How Twitter humor impacted media coverage of the election
When you watch the debates with Twitter open, you don’t really pay attention. You listen for odd turns of phrase or obvious verbal flubs, you glance up at the screen to note whether one candidate is making a funny face while listening to his opponent speak, and you try to see what funny jokes your friends and other journalists are making. Everyone was eventually just throwing gags into a maelstrom of one-liners, and it was impossible to read them all. (This was its own frustration: your A-level material, buried by everyone else’s dumb jokes!) And at the end of the night, none of it had anything to do with interpreting the debate for readers. If either “Binders” or “Big Bird” changed a single vote, I will shave David Axelrod’s mustache.Simon Owens is an assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Email him at email@example.com
The youth vote may have actually increased since 2008. Do we have Facebook to thank for that?
Assuming you are over the age of 18 and were using a computer in the United States, you probably saw at the top of your Facebook page advising you that, surprise, it was Election Day. There was a link where you could find your polling place, a button that said either “I’m voting” or I’m a voter,” and pictures of the faces of friends who had already declared they had voted, which also appeared in your News Feed. If you saw something like that, you were in good company: 94 percent of 18-and-older U.S. Facebook users got that treatment, assigned randomly, of course.* Though it’s not yet known how many people that is, in a similar experiment performed in 2010, the number was *60 million*. Presumably it was even more on Tuesday, as Facebook has grown substantially in the past two years. But here’s the catch: six percent of people didn’t get the intervention. Two percent saw nothing — no message, no button, no news stories. Another two percent saw the message but no stories of friends’ voting behavior populated their feeds, and a final two percent saw only the social content but no message at the top. By splitting up the population into these experimental and control groups, researchers will be able to see if the messages had any effect on voting behavior when they begin matching the Facebook users to the voter rolls (whom a person voted for is private information, but whether they voted is public). If those who got the experimental treatment voted in greater numbers, as is expected, Fowler and his team will be able to have a pretty good sense of just how many votes in the 2012 election came directly as a result of Facebook.Simon Owens is an assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
What geology and the 2012 election have in common
“The part of the country possessing this thick, dark and naturally rich soil was, of course, the part of the South where the slaves were most profitable, and consequently they were taken there in the largest numbers.” After the Civil War, a lot of former slaves stayed on this land, and while many migrated North, their families are still there … In this 2000 census, you can see that the counties with the biggest populations of African-Americans still trace that Cretaceous shoreline. This, says marine biologist McClain, explains that odd stretch of Obama blue; it’s African-Americans sitting on old soil from ancient organisms that turned sunshine into fertilizer.Simon Owens is an assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Email him at email@example.com
2012: The year military voters stayed home?
The Military Voter Protection Project found that absentee ballot requests by the military dropped significantly since 2008, including in big swing states. As of Sept. 22, requests were down 46 percent in Florida, 70 percent in Virginia, and 70 percent in Ohio. A similar drop occurred in non-battleground states like Alaska and North Carolina.
Of the last 19 presidential candidates who were ahead in the polls this late in the race, 18 won the election
There has not been any tendency, at least at this stage of the race, for the contest to break toward the challenging candidate. Instead, it’s actually the incumbent-party candidate who has gained ground on average since 1936. On average, the incumbent candidate added 4.6 percentage points between the late September polls and his actual Election Day result, whereas the challenger gained 2.5 percentage points.Simon Owens is an assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
13 conditions, or “keys,” that gauge the performance of the incumbent hold clues for this year’s election outcome.When five or fewer keys are false, the incumbent party candidate wins. When six or more are false, the other party candidate wins. Currently, with only three false keys, Obama is a predicted winner this November How Obama’s Foreign Policy Success Will Win Him Re-election
He wanted an open marriage and I refused. In excerpts the network released before the broadcast, Marianne Gingrich said that when she learned of Gingrich’s affair with Callista Bisek, a congressional staffer, he asked his wife to share him.