Posts Tagged ‘election’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Nov 4th 2010 at 3:34pm UTC

After the Midterm Elections: Still Divided

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Here’s the longer, unedited version of my column published in today’s The Daily Beast – It Wasn’t About the Economy, Stupid.

The conventional wisdom among pundits, pollsters, and political analysts is that the Republican victory in the midterms represents a referendum on – and a stunning of repudiation of – the Obama administration’s stewardship of the economy. “U.S. registered voters choose economic conditions by nearly a 2-to-1 margin over any of four other key election issues as the most important to their vote for Congress,” according to a Gallup organization analysis, a result that held “across all partisan groups.”

But the geographic patterns of Tuesday’s historic election results reveal a curious paradox. While the economy was clearly the voters’ number one concern, economic conditions alone cannot explain why they cast their ballots as they did. A Wall Street Journal analysis of House races found that Democrats held onto their seats in congressional districts that were feeling the recession the worst. “Of the 25 congressional districts hit hardest by the recession—measured by joblessness, poverty rates, and housing prices—16 are currently represented by Democrats. Fourteen of them won re-election despite the Republican tide.”


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Oct 29th 2010 at 1:39pm UTC

More Toronto Election Maps

Friday, October 29th, 2010

They keep rolling in (h/t Chris Hardwicke). And they continue to reinforce the depth of the class divide.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Oct 28th 2010 at 3:14pm UTC

Who’s Your Mayor?

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Here’s a map of the final vote count for Toronto’s mayoral election this past Monday (via Torontoist). It shows the share of votes by ward. Note the strong inverted T pattern radiating out from the center.

Check out more maps being posted at Torontoist. Even more maps here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Oct 26th 2010 at 8:00am UTC

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

With the midterm elections only two weeks away and the Democrats in jeopardy, the prevailing wisdom is that the election will be a referendum on the Obama administration’s stewardship of the economy. A large fraction of 2008 Obama voters now cite the economy and jobs as the key reason they will vote Republican this year, according to an October 17 AP poll. “The president must zero in on the economy if he wants to help himself and his party,” writes Eleanor Clift. The basic notion here, promulgated by pundits and political analysts, is that the current political environment turns on the vagaries of the economy. This amounts to a cyclical theory of American politics. And, in fact, several decades ago, the political scientist Douglas Hibbs advanced his seminal theory of the “political business cycle” which argues that economic movements have a sizable effect on American elections.

But another line of thinking suggests that American politics turns on deeper structural changes in economy and society. In the influential Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State, Columbia University’s Andrew Gelman and his colleagues uncovered a paradox that both confirms and defies the conventional wisdom about American elections. While rich voters trend Republican, rich states trend Democratic, he found. The opposite holds as well. Though poor and minority voters overwhelmingly pull the lever for Democrats, poor states consistently end up in the Republican column. A second version of the structural approach comes from John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, who argue in The Emerging Democratic Majority that the rise of the post-industrial economy has tilted the playing field toward Democrats who gain advantage in wealthier urban “ideopolises” while holding onto the votes of the poor and minorities. A third perspective comes from Ronald Inglehart of the University of Michigan, whose detailed World Values Surveys identify a shift in political culture from the more traditional, religious, and materialist orientations of the industrial age to post-materialist values of self-expression, openness to diversity, secularism, and broad public goods like concern for the environment.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Oct 22nd 2010 at 9:17am UTC

No Longer One Toronto

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Here’s the long version of my column published in today’s The Globe and Mail.

Canadians often point to the angry red versus blue divide that is such a hallmark of American politics, with higher-income, more economically advanced places voting Democratic and less-affluent, more working class locales trending Republican, as a problem that Canada has risen above. But this same kind of cleavage has become increasingly apparent in Canada – glaringly so in Toronto’s upcoming mayoral election.

The most recent Nanos poll shows Rob Ford leading in Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough, while George Smitherman leads in old Toronto. The conventional wisdom is that this is a product of amalgamation and the rise of the mega-city, which brought two distinct constituencies into one political jurisdiction in 1998. But it runs far deeper than that. (more…)

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Oct 21st 2010 at 4:00pm UTC

Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s New Mayor

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

This week, Calgary elected a new mayor. His name is Naheed Nenshi. I met him almost a decade ago when he was a participant in a forum on building the creative economy I helped catalyze with CEOs for Cities, Carol Coletta. Here’s one of his first interviews since being elected.

Here’s his recent TEDxCalgary talk:


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Oct 20th 2010 at 4:09pm UTC

Our Challenge

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Calgary has become the first major city in North America with more than one million people to elect a Muslim mayor.  A reader writes:

I was reading the Toronto Star this morning about how Calgary elected a young intellectual Muslim, the author of the article said that Calgary has the intelligence and the courage. Why is it that the most multicultural city in Canada (or the world) who you identified as part of a megacity, can’t produce fresh blood, who truly cares about revitalization, about stopping urban sprawl and improving public transportation, like the newly elected mayor of Alberta? I live in London, Ontario, and the choices here are even more dismal.

That’s the question all of us in Toronto and in major cities across North America should be asking.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Sep 8th 2008 at 5:34pm UTC

Political Geography

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Talk about post-convention bounce. A new Gallup poll has McCain now up by 10 points over Obama, 54-44.  Lots of fluctuation and other polls have it much closer. Alan Brinkley opines in the Wall Street Journal that in a post-partisan world, voters are driven by wedge issues and the “attractiveness” of candidates. An ABC poll says white women are flocking to McCain-Palin who lead in this demo 53-41. Quite a turnaround from Obama, up 50-42 before the conventions (data via

But such macro perspectives miss the underlying reality of American politics. It’s all about geography.

Obama has the creative class states wrapped up, no doubt; but these are highly concentrated.

The political geography of the election turns on a handful or so of swing states: Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and Nevada.

From where I sit, this poses a real challenge for Obama. Seems to me, the whole kit and caboodle turns on whether Obama can mobilize enough young people and black voters to turn those states.

Looking at this emerging political geography, which way do you think the election will swing?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat Jun 14th 2008 at 5:37pm UTC

The Creative Class Candidate

Saturday, June 14th, 2008


Peter Culshaw reports on the first creative class election in The Telegraph:

According to American sociologist Richard Florida, it was the “creative class”
that swung victory for Barack Obama in the recent US Democratic nominations.  In Florida’s definition, the “creative class” includes people
working in the media, advertising, online, music and film industries, as well as
designers, artists. and other, often freelance, creative workers who
overwhelmingly supported Obama … We are witnessing the first creative-class election in American
history,” he says. “The creative class is an online class; it’s YouTube, its
MySpace, it’s music. And no one has caught fire with this class like Obama.”

While pundits have looked endlessly at how the Democratic race
was split along race, gender or education lines, Florida, a professor at the
University of Toronto who has written a bestselling book The Rise Of the
Creative Class, was more interested in “looking into how creative-class people
were voting in this primary season. On issue after issue, they preferred Barack Obama to Hillary
Clinton or John McCain by wide margins”.

The benefit for Obama of having this creative class onside is
almost inestimable. For a start, there were high profile music videos like’s star-studded Yes We Can
- a YouTube sensation, watched online by more than eight million viewers –
and I got a crush on Obama by a singer calling herself Obama
Girl, both of which generated reams of free coverage for Obama.
Hundreds of less well-known videos also worked in his favour,
reaching out to a wide variety of voters, from the hip-hop Representin
and the self-explanatory salsa song Latinos for
Barack Obama
, to scores of indie, country, and folk tunes. The small number
of Clinton and McCain videos were outnumbered and looked clunky, embarrassing
and patronising in comparison. An even more important key to Obama’s victory was his success in
using the web to fundraise, attracting more than a million small donors. While
the policy differences between Clinton and Obama were not that huge, the idea of
a candidate not in the pocket of corporate lobbyists added to Obama’s appeal
among the online community, creating a virtuous circle of support.