North Carolina Polling Looks Tight

Ted Alexander (R) 43%
Kay Hagan (D-inc) 42%

Jim Snyder (R) 41%
Kay Hagan (D-inc) 41%

Alex Bradshaw (R) 42%
Kay Hagan (D-inc) 41%

Greg Brannon (R) 42%
Kay Hagan (D-inc) 40%

Heather Grant (R) 43%
Kay Hagan (D-inc) 39%

Mark Harris (R) 44%
Kay Hagan (D-inc) 40%

Edward Kryn (R) 41%
Kay Hagan (D-inc) 40%

Kay Hagan (D-inc) 43%
Thom Tillis (R) 41%

Thom Tillis 18%
Greg Brannon 15%
Mark Harris 11%
Heather Grant 7%
Ted Alexander 6%
Alex Bradshaw 5%
Jim Snyder 2%
Edward Kryn 1%

Kay Hagan leads only one GOP challenger and LOL... it is the leader of the GOP primary pack, Thom Tillis.

Former John McCain Economic Advisor Thinks Raising The Minimum Wage Is Redistribution

Speaking at an event tonight at Kenyon College former adviser economic adviser to President Bush and Presidential candidate John McCain economist Douglass Holtz-Eakin thinks raising the minimum wage is "pure redistribution".

The Polling Report

Here is the latest round up of the polling that is out there on the 2014, and yes a 2016 GOP Iowa primary poll, as of right now.

Oregon. They are going to have a Senate and Governor's race this year. And Harper Polling has some numbers on that race. 

John Kitzhaber (D-inc) 46%
Dennis Richardson (R) 43%

Jeff Merkley (D-inc) 47%
Jason Conger (R) 40%

Jeff Merkley (D-inc) 46%
Monica Wheby (R) 34%

Michigan is also having a Senate and Governor's race this year and Marketing Research Group has the latest numbers on that race

Rick Snyder (R-inc) 47%
Mark Schauer (D) 39%

Terri Lynn Land (R) 40%
Gary Peters (D) 38%

And last but not least... Iowa GOP Primary numbers... 

Mike Huckabee 14%
Rand Paul 10%
Scott Walker 8%
Paul Ryan 7%
Jeb Bush 7%
Ted Cruz 7%
Chris Christie 6%
Rick Santorum 5%
Rick Perry 3%
Marco Rubio 3%
Bobby Jindal 2%

As Marriage Rates Declined Women Sought, Won, and Held Statewide Elected Office

These two charts are great. Great from a things that make you go "hmm" stand point. The chart on the left is the US marriage rate starting about 1965. The chart on the right is the proportion of women in statewide executive office. Governors, Attorneys General, Secretary of States, etc etc. 

In about 1971 the US marriage rate began a steady and slow decline, at about the same time the amount of women winning and holding statewide elected office began to increase. Of course this is my obligatory "correlation is not causation" line here, but it sure does make you think. 

I for one welcome more women in politics, in a democracy diversity is always a good thing. I am just interested in the relationship of two seemingly unrelated variables how they potentially impact one another. 

Did Bill Clinton Impose a Negative Externality on Girls Named Monica?

Economist have a theory called negative externality. This is simply put, when an action of a product on consumers imposes a negative effect on a third party. For example when a company manufactures a product the air pollution of that factory production imposes a negative externality on the local population. They gain no immediate effect from the production, but take on the costs of the air pollution. Economists call this negative externality. 
This brings me to this chart: 
This chart is incredible. What it is showing us is in 1998 when Bill Clinton was caught up in the Monica Lewinsky scandal the name popularity had a rapid decline. Parents in a post Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal were not too eager to name their daughters Monica. It appears the actions of Bill Clinton imposed a negative externality on the name Monica.
You can see in 1973, when Lewinsky and other prominent Monica’s were born, the name was fairly popular hitting its peak. While there appears to be a slow decline in the popularity of the name throughout the 80s and 90s it is very clear in a post Clinton Impeachment world the name Monica suffered the consequences. 

Fight Crime, Walk Your Dog!

As budgets are shrinking in cities, councils and mayors are looking for ways to continue to provide the services they always provide without cutting back on services. States and cities are starting to get creative. What if I told you there was a creative way to reduce crime in your neighborhood without impacting the policing budgets?

Can crowd sourcing police work actually help reduce crime without putting added pressure on the policing budgets? Los Angeles thinks so, in fact they believe this so much they are using what is now commonly known as "predictive policing".

In an article in the Atlantic  Los Angeles talks about the power of predictive policing combined with neighbors simply walking the streets or walking their dogs
In an effort to do this we are deploying as many resources as possible to the box areas. To further increase the effectiveness of Predictive Policing we are asking the public to spend any free time that you may have in these areas too. You can simply walk with a neighbor, exercise, or walk your dog in these areas and your presence alone can assist in deterring would be criminals from committing crime in your neighborhood.
This tactic seems to be working when this was deployed in one Los Angeles neighborhood it coincided with a 12% reduction in crime. This makes certainly a very interesting case study. Can neighbors just out walking their dogs help impact the overall crime in a given neighborhood? In a city? What is the impact on police budgets? Tax rates? The economy of the neighborhood or city?

Latest Polling Round Up

Here is the latest breakdown of the most recent polls out in the internets. The race for New York Governor seems to be trending in Cuomo's favor.

Andrew Cuomo (D-inc) 58%
Rob Astorino (R) 26%

The Alaska Senate race is certainly one to keep an eye on. This is a must win for the Republicans in 2014 if they have any chance of retaking the Senate. It is worth noting that while polling certainly looks like things are trending in the right direction for the GOP it should be noted that it is incredibly hard to knock off a sitting US Senator. See Lisa Murkowski.

Mead Treadwell (R) 47%
Mark Begich (D-inc) 43%

I find this race really interesting. For all of the negative attention Walker received both in Wisconsin and nationally it seems to all be fluff. Wisconsinites seem to generally approve of the job that Scott Walker is doing, this could be a signal and a noise type scenario. This is most definitely at the top of my to watch states.

Scott Walker (R-inc) 49%
Mary Burke (D) 44%

Certainly no surprise here in Arkansas Governor's race. I think this is further compounding evidence Democrats in Arkansas are in for a tough election night. 

Asa Hutchinson (R) 44%
Mike Ross (D) 36%

and last but not least this is just LOL... 

Hillary (D) 48%
Jeb Bush (R) 39%

Hillary (D) 45%
Chris Christie (R) 38%

Hillary (D) 49%
Ted Cruz (R) 40%

Hillary (D) 48%
Mike Huckabee (R) 41%

Hillary (D) 47%
Rand Paul (R) 44%

It is still very early in the election season (almost too early to even be polling this type of thing) but if these numbers are true the GOP is in deeper trouble than they realize. Not only are their candidates weak for the top of the ticket they face the prospects of having to defend 23 Senate seats in key battleground states like PA, IL, FL, NH, and WI.

How Doctors Can Help States Stop Unnecessary Meth Lab Clean Ups

One way for state’s to help save money on their budgets comes from a some what unconventional way of austerity. States can actually save a lot of money in meth lab clean ups. Yup, you read that right. 
A meth lab clean up can cost states on the low end of estimates about $3000 per house and upwards of $25,000 per house. In a state like Mississippi in 2009 and 2010 they had over 900 meth lab accidents. If the state had stopped those accidents in advance it would have cost them million of dollars in state revenue to clean up those cook labs. In 2010 the state introduced a law, requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine the main component in meth production. In other words you could not get your hands on pseudoephedrine without a doctors say so. 
This simple act reduced the number of meth lab accidents from 900 to under 300, saving the state millions in potential meth lab clean up. Sometimes its the simplest ideas that can have the largest impact. 

What A Birthday Tells Us About Baseball Playing Abilities


This is a chart that lists the amount of baseball players by the month they were born. You can see one month in particular stands out, August. This isn't a coincidence there is some strategic planning, a little bit of causality associated with this. A chain of causation that runs through little league enrollment cut off dates. 
We have to work our way back first, babies born in August were likely conceived in the month of December, nine months later out comes a baby. What happens next is by design. Most city leagues or school leagues require a July 31st cut off date for signing up. If your child was born say August 1st as opposed to July 31st they would be at a distinct advantage because they would be the oldest of their grouping. Giving them a year of experience, a year of more play, a year of more passion. Over the course of a life time that extra time and passion translates into a lot of talent development of course a child that gets more exposure develops a stronger passion which results in better play which results in more time and so on and so on. 
So with a little bit of luck and a little bit of strategic planning in the bedroom you potentially can give your child a leg up in making it to the show. 

What Is Driving The Decline of Male Auto Accident Deaths?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or better known as MADD, maybe the cause of the sudden and rapid decline of male auto deaths nationally. Let’s walk through some of the evidence to support this claim. 

The chart above in the auto deaths of males and females from 1975-2012. The chart in itself is pretty telling. While both males and females saw a decline in auto mobile deaths this can be explained by a number of contributing variables. Over time drivers are driving safer cars, on roads with greater safety features and enforcement measures all designed to help lower auto deaths. What is noticeable different about these two groups is while women remained relatively consistent, hovering around the 10,000 mark (either slightly above or slightly below) males saw a significant decrease in deaths. 
There are few reasons for this, most noticeable in this chart, the creation and launch of MADD. MADD launched in 1980 to promote awareness about drinking and driving. According to the CDC about 81% of all DUI suspects arrested are male. So men are more likely to drink and drive, increasing the numbers of their auto fatalities. If you look from 1975-1980 there was an almost annual increase of the number of men killed in car accidents, up until of course 1980 when the trend reversed and began a steep and steady decline. 
It is important to note not to confuse correlation with causation. This post is not meant to suggest MADD is solely responsible for the decline male auto accident deaths, but it certainly merits further discussion and exploration.