Silver Bulletpoints: Iowans Seem To Like Warren And Buttigieg

We’re less than two weeks from the Democrats’ first debate in Miami on June 26 and 27. I’m looking forward to the occasion — not so much because I’m eager to hear Bill de Blasio trying to drop some too-clever-by-half insults on the front-runners, but because the debates should help us exit a doldrums phase of the Democratic primary in which not a lot has been happening.

Until then, we’re left with some pretty slim pickings for Silver Bulletpoints. So I want to focus this week’s edition around the recent Selzer & Co. poll of Iowa, which was conducted on behalf of CNN, the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. While I’m a little bit reluctant to give that much attention to a single poll, this is one of the only recent high-quality polls of Iowa — and Selzer & Co. is pretty much as good as pollsters can get.

Bulletpoint No. 1: Things are looking up in Iowa for Warren and Buttigieg

The Selzer poll shows a closer race in Iowa than what we’ve been seeing nationally, with Joe Biden on top with 24 percent of the vote, followed by essentially a three-way tie for second with Bernie Sanders at 16 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 15 percent and Pete Buttigieg at 14 percent. Kamala Harris is next at 7 percent, with no one else above 2 percent.

That’s already a pretty decent result for Warren and Buttigieg — but, in fact, the poll is a bit better than it looks for them on the surface. Selzer also asked voters for favorability ratings on each candidate; I translated those ratings to a 5-point scale in which 5 means “very favorable” and 1 means “very unfavorable,” throwing out voters who didn’t know enough about a candidate to formulate an opinion.

On average, Buttigieg had the highest favorability ratings on the scale (4.1), with Harris (4.0) and Warren (4.0) close behind him. Biden’s (3.8) and Sanders’s (3.7) favorability ratings were decent but behind the top three. Meanwhile, while Cory Booker (3.7), Amy Klobuchar (3.6) and Beto O’Rourke (3.6) have little first-choice support, they retain decent favorables.

Buttigieg, Harris, Warren are viewed most favorably in Iowa

Favorability ratings in the Selzer & Co. Iowa poll, June 2-5, 2019

Candidate Very fav. Mostly fav. Mostly unfav. Very unfav. Favorability score* First-choice support
Buttigieg 32% 29% 7% 5% 4.1 14%
Harris 30 33 8 5 4.0 7
Warren 37 34 10 7 4.0 15
Biden 36 37 14 9 3.8 24
Sanders 32 38 17 8 3.7 16
Booker 20 36 13 6 3.7 1
Klobuchar 12 32 13 4 3.6 2
O’Rourke 15 39 13 8 3.6 2
Castro 7 27 10 4 3.5 1
Inslee 5 16 7 3 3.4 1
Bullock 5 14 8 2 3.4 0
Swalwell 5 17 9 4 3.3 0
Gillibrand 7 31 17 6 3.3 0
Hickenlooper 6 18 12 4 3.3 0
Bennet 3 16 9 3 3.3 1
Delaney 6 21 12 5 3.3 1
Yang 5 14 10 5 3.1 1
Moulton 3 9 8 3 3.0 0
Ryan 2 14 10 4 3.0 0
Gabbard 5 18 11 9 3.0 1
Williamson 2 7 11 7 2.5 0
de Blasio 2 14 27 13 2.4 0
Messam 1 1 6 3 2.2 0

* Calculated based on a weighted average of favorability ratings, giving a candidate 5 points for a “very favorable” rating, 4 points for “somewhat favorable,” 2 points for “somewhat unfavorable” and 1 point for “very unfavorable,” and ignoring voters who don’t know or don’t have an opinion about the candidate.

Favorability ratings were calculated by a weighting of 90 percent of the responses from those who plan to caucus in person and 10 person of responses from those who plan to participate in the caucuses virtually.

I don’t have any hard-and-fast rule about how much to emphasize favorability ratings against first-choice support. It’s probably worth noting that President Trump’s favorables were often mediocre in polls of 2016 Republican voters, but he won the nomination anyway. Still, the Selzer poll is consistent with a story where voters who are paying more attention to the campaign are ahead of the curve on Warren and Buttigieg. And Warren and Buttigieg are good candidates for Iowa with a legitimate shot to win there.

Bulletpoint No. 2: Who makes for a good Iowa candidate, and who’s campaigning there?

What do I mean by a good candidate for Iowa? If I designed a candidate in a lab to win the Iowa caucuses, I’d want them to have four characteristics:

  • Perform well with liberal voters, since voters in the Iowa caucuses are pretty liberal.
  • Perform well with white voters, since Iowa is pretty white.
  • Be strong retail campaigners with good organizational skills.
  • Be from the Midwest.

Warren checks three-and-a-quarter boxes: She polls well among white liberals, she has a strong organization in Iowa, and she sorta counts as Midwestern if you think of her as being from Oklahoma rather than Massachusetts (and if you count Oklahoma as Midwestern). Buttigieg checks at least three boxes: He overperforms with white voters (and underperforms with minorities), he’s Midwestern, and by most accounts he’s a good retail campaigner. Sanders also checks three boxes (everything except the Midwest one).

But are the candidates who are the most Iowa-appropriate actually campaigning there more often? Last month, my colleague Nathaniel Rakich looked at which candidates have campaigned the most in Iowa and New Hampshire. I’m going to provide a twist by accounting for how long a candidate has been in the race. For instance, John Delaney has spent the most days in Iowa, but he’s also been campaigning for president since July 2017 (!).

Bullock, O’Rourke and Ryan are focusing the most on Iowa

Share of days with an Iowa event since campaign launch for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, through June 12, 2019

Candidate First day of CAMPAIGN No. of Days Days with Iowa events Share of days with Iowa events
Bullock 5/14/19 30 7 23.3%
O’Rourke 3/14/19 91 19 20.9
Ryan 4/4/19 70 12 17.1
de Blasio 5/16/19 28 4 14.3
Swalwell 4/9/19 65 8 12.3
Williamson 1/28/19 136 15 11.0
Klobuchar 2/10/19 123 13 10.6
Warren 12/31/18 164 17 10.4
Sanders 2/19/19 114 11 9.6
Bennet 5/2/19 42 4 9.5
Gillibrand 1/15/19 149 14 9.4
Booker 2/1/19 132 12 9.1
Hickenlooper 3/4/19 101 9 8.9
Delaney 7/28/17 685 57 8.3
Biden 4/25/19 49 4 8.2
Buttigieg 1/23/19 141 11 7.8
Gabbard 1/11/19 153 11 7.2
Inslee 3/1/19 104 6 5.8
Yang 2/10/18 488 28 5.7
Castro 1/12/19 152 8 5.3
Harris 1/21/19 143 7 4.9
Moulton 4/22/19 52 1 1.9
Gravel 3/19/19 86 0 0.0

The five leading candidates in the most recent Selzer & Co. poll of Iowa are highlighted.

Campaign launch dates reflect when candidates formed an exploratory committee, even if they hadn’t formally launched their campaign, since candidates generally do engage in campaign-style events during the exploratory phase. However, events only count if they occurred on or after the launch date listed in the table.

Source: Des Moines Register Candidate Tracker

Measured by the proportion of days with an Iowa event since their campaigns began, the most Iowa-centric candidates have been Steve Bullock, O’Rourke and Tim Ryan. Among the top tier, Harris has spent a notably lower share of her time in Iowa than the others. Perhaps that makes sense — she doesn’t check a lot of the boxes I described above. But it may also explain why she isn’t converting high favorability ratings into much first-choice support.

Bulletpoint No. 3: Biden is falling back to the pack

Six weeks ago, amidst Biden’s polling surge, I put him an extra step ahead of the other Democrats in my periodically updating, not-to-be-taken-too-seriously presidential tiers, demoting Sanders, Buttigieg and Harris from tier 1b to tier 1c and leaving tier 1b blank to indicate the distance between Biden and everyone else.

But we’ve promised to make these tiers fairly polling-driven, and while the decline in Biden’s national numbers is predictable — pretty much all the previous candidates to get bounces have also seen them fade — I err on the side of paying more attention to Iowa and New Hampshire polls than to national ones. So that Selzer poll in Iowa is enough for me to repromote Sanders, Buttigieg and Harris back to tier 1b and to move Warren to there for the first time.

Nate’s not-to-be-taken-too-seriously presidential tiers

For the Democratic nomination, as revised on June 13, 2019

Tier Sub-tier Candidates
1 a Biden
b Warren ↑, Sanders ↑, Buttigieg ↑, Harris ↑
2 a O’Rourke
b Booker, Klobuchar
3 a Yang, Castro, Abrams*
b Inslee, Gillibrand, Gabbard
c Bullock, Hickenlooper, Ryan, Bennet, de Blasio, Williamson

* Candidate is not yet officially running but may still do so.

For Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg, the case for promotion is reasonably clear. They’re all plausible Iowa winners — and if they win Iowa, they’ll have a pretty good shot at New Hampshire. I continue not to be super-duper impressed by Sanders’s polling, but he’s fairly consistently held on to second place nationally, and I’m not going to try to overthink things too much. Warren has some momentum, even if it’s a little overstated by the national media. Buttigeg’s modest name recognition could give him room to grow later, as he already seems to be doing in the early states.

Harris is the trickiest case, but her favorables remain pretty good, she’s a decent bet to do well at the debates, and it seems unlikely that a party in which 40 percent of voters are nonwhite is going to be entirely content choosing between three or four white candidates. All that said, Harris could also have a Marco Rubio-esque problem of being broadly acceptable but few voters’ first choice.

 

Which 2020 Candidates Have The Most In Common … On Twitter?

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates use Twitter like an earlier generation of politicians may have used a soapbox: to announce policy plans, solicit donations, marshal their supporters and criticize the current administration.

Each of these candidates is speaking to his or her own virtual village square. But how many people spend time in more than one village? How much overlap is there between, say, Elizabeth Warren’s audience and Bernie Sanders’s? And which candidates are most often associated with one another, based on their Twitter followers?

Twitter isn’t real life, of course; it’s an often-ridiculous short-burst social network that is decidedly not representative of the electorate at large. But it’s still a slice of life. The people following candidates on Twitter are those who want to receive a steady stream of information about at least part of the 2020 campaign. Understanding how that tribe operates can tell us something about an influential slice of the electorate.

So off our web-scraper went, dredging up every follower of the 20 Democratic presidential candidates who FiveThirtyEight considered “major” in early May, when we ran our script.9 The result was a data set with almost 20 million entries, which you can download on GitHub.

This data reveals the obvious, such as raw follower counts. It also reveals more subtle trends, such as which candidates’ followers are loyal, which cast a broad net, which seem to have a similar appeal and which apparently have nothing in common.

For starters, here are the candidates ranked by the share of their followers who don’t follow any other 2020 Democratic candidate.

Candidates whose followers are loyal only to them

Share of each 2020 candidate’s followers who don’t follow any other candidates

Account
FOLLOWERS
Exclusive FOLLOWERS
@marwilliamson 2,610,335
74.8%
@BernieSanders 9,254,423
63.2
@Hickenlooper 144,816
56.3
@CoryBooker 4,246,252
52.5
@JoeBiden 3,558,333
43.8
@AndrewYang 267,897
43.4
@TulsiGabbard 349,443
34.7
@BetoORourke 1,424,745
26.5
@amyklobuchar 692,985
24.0
@PeteButtigieg 1,033,834
23.7
@SenGillibrand 1,410,303
23.3
@KamalaHarris 2,640,072
22.3
@JulianCastro 212,582
21.4
@sethmoulton 138,450
20.1
@JayInslee 51,504
19.0
@ewarren 2,486,101
16.4
@TimRyan 20,080
15.6
@JohnDelaney 20,266
12.9
@MichaelBennet 21,053
11.7
@ericswalwell 84,415
9.2

Among candidates who were considered “major” by FiveThirtyEight as of May 8. Follower lists for each candidate’s primary accounts (according to a CSPAN Twitter list) were scraped from May 8-15, except for @Hickenlooper, which was scraped on June 6 to correct a coding error.

Almost three-quarters of the people who follow Marianne Williamson — a “spiritual and inspirational author, lecturer, non-profit activist,” per her Twitter bio — don’t follow any other Democratic candidate, putting them in a loyalty class all their own. Similarly, of the over 9 million people who follow Bernie Sanders, almost two-thirds follow no other candidate.

The 2.5 million people who follow Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, are more gregarious — 84 percent of them follow at least one of her Democratic rivals. Ditto the 2.6 million people who follow Kamala Harris, 78 percent of whom also follow another candidate.

Digging a little deeper into the follower interaction information, we can find out, for example, which other candidates Warren’s followers are paying attention to. The Venn diagrams below try to answer that question, showing the overlap in followers between every candidate who had more than 500,000 followers in early May.

This chart reveals relatively large intersections between followers of Sanders and Warren, who share progressive policy platforms; between followers of Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke, who are both young, male and white; and between Harris and other major female candidates such as Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar.

Follower overlap patterns seem to share some similarities with Democrats’ vote preferences, too. Morning Consult has been tracking voters’ second-choice candidates, and according to the latest poll, respondents who planned to vote for Warren said their top backup choices were Harris and Sanders. Similarly, on Twitter, 60 percent of Warren’s followers also follow Sanders, and 37 percent each follow Harris and Biden — her largest overlap groups.

With some simple calculations, we can look past the sheer size of each Twitter overlap and get a sense for which pairs of candidates share some quality (ideology, Twitter skills, who knows) that makes them appeal to the same people. Theoretically, people could be following multiple presidential candidates at random, but that’s not how Twitter really works — if one account speaks to my interests, I’m likely to be interested in similar accounts.

To figure out which candidates are getting paired up more often than we’d expect based on chance alone, we rely on a number that data miners call “lift,” which is the ratio of how many followers a pair actually has to how many followers we’d expect them to have based solely on their individual Twitter popularity.10 For example, say we have 100 total Twitter users, and 50 of them follow Sanders while 10 of them follow Warren. If the reasons that a person followed Sanders had nothing to do with the reasons they followed Warren, we’d expect the overlap between the two to be five users. If it turns out that 10 users follow both Warren and Sanders, then we have a lift value of two (twice as many as expected), which means we can speculate that the two candidates share some quality that appeals to the same people. If only one user follows both, then we have a lift of 0.2 (one-fifth as many as expected), and we would suspect that there’s something about each candidate that drives away some people who follow the other candidate.

In the chart below, candidate pairs are organized by lift value, so those above the dotted line have more followers in common than you’d expect by chance while those below the line have fewer.

Some of the pairs that float above the line on this chart also stood out in the Venn diagrams, such as Harris and Warren, Harris and Gillibrand and O’Rourke and Buttigieg. O’Rourke and Julian Castro also have a relatively large overlap, perhaps because they’re both from Texas. The small dots at the very top capture overlaps that are tens of times larger than we’d expect to see if the candidates’ appeals to followers were unrelated. That’s probably because users who follow one lesser-known candidate such as Michael Bennet or John Delaney are likely to be highly engaged in the race and follow the other candidates as well. For example, the average Delaney follower also follows more than six other Democratic candidates.

The chart also reveals the candidate pairs who are not followed together. Williamson appears in most of these pairs, but the combination of Sanders and Booker also sinks to the bottom; their follower overlap is about half the size of what we’d expect given their individual popularity.

Twitter is just one front on which the fight for the Democratic nomination is being waged, but it does provide some insight into how candidates are using social media and who is listening. Democrats are, after all, looking for a candidate who can beat President Trump, who redefined how we view Silicon Valley’s little blue bird.

We want to hear how you’re using this data! If you find anything interesting, please let us know. Send your projects to @guswez or @ollie.

Dhrumil Mehta and Julia Wolfe contributed research.

WordPress site modifications and On Page SEO – Upwork

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This page should help you get to what you wanted fast.  The last 5 posts are listed, under that every post is listed.  You can list posts by author, title or category using the drop down box. To display specific categories use the sidebar categories section. You may also search the site from the sidebar. Finally a tag cloud lists topics and keywords, you can select a tag and all articles with that tag will be displayed.

Our FAQ section is also a worth while visit for SEO tips and tricks.

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How Close Is The Rest Of The World To Catching The U.S.?

The U.S. is No. 1 again in the FIFA world rankings, and while the Americans are not the favorites in the Women’s World Cup, it’s always a surprise when the world’s elite program does not win the title. It was that way in 2007, when the top-ranked Americans lost in the semifinals, and again in 2011, when Japan stunned the top-ranked Americans in the final. The U.S. did win it all in 2015, though it wasn’t at the top of the rankings that year. The question, once again, is how much longer the U.S. can stay at the top of the heap.

The rest of the world has been catching up to the U.S. women’s national soccer team for the past 30 years, though the achievements haven’t been evenly distributed around the globe. European teams in particular have narrowed the gap, but teams from South American and Africa are still searching for success.

Entering this year, seven of the top eight World Cup squads of all-time by Soccer Power Index were from either the U.S. or Germany. In this World Cup, France and Australia are in that conversation, both rated more highly than the world champion U.S. team of 1999. This year’s teams from the Netherlands, England, Japan and Canada are close behind.

This is no accident. The European federation reported almost 2.1 million registered female players in FIFA’s 2014 women’s football survey, just shy of the 2.3 million registered in the U.S. and Canada alone. Elsewhere in the world, though, progress has been slower. The developing African and South American federations reported just 54,055 and 25,459, respectively. The top 20 nations in FIFA’s rankings had 91 percent of the registered players.

Since the U.S. won the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991, the primary reason given for the Americans’ international success has been Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits gender discrimination in federally funded educational programs. The national team still faces inequality: Players filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit in March and have used some of the interest in the World Cup to spotlight unequal pay. Still, the American players are the products of the world’s most successful player development organization. If a country set out to build an international powerhouse from scratch, the process would look a lot like what has happened in the U.S. in the past 47 years: Require equal scholarship funding for male and female college athletes; furnish rosters with the fruits of a nationwide travel soccer system; and pump money into the national team for the best players to train together and test themselves against the most skilled opponents in the world.

In Europe, the best clubs, leagues and national teams are funneling money into the women’s game like never before. The number of professional and semipro players is up from 1,680 in 2013 to 3,572 in 2017. The number of girls’ youth teams is up from 21,285 in 2013 to 35,183.

Europe may also have an advantage that isn’t universally present: the interest in soccer that has made so many of its nations dominant on the men’s side. The total women’s football budget across the continent has more than doubled from 50.4 million euros in 2012 to 111.7 million euros in 2017, according to a report from the European federation. Barclays, the title sponsor of the English Premier League, has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the Women’s Super League, the top women’s professional league in England. Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona’s women’s teams played in March before an announced crowd of 60,739, a world record for club matches. That’s an anomaly for anywhere, including Europe, but it also far exceeds any club crowd in the U.S.

With more resources, European clubs are attracting more of the world’s top players, and the most successful women’s soccer organization in the world is not an American franchise but France’s Olympique Lyonnais, which has won six of the past nine Champion’s League finals. France has the highest-paying women’s soccer league in the world, according to Sporting Intelligence’s 2017 global sports salaries report. The average player salary in France’s top league was $49,782, compared with $43,730 in Germany, $35,355 in England and $27,054 in the American NWSL. The maximum salary this year in the NWSL is $46,200, while Lyon reportedly pays several players in the six figures. Fifteen of the club’s players are on World Cup rosters: eight for France and seven spread across six other countries.

On other World Cup contenders, though, women face myriad issues, primarily that the national federations pay them little or nothing and that international matches are difficult to schedule. Teams in developing countries play in the World Cup and the Olympics (if they qualify) and in their continental tournaments, but they rarely find matches outside of those years. By August 2016, only four of 10 teams in the South American federation were in FIFA’s rankings because they had played so infrequently that they were deemed “inactive.”

Argentina, ranked 37th on the women’s side, may be the biggest example of that disparity. Its players went on strike in 2017 after going unpaid, and they have had to pay for their own travel, uniforms and health insurance. In March, the national federation gave the 16-team women’s league professional status — but the teams were allocated just $2,600 per month for the top eight players, or about $330 each.

In Africa, the conditions are similar. The Super Falcons of Nigeria have won 11 of 13 African titles and have qualified for every Women’s World Cup. But their coaches and players have often worked without pay. The team protested at its hotel after winning the 2016 African Cup of Nations, refusing to leave until the federation paid the salaries and bonuses the players were owed. “This is a fight about the welfare of the team,” forward Asisat Oshoala told BBC Sport at the time. “It’s about the way the team has been handled over the years. We are champions. We went out to fight for the nation even without being paid. Not everything is about money, but of course it is an issue.”

With women’s soccer development still emerging in much of the world, several countries have struggled to schedule even friendlies. Last year, with another World Cup trip looming, Nigerian midfielder Ngozi Okobi implored her country’s federation to arrange “something big” for the team. “We’ve witnessed how the gap is gradually closing on the continent between us and others,” she said. “We can’t wake up one morning without top matches and then start traveling to France.” Governing bodies, though, have lagged in providing funding for such matches, placing another roadblock between these countries and international success: When they do put together a group of 20 competitive players, who do they play?

In all of these areas, the quadrennial World Cup is critical for assessing progress and laying the foundation for more development. For Thailand, South Africa or Argentina, a win in the group stage — or even a goal or two — can help raise the profile of women’s soccer back home. An important piece in the equation is FIFA, which has taken steps in recent years to move toward promoting the women’s game. The world governing body established a women’s football division in 2016 with an eye toward reaching 60 million female players worldwide.

Khalida Popal is an activist for women’s soccer, the kind the sport has relied on for years. She grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, playing in hiding during the Taliban regime. She founded the Afghan women’s football league and practiced on a NATO base before later leaving the country amid death threats from extremist groups and seeking asylum in Denmark. Now an administrator for the Afghan women’s national team, she works to bring sports to European kids in refugee camps. Count her among many who see the World Cup as a potential spark for developing countries to place more resources in women’s soccer and for girls to become familiar with the sport. “There’s still a long, long way to go, but if we compare … it is happening,” Popal said. “Many positive changes are taking place.”

Stipends of $330 per month for the Argentine players and endorsement deals for European leagues are marginal, but they are steps. Countries of all kinds are working to build women’s soccer programs the way the U.S. did — they’re just a few decades behind.

Check out our latest Women’s World Cup predictions.

Abortion Rights Haven’t Been A Priority In Blue States — Until Now

Even before Alabama and Georgia approved laws that severely restrict abortions, it had not been a good year for abortion-rights advocates. Bills to protect abortion rights and access had stalled across the country — even in states like New Mexico and Illinois, where Democrats had newfound control of both the legislature and the governor’s mansions. In Virginia, an effort to lift restrictions went down in flames amid claims that its supporters were promoting infanticide.

But the new laws in Alabama and Georgia have helped push some blue states to protect and even expand their residents’ abortion rights. In late May, the bill in Illinois — which, among other things, established abortion as a fundamental right in the state — was released from legislative limbo and swiftly passed in both chambers. The Vermont legislature passed a bill along the same lines, and in Nevada, a new law removed some abortion restrictions, including a requirement that women be told about the “physical and emotional implications” of having the procedure.

This has been a rare flurry of legislative successes for abortion-rights advocates. About one-quarter of the state-level provisions that have protected and expanded abortion rights since 2011 have passed in the past two weeks, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports legal abortion. That dramatic increase isn’t a sign, though, that lots of states are moving to protect abortion — at least, not yet. For one thing, many of those provisions were bundled into a single bill, which the governor of Illinois is expected to sign soon. Moreover, the recent increase is mostly a testament to just how little state-level activity there’s been on this issue over the past eight years. Democrats have tried to protect abortion very differently than Republicans have tried to restrict it.

According to Guttmacher’s data, states have enacted 42 provisions protecting or expanding abortion rights since 2011. (This includes provisions from two laws in Illinois and Vermont that are awaiting the governor’s signature. In both cases, the governor is expected to enact the law.) That is far fewer than the hundreds of restrictions that states have passed in the same time span. These protective efforts fall into three basic categories: lifting preexisting restrictions on abortion, establishing the right to abortion in state law, and expanding access by making it easier or less expensive to get an abortion.6

The policies in the first category, which axe restrictions without adding new protections, account for almost two-thirds of the provisions enacted since 2011. Some of the repealed restrictions were already not being enforced or had been blocked by the courts, said Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, and removing them from the books amounted to a kind of cleanup effort. Last year, for example, Massachusetts repealed a ban on “procuring a miscarriage” that dated to 1845. Other states, like Idaho and Louisiana, were forced by courts to claw back restrictions, or made minor adjustments that abortion-rights advocates viewed as an improvement but didn’t have significantly affect abortion access in the state.

Overall, this data suggests Democrats have mostly been playing defense at the state level until now. The abortion protections that have made it through state legislatures have often had less of a direct impact than the restrictions that many states have passed, which make it significantly harder to get an abortion in certain parts of the country. More proactive measures — such as provisions that protect clinic access, expand insurance coverage for abortion, or widen the range of health care professionals who can perform abortions — have been passed less often. Until recently, blue states have mainly removed restrictions; now, more states are working to ensure that abortion will continue to be legal within their borders if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

So why have we seen so much protesting from pro-abortion-rights activists in the last few weeks, but so little pro-abortion-rights legislation in the last few years? Part of the issue was that some state legislators may not have wanted to risk a controversy when the right to an abortion seemed safer than it does now. “The attitude for a long time was that abortion was legal and it was going to stay legal, and there wasn’t really a need to do more,” Nash said. Joshua Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Denver, said that as long as Roe didn’t seem to be seriously threatened, abortion-rights activists mostly focused on fighting restrictions in court (which they’re continuing to do) rather than pursuing new legislation. That said, some states — like Maryland and Maine — did pass laws affirming abortion rights in the early 1990s when it seemed like Roe was under threat.

In the past, Democratic politicians have been more tentative on abortion — perhaps because public opinion on the issue can be difficult to navigate. Over the years, Republicans’ and Democrats’ positions on the legality of abortion have become more polarized, but although Democratic support for allowing the procedure under any circumstances has grown, there’s still some disagreement about when in a pregnancy it should be permitted. A Pew poll conducted in 2018 found that more than three-quarters of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, and a PRRI poll from the same year found that 73 percent of Democrats say Roe v. Wade was correctly decided by the Supreme Court and should be upheld. But according to a 2018 Gallup poll, less than half of Democrats support legal abortion in the second trimester. And this year, Democratic lawmakers in heavily Catholic states like New Mexico and Rhode Island have cited their faith as they voted against bills to repeal old abortion restrictions or protect abortion rights.

“Public opinion on abortion can be hard to pin down because Americans are supportive of abortion in some cases and not in others,” said Rebecca Kreitzer, a professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The recent near-total bans on abortion are a notable exception, but many abortion restrictions are framed as regulations to protect the health and safety of people seeking the procedure — a strategy, according to Kreitzer, that “made them more politically palatable.” Convincing Americans to expand access to a procedure that many were ambivalent about, meanwhile, remained a tall order — especially when the constitutional right to abortion didn’t seem to be threatened.

But abortion rights are clearly threatened now. Many observers believe the current Supreme Court could be willing to roll back longstanding precedents, which means challenges to Roe v. Wade may have a better chance of success now than they have in the past. And that threat could make it easier for Democrats to push for more protections or even try to expand abortion access. “Abortion rights groups tend to do better in state legislatures when there’s an existential threat to Roe,” said Mary Ziegler, a legal historian at Florida State University and the author of “After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate.”

There are already some signs that abortion may be mobilizing more Democrats than it did in the past. For example, as FiveThirtyEight contributor Daniel Cox wrote last year, Democrats are increasingly likely to say that abortion is an important voting issue, and they’re also more likely than they were even a few years ago to say that abortion is an important issue to them personally. These findings predate the most recent bans on abortion and Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, where he replaced Anthony Kennedy, the longtime swing justice on abortion — and those developments could galvanize even more Democrats around this issue. A CNN poll released last week found that 29 percent of Democrats say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their view on abortion.

Pushing too far in the other direction could still backfire. Ziad Munson, a sociologist at Lehigh University who studies the pro-choice and pro-life movements, called New York’s recent law loosening restrictions on abortions late in pregnancy a “cautionary tale.” Although the law passed, the conversation about its merits quickly became mired in a debate over the ethics of third-trimester abortion, even though the bill mostly just brought New York’s law in line with those already on the books in other states. And that debate may have contributed to the demise of a similar bill in Virginia.

Abortion-rights advocates could always take a page out of their opponents’ book and adopt a more incremental strategy. For example, although Illinois’s law was largely designed to preserve the status quo, it also required insurance companies to cover abortion under their plans — a seemingly small tweak that could make the procedure much more affordable. Similarly, Maine legislators are currently considering a law that would expand the range of medical professionals who are allowed to perform abortions, potentially making it easier for patients in rural areas to access the procedure. But it’s not a slam dunk — even in Hawaii, where Democrats have a legislative supermajority, a similar proposal was tabled earlier this year.

The biggest question for abortion-rights advocates — who are working with some momentum on their side but with Roe under threat — is how much of a risk they want to take. In terms of cold political calculus, working to protect the status quo could be the most expedient move, at least in the short term. “People might care about gaining some new rights,” Ziegler said. “But they’ll be much more worried about losing what they already have.”

Ultimate SEO And Cloudflare Partners

Ultimate SEO is proud to announce our partnership program with Cloudflare. As a defacto web host serving hundreds of sites this strategic alliance brings the best hosting security solutions together and integrates one of the most popular internet companies with our hosting solutions.

In the coming days we’ll be relaunching UltimateSEO.net as our hosting and network site. Below we’ve included some notes from Cloudflare as well as a video.

[embedded content]

Us in 90 Seconds from Cloudflare on Vimeo.

How CloudFlare increases speed and security of your site

This is a guest post written and contributed by CloudFlare.  CloudFlare makes it easy for any site to be as fast and secure as the Internet giants.

CloudFlare, a web performance and security company, is excited to announce our partnership with Ultimate SEO! If you haven’t heard about CloudFlare before, our value proposition is simple: we’ll make any website twice as fast and protect it from a broad range of web threats.

We power more than 400 billion monthly page views – more than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined – and over 1.2 billion monthly users regularly pass through our network. We’re really glad Ultimate SEO has partnered with CloudFlare.
Faster web performance

CloudFlare is designed to take a great hosting platform like Ultimate SEO and make it even better.

We run data centers [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/network-map] strategically located around the world. When you sign up for CloudFlare, we begin routing your traffic to the nearest data center.

As your traffic passes through the data centers, we intelligently determine what parts of your website are static versus dynamic. The static portions are cached on our servers for a short period of time, typically less than 2 hours before we check to see if they’ve been updated. By automatically moving the static parts of your site closer to your visitors, the overall performance of your site improves significantly.

CloudFlare’s intelligent caching system also means you save bandwidth, which means saving money, and decreases the load on your servers, which means your web application will run faster and more efficiently than ever. On average, CloudFlare customers see a 60% decrease in bandwidth usage, and a 65% in total requests to their servers. The overall effect is that CloudFlare will typically cut the load time for pages on your site by 50% which means higher engagement and happier visitors.

Broad web security

Over the course of 2011, CloudFlare identified a 700% increase in the number of distributed denial of service attacks [link to http://blog.cloudflare.com/2011-the-year-of-the-ddos] (DDoS) we track on the Internet (see the chart below). As attacks like these increase, CloudFlare is stepping up to protect sites.

CloudFlare’s security protections offer a broad range of protections [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/features-security] against attacks such as DDoS, hacking or spam submitted to a blog or comment form. What is powerful about our approach is that the system gets smarter the more sites that are part of the CloudFlare community. We analyze the traffic patterns of hundreds of millions of visitors in real time and adapt the security systems to ensure good traffic gets through and bad traffic is stopped.

In time, our goal is nothing short of making attacks against websites a relic of history. And, given our scale and the billions of different attacks we see and adapt to every year, we’re well on our way to achieving that for sites on the CloudFlare network.

Signing up

Any website can deploy CloudFlare, regardless of your underlying platform. By integrating closely with Ultimate SEO, we make the process of setting up CloudFlare “1 click easy” through your existing Ultimate SEO cPanel dashboard. Just look for the CloudFlare icon, choose the domain you want to enable, and click the orange cloud. That’s it!

We’ve kept the price as low as possible and plans offered through Ultimate SEO are free. Moreover, we never charge you for bandwidth or storage, therefore saving you tons via reduced bandwidth costs.

For site owners who would like to take advantage of CloudFlare’s advanced offerings, we also offer a ‘Pro’ tier of service for $20/month [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/plans]. The ‘Pro’ tier includes all of the ‘Free’ tier’s offerings, as well as extra features like SSL, full web application firewall and faster analytics.

We’re proud that every day more than a thousand new sites, including some of the largest on the web, join the CloudFlare community. If you’re looking for a faster, safer website, you’ve got a good start with Ultimate SEO, but the next step is to join the CloudFlare community [link to https://www.cloudflare.com/sign-up].

Ultimate SEO And Cloudflare Partners

Creating A PBN Network Part 4: The Site Needs A Story

Creating a PBN or Private Blog Network is likely more difficult that just focusing on your content and the value it offers visitors. In this post we’ll examine what you need to have on the site and how it should be structured.

In previous posts we’ve discussed:

Creating A Private Blog Network: PBNs In 2019 For SEO

PBNs 2019 – Domain Detailing – Picking Expired Domains And 301 Redirects

Auto Posting Across Social Media Platforms – IFTTT – Buffer.com

Domain Name Register – PBNs In Mind – Namesilo.com

Every Site Needs A Backstory

Because every organic real site has one. If you decide before you create the site what it is and who made it then you’ll be able to create a site that will serve your PBN well. I’ve made site’s as if it were a school assignment in music and communication, or I’ve built a medical conference site that happened years ago but continues to update it’s site with follow up articles. I’ve built news magazine sites that promise to focus on local news that matters. Each site has an intended audience and justifies its existence.

Be creative and shake up the site’s purpose, play with the name. One site I had was aidusa.website I built a site seeking international aid for the USA because of the state of politics and our national debt. I noted our poverty levels, healthcare challenges and violence on the streets. It kinda made some sense after you look at it. That site could easily then harbor a backlink for a charity, healthcare site, legal site or a news site.

Regularly Updates

If you own one site and its this site your building you’re going to update it at least every month right? Its something you’re passionate about and you’ll find the regular updates will attract regular visits from search engines. This doesn’t scale well when we think about 10 sites or 100 sites … 1000 sites. You’ll need to read up on our Auto Blogging ideas in another article that we posted a while back.

Link Placement

Avoid … just don’t … place a link in the header or the footer or the sidebar of the site to another site. Your main “real” site doesn’t do that I bet. Why would this site? Keep money links to your target site in content. Define your site with anchor text that is relevant to the keywords you are pursuing.

Who’s Behind The Site And The Ability To Contact Them

I know what your favorite word is … or at least statistically speaking I do. It is your name. Humans love to talk about themselves and they like to take credit for something they’ve done. Websites aren’t much different.

So it looks odd when a site gives no information about the person or group behind it. The About Us section is important and just like on your money site or the important site … you need a means to contact the owner. A simple contact form or link to a twitter account is needed here. You don’t have to create email accounts on all the sites but you would be smart to create an email forwarder for the domain to one central account.

Social Media Presence

Your money site has the ability for people to share content on social media. It likely has 5, 6 maybe more social media accounts tied to it. Your PBN site likely should have something too. Use IFTTT or Buffer.com to automate the social media presence but make sure there is one.

Make a customized logo for each site.

Technical PBN Stuff Here

Dont setup a Google Analytics or Search Engine property on the same account that you use for your main account.

Have a seperate IP address or use a different host company for your various sites. Register your domain names on several registrar sites and use their nameservers or Cloudflare. It’s fine to build a template site with plugins and pages ready to be migrated onto a new domain and setup but make sure you vary them. Different themes, plugins, structure … experiment here and there, don’t install Yoast on everyone, use something different.

In the end patterns are what break us, or forgetting what we’d do if this was our only site. Be organic….and have a backstory.

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Creating A PBN Network Part 4: The Site Needs A Story

On Page SEO Just Doesn’t Rank Keywords like Backlinks

I wanna share a graphic I ran across online with you today.

According to this one if you want to impact your SEO standing all of the On Page Factors combined don’t reach even half the power of the Domains Backlinks and the Page’s Backlinks.

I often have clients who comb over their sites day after day tweaking the words on the page with bold or moving them to a header and if they spent 1/4 of that time trying to attract other sites to link to them they’d get 5 times the result.

Its one thing to say your the best, its a totally different thing if someone else says your the best. Or if someone says you’re the worst it really doesn’t matter how many times or ways you say you’re the best. It’s logical too…if you meet a person for the first time and they boldly proclaim how great they are to you, but someone else warns you that they’re full of it … what are you going to think?

We’ve discussed this a few times in other articles but when looking over the Upwork SEO projects its evident that few people understand this concept. Your page is defined by the link that lead Google to you. Sure working on the headers and img alt tags are useful, but only to support what your backlinks are saying.

Anchor text is the real keyword of search engines. This link to the best upwork SEO profile is more important than anything I put on that page.

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On Page SEO Just Doesn’t Rank Keywords like Backlinks