Posts Tagged ‘fivethirtyeight’

In attack on same-sex marriage, Focus on the Family concedes civil unions appeal to “fair-minded”

Posted on: February 21st, 2011 by Ned Barnett 4 Comments

DENVER– In the week since state Senator Pat Steadman introduced his civil unions bill here, gay rights group OneColorado and Colorado Springs-based Christian-right organization Focus on the Family have rallied supporters with press releases and calls to action. OneColorado argues in favor of the bill, saying it’s a matter of equality and of economic fairness. Focus on the Family argues against the bill, but not because it opposes civil unions, which it concedes most fair-minded people will support, but rather because it believes civil unions lead to legally recognized same-sex marriage.

“Civil unions are only the bait required to get fair-minded people to take the hook,” writes CitizenLink, the political action arm of Focus on the Family. “The big fish is same-sex marriage.”

According to recent surveys, Coloradans overwhelmingly agree with both sides in believing that civil unions are a fair solution to the problems of inequality faced by gay couples. The bad news for Focus on the Family is that, according to the same surveys, fewer and fewer Coloradans are worried about any eventual arrival of legally recognized gay marriage.

As the Colorado Independent reported in 2009, voting statistics champ Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com set up a model based on trends in 30 states to predict when voters might likely overturn gay marriage bans. He found that opponents of the 2006 Amendment 43 gay marriage ban in Colorado stand a very strong chance of repealing it in the 2012 election cycle.

A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that 40 percent of Coloradans support gay marriage. The same poll found an additional 32 percent supported domestic partnership civil unions and only 25 percent of Coloradans opposed legal recognition of gay relationships.

OneColorado’s most recent call out:

Ask your legislators to support civil unions in Colorado!

Thousands of gay and lesbian couples all across the state are doing the hard work of building strong families, and yet these committed couples lack the tools they need to take care of and be responsible for each other. Civil unions will change that.

Civil unions will provide Colorado couples with critical legal protections and responsibilities. Protections like access to health insurance coverage, ability to make medical and end-of-life decisions, right to live together in a nursing home. Responsibilities like adoption and inheritance.

Making civil unions a reality in Colorado won’t be easy. Our elected officials need to know how important civil unions are to us. They need to hear from all fair-minded Coloradans who support civil unions.

Take action today — send a letter to your Representative and Senator, asking them to protect all families and support civil unions.

A recent release sent out by Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink:

Encourage Colorado Legislators to Vote against Civil Unions Bill

The Colorado Legislature is considering legalizing same-sex civil unions, and we need your help to encourage your state senator to vote against this legislation!

If civil unions are signed into law, Colorado will grant all the basic rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples, which is a concern since every time civil unions have been imposed, demands for same-sex marriage have followed. In fact, gay rights activists here in Colorado have made no secret that they want to overturn the 2006 state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. (Click here for the latest news story on this issue.)

“Coloradans can look at California to see that civil unions will never be enough,” said Jenny Tyree, marriage analyst for CitizenLink. “Civil union legislation is not a good compromise for protecting marriage. Civil unions are only the bait required to get fair-minded people to take the hook. The big fish is same-sex marriage.”

You can’t talk about civil unions without talking about same-sex marriage. The ultimate goal is always the same.

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Nate Silver charts 2012 contenders, puts Pawlenty in the middle

Posted on: February 4th, 2011 by Luke Johnson No Comments

Nate Silver of the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight graphed the potential 2012 presidential contenders based on their insider/outsider status and their position on a moderate-to-conservative scale. Not surprisingly, Rep. Michele Bachmann took the conservative extreme. Tim Pawlenty, on the other hand, was rated smack in the middle of the graph. Silver notes that he had trouble ranking the enigma that is Minnesota’s former governor.

Bachmann was the most conservative except for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, but she did have the strongest outsider-conservative rating due in part to her ability to promote herself and the Tea Party without toeing the official GOP line.

Silver said Pawlenty was difficult to chart.

“I had trouble placing him in any of the four quadrants,” Silver wrote. “As Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard points out, — Mr. Pawlenty enjoys something of a reputation as a moderate even though his positions are fairly conservative: he has pledged to reinstate the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, for instance. Likewise, Mr. Pawlenty seems to keep Washington at arm’s length while having supporters within the Republican establishment.”

It’s Pawlenty’s middle ground that appears to have kept his campaign from taking off.

“I have been skeptical about Mr. Pawlenty’s candidacy,” Silver noted, “in large part because his personality is not terribly dynamic and he has had some trouble creating a strong brand for himself; sales of his book ‘Courage to Stand’, for instance, have been quite weak. Still, he can be credited with a viable strategy: stay a safe distance off the lead lap, and hope for a multicar pileup ahead of him.”

Silver points to evidence that that may be exactly what Pawlenty is doing.

“That Mr. Pawlenty has been among the first Republicans to build out his campaign infrastructure fits with that strategy — it would be valuable in the car-crash scenario, which implies a long, drawn-out nomination process,” Silver added. “So does the fact that Mr. Pawlenty could plausibly position himself as conservative or moderate, insider or outsider, as the situation dictates.”

Here is Silver’s graph: