Thursday, February 26, 2015

2016 Demographics

Amy Walter has a piece on 2016 demographics and what Republicans need to win in order to win the Presidency. She cites Whit Ayers saying that the electorate will be 69% white and 31% non-white. Since Ayers is a Republican pollster, she believes that makes a claim of such a non-white electorate credible. Ayers, last seen steering John Huntsman into an iceberg, and the other Republican pollsters do have an agenda. They want to win and doing better with minorities is definitely a way to do that. So they proclaim Republicans are doomed if they don't panic and win more minorities. If you say doomed people will listen.

The reality is somewhat different. The electorate in 2012 was 73.7% white and the electorate has been getting roughly 2% less white with each Presidential election. If that continues the electorate would 71.5% white. That's certainly possible, although it's also possible that minority turnout drops without the first minority President on the ballot. I could see the electorate being more white than 71.5%, but it's unlikely it'll be less white than that. An electorate with that high a minority population certainly is daunting for the GOP.

We should keep in mind, however, that Republican congressional candidates did about 1.5% better than Romney did nationwide. If Romney won Whites 59%-39%, they likely won them by 60.5%-37.5%. Additionally, Democratic support has been eroding with whites in every election, even those that didn't have Barack Obama. The idea that Hillary Clinton will do better with white, college-educated women than Obama isn't supported with any data. She might, but she could certainly do worse.

The states with the largest shares of Hispanics are mostly not in play in 2016. Improving on Romney's shares by 10% among Hispanics still won't win New York, California, Illinois, or New Jersey and it's not necessary to win Texas and Arizona. Yes, doing better among Hispanics could put Florida, Nevada, and Colorado in the GOP column, but Florida has had an R+2 PVi the last two elections. If a Republican candidate is running even with Hillary Clinton nationwide, it's hard to not see Florida already won.

On the other hand, some of the swing states (e.g. Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania) have small to nonexistent Hispanic populations and three of them have small to nonexistent Black populations. If a Republican could get the White voters in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to vote the way White voters did in Missouri or Indiana in 2012, all three could go into the GOP column.

The idea put out there is that Republicans can't win without doing better with minorities. It's not nearly that simple and that might not even be the path to victory.

Friday, February 20, 2015

California Senate Race Demographic Turnout

California election analysts are lucky. The information of who votes is readily available and the people at Political Data crunch all the numbers. Pollsters and election pundits from outside California say, "you can't predict who's going to vote." Well, you can in California. Political Data does that themselves, as do others with their data.

This data contradicts a story out there in the media. Because Blacks vote at higher rates than Hispanics, Attorney General Kamala Harris has an advantage. It's true that Blacks do vote at higher rates. After you set aside all the Latinos who aren't citizens and aren't registered to vote, Latino turnout was 28% in 2014, compared to 32% for African-Americans.

What people fail to mention is that there are over 4 million Latinos registered to vote in California, compared to just over 1 million African-Americans. Even with lower turnout, Latinos were 15.3% of the California electorate and African-Americans were 4.6%. Latinos still outnumbered African-Americans by over 3 to 1. If a Latino candidate could consolidate the Hispanic vote than he or she would garner a lot more Hispanic votes than Harris would African-Americans. Harris, however, also has a strong appeal to White Democrats and polls show that a Hispanic candidate won't dominate Hispanics.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gavin Newsom running for governor!

That's what the LA Times leads you to believe but it's not exactly true.

Gavin Newsom opened a fundraising account to run for governor in 2018. Every candidate who thinks they may run statewide some day opens up a statewide campaign account. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, had a campaign filing or Lieutenant Governor last cycle. I don't think he ever considered running, but candidates need to file an intention to run for statewide office in order to raise money. They can maintain that account pretty much forever and can switch the race to any statewide office. Newsom wants to raise money he can use in the future and he is termed out of his current job. So he had to pick something. He picked governor. Which he'll probably run for in 2018.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

California Senate poll produces weird results

PPP is out with a new California Senate poll, this time for Los Angeles County Young Democrats. The primary results are about what you'd expect, but the general results are weird. In the primary, Kamala Harris leads with 34%, having a healthy lead over Antonio Villaraigosa, who has 16%. They used two well known Republicans in the race, former congressmen Mary Bono and David Dreier. Neither will run, but it's smart to use well known Republicans. If you use unknown Republicans you're liable to end up with a high percentage of "not sure" among Republican voters. Yet even if the Republicans running next June are unknown, those "not sure" will be votes.

The first thing I look at in a California poll is the party breakdown, since we have a lot of data on how that's been in the past. The poll is 50%D/33%R/17%I. That's way too Democratic for a primary, it'll be about 44%D/37%R. There's also 17% Republican "not sure," so I'd expect these two candidates to get closer to 24% and 19%.A same party Top Two is a long shot, even with Adam Schiff in the mix.

The party ID breakdown is just slightly too Democratic for a general election. It'll be around 43%D/29%R. That's close enough not to quibble for the general. What's weird is that Harris only has a 5% lead over Dreier and Villaraigosa leads him by 2%. The races are close because Dreier takes about twice the percentage of Democrats as his Democratic opponents take Republicans and he kills with independents. I can't see it. Dreier isn't beating Harris by 18% with independents. I could see him winning them narrowly, as Fiorina did in 2010, but not by that margin. This poll looks like a Republican would have a shot at winning the California Senate race. None would. It'll be interesting to see if this poll encourages more high profile Republicans to run.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

CA-Sen: California Latino Caucus poll

The California Latino Caucus aren't happy with the anoint Kamala Harris crowd, but have yet to get a candidate to commit. So they hired Garin-Hart-Yang to do a poll. The poll is commissioned by them, so there's the immediate bias question, although Garin-Hart-Yang is a fairly respected Democratic pollster. PPP earlier did an automated poll for Harris. I'm not sure if that one was in English and Spanish, but automated polls are often entirely in English. That'll hurt Latino numbers.

The poll shows Antonio Villaraigosa has higher name recognition than Harris. Field polls showed that over 30% of the public had no opinion on Harris. So that's believable, although I'd guess Harris would be higher. Loretta Sanchez's number looks surprisingly strong, but it shouldn't be that surprising. This poll likely includes a good number of Latino voters and Sanchez has been on Spanish language TV in every one of the state's markets for over a decade. Xavier Becerra would have a bit more work to do.

The poll has a weird quirk. They say that those polls would prefer a Democrat to a Republican 48%-40%. That's a fairly believable spread for a California primary electorate. But when they do the horse race poll, the Democrats beat Ashley Swearengin 50%-31%. That tells me that some undecided people in the first question are choosing a Democrat in the second, while some Republican voters are undecided in the second. Swearengin doesn't have high name recognition, according to this poll, and that likely hurts the Republican vote. It's possible that if only one Republican runs, that 2-5% of the vote that'd go to a Republican could go to Villaraigosa.

The poll may be intended to boost Villaraigosa's viability. He's only down 10% here, less than the 25% she led him in the PPP poll. That has to be encouraging for him. On the other hand, he has higher name recognition than she does in this poll and is still losing by 10%. He only ties her in the LA media market and he really needs to beat her badly here to make top two. A Latino candidate will be an underdog, but we knew that already.