Friday, December 9, 2016

The Recount Was Poorly Conceived

The Presidential recount is almost over. Wisconsin will finish counting Monday or Tuesday with little change in the result. The Michigan recount has been halted and there might not be any more counting in Pennsylvania either. What makes this crazy was that Stein should've never filed for a recount. Even Stein had to know that a recount would only change at most a few hundred votes. From looking at Twitter and Facebook people who donated thought the recounts would show Clinton won the three states.

What Stein really (should have?) wanted was an examination of the voting machines to see if they'd been compromised. She did actually request this in Pennsylvania but was denied access because she couldn't show evidence the machines were tampered with. I think she did ask in Pennsylvania but since she could provide no evidence the machines had been tampered with she never got access. Stein's contention is that she'd only get evidence by getting access to the machines. When the police want to do a search they have to present probable cause to a judge to prove that the search will produce something illegal. Stein didn't feel she should be held to that standard. She was.

I'm not going to say this was a scam but anyone who understands elections knew the whole process would be a waste of time. Sadly, Stein's supporters won't be satisfied with what's happened. All this recount has done is lower confidence in American democracy.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

California Presidential vote 2012 v. 2016 by county

Here are comparisons of the California vote 2012 v. 2016 by county. Hillary Clinton obviously did quite a bit better than Barack Obama. Most of the counties where Clinton had big increases are heavily suburban, something we've seen across the country. She also improved in urban areas, but not by nearly as much in most cases. I didn't think someone could do 4 points worse than Mitt Romney in San Francisco but Trump did. Clinton's biggest gains were largely coastal. The Central Valley and Inland Empire tilted a bit toward Clinton but not nearly the way suburban areas did.

Donald Trump showed improvement over Mitt Romney in the rural northern counties, even those that vote Democratic. I think CA-1, 4, and 8 are the only three congressional districts where Trump did better than Romney.

Barack Obama won the national vote 51.1%-47.3%. Hillary Clinton won it by 48.2%-46.2%, a difference of 1.8% in their margins. If you exclude California, Barack Obama won the popular vote 50.1%-48.4%. If you exclude California, Donald Trump won the 2016 popular vote 47.9%-46.6%. That's a difference 3.0% in the margins. Hillary Clinton did do better than Barack Obama in a few other state but in most she did worse. So why did California buck the rest of the country?

It actually didn't. As in California Hillary Clinton showed good improvement over Barack Obama in suburban areas, while she did much worse in rural areas, and the results were mixed in urban areas. She did better in some but worse in others. What makes California different is that it has so many large cities and larger cities have larger suburban areas. California has 4 of the top 17 metro areas. They account for 24 million people and 61% of Californians in 2010. Michigan has only one metro areas in the top 65 and it accounts for 44% of the state's population. North Carolina's largest metro area is 34th. Arizona has 67% of its population in the Phoenix metro area and it was one of the handful of states where Hillary Clinton improved over Barack Obama.

I don't have the data for this but I think if you look at cities and counties by population density you'll see the biggest improvement for Clinton over Obama in the high population density areas and the biggest for Trump over Romney in the least dense areas. The results will likely show that the relationship between the 2016 and 2012 votes is fairly similar across the country if you look at density. It's just that California has more population dense area than other states.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Peter Thiel for governor?

Politico has a story that some within the CAGOP want Peter Thiel to run for governor. Thiel's spokesman denied interest, but that shouldn't stop us.

There are pros and cons here for Republicans. Thiel would definitely make top two. This year a few underfunded Republicans ran for Senate and none made top two. Republicans did poorly this year. I don't know how much of that can be attributed to having no senate candidate but it certainly didn't help. Thiel is very well known and an outsider, something that helped the Schwarzenegger get elected. Being a traditonal Republican hasn't worked well here. Thiel also wouldn't require party money and the CAGOP doesn't have a ton of that. They'd prefer to spend it on elections they can win. Thiel is LGBT. That can help Republicans with the perception that they are anti-LGBT.

On the other hand, Thiel has received a lot of hatred for his support of Trump and likely has high disapproval ratings. Thiel would also tie the CAGOP to Trump. Based on Trump's performance here that doesn't look like a good idea. Sue, just being a Republican is unpopular in California but being a Trump supporter is more unpopular.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mea Kulpa on the National Margin

I was wrong. I thought that Hillary Clinton's final margin wouldn't exceed 1.5%. I now have Hillary Clinton's lead at 1.99%. California and New Jersey are done counting, but there are still a few states that aren't final. That includes New York. And one part of New York that hasn't updated is New York City, a treasure trove of Democratic votes. She will hit 2.00%.

I based 1.5% on two faulty assumptions. The first was that I used Michael McDonald's estimates of remaining votes. His estimates in many states were very low. He's since adjusted his spreadsheet. The second was that I expected the late vote to only be slightly more Clinton than election night. That was really wrong. Clinton won post-election night Colorado by 22 points. She won Maryland by 39 points. She won Georgia and Florida, states she lost, by 26 and 22 points. Clinton's post-election night margin in California was 34, up from 28 on election night. The post-election night vote has gone to Clinton 57.9%-34.5% so far. That's somewhat remarkable considering Clinton and Trump were separated by 0.1% after election night.

I got this one wrong. I apologize for the mistake.

Monday, December 5, 2016

California Post-Election Night Count

California has counted almost all of their post-election night ballots. I believe they must finish by tomorrow. They will, as they are always on time. The state site has most of the votes on there. I'll take a lot of looks at California voting data over the next few and I'll start with post-election night ballots. California is well-known for counting a lot of ballots after election night.

This is because a high percentage of California voters are vote by mail. When a VBM ballot arrives on or after election day (it can arrive 3 days after if it's post-marked by election day) the ballot must still be verified as being from an eligible voter. This can be time consuming because people who vote by mail can show up at the precinct on election day and vote provisionally. Thus, the VBM ballot has to be checked to see if the person voted provisionally. Likewise a provisional ballot has to be checked to see if the person did vote by mail.

California had 8.9 million ballots counted on election night and now has over 14 million. In the past, ballots counted after election day skewed heavily Democratic. I talked about it in 2014. That year Democrats did better in 30 of the 31 races I tracked. This year I tracked 55 races and Democrats did better in 42. So Democrats doing better after election night still holds in California. I've said in the past that a Republican needs at least 52% of the vote on election night to ensure a win. There were only five cases of Republicans losing more than that. The biggest change was in AD-36. Tom Lackey led by 12 points at the end of election night and only won by 6.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

House of Representatives Vote Update

Since the state websites haven't been updating I went county by county in New York and California and found roughly 235k votes. There's probably no more than 65k votes left in all of California, most in Sacramento and Lake counties. California has added 5.1 million votes since election day, so that'a small amount. Some people complain about how slow California counts but there are still more than 20 other states that haven't published their official results. Some states, e.g. New Jersey and Missouri, haven't updated their website since election day, while others, e.g. Illinois and Massachusetts, don't even have the vote on their website. So I'm fine with California's consistent updates.

Right now Republicans are leading the two party vote 50.8%-49.2%, a lead of 1,965,550. That's healthy but not quite the 52% the GOP had at the end of election night. Democrats should still get a bunch of votes once Massachusetts publishes their final vote, as they have four unopposed Democrats whom I only have partial vote totals. I think the final vote will end up being 50.7%-49.3%, with Republicans having 1.75 million more votes.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Clinton and Trump Campaign Teams at Harvard

As is customary after every Presidential election the campaign teams went to Harvard to discuss the election. These things are usually civil but it wasn't tonight. The Clinton campaign team blamed racists, the media, James Comey, and younger voters.

Let's take these one at a time.

There's no question that Trump had an appeal to white nationalists. Why would anyone think this helped Trump? White nationalists are a very small percentage of the population. You don't win elections appealing to them. In fact, more voters were likely turned off from Trump due to the things he said that appealed to white nationalists. I know liberals want to believe what Hillary Clinton said, that half of Trump's voters were racists homophobes, but that's ridiculous.

Blaming the media is popular with all the campaigns. Every campaign thinks the media is covering the wrong stories about them and isn't treating them fairly. I'm sure the Clinton campaign has a point that they got a raw deal from the media. So does the Trump campaign. We often heard the complaint the media gave Trump so much free air time. That was because the viewers wanted to watch Trump. If you had an interesting candidate, they would've put Clinton on. The truth is that the stories the media covered, on both sides, were real stories and campaigns don't get to decide how they're covered. You need to overcome the media, not blame them.

They blamed James Comey. The surest way to prevent the FBI from influencing the election would be not to nominate a candidate under investigation by the FBI. No one ever had before. If Comey's letter had an impact, it was their own fault for Clinton doing the things that put her under investigation. Yes, the FBI recommended against prosecuting but the investigation was legit.

The Clinton campaign was afraid that the Comey letter burned them with Romney voters who found Trump unacceptable. When they were reminded why they hated Clinton, they went home. There's no way to know for sure, but Clinton did much better than Obama in Republican suburbs where these people live. The rural voters that Clinton chose not to appeal to didn't pay attention to the Comey letter and weren't going to be swayed. If Clinton does what Obama did in working class districts like Michigan 5, she wins Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

They blamed younger voters. Clinton won them overwhelmingly but didn't do as well as Obama. The Clinton campaign team said that at the last minute they flipped to the third party candidates. That doesn't make a lot of sense. Look at the chart on this page. Johnson and Stein were getting 11% combined on September 1. That dropped to 9.4% on October 1. On October 24 it was 8.2%. The final polling number was 6.6%. Johnson and Stein actually got 4.3% of the vote. On the other hand, Clinton finished polling at 45.5% and got 48.0%. As with most elections, voters left the third party candidates for the candidates who had a chance to win.

Hillary Clinton lost because she was a bad candidate who ran a bad campaign. She couldn't hold onto to Barack Obama's share of the rural white working class vote. He didn't do great, but she did much worse. (Wait. If they're racists why did they vote for the black guy but not the white woman. They must be sexist. Even the female Trump voters) The campaign staff can blame everyone else, but it was them and their candidate who really lost.