Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Toyota Leaving California

We had the stunning announcement yesterday that Toyota, long a California fixture, is moving from Torrence to Texas. This follows Occidental Petroleum making a similar move.

For years, Republicans have said that the tax and regulatory environment in California drive business away, citing numerous examples. And for years Democrats have insisted that wasn't the case, citing studies showing that the number of businesses incorporated in California wasn't dropping. Yes, the Democratic argument was apples and oranges, but it was all they had.

Democrats currently hold three assembly seats won by Meg Whitman. AD-36 and 65 are considered to be likely losses, but AD-66, centered in Torrence, was considered to be one Democrats could hold. While no one directly can tie first-term Democratic Assembly member Al Muratsuchi to the loss, this is going to give David Hadley, his Republican opponent, a huge campaign issue. People vote jobs and it'll be easy to associate Toyota leaving with the Democratic 2/3 majority in Sacramento. Republican David Hadley is on it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

CA-Gov Poll has Kashkari way way back

A new poll done by Clear Path Strategies for a private client is out. I don't know who the client is and don't know Clear Path, but the two partners used to work at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. GQR is one of the premiere Democratic pollsters. I can't think of why a Democratic private client would want to poll this race and why they'd want to release it.

Two interesting things about this poll. First, it contains all 15 candidates. This is vitally important to do in California, because every candidate gets votes in a California race. The 15th place finisher in the 2012 Senate race got 1.2% of the votes. And there were 24 candidates in that race. When polls use just 4-5 candidates, they can inflate a candidate's support.

Second, there are no undecideds in the poll. While I've rarely seen a poll with no undecideds, I don't have a problem with one provided they threw the undecideds out. If they didn't give people an undecided choice, then you could get people inflating a candidate they really haven't decided on.

Here are the top 8:
Jerry Brown/Democrat/Governor of California 45.6 percent
Tim Donnelly/Republican/California State Assemblyman 18.3
Glenn Champ/Republican/Business Owner/Engineer 7.3
Andrew Blount/Republican/ Mayor/Businessperson 5.4
Alma Marie Winston/Republican Project Funding CEO 4.1
Neel Kashkari/Republican Businessman 3.8
Robert Newman/No Party Preference Psychologist/Farmer 3.1
Akinyemi Agbede/Democratic Doctoral Student 2.8

This poll has the two Democrats leading the five Republicans 48.4%-38.9%. In the 2010 primary voting Democrats beat Republicans by 2-4%. So while 9.5% is bigger than we might expect, it's a lot less than the 35% Jerry Brown beat the three Republicans by in the Field poll.

Tim Donnelly still has a comfortable lead. What has to be disturbing for Neel Kashkari is that not only does he trail Donnelly and Blount, both of whom were in the Field poll, but he trails some dude and dudette Glenn Champ and Alma Marie Winston. The primary is six weeks away. It's amazing how badly Kashkari is doing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CA-33 Fundraising Update

Lily Gilani and Kevin Mottus, two of the three Republicans in the race, submitted their 3/31 reports and they report no fundraising. I'm surprised. While Mottus looks like a batty candidate on his website, Gilani comes across as a competent one on hers. She does have a donate button. At the bottom it lists two people who have donated. I have no idea if they are the only two. Both are since 3/31. I'm guessing that you can raise some money, but if it's under a few thousand dollars you don't have to report it. If neither of them do anything, Elan Carr is a shoe-in to finish first in top two.

That leaves one other spot. There are five Democrats spending huge amounts of money and the Democratic vote percentage will likely be somewhere from 43-50%, depending on how strong Marianne Williamson is and how many votes she takes from them. She's been on TV, has raised a lot of money, and has strong support from people outside the traditional Democratic voting base. I'm projecting right now that she finishes in second place. That'd mean a shut out for Democrats in a district that includes progressives strongholds like Santa Monica and Venice. It'd be a huge black eye.

Could Carr beat Williamson in November? Probably not, although I'd want to see how the primary plays before saying no. I do know that Carr can't beat a Democrat.

Filling Legislative Vacancies

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg floated the idea of having the governor fill legislative vacancies awhile ago, but only now is he going forward with legislation. Previously he failed to mention that the governor would have to fill the vacancy with a member of the same party, leading people to believe he was trying to sneak in seats for Democrats. That is apparently in the legislation now.

Even so, it'd still be a negative for the GOP. Republicans turn out at a much higher rate in specials here than Democrats do. If a Republican has half a chance, he'll likely win a special. This cycle a Republican won a 62% Obama seat, came within 1% of winning a 65% Obama seat, and within 3% of a 66% Obama seat. So while Steinberg says this bill is for the state to save money with low-turnout elections, it staves off any potential Democratic losses between elections. Of course this'd only apply to legislative elections. A congressional vacancy would still be filled with a special election.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Swing Voters

Lynn Vavreck, a professor at UCLA, postulates that the mid-terms won't come down to swing voters. She provides the first data I've ever seen on how 2008 Obama and McCain voters voted in 2010, showing that only 6% of the voters swung to the other party in the congressional election. I appreciate that information and it answers the question of whether 2008 Obama voters flipped. A few thoughts:

1. She compares the 2008 Presidential vote to the 2010 congressional vote. The inherent problem with this is that some Obama voters voted Republican for congress in 2008 and vice-versa. Obama won 8 California districts where the Republican congressman also won. For instance, Obama took 51% of the vote in CA-25, but the Democratic candidate took only 42%. That could account for all the "switchers." Or not. So who did the 2010 voters vote for congress in 2008?

2. She implies that the 2008 Obama/McCain voters who didn't show up were loyal Democratic or Republican voters. Some might be. Others might be swing voters. Even those who aren't swing voters are likely those who never vote in anything other than a Presidential election. They aren't loyal to the party, so you'll have a tough time turning them out in a mid-term.

3. She doesn't address the voters who voted in 2010 and not 2008. While this isn't an overwhelming number of voters, they could be swing voters.

4. Just because around 6% of voters actually swung doesn't mean that there are only 6% swing voters. They may have voted the same party in 2008 and 2010, but that doesn't mean they did so before 2008 or did in 2012. The parties are able to keep some swing voters.

Despite my concerns, I consider this an enlightening insightful article.

Monday, April 21, 2014

CA-4: Tom McClintock's Republican Challenge

The New York Times doesn't usually spend a lot of time on Republicans, let alone ones in California. They've taken notice of Art Moore's decision to challenge conservative incumbent congressman Tom McClintock. I'm truly amazed at the level of vitriol from conservatives at the idea that a Republican would dare to challenge Tom McClintock. it's a double standard they have. They mount primary challenges to Republicans they think are too liberal but don't think a more moderate Republican should fight back. If people want the conservative, they'll vote for him. They think the electorate is conservative, so they have nothing to be afraid of.

Actually I'm not sure Moore makes top two. In 2012, McClintock won the primary 65%-35% against a non-spending Democrat. If independent Jeff Gerlach takes the Democratic vote, Moore is sunk. There's no way he'll get enough Republican votes to top 35$. While Gerlach is spending no money, there are a lot of Democrats who won't vote Republican under any circumstances. Moore needs Gerlach to get under 25% for him to have a shot at top two.

More California Congressional Fundraising

CA-7 - Doug Ose has now thrown in $500k into his campaign and Elizabeth Emken has put in $285k. Igor Birman has put in $15. That's not $15k. That's $15. Birman has little COH left and Ose is the only one I know has gone up on TV. It's really Ose's primary to lose and he's clearly going all in.

CA-9 - None of Jerry McNerney's challengers have raised any money. McNerney isn't considered vulnerable but he possibly could be in the right environment. It looks like none of these candidates will have the resources to mount that challenge.

CA-15 - Ellen Corbett's challenge of Eric Swalwell is going to die in the primary, as she raised only $34k in the last quarter. I predict a 69% Democratic 31% Republican primary result. To beat Republican Hugh Bussell, who has raised $4k the whole campaign, Corbett will have to finish with 5-6% of Swalwell and that isn't likely with her fundraising.

CA-17 - Both Mike Honda and Ro Khanna had big quarters. Vanila Singh did extremely well for a candidate who'd get blown out in November. Joel Vanlandingham hasn't filed a report but still might take enough votes to get Khanna into top two. In 2012, "some dude" challengers usually took at least 20% of the party vote from bigger spending rivals. If Vanlandingham can take 20% of the Republican vote, Singh and Khanna will be neck-and-neck.

CA-21 - Amanda Renteria had a strong quarter. John Hernandez still hasn't filed a campaign finance report. I can't see how she loses to him, but I said that the last time too.

CA-24 - There's a long list of Lois Capps' challengers. Justin Fareed raised $116k last quarter. That'd be paltry elsewhere but he leads the Republican pack. Expect him to finish second.

CA-25 - Tony Strickland took in $411k. Steve Knight, who began the quarter with $22k, took in $90k. He spent all of $15k last quarter. How much campaigning can you do if you're spending $15k? Knight represents a lot of this district, but he won't beat Strickland the way he's going. Some dude Republican named Troy Castagna threw $75k into his campaign and he now has more COH than Knight. Democrat Lee Rogers raised $204k compared to Democratic rival Evan Thomas's $9k. So I think the possibility of a Republican top two is a long shot.

CA-26 - Jeff Gorell outraised Rafael Dagnesses $216k to $28k. Dagnesses challenge from Gorell's right doesn't have much of a chance if he can't get the word out.

CA-31 - Pete Aguilar and Eloise Reyes raised $262k and $206k, while Joe Baca raised $32k. On the GOP side, Paul Chabot reported $105k and Lesli Gooch reported $200k. More than half of Chabot's money came from "Other" (his old state account?) and half of Gooch's came from herself. Still, they only need enough to introduce themselves. Projections are that GOP voters will outnumber Democratic voters, so this still could be a Republican top two in 2014.

CA-36 - Ray Haynes reported raising $15k and every penny came from him. How can a seasoned legislator not raise even a few hundred dollars from individuals? His challenge to Brian Nestande, who raised $145k, looks non-serious.

CA-45 - Greg Raths threw $261k of his own money into his campaign and won't let Mimi Walters walk into top two. Walters did raise $149k, but may have a fight on her hands. That's okay, because she doesn't need much money for November. There's only one Democrat in the field and he'll finish top two regardless of what he spends.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Imagine a Republican with a Koch Industries office

That's not something you can imagine, right? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has taken to the Senate floor and accused Republicans of being Koch brothers puppets dozens of times. So have other Democrats. Even if Republicans were all the things Democrats say they are, they wouldn't be stupid enough to have their headquarters in a corporation's building. The appearance alone would be fodder for the media for months.

So no Republican has their campaign office at Chevron. Or Marriott. or Georgia Pacific. So why bring this up? Democratic congressman Mike Honda's campaign office is at SEIU headquarters. He is in a tough re-election battle with fellow Democrat Ro Khanna. Of course, Honda has been depicted as being anti-business and in labor's figurative back pocket for years, but he clearly sees no problem with doing away with all pretext and coming out and saying it. This can't go over well with Silicon Valley business interests. Or most voters who aren't in the SEIU. It's a freebie for Khanna that he can use to get votes.

Of course the reason Honda does this is that he, and many Democrats, see organized labor not as a special interest, but simply as the middle class. He doesn't perceive that there'd be any conflict between SEIU's interest and the interests of the rest of his constituents. So it probably never entered their mind that being in the literal back pocket room of organized labor could be a negative.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

CA-33 Fundraising

The Q1 congressional fundraising numbers are out and the ones in CA-33 are really crazy.

Marianne Williamson $1,080,069
James Graf $1,003,390
David Kanuth $803,653
Wendy Greuel $672,215
Ted Lieu $621,762
Matt Miller $517,822
Elan Carr $358,624
Barbara Mulvaney $120,665

The first question I'm asking is who is James Graf? Graf is a Democrat and a businessman who apparently has a lot of money and is ready to spend it. He's put $1 million into his campaign. We saw with Bill Bloomfield in 2012, spending a lot of money here can generate votes, although Bloomfield spent a lot more than $1 million. The next question is who is David Kanuth. Even after reading his web page, I'm not sure. What I do know is that Kanuth reports that all $803,653 he received came from individual donations. There was no PAC money, party money, or candidate money. That's an unbelievable haul. Apparently KPCC is asking the same question. They didn't provide an answer. The FEC provides no detail on their website, but surely they'll scrutinize his list. Greuel, Lieu, and Miller also had big hauls. Williamson is running as NPP but all her positions put her to the left of the Democrats. So there's going to be a lot of competition for left wing votes.

There are a lot of Republican votes in this district and they'll come a lot cheaper than the Democratic ones. Elan Carr's fundraising would be excellent in any other district and he's fortunate he won't be competing for the same voters the Democrats are. It's certainly possible Democrats will go after Republican votes, but if Carr does a decent job, he'll lock those up. Two other Republicans, Kevin Mottus and Lily Gilani don't have fundraising up on the FEC site. It's not that they reported raising nothing. Their reports are absent. Perhaps they filed them late. From looking at Mottus' site, he seems like a Democrat who chose to run as a Republican. I have no idea if he's raising money. I know Gilani is raising money and I expect we'll see some on her report.

This primary is going to be crazy and I honestly not only can't tell you which candidates make Top Two, but also which parties do. It could be two Democrats, two Republicans, or Williamson and either a Democrat or Republican.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CA-52: Carl DeMaio has a Fred Simon problem

CA-52 Republican congressional challenger Carl DeMaio has raised $1.6 million as of 3/31. That puts him at or near the top of congressional challenger fundraisers. Fred Simon, a trauma surgeon, wasn't expected to be DeMaio's most serious Republican challenger. That was supposed to be, and might still be, Tea Party favorite Kirk Jorgensen. Simon loaned his campaign $1.35 million, an astronomical sum for a congressional race.

There are few congressional challengers like DeMaio. He knows everyone in San Diego and is well connected to the Republican apparatus. He has a vast network of volunteers he can call on. He has run a mayoral campaign that garnered a a majority of the votes in this district. Most candidates don't have one of those on their resume, let alone all of them. Simon, however, wouldn't be putting that kind of money into his campaign if he didn't see a payoff. If he plans to spend those bucks he could garner a lot of votes and cause serious problems for DeMaio's prospects at making top two. This race bears watching, because DeMaio can't just skate into the general election.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Field Poll: Congressional Generic Ballot

The last(?) portion of Field's California poll is out with Democrats leading the generic congressional ballot by 17%. They're using their general election electorate (44%D/29%R), not their primary electorate (42%D/37%R). Democrats would lead the primary generic ballot by 10% with these breakdowns. In 2012, Democrats won the congressional vote by 24%, 62%-38%. That, however, includes a lot of safely Democratic districts, some of which had two Democrats and no Republicans on the ballot. In competitive districts, the average Democrat did 3.2% worse than Barack Obama. So the congressional vote was actually closer to 59%D-41%R. Of course this poll also includes non-competitive safe Democratic districts. So this poll could be better for the GOP than those results. Republicans lost several districts by only a handful of points in 2012, so doing a little better on the generic ballot would be enough to flip districts.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How Would Six Californias Vote?

Investor Tim Draper is circulating petitions to get an initiative on the ballot to split up California into six states. The initiative would be non-binding as states need to be approved by legislatures and congress to be admitted to the union. I don’t know if it’ll make the ballot and it probably won’t happen even if it passes.

Let’s set aside that silliness. The big question we want to know is how would they vote for the new statewide offices. The 2012 Presidential election will tell us how the states will vote on a Presidential level. The 2010 and 2012 Senatorial elections are for Senate seats, they can be very telling. Also, the 2012 race reflects the best any Democrat has done in the last 26 years. So it’s pretty much an upper limit for Democrats. The 2010 Attorney General election was the best Republican result of the cycle. The GOP did much better in the 2006 Insurance Commissioner election. So that might not be the upper limit.

The vote below is the two party vote, an easy way to compare

Presidential – Romney 51.7% - Obama 48.3% (3 electoral votes) This state would be R+4. It could be swingy but would likely end up in the Republican column

Attorney General 2010 – Cooley 58.0% - Harris 42.0%
Senate 2010 – Fiorina 57.6% - Boxer 42.4%
Senate 2012 – Emken 50.8% - Feinstein 49.2%
Feinstein was a little shy of a win here, so it’s unlikely Democrats would win either Senate seat. There’d be only one congressional district. It’d be similar to CA-1 and go Republican.

North California
Presidential – Obama 59.7% - Romney 40.3% (7 electoral votes) This state would be safely Democratic.

Attorney General 2010 – Harris 50.3% - Cooley 49.7%
Senate 2010 –Boxer 54.2% - Fiorina 45.8%
Senate 2012 –Feinstein 60.8% - Emken 39.2%

Both Senate seats would likely go Democratic, although a strong Republican might give the Democrats a challenge for one in a Republican year. There’d be five congressional districts, similar to CA-2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. So there’d be three safe Democratic seats, one district that’d be swingy, and another that might be.

Silicon Valley
Presidential – Obama 75.8% - Romney 24.2% (12 electoral votes) This state would be the most Democratic state in the U.S., with only DC more Democratic.

Attorney General 2010 – Harris 65.5% - Cooley 34.5%
Senate 2010 –Boxer 70.7% - Fiorina 29.3%
Senate 2012 –Feinstein 77.1% - Emken 22.9%

Both Senators would be Democrats, as would all nine congressmen. Depending on the size of the legislature, it’s possible there might not be any Republicans represented. There are parts of Contra Costa county that could be swingy, however. So there might be one.

Central California
Presidential – Romney 51.4% - Obama 48.6% (8 electoral votes) This state would be similar to Jefferson and likely end up in the Republican column. Much of it moved left in 2012, so it could be a swing state on a Presidential level.

Attorney General 2010 – Cooley 62.1% - Harris 37.9%
Senate 2010 – Fiorina 61.0% - Boxer 39.0%
Senate 2012 – Emken 51.1% - Feinstein 48.9%

Like Jefferson, it’s unlikely Democrats would win either Senate seat. Democrats don’t tend to do very well on a local level, due to weak party apparatus. There’d be six congressional districts, although I’ve identified seven that would appear to go here. Republicans control five of those, three safely. The other three congressional districts would probably be swing seats, although one could be likely to go Democratic.

West California
Presidential – Obama 68.7% - Romney 31.3% (18 electoral votes) This state would be safely Democratic, although compared to Silicon Valley it’d be a Republican paradise.

Attorney General 2010 – Harris 55.2% - Cooley 44.8%
Senate 2010 –Boxer 62.6% - Fiorina 37.4%
Senate 2012 –Feinstein 68.8% - Emken 31.2%

Both Senators would be Democrats. Since both Senators have been from the Bay area for the last 20+ years, I’m sure Los Angeles based senators would be welcome. There’d be 18 congressmen. Of those, 15 would definitely go to the Democrats and 3 of the districts could be swingy. In a bad year the GOP would get shut out. Unlike Silicon Valley, there would be Republicans in the legislature. Not many, but there’d be some.

South California
Presidential – Obama 51.2% - Romney 48.8% (17 electoral votes) This state would be R+1 based on 2012, but much of it moved leftward that year. So it’d be very competitive on a Presidential level. With 17 electoral votes you’d see a lot of campaign visits.

Attorney General 2010 – Cooley 60.6% - Harris 39.4%
Senate 2010 – Fiorina 56.5% - Boxer 43.5%
Senate 2012 – Feinstein 51.9% - Emken 48.1%

This is the first district where each party won at least one of the elections. The senate seats would likely go Republican, but if the GOP didn’t have a strong candidate and the Democrats ran a good one the seat could swing to the Democrats.

There’d be 15 congressional districts, 7 of which would be safely Republican and 5 safely Democratic. The other 3 would be competitive.

On a Presidential level, this configuration would be bad for Democrats. Right now they have 55 electoral votes from California. In a good Democratic year they’d pick up all 65 here, but if the year is that good they don’t need all 65. In 2012, they would’ve gotten 54 to the GOP’s 11. That net +44 would be 11 short of what they got. For Six Californias to be positive for Democrats, they’d need Central California to also swing to them.

On a Senate level, it’s probably also a net negative for Democrats. The most likely result would be 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans, with 7 Democrats and 5 Republicans also possible. That would be Democrats +2, the same as they have now.

It’s unlikely there would be much change on a congressional level. The way the lines are drawn now, there’s not a lot of overlap between these states. CA-2, 4, and 47 have the most crossover, but their new configurations would probably result in the same results. Democrats might pick up an extra seat in Silicon Valley, but that might result in them losing one in Central California.

Field Poll for Secretary of State

Aside from the gubernatorial race, Field also polled the Secretary of State race. The poll was conducted over 2.5 weeks, before and after Leland Yee's arrest and subsequent withdrawal. They dropped Yee from the poll when he dropped out. His name will still be on the ballot, however.

With Yee:
Peterson 27%
Padilla 10%
Yee 8%
Curtis 4%
Schnur 4%
Crossman 2%

Without Yee:
Peterson 30%
Padilla 17%
Curtis 5%
Schnur 4%
Crossman 3%

What's interesting here is that Schnur, Republican turned NPP, is getting no Republican votes. Peterson will fly into top two without doing anything. I'm surprised Padilla isn't doing better. His only listed Democratic competition when Yee is dropped is Derek Crossman, but Crossman isn't getting votes. Padilla actually has higher approvals with Democrats than Peterson does with Republicans and has a higher approval with NPP. The poll has more Democrats than Republicans but Padilla doesn't come close to Peterson in the poll. There are two other candidates in the race, a Republican and a Democrat, so this poll covers almost everyone. My conclusion from this poll is that Peterson will top 40% and Padilla will get close to that and they'll face off in November.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CA-Gov: Field Poll

There’s a new Field poll out and Jerry Brown continues to hold an overwhelming lead. That’s hardly news. Brown is expected to win the primary convincingly. He had 52% of the vote in December and is now at 57%. That’s an excellent number, considering that Field used a sample of 42% Democrats/37% Republicans that’s likely similar to what the 2014 June primary electorate will be. I know a lot of people don’t think that polls should be weighted to party ID, but in California we know the exact proportions each party voted after the fact and few people are going to change their registration in the next two months.

Brown would appear to have hit close to his ceiling. He’s getting 87% of the Democratic vote and they didn’t include the other Democrat in the race or the Green, the Peace and freedom candidate, or any of the five NPPs. In California, names on the ballot can often garner 1-2% of the vote and there are a number of progressive voters who’ll vote for Luis Rodriguez or Cindy Sheehan out of protest.

Brown is taking 66% of independents and 17% of Republicans. In contrast, Dianne Feinstein took only 54% of independents and 12% of Republicans in her 2012 senate race. That race provided only one alternative and Feinstein’s 62.5% was the best a Democrat has run statewide since 1986. There’s no doubt Brown is popular now, even with some Republicans, but getting 66% of independents and 17% of Republicans seems to be high, let alone improving that.

I’ve been on record as saying that there’s no way that Brown could top Feinstein’s 62.5%, but if Brown is this popular I could see him topping 64% at the polls. But no, Tony Quinn, 75-80% is impossible.

Tim Donnelly is at 17%, a nice jump from the 9% he had in December. Donnelly has had a lot of money problems and isn’t running ads. So his jump has been almost entirely through his hard work travelling the state. His approval/disapproval was 12%/8% in December and it’s 26%/24% now. That’s a big positive for Donnelly, since the knock on him was that the more people who got to know him the more negative he’d be perceived. His approval/disapproval with Democrats is bad, 14%/39%, but I’d guess most GOP gubernatorial candidates will be worse than -25%. Republicans like him 47%/8%, poking a hole in Tony Quinn’s idea that mainstream Republicans won’t like him. I’d be surprised if he continues in positive territory, but then Republicans in blue states usually aren’t.

Andrew Blount, the mayor of Laguna Hills, isn’t taking campaign donations, and is at 3%. He’s one of only 4 named candidates and 7 candidates took at least 3% in the 2012 U.S. Senate primary. So that’s not surprising.

What is surprising is Neel Kashkari’s polling. Kashkari is beloved by Republicans who think Donnelly is too extreme. He got 3% of the vote in December before he entered the race. So where is he now that he’s been campaigning for a while? He’s dropped to 2%. Yes, he’s behind the guy who won’t take campaign donations.

He got 6% of the NPP vote then. Now he’s getting 1%. Kashkari’s favorable/unfavorable in December was 9%/8%. At the time he was unknown to 83% of the electorate, similar to the 80% who didn’t know Tim Donnelly. Donnelly became known to another 30%, getting 14% favorable and 16% unfavorable added to him. Kashkari became known to another 19%, getting 7% favorable and 12% unfavorable added to him. So he’s not doing as well as people get to know him.

Overall, Donnelly has 26% of people seeing him favorably and is getting 17% of the vote. Kashkari is getting 16% of people seeing him favorably and is getting 2% of the vote. Even people who like Kashkari don’t want to vote for him. If this is what Kashkari has accomplished in the last four months, it’s hard to see him doing better in the next two. California is a big state. It takes a lot of time and hard work to win people over. Donnelly is doing that somewhat. Kashkari is not.

People like Tony Quinn argue that Kashkari is the best candidate for the GOP, but this poll makes that argument hard to make. Kashkari has worked for four months and gotten less people who want to vote for him than he had then. Donnelly, on the other hand, has increased his percentages of favorables and votes. Republican voters like what they see. I don’t think Donnelly has any chance of winning, and he probably won’t even break 40%, but he’d likely garner more votes than Kashkari will. I’ve seen firsthand how people want to volunteer for Donnelly. No one appears inspired by Kashkari.

Long Beach Mayoral Results

The ballots are all counted in the Long Beach Mayoral race and the turnout was an amazingly low 14.2%. Councilman Robert Garcia surprisingly finished first with 25.2%. Republican turned NPP Damon Dunn finished second at 22.3%. Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, finished third. Long time pol Doug Otto finished fifth, despite having endorsements from geriatric Republicans. I guess their endorsements don't count for much these days.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CA Field Poll: Obama job approval 53%-41%

A new Field poll is out and President Obama has a 53% approval/41% disapproval. Field makes this out to be positive, because he's doing much better here than nationally. What they don't mention is that he got over 60% of the vote in 2012 and that the poll is 44% Democrats/29% Republicans. That's fine with an approval poll but probably doesn't reflect the electorate. If this were the electorate, that'd likely be problematic, however. Obama winning by 23% in 2012 and only at +12% now statewide, his approval is probably upside down in most competitive districts.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Long Beach Mayoral Election Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the municipal election in California's seventh largest city--Long Beach. The mayoral race is hotly contested and will go to a top two run off if no candidate gets 50%.

The candidates include Democratic Assembly member Bonnie Lowenthal, Democratic council members Robert Garcia and Gerrie Schipske, Democratic community college trustee Doug Otto, and former NFL player and businessman Damon Dunn. Dunn was a Republican when he ran for Secretary of State in 2010. He's now an NPP, likely because a Republican couldn't get elected here. Also running are nonprofit executive Jana Shields, businessman Steve Mozena, state auditor Mineo Gonzalez and residents Richard Anthony Camp and Eric Rock.

Dianne Feinstein beat Elizabeth Emken here 71%-29%. Party registration is 51% Democratic/20% Republican. None of the major candidates are registered Republicans. The race is non-partisan, so there won't be an indication of who is what party on the ballot.

Dunn is the most conservative candidate in the field and he does have the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's Political Action Committee's endorsement. Otto, however, has been around a long time. Though he's a Democrat, he's seen as a moderate. He has endorsements from Former California Governor George Deukmejian, who is a Long Beach resident, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, who represents the area. Both are Republicans.

I haven't seen any polling. Lowenthal is regarded as the strongest candidate, so I'd have to think she'd finish top two. After that, it's anyone's guess. With so many Democrats on the ballot, I'd think that Dunn could generate a lot of votes, but Otto is likely going after Republicans. The run-off is June 3, coinciding with the state's primary.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tony Quinn's California Gubernatorial Race Prediction

Long-time Republican political consultant Tony Quinn has a scathing commentary about Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly and the Republican party’s chances in the fall. Quinn is like a lot of the political consultants from the George Deukmejian/Pete Wilson eras. They seem bitter about the way the California Republican party is today and are always in the paper criticizing it. Liberal newspapers like The LA Times are always quick to quote any Republican criticizing the Republican party.

I’m going to skip Quinn’s mischaracterization of Donnelly’s crimes. Donnelly didn’t bring a loaded gun on an airplane. He had a gun in his bag when he went through airport security. According to news reports, however, no charges were ever filed. His characterization of the Minutemen, a group Donnelly was in briefly, as “a band of vigilantes who ride around the border threatening immigrants.” A bit of hyperbole there.

Quinn explains that Republican voters are now elderly whites living in gated communities and far out rural counties. Were that the entirety of the Republican vote, the GOP would be lucky to get 15% of the vote. But it sure sounds good to make Quinn’s point. He claims they’ll look for Anglo Saxon names on the ballot, ignoring the Republican candidates in important legislative races are non-Anglo Saxon names like Cannella, Vidak, Garcia, Nguyen, Martinez, de la Piedra, and Kim.

Quinn’s belief is that if Donnelly is nominated, Republicans won’t show up at the polls in November and that “Latino turnout will be massive” due to Donnelly’s anti-illegal immigrant stance. That Republicans won’t show up is contrary to all current polling, which shows that Republicans are heavily motivated right now, while Democrats are unmotivated. Quinn’s reasoning for the reverse being true is that Donnelly is unpopular with Republicans, even though polling suggests otherwise.

Latino turnout is never massive. Latinos turned out more in 2012 than they had in the past, but that had more to do with there just being more Latinos than there have been. Their voting rate still remains very low. And they don’t turn out for mid-terms. Despite Quinn’s fanning the flames, Donnelly is largely unknown with everyone in California. I imagine Latinos have no idea who he is, let alone his involvement with the Minutemen. Even if they did, they aren’t going to show up at the polls.

Quinn takes these faulty conclusions and jumps to an even odder one, that Jerry Brown will get 75-80% of the vote in November. The Democratic record in a vote when facing a Republican was March Fong Eu in 1986. In her umpeenth re-election campaign of Secretary of State, she beat her Republican opponent 68.8% to 26.4%. So 70% would be unprecedented, let alone 75-80%. Of course that was a different era. Since then the highest percentage in any election since was Dianne Feinstein in 2012, with 62.5%. Feinstein in 2012 was a perfect storm for Democrats. She was the most popular Democratic politician in this generation with a substantial war chest running against an unknown Republican who had no money. And the election was in a Presidential year where the President was a Democrat who was also enormously popular in California. The reason why she didn’t get more was because right leaning voters in this state will vote Republican, regardless of whether they know the candidate or how popular the Democrat is. This year there’ll be a more favorable electorate for Republicans with neither Obama nor Feinstein on the ballot. Obama is unpopular nationally and with non-Democrats in California. That’s supposed to increase Republican turn-out. And we’ve seen Republicans of all stripes doing very well in California elections in the last year. The environment, electorate, and candidates suggest that the Republican gubernatorial candidate will beat 2012 senate candidate Elizabeth Emken’s meager 37.5%, regardless of who he is.

Quinn further states that “ticket splitters are as rare as Dodo birds.” This is current conventional wisdom, even though in California the average Democrat in a competitive district did about 3.4% worse than Obama did. That’s why Republicans won a number of districts Obama won, but Democrats won 0 districts that Romney won. As I showed in my comparison of the 2006 and 2010 California congressional results, the top of the ticket doesn’t drag down everyone underneath.

Quinn predicts that if Donnelly wins Republicans will not only lose districts where they are challenging incumbent Democrats, but also incumbents like Anthony Cannella and David Valadao, who don’t face serious competition. Quinn then goes so far to state that Republicans who are unopposed will lose because “smart Democats will mount write-in efforts in the primary to make the November ballot.” He concludes that Republicans will lose any district where Romney got less than 70% in 2012. Romney didn’t get 70% in any district in 2012. So it appears that Quinn believes Democrats will win all 80 assembly, 20 state senate, and 53 congressional districts, regardless of whether they have a candidate on the ballot now or not.

I’ll let that sink in while I remind you that Republicans have been winning elections where Romney got about 35% of the vote.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

CA-17: The Mystery Volunteer

In January, Republican Vanila Singh entered the CA-17 race. I evaluated that entry in a blog post and concluded that a Republican in the race would make it likely that Democrat Ro Khanna wouldn't make top two since his only path to victory relies on Republican support. I did make the following recommendation suggestion:

Khanna's best hope is that there's at least one more Republican on the ballot. If you look at similar districts in 2012, like CA-27 or CA-38, you'll see that "some dude" Republicans will split the vote. I'm not advocating anything underhanded here but if Khanna wants to assure making top two, someone from his camp could call one of his big money tech executive supporters and that tech executive could find a registered Republican and get him on the ballot. Okay, I am suggesting something underhanded, but it's not like anyone from Khanna's camp reads this blog, is it?

What I was suggesting was underhanded and far-fetched. This blog isn't heavily read and surely the Khanna camp wasn't reading it. Yet, at the last minute, two unknown candidates, both with tech connections, entered the race. One of them was a Republican, while the other switched their affiliation when he decided to run for office. That candidate was kicked off the ballot for having insufficient signatures. The heretofore unknown Republican, Joel Vanlandingham, did have enough signatures. Fourteen of his 48 were submitted by someone who The San Jose Mercury News describes as a fervent Khanna supporter.. Khanna denies any involvement and the supporter isn't speaking to the press. Now there's nothing illegal about this and it doesn't violate election law, but as I said in January it is unethical.

Apparently I'm Ro Khanna's new campaign consultant.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

California Possible Top Two Clusterplucks

After the competitive CA-31 primary in 2012 ended with 2 Republicans in top two, people are curious if it can happen again. Now that the candidates are final, we can look at districts that should be competitive or even safe for one party but the other party gets both spots in top two.

SD-28 - Just so you don't think it's only possible for Democrats to get screwed, I'm starting with a Republican district. And it's not a Republican leaning district. It's a safe one. Since the district wasn't up in 2012, it's difficult to have an idea how the June vote will break down by party. Based on districts where Dianne Feinstein got a similar percentage of the November vote I'm anticipating this district to break down around 63% Republican and 37% Democratic in June. There are two Democrats, both of whom are unknown and neither of whom have raised any money. If that continues to be the case, and they don't get a party endorsement, they'll likely end up with similar vote shares. That could be 22%-15% or 19%-18%.

Republicans look like they have three strong candidates, all of whom have been elected to public office and each has raised a similar amount of money. There's an additional Republican. He has no website, is unknown, and hasn't reported any fundraising. In similar circumstances, a candidate like this would get around 2-5%. If the three Republicans split 60%, then at least one is going to make top two. If Carns, however, turns out to be a legitimate candidate, then there's a chance the top Republican in the race gets less than 18%. Of course, I could be wrong on vote share. If Democrats split a higher percentage, 40-42%, that reduces the share for Republicans. I think this district is a long shot for 2 Democrats to finish top two, but it's possible.

CA-24 - This district is on the edge of competitiveness. Incumbent Democrat Lois Capps won the district 55%-45% in 2012 and is facing lighter competition. She has two Democrats challenging her, one of whom, Paul Coyne, should get more votes than the other. I put him around 10% of the vote. There are 5 Republicans running. If they split the vote evenly, the top vote getter would get around 10%. If Coyne were more effective than I expect and got 15%, there could be an issue. One Republican, Justin Fareed, has over $100k cash on hand, while the other four have under $25k combined. I expect Fareed to top 20%, so a 2 Democrats in the top is a long shot.

CA-25 - This district is the reverse of CA-24. Republicans are heavily favored and it's a long shot for Democrats. Republicans won the district in 2012 70%-30%. That's a lot more Republican than the district should go, but it provides a benchmark. This time there are 4 Republicans in the race, two of whom are significant candidates, two Democrats, a Libertarian, and an NPP. Lee Rogers figures to be the top Democratic vote getter, but Even Thomas should take a decent share of Democratic votes. If Republicans Tony Strickland and Steve Knight get most of the Republican votes, and are close to one another in vote share, a Republican top two is possible. It'd put it at 30-40%.

CA-31 - Having three Republicans to go along with four Democrats makes a Republican top two less likely this time. One of those Republicans, Ryan Downing, appears like he'll be a candidate who gets a nominal share of the vote. That could make it more likely that the two more serious candidates, Paul Chabot and Lesli Gooch, both finish with at least 20-22% of the vote. as I've previously discussed this year's Democratic field looks more formidable than the 2012 field. That makes it more likely they'll split the vote. I think the top Democrat will be around 20-22%. So I'd give this district a similar 30-40% chance two Republicans finish top two.

CA-33 - In 2012 we had a district, CA-8, with 10 Republicans and one former Republican running as an NPP. No Republican got more than 16% of the vote in this district. None got less than 0.9%. There are definitely 2-3 Democrats who stand head and shoulders above the others here, but the bottom 7 Democrats should get at least 9% of the vote combined. And a big difference between this district and CA-8 is that Republicans got 72.6% of the vote there in 2012 and Democrats got only 52.2% here. There's also a Libertarian, a Green, and an NPP who is drawing significant left wing support. There are too many moving parts to make a good prediction at this point, but it's not hard to see the top Democrat topping out at 15%. If that happens, it's possible that two Republicans exceed that percentage. It's also possible none do. Or the NPP, Marianne Williamson, could face off against either a Republican or Democrat in November.