More Hispanics Name Immigration as Top Problem

Over the summer, the percentage of U.S. Hispanics naming immigration as the most important issue facing the U.S. nearly doubled from the first half of the year, as the issue received heavy media attention related to the surge of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America. Concern among the general public about the issue intensified as well, rising over threefold, but Hispanics remained more likely to name this issue as one the country’s top problems. CONT.

Andrew Dugan, Gallup

In Scotland, the polls got it wrong. Or did they?

As the U.S. blogosphere swirls with the arguments about the best ways to go about (or not) predicting election results, Justin Wolfers make a provocative argument today over at The Upshot in the wake of Thursday’s Scottish referendum. Wolfers claims that while the outcome was a “loss” for polling, the betting/prediction markets knew all along that the “No” side had a chance, but was more than likely to lose, and that this was basically what we observed. Moreover, Wolfers makes the additional point that asking people which side they thought would win – instead of aggregating up self-reports of intended votes – was a much better forecaster as well. The net result is that everyone calling the election close in the closing days was essentially looking at the wrong data to make that conclusion.

I’m not going to argue with Wolfers about his conclusion, as I’m sympathetic to both parts of his argument. But I do want to build on it by noting the following three points. CONT.

Joshua Tucker (NYU), The Monkey Cage

Razor-Thin Lead for the GOP

Are things getting better for Senate Democrats? Certainly many of the better (more reliable) statistical models seem to suggest they are. … The conventional wisdom also appears to have shifted over the past week. What, if anything, has happened to cause this shift?

The most significant reason seems to be that in this year’s competitive Senate races in purple states—those where either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney won by narrow margins—Democrats are, for the most part, holding their own or even improving their odds. CONT.

Charlie Cook

Why Pollsters Think They Underestimated ‘No’ In Scotland

With two notable exceptions, opinion polls released this month about Scotland’s independence referendum vote gave an accurate picture: “No,” a vote against leaving the United Kingdom, was the steady favorite. But pollsters underestimated the extent of “no” support, making this the latest referendum with a voting-day swing toward the status quo. …

It’s hard to say whether pollsters all erred in their calculations — perhaps with poor estimates of turnout for groups partial to one side — or whether voters changed their minds late. CONT.

Carl Bialik & Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight

Inside the Readings on Voters’ Party Preference

Midterm watchers are bracing for a possible change in control of the Senate this fall, which would put Republicans in charge of both houses of Congress for the first time in eight years. This big shift in party power, however, comes amid few signs of a corresponding shift in the overall electorate — but amid interesting changes within it. CONT.

Dante Chinni (American U.), Wall Street Journal

Fewer Conservative Dems in Arkansas Adds to Tight Midterm

As Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor battles to keep the seat to which he was re-elected in 2008, the Democratic Party’s declining ability to attract conservatives in Arkansas may complicate his re-election prospects. In a state that is consistently more conservative than the nation, conservative Democrats may have been the critical ingredient to the party’s 2008 success in statewide elections. Fifteen percent of Arkansans were conservative Democrats in 2008 — four percentage points higher than the national rate, and a substantial share of the Democratic base. Since then, their numbers have dwindled, and, perhaps not coincidentally, the overall share of Arkansans identifying as or leaning Democratic has dropped by eight percentage points. CONT.

Andrew Dugan, Gallup

Scotland’s No Vote: A Loss for Pollsters and a Win for Betting Markets

Thursday’s Scottish referendum was interesting not just for what it said about Britain, but also for what it said about the state of political forecasting. I’m calling it a loss not only for the pro-independence movement — the BBC is projecting a 55 percent vote for No — but also for the pollsters. CONT.

Justin Wolfers, New York Times

America Shrugs Off Scandals Plaguing NFL

So much for all that outrage. Nearly 90 percent of Americans say the recent outcry about domestic violence in the NFL hasn’t changed how much professional football they watch — and less than a third of the nation believes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should resign. CONT.

Mark Murray, NBC News

Teaching the Children: Sharp Ideological Differences, Some Common Ground

As the public grows more politically polarized, differences between conservatives and liberals extend their long reach even to opinions about which qualities are important to teach children, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

People who express consistently conservative political attitudes across a range of issues are more likely than other ideological groups to rate teaching religious faith as especially important – and the least likely to say the same about teaching tolerance.

By contrast, people with consistent liberal opinions stand out for the high priority they give to teaching tolerance – and the low priority they attach to teaching religious faith and obedience. CONT.