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Posts Tagged ‘enthusiasm gap’



Myth Busting: Latino Vote, Independents, Prop 13

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Calbuzz is here to correct two important myths from the 2010 general election in California, before they are committed permanently to history and passed along ignorantly like the so-called “Bradley Effect” and other dunderhead theories:

1) Latinos did not constitute 22% of the electorate as reported by the Edison Research exit poll and blabbed along by those who would make the Latino vote look more important than it is (for the record, our two posted references to the 22 % factor, one from a guest columnist, the other a suggestion, are here and here). Latinos accounted for 16% of the vote*,  just as the better pollsters had predicted (and just 1-point lower than the LA Times/USC poll found after the fact).

2) “Independents” did not account for 27% of the voters, as reported by the exit poll and some pollsters (we name no names) who rely on party identification – a practice Calbuzz can’t fathom when party registration is available. Actual independents, that is, decline-to-state voters, accounted for 17% of the electorate.

These facts, part of the data pulled from the final voter file by Bob Proctor of Statewide Information Systems of Sacramento*, are important because they demonstrate that Latinos were not driven to vote in historic numbers (although they apparently voted en masse for Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman), nor was there a surge (or depression) among independents.

The 2010 turnout in California was not a Democratic blow-out. Nor was there any important enthusiasm gap between the parties, as so many Republican operatives had predicted. In fact, the partisan composition of the 2010 general election was just about what you’d have expected if you had never listened to any of the self-proclaimed experts: 45% Democrat, 34% Republican and 17% independent (DTS).

Despite Mike Murphy’s predictions right up to election day, the Armies of eMeg produced no discernible bump in the GOP vote. Nor did the Democrats do much to goose the numbers. What they did do – and it was no mean feat – was get the Democrats, including Latinos, to vote heavily for the Democratic candidates.

Target mail may well have been a factor since an historic 51% of the vote was cast by mail – including 49% by those who are permanent absentee voters. And in case you were looking for some massive surge by youth, forget about it: 56% of the vote was cast by people age 50 and older while just 12% of the vote was cast by people age 18-29.

The fact that just 16%* of the electorate were Latinos does nothing to diminish their importance as a voting bloc. The fact remains that Meg Whitman, who lurched to the right on the issue of a “path to citizenship” during the GOP primary and who unceremoniously canned her Latino housekeeper, drove Latinos to Jerry Brown.

But it’s important to understand that while the Latino vote is growing in California, it still has a long way to go. The Giant is awake and pissed off at the Republicans, but it has yet to throw its weight around as it will some day.

About Proposition 13:  Calbuzz readers know that we have already laid out the Path to Normalization of the California budget in excruciating exactitude but when Anthony York of the By-God LA Times reported the other day that Jerry Brown “walked right up to the third rail of California politics,” we think some confusion may have been unleashed.

We weren’t there (what’s new) so we’re relying on York and others who reported that Silver Fox said, “Proposition 13, because it took away the power of counties to tax, for the most part, it sent the decisions up to Sacramento. So we want to redistribute all that.”

What Brown (and Senate Majority Leader Darrell Steinberg) are NOT talking about, it should be made clear, is fooling around with the property tax on homes as permanently reduced by Proposition 13 (although splitting off commercial and industrial property off for separate treatment might be in the mix).

Rather it sounds like they’re talking about giving cities, counties and school districts the ability to raise other kinds of taxes and/or bonds with a majority or 55% vote (as opposed to the 2/3 vote required by Proposition 13) to go along with taking over the responsibility for programs and services that have been paid for by the state since Proposition 13.

So note to Sacramento tax watchers: It’s highly unlikely that Brown and his allies would screw with the property tax. But they might well want to make it easier for local entities to raise taxes and bonds on their own for the services they want to deliver.

For a good wrap of Brown’s budget challenges and intentions, check Ken McLaughlin and Paul Rogers of the Murky News. And for a well-sourced look at what the governor is likely to unveil today, check out Shane Goldmacher’s lookforward in Sunday’s By-God LA Times.

And thanks to Calbuzzer Jay Johnson, who sent us this cool Photoshop of  Jerry and the upcoming budget.

So much for taking personal responsibility: While it may be over the top argue that Sarah Palin has “blood on her hands” in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Arizona, it’s revolting to watch Palinistas try to wash their hands of any responsibility by declaring they’re shocked – shocked! – that anyone could even hint the slightest connection to the horror  and her frequent, reckless use of violent rhetoric and weaponry images.

For Palin’s mouthpiece to claim that the crosshairs icon the loudmouth demagogue slapped on Giffords’ district last fall was really an innocent  “surveyors’ symbol”  not only ignores Palin’s own description of it as a “bullseye” but more importantly ignores her history of smirking viciousness in suggesting that those who disagree with her deserve the same fate as the caribou she delights in slaughtering:

“Don’t retreat, reload,” indeed.

And while we’re at it, we have to note our disgust with Palin apologists like the smarmy twit Howard Kurtz of the Beastly Daily Beast, who seems utterly incapable of understanding that the atmosphere of violence promoted by Palin et. al. is not just a riff on standard political fare.

Howie the Genius apparently sees poor St. Sarah as a victim of a media drive-by: “One of the first to be dragged into this sickening ritual of guilt by association: Sarah Palin. . . . This kind of rhetoric is highly unfortunate. The use of the crosshairs was dumb. But it’s a long stretch from such excessive language and symbols to holding a public official accountable for a murderer who opens fire on a political gathering and kills a half-dozen people, including a 9-year-old girl.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Sickening, too.

* After this post appeared, a respected Sacramento consultant passed along to us counts made by Political Data Inc. which, by adding in about 140,000 foreign-born voters who apparently did not have Spanish surnames, would increase the total Latino vote to 17%. It’s possible also, as a friend from the LA Times suggested to us, that some Latino voters, like Latinas who have married and taken their husband’s non-Spanish name, might also have been under-counted. But this can’t add much to the total percentage of Latino voters.

Meyer on Palin’s Touch; Enthusiasm; Lies; eMeg 3.0

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Last week, when the Queen Bee of the Mean Girls — aka Sarah Palin — visited California to rally support for the Mad Hatter Tea Party, California’s Republican Mamma Grizzlies — Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina — were too busy with their own schedules to find time to appear with the Thundra from the Tundra.

Calbuzz is certain this had nothing to do with the Field Poll’s findings that Palin’s favorable-to-unfavorable rating in California is 33-58% or that 53% of voters said they’d be less likely to vote for someone endorsed by the former Alaska governor.

We’re sure they were sorry to miss Sarah, since both of them worked so tirelessly for her election to the White House when she was Arizona Sen. John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate in 2008. But schedules are schedules. Or are they? Calbuzz Editorial Pen Swordsman Tom Meyer has another take on the scene.


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About that enthusiasm gap:There’s been a lot made of how depressed the Democrats are compared to the Republicans and no doubt, that appears to be true in many parts of the country. But not so much in California, according to the new LA Times/USC survey.

According to David Lauter of the Times:

The survey asked respondents to rate on a 10-point scale how enthusiastic they felt about voting this year. In September, when the poll asked that question, Republicans had a big advantage, with 42% of registered Republicans statewide rating their enthusiasm as a 10, compared with 27% of registered Democrats. In the latest survey, conducted statewide Oct. 13-20, that 15-point gap had nearly disappeared: 39% of registered Republicans rated their enthusiasm at 10, compared with 35% of registered Democrats.

The survey also found that Democratic likely voters scored an average 8.2 on a 10-point enthusiasm scale, compared to 8.3 for Republican likely voters and 7.4 for independents. And since the Times/USC survey has squeezed their voter model down to 44% Democrat and 40% Republican — a whopping 9 points below the actual difference in registration (when most pollsters are looking at something more like 43% D and 34% R) — it’s going to be hard to believe the GOP spinners when they argue that enthusiasm means things are breaking their way.

And speaking of spin: We weren’t there, but it sounded to us like Meg Whitman’s head exploded the other day after an event in Los Angeles where she accused Jerry Brown of lying about her record to Latinos — with special emphasis on her stand on Arizona’s immigration law which, by the way, she has said is fine for Arizona but not right for California because of geographic reasons (whatever those are).  The LA Times and AP wrote up the story, including this from eMeg:

“Jerry Brown has taken this vote for granted. He’s living on what he did for this community 40 years ago,” Whitman said. “I’m the first Republican in 30 years to open an office in East L.A. I have reached out to this community, I’ve been part of this community…. Our entire Internet site is translated into Spanish. His website — he uses Google to translate it into Spanish. I mean, think about that — it’s not respect for the community.”

What a puta, that Jerry Brown is! No wonder eMeg’s standing with Latinos has dropped 20 points or more. Surely that has nothing to do with her treatment of her housekeeper, Nicky Diaz, whom she fired unceremoniously in the summer of 2009 after learning that Nicky was an illegal immigrant.

Calbuzz was pleased to see, however, that we made the volcanic Sarah Pompei’s mailaround notice from the Whitman campaign with this entry:Click here to see a link to one such misleading mailer– actually a link to our Calbuzz exclusive report on labor’s mail campaign to Latinos, including prayer cards showing Brown with Cesar Chavez and with Mother Teresa.

eMeg 3.0: First it was jobs, education and waste. Then it was Jerry’s bad, I’m good. Now — 80,000 commercials later –  it’s, I’m a good billionaire who’ll treat you like adults, tell it to you straight and lead you out of the wilderness. Yes, the New and Improved Meg Whitman is now up on the air — a new 60-second quasi Fred Davis biographical spot designed to introduce (or re-introduce) eMeg to the 7% or so of California voters who don’t yet have an opinion about her. At this late stage in the campaign, it seems like a strange move. But who knows? Maybe Meg’s unfavorables are so high they have no choice but to try anything to make her likable. She should have come to dinner with Calbuzz a year ago.

BTW: When we heard about NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg campaigning for eMeg (“She’s my kind of candidate,” he said), it occurred to us that the two of them together have spent at least a quarter of a billion dollars seeking office — $109 million for Bloomberg and $141 million (and counting) for Meg.

PPIC Poll: Why Jerry and Babs Lead Meg and Carly

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Propelled by his standing among Democrats, Latinos, women, liberals and especially moderates, Jerry Brown is leading Meg Whitman 44-36% in the latest survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, which also finds Barbara Boxer leading Carly Fiorina 43-38%.

Despite her massive spending – which is expected to reach $180 million – Republican Whitman has been unable to break away from Democrat Brown except among Republicans, conservatives and Southern Californians outside of Los Angeles.

Among independents – a group Team Whitman has identified as crucial to their final game plan – the race is essentially tied, with Whitman up only 37-36%, according to PPIC. Men, whites and voters in the Central Valley – demographics essential to a Republican candidate – also are evenly divided, while Brown is crushing Whitman in Los Angeles (54-28%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (55-29%).

Brown’s strong lead appears in some considerable part to be due to his appeal to middle-of-the-road voters – moderates – as distinct from independents, according to a crosstab PPIC created at the request of Calbuzz. Brown, of course, leads among liberals 82-4% and Whitman commands conservatives 63-15%. But among the large swath of voters in the middle – however they are registered to vote – Brown leads 51-29%.

The findings are based on a turnout model – derived from questions probing respondents’ likliness to vote — that includes 44% Democrats, 35% Republicans and 19% independents. The 9-point differential between Democrats and Republicans is 4 points lower than the official difference by party registration. That takes into account the “enthusiasm gap” many pollsters find during the election season.

But if Republicans turn out in vastly higher numbers and Democrats don’t, the race could certainly be closer than PPIC suggests. On the other hand, the survey only includes 49% women, which is likely 2-4 percent too low — which would advantage Brown and Boxer.

While Brown leads Whitman on voters’ beliefs about who would do a better job on education, environment and immigration, Whitman leads on two of the most compelling issues – jobs and the economy, and state budget and taxes. But PPIC did not ask questions about character or qualifications – two concerns the Brown campaign believe precede voters’ views about issues.

The data make it clear why, in the closing days of the campaign, Whitman continues to hammer on Brown’s record on  jobs, taxes, the death penalty and pensions, while Brown is emphasizing Whitman’s truthfulness, experience, self-interest and integrity.

While just half the Democrats say they are satisfied with their choices of candidates in the governor’s race and 46% say they’re not satisfied, only 38% of Republicans are satisfied compared to 58% who are not satisfied.

Satisfaction doesn’t seem to be preventing either Brown or Whitman from consolidating their party base: Brown has 76% of the Democrats and Whitman has 73% of the Republicans. But given that Whitman has spent so lavishly – explaining that she must do this because Brown is so well-known and the unions are funding him to the hilt – it is astonishing that nearly six in 10 Republicans are not happy with their choice.

The relatively large number of undecided voters — 16% — is at least partly a function of PPIC’s polling technique: they do not ask undecided voters for whom they are leaning, a question that many pollsters use to better simulate a final vote.

In the race for  U.S. Senate, Boxer commands Democrats, Women, Latinos, liberals and – importantly – moderates. She also kills Republican Fiorina in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

But Fiorina is closer to Boxer than Whitman is to Brown because she is not only ahead among Republicans, conservatives and voters in Southern California outside of LA, she also leads Boxer among men, whites and voters in the Central Valley. Only independents are a wash.

According to the special Calbuzz crosstab, Boxer has the liberals 81-4% and Fiorina has the conservatives 69-13%. But moderates are tilting 51-24% for Boxer – which explains why Boxer is emphasizing Fiorina’s very conservative views on abortion, offshore oil drilling, environment and other issues that cast her GOP opponent outside of the California mainstream.

Voters are more satisfied with their choices for Senate than they are their choices for governor: Democrats are satisfied 67-27%, Republicans are OK with their choice 61-34% and independents say they’re satisfied by 51-41%.

None of the propositions PPIC tested appear in great shape: Prop. 19, to legalize marijuana, is trailing 44-49%; Prop. 23, to overturn the state’s greenhouse gas controls, is losing 37-48%; Prop. 24, to repeal a law giving business a tax break, is behind 31-38%, with 31% undecided; and Prop. 25, to lower the threshold to pass a budget to a majority, is leading just 49-34%.

PPIC surveyed 1,802 adults by landline and 200 by cell phone, Oct. 10-17. Included in the sample were 1,067 respondents identified as likely voters, for whom the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. (The cell phone interviews, however, included were with adults who have both cell phone and landline service, not just those who have a cell phone only – a demographically distinct, and more Democrat-leaning, group. PPIC informs us that at most 103 respondents in their total sample have a cell phone only. We don’t know how many CPOs were in their likely voter sample.)

PS: We note with some disgust that the Wall Street Journal broke PPIC’s embargo on this survey. We’re not sure where they got the numbers but they may have figured them out from the Brown campaign’s 1:30 pm conference call when the survey was discussed. Calbuzz, however, has played by the rules.