February 1st, 2010

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American Politics in a Nutshell

Washpo has recent polling for DC. Stories here and here.

Short version:
1) Approval ratings for Mayor Fenty and School Chancellor Rhee have dropped significantly in 2 years.

2) DC residents see their city moving in the right direction in greater numbers than ever, and by significant increases in the last 2 years. This includes the perception of positive changes in the school system, widely regarded as a utterly broken two years ago.

It would appear that one can be popular, or one can govern, but not both. The question is why. This is not so simplistic a matter as 'voters are idiots, 'twas ever thus.' Voters have not always been idiots, and 'twas not ever thus. At significant times in our history we have been willing to sacrifice, and have had leaders who managed to both govern and remain popular.

I have some personal opinions, but they need more data. I suspect a confluence of trends rather than a single cause answer. Certainly the simple answers should be suspect.
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PEW On The Rise of Wives

Interesting survey data from PEW.

It is important to distinguish several factors, of course. Note the fact that trends occur over time. The fact that 25% of women in marriages make more money than their husbands overall is interesting. It would be more interesting to further divide for marriages contracted in the last however many years. We should expect to see a gradual rise, so that marriages contracted 30 years ago have a much smaller percentage than marriages contracted within the last five years (it would also be interesting to note if same sex couples are excluded from the tally -- but they are such a small percentage relative to the population as a whole and such a recent phenomena I would not expect it to impact the data much). other comparisons and trends can likewise be pulled out.