Thursday, December 22, 2016

2021 Redistricting

Washington Post's Fix has an article on redistricting, about how Democrats might do if they hold the governors’ mansions in seven states when 2021 redistricting is done. They make bold predictions for Democrats that are in no way realistic outside of a wave election.

Virginia – They claim that Democrats could pick up as many as three seats in a neutral draw. I have no doubt VA-10 could lean Democratic, although I doubt it’d be safe without a Democratic incumbent. Unless you significantly reduce the Black population in VA-3 and VA-4 I don’t see where Democrats get another one. They only won VA-4 by 16. Take enough Democrats from there and it becomes a competitive seat. Of course the reason that VA-4 exists is because the court told Republicans they needed to create a Black represented district. Breaking up these districts might give Democrats another one, or maybe two, but likely wouldn't elect any Black Democrats. I don't think the court will go for that.

Florida – Democrats already got their crack at the map when Republicans were told by the court to redraw the map this year so not to favor their party. Democrats picked up FL-7, 10, and 13 as a result, although they won FL-13 by only 4 points and they only won FL-7 because John Mica ran a bad race. This new draw gave Republicans FL-2 and FL-18. Even with a Democratic governor, Democrats can’t influence a draw that helps them win seats. Fair Districts Florida is drawn to prevent that. There are two South Florida Hispanic districts, FL-26 and 27, that could go Democratic if they can get Cubans to vote the same for congress as they do for the Presidency. That will have nothing to do with a different draw.

Democrats won only 11 of 27 seats and probably would have won 10 if John Mica ran a competent race. This highlights the biggest problem Democrats have, packing themselves together in small areas. Five of their districts are adjacent in South Florida, three are adjacent in Central Florida, and two are adjacent in Tampa-St. Pete.

Pennsylvania – A better draw would help the Democrats but not by that much. PA-6, 7, and 15 could be drawn as competitive seats but wouldn’t be certain pick-ups for the Democrats. Democrats lost these by 14, 19, and 20 this year, so a better draw wouldn’t have gotten them a win. PA-8 isn't gerrymandered, it's almost entirely Bucks county, and Democrats lost that open seat race by 9. It’s possible Democrats could pick up three seats but not without a wave. The Washington Post isn't talking about what's possible with a wave but in a regular year.

Michigan – I don’t see how Democrats could gain 2-3 seats with a better map. The state will lose a seat in 2020 and that seat is likely in the Detroit area where Democrats are strong. I don’t see a better draw for Democrats outside of Detroit winning them seats. Right now the map is 9-5 Republicans. Maybe they’d get 7-6 with a neutral draw. Maybe.

Ohio – I think Democrats would pick up a Canton-Akron seat in a neutral draw although the district would likely be one that Trump won. Outside of that I can see OH-1, a suburban Cleveland district, and a northern Ohio district becoming toss-ups. Democrats got very little of what they wanted in the 2011 redistricting but one concession they got was that the Dayton centered OH-10 was drawn into a district Barack Obama won in 2008. Republican congrssman Mike Turner won the district by 31 points this year. Democrats could potentially pick up 4 seats but it’d have to be a wave election.

Wisconsin – They say Democrats could gain two seats, but I don’t see where. I can see one seat moving closer to a toss-up but they aren’t going to get a draw in WI-1, 7, or 8 that’s going to turn 25 point losses into blue seats. Donald Trump won the Democratic held WI-3 by 4 points, even though Republicans attempted to pack the district with Democrats. So it's possible a neutral draw could actually cost Democrats a seat.

Illinois – This state was actually drawn by a Democratic trifecta. The redraw was a big success, since Democrats gained four seats and Republicans lost five. The state lost the fifth seat. Democrats lost IL-10 and 12 in 2014, before taking back IL-10 this year. A census seat loss could prevent serious Democratic losses but it’s not hard to see a couple of Suburban Democratic seats becoming toss-ups again.

Maryland – They don’t mention it but Republican governor Larry Hogan has a 71% approval rating. He seems a good bet for re-election. If that happens, as many as three districts that Democrats have could be toss-ups. That doesn’t mean Republicans will pick up any, but it should balance out toss-ups in some other states.

I know Democrats have been blaming redistricting for them not winning more seats but they got the courts to make new draws in North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia in 2016. Democrats only netted two seats in the three. I don't see the redistricting bonanza they imagine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

California Congressional v. Presidential Vote Raw Totals

In California 14,610,509 people voted. Yet only 14,181,595 had their votes counted in the Presidential election. I say had their votes counted because some of the roughly 428,914 did vote. In some cases they had an overvote. An overvote is when the box is filled in for two candidates for a particular office. This may be due to a person changing their mind, and not realizing that once a box is filled in, it's filled in, or a stray mark. If a person votes twice, neither vote counts. A person might've filled in the wrong box or not filled in a box enough that the ballot could be read by the scanner. This is an undervote. So while some of the 428,914 didn't think anyone in the Presidential race was worth voting for, it wasn't all of them.

There was a significant drop-off in votes from the Presidential to the Senate race in California. As the linked chart shows, there were 13.7% less votes counted in California's senate race than the Presidential race. In other states the drop-off ranged from 0-6%. The average drop-off was 1.8%. So roughly 12% of California voters who turned out chose not to vote in the Senate race between two Democrats. Many of those were likely Republicans or right leaning independents. So probably more than 40% of Republican voters chose to sit this one out. That has to be a disappointment to those who authored top two. Their thinking was that Republicans would vote for the preferred Democrat in such a scenario.

Some people thought Sanchez could win by getting an overwhelming percentage of the Republican vote. The Senate race wasn't close, however. Even if Loretta Sanchez had gotten all 1.9 million people who voted in the Presidential race, but didn't vote in this one, she would've still lost by over 900k votes. In a statewide Democrat on Democrat race, you can't win by trying to win Republican votes. A Democrat needs a significant share of Democratic votes.

This chart shows the Presidential and Congressional vote in each district. You may see these numbers elsewhere with the percentages of each race, but here you can see the raw vote totals. I separated the districts into those where both a Republican and Democrat ran and those where no Republican ran.

You can see here how dramatic the difference between Trump and congressional Republicans was, especially in Orange County. Mimi Walters got 37,905 voters who didn't vote for Donald Trump and her opponent was unable to retain 33,218 voters who voted for Clinton. Note that I'm not saying Walters got 37,905 Clinton voters. Some of her votes likely came from the 21,982 voters who voted for someone other than Clinton or Trump for President. I say some because while the independent voters might've broken in favor of Walters, she probably didn't get more than 70% of them.

Every race had less voters who voted for congress than President. It's likely that the some Clinton and some Trump voters didn't vote in the congressional race. That's fairly standard nationwide. So Walters didn't get all 144,713 Trump voters. Off the cuff I'd guess Walters got 127k Trump voters, 14k independent voters, and another 41k Clinton voters. Is that sustainable for her to keep winning? I think it is. Mitt Romney got 169,489 votes and a bunch of the Clinton/Walters voters likely voted for Romney in 2012 and voted Republican down ballot this time.

John Chiang Has Raised A lot of Money for Gubernatorial Bid

The California governor will be an open seat race in 2018. A lot of candidates have jumped in and more may do so. A Field poll taken after last month's election put Gavin Newsom firmly in the lead with 23%. Republicans Kevin Faulconer and Ashley Swearengin were second and third. In a Top Two primary we don't need to look any further. Several declared Democratic candidates were in the single digits, with state Treasurer John Chiang at a measly 2%. This surprised me, because Chiang has been overwhelmingly voted to statewide office three times. That's a really really low total.

The good news for Chiang is that California has very loose campaign finance laws. That might surprise some people because Democrats control California and they're always complaining about money in politics. But most of the money here is Democratic money and restricting that would only hurt Democratic candidates. They wouldn't want to do that. While a person can only give $2,700 per election to a Federal candidate, an individual can give $29,200 to a gubernatorial candidate. That's good news for John Chiang, because he's been bringing in big contributions. Chiang is going to need to spend some money because the voters clearly aren't that excited about him yet.

Some people have speculated that some gubernatorial candidates might switch over to the U.S. Senate race if Dianne Feinstein retires. I don't know if any of the campaign money can be used for a Federal race but if it can, it'll only be a fraction. If someone gives $29,200, the most that could be moved would be $2,700. The more money he raises for governor, the less likely a switch to Senate is.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

California Congressional Districts by Presidential and Congressional Vote

Donald Trump cratered in California. I've already covered the reason why Trump did worse than Romney in California but better elsewhere. I've figured out the Presidential vote by congressional district. A few of these are approximated, because every county hasn't broken down their Presidential vote by district yet. The approximation is likely off by only a few tenths of a percentage point and shouldn't matter when rounding.

CA-1: Romney 57%-40%, Trump 56%-37%
2012: Doug La Malfa 57%-43%, 2016: Doug La Malfa 59%-41%

Donald Trump lost California by 30, while Mitt Romney lost it by 23 points. There aren’t many districts where Trump did better but this is one. It makes sense. Trump did very well in rural America and this district is rural with small towns. LaMalfa likely benefitted, doing better in 2016 than in 2012.

CA-3: Obama 54%-43%, Clinton 53%-40%
2012: John Garamendi 54%-46%, 2016: John Garamendi 59%-41%

This district is largely rural, with some Sacramento suburbs mixed in, so it’s not surprising that the Presidential margins were so close. John Garamendi’s voters were willing to split their tickets and he more than doubled his 2012 win.

CA-7: Obama 51%-47%, Clinton 51%-40%
2012: Ami Bera 52%-48%, 2016: Ami Bera 51%-49%

Hillary Clinton didn’t do better than Barack Obama in this suburban district, even though Donald Trump didn’t match Mitt Romney’s percentage. Clinton doing better didn’t help Bera, as his close call in 2012 was even closer in 2016. Maybe the vote was influenced by Bera’s father being convicted of illegal campaign contributions and the district won’t be that close in the future. After three tight races I don’t think Bera will count on an easy win in 2018.

CA-4: Romney 58%-40%, Trump 54%-39%
CA-8: Romney 56%-42%, Trump 55%-40%

These are the other two rural districts in the state and Trump did a little better than Romney in CA-8 and a little worse in CA-4.

CA-9: Obama 58%-40%, Clinton 55%-37%
2012: Jerry McNerney 56%-44%, 2016: Jerry McNerney 57%-43%

This district mixes some of the rural Central Valley and is centered in Stockton. I haven’t looked at the precinct data but Trump likely did better than Romney in the more rural parts of this district and worse around Stockton. Jerry McNerney wasn’t helped, but his win was comfortable.

CA-10: Obama 51%-47%, Clinton 48%-45%
2012: Jeff Denham 53%-47%, 2016: Jeff Denham 52%-48%

This district is just south of CA-9, centered in Modesto. Trump did a couple of points better than Romney but Jeff Denham had another close call. Like Bera, he can’t get comfortable.

CA-12: Obama 84%-13%, Clinton 86%-9%
CA-13: Obama 88%-9%,Clinton 87%-7%
CA-29: Obama 77%-21%, Clinton 78%-17%
CA-34: Obama 83%-14%,Clinton 84%-11%
CA-37: Obama 85%-13%,Clinton 86%-10%
CA-40: Obama 82%-17%,Clinton 82%-13%
CA-43: Obama 78%-20%,Clinton 78%-17%
CA-44: Obama 85%-14%,Clinton 83%-12%

These urban mostly majority minority districts are the most Democratic in the state. It would’ve been tough for Hillary Clinton to do much better than Barack Obama and she did about the same as he did. For the most part Donald Trump lost more from Mitt Romney than Clinton gained from Obama.

CA-16: Obama 59%-39%, Clinton 61%-34%
2012: Jim Costa 57%-43%, 2016: Jim Costa 58%-42%

Democrat Jim Costa had a close call in 2014, but did just as well as he did in 2012 this year. He didn’t come close to matching Clinton or Obama. It’s tough for a Democrat down ballot to match the Presidential vote in the Central Valley.

CA-21: Obama 55%-44%, Clinton 53%-41%
2012: David Valadao 58%-42%, 2016: David Valadao 57%-43%

There aren’t many places in America where Democrats win the Presidential race by double digits and lose the congressional race by double digits. Democrats haven’t run a quality challenger to Valadao yet, but there’s no evidence they can even make him sweat.

CA-24: Obama 54%-43%, Clinton 57%-37%
2012: Lois Capps 55%-45%, 2016: Salud Carbajal 53%-47%

Hillary Clinton won the district by 20 points while Barack Obama won by 11. That’s a bigger improvement than the state overall. Despite a big improvement by Clinton Salud Carbajal had a tighter race than Lois Capps. It may have been due it being an open seat, but that’s a lackluster win in a district where Clinton voters were the ones voting.

CA-25: Romney 50%-48%, Clinton 50%-44%
2012: Buck McKeon 55%-45%, 2016: Steve Knight 53%-47%

Hillary Clinton improved the margin by 8 points, flipping the seat from Romney to her on a Presidential level. Unfortunately for the Democrats their congressional improvement was smaller and didn’t result in flipping the seat. They did improve in the down ticket state senate race, but not enough to win. Democrats won one of the assembly districts in this congressional seat in 2012 but the GOP took it this time. CA-26: Obama 54%-44%, Clinton 57%-35%
2012: Julia Brownley 53%-47%, 2016: Julia Brownley 60%-40%

Elton Gallegly held the Ventura county seat for 26 years. It isn’t a Republican stronghold any more. While the GOP gave Julia Brownley a scare in 2014, she coasted to victory this time. In most cases Democrats down ballot didn’t see Clinton like improvement but they saw that in the congressional, state senate, and assembly races in Ventura county.

CA-27: Obama 63%-35%, Clinton 66%-28%
CA-28: Obama 70%-26%, Clinton 72%-22%
CA-30: Obama 65%-32%,Clinton 69%-26%
CA-32: Obama 65%-33%,Clinton 67%-28%
CA-33: Obama 61%-37%,Clinton 68%-27%
CA-38: Obama 65%-33%, Clinton 67%-24%
CA-47: Obama 60%-37%, Clinton 62%-31%

These LA county districts are mostly whiter than the minority majority districts above and bit less blue. Similar to those, however, Clinton improved just a bit over Barack Obama while Trump suffered bigger declines compared to Mitt Romney. The districts with the two biggest changes, CA-30 and 33, are wealthier and more suburban. Those were where Hillary Clinton made her biggest gains throughout the country.

None of these districts were competitive on a congressional level in 2012 and they weren’t again this year. Democrats showed several points of improvement across the board.

CA-31: Obama 57%-41%, Clinton 58%-37%
2016: Pete Aguilar 56%-44%

CA-35: Obama 67%-31%, Clinton 68%-27%
2016: Norma J. Torres 72%-28%

San Bernardino showed only a small improvement for Clinton over Obama. Trump did about the same as Romney in CA-8, but in these two, like in many of the LA county districts, he was off Romney’s percentage. In 2012, both districts had interparty contests, so there’s nothing to compare them to. After a 3 point win in 2014, Aguilar had a more comfortable victory this year. There may have been some coat tails here.

CA-36: Obama 51%-47%, Clinton 52%-43%
2012: Raul Ruiz 53%-47%, 2016: Raul Ruiz 62%-38%

CA-41: Obama 62%-36%, Clinton 61%-33%
2012: Mark Takano 59%-41%, 2016: Mark Takano 65%-35%

CA-42: Romney 57%-41%, Trump 53%-41%
2012: Ken Calvert 61%-39%, 2016: Ken Calvert 59%-41%

Riverside county produced interesting results. Hillary Clinton did just a little better than Barack Obama here but Democrats Raul Ruiz and Mark Takano dramatically increased their margins. These two are now popular incumbents and the GOP isn't going to challenge either district. Ken Calvert's district closely followed the Presidential race. Donald Trump did a bit worse and so did Calvert.

CA-39: Romney 51%-47%, Clinton 51%-43%
2012: Ed Royce 58%-42%, 2016: Ed Royce 57%-43%

CA-45: Romney 55%-43%, Clinton 49%-44%
2012: Tom Campbell 58%-42%, 2016: Mimi Walters 59%-41%

CA-48; Romney 55%-43%, Clinton 47%-46%
2012: Dana Rohrabacher 61%-39%, 2016: Dana Rohrabacher 58%-42%

CA-46: Obama 61%-36%, Clinton 66%-28%
Orange County was a disaster for Donald Trump. It’s heavily suburban, the type of cities and towns where he dropped off from Mitt Romney most. It shows in the results. While Clinton didn’t improve over Obama in other majority minority districts her improvement over him in CA-46 was large.

The Presidential results didn’t show better results for Democrats in congressional races, however, and that wasn’t uncommon in suburban districts. Hillary Clinton had similar stunning improvements in similar districts like GA-6, GA-7, IL-6, and MN-3and Democrats didn’t come close to winning any of them. As I mentioned earlier, Republicans did very well in the county’s assembly races. Call me skeptical that Orange County is going blue.

CA-49: Romney 52%-46%, Clinton 50%-43%
2012: Darrell Issa 58%-42%, 2016: Darrell Issa 50.3%-49.7%

CA-50: Romney 60%-38%, Trump 54%-39%
2012: Duncan Hunter 67%-33%, 2016: Duncan Hunter 63%-37%

CA-51: : Obama 69%-29%, Clinton 71%-23%
2012: Juan Vargas 72%-28%, 2016: Juan Vargas 73%-27%

CA-52: Obama 52%-46%, Clinton 57%-35%
2012: Scott Peters 51%-49%, 2016: Scott Peters 57%-43%

CA-52: Obama 61%-36%, Clinton 64%-29%
2012: Susan Davis 61%-39%, 2016: Susan Davis 67%-33%

San Diego county, on the other hand is definitely getting bluer. While Darrell Issa slipped in Orange county, San Diego county was much worse for him. He won the county by 22k votes in 2012 and lost it by 16k votes this year. Scott Peters won a narrow victory in 2012, but won easily this year. Duncan Hunter lost 8 points off his margin. He’s not going to lose his district but Issa will be in trouble in future elections and CA-52 is likely out of reach for the GOP.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Recount Was Poorly Conceived

The Presidential recount is almost over. Wisconsin will finish counting Monday or Tuesday with little change in the result. The Michigan recount has been halted and there might not be any more counting in Pennsylvania either. What makes this crazy was that Stein should've never filed for a recount. Even Stein had to know that a recount would only change at most a few hundred votes. From looking at Twitter and Facebook people who donated thought the recounts would show Clinton won the three states.

What Stein really (should have?) wanted was an examination of the voting machines to see if they'd been compromised. She did actually request this in Pennsylvania but was denied access because she couldn't show evidence the machines were tampered with. I think she did ask in Pennsylvania but since she could provide no evidence the machines had been tampered with she never got access. Stein's contention is that she'd only get evidence by getting access to the machines. When the police want to do a search they have to present probable cause to a judge to prove that the search will produce something illegal. Stein didn't feel she should be held to that standard. She was.

I'm not going to say this was a scam but anyone who understands elections knew the whole process would be a waste of time. Sadly, Stein's supporters won't be satisfied with what's happened. All this recount has done is lower confidence in American democracy.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

California Presidential vote 2012 v. 2016 by county

Here are comparisons of the California vote 2012 v. 2016 by county. Hillary Clinton obviously did quite a bit better than Barack Obama. Most of the counties where Clinton had big increases are heavily suburban, something we've seen across the country. She also improved in urban areas, but not by nearly as much in most cases. I didn't think someone could do 4 points worse than Mitt Romney in San Francisco but Trump did. Clinton's biggest gains were largely coastal. The Central Valley and Inland Empire tilted a bit toward Clinton but not nearly the way suburban areas did.

Donald Trump showed improvement over Mitt Romney in the rural northern counties, even those that vote Democratic. I think CA-1, 4, and 8 are the only three congressional districts where Trump did better than Romney.

Barack Obama won the national vote 51.1%-47.3%. Hillary Clinton won it by 48.2%-46.2%, a difference of 1.8% in their margins. If you exclude California, Barack Obama won the popular vote 50.1%-48.4%. If you exclude California, Donald Trump won the 2016 popular vote 47.9%-46.6%. That's a difference 3.0% in the margins. Hillary Clinton did do better than Barack Obama in a few other state but in most she did worse. So why did California buck the rest of the country?

It actually didn't. As in California Hillary Clinton showed good improvement over Barack Obama in suburban areas, while she did much worse in rural areas, and the results were mixed in urban areas. She did better in some but worse in others. What makes California different is that it has so many large cities and larger cities have larger suburban areas. California has 4 of the top 17 metro areas. They account for 24 million people and 61% of Californians in 2010. Michigan has only one metro areas in the top 65 and it accounts for 44% of the state's population. North Carolina's largest metro area is 34th. Arizona has 67% of its population in the Phoenix metro area and it was one of the handful of states where Hillary Clinton improved over Barack Obama.

I don't have the data for this but I think if you look at cities and counties by population density you'll see the biggest improvement for Clinton over Obama in the high population density areas and the biggest for Trump over Romney in the least dense areas. The results will likely show that the relationship between the 2016 and 2012 votes is fairly similar across the country if you look at density. It's just that California has more population dense area than other states.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Peter Thiel for governor?

Politico has a story that some within the CAGOP want Peter Thiel to run for governor. Thiel's spokesman denied interest, but that shouldn't stop us.

There are pros and cons here for Republicans. Thiel would definitely make top two. This year a few underfunded Republicans ran for Senate and none made top two. Republicans did poorly this year. I don't know how much of that can be attributed to having no senate candidate but it certainly didn't help. Thiel is very well known and an outsider, something that helped the Schwarzenegger get elected. Being a traditonal Republican hasn't worked well here. Thiel also wouldn't require party money and the CAGOP doesn't have a ton of that. They'd prefer to spend it on elections they can win. Thiel is LGBT. That can help Republicans with the perception that they are anti-LGBT.

On the other hand, Thiel has received a lot of hatred for his support of Trump and likely has high disapproval ratings. Thiel would also tie the CAGOP to Trump. Based on Trump's performance here that doesn't look like a good idea. Sue, just being a Republican is unpopular in California but being a Trump supporter is more unpopular.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mea Kulpa on the National Margin

I was wrong. I thought that Hillary Clinton's final margin wouldn't exceed 1.5%. I now have Hillary Clinton's lead at 1.99%. California and New Jersey are done counting, but there are still a few states that aren't final. That includes New York. And one part of New York that hasn't updated is New York City, a treasure trove of Democratic votes. She will hit 2.00%.

I based 1.5% on two faulty assumptions. The first was that I used Michael McDonald's estimates of remaining votes. His estimates in many states were very low. He's since adjusted his spreadsheet. The second was that I expected the late vote to only be slightly more Clinton than election night. That was really wrong. Clinton won post-election night Colorado by 22 points. She won Maryland by 39 points. She won Georgia and Florida, states she lost, by 26 and 22 points. Clinton's post-election night margin in California was 34, up from 28 on election night. The post-election night vote has gone to Clinton 57.9%-34.5% so far. That's somewhat remarkable considering Clinton and Trump were separated by 0.1% after election night.

I got this one wrong. I apologize for the mistake.

Monday, December 5, 2016

California Post-Election Night Count

California has counted almost all of their post-election night ballots. I believe they must finish by tomorrow. They will, as they are always on time. The state site has most of the votes on there. I'll take a lot of looks at California voting data over the next few and I'll start with post-election night ballots. California is well-known for counting a lot of ballots after election night.

This is because a high percentage of California voters are vote by mail. When a VBM ballot arrives on or after election day (it can arrive 3 days after if it's post-marked by election day) the ballot must still be verified as being from an eligible voter. This can be time consuming because people who vote by mail can show up at the precinct on election day and vote provisionally. Thus, the VBM ballot has to be checked to see if the person voted provisionally. Likewise a provisional ballot has to be checked to see if the person did vote by mail.

California had 8.9 million ballots counted on election night and now has over 14 million. In the past, ballots counted after election day skewed heavily Democratic. I talked about it in 2014. That year Democrats did better in 30 of the 31 races I tracked. This year I tracked 55 races and Democrats did better in 42. So Democrats doing better after election night still holds in California. I've said in the past that a Republican needs at least 52% of the vote on election night to ensure a win. There were only five cases of Republicans losing more than that. The biggest change was in AD-36. Tom Lackey led by 12 points at the end of election night and only won by 6.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

House of Representatives Vote Update

Since the state websites haven't been updating I went county by county in New York and California and found roughly 235k votes. There's probably no more than 65k votes left in all of California, most in Sacramento and Lake counties. California has added 5.1 million votes since election day, so that'a small amount. Some people complain about how slow California counts but there are still more than 20 other states that haven't published their official results. Some states, e.g. New Jersey and Missouri, haven't updated their website since election day, while others, e.g. Illinois and Massachusetts, don't even have the vote on their website. So I'm fine with California's consistent updates.

Right now Republicans are leading the two party vote 50.8%-49.2%, a lead of 1,965,550. That's healthy but not quite the 52% the GOP had at the end of election night. Democrats should still get a bunch of votes once Massachusetts publishes their final vote, as they have four unopposed Democrats whom I only have partial vote totals. I think the final vote will end up being 50.7%-49.3%, with Republicans having 1.75 million more votes.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Clinton and Trump Campaign Teams at Harvard

As is customary after every Presidential election the campaign teams went to Harvard to discuss the election. These things are usually civil but it wasn't tonight. The Clinton campaign team blamed racists, the media, James Comey, and younger voters.

Let's take these one at a time.

There's no question that Trump had an appeal to white nationalists. Why would anyone think this helped Trump? White nationalists are a very small percentage of the population. You don't win elections appealing to them. In fact, more voters were likely turned off from Trump due to the things he said that appealed to white nationalists. I know liberals want to believe what Hillary Clinton said, that half of Trump's voters were racists homophobes, but that's ridiculous.

Blaming the media is popular with all the campaigns. Every campaign thinks the media is covering the wrong stories about them and isn't treating them fairly. I'm sure the Clinton campaign has a point that they got a raw deal from the media. So does the Trump campaign. We often heard the complaint the media gave Trump so much free air time. That was because the viewers wanted to watch Trump. If you had an interesting candidate, they would've put Clinton on. The truth is that the stories the media covered, on both sides, were real stories and campaigns don't get to decide how they're covered. You need to overcome the media, not blame them.

They blamed James Comey. The surest way to prevent the FBI from influencing the election would be not to nominate a candidate under investigation by the FBI. No one ever had before. If Comey's letter had an impact, it was their own fault for Clinton doing the things that put her under investigation. Yes, the FBI recommended against prosecuting but the investigation was legit.

The Clinton campaign was afraid that the Comey letter burned them with Romney voters who found Trump unacceptable. When they were reminded why they hated Clinton, they went home. There's no way to know for sure, but Clinton did much better than Obama in Republican suburbs where these people live. The rural voters that Clinton chose not to appeal to didn't pay attention to the Comey letter and weren't going to be swayed. If Clinton does what Obama did in working class districts like Michigan 5, she wins Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

They blamed younger voters. Clinton won them overwhelmingly but didn't do as well as Obama. The Clinton campaign team said that at the last minute they flipped to the third party candidates. That doesn't make a lot of sense. Look at the chart on this page. Johnson and Stein were getting 11% combined on September 1. That dropped to 9.4% on October 1. On October 24 it was 8.2%. The final polling number was 6.6%. Johnson and Stein actually got 4.3% of the vote. On the other hand, Clinton finished polling at 45.5% and got 48.0%. As with most elections, voters left the third party candidates for the candidates who had a chance to win.

Hillary Clinton lost because she was a bad candidate who ran a bad campaign. She couldn't hold onto to Barack Obama's share of the rural white working class vote. He didn't do great, but she did much worse. (Wait. If they're racists why did they vote for the black guy but not the white woman. They must be sexist. Even the female Trump voters) The campaign staff can blame everyone else, but it was them and their candidate who really lost.