Friday, November 22, 2013

CA AD-45 Result Wasn't Due to Low Turn-Out

When Democrat Bob Blumenfield resigned to become a Los Angeles city councilman, his state assembly district became vacant. The district has a nearly 2 to 1 Democratic registration advantage. So it was deemed as a non-competitive race and mostly ignored. Sure enough, in the September primary Democratic candidates outpolled Republicans 62%-36%. Turn-out was 9.8% of registered voters. People were surprised at Tuesday's run-off results, which currently have Democrat Matt Dababneh leading Republican Susan Shelley 50.3% to 49.7%. California has a lot of VBM and provisional ballots that need to be counted. So the final results won't be known for some time. Regardless of what the final result will be, it was far closer than anyone would expect in a district with such a wide Democratic registration advantage.

Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee speculates, "A key factor in the potential upset is an extremely low voter turnout." The problem with that theory is that turn-out in the run-off is already higher at 10.5%. Since even lower turn-out in the primary didn't produce skewed results, it's unlikely that low turn-out is solely responsible for these results.

President Obama's approval levels are at their lowest they've ever been. The botched roll out of Obamacare has likely led to depressed Democrats not showing up for the run-off and heavily motivated people voting against a Democrat, similar to what happened in 2010. I'm not going to predict that Obamacare is going to lead to a disastrous 2014 election for the Democrats, but it appears right now it's an anvil weighing them down.

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