Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bernie and Republicans are in trouble in California

There have been 950,670 VBM ballots returned for the California primary. It's good news for Democratic down ballot candidates and bad news for Republicans and Bernie Sanders. Republicans and Bernie Sanders? Those two usually aren't negatively impacted at the the same time.

But they are based on these returns. Returns are running way ahead of the 2014 primary. This isn't a big surprise, given the Presidential primary. Returns so far are 49%D/33%R/18%O. The 2014 returns were 42%D/37%R/20%O. So Democratic returns are way up, while Republicans, and others are down.

With more Democrats voting, and fewer Republicans, the GOP may have problems in top two down ballot primaries. For the most part it won't be a big deal. Democratic candidates should get some more votes, but it shouldn't prevent a Republican making top two. The one race it could, and likely will, is the US Senate primary. Republicans didn't look to be in good shape because none have broken out. Top Two produced a 52-55%D/38-41%R result in 2014. If returns continue to be this strong for Democrats the result could be pushed up to 58-60% Democratic. With Republicans already at a disadvantage this should sink them. Everything points to Harris vs. Sanchez in November.

One caveat with this prediction is that increased Democratic ballots doesn't necessarily mean increased Democratic voting down ballot. Since the Republican Presidential primary is uncompetitive and the Democratic primary is, some voters may have switched from Republicans and other to Democratic to vote for President. Their down ballot behavior won't have changed. Of course, there may also be many new Democratic voters who do vote Democratic down ballot.

Bernie Sanders does very well with independents while Hillary Clinton does very well with Democrats. So more Democrats and less independents will hurt Sanders' chances. What's worse for Sanders is that NPP voters who want to vote in the Democratic primary must request a Democratic ballot. Only 14 percent of the NPP voters have requested a Democratic ballot. The rest won't vote in the Democratic primary. Those voting on election day will have it easier. The registrar of voters sends a ballot without the Presidential campaign if the voter doesn't request it on a VBM ballot. On election day the poll workers will, assumably, ask NPP voters if they want a Democratic ballot and all the voter will have to do is say yes. If the VBM requests are an indication, however, if poll workers don't ask if an NPP voter wants a Democratic ballot, the NPP voters might not request one.

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