Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dispatch Ohio Poll

The Columbus Dispatch has an unusual way of polling. They mail out questionnaires and publish the results of those returned. As near as I can tell, so this poll is older, Whiter, and more female than Ohio likely would be. That'd normally favor Republicans, but Republicans didn't return nearly as many questionnaires as Democrats did.
In August, almost exactly the same number of Democrats and Republicans responded to the Dispatch Poll. But after the mail-poll ballots went out this time to registered Ohio voters chosen exactly the same way — at random by a computer — more Democrats returned the poll forms than did Republicans. The breakdown: 43 percent Democrat, 35percent Republican,
In the poll, Obama beat McCain 55%-43%, while he won 51%-47%. Strickland won 50%-47%. I'm sure Ted Strickland will be glad to hear he's been governor of Ohio for the last two years.

Once again we're confronted with the idea of whether Democrats being more willing to answer polls means more Democrats will go to the polls. This seems like an odd conclusion to me, but the pollsters think the former means the latter.

Friday, September 28, 2012

CA-30: Sherman attempts to hand election to Berman

Earlier this week, an independent poll came out showing Brad Sherman with a 13 point lead. Howard Berman had no real path to victory, as Sherman was winning every demographic group as well as Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

Brad Sherman has handed Howard Berman a gift, calling for a blanket amnesty of the undocumented, which not only will anger Republicans, but working class Democrats who see the undocumented as stealing their jobs. I'm not aware of anyone else who is calling for everyone here illegally to be legalized, let alone unionized. Go Brad.

The date on the link suggests Sherman did this two weeks ago. Since that was before the poll came out one might assume that it's no big deal. Well, the reason I found out about is that two very influential San Fernando Valley Republicans, both publicly natural, were sharing the link on Facebook and talking about defeating Brad Sherman. Republicans will read about it and share it. It'd one thing to support the Dream Act, which is limited to people under 30 who came here before age 16 and have either completed college or the military, and calling for a work permit for people who slipped across the boarder yesterday.

Can Howard Berman exploit this?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gallup Explains

Gallup is the latest pollster to defend their polls, with a long rambling repetitive non-answer that sheds no light on how they choose their sample, what they weight for, and how they weight it.
So, if one sees a poll saying that Obama is leading Romney by nine points in Florida, then one should ask how likely it is that Obama will exceed his 2008 margin by six points.
What is there to discuss if we ignore party ID? What issues do we discuss? I wish someone could explain to me how I'm supposed to evaluate the results.The pollster argument seems to be that our poll is good because it's good. The major question we should ask is that if they choose to weight for race, gender, and age, as most pollsters do, are all 36 year old White males interchangeable?

The idea that party ID is something fungible that people change from poll to poll seems far-fetched to me. Almost everyone I know hasn't changed their party since I've known them. There are 30 states that have party registration. That is something that is fixed and people will answer with it most of the time when asked the question of what party they belong to.

Most of the people claiming party ID is meaningless try to not answer questions about it, Hugh Hewitt spent a lot of time with Steven Shepard of National Journal before he said this:
SS: I would write that if in a random sample of voters in a given state, or across the country, if 99% were identifying themselves as Democrats, but the poll was adequately weighted according to race, according to gender, according to age, I would look at education, I would look at income. And if everything else checked out, I would say well, maybe there’s an important shift going on.
Simply put that if the demographics of those polled matched up to his perceived Demographic breakdown of the electorate, a poll with 99% Democrats wouldn't be a problem, but recognize that 99% of people are now Democrats.

I'm dumbfounded.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quinnipiac polls

Unnoticed by people in today's Quinnipiac polls, are that Obama wins PA Blacks 99%-0% and Ohio Blacks 98%-0%. So every Black Republican I know in both states are voting for President Obama, even those like former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

The Daily Caller points out that Quinnipiac is under sampling evangelicals and people making $100,000 or more.

Here's a little something on Florida party ID and how they do it there.

Democratic landslide coming?

Another Day Another Group of Polls with Democrats

New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac is out with surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, all of which have big leads for Barack Obama. One person I know declared the race over after seeing the polls. Jim Geraghty weighed in noting that Ohio is D+9, compared to D+8 in 2008, Pennsylvania is now D11, compared to D+7 in 2008, and Florida has gone to D+9 compared to D+3.

Each poll shows a massive exodus from the Republican party. with turn-out in the high 20's in each state. Florida and Pennsylvania are states Republicans regularly win the vote for most statewide offices and Ohio is one that's more evenly split. If there were such party divides I don't see how Republicans would win any statewide elections in these states.

One explanation floated out there is that Republicans have decided to stop identifying themselves as Republicans and are now identifying themselves as independents. Some independents are now identifying themselves as Democrats. The problem here is that the Republicans now calling themselves independents are voting like independents, splitting their vote between Romney and Obama as Romney has little advantage even though Democratic leaning independents are supposedly moving to that party.

Jim Geharty offers the explanation he's hearing is that they are Tea Party people who are fed up with the GOP. Of course they were still identifying themselves as Republicans in 2010 when the Tea Party was really angry at Republicans and they're voting Obama. Does that sound like any Tea Party people you know?

Jay Cost also weighs on this situation, quite skeptically.

What people aren't noticing is the racial vote. McCain won Ohio Whites 52%-46% in 2008. Here Romney is winning them 49%-46%. McCain won Florida Whites 56%-42%. Romney is winning them 52%-46%. McCain won Pennsylvania Whites 51%-48%. Obama and Romney are tied at 48%. Contrary to all the polling how Obama is declining dramatically with White voters, New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac has Obama surging.

I'm still waiting for an intelligent defense of these samples.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vote by Race in 2012

The Hill has published an article with the premise that there's no reason to not expect minority participation to be at 2008 levels, especially since their population increased. There are reasons, of course, as voter enthusiasm was higher to elect the first minority President.

Setting that aside, the big argument isn't with minority voters. It's with White voters. In the two party vote, Barack Obama got 44.5% of them in 2008. That beat Al Gore's 43%, John Kerry's 41.5%, and far exceeded the 38% share for congressional Democrats in 2010. President Obama's job approval among White voters has been under 40% for some time. The problem with these polls is that they assume all 36 year old White males who make $50,000 are interchangeable. So they include White Democrats instead of White Republicans

Pew has Obama getting 46.2% of Whites in a pro-rated two party vote. Fox has him getting 43.4%. I think he's going to get in the 40% range, but it could be lower.

The Party ID Argument

Republicans have been loaded with criticism on poll party ID. As is typical with the media there's no real evaluation of Republican critique, simply a dismissal that Republicans are crazy and only listen to Rush and watch Fox News. Of course I haven't seen anything on other news sources to explain this enivornment.

Above are a summary of polls from the two weeks ending last Friday, September 21. The top numbers are exit polling party ID in the last four elections. The party ID for recent polls is below. Highlighted in yellow are party ID samples which are out of the range established in the last four elections. In 19 polls, there are more Democrats than there have ever been. In 11 polls there are less Republicans than there have ever been. In one poll there's less Democrats, but that poll also has less Republicans.

When you look at voter turnout there are always a cause and effect. There are usually major reasons one party is popular/unpopular and the party faithful are excited/disillusioned. An unpopular President can invigorate the opposition and disillusion the party, as George W. Bush did in 2008. I don't think Democrats are disillusioned, but the polls reflect Republicans being more disillusioned and not voting than 2008. A lot more.

What these critics never address is whether they really believe Virginia will only have 24% Republicans and explain why Republicans would be 9% below anything we've ever seen. Their answer on why this year is more Democratic than 2008 is, "'Cause it is."

Edit: Here Jim Geraghty provides evidence that this year definitely should be more Republican than 2008.

2nd Edit: Geraghty is asking the same questions I am.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Likely Voters

Who is actually going to vote in this election and are these the people pollsters are measuring?

While they don't indicate their screen, I believe that some pollsters have a "likely voter" question that's opt in. Whatever they do, their likely voter pool is typically 85-90% of the registered voters. The problem with that is that in 2008 only 71% of registered voters turned out for the election. And that was the highest since 1992. So what they have here is people who say they'll vote, but won't end up voting and a bloated likely voter pool.

If pollsters weigh all their likely voters the same, they are coming up with results that don't reflect the actual electorate. That doesn't mean the polls are wrong but there are people who'll insist 9 ways to Sundays that they'll vote and won't.

I was down at Gary DeLong's campaign office yesterday and discussed "likely" voters. I don't know if this information is available anywhere else but in California you can find out how many times a person has voted in recent elections. They count the last 6 but I'm not sure which ones they count. I know they count 2010, 2008, and 2006 general elections, as well as the 2012 primary. I don't know if 2004 is in there.

Anyone who has voted 4-6 of the last 6 elections is a likely voter. Those who've voted in 0-2 are unlikely voters. Anyone newly registered is a likely voter. I don't know how they handle people who were too young to vote in that many elections and there's nothing indicating whether someone is new to California.

Still, their screen enables them to concentrate on the likely voters. When they poll, they separate the voters into the two groups. While we like to know the overall polling numbers, I don't think that interests them. This enables them to not be concerned with how much weight should unlikely voters should get.

I think this is a great way to separate the two groups. I'd be far less concerned about how the campaign was polling with unlikely voters. Around 90% of likely voters will turn out, but I'd guess only 40-60% of unlikely voters will. It's sort of like walking the slugger to face the weak hitter or double covering the other team's star. You know you can get beat, but you'll take your chances.

California Registration 60 days before the election

Have you all been waiting for the “60 days before the election” registration report from the state of California? Is it just me?

Since May Democratic registration is up 36k, while Republicans are up 11k and independents/3rd parties are up 59k. Yes, the trend in California to independent registration is continuing. Democratic registration is down 0.06% to 43.33% and Republican registration is down 0.13% to 30.11%. Democratic registration was declining faster than Republican registration, as a percentage of the total, in 2010 and 2011, but Republican registration fell faster this year.

What should be even more of a concern is that neither party has shown a decline in registration in a Presidential election year since 1976. Both declined this year.

Let’s look at the districts that’ll be important in November.

CA-3: 2011: D+9.3% May: D+8.3% Sept: D+8.2%
John Garamendi’s district has been trending Republican, but Democratic registration declined only slighter faster than Republican registration since May. There’s enough Democratic registration edge here that Garamendi should win.

CA-7: 2011: D+0.8% May: R+0.3% Sept: D+0.8%
Well, this is unfortunate for the GOP. Since May, Democrats have added roughly 3,500 voters to their roles, while Republicans have dropped around 200. This completely reverses the entire Republican trend putting the district back where it was when it was drawn. This certainly won’t help Dan Lungren, but Republicans usually win with a slight registration disadvantage.

CA-9: 2011: D+9.5% May: D+7.3% Sept: D+9.8%
Another Northern California district that was strongly trending Republican, only to have all the GOP gains reversed. I’ve been bullish on this district for the GOP, partially due to the registration trend. I’ve had it as a toss-up, but it’s at least Lean Democratic, perhaps even Likely Democratic now. This may have saved McNerney’s skin.

CA-10: 2011: D+4.8% May: D+1.8% Sept: D+0.6%
Here’s a Northern California district that was strongly trending Republican and still is. Jeff Denham killed in June and the district is more Republicans now. Anyone thinking that Hernandez has a good shot… is wrong. [I wanted to put a bad spaceman pun there, but I’ll spare you from it.]

CA-16: 2011: D+14.9% May: D+14.5% Sept: D+14.6%
There hasn’t been a lot of change here in the last two years. In a normal district this’d be too Democratic for a Republican to win. Hispanic heavy districts tend to have lower Democratic turn-out, leaving the GOP with a shot. I don’t think it’s a good one, however.

CA-21: 2011: D+10.9% May: D+13.3% Sept: D+14.7%
This Central Valley district is turning away from Republicans at a fast pace, but many of the Democrats are also low turn-out Hispanics. I know it looks like a big difference, but this is the Central Valley, the Democrats don’t have a candidate and David Valadao is a good candidate. Eventually the Democrats should win this district.

CA-24: 2011: D+3.6% May: D+3.0% Sept: D+2.5%
Here’s a district that’s trending Republican. Considering it was so close in June the additional Republicans could make a difference for Abel Maldonado.

CA-26: 2011: D+5.6% May: D+4.5% Sept: D+4.5%
It hasn’t changed since May. Neither side has an advantage.

CA-33: 2011: 44.4%D May: 43.9%D Sept: 43.9%D
I list the Democratic percentage because for challenger Bill Bloomfield to knock off Congressmen Henry Waxman, he’ll need to win over 80% of the non-Democrats. That’s a tall order, no matter how independent he might be. Even taking 90% of Republicans would mean he’d have to grab 70% of independents. No one does that in a close race. Bloomfield would need to chip away at Waxman’s Democrats. That’d seem unlikely.

Yet Bloomfield’s hope of getting Democrats is based on that Waxman having never represented anyone south of the airport. Waxman is a Democratic icon, and fits very well with Westside progressives. The beach cities have a slight Republican lean. Democrats there lean more to families than young progressives.Bloomfield can rack up margins with Republicans on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, but he’ll have to snipe Democrats in the South Bay to have a shot.

CA-36: 2011: R+2.4% May: R+1.6% Sept: R+1.2%
The registration advantage is lessening but Republicans almost always win districts with registration advantages. This is Mary Bono Mack’s district. She’s a tough campaigner and Democrats have no history of winning outside of Palm Springs. Bono Mack might not survive the next ten years and this district should be very competitive if Bono Mack retires.

CA-39: 2011: R+8.3% May: R+7.9% Sept: R+7.8%
CA-45: 2011: R+17.1% May: R+16.9% Sept: R+16.8%

I include Ed Royce and John Campbell’s districts because Democrats have strong challengers and think they have a shot. Democrats have trouble in any district with a Republican registration advantage, let alone ones as large as this one. Both Democrats were blown out in June and will be again in November.

CA-41: 2011: D+6.6% May: D+8.3% Sept: D+3.2%
Republicans have added nearly 20,000 people to their rolls in this district. That’s remarkable, but we should remember that the GOP here is a well oiled machine and the Democrats are still waiting for their first Riverside County congressional win. The Democratic registration advantage is tiny compared to CA-3, 9, and 26 and this district has a lot of low turn-out Hispanics.

CA-47: 2011: D+10.6% May: D11.4% Sept: D+11.6%
Registration has moved a little toward the Democrats, but not enough to impact the election.

CA-52: 2011: R+3.0% May: R+3.1% Sept: R+3.1%
There really is no excuse for a Republican not winning a district with this kind of registration advantage. Republican performance in June was lackluster, however, and Scott Peters can’t be dismissed.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sherman leading Berman

An independent poll has come out in the CA-30 grudge match between Democratic congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman. It's very good news for Sherman and very bad for Berman. Sherman leads by 11 points, 37%-26%, which is always an uphill climb. Berman's camp can sight that Sherman is far below the 50% he'll need to win and a lot of undecided voters.

Unfortunately for Berman, it's difficult to see him winning over enough of those undecideds to bridge the gap. If we assume those that answered the survey are set, then the remaining 41% are who they're after. Brad Sherman is leading with men and women, Whites, Asians, and Hispanics, every religion, every income level, and education level except one. Berman leads by 1 point with conservatives.

The problem there is that there aren't many conservatives in the district. Sherman leads with Republicans, assumably doing better with those who identify as moderate. Howard Berman is that he needs to win 65% of the remaining voters. If this were a Republican running against a Democrat, he could count on 90% of his party, but Howard Berman has no core constituency that'll get that for him. He won't pick up 90% of any remaining group. So he has to turn around every group with 65% of their votes. That won't happen.

Berman has to flip voters who are already leaning Sherman to win this race. Maybe he should campaign with Mitt Romney to get more Republicans. It really wouldn't hurt.

Edit: I should mention that Berman sought the Republican Party of Los Angeles County endorsement (RPLAC). The discussion ended when it was pointed out that the RPLAC charter prohibits the Republican organization from endorsing anyone that's not a Republican.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The trouble with this week's polls

We've seen a deluge of polls from multiple pollsters this week giving the election a strong Democratic skew.

This seems questionable to me for a few reasons. There's been no major event like the fiscal meltdown. Minor body blows might decide an election but not result in a massive shift. Gallup's poll shows that Romney's "47%" comment didn't change much with a lot of people. Gallup did this with aided recall. So many people may not have been aware of the video or not heard it the way Gallup described it.

Obama's RCP average is lower than it was a little over a week ago. A lot of the gains come from polls taken entirely in the last few days. If something sudden like that happens, it may not last.

The polls aren't moving Democratic because Democrats are picking up more Republicans or independents. In fact, Romney is often winning independents. They are going up because the samples are much heavier Democratic than what's been used in the past. That means the pollsters are seeing something that tells them that both Democrats and Republicans will show up at around 2008 levels. I don't know what suggests that but usually independents shift strongly to candidates who are winning big. You don't see someone winning by 6 points and losing independents.

One thing that's been pointed out is that pollsters who call cell phones are the ones who are moving toward the Democrats, while those that don't are remaining stable. Democrats will argue that their voters get the short shrift with automated pollsters. Those polls have also had a heavier than expected Democratic skew. It's one that has been as heavy as cell phone pollsters.

Several people have mentioned they see no reason for a sudden shift and skepticism that this is 2008 all over again is well-founded. Democrats aren't as enthusiastic as 2008 and many Obama voters are disillusioned. That doesn't mean he won't win, just that he doesn't have the enthusiastic support of 2008. Republicans in 2008 were despondent and didn't show up at the polls. That isn't the case now. Of course 2008 had several events to support the atmosphere, namely the economy.

This year we haven't seen strong Democratic electoral gains we saw in 2008 and 2010 that showed a skewed environment. Scott Walker did better than expected in Wisconsin, exceeding his 2010 margin. California's top two had Republicans and Democrats competing in open primaries mirroring the general election. Republicans showed up. Democrats didn't. Washington's top two showed no skew to either party.

None of these elections should tell us that Republicans will have a good election, but none of them give any indication the Democrats will.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The 47%

The video depicting Mitt Romney dissing the 47% should hurt him. People don't want to be called a victim or told they're dependent on the government.

It might not hurt him at all. Half of these people earn too little to pay any taxes. Obama beat McCain 73%-25% with people who earn less than $15,000 per year. Romney could lose some votes in this group, but these people likely aren't voting Republican because of their fiscal policy anyway. If you voted for McCain over abortion, traditional marriage, or the Republican foreign policy you're not jumping ship because Mitt Romney thinks you're a victim.

I'm guessing that many of the remainder fall into a few categories. Some people don't pay Federal income tax but think they do. These people might get Federal income tax deducted from the paycheck and get it refunded April 15. They might think that means they still paid taxes or aren't aware that they got it all back. Others who pay payroll or state taxes assume they are paying Federal income tax.

Some of these people resent the freeloaders without realizing they're one of them.

Romney talked about the culture of dependency where people get Federal help. Some believe they aren't getting it. They might not view Social Security or Medicare as Federal help, since it's their money not the government's. Or they may not consider the money they're getting to be Federal help. They know the welfare mom is the real recipient of all that money.

If people view themselves as victims, then they can't really be that insulted by what Mitt said. Others don't view themselves as a victim even if they have a victim mentality. They do know the other guy, however, is the one with the real victim mentality.

In 2008, Barack Obama famously said that people in Western Pennsylvania were clinging to their guns and religion. In that case, people not only acknowledged that they were clinging to these things, but saw that as a good thing, not a bad one. So it was a diss. Few will think the same about someone who pays no taxes or takes government money.

This should hurt Mitt with the 47%, but many of the ones he has a shot at agree with him.

Don't throw dirt on Mitt Romney yet

The media has wanted to declare Mitt Romney dead a number of times and the Washington Post declares Romney needs to "turn the 2012 race around." Let's not throw dirt on Mitt Romney yet. He''s behind by 3 points in the Real Clear Politics average. In 2004, there were 14 polls taken during the September 15 and September 18 period. George W. Bush led by an average of 5.5 points. During the first week of October that was down to 1.7 points. Bush surged. Then Kerry did. The final result was George W. Bush by 2.4. Things will change.

The state polls are even closer. The attached spreadsheet has polling state by state. My averages differ from RCP's somewhat because I don't use polls that are months old when there is a new one. Just a quick key of how to read it.

1. The first two columns are Obama-McCain percentages, followed by the difference.
2. The next column is the expected margin based on 2008 and the national change. The national change is 4.1%.
3. The next two columns are the current poll and the difference between the two.
4. The last two are how much a state has moved and the current PVI.
5. I then translated the margins into expected state by state turn-out and found that Barack Obama actually leads Mitt Romney by 2.5%, not 3.0% in the state polls. 6. On the far left are the number of August-September polls and how many of them are post-convention.

If Mitt Romney picks up two points in Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Virginia, he'll have 273 electoral votes. That seems like his path to victory is narrow and right now it is. But he's down by 3.0 points in the national polls and no one is going to win the electoral college if he finished that far back. If Romney can move the national polls by 2-4 points, some of these may move into his column that are beyond that 2-4 points.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Presidential Polls and State of the Race

Last weekend, September 7-10, saw a number of national polls, many of which had a convention bounce for Bill Clinton Barack Obama. Since then, however, Gallup's 7 day tracking poll has moved from Obama +7 to Obama +3 and Rasmussen has moved from Obama +5 to Romney +2. A tracking poll is one that polls every day, reporting the results of the last 7 days with Gallup and the last three with Rasmussen. Thus, the oldest date drops out when a new one comes in. There has been one national poll that has been conducted since the bounce should have faded.

There have been a number of swing state polls. When you see them, look at party ID. PPP has D+13 in North Carolina and Marist has D+10 in Ohio. There's no way the electorate will be that Democratic. It appears the media is using 2008 as their baseline and sticking with somewhere within a few points either way. That's irresponsible.

The polls which came out at the end of last week were less favorable to Obama and those this week may be more so. So don't judge on a few numbers you might hear without looking at when the survey was conducted and what they're using for party ID.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Riverside Republican Registration

The 60 days prior numbers haven't come out from the state but Riverside County has theirs out.As I mentioned yesterday there was a big Republican registration surge.Below are the May and September registration numbers for contested Congressional, Senate, and Assembly districts in the county.

Riverside county

There has been a dramatic rise in CA-41 Republican registration since May. Republicans won in June 55%-45%. That was certainly with elevated Republican turn-out, but these numbers indicate that while many Democrats who didn't turn out may go to the polls, thee are a lot of new Republicans that should offset that. This was definitely a Democratic leaning district, but now it's fairly neutral.

CA-36 has been mostly flat with a slight Democratic edge. That's okay, considering that Mary Bono Mack won in June 58%-42%.

SD-31 is a district Republicans need to win to prevent the Democrats from getting 2/3 of the vote. They've wipe out the Democratic registration advantage. That wipes out the Democrats big advantage in this district.

AD-61 also looked tougher. Republicans did beat Democrats by 7 points in June, but the big registration advantage in the district made it look daunting to repeat the feat. Maybe not.

There was speculation that AD-60 would be competitive because Barack Obama won it. Republicans romped in June and the district is a lot more Republican now.

Democrats do not win elections in Riverside County. The Riverside Democratic Party's track record makes their Orange County counterpart look like the '27 Yankees. So they don't have elected officials to run.

The big change is that there have never been districts this Democratic. Due to the new term limit rules, anyone elected this year can serve 12 years in the same house of the legislature. If Democrats are ever going to win races, it has to be here and it should be now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SD-31: Interesting turns

The Democrats' goal is to take 2/3 of the California state senate and the Republicans have drawn that as a line in the stand. You may hear that SD-5 and SD-39 are in play. They aren't. SD-5 will go Republican and SD-39 will go Democratic. That'll give Democrats 26 seats to the Republicans' 12. There are two districts that'll be competitive and Republicans need to take both to prevent Democrats from getting 2/3. One of those districts is SD-27 in Ventura County.

The other is SD-31 in Riverside County. Republicans now have a registration advantage of 162 seats in the district. Why is this a big deal? In May, Democrats had a 4% registration advantage and led by almost 15,000 voters. This is a toss-up district and such a change could be a deciding factor.

The Democratic response is puzzling. They have affidavits that dozens of voters were re-registered as Republicans. Dozens? If 150 people were re-registered incorrectly, that's 1% of the 15,000. It doesn't change the dramatic shift in the district. And really, why does it matter that they may have registered people in the wrong party? People don't have to vote for the party they're registered with and they can always re-register as Democrats.

Last week Democrat Steve Clute, who lost to Democratic candidate Richard Roth in the primary has been endorsed Assemblyman Jeff Miller, the Republican in the race. Will this mean anything? Clute got 20% of the vote in the primary. If Miller can pick up a good share of these voters, he'll win. Will Clute share his mailing list? Will he campaign for Miller? Stay tuned.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Today's Polls

There are two national polls out today, one from Investor's Business Daily and the other from CNN. The CNN poll closely aligns with the numbers from Rasmussen and Gallup, while the IBD number of Obama +2 shows a closer race.

While Rasmussen and Gallup don't publish party ID, CNN does. They're using party ID of 40%D/29%R/31%I. In 2008, party ID was Democrats +7. So a Democrats +11 party ID advantage would indicate a landslide of historic proportions. Anyone else feeling that?

An Obama +4.5 advantage is 2.6 points closer than 2008, but 4.5 points more Obama than pre-convention. We have the following state polls

North Carolina:
PPP - Obama +1
SurveyUSA - Romney +10

New Mexico:
Albuquerque Journal - Obama +5

PPP - Obama +5

We don't know how well these three states reflect the country as a whole. We're going with what we have for national, so we'll have to use these for the states. The two PPP numbers are similar to what Obama won the states by in 2008. So, a 2.6 point swing would be too much.

The problem, however, is that when the national average was even PPP was Obama +3 in Ohio and even in North Carolina. So, while the national average has moved 4.5 points toward Obama, PPP moved only 2 and 1 point toward Obama.

The other two polls indicate a stronger shift towards Romney. Obama +5 in New Mexico and Romney +10 in North Carolina represent a roughly 10 point shift from 2008. If national shifted by 10 points, Romney wins by 3. It's too early to tell, but I'm skeptical there's been much of a shift.

CA-30: We love Republicans

Last week we heard how horrible Republicans were at the Democratic National Convention. This isn't surprising. Demonizing your opponent is standard fare for conventions. Yet some Democrats love Republicans. Who would commit such blasphemy?

Our old friends Howard Berman and Brad Sherman. CA-30 is 47.9% Democratic/25.7% Republican. This is a change from 48.8% Democratic/25.4% Republican a year ago. These two veterans have spent years winning Democrats in the San Fernando Valley. They know both of them and probably few of them are up for grabs. Turning out their base will be important but there are far more voters up for grabs who voted for Republicans in past elections.

Howard Berman has been racking up endorsements from DC insiders. Republican DC insiders. People like Lindsay Graham and John McCain rarely provide endorsements in House races and never between two Democrats. An endorsement is a big chip and usually given with the understanding that the lawmaker will have the candidate's loyalty in the future. What's in it for Graham and McCain? Berman's is very well regarded in foreign policy, especially Israel. Some foreign policy initiatives can be bi-partisan. So Graham and McCain may be counting on Berman in the future.

Chuck Todd is reporting that Brad Sherman is taking another route.

That's a smart move by Sherman. Of course he made the vote for different reasons than why the Tea Party is opposed to TARP. In the new California political world why doesn't matter. It's just the vote. It's worth noting that McCain, Graham, and Lieberman aren't highly thought of by the Tea Party.

Both politicians were rebuffed in their efforts to get an endorsement from the San Fernando Valley Republican Club. They also went to RPLAC, hoping for the county Republican party's endorsement. Some were considering it, until it was pointed out that RPLAC rules state that they can only endorse Republicans. I've talked to people who were upset that RPLAC would even consider an endorsement.

This race is definitely up in the air.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Republican Chances in the Election

There's been a lot of negativity flying toward the GOP the last few days, something Politico has picked up on in their stories about how President Obama has the advantage and Republicans might not take over the senate.

There have only been two polls since the start of the Republican convention. Both are tracking polls from Rasmussen and Gallup. Both show a strong shift towards the President. Part of this hysteria was pro-Romney super PACS pulling out of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Apparently Wisconsin is on the buy. Michigan and Pennsylvania haven't been conceded either. We should keep in mind that convention bounce is quite common. In 2004 George W. Bush came out of the Republican convention leading by double digits. The polls ended up really close. There was something similar in 2008. John McCain led after the Republican convention. That didn't turn out so well for him.

We need to keep that in mind that these are only two polls and that another 8-10 pollsters will be out there. A trend showing up in 1 or 2 pollsters might just be the polls they're doing. We should keep that in mind with any polls coming out this week and take a fresh look the following week. This doesn't indicate it's over. There have been two state polls that have come out this weekend. Again, that's a very low number, as you will often find a half dozen state polls in a single day. Regardless, the New Mexico poll shows the race close. If you delve further into the poll you'll see that the poll is 48%D/32%R, the registration numbers. The state was D+7 in 2004, D+10 in 2006, and D+16 in 2008. If it's D+10 instead of D+16 this race is tied.

The PPP poll in Ohio looks bad for Romney at Obama +5, but a closer look shows PPP had Obama +3 in the last poll. In fact, Romney went from down 10 points with independents to up 2 points. He drops in the poll because Obama picks up 2.5% of Romney's Republicans, 2.5% of his Democrats, and the poll has more Democrats. If this is the President's bounce, Mitt doesn't have a lot to worry about.

The senate has always been around a 50-50 proposition. The most Republicans looked like they'd get was 52 seats when things looked good. Now it looks like they'll get 50. This despite an almost certain loss in Maine. The GOP has 12 pick-up possibilities. A little push and they can get 52-53 seats. It's still up in the air.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

CA-10: Democratic Internal Poll

We have another Democratic internal poll. For those keeping score at home, and you know you are, that's seven Democratic internal polls. This time the poll is in CA-10, the match0up between freshman Republican congressman Jeff Denham and Democratic challenger Jose Hernandez. Denham finished 16% ahead of the his two Democratic challengers in the primary 49%-33%. Based on that result, it shouldn't be close.

Let's start with a little background. This district was 42.1% Democratic/37.3% Republican registration in February, 2011. By May, 2012 it was 40.4% Democratic/38.6% Republican. The Democratic registration advantage went from 4.8% to 1.8%. That was the largest shift of any congressional district in the state. There were only four districts in the state that changed more than 1.4%. That's a really bad trend for the Democrats.

Based on estimates from absentee ballots, this was the likely primary vote breakdown. Note that the Democratic total includes Jose Hernandez and Mike Barkley, while the NPP vote is for Chad Condit and Troy McComak.

The pollster, PPP, has a party breakdown of 37% Democratic/31% Republican. That's a turn-out advantage that seems unlikely in the general election. It's far too Democratic. Even with this turn-out, the poll has Hernandez down 7%, 48%-41%. The rule of thumb is that an internal poll is skewed 6% toward the candidate doing the polling. If that's the case, Hernandez is down by 13%. That's a big margin, that's actually bigger than the 11 points that I've projected. You don't release a poll that has you down that much. It shows you're not in the race.

California Update

Since I was at the Republican Convention last week I didn't have a chance to delve deeply into California politics. I didn't know Willie Brown suddenly woke up.
The world is changing. Years ago it was the likes of Southern Pacific and other big businesses calling the shots in Sacramento, and we were all highly critical of them. These days it's labor. That's not the portrayal union leaders like to see in the media, but it's the truth.
This shouldn't be complicated. Unions are there to maximize the benefits for their members. Government is there to maximize the return for the people of California. These aren't the same thing. Management at a corporation doesn't confuse their shareholders with their employees. I'm not saying you need to squeeze the employees for every last dime, but government should be trying to produce the best deal they can for the taxpayer. Let the unions worry about their members. They're big boys. They can do that.

Dan Walters talks about four state senate races that'll decide if Democrats take 2/3 of the seats. SD-5 is, however, Safe Republican and SD-39 is Safe Democratic. The GOP needs tow in both SD-27 and SD-31 to prevent the Democrats from getting 2/3 and they aren't favored to win either. This'll be tough.

Republican Doug LaMalfa has resigned from the state senate. LaMalfa isn't up for re-election this year, so he could serve another two years if he lost his congressional race in CA-1. Republicans beat Democrats in June 67%-30% with LaMalfa beating Democrats by himself. So the risk isn't great. But there is a risk.

So why do it? Why not wait until after he's elected to congress? If he resigns now, there'll be a special election for the rest of the term on November 6. So when the legislature reconvenes in January all Republican held seats will be filled. If the GOP is down 26-14, losing a seat and being down 26-13 for a period of time is problematic. LaMalfa is being a good soldier here.

Democrats are targeting AD-8, 32, 61, and 66 in the legislative races. That's an interesting group. I don't think Democrats have a shot in AD-8 and AD-66 is a long shot. The most competitive races figure to be AD-32, 40, 61, and 65, with 9 and 66 having an outside shot of being competitive.

Gary DeLong has managed to score a key endorsement in CA-47, but Eunice Sato was a Republican. So it shouldn't be unexpected.