Can’t resist chiming in on Mitt’s “47%” comment, as I was asked to do so by USNews and World Report:
I’m a freeloader/slurper from the public trough. But I’m also producing something—educated citizens and workers, and useful research—that taxpayers’ decisions in political markets have determined to be socially valuable.
Last week, the Obama campaign released this sharp-elbowed political ad featuring Mitt Romney’s off-key rendition of “America the Beautiful.” And the Romney campaign promptly issued a sort of knock off — an ad featuring President Obama singing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” The Romney ad uses the song to criticize Obama’s allegedly too-cozy relationship with lobbyists and campaign fundraisers.
We can’t show you the Romney ad, as it’s been pulled from YouTube. Why? Because BMG Rights Management, the music publisher that owns the copyright in “Let’s Stay Together,” has sent YouTube a copyright takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and YouTube has complied.
And we also can’t show you the original news footage of Obama singing — that’s also been taken down from YouTube following BMG’s copyright complaint. The Obama ad featuring Romney’s singing is still up there – fortunately for the Obama campaign, “America the Beautiful” is a very old song (first released in 1910) and so the copyright has expired and the song is in the public domain.
According to a new Pew Research Center poll, while 54 percent of Americans are able to name at least one GOP presidential candidate, the leading candidates aren’t named as often as in previous years. Only 27 percent of Americans named Mitt Romney and only 28 percent named Rick Perry. That’s below the same measure taken four years ago in October 2007, when 45 percent could name Rudy Giuliani and 30 percent could name Romney. So, well into his second campaign for president, Romney is now less well-known than he was four years ago, when he ran the first time around. Not exactly encouraging.
Also, it’s interesting that Perry is still more recognizable than Romney, despite having fallen in the polls recently — especially since Perry got into the race only about two months ago, and Romney’s been running for much of the last four years. Chalk it up to the Texas swagger versus consultant technocrat?
Today, it seems that everyone has their own opinion on who helped themselves and who didn’t in last night’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate. And consensus is hard to come by, even in the same news room.
Take the Washington Post, for example. On its PostPartisan blog, first Richard Cohen wants us to think that Rick Perry was the “Big Loser” of the night. But then 90 minutes later, his colleague Marc Thiessen weighs in saying that Perry “had a very good night.” Rather than relying on Beltway journalists to decide won and who lost, I figured: why not see what the market is saying? So I headed over to Intrade to take a look at the odds for who will wind up as the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee.
It does appear that Perry is slipping after last night’s debate. Even in the time it took me to put this blog post together, he’s lost a percentage point, going from 37.5% to 36.4%. While Mitt Romney has remained even so far today at 36.3%. These markets are of course fluid, but here’s a snapshot of the current Intrade odds for each candidate at last night’s debate, and how they’ve moved over the last week.
In Freakonomics, we argued that campaign spending matters a lot less than people think. Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign would seem to offer a fresh bit of evidence in favor of our theory. Viewed in this light, Hillary Clinton‘s decision to loan her campaign $5 million looks like the wrong move. It isn’t the money that is boosting Obama. Rather, it’s . . .
One of the really fun innovations in this election cycle is the extent to which the speech of the candidates has now become grist for statistical analysis. For instance, the Times’ “Caucus” blog reports that Reagan’s name was invoked 53 times last night, and by this measure Romney beat McCain 19 to 12. The Times has now set up a . . .
Greg Mankiw, an energetic blogger (you may have heard of him? he teaches econ at Harvard? and used to advise President Bush?) wrote a super-compelling piece in Sunday’s New York Times, whose headline says it all: “Fair Taxes? Depends on What You Mean By Fair.” It is about taxing the rich, and begins by explaining why Warren Buffett can afford . . .