Thursday, July 28, 2011

California Congressional Map Analysis

Contrary to chicken little fears, these maps, with a couple of exceptions, are very good for Republicans. I put it at 34D-19R. Sound familiar?

1: Whitman 59%; Fiorina 65%; Safe R
Wally Herger was going to get a safe district, but this is one he won't be challenged.

2. Whitman 32%; Fiorina 32%; Safe D
Woolsey retires. Strangely, Whitman and Fiorina were fairly even in strong Democratic districts, but Fiorina beat Whitman by 5 or 6 points in more competitive districts.

3. Whitman 46%; Fiorina 51%; Lean D
This is a bit of a surprise. I didn't expect them to put so much rural territory with Sacramento's western suburbs. Fiorina won here, so it's worth a shot.

4 Whitman 60% Fiorina 65%; Safe R
Tom McClintock has nothing to worry about

5 Whitman 33% Fiorina 33%; Safe D
6 Whitman 30% Fiorina 35%; Safe D
11 Whitman 36% Fiorina 36%; Safe D
12 Whitman 18% Fiorina 16%; Safe D
13 Whitman 12% Fiorina 12%; Safe D
14 Whitman 30% Fiorina 29%; Safe D
15 Whitman 37% Fiorina 37%; Safe D
17 Whitman 36% Fiorina 32%; Safe D
18 Whitman 37% Fiorina 35%; Safe D
19 Whitman 36% Fiorina 33%; Safe D
20 Whitman 33% Fiorina 33%; Safe D
Let Kos analyze these districts and add 11 to the Democratic total.

7 Whitman 47% Fiorina 53%; Lean R
This is about the mid-point of what Dan Lungren could've expected. It's no Republican gerrymander but he should win.

8 Whitman 59% Fiorina 63%; Safe R
Jerry Lewis lives outside the district but he'll likely run here.

9 Whitman 45% Fiorina 49%; Lean D
McNerney announced he'd run here, but this is no slam dunk. I assume Ricky Gill will challenge him.

10 Whitman 53% Fiorina 57%; Likely R
Good district for Jeff Denham.

16 Whitman 46% Fiorina 51%; Toss-up
Does Dennis Cordoza run here? GOP challenger?

21 Whitman 48% Fiorina 56%; Toss-up
Which are the better numbers? Whitman or Fiorina? David Valadao will challenge him.

22 Whitman 64% Fiorina 68%; Safe R
Devin Nunes gets more Republicans than he needs.

23 Whitman 64% Fiorina 71%; Safe R
Democrats haven't put anyone up against McCarthy since 2006. I doubt this district is high on the to do list.

24 Whitman 50% Fiorina 51%; Toss-up
Grudge match! I think this'll be Abel Maldonado vs. Lois Capps. It may be lean Democratic because Capps is an incumbent, but Maldonado is high profile.

25 Whitman 57% Fiorina 59%; Safe R
Buck McKeon cruises to victory.

26 Whitman 48% Fiorina 51%; Toss-up
Even though they've removed Simi Valley, for reasons I don't understand, I assume this is where Gallegly runs. If not, Tony Strickland might have a go at it.

27 Whitman 41% Fiorina 42%
28 Whitman 33% Fiorina 33%
29 Whitman 27% Fiorina 27%
30 Whitman 39% Fiorina 39%
32 Whitman 38% Fiorina 38%
33 Whitman 43% Fiorina 42%
34 Whitman 18% Fiorina 18%
35 Whitman 36% Fiorina 38%
37 Whitman 16% Fiorina 16%
38 Whitman 38% Fiorina 40%
40 Whitman 21% Fiorina 21%
43 Whitman 26% Fiorina 26%
44 Whitman 17% Fiorina 17%
Put 13 more in the D column. The most interesting district here is the 33rd. With the addition of so many Democrats north of the airport and dropping Torrance Craig Huey should look elsewhere. I think Henry Waxman runs here, but he's a weird fit for the South Bay.

31 Whitman 46% Fiorina 49%; Lean D
Joe Baca dismissed running in what's now CD#35 when the county party pushed for it, saying he thought this district would be easier. Not any more. They put in too many Republicans, including Lewis' home in Redlands. I imagine Hispanics groups will go nuts over this district, since it's not Hispanic majority. Worth watching.

36 Whitman 53% Fiorina 55%; Likely R
As good as Mary Bono Mack could expect. I think she'll do fine in this district.

39 Whitman 59% Fiorina 60%; Safe R
Gary Miller get your thank you notes out! In the first draft Diamond Bar was in the Asian district, but here he gets some great parts of Riverside and Orange County. Ed Royce might pass on this district, leaving Shawn Nelson as the toughest Republican challenger.

41 Whitman 44% Fiorina 46%; Lean D
Jeff Miller and John Tavaglione have announced runs, but no Democrat has yet. This is a Hispanic majority seat but I'm not willing to put it in the D column yet.

42 Whitman 62% Fiorina 65%; Safe R
Ken Calvert breathes a sigh of relief. This district is almost entirely new to him, but it's more Republican.

45 Whitman 64% Fiorina 65%; Safe R
This is a natural for John Campbell, although Ed Royce has expressed an interest in running here.

46 Whitman 45% Fiorina 45%; Likely D
They could've drawn up a safe Democratic district for Loretta Sanchez, but this is close enough. She'll be tough to beat.

47 Whitman 46% Fiorina 46%; Lean D
This is a gift to the Republican Party, that makes up for the rotten South Bay district. They've put Long Beach in with enough OC Republicans to make this district competitive. Laura Richardson has indicated she's unlikely to run here, so Alan Lowenthal might be the leading candidate. Craig Huey could run here and it could be competitive.

48 Whitman 63% Fiorina 63%; Safe R
Dana Rohrabacher might retire. If so, John Campbell could run here.

49 Whitman 59% Fiorina 60%; Safe R
Darrell Issa has nothing to worry about.

50 Whitman 66% Fiorina 69%; Safe R
Neither does Duncan Hunter.

51 Whitman 35% Fiorina 36%; Safe D
Open for a Hispanic candidate.

52 Whitman 54% Fiorina 54%; Likely R
I think this is likely to keep Brian Bilbray in congress.

53 Whitman 44% Fiorina 44%; Safe D
Susan Davis is too tough to challenge.

California Redistricting Maps Out

We've had the inevitable complaining from NARAL and the NAACP. We've had shouts of bias from the Republicans and Democrats counting their new seats before the ink is dry on the maps. I'm going to reserve judgement until I see all the data, but there isn't a lot that's egregious here. Simi Valley should be in Ventura, while Torrance should be in the coast. Outside of that, this looks non-partisan to me. I don't think the congressional maps will end up costing Republicans more than 1 seat.

I haven't analyzed the senate or assembly. I'd told the senate is problematic. I don't see what a referendum will do though. Who are they looking to draw the maps? The Democratic controlled legislature?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Redistricting Conundrum

The conventional wisdom in New York will redistrict so that one Republican seat upstate and one Democrat downstate loses their seats. I suppose this is the conventional wisdom because each losing one seems "fair."

Republicans hold 7 seats to the Democrats' 22 seats. So each losing one wouldn't be proportional at all. It'd be asking the poor party to pay the same amount as the rich one and we know Democrats don't like the idea of the poor giving up as much as the rich.

What we do know is that both parties have to approve redistricting and if they don't agree it'll go to a court. Court drawn maps are unpredictable, but most draw the maps to make sense geographically without gerrymandering for party vote. So the base line for each party should be what they know they're guaranteed if a court does it. I drew two maps using DRA and came up with the following:

When I brought this up in a discussion board, some people were of the opinion that they'd rather have the higher guarantee with a lower ceiling. If you're a pessimist and imagine the worst I guess that makes sense.

To me this is a no brainer. If all I'll get is 6 with a shot at 2 more, I'll take the 4 with a shot at 8 more. I should end up even or ahead in all but the worst years. I'll risk 2 for a shot at 4 more.

I noticed a similar scenario in Nevada. People were saying that the new maps would have two safe Democratic districts and two lean/likely Republican districts. A court will decide it now. When I mapped it out to comply with the VRA and not worry about partisanship I ended up with 1 safe Democratic, 1 lean/likely Republican, and 2 toss-up districts.

Again, I'll take my chances on that map.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Senate Coat Tails

Barack Obama is widely seen as having had coat tails in 2008. There's evidence for this, as his party had their highest House of Representatives voting percentage since 1982. There are 435 House elections every two years and the House is easy to compare. The senate is more difficult to determine since there are only 33-34 up every two years and the states and senators differ every two years. With the Democrats picking up 8 senate seats, including seats in Alaska and Virginia, he's widely seen as having an impact.

In the House, the President doesn't have the same impact in re-election, as most of the time his party gets a lower percentage of the vote and doesn't make a big impact on the seat totals. What about the Senate? I compared 2000 to 2004 for three categories of senators, Republican incumbents, Republican challengers, and open seats.

Not surprisingly Republican incumbents beat Bush each year. On average Republican incumbents beat Bush in their states by 7.5% each time. There was no impact. It's possible that the President has no real impact on incumbents and they are more the driving force in their races.

The results were similar with Republican challengers, running way behind George W. Bush.

Republicans challenging for open seats did about the same as Bush did in 2000 if you average them. When you look closer the Nebraska disappointment was balanced by better performances in Nevada, New Jersey, and New York.

The results weren't nearly as good in 2004, as they ran behind Bush in most races. Republicans were still able to pick up several seats, so Bush may have had some impact dragging candidates past the line.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

California Redistricting Update

Everybody has an opinion on the Citizens Redistricting Commission maps and most of them are angry. Minority groups, e.g. MALDEF, all claim the commission isn't giving them enough districts. Each city has an idea which other cities they should be with and where the boundaries should lie.

So it's no surprise the commission decided against putting out map second drafts. Instead, they're going to debate and put out "visualizations." These are pretty much ideas that haven't been voted on. This way they can get public input without getting lambasted. The visualizations might not even be an indication of the way the district is moving. So it's tough to get excited and there is no reason to be disappointed with anything you see. That said, the visualizations have shown changes. Here are the significant ones:

SGVBD goes from 44% Whitman to 60%
IMSAN goes from 34% Whitman to 48%.
MTCAP goes from 53% Whitman to 59%.
YUBA goes from 41% Whitman to 46%.
PVEBC goes from 42% Whitman to 46%.
WESTG goes from 50% Whitman to 43%.
AVSCV goes from 66% Whitman to 57%

There are 7 safe R districts that haven't been visualized, but I don't think they're in danger.

This visualization of the 36th district makes sense and is also a strong Republican map. As I mentioned this morning, it moves from a Likely Democratic district to a Lean Democratic.

This is the district Gary Miller hoped for. By taking Diamond Bar and combining it with Chino, Chino Hills, and North Orange County is a safe Republican district.

By adding some Republican areas to this district it goes from safe Democratic to toss-up. This district may impact Duncan Hunter's current district, but the previous draft was the most Republican district in the state. So it can handle shedding Republicans.

Of course the next visualizations might go the other way.

CA-36 Special Post-Mortum

We didn't win. Of course I'm surprised and disappointed. I'm well aware that Democrats had a big registration advantage in the district, but I wouldn't work so hard as a volunteer if I didn't expect to win. If I expected to lose I would've found something else to do with my time. I'd guess most people on the campaign are surprised and all are disappointed.

We managed to get 37% more votes than all the Republicans did in the primary, while Hahn only got 17% more. I had a hand in the 37% additional votes, but couldn't impact Hahn's total. In the end the district was too difficult.

The current district went Obama 64%-34%. The current visualization was won by Obama 51%-44%. Using Cook PVI that'd mean it'd go from D+11 to even. It's over. We lost. But we're not done.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CA-36: Morning of the Election

I found updated absentee numbers. Looks close, doesn't it? It might be closer. AI is the California version of the Constitution Party, a group who thinks Republicans are too liberal. They vote Republican, as do Libertarians. Green and Peace and Family vote Democratic.

I'm going to make two assumptions based on a Democratic poll for Dailykos/SEIU.

1. Huey will get 9% of the Democratic vote to Hahn's 6% of the Republican vote.
2. Huey will beat Hahn by 10 points, 55%-45%, with independents.

Since this poll is likely skewed Democratic those are reasonable assumptions. After doing that Huey actually had a lead of approximately 21,485 to 21,042. It may be dead even going into today.

I've heard a lot of confidence from Democrats, "we'll win anyway," and the media assumes she will too.

Maybe they're right, but I can guarantee you this campaign will working for every vote until the polls close at 8 PM tonight.

Monday, July 11, 2011

California-36 Special Election

I've been volunteering for Craig Huey in his battle with Janice Hahn in the CA-36 special election. One of the first misconceptions is that Hahn will win because of a heavy Democratic registration advantage. Just like in NY-26 this'll be a low turn-out election. Smaller electorates are all about GOTV campaigns to get high interest voters. Republicans can turn out the voters. Fein got 66.706 voters in 2010 and there were less total votes in the primary than that.

I see Huey yard signs everywhere and it wasn't until yesterday that I saw a Hahn yard sign. All a yard sign tells you is that the candidate has a vote or two, but they may be indicative of other voters. Huey has bussed in people from all over California to walk precincts and did more than 125 over the weekend. Hahn's weekend goal was only 30 and they hadn't walked that many by Sunday at noon.

People see knowledgable and enthusiastic about the election. Early predictions were that there'd only be 41,000 votes in the election, but there were already 25,858 absentee votes by June 27. In the 2010 election 48% of the ballots were returned by mail. This number is often lower in Los Angeles County. So the total should be at least as high as the primary. Republicans are more likely to mail in ballots than Democrats, so the closeness of the mail-ins may not be indicative of the final vote.