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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Category: Culture
November 7, 2012 at 1:32 AM

Exultant Crowds at Westin for Obama, Inslee, and R-74

The crowd at the Seattle Westin watches President Obama’s victory speech. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Higgins/UW Election Eye) SEATTLE — Jay Inslee had not taken take the stage at the Seattle Westin tonight to proclaim victory in the Washington gubernatorial race, but that didn’t matter to the boisterous crowd surging up to the stage.  Magnified…


Comments | More in Culture, National, State | Topics: Barack Obama, gay marriage, Jay Inslee

November 6, 2012 at 11:11 AM

The first in the nation and the first tie – Dixville Notch in 2012

Dixville Notch, NH is famous for being the first community in the U.S. to announce its election results. What was the result in 2012? The Balsams Hotel in Dixville Notch, NH. (Photo courtesy of Roger H. Goun/Flickr Creative Commons) As I was wrapping up my Monday night, preparing for a long Election Day ahead, I turned…


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: 2012 Election, Balsams Hotel, Dixville Notch

November 6, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Flash poll: what impact does social media have on the millennial generation?

Seattle — As I filled out my voter’s ballot for the 2012 presidential election, I couldn’t help but think of two words: Gangnam Style.

Ranked number two on the Billboard Hot 100 charts is the new hit from South Korean rapper, PSY. The viral YouTube video, “Gangnam Style,” has people dancing all over the globe, including a parody of presidential candidate, Mitt Romney:

With nearly 7 million views on YouTube, “Gangnam Style” has more views than the total amount of likes on the vice presidential candidates’  Facebook pages, combined (for both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan).


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: flash poll, social media, Young voters

November 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Radio silence: Does the debate over public funding really matter to young voters?

Seattle — Ever since Romney brought up Big Bird in the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, 2012, feathers have been flying. Liberal commentators condemned his desire to cut funding for public broadcasting, arguing that the .0014 percent of the federal budget it takes up is a small price to pay for public broadcasting’s educational returns, while conservatives countered by saying that even this small portion is unnecessary fat, and should be trimmed off the nation’s unbalanced budget.

Ultimately, however, the question is whether young people value public programming enough to make this partisan tiff relevant after the election.

(Photo illustration by Joseph Sutton-Holcomb / UW Election Eye)

Keith Seinfeld is the assistant news director for KPLU. This Seattle-based radio station received $513,392 in 2011 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes funding on behalf of the U.S. government to public TV and radio stations. He said that 45- to 65-year-olds make up the largest proportion of their audience, and that the station often discusses how to connect with millennials during big-picture planning.

“We don’t just want to ride off into the sunset with this baby boom audience,” he said.

KPLU’s aging demographic is typical across the nation. According to an analysis of NPR’s demographic nation-wide, by Arbitron, the average age of the 26.4 million weekly NPR listeners is 49, descending to 40 for, and 36 for their podcasts.

It makes you wonder whether the millennial generation (18-35-year-olds) are seriously invested in the programming. In this age of increasingly decentralized independent content, is the centralized, publically-funded broadcast model the bedrock of American media culture, or a fossil?


Comments | Topics: baby boomers, Barack Obama, Big Bird

November 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Is social media “turning off” young voters to political discourse?

President Obama introduces himself on Reddit, where he opened up an “Ask Me Anything” forum for questions. (Screenshot by Kristine Kim / UW Election)

Young voters are more engaged with the election than ever before, thanks to social media. But are today’s conversations as deep as they were in the past?

Seattle — You’ve heard the trends. College students who didn’t even have time to tune in to any of the three presidential debates know that their friends are talking politics when the subjects of Big Bird or binder —  particularly those full of women —  come up. It’s the product of the social-media engine, where a South Korean pop star can go viral in the United States and an “Ask Me Anything” open forum by the president causes Reddit participants to chant, in the form of internet comments, “One of us! One of us!”


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: discourse, Election 2012, social media

November 3, 2012 at 7:00 PM

LOLcats and the election: how memes have taken over the news

As election day looms, “zinger” retweets and reblogs catapult political memes into the public eye.

On Twitter memes often appear in the form of hashtags.  (Image courtesy of / UW Election Eye)

SEATTLE — Internet meme (n.): “a catchy phrase or idea associated with an image, which often becomes viral online.”

During the presidential debates, my Twitter feed was aflutter with homemade memes and my Tumblr flooded with political commentary in that oh-so familiar form of white blocky text over photos.

Memes catapulted to fame in 2006 with the rise of the LOLcat and the kitties of I Can Haz Cheezburger.

The first memes I remember seeing were of the “I can haz” variety, but plenty has changed in the past few years, and now this internet art form has become a key part of the 2012 presidential election.

This became especially apparent during the months leading up to the first of the 2012 presidential debates. As October neared, Internet users of all ages were churning out Obama and Romney memes at full-speed.


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: discourse, Election 2012, memes

November 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

In Seattle, conservative voters an ideological minority

Kyle Curtis peers over the sign that often brings him disapproving looks from liberal onlookers. Credit: Lauren LeMieux / UW Election Eye.

SEATTLE — For Kyle Curtis, president of the University of Washington College Republicans, it is nearly impossible to show  support for his chosen presidential candidate.

“I can’t tell you how hard it is to get a Mitt Romney sign in this state,” Curtis said.

Curtis did find a sign, but he also found confrontation. While holding the blue-and-red Mitt Romney poster on campus he got a disproving reaction from a passerby.

“He glared at us, then he took a few steps back,” Curtis said. “He was like, ‘You’re kidding me. You’re actually going to vote for Mitt Romney?’ and then I was like ‘Yes.’”


Comments | More in Culture, Local, State | Topics: blue voters, conservatives, Republicans

November 2, 2012 at 8:00 AM

In central Virginia, it’s hope vs. faith for swing voters

Colby and Gary Takacs on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for President Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration
(photo courtesy of Gary Takacs / UW Election Eye)

What can Virginia tell us about the presidential race? Seattle transplant and UW student Lisa Strube-Kilgore reflects on life in a purple state.

SEATTLE — All the polls seem to agree: Virginia’s looking pretty purple these days. Historically, Virginia was considered a democratic stronghold, but it’s also a deeply conservative state socially. Virginia’s 13 electoral votes went to President Obama in 2008, but this year could see a reversal as polls there seem to show the state as a toss-up.

The idea of living in a battleground state can be pretty foreign to us here in true blue Washington, where it can feel like you’re more likely to run across a unicorn than a swing voter.  Even the idea of undecided voters seems to baffle us, but as a native Virginian, they’re no mystery to me. I know them. They’re my friends and family, my old neighbors and classmates, and right now, they’re the people every pollster and political aficionado wants to talk to. The outcome of this election, as pundits and analysts keep telling us, is very likely in their hands. Everyone wants to know how Virginians (and voters in states like it) are going to vote on November 6. Well, if you ask me, if you really want a good idea of what’s happening in Virginia, you need to head to Lynchburg.


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: lynchburg, purple states, swing states

September 19, 2012 at 7:00 AM

In search of American evangelicalism and politics

Washington, D.C. — We walked in silence in the mid-morning hush that hovered over the National Mall. It was Sunday, three days ago, and I was in town covering the Values Voter Summit, a conservative gathering that mixes faith, politics, and policy. A friend and I were on our way to church service at Capitol Hill Baptist.

It’s a site frequented by politicos, civil servants and students, heirs of a robust intellectual tradition within Christianity. I’ve been wanting to hear the pastor, Mark Dever, since I heard him talk at the University of Cambridge a few years ago.

Walking past the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court on the way to church is a fascinating experience. It’s here that our nation’s laws get made, and fought over.

Part of the U.S. Supreme Court’s granite facade was being renovated. From Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. (Will Mari / UW Election Eye)

And now we found ourselves at an intersection lined with sleepy trees and charming brownstones.

A woman approached us.

“Are you two here for the ‘weekender’?” she asked.

“The what?,” we wondered aloud, thinking she had meant to inquire if we were in town for the weekend, “sure.”

“Then follow me,” she said, “I’m going to CHB.”

On the way, we figured out what she had meant. The “Weekender” was a quarterly gathering of ministers of American and international ministers.

She had thought we were pastors. I suppose wearing a blazer and bearing Bibles and notepads might have encouraged that perception. My press badge was tucked away, in more than one sense.


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: Capital Hill Baptist Church, Christians, D.C.

September 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Evangelicals try to forge links across old ethnic lines

Washington, D.C. — That African-American Christians tend to vote for Democrats is axiomatic in the political world. But that might be changing, as some evangelicals work with conservative African-American pastors on shared opposition to same-sex marriage. Harry Jackson, a Maryland-based pastor, talks about interacting with black evangelical voters at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday, Sept….


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: African-American Christians, Bishop Harry Jackson, Evangelicals

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