Wednesday, November 5, 2014

California Post-Script #1

Well, that sure was an interesting election, wasn’t it? I’ll spend some time looking at it from a number of angles over the coming weeks, although I will probably wait on some things. California has a methodical process for counting ballots that some call slow. So we have some time before the results are final.

So far there’s only been 5,325,299 ballots counted in California, a 29.9% turnout. I was right that turnout was going to be low, but even I didn’t think it’d be this low. There were 10,300,392 ballots cast in 2010. So much for the vaunted Democratic turnout machine. I said that low turnout would help Republicans. And it did. Perhaps not as much as I thought. All of the congressional except one came within the range that I gave in my predictions and many of them are closer to the top Republican number I gave. But right now Republicans aren’t winning CA-3, 24, 26, 31, and 36, as I expected. Only being off a point or two can be the difference between winning and losing.

There were four districts where Democratic spending dwarfed Republican spending but the current margin is 3% or less. That shows that how money isn’t everything in a campaign.

The GOP is currently ahead in 4 Democratic assembly seats, with 2 secure. So Republicans will definitely have 26 assembly seats, 1 short of denying Democrats a super majority. If the GOP finishes ahead in either of the 2 races they’re winning now or 1 of the 2 they trail by a bit, they’ll have their 27 seats.

Republicans had already flipped SD-28, as it replaced Leland Yee’s old district, moving to Riverside county. Janet Nguyen overwhelming flipped SD-34 and Republicans held on in SD-12 and 14. The Republican effort in SD-32 seems to have paid off, with the Democratic lead a little over 1,000 votes. Even if Republicans don’t flip that district they’ll have 14 to deny Democrats their supermajority.

Republicans were very upset at the senate redistricting in 2011, so much so that they got an initiative on the ballot to overturn them in hopes that the California Supreme Court would reinstitute the old maps until after the election. The biggest reason was that Republicans had a district that should’ve been up in 2012, but was actually up in 2014. So the GOP would lose that district for two years. The Supreme Court left the maps in place.

That adverse ruling worked out great for the GOP. They won 2 districts in 2014 where Barack Obama got 59% of the vote in 2012 and may have won one where got 66% of the vote. In 2012, Democrats won 5 districts where Barack Obama got between 55% and 60%. A different set of maps could’ve put more swing districts into 2012 and the GOP might have less seats than they do now.

Three state senators will be resigning shortly. Democrat Mark DeSaulnier and Republicans Mimi Walters and Steve Knight won congressional seats.

The first set of ballots are exclusively VBM and they tracked well, but not entirely with the VBM party breakdown. The election day did follow the primary much more than 2012 in that Republicans gained in some races and Democrats gained in others. Since that was the case I don’t expect Republicans to lose ground everywhere in after election day counting the way they did in 2012.

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