Archive for 2016

PPIC Reports Clinton, Sanders Close in California

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

hillary-clinton-bernie-sandersBolstered by independent voters, Bernie Sanders has pulled to within two points of Hillary Clinton in California, with support from younger voters and men compared to Clinton’s lead among older voters and women, according to the Public Policy Institute of California’s most recent poll.

While Clinton leads 49-41% among registered Democrats, the race overall stands Clinton 46% and Sanders 44% among all voters likely to vote in the June 7 Democratic primary, PPIC said. The institute did not report results among independents. But for Clinton’s margin to be just 2 percentage points, as PPIC asserted, Sanders would have to be killing her among independents, who comprise only about a quarter of the primary vote.

Democrats allow independents to vote in their presidential primary, Republicans allow only those registered with the GOP.

“Asked if they would vote for Trump or someone else, most Republican primary likely voters (67%) choose Trump, while 26 percent say they would vote for someone else. Men (72%) are more likely than women (62%) to say they would vote for Trump,” PPIC reported.

In the Democratic primary race, voters age 45 and older support Clinton 59-28%, while younger voters favor Sanders 66-27%. Men prefer Sanders 46-42% while women favor Clinton 49-42%.

eyeshadeCrosswise with Crosstabs According to PPIC’s data, Cinton leads Sanders 52-43% among Latinos and 47-41% among whites. “Others” are not reported, apparently because there were not enough of them in the sample for a statistically reliable number. Which led the Calbuzz Green Eye Shade and Abacus Department to wonder: How could Clinton be leading by 9 points among Latinos and 6 points among whites and yet by only 2 points overall?

After a long conversation with Dean Bonner, the associate survey director at PPIC, we remain unconvinced. Bonner said Sanders led among “others” by 8 points, which altered the overall results. But since “others” includes blacks, among whom Clinton has consistently creamed Sanders, something still didn’t make sense.

So we spoke with Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s Big Kahuna, who said his survey had found that Sanders is leading Clinton among non-Latino, non-whites 50-42% and that this explains how the race could be so close. “These are the numbers we have,” Baldassare said. “Is it surprising? Yes.”

Our Calbuzz bean counters don’t doubt that the Democratic presidential contest in California is close. Whether the PPIC poll explains why is less certain.

BTW, in a general election match-up, PPIC said, “Among Democratic primary likely voters, 85 percent of those who support Clinton in the primary would vote for Sanders against Trump in the fall, while 75 percent of Sanders supporters would choose Clinton over Trump.

A few other findings, lifted straight from PPIC’s release:

Senate Race

— In the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, nearly a third of likely voters (31%) remain undecided less than a month before the primary. Among the candidates, Democrat Kamala Harris leads with the support of 27 percent of likely voters. Democratic U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez has the support of 19 percent in a race in which the two candidates with the most votes—regardless of party—will advance to the November election.

They are followed by Republicans Tom Del Beccaro (8%), Ron Unz (6%), and Duf Sundheim (3%). Among Democratic likely voters, Harris leads Sanchez (43% to 32%), with 19 percent undecided. Among Republicans, nearly half (46%) are undecided, as are 35 percent of independents. Latino voters are most likely to support Sanchez (48%), though 19 percent favor Harris. White voters are the most likely to be undecided (36%) or support Harris (24%).

If Harris and Sanchez advance to the November election, 34 percent of likely voters say they would vote for Harris and 26 percent would vote for Sanchez (24% volunteer that they would not vote and 15% are undecided). Just under half of Democrats (46%) would vote for Harris, while half of Republicans (51%) say they would not vote. Latinos support Sanchez over Harris. Whites support Harris over Sanchez, with nearly a third saying they would not vote.

No word yet on what effect the embarrassingly sycophantic profile of Queen Kamala (who immediately tweeted a link with “thanks” – ! – for the piece to NY Times Magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon, who ought to be ashamed of herself) will play in the race. No doubt young Emily has a similar display of fluffy hagiography on Loretta Sanchez in the works.

Other stuff

— Half of Californians (49%) have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party, while only 23 percent have a favorable view of the Republican Party.

 — A strong majority of likely voters (65%) oppose building a wall along the entire border with Mexico, as Trump has promised to do. There is a stark partisan divide: 86 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of independents oppose building a wall, while 59 percent of Republicans favor it. Asked whether or not undocumented immigrants living in the United States should be allowed to stay legally, 75 percent of likely voters favor allowing them to stay. Majorities across parties say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay.

Why National Presidential Polls are Malarkey

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Tearing-Hair-OutWhy does it make us tear our hair and rend our garments to listen to so-called analysts in the national news media hyperventilate about how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are locked in a dead heat in nationwide surveys? Because national polling in the presidential race, especially at this stage of the game, is bunk.

Why do the blow-dried bloviators get so excited? Because 1) they pathetically need content to fill 24 hours of air time, 2) they’re desperate for a competitive race that keeps viewers tuned in, and 3) sadly, they’re idiots who do not understand how the president is elected.

Also, they made such a fuss for months about how much various Republicans hated Trump, that when the New York narcissist finally locked up the Republican nomination, the big-name TV talkers are now shocked – shocked, we tell you! – that Republican elites are acting like, uh, Republican elites and rallying around their presidential candidate.

Points 1 and 2 need no further explanation, but it is Point 3 that makes this kind of frenzied blather possible, in its failure to understand — or to ignore – the fundamentals of presidential election civics.

Divided We Stand. First of all, finding that the country is divided about 50-50 between a Democrat and a Republican is a classic case of News That Stays News, a simple reflection of the way things have been at least for the past four decades. Since 1976 the average winning percentage of the popular vote for president has been 50.78% — about as close to an even split as you could have and still have someone get more votes than his rival.

But this, of course, has nothing to do with electing presidents. Otherwise, in 2000 we’d have elected Al Gore instead of George Bush as president. In electoral votes, the state-by-state contests with various numbers of votes that determine who actually wins the White House, the average in that same 40-year time period was 374-164 – a winning percentage averaging 69.52%.

WizOfOzIn other words, it matters practically nothing that the NBC-Wall Street Journal shows Clinton ahead of Trump 46-43% or that Fox News shows Trump ahead of Clinton 45-42%. Especially when Trump has wrapped up the GOP nomination while Clinton is still battling Bernie Sanders on her left flank.

After the national conventions, when both parties have candidates who have spoken in prime time to the country and begun to make their case for themselves and against their opponent, polling in individual battleground states like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin and Colorado, for example, will tell us whether Clinton or Trump is heading toward the White House.

Until then, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: he’s a fraud.


Memo to Millennials: Dire Risk in Bernie or Bust

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

USA-ELECTION/SANDERSDear Millennial Bernie Backers:

At the serious risk of sounding like the get-off-my-lawn geezers we despised in the 1960s and ‘70s, the old codgers at Calbuzz would like to speak directly to you Bernie or Bust people who are, we fear, on the verge of  making a huge mistake.

We understand your passion and commitment to Bernie Sanders and the cause he represents. He stands as a beacon for income redistribution, universal healthcare, and an end to the corrupting influence of money in politics, international peace, racial justice and breaking up the financial institutions that have a stranglehold on American politics and the economy.

These are great goals and laudable aspirations – exactly the kinds of things intelligent, decent and social justice-minded young people should seek. They’re the same things many of us, now in our 60s and 70s, fought for decades ago (although we also put a premium on stopping the war in Vietnam and bringing about equal rights in America).

There’s a lot to admire in what Bernie stands for. But Senator Sanders, the independent socialist from Vermont who has never been a member of the Democratic Party, can deliver exactly, um, none of these things. First, because he can’t be elected president and second because even if he were elected president, he couldn’t get any of them through Congress.

What he can do is weaken the campaign of the first woman likely to be elected president of the United States – Hillary Clinton — and assist the campaign of the most unprepared, narcissistic, misogynistic, bigoted candidate ever to represent an American national political party – Donald Trump. So it’s kind of a big deal all the way around.

richard_nixonThe bad old days. What you guys don’t remember –  we’re not talking down here, just recalling history – is what life was like before service in the military was voluntary, blacks and Latinos had the right to vote, women had equal rights, unions had the right to organize and abortion was legal. Those of us who remember these things don’t want to risk losing them at the hands of a Supreme Court that would – if remade by Trump — surely undo whatever progress has been made in the past 40 or 50 years.

We know from over-zealousness. Back in 1968, many of us who had been for Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy didn’t see much difference between Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate chosen at the tumultuous convention in Chicago, and Republican Richard Nixon. Yeah, that worked out well.

As our friend (socialist and Sanders supporter) Harold Meyerson wrote last week:

Those Sanders supporters—they’re a distinct minority—who insist that the difference between Clinton and Donald Trump isn’t great enough to justify their voting for Clinton do themselves, not to mention the nation, an enormous disservice. A Clinton White House would be subject to pressure from the Sanders wing of the party, just as the Sanders campaign plans to pressure it at the upcoming convention. A Trump White House would be subject to no such pressure, and instead of fighting to push the nation’s agenda to the left, Sanders activists would be fighting alongside Clinton supporters to keep the nation from sliding into racist authoritarianism.

To conflate Clinton’s myriad imperfections as equivalent with Trump’s is to repeat the world historic mistake that German Communists, at Stalin’s behest, made in that nation’s 1932 elections, when they campaigned against their left-wing rivals, the Social Democrats, as though they were on a par with the Nazis. “Social Fascists,” the Communists called them, right up until the time that Hitler took power, suppressed both the Social Democrats and the Communists, imprisoned them, killed some, abolished the unions and turned his attention to the Jews. This is not to argue that Trump is Hitlerian, but a man can be a danger to civilization without plumbing Hitlerian depths.

So there’s that.

trumpangerWhat Bernie would face: It’s especially worrisome that so many Bernie supporters put stock in his claim that he would be a stronger candidate than Clinton because he currently does better in the polls against Trump than she does.

This is an entirely bogus argument. Clinton has been the target of Republican negative campaigning for about 30 years, accused of everything from murder to treason — literally. Sanders, on the other hand, has never been the subject of a serious, nationwide negative campaign of the sort that he would face as the Democratic nominee: Russia-loving socialist, anti-religious crusader, tax-tax-tax-and-spend left-winger who’ll cripple the military and take away your guns and your freedom and force you to live on a vegan commune with released murderers for minders.

None of that will come to pass, however, because the race is virtually over: Sanders cannot get enough votes or delegates to overcome the huge advantage Clinton has in votes and delegates. And the notion is absurd that super delegates – for whom Clinton has raised millions of dollars and who are actual Democrats – would switch allegiance for the guy who has fewer votes, isn’t a Democrat and has done nothing but castigate party officers and leaders.

Moreover, it’s worth noting, as renowned lefty Joan Walsh argued, there is a “presumption of moral and ideological superiority from a coalition that is dominated by white men, trying to overturn the will of black, brown, and female voters or somehow deem it fraudulent.”

Jerry-BrownBrown’s wisdom on insurgency: Eons ago (back in January), Calbuzz said it was time for progressive Democrats to stop dabbling with Sanders – primarily, we said, because the U.S. Supreme Court is at stake and while Sanders cannot win a general election, Clinton can.

Hundreds of thousands of left-liberal voters promptly ignored our advice. So now it’s Sanders himself (and his nasty campaign manager Jeff Weaver) who need to wise up.

It’s not that Sanders should quit his campaign. He has every right to speak out for income equality, breaking up the banks, universal medical care, ridding the political system of massive campaign contributions and more. But given that there is no path by which he can overcome Clinton’s massive lead in votes and delegates, Sanders can only aid Donald Trump by attacking Clinton and the Democratic Party.

The riotous disruption of the Democratic Party convention in Nevada coupled with Sanders’ tacit approval and his continued caustic rhetoric are evidence that he is engaged in a slash-and-burn strategy through to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. It’s as if he’s decided that if he can’t have the Democratic nomination and thus the presidency, neither can Clinton.

Even California Gov. Jerry Brown, who ran three of his own insurgent campaigns for president, has warned that Bernie is threatening to pave the way for Trump.

“I don’t think anybody should be seeking the Democratic nomination with a scorched earth policy,” Brown told reporters at a United Farm Workers convention last weekend. “At the end of the day, we’ve all got to work together. It’s very important that we beat Donald Trump. That is the overriding imperative for, I think, America, for the party and for organized labor. So, I’ve run insurgency campaigns, and they have to be run in a way that ultimately the Democratic nominee wins.”

So, millennial friends, hang in there, work for and vote for Sanders. But give up the notion that it’s Bernie or Bust. After he’s had his run, it’ll be time to rally around the candidate who will – with your help – keep Donald Trump out of the White House.