Powered by TypePad

« Victory Has A Thousand Fathers | Main | Earthquake In Haiti »

January 12, 2010



I would guess that the increase in the divorce rate is against the entire population of marriages, not just the total number of divorces. As a percentage of divorces, it's more like 7%. Increase in number of divorces in Arizona is thus approximately 1,650, not 34, no?


Taeyeong beat me to it. I think he's correct.

Two other things that can vary a lot by state are demographics and per capita income, both of which I suspect are related to divorce rates. Re demographics, in addition to age, there's the point that to get divorced you have to first get married. I'm guessing marriage rates are higher in these high-divorce rate states too.

Divorces disproportionately involve (very) young folks getting married and then divorcing within a year or two. That could happen a lot more in flyover country than in the cool hip states where people don't bother with niceties like marriage until they are "ready," if ever. So I don't think the divorce rate is a very meaningful number.


Could also simply be that red staters are more likely to get married in the first place.

Meaning if you measured nationwide the breakup of all couples, married or not, it would be similar in both red and blue states, only in red states a higher percentage of those couples would have been married, thus a higher divorce rate.


Oops, jimmyk, I was typing while you were posting. Looks like we were thinking the same thing.


Wouldn't it also be interesting to know things like the marriage rate of couples, cohabitation rate, etc, etc? It seems to me that a divorce rate by itself is pretty well meaningless.

Jim Miller

Tom - It's probably another example of the mistakes that you get when you commit the "ecological fallacy", when you use aggregate data to reason about individuals. (Our friend Paul Krugman has made this mistake more than once.)

For example: It is true that states that vote Republican in presidential elections have higher murder rates, on the average. But it is not true that Republicans are more likely to be murderers; in fact that honor goes to the Democratic party.

(The term, "ecological fallacy" is more than a bit confusing, since it doesn't have anything to do with ecology as usually defined, and doesn't necessarily lead to fallacious conclusions. But it has been around so long that the methodologists are stuck with it.)


Yes, though now that I look at the article more carefully, the rate is relative to the number of married people, which mitigates the problem a bit. There's still the issue of the large number of divorces occurring among the young and briefly married group.

He also does something inappropriate, which is to base the state ranking on a percentage of a percentage. So a change in the divorce rate from, say, 1% to 1.1% is regarded as the same as a change from 3% to 3.3%. Journalists get this wrong all the time. It makes more sense to do the total change (0.3 vs. 0.1). I don't know how it would affect his ranking--maybe if I have time later I'll redo his numbers.


If you go read the article, do skim the comments. It's a whole herd of Cleo's.


Silver claimed: "These states saw their divorce rates decrease by an average of 8 percent between 2003 and 2008."

Well, that is not the analysis he actually performed. He compared 2003 to 2008 and left out the years 2004-2007 inclusive. Who knows what kinds of fluctuations occurred in those individual years? The marriage equality states may have had bad years in 04 and 05 that are hidden by this "analysis." Or, the numbers could be even worse for the pro-traditional marriage states.

The only thing we know is that we can't tell from Silver's analysis. I am notsaying that Silver intentionally cherry picked his data, but that he may well have effectively done so unintentionally.


i am surpised that they did not correlate this with skepticism about global warming.

Well, the obvious course for this research to take is to have those state who have allowed gay marriage to ban it, and see what we get.

The Democrats are the "Paryt of Science" after all--it is the least that they can do; the Red States should keep their ban so as to serve as a control group.


I am not saying that Silver intentionally cherry picked his data, but that he may well have effectively done so unintentionally.

Intentional or not, there's a sort of Darwinian process by which strong correlations survive. He could have ranked states by 2008 divorce rate (as opposed to the change from 2003 to 2008), he could have looked at any number of state by state statistics and correlated them with any number of political issues, and even if there was no actual relationship, some of them would have turned up "significant" just by chance. Just as it used to be pointed out that the stock market performance (up or down) for the year was perfectly correlated with whether an old AFL or NFL team won the superbowl.

Old Lurker

Po "If you go read the article, do skim the comments. It's a whole herd of Cleo's."

Would you advise us, when walking past an operating fan, that we should stick our finger in it?


Well, if you stick your finger in from the back side, it doesn't hurt that much.


It would also be interesting to see the states ranked by their absolute number, instead of just by the % change. That would change the look of things considerably. Not that I care enough to actually do that work.

Changes in Life Hazard to health

I think he has a point. By banning the same sex marriage affects the community. Maybe some part of the divorcing couples are members of the third sex. Doesn't it?


Nate's choice of states seems somewhat odd:

It is joined at the top of the list by Rhode Island and New Mexico, which do not perform same-sex marriages but idiosyncratically also have no statute or constitutional provision expressly forbidding them, as well as Maine, whose legislature approved same-sex marriage only to have it overturned (although not banned constitutionally) by its voters.


He seems an 'unsound statistician' at the very least, how about bald faced liar, how do you rely on a sample like that


There are so few states in which gay marriage is legal it seems a bit of a pointless exercise.

I wish gay marriage proponents would stop making stupid arguments, and certainly stop trying to get gay marriage legalized by berating other groups.
Saying "Oh yeah? No you're ruining marriage" isn't going to work.

JM Hanes

There are so many other potential correlatives, both simple and complex, that such an analysis is virtually meaningless in isolation. It might be interesting to look at in/out migration rates generally -- or in states like Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York, for example, which also happen to have the highest percentage of Catholics. Maybe the seven year itch hasn't had time to kick in since gay marriage was legalized anywhere. Urbanization rates, given the growing urban/exurban political divide, strike me as likely suspects too.

I'd also note that it takes some parsing to get to Silver's central proposition (emphasis mine) that:

"the decline in divorce rates has been largely confined to states which have not passed a state constitutional ban on gay marriage."
The divorce rate has risen in 14 states where neither gay marriage nor civil unions are legal. The divorce rate has also declined in 16 states where neither is legal.

Silver is really implying that social liberals are more likely to stay together, while social conservatives are increasingly unhappy with their marriages -- without any evidence that the proxy he has chosen accurately represents the demographics of the people who who are actually getting the divorces. It reminds me of those liberal vs conservative studies emanating from places like Berkeley, and I somehow suspect that the often posited idea of conservative hypocrisy is where he originally started out. Speaking of California, where the jury judge is still out, I notice that it doesn't number among the states reporting stats. That's a pretty big question mark which gives the term swing state new meaning in the context of Silver's calculations.


Maybe someone should compare Silver's statistics which show that economicaly depressed couples are staying together because they can't afford a divorce . After all, the big cities in the big red states are the most hit by the downturn.

OT: AP reports NY's high court threw out Dan Rather's appeal w/o comment. Of course he considers this a gross miscarriage of justice while others like me think the lying bastard spent millions for nothing and that's a good thing.


*should compare Silver's statistics WITH THOSE which show that economicaly ***


--Well, if you stick your finger in from the back side, it doesn't hurt that much.--

Don't why (maybe because I've tried it?) but that strikes me as pretty funny.

Frau Plattdeutsch

Reported in today's paper (AP): ...she and her partner have experienced an emotional roller coaster during the past six years involving their desire to we. "I want it to happen to me," plaintiff Kristen Perry said. "The state isn't letting me feel happy."

Pursuit of happiness?

As evidence that when people see results they like their brains stop, I present Joe and the Maha.

Correlation, granted. Causation? Well, maybe.



Finally Alaskan's win something. According to this poll we lead the nation in dumping the Old Lady.

I can't figure out if it's cause we got such darn fine strip joints, or because every guy in the State has been fantasizing about having sex with our ex-Governor.

Tough call.

Annoying Old Guy


Did you drop a 'd' or an 'e'?


I can't figure out if it's cause...

My guess would be climate induced shrinkage.

Rick Ballard

Rasmussen Poll Results

It's all GOTV now. John and Bobby will be joining Teddy in voting for Coakely so it's still an uphill fight.

But it's a winnable fight - and well worth the effort.


"My guess would be climate induced shrinkage."

Where's that unemployed guy with the 13 and a half inch wankerdoodle. My wife sez she wants him up here for an experiment:)

Jack is Back!

Folks, I live in Florida and have made contributions to the Brown campaign in Mass. All of us here are watching this race but I have to tell you, there are a lot of people here in the Daytona-St. Augustine area who have been sending me emails and making phone calls to contribute. Then I got this from a retired MD friend of mine here in Florida. Its going viral and this one performance is another Dukakis moment for the Dems. LUN

Enjoy because it don't get any better than this. Scott Brown for Senate, hell, Scott Brown for President.


Ah, daddy, isn't that statistic invalidated by the fact that she actually reversed an anti domestic partnership referendum, so we need a whole other variable to explain the situation. In fact for much of the period in question she was out of office, so it must be the former explanation (lol)

Rob Crawford

I wish gay marriage proponents would stop making stupid arguments, and certainly stop trying to get gay marriage legalized by berating other groups.

Yeah, and I wish I were a millionaire and just a bit better looking.


daddy, is this all the effect of the long winter?

I have a feeling that Silver started off with a premise and then found the statistics to back it up. He probably supports AGW as well.

Or maybe it's related to that Move On campaign to withhold affection from one's significant other...It's cold in the red states right now, after all, and that could be construed as abandonment.


So Florida, a red state until 2008, has a lower rate than Conneticut, which has been blue forever. (Lowell Weicker doesn't count)
and Alaska as the great outlier, being one of the least sectarian states, doesn't fit either, I mean if they are going to use independent variables, he's a hack, he should
stick to picking baseball games.

Lifelong GOP

"Rasmussen Poll Results"

Even Scott Rasmussen still thinks Ms. Coakley will win:

"...the new polling is consistent with the analysis provided yesterday by Scott Rasmussen"...

"Clearly, his supporters are more enthusiastic about the race and that gives him a chance. But, as they have from the beginning, the dynamics of the race still make it likely that Massachusetts voters on January 19 will send another Democrat to Washington."

Don't get your hopes too high. Let's focus our efforts on November!!!!


Right, lifelong, two points is well within the margin of error, nice try.


Well, TM, you seem to have produced an orphan thread. What about the best interest of the children?!?!?

JM Hanes

"Don't get your hopes too high. Let's focus our efforts on November!!!!"

Right, wait till after the election to get your hopes up. That's the ticket.


Fox News talked about the race 3 times tonite. First it's impact on the healthcare vote, second: the softball questions delivered to Coakley and then the first segment of the panel.

Tonite Coakley is in DC taking money from healthcare lobbyists and Scott is in the Northshore calling into talk radio.

My hopes are clearly up.


Does anybody else see all of the comments from this thread disappear when the narcisolater is turned on, and come back when it's disabled?


Didja notice? One of the sponsors of the Coakley lobbyist fandango is our dear friend Jmie Gorelik.


It's calibrated too high, of course the Zelig of disaster would be stage left with this thing.


I did see that Clarice - and I was just talking about her wall on the radio today.

BTW I have a new co-host - altho I cannot be absolutely sure what is going on.


Speaking of Divorce:

Am at the Library reading snippets of a new math book: ">http://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Essential-Things-Didnt-Know/dp/0393070077/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263343035&sr=1-1-spell"> One Hundred Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know: Math Explains Your World (Hardcover)

Chapter 33 happens to be a 2 page chapter titled: "Fair Divorce Settlements: The Win-Win Solution."

Author John Barrow says the way to do it is as follows:

An arbiter asks each party (the Wife=A, the Husband=B), to divide the assets equally.

Barrow then diagrams what they considered fair thus:


The wife gets all the stuff left of A and the hubby gets all the stuff right of B. Then you ask them to each divide equally what remains on the line between A and B.


This they do over and over says the author until what's left is negligible, and each is happy because they got way more than they initially expected. Voila!

So what have we learned in this exercise from Mathematics Professor Barrow at Cambridge University?

That he (thankfully just like me) has never been divorced and doesn't know squat about it:)

He concludes the chapter by saying:

"The solutions to these problems have been patented by New York University so that they can be employed commercially in cases where disputes have to be resolved and a fair division of assets arrived at. Applications have ranged from the US divorce courts to the Middle East peace process."

No wonder we're in such a helluva mess!
Shakespeare was wrong.
I say first we kill the mathematicians, then we kill all the Lawyers.

Rob Crawford

I say first we kill the mathematicians, then we kill all the Lawyers.

Naw. Just wound the mathematicians.


Sarah was just on O'Reilly and an interesting thing happened: He didn't interrupt her much, and when he tried, she kept talking to make her point. And he let her go.


Now Colmes and Crowley are going to analyze O'Reilly's segment with Sarah. I predict: Colmes will try to be dismissive of her, and Crowley will tear him apart.


Colmes' first comment: "I just wonder how long she'll keep *this* job!"


daddy, I once had a prominent cople in my office who were fighting about whether the husband had to pay the wife (in the settlement) for an old toilet he gave his daughter.

At that point I said if they were going to continue to fight about this I was walking out of the room and leaving them on their own, that the hourly cost of his and her counsel far exceeded the item in question. The wife's lawyer agreed and we wrapped the thing up. That guy surely doesn't know how irrational people can be in that situation.

John N

"A major national union supporting Democrat Martha Coakley is taking out a massive TV ad buy that slams her Republican rival, Scott Brown, for his positions on abortion and climate change.

The ad taken out by the Service Employees International Union, will begin airing statewide tomorrow. The buy size is $685,000, one of the largest of the election."


John N

Now it's concerning...

"The DSCC will launch ads on behalf of AG Martha Coakley (D) as she battles to preserve Dems' 60-seat majority in the Senate.

The DSCC has purchased $567K in ads in the Boston and Springfield markets, a source tells Hotline OnCall."


JM Hanes

John N:

Even if I weren't hoping for a Brown win, I would sure love to see the conventional wisdom about the effectiveness of negative ads take a hit.

Fresh Air

I think John N and bunky and Lifelong GOP are all one and the same, "Concerned Committed Scott Brown Supporter"....


Who is terribly concerned, also, about his imaginary son in Iraq.


SEIU has puchased over $685 k in ads for Coakley--if all these ads don't turn people off, what will?

James Rockford

"I think John N and bunky and Lifelong GOP are all one and the same..."

Is that you Columbo?

Rob Crawford

Don't sock puppet James Rockford -- that's just wrong.

Stop being a coward, 'cleo. Stand behind your words.

Fresh Air

Sam Diamond, at your service!

Rob Crawford

Bensonmum. Howard Bensonmum.

Barnaby Jones (aka Jed Clampett)

Coakley is fast on her feet. Video clip (YouTube LUN) of Coakley tonight handling reporters tough questions on terrorists in Afghanistan and lobbyist fundraising.


Hey Levi! I thought you were at a barn-raising?...back so soon?


She answered none of those questions Barnaby.
She answered no questions last nite either.

She's a dolt.


She's at the Patty Murray/Sheila Jackson Lee, level, I heard the primary was brutal but this was the best they could do.

Fresh "Levi" Air

Barn raising canceled today. We're clipping our beards tonight instead.


According to Rasmussen, among voters not affiliated with either major party, Brown leads 71% to 23%.

I smell something very sweet in the air, today.

The most surprising were the union workers paid by the Coakley Campaign to hold signs last night but told the camera man that they’re voting for Scott Brown! You gotta love it.

Then their is this video from the Weekly Standard: Video: Someone With the Coakley Campaign Pushes Me into a Metal Railing

I think the tea party movement has a new theme to go along with freedom and that is Courage!

Next Tuesday, if we even get close to winning, we should have a party! If we win, I predict a thread as long as the announcement of Sarah Palin for V.P.! Remember those glory days?

(Hit, would be so proud of me. I just declared a JOM party if we win or lose. :wink: )


lol, daddy, on thar mathematician, he really has no clue, he'll probably be assigned at Middle East peace negotiator,

PD, there were more interruptions in that interview that RoseMary Wood's taping,


Well, we have to keep our sense of humor, no matter, so I give JOM cat lovers this:

Cleaning Cat uses iRobot Roomba 560 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

For you dog lovers, I must report on mine:

After spending $$$ on grooming for my dog Daisy yesterday, I brought her home and let her go outside.

She found what it seemed, like an acre of burrs that look like this:Photobucket

I am guessing here... but she rubbed her whole face in it. So badly, that both of her long ears tangled up over her eyes and nose and blinded her. When I called her home, she ran into every tree, bush, and urn in her path. Hearing my voice but not being able to see me, she went to a back door light in the laundry room. She ran into that too. Thinking she had some sort of stroke, I ran out to her and busted a gut relieved with laughter that she was just momentarily blinded and rolled over in the snow LMAO.
It took me over an hour to delicately comb out her ears, eyes, and nose.

Why am I telling you all this? Well I don't know except yesterday my heart went still for one moment at the thought of losing my dear friend. Only to be over joyed that she was just blind. :)

The American public hasn't changed it was just blinded for a moment. (My husband thinks I look at everything politically. Ya think? LOL)

Courage beats Hope and Change any day.

We are going to win this on Tuesday. All the burrs will be combed out.


Ann, I'm waiting for someone to point out that the New England Patriots' fortunes took a turn for the worse a few days after Obama made it clear he would run for the presidency.

JM Hanes

Lordy. A propos of nothing, I'd forgotten how stupid Maxine Waters is.

JM Hanes

IMO, the only interesting thing about the Harry Reid brouhaha was Democrat hypocrisy, but it's worth giving MLK's niece the last word:

“I think that’s terrible,” she said. “What he’s really saying is, ‘Now we have a White House Negro.’”


Elliott, are you questioning his Patriotism?


Just the timing.


Very important article at Big Journalism on Climategate:

A New Science Movement

Apologies for the OT.


In fact, one might theorize that Obama has persuaded New England to recognize the inescapablely insidious consequnces of total victory and to adopt a more enlightened and socially responsible conception of patriotism.


If there's one thing New England understands, it's enlightened conceptions. Tom Brady was acting like he thought he was budget director for a while there.


Good link glasater,

I've been hanging out at 'what's up with that' tonight, and Steve McIntyre has done an interesting one ">http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/12/climategate-the-mosher-timeline/"> Climategate: The Mosher Timeline putting together more particulars of the timeline of the links. Very interesting reading, and showing that a lot is still left to be examined.

Truly heads should be rolling on this one, and we've got to get an outside source other than Penn State University to investigate the fraud perpetrated there by their very own Michael Mann, Currently it's an in-house thing and that reeks.


Very nice post, Ann.


Good morning peter,

Hope you don't mind me asking you or TM to consider running for the Senate, but what with Hillary of Arkansas and now Harold Ford of Tennessee, it might be nice to see somebody from New York actually run for Senator of New York.

I thought a carpetbagger was traditionally a Yankee who came south, not the other way round.


Ann, what a great post to wake up to! I so hope you're right about Americans and about Tuesday. It will be a party indeed if, Lord willing, the good thing happens.

Elliott, my sole conservative girlfriend in Austin is also a Patriots fan. I think she'd get a kick out of your 1:23 AM even in her disappointment.


Anybody seen powerline? That's the end of Brown. Too bad.....


OT - One more item for the "Accuse Republicans but we do it ourselves" list.
" Food Network's "Iron Chef" featuring White House produce used stunt-double veggies, reports Politics Daily. The Jan. 3 show, with a special appearance by Michelle Obama..."

Remember the whole fake turkey that wasn't fake brooha with W in Iraq?

hit and run

" Food Network's "Iron Chef" featuring White House produce used stunt-double veggies, reports Politics Daily. The Jan. 3 show, with a special appearance by Michelle Obama..."

The WH vetted the judges in kitchen stadium and found they all donated to the Obama campaign,and thus felt it appropriate not to feed them lead-tainted vegetables from the WH garden.


I'm having trouble linking it but Michael Graham at NRO's The Corner sees the shoving incident Ann linked to as the turning point of the campaign.

He sees it as the perfect metaphor for how even Mass voters feel pushed around and ignored.

It also calls attention to the DC trip in a way no answer would have.


Hit - They donated the lead-tainted veggies to the poor!
"But the produce picked in late October was donated to a food kitchen because the show was filmed the following week in N.Y.C. with similar, local vegetables; the only food used from the White House was its honey."

Sums up the Dems doesn't it. High falutin talk...while the constituents get the poison reality!


Video of the manhandling incident was too dark for me to see what happened, but this pic at The Corner seems to show Coatley right there looking on when it happened. If that's Coatley, and she blithely moves on to her car showing no concern for the decked reporter or reprimand to her Dem goon, it ought to make a difference to MA voters. It clearly illustrates her lack of character.


Send the Coakley/Meehan assault pic and video to Drudge. He doesn't have it up but he should. HotAir has a good photo here along with the vid:

HotAir: Coakley Campaign Shoves Weekly Standard Reporter

Once upon a time I thought I'd invented the term 'Piltdown Mann' but a search at CA showed that someone else had, perhaps moshe or bender.

Thanks, g, for the link about Moshe. daddy, I believe the Pennsylvania House's Committee on Education has threatened an independent investigation of the 'Piltdown Mann' if Penn State does a whitewash of him. I've heard a concern about the head of that committee, too, though.


HotAir: "You know, a state Attorney General should be the person to enforce the law — especially, as this photo shows, she witnessed the assault and battery …"



Boston Herald is all over this assault story. Am mustering strength to go over and look at the Globe...

Thomas Collins

Elliott, I'd say the Patriots' fortunes took a turn for the worst when the officials in the Giants-Pats Super Bowl failed to apply the "in the grasp" rule to Eli when he was clearly in the grasp, thus allowing him to make the throw to Tyree. On the other hand, I don't cry on my Bruschi shirt about that, because the application of the "tuck" rule by the replay official in the 2001 Pats-Raiders playoff game, even if technically correct, was a stroke of good fortune for which Pats fans should be forever grateful. Not to mention Martz's failure to unleash Kurt Warner (after Terry Bradshaw, the best playoff quarterback in NFL history [go ahead, fans of Brady, Manning, Unitas, Baugh, Montana, Starr, Elway, et al, hurl the brickbats at me, that's my opinion]) until the fourth quarter of the Pats-Rams Super Bowl (Martz's insistence on making Marshall Faulk the focus of the offense when the Pats defense was clearly keying on Faulk was inexplicable).


Slingin' Sammy played off?

Thomas Collins

Wink, I am including in "playoffs" the single NFL Championship Game that was played in the "good old days."


The AP report reads as if written by the Meehan goon.


In mid-January 2007 Obama informally announced his run. A few days later, the Patriots blew a 21-3 lead in the AFC Championship game. The following season, all was well for the Patriots as long as Clinton was ascendant. I believe we agree as to the trajectory from that point.


as if written by the Meehan goon

True. Why write a story about someone tripping and falling? Not exactly news, unless the point is to preempt a story that he was pushed.

hit and run

The second pic in that AP article has this caption:

** ADDS INFORMATION ** A supporter of U.S. Senate candidate Democrat Martha Coakley reaches toward journalist John McCormack of The Weekly Standard, right, after shoving him to the ground outside a fundraiser in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. McCormack had been trying to ask questions of Coakley, who looks on at left. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Thomas Collins

If you are correct, Elliott, Pats fans may have to wait until 2014 for another Super Bowl win (the 2013 Super Bowl being based on the 2012 season, when Obama will still be Prez).


I guess after getting the pic of the Meehan helping hand, the AP photographer had no interest in pics of Meehan chest-bumping McCormack and impeding his movement down the sidewalk, hoping to provoke a physical response...luckily, to no avail.


The Globe says the reporter stumbled.


From the guy that got pushed:

We Report, We Get Pushed


That is some kinda chutzpah on the part of the Globe. I expected them to minimize coverage of it, but I didn't expect them to outright lie.

The comments to this entry are closed.