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.

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