Tuesday, June 7, 2016

California VBM Exit Poll Analysis

I looked over the California VBM exit polls and they appear to show some serious danger for Republicans. The GOP is trailing in 7 assembly and 2 senate seats the party currently holds. Democrats haven't mounted a serious challenge in 5 of those assembly seats and neither senate seat in previous elections. In addition there are another 3 assembly seats and 3 congressional seats that have close exit polls. Strangely, the assembly seat the Republicans figured to lose, AD-16, is strong for the GOP in the exit poll. The three congressional districts that are considered endangered, CA-10, 21, and 25, show Republican landslides.

One reason to doubt these numbers, however, is that many of these districts that look bad for the GOP are in Orange County. That isn't shown in the BVM returns. In the 2014 primary Orange County VBM returns were R+18. They are R+10 here. While that looks like a big change, it's actually the average change for the state. Since the exit polls aren't showing disaster elsewhere for the GOP, just the party doing a bit worse, it's possible there's a glitch in the OC numbers.

Take Darrell Issa's CA-49, for example. VBMs were R+17 two years ago and Issa won the primary by 24% over the two Democrats combined. This year they are R+8. I'd expect a 9 point drop and Issa to be 15 points ahead. Instead he's up by 0.3%. I find it hard to believe that Jeff Denham is coasting to an 18 point win, but Issa is running even. Yes, I'm skeptical but the results will tell us whether that skepticism is warranted. That's what makes it fun.

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