Monday, October 13, 2014

Lakisha and Jamal Go to the Polls

Also, now they're Latino.

A very interesting study out of USC tests responsiveness of legislators to Latino versus Caucasian citizens with concerns about how to vote. State legislators received the following message:
Hello (Representative/Senator NAME),

My name is (voter NAME) and I have heard a lot in the news lately about identification being required at the polls. I do not have a driver’s license. Can I still vote in November? Thank you for your help.

(voter NAME)
For half, the voter's name was "Jacob Smith," and for the other half it was "Santiago Rodriguez". In all of the states tested, the actual answer to this question was "yes" (a driver's license is not required to vote).

The study found that legislators were considerably more likely to respond to Jacob Smith than Santiago Rodriguez. And that gap exploded when one compared voter ID supporters to voter ID opponents. Opponents of voter ID responded the Caucasian-sounding constituent 50% of the time compared to 43% of the time for his Latino-sounding peer (a seven point gap). For proponents of Voter ID, by contrast, that split was 45/27.5 (a gap of 17.5 points). In other words, proponents of voter ID are far less likely to respond to Latino constituents who have simple questions about the voting process.

This gap still exists for opponents of voter ID, but it is almost purely a result of partisan differences. Republican proponents of voter ID evinced a nearly 40 point gap in response rates between White and Latino constituents, while Republican opponents of these laws showed only a 16 point gap. Democratic opponents of voter ID laws, by contrast, responded to White and Latino voters at equal rates (within the margin of error). There were too few Democratic supporters of voter ID laws to measure.

The draft paper is available for download here.

Monday Flash Reviews

Despite what the title implies, not the first of an ongoing series.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor: ... or as I like to call it: Assassin's Earth: Shadow of Arkham. At first glance, this is just a mashup of the Assassin's Creed and Batman games, only while slaughtering Orcs in Mordor. Is that really what I want in a game (answer: yes, more than anything)? But I'm in agreement with all the critics that the Nemesis system really elevates this title to another level. Getting taunted by a captain who's already killed you twice before ("I killed you before sonny. That's called a precedent!") makes it all the sweeter when you finally decapitate him in the rematch.

Homeland, Season 4: No Brody is just as wonderful as I imagined it. Now we can focus on Carrie and her continued narcissism and lack of self-awareness. "You let the station-chief out of your site in Islamabad, without knowing where he was? Now stay here, I'm going to exit the car and wander the streets for awhile. No, I'm not going to tell you where I'm going."

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 2: Maybe a touch worse than the impeccable first season, which still makes it the best comedy on television. I may actually be in love with Stephanie Beatriz. Remember that time there was a whole subplot devoted to getting her to smile? She has a dazzling smile. Also, everyone else on the show is incredible too. Putting Boyle and Gina together was a deft way to get Boyle out of Diaz's romantic orbit, which was one of the few plot points starting to flag on me.

Gotham, Season 1: I'm really enjoying it so far. Jill is unconvinced. She thinks it's because I know more of the lore of the Batman universe, but I've never been a huge Batman fan (outside the aforementioned Arkham games). Still, I do know enough to recognize a lot of the characters (Gordon, the Penguin, the eventual Riddler). And that might help flesh out the universe, but I think underneath there is a solid (if standard-issue) gritty cop drama.

Sleepy Hollow, Season 2: Jill and I started off really enjoying the first season, but it progressively got duller and duller. Now we pretty much only watch it because it follows Gotham, and inertia is a tough foe to beat. Nothing so far in this season has really prompted us to resume paying close attention.