Understanding why Obama was re-elected in 2012.

Understanding why Obama was re-elected in 2012.
Imagine you are President of the United States. You should decide if you are a Democrat or a Republican president. Your job now is (i) to make policy and govern and (ii) to make sure your party does well in the 2014 Congressional elections and the 2016 Presidential election.
Project 1, the first task, is to understand some recent political presidential history and in particular to analyze why Obama was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, so you can understand the American electorate and their views. For project 1, you have the 2012 American National Election Study Presidential election survey on which to base your advice. This is a superb data set obtained by interviewing a cross section of the electorate (5,916 cases) both before and after the 2012 presidential election in the United States. It is the data set on which John Aldrich and colleagues relied when writing the book you are reading, Change and Continuity in the 2012 Elections
The codebook contains the list of variables in the study, and some basic frequency distributions. You will need to study the codebook–it is online in a pdf version (i.e. at SETUPS—see p.6 below, and also in the class Documents section). You will probably find it easier to work with if you print out a hard copy version for yourself. Note the codebook has two main parts. The first part (roughly pp.1-48 on the pdf) shows the variables with weighted frequency distributions. (“Weighting” is an adjustment procedure that takes account of how far the respondents in the survey are representative of the electorate generally. For example if the survey contains fewer women than the electorate generally then female respondents will be given a little more weight in the “weighted” survey data.) To access and run the data yourself, which you will need to do for Projects 1 and 2, see the section below (pages 5-11) titled “accessing and running the data.”
Project 1 (due week 6, class 2, May 8) contains two parts, outlined below.
Project 1, Part 1: The issues (8 points)
Construct a memo that sets out where public opinion stood in 2012 on three key issues (see possible examples of issues below), and include a chart outlining the results for each of the three issues . To do this, you will need to run “frequency distributions” (weighted) on three of the variables. On how to do this, see: “Accessing and Running the data.” In the codebook the “issue” variables are grouped in E-N. An early draft of the frequency distributions for these three variables is due by week 5, class 2. This draft will count for 3 of the 8 points you can score.
Possible Issues (you are free to select different ones): economic issues, foreign policy especially the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, social issues (e.g. abortion, gay rights, women’s rights), religion, health care/health care reform, attitudes to minorities, immigration, government (how corrupt, whom it serves etc), gun control.
Include one graph on each of the three issues.
In the memo:
(1) Discuss how, if at all, public opinion on those three issues helped account for the 2012 presidential election result.
(2) Explain what stance you think you should take on these three issues in order to maximize a favorable electoral outcome in 2014 (congressional elections) and 2016 (presidential election).
Maximum length of text for entire project (part 1) should be 2 single spaced pages, plus the three graphs.
EXAMPLE:
The following output comes from entering variable J10 (support for Obamacare) in the row. You can see that public opinion was evenly split on Obamacare (the 2012 health care reform law). (Roughly 37% favored it greatly or somewhat, while roughly 37% opposed it greatly or somewhat.)
Project 1, Part 2: The Demographics (7 points)
1. From the list of variables, focus on the demographic variables in the study. These are grouped in the R section. Select three of these variables (e.g Gender R01, Race R02, Age R03, Family Income R05). Run frequency distributions on them, in order to understand them better.
Construct a memo that discusses, separately for each of the three variables you have selected, Obama’s strengths and weaknesses with each of these three demographic groups. To do this, you will need to crosstab** each variable separately by (A02) “Presidential vote,” which is the variable that shows for which presidential candidate the respondent voted for in 2012. So for example if you crosstab A02 by R01(gender), you will see to what extent men or women voted for Obama. You can then discuss his strengths and weakness with each “racial” group. An early draft of the crosstabs for each of the three variables is due by week 5, class 2. This draft will count for 2 of the 7 points you can score.

**For details on how to run a crosstab, see “Accessing and Running the data,”
Discuss ways in which Obama/the candidate might strengthen his/her standing among each of these three demographic groups.
Maximum length of text for entire project (part 2) should be 2 single spaced pages, plus the three graphs

EXAMPLE

Below is an example of crosstabulating gender by vote. The first screen shot shows the instructions you enter, the second shows the results.

ACCESSING AND RUNNING THE DATA

If Analyzing the 2012 Data from Home:
(From school, skip step 1)
1. First, set up the proxy server on your internet browser.

The best way to do this is to go to
http://www.bol.ucla.edu/services/proxy/>
and scroll down.
The instructions are under “configuring your computer to access the proxy
server” click on the windows software browser that you use. (I used
Firefox, which was pretty simple to xy authentication process.

2. Go to the <http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/ configure.)
You must go do this using the browser that has the proxy installed. You must go through this step, which leads to UCLA authentication, otherwise later you will be unable to work with the data.
(a)Click on ICPSR website (Note click “no” on the privacy issue)
You will now need to set up an account. To do this, click on the top left hand corner. Then click on Create Account button. From then on, login (top left of page) using the email used to create an account. You will need to login each time you access the ICPSR.

(b) After you have set up an account etc, and after clicking on ICPSR website,
type “setups 2012” in the search box (Find Data), and click on “go”.

Select “Setups voting behavior the 2012 election (ICPSR 34808)”. This should bring up the screen below. Under “Dataset(s)”
(a) Click on the “Codebook pdf’ and save it. You will need to consult this codebook frequently. You can use the pdf version, but you will probably find it helpful to also print a hard copy of the codebook. After saving and looking at the codebook, continue with (b) below.
(b) Click on “run simple crosstab/frequency”
(c) Login and agree to the terms.

You should now see the screen below:
To run a simple frequency (i.e. one variable):
(a)Select a variable from the row tabs. (You need to look at the codebook to decide which variable you wish to examine—the variables are then listed in the row tabs.)
(b) In the weight row select “weight full variable…” i.e the data must be weighted. Also, check “summary statistics.” This will give you useful statistics such as the mean and median.
(c) Click on “run the table”.
You will need to do this for Project 1, part 1.
The screen shot below shows an example [before step (c)—run the table] with the variable J12 selected (“How much do you agree or disagree with the statement, ‘the government should take measures to reduce differences in income levels’?”)

Output. The screen shot below shows the output, including the chart.
For a cross tabulation, enter an additional variable in “column.” You will need to do this for Project 1, part 2. The demographic variables are in category R in the codebook. For example, R02 is the respondent’s “race.”

The example below is a screen shot of the request to cross tab J12 (should the gov reduce inequality) by race, and the screen shot below that shows the output/results. You can see from the results that whites are much more likely to oppose government efforts to reduce inequality than are blacks or latinos.
You can see from the results that

Imagine you are President of the United States. You should decide if you are a Democrat or a Republican president. Your job now is (i) to make policy and govern and (ii) to make sure your party does well in the 2014 Congressional elections and the 2016 Presidential election.
Project 1, the first task, is to understand some recent political presidential history and in particular to analyze why Obama was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, so you can understand the American electorate and their views. For project 1, you have the 2012 American National Election Study Presidential election survey on which to base your advice. This is a superb data set obtained by interviewing a cross section of the electorate (5,916 cases) both before and after the 2012 presidential election in the United States.  It is the data set on which John Aldrich and colleagues relied when writing the book you are reading, Change and Continuity in the 2012  Elections
The codebook contains the list of variables in the study, and some basic frequency distributions.  You will need to study the codebook–it is online in a pdf version (i.e. at SETUPS—see p.6 below, and also in the class Documents section).  You will probably find it easier to work with if you print out a hard copy version for yourself. Note the codebook has two main parts. The first part (roughly pp.1-48 on the pdf) shows the variables with weighted frequency distributions. (“Weighting” is an adjustment procedure that takes account of how far the respondents in the survey are representative of the electorate generally. For example if the survey contains fewer women than the electorate generally then female respondents will be given a little more weight in the “weighted” survey data.)  To access and run the data yourself, which you will need to do for Projects 1 and 2, see the section below (pages 5-11) titled “accessing and running the data.”
Project 1 (due week 6, class 2, May 8) contains two parts, outlined below.
Project 1, Part 1: The issues (8 points)
Construct a memo that sets out where public opinion stood in 2012 on three key issues (see possible examples of issues below), and include a chart outlining the results for each of the three issues . To do this, you will need to run “frequency distributions” (weighted) on three of the variables.  On how to do this, see:  “Accessing and Running the data.” In the codebook the “issue” variables are grouped in E-N.  An early draft of the frequency distributions for these three variables is due by week 5, class 2.  This draft will count for 3 of the 8 points you can score.
Possible Issues (you are free to select different ones): economic issues, foreign policy especially the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, social issues (e.g. abortion, gay rights, women’s rights), religion, health care/health care reform, attitudes to minorities, immigration, government (how corrupt, whom it serves etc), gun control.
Include one graph on each of the three issues.
In the memo:
(1) Discuss how, if at all, public opinion on those three issues helped account for the 2012 presidential election result.
(2) Explain what stance you think you should take on these three issues in order to maximize a favorable electoral outcome in 2014 (congressional elections) and 2016 (presidential election).
Maximum length of text for entire project (part 1) should be 2 single spaced pages, plus the three graphs.
EXAMPLE:
The following output comes from entering variable J10 (support for Obamacare)  in the row. You can see that public opinion was evenly split on Obamacare (the 2012 health care reform law). (Roughly 37%  favored it greatly or somewhat, while roughly 37% opposed it greatly or somewhat.)
Project 1, Part 2: The Demographics  (7 points)
1.    From the list of variables,  focus on the demographic variables in the study. These are grouped in the R section.   Select three of these variables (e.g Gender R01, Race R02, Age R03, Family Income R05). Run frequency distributions on them, in order to understand them better.
Construct a memo that discusses, separately for each of the three variables you have selected, Obama’s strengths and weaknesses with each of these three demographic groups. To do this, you will need to crosstab** each variable separately by (A02) “Presidential vote,” which is the variable that shows for which presidential candidate the respondent voted for in 2012.  So for example if you crosstab A02 by R01(gender), you will see to what extent men or women  voted for Obama. You can then discuss his strengths and weakness with each “racial” group. An early draft of the crosstabs for each of the three variables is due by week 5, class 2.  This draft will count for 2 of the  7 points you can score.

**For details on how to run a crosstab, see “Accessing and Running the data,”
Discuss ways in which Obama/the candidate might strengthen his/her standing among each of these three demographic groups.
Maximum length of text for entire project (part 2) should be 2 single spaced pages, plus the three graphs

EXAMPLE

Below is an example of crosstabulating gender by vote.  The first screen shot shows the instructions you enter, the second shows the results.

ACCESSING AND RUNNING THE DATA

If Analyzing the 2012 Data from Home:
(From school, skip step 1)
1. First, set up the proxy server on your internet browser.

The best way to do this is to go to
http://www.bol.ucla.edu/services/proxy/>
and scroll down.
The instructions are under “configuring your computer to access the proxy
server” click on the windows software browser that you use. (I used
Firefox, which was pretty simple to xy authentication process.

2. Go to the <http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/ configure.)
You must go do this using the browser that has the proxy installed. You must go through this step, which leads to UCLA authentication, otherwise later you will be unable to work with the data.
(a)Click on ICPSR website  (Note click “no” on the privacy issue)
You will now need to set up an account. To do this, click on the top left hand corner. Then click on Create Account button. From then on, login (top left of page) using the email used to create an account.  You will need to login each time you access the ICPSR.

(b) After you have set up an account etc, and after clicking on ICPSR website,
type “setups 2012”  in the search box (Find Data), and click on “go”.

Select “Setups voting behavior the 2012 election (ICPSR 34808)”. This should bring up the screen below.  Under “Dataset(s)”
(a)    Click on the “Codebook pdf’ and save it. You will need to consult this codebook frequently. You can use the pdf version, but you will probably find it helpful to also print a hard copy of the codebook. After saving and looking at the codebook, continue with (b) below.
(b)    Click on “run simple crosstab/frequency”
(c)    Login and agree to the terms.

You should now see the screen below:

To run a simple frequency (i.e. one variable):
(a)Select a variable from the row tabs. (You need to look at the codebook to decide which variable you wish to examine—the variables are then listed in the row tabs.)
(b) In the weight row select “weight full variable…” i.e the data must be weighted.  Also, check “summary statistics.” This will give you useful statistics such as the mean and median.
(c)  Click on “run the table”.
You will need to do this for Project 1, part 1.
The screen shot below shows an example [before step (c)—run the table] with the variable J12  selected (“How much do you agree or disagree with the statement, ‘the government should take measures to reduce differences in income levels’?”)

Output. The screen shot below shows the output, including the chart.

For a cross tabulation, enter an additional variable in “column.”  You will need to do this for Project 1, part 2. The demographic variables are in category R in the codebook.  For example, R02 is the respondent’s “race.”

The example below is a screen shot of the request to cross tab J12 (should the gov reduce inequality) by race, and the screen shot below that shows the output/results.  You can see from the results that whites are much more likely to oppose government efforts to reduce inequality than are blacks or latinos.
You can see from the results that

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