Tag Archives: Politico

10 Saddest States all Republican?

As you may have heard, I am getting a degree in well-being, the psychology of optimal human flourishing, and all that jazz.  So I found myself perusing Gallups new data on well-being which compares the 50 states.  Each receives a score averaging six categories: life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access—a reasonably holistic assessment methinks.

blog chart of states wellbeing

As I perused the state rankings, I found myself thinking about red and blue states, and correlating political affiliation with these well-being numbers.  So I downloaded the data, color coded the states according to how they voted in the 2012 presidential election (blue democrat/red republican), and then took a look at the swing states according to Politico.  Some items are worth sharing.

First, of the 10 happiest states, seven are democratic states and three are Republican.  However, if we take out the swing states, it is five and five.  Which tells us little it seems.

The states in the middle seem fairly mixed, there are just more Democratic ones (these days).

Rhode Island is striking for being a solidly blue state so low on the list.  Its geographical neighbors are much higher, and the other blue states near it on the list (Nevada, Michigan, and Florida) are in truth pretty nominally blue.

It is also worth noting that Hawaii is not just on top, but 1.4 points away from #2.  Likewise, West Virginia is not just at the bottom of the pile, it is, somewhat strangely, also a  full 1.4 points away from #49.  This is huge: all 48 other states are packed into a band from 62.7 to 69.7; only a 7-point range.  West Virginia and Hawaii are major outliers.

Finally, by far the biggest takeaway here is the mass of red at the bottom.  Of the 10 saddest states in the union, 9 are Republican.  In fact, these states might be appropriately described as “uber” Republican.   The only democratic state is Ohio, which is very much a swing state.  If we take out all the swing states, all 10 slots at the bottom of the well-being pile go Republican.  However, 8 of these 10 are also southern states, which means this might be a regional thing over and above a Republican thing.

So what do we make of this?  Is there a correlation between one’s political views and subjective well-being?

I am not sure, but I spent some time this afternoon thinking about it.  Here is the same Gallup well-being data from a geographic perspective:

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index score is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index score is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access.

I noticed that having “very religious” people seemed to correlate negatively with well-being (the more religious people in your state, the less happy our state is).  Of course, there are marked exceptions, especially Utah.   Also, West Virginia is not the most religious, nor is Hawaii the least; religion is not super relevant.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index score is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access.

The percentage of state residents who say religion is important in their lives and say they attend church weekly or nearly weekly

I also looked at a number of other factors.  Underemployment did not seem to correlate at all, neither did hiring rates, or firing rates.  Economic outlook did seem to correlate a bit, except for the incredibly obvious exception of Wyoming.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is based on state residents' views of economic conditions in this country today, and whether they think economic conditions in the country are getting better or getting worse.

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is based on state residents’ views of economic conditions in this country today, and whether they think economic conditions in the country are getting better or getting worse.

So, after this afternoon’s intellectual adventure, I do not have an answer for you: I do not know why the 10 saddest states in the Union are all Republican.  I set up a question, I explored it, I brought you to the stream to drink, and the stream is dry.  What a cruel thing to do!

I wanted to still post this not only to point out an interesting data point I observed (the 10 saddest states are Republican), but also to say that I do not have all the answers and continually look for them.  I think that is why many of you read my blog; my mind is not made up and I do my best to treat the data honestly.  I am constantly playing with live fire because I really do believe I can change my mind at any point as I go about learning more about the world.  Which means you can change my mind too.  A malleable worldview makes intellectual adventures more fun.

In other news, I just finished a Yale lecture series on the Ancient Greeks and am now working through another Yale series on the American Civil War.  I want to post on my masters thesis topic, a speech I want Obama to give, and also my buddy Whit has one more post on gun control.  Looking forward to reporting on these ongoing intellectual adventures!  Thanks for reading everyone.  You rock!  

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I Love Fox News

This picture, connecting Hillary to Benghazi, ran above the headline.

This picture, connecting Hillary to Benghazi, ran above the headline on Fox’s front page.

I love Fox News.  Reading it helps me stay in touch with my conservative roots, and observing their bias allows me to relish in enjoyable levels of contempt and self-righteousness.  Today, I found gold.  I would like to bond with all of you by collectively pointing at Fox News, shaking our collective heads, and smirking.

As you might have heard, Hillary Clinton fainted and suffered a concussion today.  Fox News ran this headline on their main page,

BENGHAZI HEARINGS: Clinton will not testify before Congress on Libya, purported concussion cited

Nothing is false, but you should read the article for laughs.  After stating what was reported about Clinton’s fainting, the article states eerily, “However, the agency did not say when the fall occurred.”  The rest of the article is about how she really needs to testify and that John Kerry is letting her off the hook.

There is absolutely no evidence that Clinton’s fall is merely purported, or had anything to do with Benghazi, yet “Benghazi Hearings” appears on the front page of Fox News, bold and in all caps, which has the well-understood framing affect of implying that the rest of the headline has to do with the Benghazi hearings.  This is a strategy that people use to, for instance, sell you stuff you do not need—a classic trick.  In this case, the title states and implies that the Benghazi hearings caused Hillary to pretend to faint and have a concussion.  It is true that the concussion is “purported.”  The media did not see it. However, by saying it is “purported,” they imply that it is not true.

CNN’s headline was “Hillary Clinton Faints, Has Concussion.”   ABC News said “Hillary Clinton recovering after fainting, suffering a concussion.”  Politico stated what the fallout of the concussion would be by saying, “Hillary Clinton won’t testify on Benghazi after fainting, concussion.”  However, Politico did not imply the hearings caused fake concussing, or caused the fainting at all, or implied in the article that Clinton should get her shoulder pads on and push through the pain.  Also, Politico reports how news affects politics; it’s their job to discuss the political fallout of school shootings, wars, terrorist attacks, etc.  Finally, all of these articles talked about how Clinton’s concussion would affect her work, including Benghazi hearings.  Fox news was the only one to imply without any evidence that Clinton’s ideology may have caused the news—and to do so in the title and story image.

Does anyone know if studies have been done trying to objectively measure the bias at Fox News?  It seems that it would be fairly easy to demonstrate, but it would take some money to run the study.  Why don’t liberal think tanks or super pacs do that?

I have not seen the video of my very very short interview on Dr Drew’s Show yet.  My connection was cut off for a second and I did not get many words in.  But they are sending me a video, which I will post soon with my extended comments.  There are also a ton of other topics and cool ideas that I want to discuss on my blog.  Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on Why Wars Start and Positive Theology Will Change the World.  These are two of my favorite ideas/projects lately and I am pleased how much excitement they have generated.  Thanks for reading!  I love your comments and try to respond to all of them.  


Political Links

I watch politics like its intellectual football, and people often ask me where I get my news.  I get my news from many sources, but these six are actually on my bookmark bar in Safari.  I visit all of them 1-3 times a day.

  1. Politico:  My favorite.  They are usually the first to pick up a new story and they tend to be pretty blanced, but like all media they sensationalize everything.
  2. CNN Political Ticker: This gives play by play throughout the day.
  3. NYT: Leans a little left, but it gives details where others give sound bites.
  4. The White House: Though always propaganda-ish, it’s nice to hear it sometimes straight from the horse’s mouth.  I also like looking at the picture albums.  I enjoy the cult of power, which I’m sure plays a role in why I like the West Wing so much.  And it’s NOT just because I like Obama.  I checked out this website just as much when GWB was president.
  5. Wikipedia News: I am not sure if I am ashamed our proud to say that this is always my starting point for worldwide news.
  6. Real Clear Politics: My most right-leaning of bookmarked sites.  RCP mainly links to other articles.  They also have lots of good polls and average polling data.