Sunday, February 24, 2013

California 2-party Vote

The linked spreadsheet has the two party vote for California congressional districts and selected State Senate and Assembly districts. The districts that aren't included are not competitive and will always be won by the party that dominates it. I don't know if these numbers are available elsewhere yet.

Friday, February 22, 2013

CA State Senate: Michael Rubio Resigns

California State Senator Michael Rubio (D-SD-16) resigned today. Rubio was regarded as a rising Democratic star and considered the best candidate for CA-21 congressional seat in 2012. He passed on the race, citing family reasons, and is now moving out of elected office.

The Central Valley is definitely moving toward the Democrats on a Presidential level but Democrats have been mostly disappointing on a local level. White voters here resemble those in rural Texas and a lot of Hispanic Democrats don't vote. Republican David Valadao won the congressional seat and the senate seat figures to be competitive. I don't have all the numbers but the special will be in the old SD16, which is slightly more Democratic than the new SD14 people, which contains 80% of the SD16 population. A special election can produce unusual results due to low turn-out issues. Hence why Craig Huey made a race of the CA-36 special congressional election in 2011. How competitive Republicans are in the special could be a sign of how competitive the GOP will be in 2014.

Rubio resigning not only removes him from Valadao's 2014 challengers but likely will remove a Democrat who runs for the seat from that list.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Congressional Districts by PVI and Party

There are still a few counties we don’t have final Obama-Romney numbers for by congressional district, but we can estimate those numbers in order to give us an overview of the districts on the charts below.

 photo PVI_zpsa0746999.png
The chart on the left shows us how great redistricting went for the GOP. Before redistricting Republicans had 160 districts that were R+6 or better with 2008 numbers. After that they had 176. The 2012 numbers show that there are now 189 such districts.

The numbers also got better for Democrats. Their D+6 or better went from 150 to 145 to 156.

So we have two possible factors for this. 1) Whoever was doing partisan redistricting picked up on not only where the vote had been, but they also figured out where it was going. 2) Republicans and Democrats are becoming more clustered.

Competitive seats, defined as those that are no more than +3, went from 81 before redistricting to 62 after it and now 53 after the 2012 election.

The majority will be difficult for Democrats. There are 223 seats which are R+3 or better. Republicans hold 214 of them. So Democrats could get the majority if they won every seats that was R+2 or more Democratic and held 6 of the 9. It’s difficult to see how anyone could run the table like that. So Democrats would have to start capturing R+3 and R+4 seats for a majority. If they can hold all their seats, they could get there by winning 41% of Republican seats which are R+4 or less. That doesn’t sound that hard, but they only 5 of the 32 R+2-4 seats after a good election for them.

A neutral year should produce a net gain for Republicans. Democrats hold 18 even to Republican leaning seats, while the GOP holds only 11 even or Democratic leaning seats. Perhaps the most notable thing is how small those numbers are. Here are the Republican leaning seats held by Democrats are recent elections:

2004: 31
2008: 69
2010: 17
2012: 18

Here are the Democratic leaning seats held by Republicans after recent elections:

2004: 23
2008: 9
2010: 18
2012: 7

It seems that congressional results are much more aligned with Presidential results than they used to be.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Won

I’ve spent the last several years working on a documentary that centers around the 2010 election. There were certainly a number of factors that influenced the results of that election, but there was one moment that set everything in motion.

In early 2009, President Obama was riding high and the Republican party was reeling. Barack Obama had Eric Cantor and congressional Republicans over to the White House to discuss the stimulus. Obama wanted to cut taxes for people who paid no Federal income tax. In order to do this, he proposed cutting the social security taxes. When Cantor objected to the idea, the President responded with, “I won.”

He communicated to Cantor that America had chosen his philosophy and policies over theirs and that they could either get on board with his agenda or be irrelevant. Republicans chose the latter and Democrats went ahead with the stimulus without Republican votes.

Democrats soon arrived at a strategy of crafting legislation that appeared bi-partisan but contained items that would make it poisonous to Republicans. As the Democrats hoped, this strategy united the GOP. No Republicans voted for the stimulus and they were united in opposing much of the rest of the President’s agenda. A party with no discernible strategy became the party of the opposition.

They fashioned the Republican party as the “party of no,” certain this’d lead to Republican losses in the 2010 mid-term elections. Chuck Schumer told Rachel Maddow that the “party of no” strategy wasn’t working and that America liked the Democratic agenda and didn’t like the Republican agenda. He predicted that until the Republican base pushed the GOP to toward the Democrats, the Republicans would continue to be irrelevant. Chris Van Hollen, then the DCCC chairman, went so far as to predict that 2010 would once again be a strong Democratic year.

The smarter move would’ve been to break up legislation into parts. They could’ve gotten Republicans to vote for certain healthcare ideas, for example. They could’ve saved the parts Republicans wouldn’t vote for in a separate bill. This would’ve co-opted Republicans and blunted them as an alternative to the Democrats.

Not only did the Democrats marginalize Republicans and their ideas, but they managed to marginalize conservatives and libertarians who held those ideas. Nothing motivates people like a President treating their voice as irrelevant. The right was united and motivated, not behind Republicans, but opposing Obama and the Democrats.

The swing voters like when the parties work together and they were unhappy that an arrogant President was proceeding with a partisan agenda. People blame the President for what goes wrong in Washington and credit him for what goes right. They don't blame the House.

In 2009 and 2010 Democrats were seen as arrogant and partisan and lost the swing voters too, especially with the healthcare bill and all the things like the Cornhusker Kickback. By the time the 2010 election rolled around, Democrats were prime to be slaughtered.

Based on the President’s actions and his inaugural and SOTU President Obama once again thinks “I won” and is again counting on the American public to support a fairly liberal agenda. Right now conservatives and other parts of the right wing coalition are somewhat passive. Nothing will unite and motivate them like the feeling Obama doesn’t care what they think and is going too far to the left. The impact on swing voters could be similar.

I don’t think a Republican wave is inevitable, but if the Democrats repeat the mistakes of 2009-2010 thinking that America is once again with them, you’ll see the GOP take a big share of the vote in 2014. Thus, I’m confounded as to why the President is doing things the way he’s doing them.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Democratic Presidential Nominee

Today, in an online discussion with Democrats, they expressed how they desperately don't want New York state governor Andrew Cuomo or Newark Mayor Corey Booker to be a Democratic Presidential nominee. That surprised me.

In 2012, the electorate was 35% conservative/25% liberal/40% moderate. In 2008, it was 34%/22%/44%.

The way people identify themselves should tell you that any candidate perceived as being too liberal is going to lose. Bill Clinton won because he was perceived as being centrist but we also need to remember that Bill got 43% of the vote. Barack Obama won because he was perceived as being centrist but we also need to remember that the Republican brand was so unpopular, especially after the meltdown, that Democrats could've nominated the coat room clerk and he probably would've won.

Obama and the Democrats faced enormous backlash when they moved to the left in 2009-2010 and they didn't even go far enough to satisfy progressives. When Obama ran for re-election he clung to the center. They may want a President with positions like Elizabeth Warren, but anyone running for President on a progressive platform would lose.

They might think Booker or Cuomo would be bad Presidents but they scare Republicans because they could win. The GOP hopes the Democrats nominate someone the Kos finds acceptable.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Should Republicans concede 2014 governor's race?

Interesting article about the possibility of Republicans not trying in the 2014 California gubernatorial race. Interesting about the Democrats considering putting propositions on the ballot that'll get out the vote. If they put a bunch of tax increases on "evil" people, they should succeed. I imagine they'll hike corporate income and property taxes and put a big tax on oil exploration.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Party Opportunities for 2014 Pretty Low

We have Romney-Obama congressional district election numbers for almost every district in congress. I still need breakdowns for 16 counties, 9 of which are in New Jersey. So some of these are estimated. The estimates should be pretty good but there can be some variance.

There were three districts that John McCain won that Barack Obama won 4 years later:


Two of these are in Miami-Dade county, Florida, an area Obama really improved in, while the other is primarily in Staten Island, where the voting was disrupted by Sandy.

The list of districts Barack Obama won in 2008 and Romney won in 2012 is much longer.


One of the reasons it’s longer is because Romney did better than McCain. Obama won CA-25 in 2008 48.7%-48.1%, but lost it in 2012 47.8%-49.7%. The district, however, still had a PVI of R+3.

The list contains 4 districts in Illinois, 7 in Michigan, 5 in Pennsylvania, and 4 in Wisconsin. While Romney did noticeably improve on McCain in these states, the best of them, Illinois, was actually the state Romney improved 9th best. These states just consist of a bunch of swingy R+1-3 districts that Obama won narrowly in 2008 but lost in 2012.

Democrats have congressmen in 9 districts Mitt Romney won.


Republicans have congressmen in 17 districts Barack Obama won.


Before we conclude that this is a big advantage for Democrats, we have to remember that since Barack Obama won the election, he won several Republican leaning districts. If we adjust the lists and add in districts held by Democrats with a Republican PVI, that list goes from 9 districts to 15.


On the other side, if we exclude districts that Obama won, but have a Republican PVI from the Republican list, we go from 17 to 10.