Why We’re Not Holding State Legislators Accountable

… In his recent award-winning dissertation at Princeton, political scientist Steve Rogers examined voting patterns in state legislative elections. It turns out, for one thing, that people’s knowledge of their state legislature is rather paltry. …

But beyond that, people aren’t really distinguishing between state legislators and other officeholders when it comes to voting. As Rogers reports, people’s votes for state legislature closely follow their vote for Congress. Very closely. CONT.

Seth Masket (U. of Denver), Pacific Standard

New Voter Guide Follows the Money

… One problem with voter guides, despite their worthy intentions and the seriousness of their approach, is that there is rarely a common baseline from which to evaluate two or more candidates. A 30-year incumbent’s record usually dwarfs that of a first-time challenger who has never held office. But those two candidates do have something in common — fund-raising — and that forms the backbone of Crowdpac, a site that aims to produce a data-driven voter guide to help voters decide which candidates to support. CONT.

Derek Willis, New York Times

The New Political Rating System That Shows the Stakes This Year

… Until now, it has been nearly impossible to compare the ideological gap in Senate and House campaigns systematically. But an online service making its debut on Tuesday, known as Crowdpac, aims to change that. Using the work of a Stanford political scientist, it gives an ideological score to all candidates, based on their donors and, for those who have held federal office before, their voting history. Other rating systems tend to be based only on votes and, as a result, don’t cover candidates who haven’t been in Congress before. …

The model examines everyone who has given money to a candidate – and every other candidate who has received money from these same donors, as well as the causes those donors support. A statistical algorithm is then able to place all candidates on a spectrum and give each a score. CONT.

David Leonhardt, New York Times

8 questions — and answers — about the midterm elections

The House is in GOP hands, and no one thinks the November midterm elections will change that. Republicans could lose governorships in presidential battleground states, and that is hardly insignificant. But House and gubernatorial contests pale in comparison to the question of who will control the Senate next January. …

For this article, dozens of political strategists have offered their assessments of the current state of play in the key races and on other questions about the political environment now and potentially in the future. CONT.

Dan Balz, Washington Post

The ’40-Hour’ Workweek Is Actually Longer — by Seven Hours

Adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9-to-5 schedule entails. In fact, half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more than 40 hours, and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 50 hours. CONT.

Lydia Saad, Gallup

Are Americans satisfied on the job?

As Labor Day approaches, most working Americans report they are satisfied with their jobs.

According to a CBS News poll, nine in 10 Americans who are either employed full- or part-time say they are at least somewhat satisfied, including a majority of 53 percent who say they are very satisfied. CONT.

CBS News

Will Tailwind Carry Republicans to Senate Majority?

The battle for control of the U.S. Senate, the grand prize of the 2014 elections, with Republicans needing to win a net of a half-dozen seats to take charge, is well-framed on Labor Day. …

As the nine-week home stretch starts, Republicans have a tailwind. They are solid favorites to capture three seats of retiring Democrats: Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. Then, of the eight races both sides agree are very competitive, Democrats are defending six. CONT.

Al Hunt, Bloomberg View

Law puts tighter limits on push polling

As the election season heats up in New Hampshire, so too does the barrage of polling and campaign calls.

Ahead of this campaign cycle, the state has narrowed its definition of push polls, a phone call that sounds like a polling survey but instead is used to spread negative information about a candidate. The changes to the state’s existing law clarify the difference between push polls and research surveys and have been praised by pollsters and research firms alike. CONT.

Allie Morris, Concord Monitor

At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks

With their Senate majority imperiled, Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress for President Obama’s final two years in office. …

The push is an attempt to counter Republicans’ many advantages in this year’s races, including polls that show Republican voters are much more engaged in the elections at this point — an important predictor of turnout. CONT.

Jonathan Martin, New York Times

On immigration, will Obama shape his legacy or the next election?

President Obama and his team spent hours last week deliberating over how and when to fulfill his promise to use his executive power to change the immigration system. They pored over legal precedent and policy data and debated political fallout.

But none of their analysis could answer the question that his decision may turn on: Does the president want to shape his legacy, or the next election? CONT.

Kathleen Hennessey & Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times