Hadn't seen this poll, but whoa, if only 35% of Democratic voters think democracy is facing a major threat (71% of Republicans do, by contrast!) that speaks to a major disconnect between Democratic elites and rank-and-file voters.
To be clear, I think the elites are correct (IMO democracy is indeed facing a major threat). But this poll raises questions about why that message isn't breaking through to the public. With so much other news, I don't know that elites have always been very focused on the threat.
I used to think that if an election were actually overturned or stolen, a real possibility in the years ahead, you'd have mass protests on a scale not seen in my lifetime. But I don't know, now I wonder if it might be Just Another Thing That People Argue About.

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More from @NateSilver538

3 Nov
I don't think this follows. In most recent elections, Democrats lost ground in rural areas but gained in the suburbs. Last night, they lost ground in the suburbs too. That's different and it's worth asking why (and, yes, the answers are probably complicated and multi-causal).
This differs, by the way, from the California recall, where red areas got redder and blue areas got bluer or at least didn't shift much from 2018/2020. Of note, Elder was a Trumpist candidate while Youngkin and Ciattarelli were not exactly.
Now, it's true electoral trends are thermostatic (i.e. they tend to break against the governing party) in somewhat predictable ways. But part of that is because parties adjust their strategies after defeats, in e.g. the way the GOP did in Virginia that it didn't in California.
Read 4 tweets
13 Sep
What I find frustrating about this (in agreement with Dr. Topol) is that it's *very* easy to move the bar for what constitutes "robust evidence". And there's been a lot of inconsistency about this, with respect to boosters.
There is *not* robust evidence that vaccine boosters trade off with first doses elsewhere. It is a plausible theory, lacking evidence.

The data on waning immunity may not be as robust as we'd like, but it's no less robust than the anti-booster arguments.

There's also inconsistency re: breakthrough infections. Anti-booster folks say they don't matter much since severe outcomes are being prevented. OTOH, a lot of public health messaging has implied breakthroughs do matter since they can potentially transmit to others.
Read 4 tweets
8 Sep
OK, but why are Americans fearful of breakthroughs? I'd suggest it's largely because of the mixed messages they're hearing from public health officials and the media, which often imply that vaccinated people should behave with a *lot* of caution rather than "returning to normal".
If two-thirds of vaccinated infectious disease experts won't eat indoors at a restaurant, and almost half won't attend an *outdoor* sporting event, then of course people reading that are going to think breakthroughs are a big deal and of course they'll want boosters.
BTW, part of the poor media messaging—see below—is in exaggerating how easily vaccinated people transmit. They're both much less likely to get COVID *and* less likely to transmit if they do. Being vaccinated offers unvaccinated household members (e.g. kids) a LOT of protection.
Read 4 tweets
23 Aug
It's self-destructive more than self-interested. Pretty decent chance Newsom gets recalled. Democrats could potentially keep the seat if they urged their voters to consolidate behind an alternative Democrat but instead they're telling them not to vote on the replacement!
Pretty much always, if someone tells you not to vote, they are giving you bad advice. If you live in California and leave the recall line blank, you are partly disenfranchising yourself and are making a mistake.
To be clear, this *might* be in the best interest of Newsom—on the unproven and but at least vaguely plausible notion that voters might be more likely to vote "yes" on the recall if there's another D to vote for—but it's likely not in the best interests of the Democratic Party.
Read 5 tweets
20 Aug
If nearly half of *vaccinated* people are "avoiding other people as much as possible" then public health and media messaging about the risks COVID poses to vaccinated people has been badly miscalibrated.

apnorc.org/projects/major… Image
I'm a little skeptical of this result, since it doesn't match all sorts of observational data (e.g. restaurant reservations or air traffic numbers) showing people's social activities back to maybe 80-90% of pre-pandemic levels. So maybe some social desirability bias. But still.
The fact that vaccines **greatly** reduce severe outcomes from COVID is often treated as a footnote or afterthought, when it has profound implications both for society's response to COVID and for your personal risk calculus.
Read 4 tweets
18 Aug
Of all the critiques of boosters, this seems like the worst/weirdest one.

Boosters would help us get back to normal—see family and friends more, pursue a wider range of social activities—but for some reason we don't want that?

Also, empirically, most people *have* resumed their social lives. Even with Delta concerns, restaurant reservations are ~90-95% of what they were pre-pandemic, for instance. Air travel is back to ~80% of pre-pandemic norms.


I can't think of a better example of elites being in a bubble detached from the rest of society than the attitude that people are just so *silly* and *naive* for wanting to get back to normal and/or will happily abide another year of sharply limiting in-person socialization.
Read 4 tweets

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