Monday, November 29, 2010

Stuff White People Like Part II

The House map shows a high concentration of Democratic House seats in three areas, the northeast corridor, the upper Midwest, and the west coast. The northeast corridor runs from the DC metro area through eastern Maryland, Delaware, the city of Philadelphia, New York City, and then up to New England. I separated out western New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, areas that have little in common with the eastern parts of their states. I did throw South Florida in because a lot of the residents are transplanted from the northeast. Despite some gains here, the Republican Party still trails the Democrats by a count of 58-16.

The next group is in the upper Midwest, starting at Northern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio and including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. While the Democrats lost both houses of the legislatures in 5 of these states and the governor’s mansion in 4, they still hold 27 seats. Nineteen of these are in the Chicago area or in the Detroit to Cleveland corridor, very urban areas.

Including only the more urban districts close to the coast, Democrats dominate the west by a 45 to 13 margin. In these three areas Democrats outnumber Republicans in the House by a 130 to 49 margin. One problem is that these states will lose 6-8 seats in the next redistricting.

The remainder of the country outside these four smaller areas is dominated by the Republicans. The GOP has 193 districts to the Democrats’ 62. Of those 62, 25 are gerrymandered majority minority districts that pack as many Blacks/Hispanics/Democrats in as possible. In districts where there’s a white majority Republicans have a 193 to 37 lead. Ten of those are in the areas of Pennsylvania and New York outside of the Philadelphia and New York City areas. They could’ve been included there but since Republicans picked up ten of their seats in this election they more closely fall into this grouping.

In 2012 the Democrats have 15 states for 187 electoral votes pretty much assured. The Republicans have 18 states for 152 in their column. To win, the Democrats will have to 83 electoral vote from the remaining toss-ups states.

Nine of the top ten states in minority (i.e. Democratic) populations are not expected to be competitive.

If they once again lose the white vote dramatically in these states, that could prove difficult.

Stuff White People Like Part I

Democrats talk about how “the future is ours.” Their reasoning is that between their advantage with the 18-29 year old group and the increase in Hispanic population in the U.S. will give them a permanent majority.

I looked at the youth vote last week. Of course Democrats don’t have a permanent lock on Hispanics. We don’t know how they’ll vote in 20 or 30 years. What will matter for 2012, 2014, and 2016 is how the electorate is today. Today, Hispanics aren’t a group that you want for your core base. Because they don’t vote. Despite an increasing share of the population, the electorate was 8% Hispanic in 2010, the same share they had in 2006 and 2004. They were slightly higher in 2008, 9%, but even then they underindexed massively to their share of the population.

There are likely a number of reasons for this. Many Hispanics, whether documented or not, aren’t eligible to vote. Those that are may not be familiar with the process or not regard voting very highly. Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t appear that it’s going to change any time soon.

White people, on the other hand, like to vote. They overindexed Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians even in 2008. In the next few years white people will likely continue to make up around three quarters of the electorate. Right now this is the most desirable group.

Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic party largely with rural whites. As industrialization got bigger urban white working class people became a bigger share of the party. Rightly or wrongly these groups feel as if the Democratic Party has abandoned them with a focus on issues like global warming and gay rights. While it’s great to be a party of Blacks and Hispanics, you can’t win elections without the white vote. In 2006 and 2008 the Democrats got 48% and 46% of the white vote. This year they managed only 38%. This may be an anomaly, as white conservatives showed up at the polls and white liberals stayed home. If they continue to take Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and others by similar margins and those groups show up as they did in 2008, Democrats can take a majority of votes with around 41-42% of whites. That should be a doable number, as they got at least that share in the last five Presidential elections. Being just over 50% may not be good enough, however. Because Democrats are so concentrated in certain states/congressional districts they'll need to do better than that. A minimum of 51% of the vote will likely be necessary.

The problem, as I’ll show in the next post is that where the Democrats are doing well with whites largely doesn’t matter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Senate Effect on the House

Two months ago I told you that your senator had no coattails. There's no evidence he did. Below are the senate and gubernatorial results with how the Republicans did in the House. I included 113 races that were expected to be competitive, 103 Democratic, 10 Republican. The GOP won 72 of those races, a 64% clip. Anything above that may have had senate or gubernatorial help. If they fell below, there wasn't enough help.

Republicans picked up the House seats they targeted in Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and South Dakota. These were all Republicans strongholds. So the top of the ticket may have helped, but I think this year they didn't need it. Despite a very strong showing in Georgia, however, the GOP was only 1 for 2. Iowa And Arizona are swing states, where you'd hope the top of the ticket would help. Yet, the GOP was below average in Arizona and struck out in Iowa.

These next groups had either a strong GOP performance and a weak one or middle of the road performances in one or both races.

The Republicans did much better here. If you exclude Minnesota and Maine, they were at 85%. Even with those two, they were at 79%. It's difficult to see how the top of the ticket took the bottom, however. Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, John Boozman, Kelly Ayotte, and Jim Demint all won by hefty margins, but the GOP was mediocre in the gubernatorial race. If the senator didn't help the gubernatorial candidate, did he help the congressional candidate?

You have a chicken and egg question here. Republicans don't do well in most of these states. Was it the electorate or the senate candidate that won so many of these races for the Democrats?

The last group is an interesting mix. There was no senate or gubernatorial race in any of them. Yet Republicans did very well in these states and only one of these seats was a gimme.

Republicans were the strongest when they didn't have a completely strong top of the ticket or when there was no top of the ticket. The top of the ticket may have helped in some instances, but it wasn't a strong indicator across the board.

Looking at these numbers it's possible that a strong top of the ticket helped the Democrats stem off some losses, but all except one in the bottom tier is a dark blue state. Democrats here don't need a top of the ticket to win races. Senators and governors at the top of the ticket may help sometimes and might not other times. Yet if we see strong candidates in these slots in the future, that won't indicate how the party will do.

Presidential candidates are a completely different story. Obama's effect on senatorial and House races in 2008 was strong and may well be again in 2012.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Youth Vote

One of the arguments for Democrats being the future is that they have a huge stranglehold on the 18-29 year old group. These people will continue to be Democrats and they'll have a huge advantage with new 18-29 year olds. Below is an estimate of the raw vote of each party for House of Representative elections 2004-2010. I used House elections rather than Presidential elections, because the Presidential election is influenced by who is running. That guy won't be running in ten years. The House member, or someone similar, should be.

From 2004 to 2006 both parties lost around 4.1 million voters who stayed home. I know that some people entered and others exited this group, but if the Democrats are going to maintain this dominance the incoming voters have to vote just like the outgoing ones. Some may have switched from one party to another, but I don't have any data on that.

In 2008, Democrats got 8 million new 18-29 year old voters, while Republicans got less than 4 million. In 2010, Republicans got a similar number of voters as they had in 2006, while the Democrats had 600,000 less. Overall, Democrats lost 8.7 million 18-29 voters, while Republicans lost 3.8 million. Democrats actually had over 600,000 less voters than they did in 2006, while Republicans had 22,000 more.

If the Democrats are going to keep these voters they can't count on Buch or Obama to be on the ballot in future elections. Winning this group 58%-42%, as they did in 2010 is still very good if not the dominant position of 2008. In 2010 they did similarly with the 30-49 segment as they did in 2004. Obviously only 20% of the 30-49 year old group is made up of people who were 18-29 in 2006. So it's not significant enough to have that big an impact. If the 18-29 vote was going to translate they should be doing a little bit better with 30-49 than they were in 2006. Yet they were worse.

But it was a Republican year, you might argue. You can't expect the Democrats to do as well. I'd expect Republican votes to go up, but expect that the Democrats would be similar to 2006. The drop off, as a percentage of voters, was worse than the Republicans had going from a good Republican year in 2004 to a bad one in 2008. If the Democrats are to have a stranglehold on the ballot box, the voters will have to show up not just in years where they're voting against George Bush or for Barack Obama. It's likely some were voting for reasons other than ideology. They aren't committed Democrats.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More California Redistricting

I took a further look at California redistricting. There is currently only one district where John McCain got more than 56% of the vote. That's not nearly as surprising as I thought it'd be. He didn't even hit 56% in any district in New York or Illinois and Republicans now control as many as 20 districts in those two states once all recounts are done. So clearly having a huge voter advantage isn't necessary for Republicans to win seats. Still, McCain won Ed Royce's district by 4 points. If Royce's new district is one Obama won by 4, then it could be a lot more difficult for the Republican to win.

The commission is unlikely to consider a district's current configuration when making new ones. Some districts are so heavily gerrymandered that a new district will be a far different shape. A congressman may find himself running in a district that has few of his old voters. Will they choose what district to run in based on which won has the most people who voted for him before or based on where they live? Will they trip over themselves to run in the most heavily Republican district in the area?

Darrell Issa is from Vista and has been in congress since 2001. Vista is in the southwest corner of the 49th district. It stretches up into Orange and Riverside Counties and takes in a lot of Republicans. Brian Bilbray represented a similar 49th district until he lost re-election in 2000. He's from Carlsbad and now represents the 50th. His Carlsbad home is in the northwest corner of the district. These two cities are less than nine miles apart. They are similar enough that there's no reason why they should be in different districts. They probably won't be. Will the two run against each other in a primary? Will one run in a neighboring district that he'll have to move into? What if one is more Republican? Will they draw straws?

Pitting two incumbents against each other in a primary is an old redistricting trick that may be used in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. California may have such different districts that this could happen multiple times.

Friday, November 19, 2010

2012: California

Senate: Feinstein (D)
Legislature: Democrats +1 (+1%)
State Senate: Republicans +1 (2%)
House: Democrats 34 Republicans 19
Redistricting: Commission

Like Connecticut and Massachusetts California was a mine field for Republicans this year. They didn’t even have the legislative success they had in New England. Running statewide is ridiculously expensive, so the Republicans usually field an unimpressive slate. This year was different. There were quality candidates running for all the statewide positions. They all lost 57%-39% or thereabout. Even against candidates like Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer who don’t get liberals excited. Even a good candidate, Steve Cooley, might lose to a mediocre one, Kamala Harris.

Dianne Feinstein is a far better campaigner than Barbara Boxer. If she runs again in 2012 I can’t imagine many Republicans lining up to face her. Even if she retires, the odds are long. I can’t imagine Republicans putting a lot of money into California again.

California has an electorate and it has politicians. The two have little to do with each other. Republicans and Democrats have one thing in common, a dislike of Sacramento and our politicians. Politicians in California get in office and they stay for life. Seriously. Thirty six representatives have been in Congress for more than a decade, many of them 20 years or more. Eleven of the seats that opened did so because the rep died, there was a scandal, or they took a job with the administration.

Sacramento used to be the same way. So the electorate passed term limits for the legislature and state senate. A politician can serve six years in the legislature and eight in state senate. This produces a mad scramble as those term limited in one chamber scurry for the other. After 14 years they would like to try to move up to congress, but those seats are unavailable.

In 2008, the Democrats picked up 4 seats in the legislature and none in the senate. This year Democrats picked up 1 seat in the legislature and Republicans 1 in the senate. In every other state there were wild swings in the seats. In the last 10 years one congressional seat has changed parties.

Ten years ago when the Democrats controlled redistricting, they set out to draw districts that protected incumbents. So they packed as many Democrats as they could into 33 districts. And it worked, because Republicans never took a seat.

All that will change because redistricting for the legislature and congress has been handed to a citizen’s commission. No one knows how that’ll impact congress or the legislature. Many people think that because the Democrats no longer control redistricting it’ll favor Republicans.

Once the Democratic districts are unpacked and spread out normally I expect the new configuration to favor Democrats. There’ll be a number of safe Democratic districts in L.A. and the Bay area, but probably few really safe Republican districts. There just isn’t that huge a concentration of Republicans anywhere in the state. I think there could be anywhere from 15-20 districts up for grabs. In a Democratic year this could result in a 42-11 advantage. In a Republican year it could mean a 29-24 split. In a normal year I think it’ll be around 35-18. For once it should be interesting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Redistricting Net Impact on House Seats

Some people have speculated redistricting will lead to a 20-30 seat GOP gain, while others say about 12. I think it'll be more modest. When you pick up 60+ seats there aren't many opportunities left.

States with Small Delegations
Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota Wyoming, and New Hampshire

These states all have 1 or 2 congressional districts. This makes it extremely difficult to gerrymander any seat toward a particular party.

States with no Opportunity
Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama

The Republicans control everything in all these states but they already have 24 of the 29 districts. Of those 3 are majority minority districts, so Republicans have to gerrymander them to get more Black Democrats in, not out. Oklahoma-2 is already very Republican. So no gerrymander is going to win the seats. It’s conceivable the Republicans could try to gerrymander the Nashville based Tennessee-5, but they would risk the three surrounding districts, two of which they just won.

States with commissions
Iowa, Washington, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, New Jersey, California

These states are drawn up with some or total independence from the legislature. It’s likely that the GOP will fair better in Iowa, New Jersey, and California, while the Democrats will do so in Arizona and Washington. Overall redistricting may end up being a push with Democrats losing seats in Iowa and New Jersey and picking them up in Washington and Arizona. California is anybody’s guess since it has so many gerrymandered seats right now. I don’t see a definite net gain either way.

States with Republican control
South Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Utah

Republicans should pick up the new seat in Utah and South Carolina and be able to redistrict themselves into four seats in Georgia and North Carolina.

It’s conceivable the Republicans could gerrymander an advantage in Wisconsin-3, but the two neighboring districts, the 7th and 4th, are slightly Democratic and very Democratic. If anything Republicans will want to protect the newly won 7th and be happy if they still have a 5-3 advantage after 2012.

It’s possible Republicans could make Indiana-2 more attractive by giving it some areas of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th, while taking away some of the Democrats in the north. Governor Mitch Daniels has already expressed that he won’t sign a heavily gerrymandered plan.

Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are three states with little opportunity for Republicans. They already have a 34-18 seat advantage and these three states lose four districts. There are no more districts to squeeze out and even the best gerrymander will likely result in a loss of a seat in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Florida and Texas have already been heavily gerrymandered for the Republicans. Florida has their new “Fair Districts Florida” amendment designed to prevent a gerrymander. It does, however, leave the redistricting in Republican hands. With a 19-6 advantage currently, a non-gerrymandered map could result in a 17-10 advantage after the two new districts are added.

Right now Republicans have a 23-9 congressional advantage in Texas, a greater advantage than they’d have if the districts weren’t already gerrymandered. All of the Democratic controlled districts having at least 45% minority populations. Republicans may pick up two of the four seats added, but if they come out with a 25-11 split they should be considered lucky.

Overall, Republicans should have a net gain of 4-6 seats in these states.

States with Democratic Control
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Arkansas, Illinois, West Virginia

The good news here is that Republicans have no seats to lose in Connecticut or Massachusetts, Maryland is already gerrymandered for a maximum Democratic delegation, And both Arkansas and West Virginia have become so Republican on a national level the Democrats will have trouble gerrymandering them out of a seat. If anything they’ll gerrymander to keep the two seats they still have.

Republicans have 11 of the 19 Illinois seats right now. The good news is that the GOP has every non-Chicago district except the East St. Louis 12th. So the Democrats would be shuffling people from one Republican controlled district to another. That said, some are more Democratic than others and Illinois loses a seat. If Republicans finish the next election with a 9-9 split, a two seat loss, they should consider themselves lucky.

States with Split Control
Missouri, Louisiana, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia, New York, New Mexico

Despite neither party being able to gerrymander, this group is going to be a net negative for the GOP. Either Missouri or Minnesota lose a seat, while Louisiana loses one, and New York may lose two. Because Republicans have all of Louisiana’s non-minority majority districts, they’ll lose one there. They could end up a net 2-3 seat loss with these states.

Based on redistricting, my guess is that the republicans pick up only a seat or two. Of course, with an expected net gain of 64 seats this year, no redistricting plan is going to produce big gains in 2012. Based on my analysis of each party’s districts, I’d expect 2012 to be within a few of no net gain for either party. Of course that’s without knowing if either party will have the wind at their back.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2012: Pennsylvania

Senate: Casey (D)
Legislature: Republicans +13 (+6%)
State Senate: Republicans No change
House: Democrats 7 Republicans 12
Redistricting: Republicans

The 2012 Presidential and congressional elections will likely hinge on a group of 6 states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa) that Obama won in 2008. Democrats won all 8 of the Senate seats that were up in these states in 2006 and 2008. This year Republicans took 5 of the 6 governor races and went from controlling 3 of the 12 legislative house to controlling 11. Democrats narrowly held the Iowa state senate. If Obama loses 3 of these states in 2012 he likely won't win the Presidency.

Bob Casey won the Senatorial race by 17 points, the largest margin of victory for any seat the Democrats took from the Republicans. This year the Republicans had a candidate with questionable across state appeal, while the Democrats had a charismatic former admiral. The GOP won by 2 points. Tom Corbett won the governor's mansion by 9 points. No Republican has expressed an interest in challenging Casey yet, but after 2010 I guess there will be several lining up.

Redistricting is controlled by the Republicans again. In 2002 their controlled shifted the congressional delegation from 11-10 Republicans to 12-7 Republicans. By 2008 Democrats had reversed that to a 12-7 advantage. After the November 2 election Republicans once again held 12 of the 19 seats. Outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a number of mid-size cities that skew Democratic and rural areas that skew Republican.

The GOP could gerrymander the state so that they'd have a 14-4 Republican delegation in a good Republican year. In a strong Democratic year, the state could swing to a 12-6 or 13-5 Democratic advantage regardless of how the Republicans try to gerrymander the state. If it falls somewhere in the middle the Republicans could see their 12-7 advantage reduced to 10-8. There's no way to protect incumbents in many of the districts.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Party of Youth?

When Barack Obama was elected President Democratic friends asked, repeatedly, who the Republican Party leader was. They decided it was Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck because, well, those are the sort of decisions they get to make. Of course when a party gives up the White House, House, and Senate it doesn't usually have a leader. George Bush, Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay, and Bill Frist had all left the scene after the losses.

Of course we went looking for the next Republican leaders, the Republican Barack Obama. We had Sarah Palin, controversial, sure, but young dynamic, and charismatic. We had Bobby Jindal who was brilliant and young, but had already had an impressive resume. Jindal gave the response to the State of the Union in February 2009. Although no one denied his skill as a governor, the speech left a lot of people unimpressed.

It wasn't until nearly a year later before someone else emerged. Scott Brown was handsome, charismatic, and managed to topple the Democrats in Massachusetts. He was the flavor of the month. Until Chris Christie came along and started showing that the Republican way of governing was still possible and still effective. His youtube videos have been viewed by tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands.

Then Rand Paul and Kelly Ayotte emerged from the Senatorial primaries. John Thune was mentioned as Presidential material. Now Marco Rubio, only 39 years old, has become so big that people are mentioning him for a Presidential run. Before he serves a day in the Senate. Brown is the only one of these people who is over 50.

Republican leadership in the House is similary young. While John Boehner is 61, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, and Thad McCotter are all under 50. All five have been in Congress less than ten years. Long time House vets Hal Rogers, Jerry Lewis, and Joe Barton are all seeking to hold onto power. In the old days tenure was what mattered.

Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn, and Steny Hoyer are vying for the top leadership positions on the Democratic side. All are 70 years old. The rest of Democratic leadership includes John Lewis, Maxine Waters, John S. Tanner, Ed Pastor, Jan Schakowsky, Joseph Crowley, Diana DeGette, G.K. Butterfield, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John B. Larson, and Xavier Becerra. Most are in their early to mid-60s. Only Crowley is under 50. The Democratic caucus is much the way unions have been, it's seniority that counts most. Wait your turn.

Republicans, being more entrepreneurial and individualistic, aren't as deferential to the group or content to wait their turn. This week they'll add even younger members to leadership, including two freshmen.

It's difficult to come up with young up and coming Democrats. Heath Shuler is only 38 and has indicated he'll run for minority leader. Of course Shuler isn't very popular with progressives. So I don't see him as a young up and comer in the Democratic Party.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ohio Redistricting

I wanted to follow up I set out to create a redistricting map that did the following:
1. Eliminated Jim Jordan’s district, assuming he runs for senate
2. Eliminated Betty Sutton’s district
3. Keep the district similar to how it is now since I have no idea where each candidate’s base is
4. Equal population distribution

It’s doable.

1. Bob Latta’s (R-yellow old #5-new #5) district becomes the entire northwestern part of the state, grabbing some of Jordan’s counties.

2. John Boehner’s (R-dark blue old #8-new #8) district is relatively unchanged, but adds Shelby County. I don’t want to mess with the Speaker’s district.

3. Steve Chabot’s (R-navy blue old #1-new #1) district remains about the same.

4. Mike Turner (R-purple old #3-new #3) and Jean Schmidt (green old #2-new #2) get additional counties in the east due to the population drop.

5. Steve Austria (R-gray old #7-new #7) gets two of the southern most CD #4 counties while giving up some people in the east.

6. Steve Stivers’ (R-orange old #15-new #15) district remains relatively unchanged, although he’s picking up a little more of Columbus. It isn’t enough that the district will be too Democratic.

7. Marcy Kaptur (D-light blue old #9-new #9) and Pat Tiberi (R-med. Blue old #12-new #12) get the eastern most counties in the old #4 because of population declines. They pretty much retain all their current voters.

8. Dennis Kucinich (D-pink old #10-new #10) needs to add voters, so he gets the northern most voters in the old #13.

9. Martha Fudge (D-light green old #11-new #11) also needs voters and needs to have a majority minority district due to the VRA. To do so, I stretched her district south into Akron and gave her the #13 Black voters. I know it’s tough to tell that district from the neighboring #16, but I wanted to retain the numbers and the program gave those colors

10. Freshman Jim Renacci (R-medium green old #16-new #16) picks up some voters from the #13 in Western Summit County. This could conceivably make the seat harder to retain, but it is the area west of Akron and not as urban. He also gets Richland County from #4.

11. Steve LaTourette (R-greenish tan old #14-new #14) keeps most of the same district.

12. Tim Ryan (D-tangerine old #17-new #13) gets a district very similar to the one he has now, with a bit more of Youngstown and eastern Summit County. This district was fairly blue before and should be even bluer.

13. Bob Gibbs (R-red old #18-new #4) loses some of the southern portion of his district and gains the Canton area. This is part of Jim Renacci’s district now, so I don’t think it’ll hurt him too much.

14. Bill Johnson (R-dark green) loses some of the southern portion of #6 and gains some of the southern portion of the current #18.

15. Where does this leave Betty Suttion (D old #13)? Her home is in the #16, so she could run against Jim Renacci. Her voters are mostly now in the #10 and #11, but I don’t see her running against Kucinich or Fudge. It’s too bad Renacci has to go up against a sitting representative, but he’s a freshman and the district is mostly his current constituents.

If Jordan doesn't run Republicans will be faced with a choice. They could combine much of the current #6 and #18 and have Gibbs and Johnson run against each other or move Johnson into the new #13 and have him face off against Tim Ryan in the general election. That district contains so many Democrats he'd be certain to lose. The Republicans could drop out the western most areas of the district to give Johnson a chance, but that'd weaken Gibbs and Renacci's districts.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2012: Ohio

Senate: Brown (D)
Legislature: Republicans +13 (+28%)
State Senate: Republicans +2 (+10%)
House: Democrats 5 Republicans 13
Redistricting: Republicans

The Midwest was a disaster for the Democrats. Between Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio the GOP picked up 16 congressional seats, 3 governorships, and got majorities in both houses in 5 states. They had both houses in none of them before election day. If not for a sexual harassment allegation and a Nazi Re-enactor the GOP might have a 15-3 advantage in Ohio congressional seats.

In 2012 the Republicans will have to pay for their success. Ohio figures to lose two seats in redistricting. Even though Republicans control the process it'll be very difficult to eliminate two Democratic seats. If they try to eliminate Marcy Kaptur's district that hugs Lake Erie, they could endanger Bob Latta's district and lose both. It's more likely they'll break up Betty Sutton's 13th district, moving parts into the 10th, 11, and 17th. Sutton would be forced to compete with Dennis Kucinich or Tim Ryan for their seat.

The other lost seat will likely come from southeastern Ohio. The 18th district could be broken up into the 2nd, 6th, 12th, and 16th. This would likely force freshman Republican Bob Gibbs into a primary with another freshman. "Thanks for helping us get to the majority, you've lost your job." When a delegation is going to lose a seat a sitting congressman often tries for higher office rather than pitting two incumbents against each other in a primary. Jim Jordan is rumored as an opponent for Sherrod Brown in the senate race. If that happens, Republicans may try to move the current 16th and 18th districts west and split up Jordan's 4th district. That may prove tricky.

Brown is likely to be vulnerable. Republicans swept all 6 statewide offices this year and Brown only won by 12 in his election 4 years ago. Expect this race to draw a quality opponent.

Expect Ohio to be up for grabs in the Presidential race. This year Republicans outnumbered Democrats for the first time since 2004. If that holds up in 2012 Ohio becomes a swing state again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obama Districts

Democrats are trying to grab onto reasons for hope. The latest one is that Republicans now control 62 districts Obama won and Democrats only control 13 McCain districts. Before the election the numbers were reversed. If Democrats can just take a majority of the difference between the two they'll likely be back in the majority. Since Republicans took "their" districts this time Democrats will take back "their" districts.

Not so fast. The baseline for the two should be their 53%-46% spread. This allows us to compare the districts to a base line average for each candidate. When we do that we find that Republicans only have 5 districts where McCain got 42% or less, and only 1 district where they got 40% or less. In that district they got 38%. If we look at districts where Obama underperformed by 4% or more, we get all the McCain districts. So Democrats have 12 very vulnerable districts to the Republicans 5.

Still skeptical? Let's look at 2004. Republicans control only 13 districts John Kerry won, 5 of which they won 46% or 47%. That's 4% or more, but caps at 5% below. Democrats control 24 districts Bush won, 7 of which John Kerry got 44% of the votes or less.They are all between 55% and 59% except 1.

Who is going to do better in 2012? We can't determine that based on the districts held, since it's fairly even and light. It'll depend on which party has the upper hand, if either. In 1996 Democrats picked up 2 seats. In 2000 they picked up 1. In 2004 Republicans picked up 3. Years like 2006, 2008, and 2010 are unusual. Since 1914 there has only been one period where there was a shift of 20 or more seats in 4 consecutive elections.

From 1942 to 1954 19 or more net seats changed hands in 7 consecutive elections. The Democrats had a bloated number of seats due to the Depression. Republicans gained a net of 29 seats in 1942 and 1944 before taking 55 and the majority in 1946. That majority bounced back to the Democrats in 1948, then back to the Republicans in 1952, before the Democrats took it back in 1954. That would make 2010 like 1948 when the majority flipped back to the previous party.

That could make 1952 comparable to 2012. The big problem with that comparison is that the Republicans took the majority again because Harry Truman was unpopular. Even though he wasn't running, he hurt his party like Bush in 2008. In 2012 the minority party's President will be seeking re-election. They voted against Truman in 1952, not for a sitting President.

2012: Massachusetts

Senate: Brown (R)
Legislature: Republicans +13 (+81%)
State Senate: Democrats +1 (-20%)
House: Democrats 10, Republicans 0
Redistricting: Democrats

Massachusetts is regarded as another disaster. It really wasn't that bad. Only one of the 9 Republican candidates was an experienced legislator/campaigner. That person, Jeff Perry, was saddled with the police misconduct charge and was never able to shake it. These were underfunded bad candidates going up against Democrats who had the first dollar of donations leftover from years of having no competition. Republicans didn't win but did get 42% of the vote in 5 of the 9 districts. In the past Republicans struggled to get 30%.

Winning a seat in Massachusetts wouldn't have been worth much. The winner would've been a moderate like Scott Brown. Republicans have a big enough majority that one more moderate who can't be counted on to vote Republican won't be missed. The state will lose a House seat and Democrats will be redistricting. If the GOP won a seat Democrats would've taken the district apart and split it up into other districts. They'll likely lose it in 2012.

The GOP went from 16 to 29 representatives in the Massachusetts State House. That number could rise to 31 or 32 after all the recounts are done. There is no state house in the country where the Republican delegation doubled. Granted, they are going from small to less small, but doubling the areas where Republicans can win has to bode well for the future. The Democrats can't make the entire state non-competitive in 2012. Maybe next time they'll have better candidates to run for Congress.

Scott Brown likely won't be favored to retain his senate seat. Martha Coakley's poor campaign and the environment helped him win. He'll have a better opponent in 2012 and won't have nearly as favorable an environment. Brown will have to mount a good campaign to win again.

2012: Connecticut

Senate: Lieberman (I-D)
Legislature: Republicans +14 (+38%)
State Senate: Republicans +1 (+8%)
House: Democrats 5, Republicans 0
Redistricting: Democrats

There's a rush to judgement that somehow the Republican wave skipped New England. Republicans took no Connecticut House seats and lost the Senate race despite Linda McMahon's heavy spending. If you stop there you only get part of the story. Tom Foley came within 7,762 votes of Dan Malloy for governor and the Republicans made big gains in the state legislature. Yes, the GOP remain way behind in the minority in the legislature, but this is a liberal state. The electorate was D+11. That's higher than 2004 D+6, but lower than the 2008 D+16.

The two western Connecticut districts, 4 and 5, were decided by 6 and 8 points. If Chris Murphy runs for the senate in 2012, the 5th district will be open and likely competitive.

The Senate race is interesting if Joe Lieberman runs for re-election. Lieberman would lose a Democratic primary, so he'd once again have to run as an independent. Progressives are unhappy with him, so they'll demand the Democrats go after him heavily. The Democrats have 21 seats to defend and opportunities in Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. They didn't lose Arizona or Tennessee by a lot in 2006. If they beat Lieberman the Democrats have no net gain in their caucus. If they don't spend a lot the winner will surely be Lieberman or the Democratic nominee.

Republicans won't be unhappy if Democrats spend a lot of money on this seat. They don't have a deep bench here and if McMahon couldn't get closer despite spending all the money she did, Connecticut isn't worth their time. I'd put it as the 16th most likely flip. Republicans are better off letting Lieberman spend his money and trying to entice him to caucus with them. I know that'll piss off the tea party crowd, but there's no reason to With 15 better opportunities there's no point in chasing a seat where Lieberman will likely get a decent share of Republicans and independents.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2012: Iowa

Senate: No Senate Race
Legislature: Republicans +16 (+16%) Flipped Democratic to Republican
State Senate: Republicans +6 (+12%)
House: Republicans 2 Democrats 3 (Same)
Redistricting: Panel (lose 1 seat)

Iowa hasn't been very inviting to the Republicans on a Presidential level. The GOP has only won the state in a Presidential race once since 1984. This year was very positive for the Republicans, however. The electorate was 35%R/31%D, better than it was in 2004 when Republicans only had a 2 point advantage. Chuck Grassley took 65% in the Senate race. Terry Barnstad won the governership by 10 points. Democrats won 3 of the 5 congressional seats, but all 3 were by narrow margins. Republicans won 56% of the congressional vote. Had the districts been drawn differently they might have won 3 or 4 seats.

In the 2011 redistricting Iowa is likely to lose a congressional seat. In Iowa an independent body proposes redistricting plans, which must then be approved by the legislature. With the legislature split and the GOP controlling the governor's mansion the commission's plan will likely be implemented. The two strongly Republican districts are contiguous, so Republicans should easily hold two of the new districts, if not take a third. Democrats will lose at least one seat.

Iowa looks a lot more positive for Republicans in 2012.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The 2010 Voter

There are a number of demographic groups where the Republicans have done poorly in recent years. If they can't do better with the groups in a GOP year, they don't have a lot of hope for 2012 with the group. One spot of optimism is with the Gay community. This year, however, Republicans got 31% of gay voters. The Democrats have been seen as not being responsive on "gay issues." Republicans aren't likely to tout their record on these issues, so they have to set the gay issues aside. Leave gay marriage to the states and say it's not a Federal issue. Punt "Don't Ask Don' Tell" over to the Pentagon.

Like everyone else gays are concerned with having jobs and the economy. There's no reason they'd be partial to big government solutions, especially since gays have a higher level of education and a higher median income than the public at large. Say what you will about the Tea Party, but most of them have avoided anything on gay marriage, focusing only on fiscal issues. If you're gay and own your own business or just believe in individualism the Republican Party should be able to find a way to appeal to you.

The news isn't nearly as good with the youth vote. While Republicans improved from getting 35% in 2008 to 42% in 2010, this increase didn't match the overall increase. Adults 18-29 went from a 117 index to a 127. In 2012 this group will come out in greater numbers, especially the Democratic leaning youths who didn't show up this year. I'd expect the Republicans to get clobbered with youths in 2012 on a Presidential level. There is good news. Republicans had at least 44% for the 18-29 vote in 15 of the 22 Senate races with exit polls. A strong candidate can draw the youth vote.

The Republican share of the Black vote increased from 5% to 9% this year. It'll likely drop again in 2012, but 2010 shows that it isn't permanently at 5%. For the most part not getting the Black vote doesn't hamper the GOP very much. Most of the states with larger Black populations aren't swing states. A strong Black vote likely won't help the Democrats win Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, or Mississippi. It really doesn't matter if it hurts Repbulicans in New York or Maryland. There are some states, however, like Florida and Michigan where high Black turn-out could cost Republicans shots at Senate seats or taking the states in the Presidential race.

The news isn't any better with Latinos. Democrats took 66% of the Hispanic vote. Republicans only did decently well with Hispanics in Florida, which has a large Cuban population and a Latino Republican candidate. Most states with larger Hispanic populations have a majority that are Mexican-American. The GOP wasn't able to get these voters in California, Texas, Arizona, or Nevada. They also didn't fare well in New York and Illinois, where the populations aren't heavily Mexican-American. This could bode poorly for the GOP in Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado in 2012.


The forecasters tell you all year which seats are in danger and which aren't. Republicans got excited every time a seat moved toward them. Democrats dismissed each move, believing it wouldn't be that bad. Were they right? Below is a chart telling you exactly how often they're right. I included only seats where someone predicted it'd be a toss up or flip. There were 72 of those. If you want to add the remaining 363 as right, you can do so.

A number of forecasters leave seats in the toss up column. Every race has a winner. So picking "toss up" as your final prediction is wrong. And it's lame. You're saying the seat is too tough to call. So I divided the chart into districts everyone made a prediction, those four or five did, three did, and when it was just Larry Sabato and myself.

Everyone picked 26 contests correctly. It was the same in 2008. So you know that if everyone agrees that's what'll happen. The remaining 46 were tougher, but I'd say that both Larry Sabato and I did well. Real Clear Politics only picked 12 of those contests and went 7-5. They couldn't even pick well even when they excluded the hardest ones.

So Larry beat me. Not so fast. There are some districts still in doubt.

On each of them, those that picked agreed on six of them. I picked VA-11 different than Larry did. We'll see how that one turns out before declaring a winner.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Undecided Race Update

As of now, the GOP has 238 seats to the Democrats 187. If the Republicans pick up no more seats they're still +59. Below are the updates on the 10 outstanding congressional races. Democrats gained seats today in 9 of the races, with Republican Ann Marie Buerkle gaining 25 votes. If the Republicans win half of these, they'll be doing fine, but Democrats almost always win recounts, sometimes due to mysterious boxes of ballots. The numbers below are how many votes Republicans are ahead or behind.

Who Won and Who Lost

Above is a breakdown of winners and losers from Tuesday. The Blue Dog coalition was nearly three times as likely to have a seat in play, and sure enough they were nearly three times as likely to lose a seat. The coalition was decimated. It's worth noting that the three districts Democrats won will likely not have Blue Dogs.

All three losses come from the Republican Main Street Partnership. That's not a surprise. Like the Blue Dogs, their members are more likely to be in districts skewing the opposite party. The RMSP will likely benefit from the gains, however. Congressmen in northern states are fairly likely to join the RMSP. The GOP won 23 seats in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, and New Hampshire. Included among these was Charlie Bass, former chairman of the Republican Main Street Partnership. There were 42 RMSP members in the House this term. I expect there'll be 53-60 next term. Republicans will need these moderates to get a majority on any vote.

While Republicans reclaimed a lot of seats they lost, Democrats retained a third of their wins and the GOP displaced a number of veteran Democrats.

Almost all of the winners were Young Guns Level #1. While these guys might be outsiders they likely do understand the role the NRCC played in helping them win. Kevin McCarthy was head of recruiting. That makes him the perfect whip for the 112th congress.

The Seat Realignment

The Republican strategy of targeting the most Republican districts regardless of how popular the congressman was bore a lot of fruit. After the 2004 election Republicans had 23 seats Democratic leaning seats. Democrats had 31 Republican leaning seats. Before the 2010 election Republicans were down to 10, while the Democrats had 69 of the GOP's seats. While the Democrats took most of the Democratic skewing seats, they had to take Republican skewing seats to amass such a huge number. Overall

There are a few districts pending, but as of now the GOP has 17 Democratic skewing districts, while the Democrats are down to 14 Republican skewing districts. Seventy-one percent of Democratic gains were in Republican districts, while only 17% of Republican gains were in Democratic districts. The Republicans actually dropped from having four D+5+ districts to one. This election mostly put Republican districts in Republican hands and vice-versa. Republicans should have an easier time defending these seats than they did those in 2004. If they win a few of the undecideds they'll have a majority just with the Republican leaning districts.

Of course the Democrats could take Republican districts like they did in 2006 and 2008, but this is harder unless you have a wave.

Not the Same Guys Who Had the Keys

The President didn't want anyone to hand the keys to the same guys who drove the car into the ditch. Setting aside the silly idea that the Republicans in Congress (who were in the minority for a year before the recession), it won't be the same guys. At least half of the caucus weren't in Congress when the Republicans were in the majority before.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Senate Results

Republicans right now have won 6 Democratic Senate seats. Based on the seats that were up, that total would be unlikely in a less GOP year. Half of the seats they won (Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana) were in Republican leaning states. They should wins those no matter what year it is. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are swing states, so it’s not that surprising they won those. Pending a Washington win, the only heavily Democratic victory is in Illinois. Considering that Republicans pulled off statewide victories in New Jersey and Massachusetts within the last year, these results are hardly shocking. In a normal year the GOP certainly wouldn’t win as many swing states as they did this year, but in 2012 the Democrats will have to defend 8 Republican leaning seats vs. 3 this year. So the Republican wins are hardly as surprising as the Democrats winning Alaska and having both senators in Montana.

Not a Wave Election

This wasn’t a wave election. It has all the appearances of a wave election, as Republicans picked up 64 House seats and 6 Senate seats. They still may add to that total. To some that sounds like a wave, but it turns out it’s a bit like the tide going out. Going into the election the Democrats held 46 seats R+4 or greater. In contrast Republicans held 5 seats D+4 or greater. Democrats won 21 of those since 2006 and a great many of the other were in Republican districts with a long time Democratic incumbent. When you win as many Republican seats as the Democrats did, that’s a wave. When a wave comes in, the tide will eventually take the water out. Many of these seats were only winnable in years where the Democratic electorate was up, the Republican turnout was low, and they won independents. Such conditions don’t keep happening.

Republicans picked up only one seat D+4 or greater and that seat is D+4. There are a D+5 and a D+6 seat undecided, but that’s it. The Republicans lost only 3 seats Tuesday. All 3 were in their most Democratic electorates. They now hold 3 seats D+4 or greater, with the possibility of 2 more. Democrats still hold 9 such Republican seats. Even after this monumental shift Democrats still retain 3 times the Republican districts that Republicans have of theirs.

Had this been a true wave election Republicans would’ve captured seats like Rhode Island-1, Maine-1, Pennsylvania-13, and Missouri-5. All they did was reclaim seats they lost and claim Republican leaning seats from long time Democratic incumbents who mostly had never drawn a decent opponent. Jim Oberstar’s defeat may have been shocking, but Obama got 53% of the vote there. That’s what Obama got nationally. Of course, the Republicans likely needed and got the increased enthusiasm and the Democratic help to defeat candidates who, despite being in Republican leaning districts, had held on for years.

This is good news/bad news for Republicans. On the one hand they missed out on districts they could only win in a Republican year. They likely won’t get another shot at districts like Arizona-7. On the other hand, they got Republican leaning districts where a Democratic incumbent had beaten them back again and again. They might never have won them otherwise. These districts should be easy to defend in a neutral year. The best districts to get are ones you can hold for years, not lose in the next election. Republican wins in Louisiana-2 and Hawaii-1 were more ego boosting than anything else. They couldn’t defend them even this year.

Republicans didn’t win a Massachusetts seat, which was disappointing after Scott Brown took 6 of them, but with redistricting looming the Democrats would’ve gerrymandered the district away from them for the next election. As of now there are only two states with a Democratic controlled legislature and governor, Illinois and New York. And the Illinois gubernatorial race is still up in the air. That makes the gains in those two seats subject to gerrymandering, That may make those seats most vulnerable in 2012.

This is a disappointing for the Democrats. They weren’t able to hold onto many of the Republican leaning seats. There is usually a power to incumbency, so they’d like to have a few more in Heath Shuler’s spot. The Republican wins in swing districts could be lasting, as the Republicans will most likely be favored in them next time.

Republicans had around 230 seats each session during their time in the majority and there are 234 Republican leaning districts. Barring another anti-Republican backlash the GOP will retain the majority next time. I think they’ll lose seats and end up around 230-235 after 2012.

Monday, November 1, 2010

From the Campaign Trail

I'm disappointed that I haven't been able to give analysis the last few days, but I've been criss-crossing the Delaware Valley filming for the documentary. And I mean criss-crossing. We've driven to Princeton and then back to Delaware County. We've gone to Bristol and then Medford, NJ. We were in East Brunswick and then went to Glenmoore, PA. We've met some great candidates. Dee Adcock and Scott Sipprelle are good guys and great candidates running in districts that are somewhat Democratic, but not so Democratic that they can't be taken. It'll take a lot of momentum for either to win, but they've been working very hard.

Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick are running in districts that are more favorable but are still slightly Democratic. We've seen all of Fitzpatrick's operation from the office volunteers to the people manning the call centers. I spoke with Mike yesterday and feel like he gets it. The Meehan people have been friendly but... well... paranoid. Based on how ugly the campaign has been, can you blame them? We hope to meet Meehan today.

Jon Runyan's people have kept us at arm's length because Runyan is the subject of another documentary. Jim Gerlach? Where's Jim Gerlach? Our attempts to find him have been in vain. We've heard rumors he is running for re-election.