Immigration Nation

December 19, 2012
The Republican Party’s “Hispanic problem” is common knowledge to anyone who has looked at the presidential election results. It’s become a crucial part of the 2012 narrative. But despite all the ink, airtime and pixels given to the topic since Election Day, you can’t fully appreciate the depths of the problem until you match those results up against Hispanic population growth patterns. The impact of the GOP’s Hispanic gap could be bigger than many realize. The size of the Republicans’ challenge becomes clear when the growth in the nation’s Hispanic population through Patchwork Nation’s 12 county types. The Hispanic population had been growing across the board, but the increases in some county types in particular – the Immigration Nation counties, Monied Burbs and Boom Towns – look to have far-reaching impacts. The Only Places Obama Did Better It was always going to be difficult for President Obama to...
December 12, 2012
By Carli Krueger GLENDALE, Ariz. - The buzz from 2012 was about Latino voters fueling the president’s re-election and worries that Republican policies pushing away potential voters, but here in Immigration Nation record numbers of Latino voters in Arizona did little to change the politics of Maricopa County. The Latino vote is on the rise in not only the nation but in Arizona and Maricopa County as well. Exit polls showed 77 percent of Arizona Latino voters voted for the president’s re-election and the LA Times reported that over 34,000 new Latino voters were registered by one group alone in Maricopa County. They also reported a jump from 90,000 to 225,000 Latinos on the early voting list. Latino participation has been growing for the past 20 years but in relation to population, it hasn’t been high. The Pew Research Center estimated that 12.5 million Hispanics would vote but closer to 11 million did. Still, national media breathlessly reported on the “...
November 6, 2012
As we have often noted here at Patchwork Nation, when you look at national elections at the county level it’s not usually about different types of communities swinging from one party to the other, it’s about changes in margins of support. As Election Day 2012 arrives that appears to be as true as ever. A Patchwork Nation analysis of two new surveys, coming in just before the polls open, finds complete agreement about which presidential candidate is going to win in each of our 12 county/community types. The differences in the numbers, from the Pew Research Center and the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, are in the margins. Some of those differences are big, but the end result of both seems to be the same, an edge to President Barack Obama. To be clear the numbers are not the same. Mr. Obama seems to be in better shape with the Pew figures – nationally he leads in that poll by 3 points and that lead manifests itself in the crucial Monied Burbs in their data. And Mr...
October 15, 2012
Last week, we discussed state-by-state differences in online conversations around the issue of unemployment. That analysis of millions of words from news posts, blogs and user comments showed how the conversation in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia varies greatly because of cultural and socioeconomic factors. But we also found big differences within the same state — Florida — over how people talk about the biggest issue of the 2012 campaign. This kind of information could be important to President Obama and Mitt Romney in how they shape their messages while visiting the state and in advertisements. But it's not clear that they're tailoring their messages to take advantage of this kind of distinction. We looked at the online "unemployment" conversations in two very different Florida counties: Citrus, a growing but still not densely populated county near the state's Interstate 4 corridor; and Miami-Dade, the bustling, diverse,...
October 15, 2012
Every few years America’s major political parties get very interested in getting people registered to vote – or maybe more accurately, in getting the “right” people registered to vote. It’s a lot easier to come up with a winning hand on Election Day when the deck is stacked in your favor. So, for months now, supporters of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been knocking on doors and standing corners trying to register like-minded people. In a close election every vote may count, particularly in the swing states. To get an idea of who’s ahead in the registration game, Politics Counts looked at the tallies in key states where voters register as Democrats or Republicans – Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. We then compared those figures to previous voter registration counts in 2008 and 2004. Who’s winning? That depends on the state you look at and the...
October 10, 2012
Since the beginning of the Great Recession, unemployment has driven much of the national conversation, and with good reason. Even as the stock market has recovered, the struggles of ordinary Americans in the job market continues, with the latest unemployment report showing the jobless rate finally dipping below 8 percent for the first time since early 2009. But what does the unemployment conversation look like? While the national media and campaign rhetoric often boil the issue down to numbers or anecdotes, it is a much broader topic that carries with it a host of different concerns and fears in people — losing one's pension, losing one's home, losing one's future. To get an understanding of just how different those conversations are, the Jefferson Institute analyzed 20 months' worth of blogs, news stories and story comments in communities around the country, focusing on three crucial presidential swing states: Florida, Ohio and Virginia. We combed...
July 25, 2012
Less than a week after the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead and dozens more injured, there has been little policy response from the political world -- no prominent new proposals or legislation. In fact, there's been precious little disagreement about the traditionally divisive issue of gun laws. President Obama visited Aurora last weekend and has spoken about his concerns and fears as a parent of two girls, but the White House has said its focus is on enforcing current gun laws. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has also said he's opposed to new legislation. Presidential races are often shaken up by unforeseen events, but, so far anyway, it appears the killings in Aurora don't fall into that category. Why? Poll numbers indicate there simply isn't much that can be done with the topic politically, particularly in the places that look to be important in 2012. In April, the Pew Research Center in a poll asked which...
July 9, 2012
For the past six months all the 2012 election attention has been focused on the presidential race. By most every accounting, the unfolding matchup between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney is expected to be close. But governance in Washington isn’t just about who occupies the White House – as any current or past occupant will tell you. The 535 people who work at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue all play a big role in what gets done and how it gets done. And judging by recent data from The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll the fight for control of the Capitol is shaping up to be just as tight – and just as split. Using the Patchwork Nation’s 12 county types, we broke the Wall Street Journal/NBC  News poll into three broad categories: Core Democratic Counties, Core Republican Counties and Competitive Counties — and found the current divide within those categories is remarkable. In Core Democratic...
June 25, 2012
If there was any doubt that immigration would play a big role in the 2012 campaign, it was put to rest last week when President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would stop deporting some illegal immigrants. The president’s move ended the practice of deporting young undocumented immigrants who met certain criteria. And the announcement and its timing were decried as a political stunt by Republicans, and particularly by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. They criticized Mr. Obama for essentially pandering to Hispanics. If politics were indeed the primary driver for the order, one week after the announcement it looks like a shrewd maneuver. At least one poll shows Americans on the whole favor the plan by a wide margin and it does even better among independent voters. But beyond those numbers, Mr. Obama’s move looks as though it could pay off for him in the place where politics have the most meaning in...
June 8, 2012
The true meaning of Gov. Scott Walker’s win in Wisconsin’s recall vote will be assessed and reassessed over the next few months, but no matter how you cut the results there looked to be one sure loser in the contest: organized labor. The entire Walker recall effort sprung from public sector unions’ anger over legislation that limited their collective bargaining power. The state’s unions took to the streets to get signatures. They went to the polls to remove Mr. Walker from office. And when all the votes were counted … Mr. Walker held on. He actually won by a slightly larger margin than he had when he initially captured the governor’s mansion in 2010. For unions, which have seen their membership fall in recent decades, the results may be seen as a testament to their weakening political influence. And in that waning power there may be some warning signs for the Democratic party and President Barack Obama in November. But the importance of...