Archive for July 2, 2011
Pauly the political Platypus swims in a pool here at Logarchism surrounded by people of all political persuasions, and sometimes he wonders how folks get that way. There are any number of fascinating theories about what causes people to lean in a certain political direction. Brain structure? Home environment? Educational experience? Urban versus rural upbringing?
Imagine Pauly’s astonishment to learn it can all be traced back to sunshine on the Fourth of July!
Bocconi University assistant professor Andreas Madestam and Harvard Kennedy School assistant professor David Yanagizawa-Drott decided to examine how childhood experiences form adult political views. Specifically, “Does participation in national ceremonies and parades have a deeper impact by affecting children’s political beliefs, identity, and behavior?” Since there are no records of which parents took their kids to the local park to watch fireworks, the researchers used historical data of rainfall on the Fourth of July — obviously, families are less likely to watch fireworks in a downpour and more likely to go in nice weather. And what did they conclude?
Each Fourth of July without rain before age 18 increases the likelihood of identifying as a Republican at age 40 by 2 percent, the share of people voting for the Republican candidate at age 40 by 4 percent, and the share of people turning out to vote at age 40 by 0.9 percent.
The study also suggests that “there is political congruence between patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and Republican beliefs, as well as Fourth of July transmitting a non-partisan civic duty to vote.”
So check the sky on the Fourth of July! If there’s a bright sun up there… that means more Republicans a few decades down the road.
- Fourth of July for Right-Wingers Only? (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Harvard Study Shows Republicans Enjoy 4th of July More Than Dems (nicedeb.wordpress.com)
- Harvard: July 4th Parades Are Right-Wing (usnews.com)
- Good News: The Fourth of July Is A Rightwing Celebration (minx.cc)
On June 13th, Mitt Romney policy director Lanhee Chen posted a blog on the Romney web site titled “Taxed and Spent: American Workers Suffering Under Obama”. Following is the first paragraph:
President Obama’s policies have failed the American people. And nowhere has this failure been more evident than in this Administration’s handling of our nation’s economy. In the month that President Obama was inaugurated, the unemployment rate was 7.8%, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion, and the average price for a gallon of gas was $1.83. Today, in the third year of his presidency, unemployment has ballooned to 9.1%, the national debt tops $14 trillion, and Americans are paying double—$3.70 a gallon—for gas.
These numbers are accurate insofar as they go. The Federal Reserve web site shows that the employment rate was 7.8% on January 1st, 2009 and is 9.1% as of May 1st, 2011. Note, however, that the unemployment rate reached 9.4% in May, just four months after Obama was inaugurated, and reached the maximum of 10.1% in October, just nine months after.