Monday, July 30, 2012

California Polling

CA-52 - A poll for Democrat Scott Peters has him tied at 40% with Congressman Brian Bilbray.

CA-26 - A poll for Democrat Julia Brownley has her leading Republican Tony Strickland by 4 points.
v CA-24 - As noted earlier, a Republican poll had Republican Abel Maldonado trailing Congresswoman Lois Capps by 2 points.

CA-47 - Dueling polls had Democrat Alan Lowenthal up 11 points in the Democratic poll, but leading Republican Gary DeLong by only 3 in the Republican poll.

You don't usually get this much congressional polling this early, but clearly the parties see California as a major House battleground. I would've expected Scott Peters to be leading based on the primary results. Yet he doesn't lead in his own poll. The Brownley and Lowenthal leads in their polls make sense to me, as I view CA-26 as a toss-up and Lowenthal a good favorite in CA-47. The CA-24 poll is the only one disappointing for the Republicans. I evaluated this race as a toss-up. So Maldonado should be leading in a Republican poll.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dogs and Cats Living Together

As Bill Murray told us some years ago, dogs and cats living together are part of a disaster of biblical proportions. Well, it's happened. If Darrell Issa endorsing Howard Berman wasn't one of the signs of the apocalypse, this surely is. Reps Gary Miller, a Republican, and Joe Baca, a Democrat, are working together to get each other re-elected. They claim it's in the spirit of bipartisanship.

It is, in fact, what the Top Two primary has wrought on California. Miller is running in a Democratic leaning district with a PVI of D+4. Baca is running in a safer Democratic district, D+13, but one where 28% of the voters are registered Republicans. Normally both would be facing foes from the other party. Not in Top Two. Republicans didn't field a candidate in CA-35 and the Democrats fielded 4 candidates in CA-31 who split the vote so that both Miller and fellow Republican Bob Dutton will face off in November.

If there's one thing you can count on is members of congress supporting their own. Both these candidates will need to attract votes from the other party in order to win. They can both hope that the other's endorsement will sell with the opposing party. In fact, Baca is trying to represent more of Miller's current constitutes than he is. Miller could be especially handy if Baca wants to attack Gloria Negrete McLeod's HSR vote without coming out against it.

In a state where people are heavily behind term limits and don't mind inexperienced legislators I doubt selling that they've been in Washington DC a long time will go over well. In fact, I think it'll be a big line of attack for their challengers.

The authors of Top Two wanted candidates to appeal to a wider audience of voters. That won't change in traditional Democratic v. Republican races, but inter-party races will lead to strange bedfellows.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CA-21: John Hernandez finally files an FEC report

I constantly hear about how weak the Republican party is in California, but the Democratic party has really messed up on recruiting for the congressional elections. They blew CA-31. They had no one to run in CA-41 and if they win CA-41 it's due to the presence of so many Democrats. Several of their other recruits, Julia Brownley, Jose Hernandez, Ami Bera, Raul Ruiz, either are from outside the district or lack any legislative experience. An astronaut and an emergency room doctor could be good candidates but you just don't know.

Their best recruit, Alan Lowenthal, is 71 years old and tried to kill the bullet train. I doubt they're excited about sending someone who voted no on HSR to Washington.

Then there's CA-21, another district where Democrats couldn't find anyone. They finally did and it was a Hmong candidate when the Hmong community was outside the district. He lost to John Hernandez. John Hernandez finally turned in his FEC report. He's reporting -$1,641 cash on hand. That's not debt, which is reported separately, but cash on hand. How can you have negative cash on hand?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

California Catch-up

The NRCC is targeting the 4 competitive Democratic open seats with mobile billboards. These aren't that expensive and won't be seen by a lot of people but they will get into the media. I don't know how many votes that gets you, however.

Ex-rep. Ellen Tauscher is backing Eric Swalwell. All of the current congressional delegation are backing Pete Stark but Tauscher cares about the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Stark, who is unapologetically far left, doesn't. In the past being hostile to companies engaged in defense would garner Stark more support with voters. Now that he has to worry about a candidate who can not only take Republicans, but also independents and Democrats, he has to change his tune. And that might be worse for him. No one is going to believe him on the center and right, and the left doesn't like you walking away from their positions. If Swalwell runs a decent campaign, Stark loses.

Polls taken by Republicans and Democrats in CA-47 show very different results. The Republican poll has Alan Lowenthal up 3, while the Democratic one has him up 11. If you take the middle of the two, it's not bad for DeLong, especially considering I have him losing by 10. On the other hand, I have the Capps-Maldonado race as even.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Another Idiotic California Republican Bashing Article

New York Times is piling on about how awful us California Republicans are:
The state party — once a symbol of Republican hope and geographical reach and which gave the nation Ronald Reagan (and Richard M. Nixon) —

Ronald Reagan last ran for statewide office 42 years ago and Richard Nixon won one statewide election 62 years ago. No, the Republican party isn’t the same as it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but I doubt it’s the same anywhere else either.

Registered Republicans now account for just 30 percent of the California electorate, and are on a path that analysts predict could drop them to No. 3 in six years, behind Democrats, who currently make up 43 percent, and independent voters, with 21 percent.

Independent voters are independent of a party. Hence the name. They have been increasing but part of that is that California had a ridiculously low percentage of independents for years. Right not that 21% is one of the lower percentages. In New Jersey 47% are independent. In Massachusetts it’s 52%. In Iowa it’s 39%. Independents recently passed Democrats in Kansas. Did you hear about that?

The people they quote are an odd mix. They quote several disgruntled Republicans who have left the party or are no longer active. How do people who have an ax to grind regarded as experts on the current state of the party? They do quote Tom Del Beccaro and Kevin McCarthy but they don’t address the issues that the disgruntled people do.

The party’s decline in California has occurred even as Republicans have prospered elsewhere. In 2010 — when Republicans made huge gains across the nation — they were wiped out here in races for governor and the Senate.

What they fail to mention is that the last time a Republican won a senate seat in California was in 1988. So this was the party’s 8th consecutive senate loss. Nothing has changed here. Since 1974 Republicans have won 0-2 statewide offices in 7 of 10 elections. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected in an odd recall election that didn’t require the type of campaign that usually is mounted. Republicans have only won 4 of 29 statewide regular elections since 1998 and two of those were for insurance commissioner, and another one was Schwarzenegger’s re-election. The 1980’s were similarly awful.

Obviously that doesn’t paste a rosy picture on the Republican party here, but it’s the same picture that existed in almost every election going back 40 years. In 1986 two Republican statewide candidates got 29.8% and 26.4% of the vote. The lowest in 2010 was 36.1%.

It doesn’t register voters. It doesn’t recruit candidates. It doesn’t raise money. The Republican Party in the state institutionally has become a small ideological club that is basically in the business of hunting out heretics.

This is an odd statement because we are registering voters, recruiting candidates, and raising money. Exactly who is Mr. Schmidt talking to? Can you please name some of these heretics we’re out hunting?

“When you look at the population growth, the actual party is shrinking,” Mr. Schmidt said. “It’s becoming more white. It’s becoming older.

When exactly was the Republican party not white? In 1994, Michael Huffington got 26% of the Latino vote and 14% of the Black vote. In 2010 Carly Fiorina got 29% of the Latino vote and 17% of the Black vote.

In 1992 Bruce Hershenson lost the age 30-44 vote by 12 points, the 45-59 vote by 9, and won the 60+ vote by 11. Carly Fiorina lost the age 30-44 vote by 13 points, the 45-59 vote by 7, and won the 60+ vote by 8. It’s still the same as it was then.

The slide began in 1994, when Republicans rallied around a voter initiative, Proposition 187, that would have made it illegal for the government to provide services for undocumented aliens. That campaign created a political rupture with Hispanics at the very moment when their numbers were exploding.

The slide actually started in 1974, 20 years earlier. As shown above Republican candidates have never done well with Hispanics. So I don’t see a rapture.

Republicans in California are still too closely identified with socially conservative positions — on immigration, the environment, abortion and gay rights — that have put them outside the mainstream in a changing electorate
Democrats made up 57% of the California registrations in 1976. That number dropped every year through 2007. In fact, Democrats dropped from 57% to 42% of the voters during this period. Republicans went from 35% to 34%. There was an uptick when Obama got elected but that trend has continued. Since 2009, Democrats have 284,000 voters and Republicans 220,000. If Republicans are outside the mainstream then Democrats must be even more outside the mainstream.

Republicans hold the same positions they’ve always held and they are doing well in the same places they’ve always done well and are doing poorly in the same places they’ve always done poorly. Where exactly are the Democrats chipping into Republican territory? San Bernardino County where their candidates finished 3rd and 4th in the recent CA-31 primary? The Democrats had a pathetic congressional recruiting class. A year ago they were touting picking up 6-8 congressional seats. Right now it looks like they’ll pick up 0. None. Republicans may even end up gaining a seat or two.

Beating Henry Waxman, The Sequel

Last year I laid out a scenario where Henry Waxman could be beat. If Waxman faced off against a moderate Democrat in a general election, he'd almost certainly lose. The district is Democratic enough that a Democrat will beat a Republican but this is a district that Steve Cooley won in his 2010 race for attorney general.

In a race with a moderate Democrat, however, Waxman would get very little Republican support, since he's widely disliked by Republicans. The Republican areas in the district, south of LAX, have never been represented by him. He's not facing a moderate Democrat but he's not facing a Republican either. His opponent is Republican turned independent Bill Bloomfield. Bloomfield was Republican enough to suck votes away from the Republican on the ballot, Christopher David. Bloomfield spent $1,399,714. David spent $8,182. He spent $7,500 of that on a fundraiser's fee. That's right. The person he hired to fundraise raised pretty much enough to pay her own salary.

Bloomfield blanketed the district with signs, advertising, phone calls, and mailers. He must've sent enough to Republican households to convince them he was the Republican in the race.

Since Bloomfield is running as NPP it's conceivable he could peel off enough Democrats and independents who might not like Waxman or would rather have an independent in office. Waxman has noticed Waxman's plan is to define Bloomfield as a Republican, a label that would destroy Bloomfield's chances.

Bloomfield will try to run as an independent, who like many other independents got fed up with his political party. Do they want a liberal ideologue who's been part of the Washington problem or someone fresh who doesn't owe anything to anyone? It's a powerful message, one that could resonate with independents and Democrats in the South Bay who'll be voting for Barack Obama.

That won't be easy but if people were looking for a centrist result from Top Two, Bloomfield might be it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

County Numbers and District Numbers

It was pointed out to me that I was applying the county number equally to every congressional district in the county. Since it had been reported that Hispanic turn-out was low than surely those districts had the most elevated Republican turn-out.

While I don't have turn-out by congressional district, I do have absentees by congressional district, thanks to Scott Lay. Thanks, Scott. I have no idea why the full election isn't available somewhere. I divided three counties that have multiple districts, with almost all of the districts entirely in the county. What I saw was that there wasn't much of a difference.

In Sacramento County it was the suburban seat, not the urban one, that moves most to the right. Granted, 2% isn't much but the city seat actually was more Democratic. Riverside County has the most Latinos in CA-41, but that was the one that moved the least Republican. San Diego County's majority minority district is CA-51. That did have the most movement towards the Republicans. But it was only slightly higher than others and the second highest shift was in CA-52, the least Latino district. You may note that the numbers on the right are more Republican than those on the left. Assuming everything in the source material is accurate, this likely means that election day voting was more Republican than absentee voting.

I'm loathe to apply the district numbers, since the vote was incomplete and the numbers are all equal to or more Democratic than the final county numbers. It's possible that CA-41 wasn't as Republican as the numbers I used and CA-7 wasn't as Democratic. That'd certainly make a difference, as the formula heavily relies on adjusting turn-out. CA-7 might not be Lungren 55%-45%, but Lungren 53%-47% and an adjustment of 2-3 points would put John Tavaglione slightly ahead of Mark Takano.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

California Congressional Vote Conversion

Now that we know California county participation by party and how it compares to registration we can go about applying it to the congressional races. I’ve used the data two ways to determine November results:

In the first method, I first divided the third party vote between the two candidates 50-50. This is an assumption that anyone can quibble over, but Washington has shown us that the 3rd party vote can go to either candidate. Then I assumed that the race will return to the registered voter difference and adjusted voting accordingly. For example, since Sacramento county had a 7.8% Democratic participation advantage but a 9.6% registration advantage, I adjusted the CA-7 race so that it’s 1.8% closer.

CA-7 will go from 52.7%-41.0% Republican to 55.9%-44.1% Lungren. We then move the district 1.8 points closer and get a 55.0%-45.0% Lungren win. This method is dispassionate. It makes no assumptions and uses a simple formula. You can certainly argue a number of reasons that these numbers are wrong. Maybe one candidate didn’t try that hard in the primary. Or he has a cash advantage and is a strong campaigner. Maybe the district will move more to the left than predicted or maybe less. Maybe the district isn’t quite the same as the county.

Still, this provides us with a number that I’ll say is the center of a range. I believe 9 of these 12 races will be within 3 points of what’s here. Lungren will get 52-58% of the vote.

The second method is a more nuanced approach where I predicted each district’s turnout by county and party and then applied it to the race based on adjustments to share of vote in the district. I tried not to do this with bias and you’ll see many of the numbers are similar. What it does do, however, is account for weak Democratic turn-out in the Central Valley.

I want to emphasize these aren't predictions. In fact, the point here is to remove all subjectivity. This is a conversion of the primary vote to the general election vote based on turn-out. This provides objective data. How other factors will play into the races is up to you. I’ll go from the most Democratic to the least.

CA-47 – I don’t like this result at all. This is in LA County and it’s conceivable I could become involved in this district. I don’t want to be the guy who predicted Gary DeLong would lose big. Certainly with LA and Orange counties have many congressional districts it’s possible I am wrong. I don’t like the idea of saying DeLong can’t win, so I’ll just make it Likely Democratic at this point.

Method A: Lowenthal 55.3%-44.7%
Method B: Lowenthal 55.9%-44.1%

CA-16 – Costa actually did worse in the general election than in the primary in 2010, something that’s rare with Democrats. Yet there was still a high Republican primary turn-out. He doesn’t have much of a C-O-H advantage either. Method B produces a much closer race, but one that Brian Whelan doesn’t come close. Likely Democratic.

Method A: Costa 58.5%-41.5%
Method B: Costa 53.6%-46.4%

CA-3 – This figures to be a tough climb for Kim Vann, although she actually has more C-O-H than incumbent John Garamendi. Likely Democratic.

Method A: Garamendi 53.9%-46.1%
Method B: Garamendi 53.4%-46.6%

CA-52 – I know IJB won’t like this one, but it’s possible that many of the factors I mentioned earlier work in Brian Bilbray’s favor. Maybe Republican turn-out wasn’t as elevated here as it was in the rest of the county. Bilbray figures to run a better campaign than he did in the primary. Bilbray does have more than 9 times C-O-H right now. Lean Democratic

Method A: Peters 52.9%-47.1%
Method B: Peters 53.0%-47.0%

CA-41 – I’m on record that I don’t think much of Mark Takano as a candidate and I’ll stick with that. The numbers are the numbers, however, and they show a Democratic district with elevated Republican primary turn-out. John Tavaglione does have a bigger cash advantage. Toss-up

Method A: Takano 50.9%-49.1%
Method B: Takano 51.0%-49.0%

CA-26 – It’s hard to bet against Republican Tony Strickland, since he has (cue Dr. Evil) $1 million in the bank, more than three times what Julia Brownley has. He is one of the best challengers the Republicans have this cycle. This district is tougher to predict than the ones above, because Linda Parks got so many votes. I think she stole a lot more Democratic votes than Republican ones, based on how Brownley and Strickland did. Toss-up

Method A: Brownley 51.1%-48.9%
Method B: Brownley 50.6%-49.4%

CA-24 – Lois Capps is the only Democrat in a competitive district who has a significant C-O-H advantage right now. Her opponent Abel Maldonado has proven himself to be a strong fundraiser and he has augmented his total with some of his own money. The Republican primary advantage was small, but it should keep this race very close. This is the closest race according to the model, but it’s also one of 4 that are Toss-up, so I won’t predict it’ll be the closest.

Method A: Maldonado 50.2%-49.8%
Method B: Maldonado 50.3%-49.7%

CA-9 – The popular meme is that since Jerry McNerney won in 2010 and his district became slightly more Democratic then he was a shoe-in. He lost the primary by 4 points and the Republican turn-out wasn’t all that remarkable. It’s tough to bet on someone as young as Ricky Gill but he did well in the primary. Another toss-up.

Method A: Gill 50.4%-49.6%
Method B: Gill 50.9%-49.1%

CA-36 – The McNerney meme is also applied to Mary Bono Mack, a candidate who overperformed her district repeatedly. Her 2008 margin over John McCain’s vote total was the largest of any Republican in a competitive district. And she won by 16 points in the primary. My gut says she’ll coast to re-election but Republican turn-out in Riverside county far outpaced Democratic. This wasn’t a situation of high Republican turn-out. In fact, Riverside had one of the lowest Republican turn-outs in the state. Democratic turn-out was pathetic, just as it was in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The GOP has room to grow here, but the Democrats have a ton of room to grow. My gut tells me Likely Republican or even Safe, but the numbers say Lean Republican.

Method A: Bono Mack 52.7%-47.3%
Method B: Bono Mack 52.6%-47.4%

CA-7 – Another district where the narrative doesn’t match up with the results. Bera did very well against Lungren in 2010 and this district is slightly more Obama also. In Sacramento county Republican turn-out was only slightly higher than Democratic turn-out. Bera has room to grow but Lungren has about the same room. The 11.7 point primary deficit should be too much for Bera to overcome. This is a case, however, where the Method B helps the Democrats and indicates that Bera may have a shot. Likely Republican

Method A: Lungren 55.0%-45.0%
Method B: : Lungren 52.8%-47.2%

CA-21 – This is the district Method B was invented for. Republican turn-out was excessive, just as it was in these counties in 2010. Of course in 2010 the Republicans actually did much better in the general than in the primary, the exact opposite of what you’d expect. It appears that Democrats in this district, who are heavily Hispanic, just don’t vote. So it’d be a shock if election day turn-out approaches registration.

The surprise second place finisher, John Hernandez, raised and spent almost nothing on the primary and had a negative C-O-H in May. I understand how you can have debt, but I don’t get how you can get a negative C-O-H. He has yet to report June 30 fundraising, but he’s up against a good candidate. The only way he wins is if Democrats suddenly start turning out here. Likely Republican and that’s only because of registration.

Method A: Valadao 51.2%-48.8%
Method B: : Valadao 54.7%-45.3%

CA-10 Did anyone on earth expect that Jose Hernandez was going to win here? Yes, that was an astronaut joke. Hernandez lost by 21 points in the primary, with Chad Condit and his meager budget taking 15% of the vote. Jeff Denham, on the other hand, is an experienced politician who has run close races before and is a prolific fundraiser. I think it’s Safe Republican, but if I’m not giving Alan Lowenthal safe I won’t here. Likely Republican

Method A: Denham 55.5%-44.5%
Method B: : Denham 55.5%-44.5%

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

California Congressional Primary Analysis Part II

The chart attached here has county party participation and party registration breakdowns for the June 5 California primary. Sacramento County has a 9.6% Democratic registration advantage but only a 7.8% June 5 primary participation advantage. Kern County has a 6.3% Republican registration advantage, but had a 26.1% Republican participation advantage.

The counties are divided into three groups. The first one includes counties which reported turnout by party. The second one has counties that didn’t. Thus, I had to use the Presidential vote. It’s conceivable that this number could be inflated for the Democrats, as minor parties and independents could vote in the Democratic primary. In the past, however, these people accounted for less than 5% of the Democratic vote. Considering that the Democratic Presidential primary was non-competitive, even 5% would be a high estimate. This number doesn’t include undervotes, a ballot where the voter left their Presidential choice blank. Democratic voters had no real alternative to President Obama and some may have left President blank as protest. We’ve certainly seen a lot of protest voting in other states.

The last group are the counties which don’t have competitive congressional races. While I believe these numbers to be accurate I wasn’t as concerned about them. Overall, Democrats had a 13.1% registration advantage, but only a 5.3% participation advantage. The November participation advantage should be close to the registration advantage, although this will vary by county.

I’d like to do this by congressional district but those numbers aren’t available from the county election sites or the SoS. So I’m going with what I have and attempting to extrapolate.

We see a wide variance by county. The Central Valley counties of Kings, Merced, Tulare, Kern, Fresno, and Madera had incredibly inflated Republican participation. As I showed in my last blog post, this isn’t a surprise. Central Valley voting is far more Republican than registration, likely due to the Democratic registration heavily relying on Hispanics, who are low propensity voters. Another area with heavily inflated turnout is Southern California. Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties all showed a heavy Republican turn-out.

On the other hand, there were areas where Republican turnout wasn’t very inflated. Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Yolo counties were all either had slight elevated Republican turnout or had elevated Democratic turnout. These counties border each other, so that hardly seems to be a coincidence.

These numbers tell me that we can’t assume that every district won’t move uniformly toward the Democrats by the same amount. As I showed in my last post, districts do tend to move toward registration but they do so by different amounts. Sometimes they move further and other times far less. Still I think the difference between registration and participation is a good one to look at when determining how far left a county will move.

Southern California is likely to move far more than Northern California. Democrats should get optimistic about increased turnout in districts like CA-41 and CA-47, but shouldn’t expect things to get a lot better in CA-7 and 9. I’ll get into analysis with my next post.

Monday, July 16, 2012

California Congressional Primary Analysis Part I

The first step to determining the results in the fall elections in California is understanding the relationship between the primary electorate and the general election electorate. Many people understand that the primary electorate was more Republican than the general election will likely be. The primary was 43%D/37%R/20%I. The general election electorate in California closely mirrors registration, according to exit polls. Registration is 43%D/30%R/27%I.

Things become problematic when people make the assumption that since the November election will be more Democratic/less Republican and thus Democrats will compete in a lot of districts. The first assumption is probably true in most, but not all, cases, and the second assumption applies the first assumption equally everywhere.

Unfortunately, the data needed to study those assumptions isn’t readily available. The Secretary of State has provided party participation numbers by county for the primary in the past, but has yet to do so this year. They don’t break this data down by congressional, assembly, or senate districts. They provide no party information for the general election.

Fortunately, many of the California counties do provide the information broken down by party, although some use a format that doesn’t. By going county by county, I do have party participation numbers for those counties. For the others I used total votes in the Presidential primary. This method overestimates Democrats, because independents are allowed to participate in their Presidential primary. Past primaries have shown independents to make up less than 5% of the Democratic electorate, however, and this Presidential primary wasn’t likely to draw many crossover voters. So the increase may have been negligible. Secondarily, the counties usually doesn’t count under votes, ballots where the voter left the Presidential box empty or didn’t fill it in properly. There are more of these than you’d think, especially considering that Democrats unhappy with Barack Obama didn’t have a lot of choice to lodge a protest vote.

Before we get into this year’s numbers, let’s look at the 2010 numbers. Since the counties don’t break turnout down by congressional district, I’ve had to apply the county numbers to each of the districts within that county. That’s not exact, because there’s no reason to think all the districts have the same turnout characteristics. Still, I was able to get an approximation of how the primary vote/participation and general election vote/participation went for the more competitive districts.

CA-3, now largely in CA-7, is in Sacramento county. At the time of the June 2010 primary, Democrats had a 13.3% registration advantage in the county. Yet they participated only 6.2% higher. If the general election electorate moved to registration you’d expect a similar move in the primary to general vote. Dan Lungren won the primary by 18.6%, but only won the general election by 6.9%. So the general moved further in the Democratic direction than you’d expect.

All in all, 6 of these 11 competitive districts didn’t move as Democratic as you’d expect, but 5 moved more Democratic than expected in 2010. In most districts there wasn’t a consistent election to election pattern. CA-3 in 2006 had 2.7% higher Republican participation than registration in the primary, but the general actually went the other way. Lungren won the primary by 13.9% and won the general by 19.6%. For most districts I’ll assume that the results will move similarly to registration.

The one exception to this is the Central Valley. In the two Central Valley districts in 2010, Republican participation was dramatically higher in the primary than registration, but the move wasn’t nearly as big in the general. In fact, CA-20 moved heavily the other way. This confirms that the Central Valley has a lot of registered Democrats that don’t vote. So I wouldn’t expect the new Central Valley districts to vote closer to the registration in the general election.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Republicans drop Prop. 40

In a move that should surprise no one, the backers of Prop. 40, the prop to overturn the senate maps, have decided not to back it. The California Supreme Court was supposed to impose interim maps because the current maps would be suspended if the proposition made the ballot. They chose to use the current maps as interim maps.

This year's districts are not only drawn in an unfavorable manner but the ones included give Democrats a seat in Riverside county for two years that they won't be able to defend in 2014. Republicans have 6 current senators up in 2014. The commission could've put 6 safe Republican seats up that year. Instead they took one away from 2012 and put it into 2014. They are certain to win 7 and may win as many as 9.

Almost any other court drawn map would be better for Republicans in 2012, but it's possible a new map drawn for 2014 could be drawn in a similar unfavorable way that the GOP would only have 5 safe seats. They'd put those 2 additional seats up in 2016. Knowing that if the proposition passes the GOP end up being in worse shape the backers of Prop. 40 decided not to support it.

It's a wise move.

Friday, July 6, 2012

HSR passes California senate 21-16

I'm not sure of the exact roll call vote, since three Democrats Joe Simitian, Mark DeSaulnier, and Alan Lowenthal reportedly voted against it. It got 19 votes initially before Roderick Wright and Gloria Negrete McLeod provided the last two votes. Negrete McLeod cost herself the Republican vote in November and seals Joe Baca's re-election. All Baca has to do is send a mailer to every Republican in his district that Negrete McLeod was the decisive vote for HSR. He gets at least 70% of the Republican vote.

I'm going to be dispassionate about this, but the senate voted to spend money we don't have on a project that won't ever be finished because they won't come up with the rest of the money. I guess we can increase the Cal State and UC tuition costs to pay off these bonds. Maybe lay off some teachers.

How Negrete-McLeod wins the election

State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod is in for a tough election against fellow Democrat and incumbent Joe Baca. While the June vote doesn't count in November, her 9 point drubbing puts her behind the congressman. CA-35 has a Republican registration of 27.3%. While that's not a lot, it's the highest of any district where two Democrats are running against each other. Meg Whitman got 36% of the two party vote. Carly Fiorina got 38%. Even John McCain got 33%.

There'll be a good share of Republican voters in the fall and no Republican for them to vote for. How can the candidates get them? My advice has been not to pander, but instead find something that makes you more attractive to the other party that doesn't hurt you with your own. There's a major vote today in the state senate on high speed rail. Republicans, for the most part, oppose the high speed rail project. All 15 Republican state senators are expected to vote against it. A vote against the project, particularly if it fails would enable her to walk into any Republican meeting with a talking point and would fit perfectly on a mailer. On the other hand, Joe Baca can send a mailer highlighting her "yes" vote. He might've also voted "yes," but the doesn't have to vote. It's a huge issue that could put her from losing Republicans 20%-15% to winning them 25%-10%. Yes, it really could be worth 10 points in the polls.

What about Democrats? There are twice as many in the district. That'd be a gamble, but Ontario isn't exactly Santa Monica. This isn't a progressive haven and the bullet train won't be coming anywhere near here. The project doesn't figure to be as popular here as it would be there. She could sell it as saving money for a higher priority, like schools.

It's a tough vote and could be a tough sell for Democrats. But it'd likely lock up Republicans in one swoop.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Prognosticators realize Democrats won't win the House

Below are how each prognosticator has the seats distributed. I use a formula of 1.0 seats for a safe seat 0.8 for a likely seat, 0.6 for a lean seat, 0.5 for a toss-up, 0.4 for a lean seat for the other party, and 0.2 for a likely to the other party. The numbers in parentheses are from last month.

Everyone has around 210 Likely/Safe Republican.The predictions are actually catching up with their district by district forecasts.
The Hill projects Democrats will pick up 10 to 15 seats, leaving them short of the 25 seats needed to win the House.

A seat-by-seat breakdown of the ratings would yield Democrats fewer seats than the 10-15 projected, but they have less vulnerable seats to defend than the GOP and they lead by a few percentage points on the generic Congressional ballot, giving them more upside for greater pickups.
From the Rothenberg Political Report:
Our current estimate stands between a +1 gain for Republicans and a +6 gain for Democrats.
From the Cook Political Report:
An analysis of the race-by-race landscape tracks the partisan data pretty closely. The Cook Political Report rates 211 House seats as solid or likely Republican, compared with 171 as solid or likely Democratic. If the 24 toss-up races split evenly between the parties, Democrats would score a net gain of just a single seat. Even if Democrats held everything in their solid, likely, and lean columns and also won every toss-up, they would still need to take two-thirds (12 of 18) of the districts rated lean Republican to win a majority. That's a pretty unlikely scenario, absent a strong wind at their backs.