 

For instance, if there are a series of strong jobs reports this summer, and President Obama’s standing improves by five percentage points nationwide, we’d expect his standing to improve by more than 5 points in an elastic state. This works both ways: if we went into another recession and Mr. Obama suffered a five-point decline in his popularity, he’d experience a larger decline in an elastic state. 

An inelastic state, by contrast, is one which is relatively insensitive to these changes. In an inelastic state, a five-percentage-point change in the national environment might only affect Mr. Obama’s numbers by three percentage points instead.

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