Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Michael Rubio out in CA-21

Democratic State Senator Michael Rubio announced today that he's dropping out of the race for CA-21.

This is a big blow to Democrats. Rubio is regarded as a rising star in the Democratic party. The Democrats don't run strong in the Central Valley, so they need things to go right for them. This is a district Fiorina won comfortably, but Whitman lost. The Democrats' bench isn't deep in the area, although Dean Florez would be a good candidate. If he declines, they could have a problem winning it.

I had this as a toss-up, but I'm moving it to Lean Republican.

Member v. Member Congressional Races Part I

As the year closes, only 11 states have yet to complete redistricting. Of those, only New York is likely to produce a member v. member race. That makes it a good time to look at the races that will happen.

CA-30, Sherman (D) v. Berman (D)
Why it's happening: Redistricting has created a Latino seat in the San Fernando Valley that neither is likely to win. Howard Berman, and his allies, have suggested that Brad Sherman run in Ventura County, even though there's more Sherman territory in this district. It's always gracious when you get upset the other guy won't try to avoid a member v. member match-up and not consider you can do the same.

Who'll win: Brad Sherman put out a poll that had him winning, but I see this more as a toss-up.

CA-44, Hahn (D) v. Richardson (D)
Why it's happening: Neither of these candidates live within the district, but both like the district better than the one they live in. Hahn would have to run against the formidable Henry Waxman in CA-33 and there's more of her old city council district here. Richardson's new district, CA-47, has a Black CVAP of 8.3%. This district is 27.6%. She correctly assumes there's no way she could win that district. Additionally, that district might be won by a Republican. This one won't be.

Who'll win: it's tough to see Richardson winning here. She's bogged down with debt and an ethics scandal. The people she's counting on, African-Americans, have a history of supporting the Hahn family. While both are likely to survive top two it's tough to see the district's Republican minority voting for Richardson in the general election.

CA-39, Miller (R) v. Royce (R)
Why it's happening: Due to population shifts a district was created in Riverside that doesn't contain the territory of either and is likely unwinnable for them. That district leans Democratic. So if they win there they'll have a competitive race every two years. Here, you only need to win once.

Who'll win: Royce is more popular and has more money, but Miller has a good war chest. Royce is the favorite.

AZ-6, Quayle (R) v. Schwiekert (R)
Why it's happening: The Arizona redistricting commission created a safe Republican seat in an area represented by two Republicans. While the match-up isn't set yet they both likely view this seat the way Miller and Royce do in California.

Who'll win: Schwiekert. Quayle is lightly regarded and won a more Republican district by a similar margin that Schwiekert did.

IA-3, Boswell (D) v. Latham (R)
Why it's happening: Iowa went from five districts to four.

Who'll win: Latham. Latham has over performed in his district while Boswell's results have been lackluster.

IL-16, Manzullo (R) v. Kinzinger (R)
Why it's happening: Illinois went from 19 districts to 18.

Who'll win: Toss-up. Manzullo is a veteran who'll be 68 in March. Kinzinger is a freshman who'll be 34. You'd think the race would favor the veteran, but Kinzinger has more C-O-H and is regarded as a comer.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Los Angeles County Registration

Current voter registration in Los Angeles County as of November 8, 2011:
* Democrat 2,222,917
* Republican 999,169
* Decline to State 970,633
* Other 152,218
Source: Los Angeles County Registrar

I find it amusing that we can't claim 1,000,000 Republicans in LA County.

The Propublica Artlicle

The Propublica article has generated a lot of reaction all over the web. Basically Republicans are outraged that Democrats cheated and Democrats are saying they did none of the things in the article and that demographics and the Republican party "moving to the extreme right" in the last ten years. Dan Walters puts it best. The Democrats played politics. That's what they do. So did the Republicans. It wasn't as organized and there's no paper trail, but we didn't sit on our hands.

The idea that Republicans have been consistently losing popularity over the last decade is popular and incorrect. From 2000 to 2007 Republicans dropped 0.8% in registration, while Democrats dropped 2.9%. In raw numbers that was a 466,000 drop for Democrats and a 134,000 drop for Republicans. From 2009 to 2011 Democrats have dropped 0.5% and Republicans 0.2%. That's a Democratic drop of 152,000 and a Republican drop of 80,000.

Republicans have lost since 2000 and the Democrats haven't, but that was entirely based on the Obama registration drive in 2008. Democrats dropped more than Republicans during the first 7 years and the last 2. Democrats had an amazing one time blip. Anyone who actually does any research themselves can easily find this out. But they insist on repeating what's popular.

The low congressional seat total for Republicans isn't due to party unpopularity. It's due to the way congressional seats are allocated. Here's breaking down the seats by regions, with Democratic leaning, Republican leaning, and toss-ups.

In most of the state the congressional seat breakdown matches the Brown-Whitman percentages. The two areas that don't are the Bay Area and Los Angeles county. Let's look at the state as three regions: Bay Area, LA, and everywhere else.


In most of the state Republicans have an edge and do a bit better in the congressional seats. The GOP gets around 33% of the vote in the other two areas, and yet has 5% of the congressional seats. In other states Democrats yell that they get a greater percentage of the vote than the percent of districts Republicans have given them. In California? They don't bother to look at how a party that gets 43% of the vote statewide could end up with less than 30% of the assembly, senate, or congressional seats.

The Republicans can't fix this. They could increase their percentage of the vote by 10 points in LA county or the Bay area and pick up 0 seats. The Republican party has never been popular in these two areas and that's not going to change. The GOP is left to fight over the remaining 30 seats.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Poor Republicans

I'm a fairly partisan guy. I make no apologies that this blog is slanted toward the GOP. Dennis Prager always talks about the truth coming first. I want to stick to that.

The popular meme out there is how the Republicans were screwed on the congressional maps. There's another article out today. Let's get some truths out there. First, let's set aside one that's pushed to support Republicans losing seats.

The map isn't difficult for Republicans because of the party's declining popularity or extreme views. If not for the Democrats' 2008 registration success the numbers for Democrats would be horrible. Between 1990 and 2007 Democrats were losing voters at a much faster pace than Republicans and they still are. Since 2009 Republicans have lost 80,000 voters. Democrats have lost 152,000. In 2007 the gap between Democratic and Republican registration was the smallest it'd ever been.

The idea that the Republican Party didn't attempt to influence the decision making process is ludicrous. While I'm not aware of any grand strategy coming from party headquarters I know of a number of people who are very active in the party in L.A. county who testified about what they wanted to see on the map. While their testimony was valid, it was clearly partisan. It'd be naive to assume otherwise.

Democrats didn't get everything they wanted in Northern California. John Garamendi ended up with a district that is bizarre. They've taken Sacramento area Democrats and slapped on a bunch of rural Republican counties.

There are several other districts that were drawn oddly that help Republicans. CA-21 appears to be drawn so that Jim Costa will run in CA-16 and Dennis Cardoza would have to retire. That's what happened.

(Democratic) Hispanics were lobbying for two Hispanic districts in San Bernardino County. That seemed likely, but the final maps tacked on a lot of David Dreier voters in Rancho Cucamonga and Upland onto a district with the city of San Bernardino.For good measure they stretched the district to Relands to include Jerry Lewis' house. CA-31 was competitive enough to scare off Joe Baca, leaving Republicans with a district that they could have either one of two incumbents run.

The commission put very Democratic Long Beach into a district with some very red Orange County cities that it has little in common with. Incumbent Laura Richardson ran for the hills, or at least the neighboring CA-44. Republicans shouldn't be competitive in a district with Long Beach but they likely will be.

I'm not saying there aren't some bizarre lines that favor Democrats. CA-33 looks like it was drawn to make sure that the Republican South Bay couldn't be won by a Republican. CA-26 included all of Ventura County except Elton Gallegly's Simi Valley base.

I will reiterate. The congressional maps slightly favors Republicans. Republicans will likely lose seats because the current map favors them more. Republicans won't lose 5 seats, or 6 or 7 as Chicken Little proclaims. Unless the year turns very Democratic, Republicans should lose no more than 3 seats. If a Republican wins the White House the GOP will likely gain seats. I know the "experts" aren't saying this, but that doesn't make it less true.

Even The Murkiness is Getting Clearer in California

Some California congressmen have yet to announce their intentions for 2012. There's been no press release, no public statement, and no mention of the new districts on their campaign website. Some of these representatives (e.g. Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy) are clearly running for re-election, while others (e.g. Sam Farr, Jackie Speier) haven't given anyone reason to think they won't. Each of them has a district and no one else in their party has announced a run. I'm finally going to give in and assume they are running.

There are three I've talked about before whose intentions are unknown. Jerry Lewis is a mystery. The 8th district contains a lot of his current district, but not his home. Yet that district now has a large field of Republicans running. This district is Safe Republican, so it's no surprise so many Republicans are taking a shot. Lewis has hinted he'll run in the more competitive neighboring 31st district, which does contain his home. No Republican has committed to the district, even though it figures to be highly competitive. Lewis' campaign website provides absolutely no clues on his intentions. If you clicked the link you find that there's nothing on the site. That's unusual for candidates who aren't running. They usually leave their campaign website as is and don't bother with it.

David Dreier figures into the mix in either CD-8 or CD-31. I'm just not sure how. I hope Lewis or Dreier runs in CD-31, as the Republicans need a strong candidate to win there.

Elton Gallegly hasn't been exactly mum on his plans. Last month he indicated he hinted to a run against fellow Republican Buck McKeon in the safe Antelope Valley/Santa Clarita/Simi Valley district which contains his home. This month his office responds with "Elton and I wish you a Merry Christmas."

I'm going to read between the lines here and say that he's avoiding the question. Okay, that's obvious. That sure doesn't sound like someone who is retiring. No Republican has jumped in, waiting for Gallegly's decision. While that hurts fundraising, whatever Republican does get in will surely be among the top two in the June primary. Only one Democrat reported any fundraising through Q3 2011 and his total was a meager $37,790. Tony Strickland could raise that in a few days.

Friday, December 16, 2011

PPP and New Mexico poll

Public Policy Polling a Democratic firm is once again embroiled in controversy. They put out a poll this morning that has a larger Democratic electorate and a smaller Republican electorate than in 2008, the best year Democrats have had since the 80's. No one thinks they'll have a year like that in 2012 and that the electorate may be closer to 2010 than 2008.

No one in this debate understands why PPP's polls before elections are good and their polls prior to that are very Democratic. It's the pattern they went through in 2009-2010 when their polls were also very Democratic. They switched to a likely voter model from a registered voter model, around Labor Day 2010. Suddenly their electorates had a lot more Republicans and less Democrats. The numbers changed dramatically. Their likely voter model was strong. Their registered voter model is from Mars. I'm sure they'll switch again around Labor Day 2012 and then crow about how close they were, hoping we'll once again forget how inaccurate their polls were before then.

Redistricting Scorecard/Democratic Targets

With Pennsylvania and Ohio pretty much completing redistricting this week, there are only two significant states, Florida and New York, which haven't completed redistricting. Texas remains in court and could result in gains of 3 or 4 for each side. Redistricting is hardly over but there won't be a lot of changes.

I get a bit more minute than the Washington Post and factor in seats other than those that'll be directly impacted by redistricting. So I only have Democrats losing 0.4 seats in Indiana but also have the Democrats even or slightly positive in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Republicans have a number of seats which would lean Democratic in most years. They've turned some into seats that lean Republican. That doesn't make them secure and Republicans will likely lose some of these.

If Republicans have a net loss of 1 seat, that's a huge victory, as they'll keep the congressional majority by 24 seats. Republicans don't need to gain seats to win the congressional elections.

If the Democrats want to hit 25 they'll have to win even more of these marginal seats. Here's a rough estimate of how they'll have to do:
They'll need to hold seats in Indiana, Utah, and North Carolina that look lost right now and they'll have to win 2-3 Republican seats in Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, states where they're likely to start one seat behind.

I don't see this as doable, although it is possible.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Newt Can't Sink California for the GOP

NBC LA thinks he would. Presidents do have an impact on congressional elections, but effect of coattails is overrated. People split their tickets. Incumbents usually exceed the Presidential candidate. In 2008 Barack Obama got a higher percentage of the vote in California than every Democrat statewide since 1990. He had long coattails, with the Democrats ending up with 257 congressional seats. He won 8 of the 16 congressional districts where Republicans faced a Democratic opponent. Democrats won none of those seats. Democrats took most of the seats Obama won nationwide, but couldn't manage to get one in California. Here's how incumbent Republicans did compared to John McCain.

Barack Obama got over 53% of the vote nationwide. He's unlikely to have a landslide again. So he should do worse than in 2008 in each state. He did around 6 points better than the average Democrat in California. So he overachieved even his nationwide percentage. It's difficult to believe that Obama will do better than he did in 2008, even with Gingrich. Democrats not only couldn't beat Republicans then but they got beat badly. If they couldn't do it under ideal conditions, they're unlikely to do it in 2012.

Of course there are a few districts that are more Democratic, but have moved that Democratic. Republicans could do worse with Gingrich as the candidate, but it's tough to imagine them doing worse than McCain. Republicans could suffer some losses in 2012, but I doubt Gingrich would really hurt them that much.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bill Kristol's Fantasy

Bill is still sad that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Paul Ryan won't return his love. He thinks someone could enter on February 14 and still win. Setting aside the money and organization issues, this person wouldn't be able to get on the ballot.

By February 14, Bill's fantasy candidate will have missed the filing deadlines in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and DC. He'd have to hustle to file in Pennsylvania that day.

The only primary states he could get on the ballot would be California, Delaware, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and South Dakota. Even with the remaining caucus states, the maximum delegates might be about 25% of the total. I'm working on my math but that sounds like less than half.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


We hear a lot about how voting patterns trend. Usually it's about demographics, but there are geographic trends too. Cook PVI is a measurement of how strongly congressional districts lean toward one political party compared to the nation as a whole. In order to make that determination we use the country's voting breakdown by party.

In 2000, the two party vote was Gore 50.3%, Bush 49.7%. Thus, a district where Gore got 55.3% would be D+5. In 2008, the two party vote was Obama 53.4%, McCain 46.6%. Thus, a district where McCain got 48.6% would be R+2.

By comparing the PVIs in 2008 and 2000 we can see which way a district is going. I've excluded Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Hawaii, and Arizona, as these states had home state bounces for the candidates. I also excluded Indiana. The 2008 results were such an outlier of other results that I believe they're misleading. Other elections haven't indicated the state is turning blue.

This is a chart of California districts which are moving Democratic. While there are a lot of them, there are several factors to consider.

1. The change was only 6-7 points over two elections, the bare minimum to be considered trending.
2. Most of these districts are Safe Democratic. It doesn't help to become safer.
3. The districts have been changed so much that the current district might not have nearly the trend.

We do know that Herger and Campbell were moved to safer districts. McNerney and Capps are now in competitive districts. This may indicate a trend, but some of the new area might be trending the other way.

There are a lot of overwhelming numbers here, mostly 6-8 points. North Dakota and Montana have been trending Democratic, and that might bode well for Democrats as both districts will be open in 2012. Most of the rest of the Republicans were moved to safer districts. So the opportunity might not be there. The OR-1 movement likely indicates Democrats will hold this district in the special election.

This group contains seats moving Republican that are in the south, Ozarks, and Appalachia, all areas that have been talked about as trending. The good news for Democrats is that the districts aren't trending as fast on local races. Still, the districts will likely catch up to the Democrats in the next few years.

This is an interesting and sup rising group. We see that there was a heavy concentration in Massachusetts and the New York metro. It includes 6 of the 9 districts that aren't majority minority. Two of the three other districts are just off this list. This is why Republicans were able to win the NY-9 special (It moved 17 points!) and why the GOP should make sure the redistricted New York metro to have as many competitive districts as possible.

Six of the ten Massachusetts districts are on here and two others are just off this list. As with New York, one of the ones that isn't is majority minority. There figures to be opportunity in Massachusetts some time this decade. Since the Democrats hold all the seats any one that does will be one that presents a Republican opportunity.

Two Palm Beach-Broward, Florida districts are on here. These counties have a lot of people from New York and Massachusetts, so it's possible that some of the people trending Republican have made it down here. The two districts, like New York and Massachusetts, are heavily Jewish. I don't know if this is just coincidence or if it means something. Republicans aren't doing a lot better in heavily Jewish areas around Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

There may be a number of unexpected Republican opportunities some time this decade. The Democrats don't seem to have as many, especially since many of these districts got safer for the GOP.