Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Final California VBM update and predictions

The final pre-election day VBM numbers are in and they came in with the same whimper they had all along. There have been 2,961,385 ballots returned, which is just a little more than the 2,926,861 in 2010. That was 51% of all VBM then. This is only 33%. That’s a dramatic drop. There will be VBM ballots dropped off at precincts today. A lot of them. There were just over 2 million dropped off in 2010 and 2.6 million in 2012. In those years the final VBM total was 86% and 87% of all VBM ballots. Since the total number of VBM ballots mailed in this year was almost the same as 2010, a similar number of election day drop-offs would put the number at 57%. Based on the low VBM turnout I’m projecting anywhere from 7.7 to 9.1 million total ballots a drop off of 1.2 to 2.6 million from 2010.

If the low turnout is a negative for Democrats, there is a silver lining in yesterday’s returns. They were 45%D/33%R. That’s the best day for Democrats in VBM, although it isn’t even close to their registration advantage. Part of that is that Orange County, the second biggest Republican leaning county, didn’t report receiving VBM yesterday. Since they consistently reported every day, I’m guessing that’s a reporting error. Overall, Republican leaning counties had a VBM rate of 35.8% and Democratic ones had a rate of 31.0%. The ratio of 115.5% was larger than the 8.5% in 2012 and 5.1% in 2010.

As I mentioned earlier, Democrats started to emphasize VBM. In the primary, this resulted in VBM gains for them and Republicans did better on election day in 80% of all contests. The big question is whether Democrats will have a big advantage on election day like they had in 2012 or if Republicans will have one like they did in the primary. Republicans did better in VBM than they did in 2012, the opposite of what you’d expect if Democrats were trying to get out the vote in the primary. Democrats have been responsible for a lot of the increase in people who have VBM ballots, but those people didn’t turn them in. I’ll present you with predictions based on the two turnouts, a high one and a low one.

CA-3: 2012 VBM: 42.1%D/37.5%R; 2014 VBM: 42.1%D/38.6%R; Republicans 1.1% gain
High turnout: Garamendi 55%-45%, Low turnout: Logue 51%-49%

CA-7: 2012 VBM: 41.1%D/39.5%R; 2014 VBM: 40.6%D/41.0%R; Republicans 2.1% gain
High turnout: Ose 51%-49%, Low turnout: Ose 55%-45%

CA-9: 2012 VBM: 46.3%D/37.1%R; 2014 VBM: 45.4%D/38.5%R; Republicans 2.3% gain
High turnout: McNerney 55%-45%, Low turnout: McNerney 51%-49%

CA-10: 2012 VBM: 40.3%D/42.7%R; 2014 VBM: 39.3%D/44.2%R; Republicans 2.5% gain
High turnout: Denham 55%-45%, Low turnout: Denham 60%-40%

CA-16: 2012 VBM: 47.5%D/36.6%R; 2014 VBM: 47.5%D/36.8%R; ; Republicans 0.2% gain
High turnout: Costa 55%-44%, Low turnout: Tacherra 51%-49%

CA-21: VBM: 45.7%D/40.7%R; 2014 VBM: 47.5%D/39.1%R; Democrats 3.3% gain
High turnout: Valadao 53%-47%, Low turnout: Valadao 61%-39%

CA-24: VBM: 38.8%D/40.4%R; 2014 VBM: 38.7%D/40.9%R; Republicans 0.6% gain
High turnout: Capps 53%-47%, Low turnout: Mitchum 52%-48%

CA-26: VBM: 39.4%D/40.6%R; 2014 VBM: 41.6%D/39.6%R; Democrats 3.2% gain
High turnout: Brownley 54%-46%, Low turnout: Gorell 51%-49%

CA-31: VBM: 41.7%D/40.0%R; 2014 VBM: 42.5%D/40.5%R; Democrats 0.3% gain
High turnout: Aguilar 55%-45%, Low turnout: Chabot 51%-49%

CA-33: VBM: 44.7%D/33.8%R; 2014 VBM: 44.1%D/36.2%R; Republicans 3.1% gain
High turnout: Lieu 62%-38%, Low turnout: Lieu 53%-47%

CA-36: VBM: 38.6%D/43.1%R; 2014 VBM: 39.5%D/42.7%R; Democrats 1.3% gain
High turnout: Ruiz 53%-47%, Low turnout: Nestande 53%-47%

CA-41: VBM: 46.1%D/37.6%R; 2014 VBM: 44.0%D/39.8%R; Republicans 4.3% gain
High turnout: Takano 57%-43%, Low turnout: Takano 51%-49%

CA-47: VBM: 40.8%D/38.5%R; 2014 VBM: 39.1%D/40.3%R; Republicans 3.5% gain
High turnout: Lowenthal 56%-44%, Low turnout: Lowenthal 51%-49%

CA-52: VBM: 33.6%D/39.6%R; 2014 VBM: 33.4%D/41.9%R; Republicans 2.5% gain
High turnout: DeMaio 52%-48%, Low turnout: DeMaio 59%-41%

Yeah, I know I have the GOP losing three seats 51%-49% in my low turnout model. I have them picking up 7 seats. Even I couldn’t predict higher than that. In my high turnout model, they net 1.

Same party
CA-4: McClintock 60%-40%
CA-17: Honda 53%-47%
CA-25: Strickland 57%-43%

California state senate
Democrats have 15 seats (including the vacant SD-35) not up and Republicans have 5. The GOP needs to win 9 seats to prevent a supermajority. Democrats have 10 safe seats up, while Republicans have 6. This includes SD-28 which moved from San Francisco to Riverside county. That’s Leland “what you do with your M-16 is your business” Yee’s seat. Two Republicans are running there and I’m picking Jeff Stone in that one. The GOP powers that be will be disappointed that they don’t get the Hispanic state senator. There’s also a Democrat on Democrat competition for the coastal SD-26. I think Ben Allen will win but I’m rooting for Sandra Fluke. She’ll be good for entertainment purposes.

SD-12 – VBM: 47.0%D/37.3%R; 2014 VBM: 44.3%D/39.8%R; Republicans 5.1% gain
This is a Central Valley district centered around Merced. Democrats have a big registration advantage and Barack Obama won big here. Democrats will show up more heavily than Republicans, but that’s not a problem in the Central Valley. Democrats have poured millions into races but nothing here. Republican incumbent Anthony Cannella will cruise to victory.

SD-14 – VBM: 47.7%D/38.4%R; 2014 VBM: 49.4%D/37.1%R; Democrats 3.0% gain
Republican Andy Vidak is running in a Bakersfield centered lower Central Valley district he won in a special last year. Barack Obama won it by nearly 20 points, but Vidak still won by over 20 in the primary. Initially Democrats had a big advantage in VBMs, but that’s gotten a lot smaller. Despite a ton of Democratic money, Vidak should win easily.

SD-32 – VBM: 46.5%D/34.3%R; 2014 VBM: 44.6%D/36.7%R; Republicans 4.3% gain
Barack Obama won even bigger in this Whittier based district. Democrats won the primary by enough that it should be safely Democratic. Charlie Munger decided to pour money into the race for unknown reasons. He may want to see if he can move the needle in a race without outside spending. The VBM margin is much smaller than in 2012. I don’t see Republican Mario Guerra winning, however.

SD-34 – VBM: 37.1%D/43.1%R; 2014 VBM: 37.0%D/43.3%R; Republicans 0.4% gain
In the primary the Republicans beat the Democrats by 34%, larger than several non-competitive districts. Ballot returns look good for the GOP. Despite huge Democratic spending, Republican Janet Nguyen should win easily.

That’s a 26-14 Democratic advantage, denying them their supermajority.

AD-8 – VBM: 43.1%D/38.5%R; 2014 VBM: 42.4%D/39.9%R; Republicans 2.1% gain
This suburban Sacramento one was expected to be more competitive in 2012, but Democrat Ken Cooley won by 8%. He’s likely to win again but if turnout is low it could be Republican Doug Haaland.

AD-16 – VBM: 41.2%D/36.2%R; 2014 VBM: 41.3%D/37.6%R; Republicans 1.2% gain
Democrats had a contentious primary with a lot of spending in this Tri-Valley district. I expect Democrat Tim Sbranti to win, but it’s another district that could go Republican if it’s a GOP night.

AD-21 – VBM: 45.1%D/38.8%R; 2014 VBM: 43.5%D/40.5%R; Republicans 3.3% gain
Republican Jack Mobley needed to be coaxed into running as a write-in in the primary. So I’m hesitant to go with him. My pick is Democrat Adam Gray to retain his seat, but this one will flip in a good Republican night.

AD-32 – VBM: 48.5%D/37.7%R; 2014 VBM: 50.7%D/36.0%R; Democrats 3.9% gain
I know this is one of the few districts Democrats got better VBM returns than 2012, but this is the Central Valley where some Democrats vote Republican. So I will pick a Republican win with Pedro Rios ousting Democratic incumbent Rudy Salas.

AD-36 – VBM: 33.3%D/48.4%R; 2014 VBM: 36.6D/47.3%R; Democrats 4.5% gain
It probably seems backwards that I’m picking Democrats in districts Republicans have made gains and Republicans in districts Democrats did better. Democrat Steve Fox won in a fluke in 2012, with a ridiculous influx of Democratic ballots on election day. He won’t be so lucky this time. Republican Tom Lackey takes the seat.

AD-40 – VBM: 38.6%D/42.7%R; 2014 VBM: 38.6%D/44.9%R; Republicans 1.3% gain
Democrats were expected to contend for this open San Bernardino county seat, but they didn’t put up much of a fight. Marc Steinorth wins it for the GOP.

AD-41 – VBM: 41.8%D/39.0%R; 2014 VBM: 41.1%D/40.8%R; Republicans 2.6% gain
This LA county district, covering Pasadena and the Foothills, has a 12% Democratic registration advantage. Incumbent Democrat Chris Holden should win easily but with Republican ballots nearly matching Democratic ones it’s worth mentioning.

AD-44 – VBM: 37.2%D/43.0%R; 2014 VBM: 40.0%D/41.4%R; Democrats 4.4% gain
This Ventura county seat is pretty much the only place outside the Central Valley Democrats got better VBM. That may help Julia Brownley to win and Democrat Jacqui Irwin is an even better bet here.

AD-57 – VBM: 45.6%D/35.9%R; 2014 VBM: 43.4%D/38.5%R; Republicans 4.9% gain
The primary produced the crazy result where Republican Rita Topalian got more votes probably because Ian Calderon has that Calderon name and there are too many other members of his family under indictment. It appears Republicans are even more motivated to send in VBM ballots, as it was a Democratic 8.5% return lead in the primary. I think voters send Calderon home and go with Topalian. She shouldn’t buy anything permanent in Sacramento. She’ll lose in 2016.

AD-65 – VBM: 36.7%D/43.0%R; 2014 VBM: 36.7%D/44.2%R; Republicans 1.1% gain
Sharon Quirk-Silva also won in a fluke upset in 2012. Democrats have tried hard to retain the district, but Quirk-Silva will fall to Republican Young Kim.

AD-66 – VBM: 39.4%D/40.5%R; 2014 VBM: 39.8%D/41.6%R; Republicans 2.7% gain
This one’s a bit shaky and I’m probably letting my desire to win a South Bay seat color my judgment, but I’m picking Republican David Hadley to knock off Democratic incumbent Al Muratsuchi.

Republicans pick up 4 assembly seats and the Democratic majority is 51-29.

This is the only state where statewide offices are last. I predict a Democratic sweep, although if the low turnout model is right Republicans Pete Peterson and Ashley Swearingen will win Secretary of State and controller.

Thank you to PDI for compiling this data.

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