That’s according to Time magazine’s Michael Scherer, who cites a new survey from Public Policy Polling showing that one of Mitt Romney’s improvised campaign appeals is making big inroads into Barack Obama’s base in electoral-vote-rich Michigan.
The PPP robo-poll of 500 Michiganders asked, ”In Michigan, do you think the trees are the right height, or not?”
That’s the message I take from a recent book by James Gilligan, a psychiatrist at New York University. In Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others, Gilligan documents a striking statistical connection between changing rates of violent death in the United States over the past century and the party of the president. He concludes that Republican administrations are “risk factors for lethal violence,” and that the only reason they have not produced “disastrously high epidemic levels” of suicides and homicides is that Democrats have repeatedly undone their damage. (I’ve added handsome hand-coloring to Gilligan’s key figure in order to highlight the partisan pattern.)
I suggested in a comment on John’s post this morning that Mitt Romney’s “wealth problem” probably has more to do with perceptions that he doesn’t really ”care about people like me” than with wealth per se. Here’s a different angle on the same issue—average ratings on a 100-point “feeling thermometer” for a variety of social groups. (A rating of 50 is supposed to reflect neutral feelings about a group, so numbers between 50 and 100 reflect varying degrees of net favorability. These ratings are from the 2004 National Election Study survey, extracted from Table 5.4 of my 2008 book, Unequal Democracy.)