Land of Enchantment, Land of Redistricting

The daily digest from the other day about the Democrats' plans for New Mexico got me thinking about creating my own New Mexico map. My goals in this map were very simple, make NM-01 more Democratic while shoring up Steve Pearce in the south (making Pearce happy with the map makes it harder for Republicans to reject it, especially given that there is a real risk that a court-drawn map makes NM-02 more Democratic, and Pearce is going to have a hard time winning a district that votes for Obama). But having said that, these caveats apply:


1. This map is probably not what a court would draw

2. It's better for Democrats than Republicans (although as I mentioned before it strengthens Steve Pearce, and that probably would at least give Pearce

3. The partisan percentages are only rough estimations, as I had to use the election data from 2008 (with 2000 population) compared to using the actual 2010 census data, as such my partisan numbers might be off somewhat (though probably not enough to make a difference)

Even with these caveats in mind, I still think there is a good chance that Democrats at least try to pass this type of map and try to get Martinez to go along with it by making Steve Pearce happy the maps below the fold:

Format: New stats (old stats)




Pop: 685,912 (-481 dev.)


White: 39.8%/44.6% VAP (41.8%/46.7% VAP)
Hispanic: 47.2%/43% VAP (48.2%/43.7% VAP)
Native American: 6.6%/6.3% VAP (3.6%/3.5% VAP)

Partisanship: Obama 60.8% (59.6%)/McCain 37.8% (39.1%)

Notes: The first district gets a bit of a make-over here, it sheds all of Torrance County and loses most of Valencia County (while retaining a reservation). Really, all I've done to NM-01 is to shift it to the west, it loses the very northeastern part of Bernalillo County to the second district, while in exchange taking the western parts of Bernalillo county and absorbing Cibola County and the reservations in McKinley County.



Pop:  686,837 (dev. +444)


White: 42.1%/47.4% VAP (40%/45.2% VAP)
Hispanic: 52.6%/47.4% VAP (51.9%/47% VAP)
Native American: 1.7%/1.6% VAP (4.5%/4.3% VAP)

Partisanship: Obama 47.5% (48.5%)/McCain 51.1% (50.1%)

Notes: So you'll notice that the second district has become a touch whiter and more Hispanic, that's because NM-01 has absored most of reservations that were here before. Another big thing that happens here is that it sheds the more heavily Democratic northwestern part of Bernalillo County and takes in the more Republican northeastern part, as well as taking the town of Edgewood, taking all of Torrance County, and nearly all of Valencia county. To make the population as close as possible, it was also necessary for the second district to take small parts of San Miguel county. The major difference happen by trading some populations between CD-01 and CD-02. This is a district that Steve Pearce would be quite happy with.



Pop: 686,430 (dev. +37)


White: 39.6%/43.9% VAP (39.6%/44% VAP)
Hispanic: 39.1%/36.4% VAP (39.0%/36.3%)
Native American: 17.3%/15.9% VAP (17.3%/16% VAP)

Partisanship: Obama 61% (60.9%)/McCain 37.8% (37.9%)

Notes: Very little changes about NM-03, it sheds a little population to NM-02 and NM-01 for population purposes, but otherwise its core completely.

Moderates vs. Independents Part I (Introduction, 2010 chart)

So I'm sure that everyone here is familiar with the simplistic analysis about Independents, that they're all swing voters, that they're all somehow supporting something coherent, that they are, like their namesake, completely independent from either political party. Savvy political analysists have long understood that the number of truly Independent voters is a lot smaller than the self-identification numbers suggest, but that doesn't stop even the most savvy of political analysists from assuming that Independent = Moderate. Not only is this wrong, it's actually the case that even moderate voters are not the swing voters that the media makes them out to be.

For example, would it surprise you to learn that in 2010, when Republicans absolutely destroyed Democrats in the House, Democrats won moderates 55-43? Or maybe you'd be interested to learn that Blanche Lincoln, after losing the election to John Boozman by 21 points that she had won moderates by 14 points.

Independents, as one might expect, went very big for the Republicans, favoring them to the Democrats by a 56-37 point margin. This should serve as a strong reminder as to why Independents are not moderates and why moderates aren't necessarily swing voters.

To read the chart that's below the fold, the Independent/Moderate numbers are the percentages that Democratic candidates got, the comparison is how much more Democratic the moderate vote was compared to the Independent vote. The final number is how well the Democratic candidate did among moderates relative to Independents. The only races here are ones with exit poll data from 2010 (hence why DE-AL and VT-AL are part of the data).Also the Y and N show whether or not the Democratic candidate won the moderate vote. Also, in the case of FL-Sen, I combined Crist's numbers and Meeks's numbers together for purposes of this analysis. Alvin Greene's numbers in South Carolina are also his own, but it's also worth mentioning that 13% of the moderate vote went to the Green nominee, Tom Clemonts, meaning that the combined moderate vote in South Carolina went 53% against DeMint even as the vote went 63-37 for him.

And without further ado, the data:

  Independent Moderate Comparison   Mod won? D vote  Mod compared to actual vote
AZ-Sen 29% 45% 16%   N 35% 10%
AZ-Gov 40% 59% 19%   Y 43% 16%
AR-Sen 25% 55% 30%   Y 37% 18%
AR-Gov 59% 79% 20%   Y 64% 15%
CA-Sen 42% 58% 16%   Y 52% 6%
CA-Gov 42% 59% 17%   Y 54% 5%
CO-Sen 37% 60% 23%   Y 48% 12%
CO-Gov 39% 64% 25%   Y 51% 13%
CT-Sen 48% 56% 8%   Y 55% 1%
CT-Gov 38% 50% 12%   Y 49% 1%
DE-Sen 48% 66% 18%   Y 56% 10%
DE-AL 47% 66% 19%   Y 57% 9%
FL-Sen 48% 64% 16%   Y 50% 14%
FL-Gov 44% 60% 16%   Y 48% 12%
HI-Sen 69% 83% 14%   Y 75% 8%
HI-Gov 51% 59% 8%   Y 58% 1%
IL-Sen 28% 51% 23%   Y 47% 4%
IL-Gov 29% 51% 22%   Y 47% 4%
IN-Sen 34% 52% 18%   Y 40% 12%
IA-Sen 28% 42% 14%   N 33% 9%
IA-Gov 41% 55% 14%   Y 43% 12%
KY-Sen 42% 57% 15%   Y 44% 13%
LA-Sen 32% 48% 16%   Y 38% 10%
MO-Sen 31% 52% 21%   Y 41% 11%
NV-Sen 44% 66% 22%   Y 50% 16%
NV-Gov 32% 53% 21%   Y 41% 12%
NH-Sen 35% 43% 8%   N 37% 6%
NH-Gov 53% 68% 15%   Y 53% 15%
NY-Sen 54% 75% 21%   Y 66% 9%
NY-Sen* 50% 69% 19%   Y 63% 6%
NY-Gov 49% 71% 22%   Y 63% 8%
OH-Sen 27% 48% 21%   Y 39% 9%
OH-Gov 37% 58% 21%   Y 47% 11%
OR-Sen 47% 61% 14%   Y 57% 4%
OR-Gov 43% 52% 9%   Y 49% 3%
PA-Sen 45% 60% 15%   Y 49% 11%
PA-Gov 41% 53% 12%   Y 46% 7%
SC-Sen 14% 40% 26%   N 28% 12%
SC-Gov 41% 63% 22%   Y 47% 16%
TX-Gov 40% 62% 22%   Y 42% 20%
VT-Sen 68% 68% 0%   Y 64% 4%
VT-Gov 51% 42% -9%   N 50% -8%
VT-AL 69% 66% -3%   Y 65% 1%
WA-Sen 41% 57% 16%   Y 52% 5%
WV-Sen 51% 67% 16%   Y 54% 13%
WI-Sen 43% 58% 15%   Y 47% 11%
WI-Gov 42% 56% 14%   Y 47% 9%
 Average 42.30% 58.45% 16.15%   Y 49.38% 9.06%

Virginia I hardly knew ye (6R-5D w/o Wolf)

You know, I've got to say, I find it interesting that so many people think that Virginia must be destined to have a shored up 8-3 map (with Gerry Connolly's 11th district being only marginally Democratic!) With Democrats still in control of the senate, I find it hard to believe that they're just going to just allow the Republicans to hold so many seats (and just shore them up). This map is probably not the one that gets made (I don't know where incumbents live and as such I probably drew a few out of where they live), but I think it's a lot closer to what Democrats are going to try for rather than just allowing Republicans to strengthen all of their seats. So my goal here was to keep 5 Republican incumbents, shore up Gerry Connolly, weaken Scott Rigell, and make Frank Wolf's district more Democratic (thus giving us the seat when he retires).

With that said, my vision for Virginia below the fold:

(Parentheses denote previous district numbers)

VA-05 (Yellow, Robert Hurt – R)

Dem 46.7% Rep 53.3% (Dem 47.3% Rep 52.7%)
Obama 48.2% McCain 51.8% (Obama 48.5% McCain 51.5%)
Black 22%, White 71.4%
Population 727,824

Notes: Not very much has changed here, though what changes happened favor the Republicans (the change might be slight, but Tom Perriello would have lost against Virgil Goode in 2008, small changes can make big differences). Robert Hurt probably won't complain too much about this district. (Likely R)

VA-06 (Blue-Green,  Bob Goodlatte – R)

Dem 40.9% Rep 59.1% (Dem 42.1% Rep 57.9%)
Obama 42.3% McCain 57.7% (Obama 43.2% McCain 56.8%)
Population 727,426

Notes:  In order to make VA-10 more Democratic, I needed to have this district absorb the more Republican parts of NoVA, but given that either way VA-10 needed to shrink, it's a good bet that something like this would have happened anyways. The district is heavily Republican and still retains Roanoke so Goodlatte can continue being re-elected indefinitely). (Safe R)

VA-07 (Grey, Eric Cantor – R)

Dem 42.2% Rep 57.8% (Dem 43.3% Rep 56.7%)
Obama 45.2% McCain 54.8% (Obama 46.6% McCain 53.4%)
Black 15%, White 74.5%
Population 726,655

Notes: Assuming Cantor still lives in the district (which is likely given that I didn't change the district much) he's going to be very happy with its configuration, he becomes safer now. (Safe R)

VA-09 (Bright blue, Morgan Griffith – R)

District profile (old numbers)

Dem 44.2% Rep 55.8% (Dem 43.7% Rep 56.3%)
Obama 41% McCain 59% (Obama 40.3% McCain 59.7%)
Population 727,973

Notes: So VA-09 doesn't really change too much, the district becomes somewhat more Democratic, although I doubt it matters much, as it's still going to be pretty safe for Morgan Griffith, unless Rick Boucher decides to run again. Safe R (Leans R if Boucher runs).


VA-01 (Blue, Rob Wittman – R)

Dem  42.5% Rep 57.5% (Dem 44.8% Rep 55.2%)
Obama 45.7% McCain 54.3% (Obama 48.4% McCain 51.6%)
Black 15.7% White 73.1%
Population 727,330

Notes: This map shores up Wittman, and ensures that even in an open seat situation it'll stay with Republicans (Safe R)


VA-02 (Green, Robert Hurt – R)

Dem  52.4% Rep 47.6% (Dem 49.1% Rep 50.9%)
Obama 56.5% McCain 43.5% (Obama 52.4% McCain 47.6%)
Black 27.4%, White 57.2%
Population 727,531

Notes: I'm not going to lie, this district is meant to make life difficult for Scott Rigell, and I think I succeeded. To be honest, I doubt that Glenn Nye would have beaten Rigell in 2010, but then again, another Democrat could probably do it, particularly with Obama on the ballot. (Toss-up against Rigell/Likely D Open)


VA-04 (Red, Randy Forbes – R)

Dem 46% Rep 54% (Dem 48.2% Rep 51.8%)
Obama 48.3% McCain 51.7% (Obama 51% McCain 49%)
Black 29.5% White 61.6%
Population 726,491

Notes: This district shores up Forbes somewhat, it goes from a district that Obama won by two to won he lost by two and a half. In an open seat in the right year this district could be trouble for the Republicans, but even then they'd be favored. (Likely R)



VA-03 (Purple, Robert Scott – D)

Dem 70.1% Rep 29.9% (Dem 71.3% Rep 28.7%)
Obama 74.8% McCain 25.2% (Obama 75.7% McCain 24.3%)
Black 52.5%, White 36.6%
Population 727,748

Notes: Well this monstrosity is a carry-over from the last map, to be honest, I'm not sure if the VRA requires this district to be majority-black or simply majority-minority but I kept it like this just to be safe. If I hadn't there's a good possibility I could have made the fourth more Democratic (probably not enough to give Forbes any problems, but enough to make it competitive in an open seat).



For Progressives, an Arkansas Loss was Inevitable

Cross-posted at Politics and other Random Topics and Daily Kos

Before starting this little rant, I'd like to say that as a progressive Democrat, I would've preferred that Lt. Gov. Bill Halter win his primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (and, in fact, it was my prediction that Lincoln would lose the run-off). Having said that, the progressives who really think that Halter was going to be able to defeat Republican congressman John Boozman need a reality check, and should reflect a little on what happened here before getting so bummed out by the events of the Arkansas race.

This is Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas:

The GOP establishment tries to nominate electable candidates, and gets sabotaged by the teabaggers. We're trying to nominate electable candidates, and we get sabotaged by the Democratic Party establishment. We won in Pennsylvania, lost in Arkansas. You can't win them all. But make no mistake — we made the politically smart move.

Unfortunately, the smart political move lost. So say hello to Sen. John Boozman, the next senator from the great state of Arkansas. It's the political reality. No need to sugarcoat it.

How much do you think the Chamber of Commerce and its corporatist allies will spend on behalf of Blanche Lincoln through the fall? Zero. Suddenly, you're going to see Lincoln quite friendless

Those evil “out of state” unions and progressive groups sure won't lift a finger to help her. The only question is how much the DSCC wastes on the losing effort.

I've long since quit being impressed by moral victories. In this case, we forced Blanche to dramatically improve the financial reform bill, and it may be too late to strip out her derivatives reform language. And we delivered the kind of pain that no other incumbent wants to suffer. So congressional Democrats have two options — they can either shape up and be spared primary pain (I'd be happy focusing solely on Joe Lieberman in 2012), or they can be Blanched

It's much easier to keep your job if you don't have to fight for it twice in a single year.

Kos seems to be arguing a few things here; one that the Democratic establishment (really, the White House) was being stupid by supporting Lincoln, that Bill Halter would've been able to win while Lincoln would not, and that this primary challenge will make conservative Democrats in congress somewhat more progressive.

The first thing, that the Democratic establishment should have thrown Lincoln out the door for Halter ignores one simple truth: political parties, at their core, are incumbent protection rackets, period. This is not an ironclad rule that can never be broken, but those circumstances usually involve some pretty bad scandals (for example, the Republican Governor's Association (the RGA) actively endorsed Brian Sandoval against incumbent Governor Jim Gibbons, mostly because of how scandal plagued he was). The Democrats had no business supporting incumbent Congressman Bill Jefferson in Louisiana's second district, and they should have been criticized heavily for it, as Jefferson was accused of and later convicted of bribery, but that was simply not the case for Lincoln. Political parties protect incumbents for good reason, they are the power-base of the party, without incumbent members in government, the party has no power (just look at the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, and many others) and if the party isn't going to go to the mat for its incumbents, then its incumbents will stop supporting the party, period. This isn't limited to the Democrats either, the Republicans support their incumbents as well, and Kos is, frankly, delusional if he thinks that any political party should abandon incumbents who aren't scandal-tainted (but for the record, it was pretty stupid of the White House aid to shoot his/her mouth off about the labor unions, though I suspect that he/she wasn't authorized by the White House to talk either).

On the second argument, electability, I'd find that view a lot more convincing if Bill Halter were either winning or were within range of John Boozman in polling, but the fact is, Boozman is beating Halter by double-digits too and there's no prize for only losing by 15 instead of losing by 20. To be clear, yes, I believe that Halter was more electable than Lincoln, but to pretend that Halter's chances of victory were really that much better than Lincoln's doesn't do progressives well in the credibility department.

On the final point, well, frankly, I know that Kos means well, but there's a case to be made that Lincoln's derivatives language isn't really that good an idea. Just because something sounds good on paper and looks like it's putting the screws to the banks and everything which is evil, doesn't mean that it actually is or that this has somehow created better policy. Frankly, it's even arguable that this was good politics for just the general election, as everyone hates the banks and appearing to be tough on them just looks good.  In addition there was a point made by a regular commenter on Swing State Project who goes by DCCyclone which I'd like to bring to light:

And, frankly, to a substantial extent it bothers me, because the singling out of Lincoln for demonization shows a big lack of perspective.  Lincoln is from a most conservative state and the strongest anti-Obama state of any Democratic Senator up for reelection this year.

I suppose this is about making an example out of her for the sake of doing so, and winning in politics does, ultimately, require demonizing the opponent.  That's just a fact of political life, I accept that.

But if Halter wins tonight and goes on to lose by 20 to Boozman, I don't think the left benefits.  ConservaDems don't feel pressured to be more responsive to the left, instead they just feel more tightly squeezed with a narrower needle to thread to win.  The only way the left wins politically out of this is for Halter to win not only tonight but to pull off the massive upset and win in November.  If that happens, then the intense emotional energy will have been fully vindicated, and I'll be proven a fucking moron.  But it's hard to see a “Senator Halter” getting sworn in in January.

DCCyclone's point is a good one, what if Halter had won the primary? Maybe there would have been a polling bounce for him, but I doubt he'd even get a lead in that situation (or even close to it) and he'd probably return to where he was, 10-15 points behind Boozman which is almost certainly what the final result would have been. If that would have happened (hypothetically), it could easily by Democratic operatives to argue “see, this is what happens when you primary incumbents, you lose seats, you're no better than the Club for Growth!” (not to say that their point would be all that good, but it'd be pretty easy to make it, and suddenly the progressive groups who supported the primary look stupid for being successful). And that's really the main point, a loss for the progressives who backed Halter was probably inevitable no matter what, whether it would've been now or in November is sort of beside the point.

dgm’s Preliminary Senate Predictions (Five Months Out Edition :P)

Cross-posted at Politics and Other Random Topics

(Notes: My senate rankings can be found here and I recently updated my own rankings for the Senate on my website, so that's what I'm talking about with the changes to the senate rankings)

It's funny, in some ways this has been a bad few weeks for Democrats politically (Dino Rossi's entrance in Washington State against Patty Murray and the thing with Blumenthal in Connecticut) but at the same time, the Senate picture actually looks better for the Democrats.

My most recent changes are to move Connecticut back to Likely Democratic from Leans Democratic and to move Nevada from Leans Republican to Toss-up.

The Connecticut thing should be pretty obvious, the New York Times screwed up pretty bad on their several stories regarding Blumenthal (plus Linda McMahon's idiotic bragging about giving the Times the story basically killed any chance of it seriously damaging Blumenthal).

Nevada's an interesting one, because Harry Reid hasn't magically become more popular than he was, but his polling against all three challengers has definitely improved. While I had been classifying the race as Leans Republican for my purposes, I'd always believed that Harry Reid was the incumbent who was most likely to come back from the grave and win simply because his opposition is so weak and his war-chest is really nothing to sneeze at ($9 million Cash on Hand, compared to his opposition who have a combined Cash on Hand amount of about $400,000, with that coming largely from Lowden with $200,000).

Now then, with the official caveat that the election is still several months away and there are any number of things that could happen in the meantime, let me give you my first preliminary prediction for the Senate races:

Democrats take the following seats from the Republicans: Ohio, Missouri, and Florida (I think Charlie Crist wins and that he caucuses with the Democrats, thus I consider it a Democratic gain).

Republicans take the following seats from the Democrats: North Dakota, Delaware, and Arkansas.

Honestly, I think for all the hoopla about Democrats getting routed in the fall, there's a very good chance that the Democrats break even for Senate races (to get this out of the way, I believe that Democrats will hold Indiana, Colorado, and Illinois despite polling to the contrary).

The best-case scenario for the Democrats right now is probably keeping their seat losses limited to North Dakota and Delaware (some Democrats are holding out hope that New Castle County Executive Chris Coons can pull off an upset, but I doubt it) and somehow hold Arkansas (frankly, Arkansas is bordering on being a lost cause as well), and then taking Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kentucky, North Carolina (this one's definitely a sleeper for the Democrats), and maybe catch Chuck Grassley off-guard in Iowa (to be fair, this is a bit of a stretch, as Grassley, despite showing some slight weakness, is still a pretty damn popular incumbent who isn't likely to lose). This scenario gives Democrats somewhere between 61 and 63 seats with the Republicans at between 39 and 37 seats.

Conversely, the best-case scenario for the Republicans is to hold onto to their competitive open seats (Ohio, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Missouri), protect North Carolina (which is probably going to be pretty easy if the Republicans hold all of their open seats), take all of the Democratic open seats (save for Connecticut), knock off Reid, Lincoln (or the open seat, depending on what happens in the run-off), and Bennet, and then beat Barbara Boxer in California (frankly, despite their candidate recruitment coup, I don't think the Republicans really have a prayer of defeating Patty Murray). This scenario gives the Republicans 50 seats (which basically means that Democrats will maintain control of the Senate unless Lieberman decides to screw the Democrats and switch, which I wouldn't put past him).

My current prediction might seem a bit optimistic for some, but it's still worth mentioning that even now, it's still reasonably possible that the Democrats can break even or even gain a seat or two in these senate elections.

(To reiterate, this is a preliminary prediction of the status of a series of elections that won't take place for another five months, so these predictions are very much subject to change).

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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The Myth of Anti-Incumbent Elections Part I: 2006 elections

Cross-posted at Politics and Other Random Topics

A little while back, ThinkProgress’s Matt Yglesias made a very good point about how it’s kinda weird that the media and many others are arguing that there is some sort of broad “anti-incumbency” mood going on in the country.

Yglesias writes:

There’s something inherently odd about the concept of an anti-incumbent wave in a country wherein the overwhelming majority of incumbents are invariably elected. In the 2008, for example, 23 House incumbents were defeated in an unusually eventful election. A year in which “only” 75 percent of incumbents running for re-election were successful result in a shockingly large amount of change in the House. Indeed, I think everyone regards such a scenario as wildly unrealistic. And yet it would be hard to describe a universe in which 75 percent of incumbents are re-elected as all that gripped by anti-incumbent sentiment.

The interesting thing is that both 2006 and 2008 are largely seen as being both anti-Republican and anti-Incumbent (2008 moreso than 2006), but by absolute numbers, the number of incumbents who lost and the number of seats where the incumbent party switched are actually pretty low. A lot of people might be asking the obvious question; how can you say that 2006 and 2008 weren’t extremely anti-incumbent? After all, those two years saw the House, the Senate, and the Presidency switch from the Democrats to the Republicans. Before delving further, I’m not saying that the most recent elections weren’t extremely significant and that there wasn’t a massive change in control of government, but I am saying that this did not happen because incumbents had been thrown out left and right (especially in the House of Representatives). I’m going to work on a series which involves looking at the last two elections (both of which were Democratic wave elections) to try and give some perspective to the “anti-incumbent” myth which pervades the House of Representatives.

(I’m going to insert the charts a bit later in this post, for now, just follow the cross-posted link, that will give you the pictures)

So, how well did incumbents (and incumbent parties) fare in 2006? According to the electoral compilation site The Green Papers, in the 2006 House elections, there were 390 incumbents running in the general election. Of those 390 incumbents, 22 lost their bid for re-election, of 435 seats, 31 seats were not held by the incumbent party (1 belonging to now-Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)).  Roughly 94% of incumbents who were renominated by their parties ultimately went on to win the election. When including all seats, 368 incumbents won re-election to the House of Representatives out of 435, which means that the 110th congress started out being made up of 85% of members who had served in the previous congress. Looking at the seats in which the incumbent party retained control of the seat they had before the election, that number is 404 out of 435 seats, or roughly 93% of all seats (meaning only 7% of seats switched control in 2006).

If we look at it from the perspective of the two parties, there were 202 Democratic incumbents, 232 Republican incumbents, and 1 independent incumbent. Of the 202 Democratic incumbents, 186 got their party’s nomination, and all of them won re-election (or 100% of all Democratic incumbents who were re-nominated won re-election). Of the 233 seats the Democratic party won after the elections, roughly 80% of those would be held by an incumbent member. Looking at the Republicans, out of 232 incumbents, 204 of them were successfully re-nominated and of those who were re-nominated, 182 won won re-election (or roughly 89% of those running for re-election). Of the 202 seats the Republican party won after the elections, roughly 90% of them were held by were held by incumbents.

Some of you might be asking why I’m not talking about incumbents who lost their primaries? After all that might skew these numbers. The reason is pretty simple, only 2 incumbents who sought re-nomination lost their bids (Republican Joe Schwarz (MI-07) and Democrat Cynthia McKinney (GA-04). That means that over 99% of incumbents who sought re-nomination by their party were successful (all the primaries haven’t ended yet yet, but 2010 appears to be heading in that direction again).

One might argue that 2006 wasn’t really an “anti-incumbent” year so much as it was an “anti-Republican” year (not even necessarily an anti-Republican incumbent year) but even granting that, it’s still pretty telling that what many considered to be a giant wave election, when only 7% of all seats (13% of all Republican seats) changed party hands. This should give a little more insight into American elections.

Next time: the 2008 House races.

The Seven States of New York (Maximizing Democrats)

Previously, I did a hypothetical exercise in which I turned California into a Democratic gerrymander of five states (four of them were basically guaranteed to be Democratic under nearly all circumstances and one Democratic leaning, but not completely safe, state. The state that I really wanted to do though was New York, especially New York City (in fact, my original idea was to simply make states out of the city and the rest of New York could just be its own state, but I decided that with some creativity, it's possible to play around with the rest of the state and still give the Democrats an edge over the Republicans. Some accomodations are necessary in order to create some of these states, and that'll be apparant when they're viewed, but rather than try to explain here, I'll just let the maps do the talking:




Ok, with the maps out of the way, here come the explanations:


State 1 (New Island) (Blue)

Population: 4,191,074
Demographics: White 56%, Black 16%, Hispanic 23%, Asian 3%
Partisanship: Obama 62%, McCain 38%
Areas: Bronx, Nassau, Suffolk

Notes: Originally, my plan was to combine the Bronx with Staten Island, which would make for some poetic justice for the Bastard Child of New York City (my grandpa was born in Staten Island, so I'm allowed have a little fun at SI's expense :P). Unfortunately, a friend of mine reminded me that the Bronx has both serious corruption issues, and that the voters there are less progressive than their substantial Democratic lean would suggest (see Pedro Espada and Ruben Diaz for more on the problems with the Bronx). His suggest was that I combine the Bronx with Manhattan or with Weschester County, but I ultimately decided that would be a huge waste of Democratic votes, so I made my choice to combine the Bronx with the Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk. This change turns the swingy Long Island into a reliably Democratic state without giving the Bronx too much statewide influence.


State 2 (New New York) (Green)

Population: 2,151,335
Demographics: White 52%, Black 14%, Hispanic 24%, Asian 8%
Partisanship: Obama 78% McCain 21%
Areas: Staten Island, Manhattan

Notes:  Alright, as I said earlier, my original plan was to combine Staten Island with the Bronx, but it didn't work out, so I had to decide what to do with it, and the solution was to throw it in with Manhattan. Staten Island's population base is largely ethnic Italians, which also makes it relatively conservative and Republican, so naturally the best thing to do with them is to throw them in with among the most (if not the most) liberal counties in the country. This isn't horribly bad though, as the two boroughs combined are only a little bit little bit less populous than neighboring Queens. By the way, yes, the name is a shout-out to Futurama.


State 3 (New Brooklyn) (Purple)

Population: 2,589,378
Demographics: White 35%, Black 34%, Hispanic 20%, Asian 8%
Partisanship: Obama 80%, McCain 20%
Areas: Brooklyn

Notes: All I did was make Kings County into its own state. Its wikipedia page should suffice to explain my father's new birth state.


State 4 (New Queens) (Red)

Population: 2,319,060
Demographics: White 33%, Black 19%, Hispanic 25%, Asian 18%
Partisanship: Obama 75%, McCain 24%
Areas: Queens

Notes: This state is the entirety of Queens and nothing more, so I'll just give the wikipedia page for more information


State 5 (New Amsterdam) (Yellow)

Population: 1,828,601
Demographics: White 70%, Black 11%, Hispanic 13%, Asian 4%
Partisanship: Obama 58%, McCain 41%
Areas: Westchester

Notes: This is the first state that is completely outside of the borders of New York City, and the first one that did not go at least 20 points for Obama, the county is half Westchester, and half from the more Republican lower upstate counties (which is what bring down Obama's numbers, while helping to prop up his numbers at a couple of other places. Now, this does means that in a really really bad year, this state could be prone to some close calls for the Democrats, but still it's Democratic enough that I'm not horribly worried about it.


State 6 (New Albany) (Blue-Green)

Population: 4,514,692
Demographics: White 85%, Black 8%, Hispanic 3%, Asian 2%
Partisanship: Obama 57%, McCain 41%
Areas: Albany, Rochester, Buffalo

Notes: I'm sure I don't need to say just how atrocious this district is, but you know something, I'm ok with that, especially given some of the most egregious historical state gerrymanders (I'm looking at you North and South Dakota…) This state basically absorbs all of the major cities in the upstate area while taking pains to keep out the more heavily Republican parts of the state. This is the most populous of the new states, which it must be to keep it as Democratic as it is (without having to send tentacles into the city). I was originally planning to divide upstate into east and west, with one state (east) having a slight (but not very pronounced) Democratic lean, while the other half (the west) would be a pure toss-up state, but it would subject the new states to crazy swings based on the environment (even moderately bad cycles could be enough to give the Republicans 3 of 4 of the two states' senate seats), so I just decided to create a more strongly Democratic state at the cost of conceding a state to the Republicans, which leads us to…


State 7 (New Farmland) (Grey)

Population: 2,011,300
Demographics: White 95%, Black 3%, Hispanic 3%, Asian 1%
Partisanship: Obama 47% McCain 51%
Areas: Rural upstate New York

Notes: Once you take the cities of Albany, Rochester and Buffalo (not to mention places like Utica) away, upstate New York becomes quite Republican by northeast standards (although certainly more moderate). The Republicans should be able to hold this area for the short-term, though if the Republicans don't moderate themselves, they'll probably find this state will turn on them.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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Five State California (horrible Democratic gerrymander :P)

Before I give everyone the details of this, I'd like to mention that this is not a realistic division of California, for a realistic view of California's political divisions; see californianintexas's diary.

Now that we have that out of the way, I'd like to present you with dgm's unholy atrocity that is the five states of California:




 Let's get to the carnage, shall we?


State 1 (New Marin)(Blue)

Population: 3,870,989
Demographics: (White 65%, Hispanic 19%)
Partisanship (Obama 59%; McCain 38%)
Population centers: (Marin County)

Notes: You might be asking yourself, why did I name this state “New Marin”? Well, the answer is because it was originally not going to include Marin County (and was going to be a roughly 54-44 state) but at the last minute, I decided that Marin County could be taken from the San Francisio based state and moved over here to effectively create 4 totally safe Democratic states.


State 2 (San Sacramento)(Green)

Population: 4,808,296
Demographics: (58% white, 15% Asian, 17% Hispanic)
Partisanship (Obama 65%; McCain 33%)
Population centers (San Francisco, Sacramento)

Notes: Say hello to, hypothetically, the most latte-sipping, free-loving, liberal hippie state in the entire country! Interestingly, this is only the second most Democratic state of the five Californias, but it is probably the most liberal of them all (what with a good chunk of it's population being comprised of San Francisco (as well as San Mateo County).


State 3 (California Grande)(Purple)

Population: 9,472,898
Demographics: (48% White, 11% Asian, 31% Hispanic)
Partisanship (Obama 60%; McCain 38%)
Population centers: (Fresno)

Notes: This is probably the least egregious of the states I've come up with (not that that's saying much but still…) It basically takes up the entire interior of the state, as well as the costal area between San Francisco and Los Angeles.


State 4 (Angeles Anaranjados)(Red)

Population: 8,252,698
Demographics: (39% White, Black 10%, Asian 11%, Hispanic 36%)
Partisanship: (Obama 66%, McCain 32%)
Population Center: Los Angeles

Notes: If anyone thought that creating at least 4 safe states out of California would be pretty, then you were very, very wrong (well, at least if you aren't willing to cede anything to the Republicans in the fifth state). This is more or less eastern Los Angeles combined with the Republican parts of Orange and San Diego counties (which is why this state is “only” a 66% Obama state, it would've easily been over 70% otherwise).


State 5 (Los Diegos)(Yellow)

Population: 10,700,726
Demographics (40% White, 11% Asian, 41% Hispanic)
Partisanship (Obama 46%; McCain 42%)
Population centers: (Los Angeles and San Diego)

Notes: What? Ok, ok, this is a true atrocity, but at the same time this is, in many ways, the worst of all worlds for California Republicans. On the one hand, even in a bad year, it still leans Democratic, but the Republicans here are probably going to be completely unable to take advantage of it (considering the lunatics Orange County and San Diego Republicans tend to like). Yes, it's quite obvious that the only reason it's like this is to give the Democrats an advantage, but I'm actually ok with that fact!


In conclusion: These 5 states are more or less guaranteed to go Democratic at the presidential level, elect two strong Democratic Senators (with the possible exception of Los Diegos), and have majority Democratic house delegations, so a little ugliness (and city-splitting) is a small price to pay for it :D.

Master List for House Fundraising 2008

Cross-posted at Election Inspection 

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Master List for House fundraising for all 435 House races in 2008 presented without any analysis (I’ll post an analysis of the data a bit later).

In addition to having all House races here, I also took the liberty of dividing races into different classifications, including races that were contested by the losing Party, ones where the losing Party spent money, and the ones where the losing candidate spent at least $100,000. The formatting should be self explanatory, but if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section. Oh and before I forget, all these numbers were compiled from Open Secrets (major kudos to the operators!)

Is the GOP’s best bet to create racial polarization? (w/poll)

(Cross-posted at Election Inspection

I happen to be reading around on the blog when I find a response written by Ta-Nehisi Coates to Matt Yglesias’s response to an article written by Pat Buchanan concerning whether or not the best bet for the Republican Party is to give up any pretext of doing well among the non-white vote. Here’s the basic point behind Buchanan’s argument:

In 2008, Hispanics, according to the latest figures, were 7.4 percent of the total vote. White folks were 74 percent, 10 times as large. Adding just 1 percent to the white vote is thus the same as adding 10 percent to the candidate’s Hispanic vote.

If John McCain, instead of getting 55 percent of the white vote, got the 58 percent George W. Bush got in 2004, that would have had the same impact as lifting his share of the Hispanic vote from 32 percent to 62 percent.

But even Ronald Reagan never got over 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. Yet, he and Richard Nixon both got around 65 percent of the white vote.

When Republican identification is down to 20 percent, but 40 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives, do Republicans need a GPS to tell them which way to go?

Why did McCain fail to win the white conservative Democrats Hillary Clinton swept in the primaries? He never addressed or cared about their issues.

These are the folks whose jobs have been outsourced to China and Asia, who pay the price of affirmative action when their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors. These are the folks who want the borders secured and the illegals sent back.

Had McCain been willing to drape Jeremiah Wright around the neck of Barack Obama, as Lee Atwater draped Willie Horton around the neck of Michael Dukakis, the mainstream media might have howled.

And McCain might be president.

Basically, Buchanan is arguing that the Republicans are engaging in a vain effort to make nice with Latinos (and Blacks, for that matter) when they should be playing hardball on these types of issues (particuarly concerning Judge Sotomayor, President Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court).

Matt Yglesias seems to agree with Buchanan’s reasoning (even if he thinks the reasoning is scuzzy):

At any rate, while Buchanan is being repugnant, I do think this is something conservatives are going to want to think about. Consider the case of Jeff Sessions (R-AL). We’re talking about a guy who’s too racist to get confirmed as a judge, but just racist enough to win a Senate seat in Alabama. And it’s not because Alabama is a lilly white state. With 65 percent of its electorate white, and 29 percent of its electorate African-American, Alabama is much more demographically favorable to the Democrats than is the country at large. But while McCain pulled 55 percent of the white vote nationwide he scored 88 percent of white vote in Alabama. And this is what you tend to see in the Deep South, white Americans exhibiting the kind of high levels of racial solidarity in voting behavior that you normally associate with African-Americans in the US political context.

Consequently states with small white populations like Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi can be solid GOP territory. Under the circumstances, it’s not entirely crazy for Republicans to believe that the right way to respond to shifting American demographics is by just trying to amp-up the level of racial anxiety in the shrinking white majority. An analogy might be to religion. When the country was overwhelmingly Christian, Christianity didn’t play much of a role in our politics. But as the Christian majority shrank it became more and more viable to explicitly mobilize Christian identity for political purposes.

Yglesias seems to buy into Buchanan’s argument, that it might be a politically smart move to attempt to shore up the white vote against the non-white vote (basically Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Indians, etc.). I disagree with Yglesias’s reasoning for a few reasons. Ta-Nehisi Coates pretty much sums up part of my disagreement with Yglesias:

The second problem is that it likely turns a significant portion of white people also. The GOP’s problem isn’t that it needs to shore up Alabama–at least not yet. It’s problem is, well, basically everywhere else that isn’t Alabama. I don’t know how bashing Sotomayor makes you more competitive in, say, Colorado or Oregon. I’d assume the opposite.

Coates points out that the White vote, like the Latino vote, is simply not a homogenous group in the same way the Black vote is (although the GOP’s racist rhetoric regarding Latinos could turn the Latino vote into a more strongly Democratic vote than it is now). Though I do think that there are states where this could possibly pay dividends for the GOP outside of the Deep South, there are also plenty of states where this sort of tactic won’t work, and in some cases can backfire. Think about this for a second, take away the states of North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania from Obama and give them to McCain (67 electoral votes), Obama would win the electoral college with nearly 300 electoral votes (298 votes, 297 if you take away NE-02 from Obama’s column). That’s assuming that you’d make net gains among the White vote in those states, when there is plenty of reason to think otherwise. Looking at Ohio, the quintessential bastion of the White Working Class that Pat Buchanan is so obsessed with, Obama won the state by only marginally improving among the less educated group and improving greatly among the more educated compared to Kerry’s performance in 2004. Something which Buchanan and his ilk have failed to understand is that one of the reasons that the GOP has been collapsing has little to do with their strength among blue-collar Whites, rather it’s been because the Republicans have been doing worse and worse with better educated White voters and with minorities in general, and one thing that these two groups have in common is that they’re more likely to turn on groups who use the type of polarized voting that Buchanan advocates.

The second problem with Buchanan’s (and Yglesias’s) logic is that even if this strategy would help them out in the short term (a view which I strongly disagree with) in the long term, it would probably spell the end of the Republican Party. Think about this for a moment, Barack Obama only lost the state of Georgia by 5 points, compared to John Kerry’s embarrasing 18 point loss to George Bush, yet Obama did this despite doing as well with white voters as John Kerry did. This is the main problem with the Republican gambit, many states which form the core of the Republican Party’s base in the electoral college (Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arizona) have populations which are becoming more and more non-white (Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi will probably be majority-minority states in the next decade or two). If McCain had lost the four states which I mentioned before (without taking back any of the other states I mentioned before) then he would’ve only had 108 electoral votes. The Republican Party may very well succumb to the demographic tide which is moving against it, but Buchanan’s advice would speed up the schedule very quickly.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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