No Sleep till Brooklyn: Why Bill Thompson isn’t Mayor(-elect)

A few threads back, there was a lively discussion about voting patterns in Brooklyn, and how that impacted the 2009 mayoral race.

Thanks to David who worked his lawyerly Freedom-of-Information magic, we got some precinct results to look at.

I compared Thompson’s performance to Obama’s performance, and the results are pretty stark as to where the areas of relative strength are for each candidate.

So the baselines first:

Obama beat McCain by 59.27%; he earned 79.34% to McCain’s 20.07%. 2,613,944 total votes were cast.

Thompson lost to Bloomberg by 4.38%; he earned 46.33% to Bloombo’s 50.71%. 1,154,505 votes were cast, meaning turnout was 44% of 2008 turnout.

Maps (what else do I post here?) and more over the flip.

So here are Obama and Thompson’s absolute performances in the city.

Obama’s performance we already knew about, but a few striking aspects of Thompson’s performance:

  • Upper East Siders lurve them some Bloombo.

  • Whites in the Bronx voted for Bloomberg.

  • Hispanics voted mostly for Thompson (though not to the levels they voted for Freddy Ferrer, I would posit).

  • Blacks stayed strongly loyal to Thompson, with slight drop-offs visible in Brooklyn and East Queens.

  • Staten Island stayed Staten Island.

More interestingly, here is a comparison of Obama and Thompson’s absolute performances. A more intense blue indicates a stronger Obama performance; a deeper red indicates a stronger Thompson performance.

Obviously, most of the map is some shade of blue, since Obama’s margin was 63.65% greater than Thompson’s. Even given this, there are still two visible clusters of red in Brooklyn: Williamsburg and Borough Park. Thompson still lost these precincts by a decent margin, but he improved over Obama despite the tide moving 64% in the other direction. I took this as evidence of the Hasidic Jewish community’s growing dislike of Bloomberg, which had been mentioned a few times before the election.

On the flipside, as you would expect, Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights are home to the Obama-Bloomberg voters, especially on the Upper East and West Sides, in Midtown, and down in the Financial District.

The lighter shades of blue are in East Queens and Central Brooklyn – mostly majority-black precincts that went strongly for both.

Another interesting cluster of these, though, is on the South Shore of Staten Island; Thompson’s performance didn’t fall all that much off from Obama’s (admittedly already weak) performance there. It seems there, though, that the voters are more reflexively Republican than those in Southern Brooklyn, where Obama seemed to be a particularly bad fit. (backup evidence: Stephen Cymbrowitz and Carl Kruger are elected from those areas in Brooklyn. Southern Staten Island elects two Republicans to the Assembly/Senate, Lou Tobacco and Andrew Lanza).

Alternatively, this can be shown in graph form. Obama’s margin on the x-axis; Thompson’s on the y-axis.

Now any monkey could have told you generally a stronger Obama performance is correlated with a stronger Thompson performance, but the exceptions to that general rule are evident here as well. The large cluster of green on the bottom right are those previously mentioned Manhattan precincts, while the dispersed red dots towards the middle and lower left are the Brooklyn precincts in which Thompson actually improved. (Incidentally, yellow represents Staten Island, orange for the Bronx, and blue for Queens). The bright green line is the even-performance line.

Now two more maps of interest, each candidate’s performance relative to their citywide cumulative total (Obama first, then Thompson).

Obama did well throughout the city, a strong Obama performance was the norm. You don’t see many places darker than light blue, simply because you can’t get more than 100% of the vote! Where Obama underperformed, he really underperformed. You see this in Suburban Queens and also Middle Village/Maspeth, and of course Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Thompson’s performance really varied much more. He overperformed in many places, and underperformed in many places as well; these deviations are of much more equal magnitude. Again, as we’ve realized, Thompson’s weakest area was the Upper East Side.

So all this poses the question, what happened?

Well, in three words, Thompson’s turnout problem.

Conventional wisdom dictates that minorities (who are actually a majority in NYC) turn out less in general. While this may or may not be true, I normalized and considered 2009 turnout as a percentage of 2008 turnout.

The results, first at the precinct level. The same color codes apply as before for borough. Turnout as a percentage of 2008 turnout is expressed on the x-axis; the Thompson-Bloomberg margin on the y-axis. (Turnout dropped most in the Bronx, in case you’re wondering.)

You see a general effect of center left to lower right, suggesting stronger Bloomberg performances being correlated with greater turnout. This effect is even more pronounced when we consolidate to an assembly district level:

It’s not pretty. For you stats geeks out there, the correlation on that bad boy is -0.77. Ouch.

Incidentally, that one AD with the lowest drop-off? None other than Dov Hikind’s 48th AD. Turnout there was lower there in 2008, but those that voted in 2008 were most likely to have voted again in 2009.

As a parting thought, take solace (or anguish) in this: if turnout had dropped to the 44% figure I mentioned at the start equally across the city, Thompson would have won, 49.16% to 48.00%.

Having arrived at Brooklyn, I’m going to sleep. I realize I owe you a proposed set of New York Senate districts. I just need to write the diary. I’ll get around to it…eventually.

How Christie Won: Urban and Northern New Jersey

This was cross posted at http://frogandturtle.blogspot….

Here is my next and last post in analyzing county by county why Christie beat Corzine in New Jersey. Here is my first post:…

Here is the link to the 2008 election results (red is Democratic and blue is Republican)

Here is the link to the 2009 election results: http://http://uselectionatlas….

Here is the link for New Jersey demographics by county: http://http://quickfacts.censu…

Urban New Jersey

This area contains Union, Essex and Hudson Counties. Christie underperformed the most in this part of the state with Corzine winning it almost 2-1. This was no surprise because Urban New Jersey is by far the most Democratic part of the state. It is minority majority and mostly resembles a city instead of suburbs. Christie also was unable to make large inroads here. In Hudson County where Obama won 73%-26%, Corzine won 69%-27% which only shows a decrease in the Democratic margin by 5 points, the smallest decrease of any county in New Jersey from 2008 to 2009. Hudson County is 35% White, one of the smallest percentages in New Jersey. Christie had a difficult time making inroads among minority voters. The main reason for Christie’s small increase is that Corzine lives in Hoboken, a really nice town in Hudson County where many of transplants from Manhattan live. Corzine’s proximity was a large factor in Hudson County. Since Christie had a difficult time winning minority voters, it appears that Republicans can still win in New Jersey without having to make inroads among minorities if they want to win. Essex County which contains heavily Democratic Newark voted 67%-28% for Corzine while Obama won there 76%-23%. This shows a 14 point decrease in the Democratic margin, only 5 points below the statewide decrease of 19 points. Even though Corzine appeared to hold minorities, there are many independent high income white voters in the western part of Essex County that trended heavily toward Christie, causing the Democratic margin in Essex County to shrink. Union County is where Christie performed the best, decreasing Obama’s 28 point margin to an eight point margin for Corzine. While Union County contains Elizabeth and Plainfield, two cities with large minority populations, Union County is basically Somerset County in the west with heavily white and high income Westfield and Summit. In my post about what to watch for in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, I said Corzine had to win Union County but ten points or more and unfortunately, he did not. Overall, Corzine did very well in Urban New Jersey by preventing Christie from making large inroads among minorities.

Northern New Jersey

Except for Passaic and Bergen Counties, Christie did very well here. He pulled a combined margin of about 30,000 votes out of Sussex and Warren Counties, even though Daggett did very well in them winning 9% and 10% of the vote there. Christie won his home county, Morris by 28 points and its residents are mostly high income white voters. The trend towards Christie over 2008 was 19 points, the same as the overall trend towards him in New Jersey. The reason for the trend not being too sharp in Morris County is party due to Daggett’s strong 8% of the vote here and that Christie appeared to spend more time campaigning on the Shore than here. Passaic County is a different story where Corzine won 51%-44% and Obama won there by 22 points. Passaic County is a mixture of Hispanic immigrants in the city of Paterson and high income white voters in the suburbs along with some working class white voters. The Hispanics probably kept Passaic County from trending too far to the right but it appears that Christie did very well with white voters and Corzine failed to excite the base enough. Corzine won Bergen County by 3 points, only a 6 point decrease from Obama’s 9 point win. Corzine was definitely helped by his running mate Loretta Weinberg who has held political office in Bergen County for more than 20 years. Bergen County is full of high income white voters and if Weinberg were not on the ballot, Christie would probably win Bergen County by about 7 points. Weinberg was not perfect because she was unpopular with party bosses which probably contributed to low turnout in Democratic areas. Also, Corzine’s close proximity in Hudson County may have swayed a few voters.

So overall, what happened to make Corzine lose? On the issues, people swayed towards Christie not because he was a fantastic candidate. In New Jersey, almost all campaigns are negative so the candidates spent most of their time criticizing each other. People believed Corzine was an ineffective Governor who caused the New Jersey economy to sour while he sat in his office counting all his money. Also, Corzine made the mistake of not appeasing the New Jersey Democratic Party. If he had chosen a popular party official as his running mate instead of Weinberg who was unpopular with the party, Corzine may have been able to boost turnout enough to offset Christie’s margins. A good person for running mate would be Richard Codey who was the New Jersey Senate President. He was active Governor in 2005 and he is extremely popular with New Jersey’s Democratic Party. He was even considered last August as a candidate to replace Corzine on the ballot. The turnout levels in Democratic counties was about 50%-60% of the 2008 Presidential election turnout while turnout in Republican counties was closer to 66%. Christie on his part excited the base because he portrayed himself as one of the voters on the Shore or in the high income suburbs. He also took independents by highlighting New Jersey’s poor economy. The main reason though is that Christie swept the high income voters who trended towards the Democrats in the 1990’s because the Republicans were too socially Conservative. Now that the Republicans are downplaying their social Conservatism and highlighting the poor economy, they are able to win in the Northeast suburbs again. Democrats do not need to completely focus on the suburban voter, they just need to win enough of them to lower Republican margins. If Democrats want to start winning in New Jersey again, they have to excite the base while also reaching out to the white high income socially moderate but economically Conservative suburban voter.

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How Christie Won In New Jersey: Southern and Central New Jersey

The New Jersey Gubernatorial race’s polls appeared to resemble the polls in one of the Obama/Clinton primaries in 2008. In those primaries, Clinton led until about two weeks before the primary where Obama started kicking his volunteers into full gear. Then in the last few days (or the last second as in New Hampshire,) Clinton came from behind and won. The comparison does not include Clinton’s tactics or political beliefs; it just includes what the polls showed in the primaries. In early 2009, Chris Christie (R) was ahead of incumbent Governor Jon Corzine (D) and in the summer, Christe lead by ten points. I was not too worried until then because since 1997, Republicans have not won a statewide race in New Jersey. There is this saying that Republicans are Charlie Brown trying to kick the football from Lucy. Christie painted himself as a new voice and blamed Corzine for the economic recession. Corzine highlighted his experience on Wall Street and pointed out how Christie had no plan to fix the economy (Christie, releasing the same economic plan twice does not mean you have two economic plans.) Then in September, the race became very narrow. Independent Chris Daggett began to take independents on the Jersey Shore and Republican suburbs around Somerset and Morris Counties. Corzine, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs began running ads with his gigantic war chest and overall spent around $23 million, about 12 million more than Christie. These two factors heavily contributed to Christie’s slip in the polls but Daggett was the more prominent factor. He had numbers in the teens throughout October while Christie and Corzine hovered around 40%. This pattern remained until the last few days until Election Day on November 3rd. Many Daggett supporters realized that Daggett could not win so they began drifting towards Christie. This explains the final result where Christie beat Corzine and his running mate Loretta Weinberg from Bergen County 49%-45% with Daggett winning most of the remaining 6%.

It looks like Charlie Brown finally kicked the football. Corzine also learned that running ads criticizing your opponent’s weight does NOT gain voters. On average, Corzine won 12 points less than Obama and the margin between 2008 and 2009 shifted towards the Republicans by 19 points. Corzine did not lose much ground among minority voters but Obama performed much better among independent white voters. Yes, the main reason Corzine lost was that Daggett’s poll numbers fell down the drain. In this post though, I will explain how Christie won by analyzing each county in Southern and Central New Jersey. In an earlier post, I wrote about what to watch in New Jersey during election night. Besides analyzing the gubernatorial race results, I will also compare to my last post. As in the last post, the geographical designations are in the same places. Okay, here are the links:…

for election results in 2008. Once you click the link, go to the icon choose another office, select gubernatorial races, select a year and you should find yourself a map. Yes, the maps here have red for Democrats and blue for Republicans.…

this is for New Jersey’s demographic data. Click on a county and you will find the data for each county.

Southern New Jersey

In my last post, I said that even Corzine wins, he should still lose Southern New Jersey. Corzine lost and he definitely lost Southern New Jersey. Camden County is the most urban county in Southern New Jersey and Obama won 67% of the vote there in 2008. I said that Corzine needed to win by at least 15 points to win. Corzine barely missed, winning by 14 points. This explains that Christie was able to win white middle class independents but Christie lost Camden County because of heavily Democratic Camden City and its close suburbs. In my last post, I said that if Corzine won Gloucester County, he was successful with winning white voters in Camden County. Christie won Gloucester County by three points so Christie’s success among the Camden County suburban voter was widespread. Gloucester County has the same demographics as Camden County without the inner city. I found heavily white and rural Salem County’s result unexpected. Christie won by six points and since the county narrowly voted for Obama, I would have expected a larger Christie win. The answer to this question could be that Daggett peeled away enough Christie voters to narrow the margin. Daggett won 10% of the vote in Salem.

Another interesting result is Cape May County where Obama won 45% of the vote but Corzine won 38%, higher than counties with similar counties on the Jersey Shore. This could be because Kim Guadango, Christie’s running mate helped him in Monmouth and Ocean Counties further north but not at Cape May. Corzine won Cumberland County 50%-42% winning ten points less than Obama. I expected a smaller drop here due to large numbers of minority voters. As always, Atlantic County was the complete bellwether in the race as it was in 2000, 2004, 2005 and 2008. Christie won 49% of the vote and only 0.05% less than his statewide average, 48.75%. Atlantic County’s population is 61% White, one point less than New Jersey’s 62% White population. Atlantic County culturally may be closer to Las Vegas on the beach than the rest of New Jersey but Atlantic County has a close proportion to the rest of New Jersey of urban, suburban and rural areas. Ocean County just to Atlantic County’s north voted for Christie by 38 points and the increase over McCain’s margin in 2008 was only a bit above the average increase. The important point is the turnout which is about 2/3 the level of 2008, showing that Christie was able to turn out the base. Another important county was Burlington County which usually votes 1-2 points more Democratic than New Jersey and has similar demographics to Camden County. Christie won Burlington County by two points showing his narrow margin among the demographic of southwestern New Jersey white voters. Overall, Southern New Jersey voted similar to what I expected.

Central New Jersey:

Christie received large margins here, losing only one county. Christie lost Mercer County which contains heavily Democratic Trenton by only 16 points, 19 points less than Obama. Most of the voting was polarized with Christie gaining more than average over McCain while Christie gained less in heavily Democratic areas. Mercer County was a different story because even though it was a base county, the base did not turn out and Christie made inroads among the white voters here. In Monmouth County on the Shore, Christie’s running Kim Guadango who is from Monmouth County definitely helped him there. Obama lost Monmouth County by three points even though it is an upper class county that is 77% White. Christie won by 31 points, improving over McCain’s margin by 28 points. The large increase is probably due to not only Guadango but also that Daggett was unable to garner enough votes. He won only 6% of the vote and I expected the Shore would be a strong area for Daggett. If Daggett stayed strong and won somewhere around 15% of the vote, he probably would have reduced Christie 64,000 vote margin in Monmouth County by about 15,000. Another reason for Monmouth County’s strong Christie result is that the New York suburban white voter is trending towards the Republicans. As long as the Republicans stay away from cultural issues, they can start winning these voters again. If Democrats want to keep these voters, they need to highlight how they will keep your job or create one for you.

Moving onto Hunterdon County, Christie won there by 40 points, 27 points higher than McCain’s 13 point margin. Hunterdon County has wealthy independents and the large shift towards Christie is probably because Obama over performed with wealthy independents and they are reverting back to their normal voting patterns. Also, many of the wealthy voters may have trusted Wall Street so were angry that a former Wall Street corporate executive could not fix their economy. Somerset County is less Republican but contains many of the same voters as Hunterdon County. When I saw the Middlesex County result, I was pretty shocked. Obama won there by 22 points but Christie won by three. Middlesex County was not extremely white; its population was 53% White. Most of the minorities were Hispanic or Asians but Christie did not appear to make inroads among those groups. My explanation would be that Corzine failed to turn out the base and Christie did extremely well with white independents. Northwestern Middlesex County is close to his home, Mendham so Christie’s close proximity probably helped him.

Overall in Southern and Central New Jersey, Christie and Guandango’s homes helped them win voters while sweeping independents and preventing Corzine from turning out his base.

My next post, this time analyzing Urban and Northern New Jersey should be up in about a week.

Oh one more thing: check out http://frogandturtle.blogspot…. for more political analysis.  

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A Rundown of the Results of the Georgia Special Elections

SD-01 (R): Former State Rep. Buddy Carter (R) creams former Chatham County Commission Chair Billy Hair (R) 82.1% to 17.9%. I figured Carter would win, but I had no idea it would be that lopsided.

SD-35 (D): There will be a runoff, we just don’t know which two of the four million nine candidates (all Democrats) will be on the ballot.  With 69% of the vote in, the three most likely candidates seem to be former State Senator Donzella James, Torrey Johnson (my favorite), and Benny Crane. EDIT: As I’ve been writing this, the AP has called the race for a James-Torrey Johnson runoff.

HD-58 (D): The AP is calling a runoff between Democrats Asha Jackson (my least favorite of the four Democrats in the race) and Simone Bell (who would be the second openly gay member of the General Assembly ever and the first from a racial minority and my favorite for mostly unrelated reasons).  

HD-75 (D): Democratic prodigal son (he’s a bastard child) Ron Dodson has reclaimed his seat, defeating Republican Shawn James 60.1-39.9.  In a night we’re we seem to be fucking ourselves, we do it again.  Dodson left the party before, works for big healthcare, says his biggest goal is tort reform, had failing ratings on the environment, and was for the gay marriage ban.

HD-129 (R): In the all-Republican special, Kip Smith barely missed an outright win in his father’s former seat and will now face total wingnut Steve Earles in the runoff.  The guy that seemed the least of four evils came in third.  Smith is bad but Earles is a complete nut.

HD-141 (D): We should be thankful for crazy splinter Republicans.  Political neophyte, wingnut, and recent college grad Casey Tucker siphoned over 500 votes from the more established Republican Angela Gheesling-McCommon.  As it stands now, she and Democrat Darrell Black are separated by sixteen votes (with Black leading) for the right to face indepedent Rusty Kidd in the runoff.

HD-159 (R): The race to replace the aforementioned Buddy Carter wasn’t a race at all, like I expected.  Former State Rep. Ann Purcell (whom Carter unseated in the primary) defeated fellow Republican and self-professed “true conservative” Jesse Tyler 79.2-20.8

The runoffs for SD-35, HD-58, HD-129, and HD-141 (and Atlanta Mayor) will be on December 1.  A more thorough rundown of the candidates and districts can be found here.

Election 2009 Results Thread, No. 2

10:43: Time for some more thread.

10:25PM: Shades of Florida 2000: Apparently, NBC has retracted its call on NYC-Mayor, but the NYT is still loud-n-proud. Bloombo’s lead has widended a bit, with three-quarters of the vote now reporting. But barring some late, wild changes, this is going to be a major story – how all the polls were so wildly wrong (and so many of them, too!), and how establishment Democrats failed to support one of their own.

10:21PM: Dems win a special election in Alabama, taking HD-65 by a 53-47 margin, which was quite a bit closer than expected.

10:17PM: Up in Maine, gay marraige is holding on by 51-49 with 22% in.

10:16PM: With 27% in, Bill Owens is up 51-44-5.

10:13PM: The AP is calling NJ-Gov for Chris Christie.

10:11PM: Man. Bill Thompson is only 0.5% back with over half the vote recorded. What is going on here?

10:07PM: As I’d suspected, Corzine is overperforming a bit in the north and Christie is overperforming in the south. (Maybe those LG picks actually made a difference, too.) Corzine is 49/48 in Bergen (should be 42/47 according to baselines), 68/27 in Essex (should be 64/25), 68/27 in Hudson (should be 61/28), and 52/43 in Passaic (should be 48/41). But Christie is cleaning up down the shore: 31/62 in Monmouth (should be 35/53), 28/66 in Ocean (should be 28/60), and unfortunately, in blue Camden County, where it’s 52/42 (should be 55/33). This balances out to a very close race, but it looks like it’s shading toward Christie.

10:05PM: In NY-23, Owens is still leading even at 15% reporting. He’s at 51%, with Hoffman at 45 and Dede at 5.

9:47PM: NYT calls the NYC mayoral race for Bloombo. Jesus. More than half my adult life has been spent under Republican mayors in NYC, and that ratio is about to get worse. The Times must really know something, though – 17% in and Bloombo leads by little more than 1%.

9:39PM: With 158 of 169 precincts reporting, Dem Anthony Foxx has a 52-48 lead in the Charlotte mayor’s race.

9:35PM: Sorry about the server errors, folks – not a whole lot we can do on our end, I’m afraid. Anyhow, the first few precincts are reporting in NY-23.

9:29PM: Looks like Jon Corzine is underperforming his county baselines just about everywhere. Though it just closed to 49-44-6 Christie with 44% reporting.

9:24PM: Another VA General Assembly Dem incumbent set to bite the dust in HD-83, trailing by 20 points with 82% reporting.

9:22PM: Some results are finally starting to make their way in from the Atlanta mayor’s race.

9:20PM: 52-42-6 Christie with 35% in. Ugh.

9:08PM: 50-43-5 Christie, with 29% reporting.

9:02PM: Polls are now closed in NY. In PA, the Dem Supreme Court candidate is up large with 6% in.

8:56PM: 16% of the vote in so far in New Jersey, and Christie is up 54-40. Don’t fret, though – most of the counties reporting are expected to go heavily to Christie.

8:55PM: Just 4% in so far in Maine – good guys with 56%.

8:52PM: TheUnknown285 says of GA-HD-141: “There will be a runoff. One of the candidates will be the indy Rusty Kidd. The question is: who will be the other candidate? Democrat Darrell Black and Republican Angela Gheesling-McCommon are separated by sixteen votes with seemingly only canvassing and absentees left.”

8:50PM: Johnny LT has a good update on the VA Assembly races. Says Johnny: “So far not looking as bad as it should be for such a large McDonnell victory.”

8:38PM: Just a head’s up for those planning to burn the midnight oil: We may not get the full results of NY-23 tonight, as several towns in St. Lawrence County are having difficulty with their new voting equipment.

8:33PM: Time for some fresh thread. The AP has results for several states: CA | CT | GA | ME | MI | NJ | NY | OH | PA | VA | WA.

NJ-Gov: Will Corzine outperform the final polls?

The polling for Tuesday’s gubernatorial election in New Jersey is all all over the map. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a wide split.…

Governor Corzine and his campaign have done a terrific job in getting this far. Indeed, at the end of August it looked all over with Christie consistently hitting 50 percent. But even then there was always the nagging feeling that you never say never with regard to a Democrat in New Jersey.

The basis for this is the positive numbers for Republicans throughout this decade in the state – the 2004 Presidential race, the 2006 Senate race, the 2008 Senate and Presidential races. In each case of course the Democrat went on to win comfortably.

Further, and what I was particularly interested in here, there is the belief that the final polls will favor Republicans by at least a couple points. A hidden Democratic vote if you will. So, is this fact or merely wishful thinking?

Here are the final polls in each case mentioned earlier. I’ve included the 2005 gubernatorial race for obvious reasons.

2004 President

Result –

Kerry +6

Final Polls –

(Strategic Vision) TIE

(Quinnipiac) Kerry +5

(Star-Ledger) Kerry +4

(Survey USA) Kerry +12

(Rasmussen) Kerry +12

(FDU Public Mind) Kerry +7

2005 Governor

Result –

Corzine +10

Final Polls –

(WNBC/Marist) Corzine +5

(Rasmussen) Corzine +5

(Survey USA) Corzine +6

(Quinnipiac) Corzine +7

(Monmouth/Gannett) Corzine +9

(Star-Ledger/Rutgers) Corzine +6

(Fairleigh Dickinson) Corzine +2

(Strategic Vision) Corzine +6

(Stockton College-Zogby) Corzine +7  

(Record/Research 2000) Corzine +9

(New York Times) Corzine +9

2006 Senate

Result –

Menendez +9

Final Polls –

(OnPoint Polling and Research) Menendez +9

(Quinnipiac) Menendez +5

(Strategic Vision) Menendez +7

(USA Today/Gallup) Menendez +10

(Mason-Dixon/MSNBC-McClatchy) Menendez +7

(Monmouth University/Gannett) Menendez +3

(WNBC/Marist Poll) Menendez +8

(Rasmussen) Menendez +5

(Fairleigh Dickinson/PublicMind) Menendez +10

(Reuters/Zogby International) Menendez +12

(Rutgers/Eagleton) Menendez +4

(Zogby Interactive) Menendez +6

(CNN/Opinion Research Corporation) Menendez +7

(Research 2000) Menendez +6

(CBS News/New York Times) Menendez +1

(Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal) Menendez +9

(Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg) Menendez +4

2008 President

Result –

Obama +15

Final Polls –

(Rasmussen Reports) Obama +15

(Monmouth University/Gannett) Obama +21

(Survey USA) Obama +10

(Fairleigh Dickinson University) Obama +18

(The Record/Research 2000) Obama +16

(Strategic Vision) Obama +15

(Marist College) Obama +17

(Quinnipiac) Obama +23

2008 Senate

Result –

Lautenberg +13

Final Polls –

(Survey USA) Lautenberg +15

(Strategic Vision) Lautenberg +8

(Marist College) Lautenberg +7

(Quinnipiac University) Lautenberg +22

(Monmouth University) Lautenberg +16

(Rasmussen Reports) Lautenberg +14

(Fairleigh Dickinson University) Lautenberg +16

So from that I get the following:

1) The Democrat outperformed the polls only in 2005 and 2006.

2) The most accurate pollsters in the state are probably Quinnipiac and Monmouth.

What to watch for in the New Jersey Gubernatorial Race on Election Night

This race has definitely been turning in every direction possible. In the beginning of 2009, Republican Chris Christie had a small lead. In the summer, Christie was leading easily and now, it looks like an extremely close race. I have seen a few suggestions that Corzine should win by two to three points. I actually have to agree with them. The main question I plan to address in this diary is what to watch for on election night. I am not planning to address campaign strategies; it will only be what you should watch in each county while the votes are reporting. A gubernatorial election is extremely different from a Presidential election. It does not matter if Corzine or Christie wins the swing counties, it matters who racks up the most votes. For example, if Corzine won all the swing counties, it could require only a shift of a few votes for Christie to win them. However, the swing counties determine how well Christe, Corzine and Independent Chris Daggett are doing in parts of New Jersey. During this diary, I will split New Jersey into four geographical areas. They are Southern New Jersey, Central New Jersey, Northern New Jersey and Urban New Jersey. The counties in Southern New Jersey are Burlington, Ocean Counties and all the counties south of them. The counties in Central NJ are Monmouth, Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset and Middlesex. Urban New Jersey is Union, Essex and Hudson Counties. All the other counties are in Northern New Jersey.

Here is the link to 2008 Presidential election results in New Jersey. If you look around, you can find results for Corzine’s 2005 and 2000 runs.…

This link has a map of New Jersey and if you click on the counties, you will see the demographics, income and population of each county.…

Southern New Jersey

This area leans Democratic in most elections. I believe that Christie should beat Corzine here for a few reasons: Corzine tends to do better than average in urban areas but below average in suburban areas. Southern New Jersey’s population is mostly suburban and rural except for Camden County which has 517,000 people. Southern New Jersey has more white voters and more independents than the rest of the state and Christie should do well with these groups. If Daggett grows stronger, southern New Jersey should be one of his strongholds. He goes to Ocean County every summer but then again, so does almost everyone in New Jersey. The beaches in the summer there are FULL. The only solid stronghold Corzine has here is Camden County which he won 60% of the vote in 2005 and Obama won 67% of the vote there in 2008. Theoretically, if Corzine wanted to win, he would have to win in Camden County by more than 21 points. He should make up lost ground in Northern NJ and Camden County is 63% White, just above the 62% White population of NJ. Therefore, I believe that Corzine needs to beat Christie in Camden by more than 15 points if Corzine wants to win. To do that, Corzine needs to maximize minority turnout but also win over middle class white voters in the Camden suburbs. Other counties in Southern Jersey are mostly swing counties except for Ocean County which is going solidly for Christie due to all the Conservative retirees there. Cape May County should also go the same way. Salem County is a small rural county which Obama barely won but Christie should win due to its working class voters. If Corzine were successful with white working class voters in Camden County, he would win Gloucester County which demographically is Camden County without the heavily Democratic city Camden and its close in suburbs. Cumberland County with Vineland is 53% White with large numbers of Hispanics and African Americans. Due to the large minority population, Christie should fail to win this county where Obama won 60% of the vote. If Christie wins Cumberland County, expect Christie to be moving to Trenton and Corzine moving back to Hoboken. Burlington County which gave Obama 59% of the vote seems to be one of the three big bellwethers. Even though it voted 2 points more for Obama than the rest of the state, the population is 72% White. Most of the white voters are the working class voters Corzine needs to win over along the Pennsylvania border from Salem County to Trenton. The other bellwether county is Atlantic County. In one sense, it is completely different from most of New Jersey. It represents beach communities while New Jersey has some nice beaches New Jersey is basically a suburb, not a beach resort nor is it Las Vegas. Obama won 57% of the vote here, Corzine in 2000 won 50%, in 2005 Corzine won 53%. These percentages are also the percentages of the respective candidates’ statewide wins. Demographically, Atlantic County is like the rest of New Jersey. The population is 62% White, the same as New Jersey. Also, there is a correct balance between urban and suburban. Atlantic County has Atlantic City as the urban area, some suburban mainland communities and some rural areas in the Pine Barrens. This relates to New Jersey as a whole because there are urban areas in Essex and Hudson Counties with suburban counties further out and a few rural areas. Since Christie appears more popular on the shore, I could see him winning Atlantic County by one or even two points but still losing. This is why I believe that if Corzine wins Atlantic County, he wins the Governorship.

Central New Jersey

I will start with Mercer County where Trenton, New Jersey’s capital is located. With heavily African American Trenton and Princeton University, Christie has absolutely no chance winning in Mercer County. John McCain even failed to win a single municipality in Mercer County which explains why he won only 31% of the vote here. There are some working class voters here but not as many as the other Delaware River counties. Corzine’s percentage should drop below Obama’s because Corzine will not get Obama’s boost of African American and University turnout even though Obama’s recent visit may help a bit. To hold down Christie, Corzine needs to beat him here 3:2 and if Corzine can do that, this shows he was able to bring Democrats out to the polls. Monmouth County along the shore is 77% White with a mix of Conservatives and middle class voters should be an easy win for Christie and his Lieutenant Governor candidate Kim Guadango who lives there.  Daggett could over perform so if he gets more than 20% of the vote here, expect Christie to be in trouble. Hunterdon County is a high income Conservative area where Christie needs to slow down Daggett’s advances. Somerset County should be watched carefully. It has high income voters and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 lost the county. Somerset County definitely has been trending Democratic with Obama winning 52% of the vote and Somerset County barely trended toward Bush from 2000 to 2004, even with 9/11. Corzine’s success as a businessman may appeal to the high income voters but Christie’s close proximity in western Union County and the independent streak of the voters should give Somerset County to Christie. Daggett has a chance to over perform here among all the independents so if Christie can carry Somerset County by more than 15 points, he definitely has won. Christie can still win with a few less votes here. Middlesex County is 53% White. It does not have a significantly high African American or even Hispanic population, Middlesex County is 19% Asian. Middlesex County is not the most important county in New Jersey but Corzine should try to keep his margin at about 10 points.

Urban New Jersey

There is a fair argument for including Passaic and Bergen Counties but most of those counties are suburban. Hudson, Essex and Union County are all expected to go for Corzine and Daggett should win few votes in these areas because independents are less abundant here. Also, an important group here is Hispanics who are 41% of the population in Hudson County. Corzine has not cracked down harder on immigrants but he has not pushed to help them. Christie however does not address immigration directly on his website. Corzine does not either but he does address diversity, has worked to improve health care for minorities and he started a panel that discussed immigration reform. Since Christie and Daggett represent the more Conservative suburban voters, I do not see Christie and Daggett making inroads in Hudson County. Corzine lives in Hoboken which is a really nice Liberal town filled with transplants from Manhattan. Corzine has always over performed in Hudson County, winning 75% of the vote there in 2005 in his successful gubernatorial race against Republican Douglas Forrester. Corzine won 53% of the vote, like John Kerry but Kerry won 67% of the vote in Hudson County, much worse than Corzine. Another county to watch is Essex County which contains Newark and is heavily Democratic. Christie should make few inroads there due to its large minority population. Corzine would at least need to receive about 60% of the vote there if he wants to win. Union County is probably the most crucial county in Urban New Jersey. It is basically Essex County in the east and Somerset County in the west. Even though it is Christie’s home county, Corzine should still win it due to margins in Elizabeth. If Christie can pull it close in his home area, it shows he is winning overall. This is why Christie needs to hold Corzine below a 10 point win in Union County.

Northern New Jersey

Except for Passaic County and possibly Bergen County, Christie looks set to sweep this area. Warren and Sussex Counties are both heavily Republican and lightly populated so Christie should have no trouble winning them. Morris County also looks like a set Christie win because Morris County is traditionally Republican and McCain won 54% of the vote there. The issue for Christie in Morris County is that Daggett should be able to garner votes there. During the election, I expect Christie’s and McCain’s percentages to remain similar and if Christe beats Corzine by more than 20 points, Christie’s percentage in Morris County should be near McCain’s. If Christie wins Morris County by less than 20 points, it will show Daggett made inroads or Corzine over performed so Christie needs to win by more than 20 points. Passaic County is the only county in northern New Jersey that Corzine looks set to win. If Corzine does not win Passaic County, it will demonstrate he failed to increase turnout in the central cities and therefore he will lose. I believe if he is reelected, he will have won Passaic County by six points or more. In 2000, Corzine won Passaic County by eight points and won the Senate seat by three. Passaic County includes heavily Hispanic Paterson but also some Republican suburbs which are outnumbered by Democratic areas. The real county to watch is Bergen County. Obama won 54% of the vote, 3 points less than his 57% statewide win. Corzine lost the county by three points in 2000. The White population is above average for New Jersey. On paper, it appears that Corzine can lose Bergen County but still beat Christie. I would agree except the Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidate is Loretta Weinberg who is from Bergen County. Weinberg is 74 years old but neither Christie nor Daggett has made her age an issue. She represents that 37th Legislative district which is mostly in southeastern Bergen County, a Democratic area. Someone running for Lieutenant Governor should not have the biggest influence on the voters but Weinberg has been in Bergen County politics since Gerald Ford was president. She was elected in 1975 to countywide office and has remained in Bergen County politics since. Her problem is that party bosses are not crazy about her but that should not impact Bergen County as much as other counties. If Weinberg had a large effect on the campaign, Corzine could win Bergen County and still lose to Christie but if Weinberg’s effect was minimal, Corzine could lose Bergen County but still beat Christie.

Here are the last words: If you look at the final map and see Corzine won a line of counties stretching from Bergen to Cumberland, Corzine has won. Also, ask yourself; is Christie pulling up large margins along the shore, is there large turnout in Urban New Jersey, which way is Union County swinging, who is leading in Bergen County and how large is Corzine’s margin in Camden?

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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NY-23: Scozzafava’s Record At A Glance

Last night, Markos wrote that Republican Dede Scozzafava was “the most liberal candidate” in the 23rd congressional district race.

This doesn’t surprise. A lot of people, including people here in New York, have made the same argument. Part of it has to do with a lack of research on Scozzafava. The other half of it is a lack of information on the Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who conservatives call “liberal” and some progressives like Markos have called a “Blue Dog.”

After reading Markos’ post multiple times, it seems he uses the following as important points for his “liberal” labeling of Scozzafava.  

– She has been endorsed in the past by the very progressive Working Families Party.

– She is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, which puts her at odds with the conservatives in the Republican Party.

– She voted to raise taxes when budgets required it.

First, those three points. The Working Families Party does endorse Republicans and allow them to run on their line. It happens, but they are more likely to back a Democratic candidate. Living in New York, my state senator is George Maziarz. He has been endorsed by the Working Families Party in the past because of his connections to people within the WFP.

For Scozzafava, being backed by the WFP can be contributed to a few things. She ran unopposed in 2008 and was not on the Working Families line when she ran for re-election in 2006. She also was not on the line in the 2002 general election. The only times since redistricting in 2002 that she appeared on the WFP line was in 2004 and 2008. In both elections, she ran unopposed. Therefore, the WFP endorsements were more by default than anything. It’s not as if she had to fight for those endorsements with another candidate.

The pro-choice and pro-marriage equality positions are very good and is a breath of fresh air for a Republican. But just as we don’t like it when Republicans try to define us based on social issues, we should not be guilty of the same when it comes to determining whether someone is progressive or not. Is she progressive on these issues? No doubt. But don’t judge a book by its cover.

The last point of Markos: She voted to raise taxes when budgets required it. In New York, that can be seen as a good and/or bad thing. There are good taxes and fees, bad taxes and fees and others that are somewhere in between. Any good progressive in New York will tell you that not all taxes are good and that not all taxes are bad. There is a middle ground. The problem in New York is that we have had too many regressive taxes and not enough progressive taxation. So giving Scozzafava credit for being liberal on this is misguided for the reasons I have shown.

But aside from Markos’ points, I also wanted to address some of the past votes Scozzafava has cast in the Assembly .

– An important issue for progressives in New York has been Rockefeller Drug Law Reform. A bill (A.6085) was passed in the Assembly and a deal was reached with both houses to reform the broken drug laws that led to extreme sentences for some of the most minor offenses. The roll call vote shows that Scozzafava voted against these reforms.

– Earlier this year, the Assembly passed a comprehensive gun package to combat gun violence and put laws in place to provide for better tracking of guns and provide for more accountability. The package includes 13 bills that were passed in the Assembly. Of those 13 bills, Scozzafava voted for only one. That bill was A.7733 and its purpose is to “Authorizes courts to revoke firearms license and seize the weapons of certain individuals.” Essentially, if the person is a threat to the public, courts could take away the firearms license and weapons of that person.

It is safe to say that Scozzafava is pro-gun and clearly anti-gun control of any kind. (I would give her credit for the single “Yea” vote, but it was a unanimous vote in the Assembly. Every Republican voted for it.)

Also, keep in mind that the package came after the shootings in Binghamton, which was a national news story and led to immediate action in the Assembly.

– Scozzafava’s record on the environment is mixed, at best. She voted against the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, but voted for the Green Jobs bill that was unanimously passed in the Assembly. The Assembly passed a package of environmental bills earlier this year. Of the 14 bills included in the package, Scozzafava voted for six of the bills and against eight of them. These were bills that were supported by progressives and the Democratic conference in the Assembly.

– Scozzafava voted against the Farmworkers Bill of Rights that passed the Assembly. This was seen as a pro-labor and pro-worker bill to support farm laborers who face unpleasant conditions in some instances.

– Voted against a bill that would provide additional compensation for police officers in New York City that use a foreign language in the course of their duties. She also voted against legislation that would give the attorney general jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute police misconduct.

– Voted against regulating the use of “no-knock” warrants and monitoring the use of all search warrants.

– Cast a vote against the 2010 Campaign Finance Reform Act, which would provide “for optional partial public financing of certain election campaigns in this state.” (Here is more on this legislation she voted against.)

– Voted against a bill that would require restaurants (with 15 or more outlets in the U.S.) to post the caloric information of menu items. Also voted against a bill banning trans fats in restaurants.

– Voted against legislation that would strengthen New York’s laws against unfair debt collection practices. Also voted against “legislation requiring debt collection firms to provide consumers a written “Debtor’s Bill of Rights” along with their initial debt collection communication.”

– Voted against expanding foreclosure protections. This bill included protections for tenants in property that is being foreclosed.

– Among the many areas, one area that Scozzafava seems to have a consistent record of voting “no” in is housing. This year, the Assembly has passed 20 pieces of legislation related to housing. Of those 20 bills, Scozzafava voted against several of them. The bills she voted against include: A rent increase cap, rent increases linked to inflation rate, Section 8 housing being included in rent regulation, landlord rental unit recovery, affordable housing preservation, excessive rent increase shield and expansion of the Loft Law.

The reality is this: When people say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, you should take their advice. The “cover” on Scozzafava was that she was this progressive Republican because she was backed by the WFP, supported a woman’s right to choose and has been a supporter of marriage equality. But the “book” tells the whole story (as it usually does). Scozzafava has a few positions that are more liberal (on abortion and marriage equality) but most of her positions are, at best, moderate-to-conservative. More often than not, however, she is a conservative.

One more thing: This statement on Scozzafava’s website came after President Barack Obama’s health care address a couple of weeks ago. One of the ideas she pushes? Tort reform. Not exactly the progressive approach to solving the health care crisis, but it’s one of the first (if not THE first) things brought up by Scozzafava.

The conclusion I draw from looking over numerous pieces of legislation is that Scozzafava on most issues is nothing more than your average Assembly Republican. Most of the votes that she did support the Democratic (or progressive) positions came when the whole Assembly voted unanimously for a bill. Scozzafava’s conservative positions are not reflected in the mainstream media, where she is labeled a “liberal” because of her stances on two social issues that, while important, should never define any candidate and should never be the sole indicator of a candidate’s ideology.

I see Scozzafava as someone who is far from the Glenn Becks of the world. But that doesn’t mean she is not conservative. The modern-day conservative is a different breed, but a lot of what Scozzafava stands for resembles an old school conservative. At best, she’s a moderate with conservative leanings. At worst, she’s a conservative Republican whose liberal stances on two social issues have given her an inaccurate label.

Would she be a Susan Collins-type, as Markos suggested? Probably not. Her record has shown that she hasn’t really been willing to buck the GOP party line on big issues (unless the whole GOP goes along with it). There are worse Republicans than Scozzafava, but she isn’t someone I would depend on to cross party lines and vote on a Democratic (and/or progressive) issue.

NYC Primary Predictions & Results Thread

10:52PM: Take this however you like: I count at least five NYC City Council incumbents who’ve lost tonight: Alan Gerson (District 1), Maria Baez (14), Helen Sears (25), Kendall Stewart (45), and Kenneth Mitchell (49). Another, Thomas White (28), is currently losing by three votes with a few precincts outstanding. Four more incumbents won with less than 50%, and the City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, won with about 53%.

10:38PM (David): Results here. Cyrus Vance wins the DA’s race, and Bill Thompson wins the mayoral primary. With most of the vote counted, it looks like the Comptroller’s race will go to a run-off between John Liu and David Yassky. The big surprise is probably Bill DeBlasio leading the Public Advocate’s race over Mark Green – this one also looks destined for a runoff.

For those of you who live in New York City, or have moved here in anticipation of DavidNYC’s eventual primary challenge to someone or other, today is the long-awaited 2009 primary.

Because of the city’s geographic complexity, we’re voting on everything from district leader to district attorney, from city council to a special assembly race. Because of the city’s recent political complexity (largely due to the controversial term limits extension), there are also many more races than usual with a pack of challengers.

Counting just the city races (not county races like D.A. or state races like Assembly), we have 152 candidates today. How many can you vote for?

The major contested races are:

  • Mayor
  • Public Advocate
  • Comptroller
  • Manhattan District Attorney
  • Queens Borough President
  • Special election for NY AD 38
  • A cornucopia of City Council matchups
  • Your favorite race that I forgot

This is New York. Nobody knows what’s going on. But let’s hear your predictions. Be sure to show your work.

Polls close at 9pm. Don’t forget to vote in the actual booths as well as in the comments area below.

Redistricting Virginia (A comprehensive look with three scenarios)

Virginia offers one of the most intriguing opportunities for redistricting after the 2010 census. The current map is based off of a Republican gerrymander, initiated after Republicans took firm control of both the House or Delegates and State Senate ahead of the 2001 redistricting. Thus Democrats stand to gain even under a bi-partisan or non-partisan scheme. Currently a numberof schemes are possible depending on the outcome of the 2009 state elections. Below I outline the likelihood of each scenario and an example of a redistricting scheme that could result from such a scenario.

NOTE: Current map can be accessed here:…

Scenario 1. Bi-partisan or non-partisan redistricting

This is far and away the most likely outcome. Currently Democrats control the State Senate by a slim 21-19 margin. This control will prevent Republicans from enacting a gerrymandered scheme as long as Democrats do no suffer any mid-term retirements (an unlikely though not impossible sceneario as will be discussed in scenario 3). In addition, the political winds seem to be blowing against the Democrats in Virginia this year, so it seems almost equally unlikely that Democrats will gain control of both the governership and House of Delegates in 2009 and be able to enact a Democratic gerrymander. Therefore, the most likely outcome is that redistricting will occur either through a bi-partisan negotiating process, or a non-partisan panel (both have been discussed). Although there would be minor differences between the two outcomes, the sample map below is a good example of what either might look like since it both protects endangered incumbents and keeps similar “communities of interest” together. This sample map would likely maintain the current 6-5 Dem majority but could easliy support anything from a 7-4 Dem Majority to a 7-4 Rep majority in the long run

Bipartisan - state

CD #1 (Dark blue) – This largely resembles the current incarnation of the district. It should be marginally more Republican as it’s lost majority-minority areas in Prince William County and Hampton Roads in exchange for more conservative areas of Fauquier County, Prince William, and the Northern Neck.


CD #2 (Green) – The GOP was too clever by half in it’s 2001 redistricting scheme. Because of demographic and political changes both district 2 and district 4 became politically competitve and were won by Obama in the 2008 election. The 2nd seeks a compromise by making the 2nd more dem friendly for Glenn Nye in exchange for making the 4th a strong Republican district to protect Randy Forbes. Under this map, majority African American areas of Chesapeake previous in the 4th have been given to the 2nd in exchange for extremely conservative areas of coastal Virginia Beach. (Also note that Rep-leaning areas of Hampton have been ceeded to the 1st).

CD #3 (Purple)- Bobby Scott’s district needed to expand as it primarily consists of urban African-American sections of Richmond and Hampton Roads that have not kept pace with the state’s population growth over the last 10 years. As part of the compromise to strenghten the 2nd while weakening the 4th, the 3rd takes overwhelming African-American Petersburg from Forbes’s district while leaving Nye with many majority African-American areas in Hampton Roads.

CD #4 (red)- See above for most changes. In addittion, Forbes’s district gaines almost all of heavily Republican Chesterfield county.

CD #5 (yellow)- Tom Periello’s district is currently quite precarious and will probably stay that way under any bi-partisan compromise. Unfortunately there’s no way to make the district radically stronger without serious gerrymandering (which will not be possible under a bi-partisan compromise) due to the lack of other strong Democratic areas in the vicinity of Charlottesville. However, the district should become marginally more friendly as it has not kept up with the states population growth over the past 10 years and therefore gains the swingy locality of Lynchburg.

CD #6 (teal)- Becomes even more strongly Rep-leaning as Republicans compromise by giving the Dem-leaning city of Roanoke to the slow growing 9th in exchange for heavily Rep areas of the Shenandoah valley that have to be shed from the fast growing 10th.

CD #7 (gray)- No significant changes, the 7th remains a staunchly conservative district that provides a comfortable home to Eric Cantor.

CD #8 (light purple)- District has to expand as inner-Nova’s growth has not been as dramatic as PW or Loudon counties. Takes in heavily dem areas of Fairfax county and remains the heavily Democratic home of Jim Moran.

CD #9 (light blue)- The most rural, and slow growing district of the state must expand and does so by taking in Dem leaning Roanoke in exchange for less populous areas around Covington and Martinsville. This district is marginally more Democratic and should continue to easily re-elect Rick Boucher. However, it will still be very difficult to fill the seat with a Democratic replacement upon his retirement


CD #10 (pink)- Outer Norther Virginia has both grown by leaps and bounds and become more Dem-friendly over the past few years. This bi-partisan compromise gives Wolf the most Rep-friendly district possible without sever gerrymandering (in exchange for Republican concessions on the 5th and the 9th). However, this new district will still be significantly more Dem-friendly than its current incarnation. While Wolf might continue to squeak by, the district will likely flip Democratic upon his retirement.

CD #11 (lime green)- Part of the compromise to protect Wolf is necessarrily to make the 11th even more strongly Dem leaning than it is currently. By picking up marority-minority areas of Eastern Prince William and losing Strong-Rep areas of Western Prince William the district move from having a strong Democratic lean to a heavily Democratic district that could not elect a Republican even under the most ideal circumstances.

The other two scenarios (a Republican or Democatic controlled gerrymander) are much less likely and as such will be discussed in less detail below.

Scenario 2 – A Democratic gerrymander

Given the high hill the Democrats would have to climb to reach a majority in the House of Delegates and the unfriendly political winds blowing against the Democrats this scenario is possibly the least likely of the three.  However, politics is, as always, unpredictable, and if the Democrats do recover steam in time for the 2009 elections they may be able to enact a gerrymander similar to the one envisioned below. This example map would likely create a 7-4 Dem Majority.


Notable differences from the bi-partisan scheme

1. In Northern Virginia:

   Frank Wolf’s 10th takes heavily Democratic Arlington and Falls Church making his reelection next to impossible. Although the 11th is less Dem friendly it is still majority-minority. All three NOVA districts are strongly Democratic and should return Dem reps for the next 10 years

2. In Hampton Roads and Richmond:

   Glenn Nye’s 2nd district takes on all the majority African-American areas of South Hampton Roads and becomes a majority minority district with whites and blacks exist in almost equal proportions. Not suprisingly it is very strong Dem district (Obama prob won by at least 20 points). Suprisingly Bobby Scott’s district can maintain it’s majority minority status (and keep Scott’s base in Newport News) by taking Petersburg and African-American heavy areas of Henrico and Chesterfield counties. Randy Forbes 4th becomes a staunchly Republican as it’s majority African American areas are raided to strengthen the 2nd.

3. In the Southside/SW Virginia

  Periello’s 5th is strengthened (but not radically changed) by the inclusion of heavily African-American areas of Lynchburg, and Southeast Virginia, in addition to the swingly college towns of Harrisonburg and Staunton, in exchange for the overwhelmingly Republican areas of Appomattox, Franklin and Pittsylvania Counties. The 9th becomes more dem friendly, losing heavliy Republican rural SW VA counties in exchange for Dem-friendly Roanoke and swingy counties along the WV border.

Scenario #3 – Republican gerrymander

 Although Republicans seem somewhat likely to take the Governorship and extremely likely to retain control of the House of Delegates, there will not be an election in the Dem controlled state Senate before the next redistricting scheme is encacted. However the current Democratic majority is potentially precarious as it could be disrupted by the retirement of 82 year-old Chuck Colgan who represents a marginal seat in Northern Virginia that could flip Republican in a special election. In addition one member of the Democratic caucus (Ralph Northam of Norfolk) nearly left to join the Republicans earlier in the year. If a 20-20 tie occurs it will be broken by the Lietenant Governor who, given the current political enviornment, could very well be Republican candidate Bill Bolling. Although these are not good signs, Democrats can take solace in that a victory by Republican candidate Ken Cucinelli in the Auttourney General’s race would trigger a special election to fill his Senate seat — a seat won by Obama by a 12 point margin in 2008 that could very well flip Dem in the election and restore Democratic contol over the chamber. Nonetheless, if the worst does happen the Republicans would likely draft a map that looks something like this. This example map would likely create a 7-4 Republican Majority.


Notable differences with the Bi-partisan plan

1. In NOVA

  Democratic Strength in the region is concentrated in the 8th and 11th, and consigned the the heavily Republican 1st. The 10th is left with all the Republican areas and a larger share of the Shenadoah valley, making it a more hospitable district for Wolf and future Republican successors

2. In Richmond/Hampton Roads

 By Bobby Scott’s taking over heavely African-American Petersburg, the 4th and afford to take strong AA areas from the 2nd in exchange for strongly Republican areas of Chesapeake and Suffolk. In addition the 1st cedes Poquoson (which McCain carried by 50 points in 2008) and similarly rock-ribbed Republican areas of York County to the 2nd. The new 2nd is not completely unwinnable for Nye, but will probably flip Republican as long as they can find a somewhat credible challenger.

3. In SW Virginia/Southside

  Periello’s 5th is eviscerated as his base in Charlottesville is added to the rock ribbed Republican 6th. Without heavily Dem Charlottesville/Albemarle the 5th becomes a very difficult climb for any Democrat and unwinnable for a relatively liberal Democrat like Periello. Although the 6th gains this Dem bastion it too is unwinnable for any Dem candidate, with the loss of Democratic Roanoke, and the addition of heavily Republican areas of the Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia. Republicans make minimal changes to the 9th and remain confident that the district will flip back to them upon Boucher’s retirement.

Suffice to say, a lot hangs on the results of the state elections in Virginia this Novemeber. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or observations.