Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 Congressional race VBM returns through 10/27

Another 194,279 ballots were reported for yesterday, 8 days from election day. This is 54,838 less than the same day for 2010. While ballots are roughly 100k ahead of 2010, there are a lot more VBM ballots out today. Thus far, only 17% have been returned. In 2010, 25% had been returned on the same day. We may be talking about fairly low turnout this year. Overall, Democrats did better Monday. Their spread was 43.6%D/36.2%R. That was similar to the overall return in 2012, however, not a good day. While some Democratic leaning counties haven't reported VBMs at the same rate as Republican leaning counties we're so far along that it's possible those counties won't return VBMs at the same rate. The overall return is 42.2%D/37.6%R. That's still very good for Republicans.

PDI also has the ethnic and age breakdown of returns. I'll start with a qualifier here. We don't know if certain groups send in their VBM ballots first and others do it later. So this data could change. The VBM ethnically in between 2010 and 2012. So there's not much there. Ballot return right now is 73% over 55 years old. It was 63% in 2012 and 71% in 2010. The older voters voting right now don't have to be Republican or Republican leaning independents, but older people tend to vote more Republican than younger people. So an older independent is more likely to vote Republican than a younger one. This percentage favors the GOP.

CA-3: The Democratic advantage keeps dropping. Yesterday it went from D+3.1% to D+2.4%. It went D+5 in 2012. I'm not ready to declare this race as competitive yet, but I think I'm being cautious here. D+2 should make it competitive. Through self-funding Logue has matched incumbent Democrat John Garamendi's fundraising. I'm guessing that if Garamendi's internals said he was in trouble, we'd hear something but that's making a big assumption. Neither candidate has gotten independent expenditure help.

CA-7: The district went from D+0.6% returns to D+0.4%. So it didn't move at all. There's a ton of outside spending and I anticipate this one still in doubt at the end of election night.

CA-9: Can you name the Republican nominee here? I'm guessing a lot of people don't know who it is until they get their ballot. Tony Amador hasn't spent any money, but the returns dropped nearly a point D+9.5% to D+8.6%. I don't think incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney is in a competitive race, but if Republican returns get this down in the D+5 range, it's possible.

CA-10: No change. Jeff Denham still sitting fine.

CA-16: More Democratic ballots, as it moves from D+14.0% to D+14.6%. The Central Valley is difficult to predict based on party breakdown, but I think Jim Costa is probably safe.

CA-21: More Democratic ballots here too, as it's moved from D+15.2% to D+15.7%. I'll reiterate that while that looks bad for Republican David Valadao, Democratic independent expenditures have pulled out of the district and SurveyUSA reported Valadao up 5 with already voted. If that's accurate then these Democratic returns aren't a concern for him.

CA-24: A good day for Democrat Lois Capps as the returns are now R+2.5%, compared to R+3.0% before. Like CA-3, this district could be competitive with these returns.

CA-26: A good day for Republican Jeff Gorell, as the Democratic ballot advantage dropped from D+4.0% to D+3.3%. I've said all along that if the VBM skews this Democratic then Republican Jeff Gorell will probably lose. But it isn't an advantage that we shouldn't look at returns on election day.

CA-31: Returns are now D+1.6%, down from D+2.0%. Democrat Pete Aguilar has spent a lot more money and has independent expenditures supporting him, while Republican Paul Chabot does not. But VBMs are fairly low here and this is a range where Chabot can still win.

CA-33: This district had the biggest drop in Democratic spread from 2012 to 2014. Despite a very strong day in Democratic ballot returns, it still does. The district went from a D+2.3% Democratic advantage to D+4.2%. That's still well below the D+10.9% in 2012. This is an open seat with candidates who don't fit the usual Republican-Democratic dynamic. There's a Jewish Republican from Santa Monica against an Asian Democrat from Torrance. If Carr makes inroads with either Jewish voters or West Siders, this may be a race.

CA-36: Returns moved more Republican from R+2.2% to R+2.7%. In most districts that's pretty good for the GOP but they were R+4.5% in 2012. Raul Ruiz likely did well with the independent vote then and there's no reason to think that's changed. Ruiz remains a strong favorite here, but Republican Brian Nestande can't be dismissed.

CA-41: No change here. I don't think Republican Steve Adams has a shot at an upset but this district had VBM returns of D+8.5% in 2012 and is now D+3.4%. Returns are the lowest of any competitive district right now. I think the VBMs will have to get closer to even for it to be a race, but again this may be a district to watch on election night.

CA-47: Democrats cut the Republican advantage down from R+3.0% to R+2.2%. Again this is a district with a some dude Republican going up against an incumbent Democrat. The difference between Democratic VBM and election day turnout was heavier here than any other district, but it's tough to dismiss a district where there are more Republican ballots. I'm not saying that Republican Andy Whallon has a shot any more than I said that Tony Amador or Steve Adams could win, but the numbers remain good for Republicans.

CA-52: Steady at R+9.4%. Carl DeMaio remains the favorite. This sort of advantage would be a death sentence for incumbent Democrat Scott Peters elsewhere, but that's not certain here. Still, he can't like this many Republican ballots.

I'm not trying to declare a Republican pick-up of 6 or 7 seats here. Democrats will most likely return almost every seat they have and pick-up CA-31. Still, the VBM returns suggest there may be more competitive races than expected.

Once again, a big thank you to PDI for compiling these numbers.

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