drewan: (I voted)

Last week I started the first of two summer classes. This class is Argumentation and Critical Thinking. Our first real homework is to produce a 6-7 page written argument on an assigned topic. I was assigned the yes position on "Will Barack Obama Be Re-Elected President of the United States?"

At first I thought this would be an easy question to answer, but for the last several days I've been struggling to find quantifiable data to support this position. I think I'm being too narrow and staying unnecessarily far away from campaign topics. Instead, I've been researching past election history to compare to President Obama, to see if I can spot and trends.

Here's a bit of what I've pulled together:

Re-election Odds:

  • Of our 44 Presidents, 16 were Democratic, 18 were Republicans. Of the 13 Republican Presidents that sought re-election, 9 of them won (69%). Of the 8 Democratic Presidents who sought re-election, 6 of them won (75%).
  • Starting with WWII, there has been an even split between Democratic and Republican Presidents, 6 of each. Except for Kennedy, who was assassinated, the 11 remaining Presidents have all sought re-election. Of the 6 Republican Presidents, 4 won re-election, 2 lost (66%). Of the 5 remaining Democratic Presidents, 3 won re-election, 1 lost, and 1 is still in the process of being re-elected. (75%)
  • While the odds of winning re-election don't appear to strongly favor either party, the general odds do show a greater than 65% success rate for incumbents in Presidential elections.

Election Results Differences:

  • Obama defeated McCain by more than a 7% difference in the popular vote.
  • Compared to Presidents who have sought re-election in the last 150 years, Obama's first election win ranks eighth highest when compared to eleven Presidents who have gone on to win again. Obama's first win ranks third rightest again those Presidents who went on to lose their second elections.
  • Obama won by a greater percentage than Clinton did in his first election, which was 5.5%.
  • Of the eleven post-WWII elected Presidents, Obama has the 5th highest win percentage over his first election opponent. Compared to just the Presidents who went on to win re-election, Obama is 4th.
  • The point of comparing to previous recent Presidents is to demonstrate that Obama's first term win percentage places him comfortably within the range of previous re-elected Presidents.

Approval Polls

  • American media frequently reports on the President’s job approval ratings as an indictor of how the American public feels about the current President. Obama’s opponents have pointed to these ratings as evidence that Obama will lose re-election (I need to find a good citable example of this.)
  • According to Gallup, Obama's average approval rating is 49%
  • Compared to the average first term approval ratings for recent past Presidents who have won re-election, Obama is rated the lowest, but only by .6%. The next lowest was Clinton, who's first term approval rating average was 49.6%, and he went on to win re-election.
  • On the flip side, Ford's average approval rating was 60.9%, and he lost his election for a second term, as did Carter who had a 45.5% average approval.
  • The point of using Gallup's approval ratings data is to demonstrate that approval ratings may not be an accurate indicator of re-electibility, regardless of how much conservatives and mass media like to point at polls as indicators.

I've clearly spent WAY to much time trying to compare Obama to previous presidents. While previous presidents aren't enough by themselves to indicate the results of Obama's second election, I think they provide a good argument that American voters tend to favor incumbents, regardless of approval ratings.

From this point I need to research data on my next two points:

  • Let's turn this around: Why will Mitt Romney lose the 2012 Presidential election?
  • - Divided party? Can the Republican voters pull together to support Romney?
  • -
  • Why will voters in 2012 vote for Obama over Romney? 
  • - Party affiliation? Can Obama count on the votes he received during the first election?

Any other suggested arguments I should pursue? 

drewan: (Default)
It's now time for me to work on my thesis project for the Religion 100 class. This is a small group project, so I'm working with two other classmates (who are husband and wife) on a thesis presentation due June 18th, and the thesis paper due two weeks later.

Our thesis statement is something along the lines of "The competition between religious extremists is not only dangerous to the followers of opposing religions, but can also damage the local religious and secular communities." Our thesis presentation start with an examination of why competition between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism exist, then point to examples of extreme religious competition and the harm caused by this competition. I then want to proceed the conclusion with an example of interfaith cooperation and how that example was beneficial to both the religious and secular communities.

We're not having much difficulty finding examples of harmful Christian and Islamic competition and religious intolerance, however we are struggling a bit with Judaism. I think our example will probably be something around the issue of Israel and Palestine, but right at this moment I'd prefer to use a somewhat less political example. There are SO many issues, both religious and secular involved in that conflict, and I would prefer to us an example for a situation here in the US.

Part of my Christian example is going to be Pastor Dennis Campbell's recent ad in the St. Cloud Times. It's timely and local.

I would welcome suggestions for other examples, including examples of interfaith cooperation.
drewan: (Augsburg)
Just got home from my last Drawing class. My portfolio review with the Prof. went very well. I arrived back in the studio at 1pm for my scheduled 1:20pm meeting. Turned out the Prof. was running 40 minutes ahead, so he had already pulled out all my work and laid it out for review.

He was happy with my work. One of the benefits of being laid off for most of this class was that I had plenty of time to draw. This meant that I had a lot of extra work for him to review. He expressed that my practice and development was evident in my work. He said my work was worthy of a 4.0 grade.

Before we finished he brought up the upcoming Augsburg Juried Art Show. He asked if he could enter three of my pieces into the show. I'm not sure if they were the three pieces I would have picked on my own, but they were his favorites. Of course I said yes.

Home work

Jan. 16th, 2009 07:12 pm
drewan: (Default)
I've just written my first two pages for the "Response Paper" due next Friday.

This is supposed to be a three page response to chapter 1-4, 14-16, and 21-23. The two pages I just wrote only cover my thoughts are response up to chapter 3.

I think I'll need to do some serious cuttings when I'm done writing.

Heading home now. I want to watch BSG now!

April 2016

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