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THE NOONER for June 29, 2012

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I took a vacation day yesterday to sit through the American Association of Political Consultants conference in Sacramento. It was great to see many Nooner subscribers and old friends, and to pick a lot of great minds.

If you're not in the mood to get in the weeds on November turnout, feel free to read our sponsor message from Kronick Moskovitz and catch up on the other news.

Anyway, the biggest surprise in June was not on any individual race, but rather on the abysmally low turnout. While counties have until next week to finalize their election reports and some (Placer and Sonoma) have not reported since election night, the total number of voters will likely be around 5.3 million. This is just about 31% of the electorate.

You'd actually have to go back to 1956 to find a presidential primary when a fewer voters participated, and there were only 6.4 million registered voters compared to the 17.1 mllion today.

Most consultants believe that participation was particularly low among Latino and No Party Preference (DTS) voters. The irony is that proponents of the top-two primary argued that the new system would inspire more independent voters, not fewer.

Turnout will improve in November, but by how much?

Since 1980, voter participation in California presidential primaries has averaged from 41.9% (1996) to 63.3% (1980). In presidential general elections, participation has ranged from 65.5% (1996) to 79.4% (2008). 

During these eight elections, there was an average increase of 23.3% from the primary to the general, with a low differential of 13.9% (1980) and a high of 31.7% (2004).

Given this, I would predict that turnout will range between an increase of the eight-cycle average of 23.3% and the eight-cycle high of 31.7%, or turnout of 54%-62%. Turnout will be driven to a higher range of the eight-cycle differential by Paycheck Protection/Deception and taxes. However, if this is correct, that would still be a 30-year low for a presidential general election.

Don't misread June's low turnout as only the consequence of a non-contested presidential primary. Voters are disaffected and have less trust in government than at any time since 1994. And, because of the nation's debt caused by profligate spending (including tax reductions) of both parties since 2001 combined with lagging tax receipts from a weak economy, this is not a time for bold new programs that will inspire turnout. Everyone who is serious about federal policy and finance knows a Bowles-Simpson solution is necessary, but no politician can embrace it without a bipartisan grand bargain.

Registration will likely increase to 75% of eligible voters by November, as labor and students focus on registration drives. Applying the above turnout projections, that means that 9.6-11 milion out of an estimated 17.8 million voters will turn out. In comparison, this would be between 2.7-4 million fewer voters than turned out in 2008.

Within this range, and whether it will be exceeded, largely depends on Latino voters. While full analysis won't be available for another month or so, it is surmised that Latino turnout was very low. If you look at the five Assembly districts with the largest Latino citizen voting age population (AD51, AD63, AD57, AD58, AD69), each one of them had an open contested seat. Actually, these were all some of the hottest Democratic primaries. That said, turnout averaged only 13.7% (149,987 out of 1,089,869 voters) in these districts.

Latinos will vote overwhelmingly for Obama and the Democratic ticket. However, the outcome of about eleven state and congressional districts will turn on Latino voter turnout. In these districts, the Democratric Party needs to convince Latinos who stayed home on June 5 to turn out and cast ballots in favor of Obama and the rest of the ticket. 

I don't mean to demean Latino voters into being simple and only willing to turn out for the presidential. That said, if a voter didn't turn out in a hotly contested Assembly primary with tons of mail and plenty of Latino candidates, you have to look for something different. With Obama able to spike the football on the Arizona SCOTUS ruling and with the Dream Act move, there's finally something that might get voters who otherwise not turn out to show up at the pools.

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Molly Munger has filed a lawsuit challenging AB 1499, which elevated the governor's tax ballot measure to the top of the November ballot, even though it was among the last to qualify. The suit argues that the AB 1499, which passed as a trailer bill to the budget with a simple majority, can not be considered a valid budget-related bill, even with the trivial $1,000 appropriated. Munger also alleges that counties abused their discretion by submitting random samples out of order of submission, thus favoring the governor's measure.

Munger's backers were particularly annoyed with the governor's veto yesterday of $49.9 million in preschool and child development funds, as were college students, who say Cal Grants cut 5% to save $22.6 million. Both were made to bouy the state's reserve. 

JUST ASKIN': Do headlines proclaiming that state parks will stay open because of private financial support hurt the tax measure? 

BE WARNED: Tomorrow is one of those end-of-quarter days for state and federal fundraising. Expect Barack Obama to say "Hey," "Yo!" and "Do you still love me?" in your e-mail box all day long...

TIMING IS EVERYTHING: NBC found the perfect day to throw Ann Curry under the bus for the Today show's poor ratings. In a tearful goodbye with co-host Matt Lauer sitting awkwardly by, she made it clear that this was not her decision and that she was in no way happy with the network.

WHAT'S MY NAME?: Snoop Dogg caught bringing pot and cash into Norway.

FIVE YEARS AGO: The iPhone premiered five years ago. I remember sitting in Richie Ross' office and he walked in with the most magical phone ever. Yesterday, sitting in AAPC, so many damn people had the pretty phone that you couldn't do a damn thing with it.

 

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Molly Munger Challenges Ballot Placement For Gov. Jerry Brown's Tax Initiative
Kevin Yamamura @
sacbee.com
After Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that would likely put his tax initiative atop the November ballot, a rival tax campaign filed suit Thursday to block his measure from taking first place.

Molly Munger, Anti-tax Groups Considering Lawsuits On Ballot Bill
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
After Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers enacted legislation that should push the governor's tax initiative atop the November ballot, a rival campaign and an anti-tax group said Thursday they are considering litigation to block the maneuver.

Calif. Voters Face Fall Ballot Crowded With Issues - Sfgate
sfgate.com
The marquee initiatives that qualified for the ballot by Thursday's deadline are competing tax measures, with one promoted by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to avoid more deep state spending cuts and another by wealthy Los Angeles civil rights attorney Molly Munger to boost education. Labor unions will wage a high-stakes fight over political contributions, while other measures include a challenge to new political boundaries drawn for state Senate districts, tougher penalties for human sex trafficking, and regulations affecting auto insurance, genetically altered food and state budgeting. The heavy load of ballot measures makes it imperative for initiative supporters to get their message out if they are to have a chance, said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College.

With Healthcare Ruling In, Is An Insurance Rate-hike Battle Next?
Ricardo Lopez and Chad Terhune @
latimes.com
As the Supreme Court upheld President Obama 's healthcare law Thursday, a battle may be looming in California over insurance rate hikes this fall. The state is currently reviewing signatures to see if a proposed initiative will qualify for the November ballot.

Dan Logue Pushes Initiative After High Court's Health Care Ruling
Jim Sanders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Assemblyman Dan Logue, citing a finding in Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health care, vowed to begin organizing an initiative drive to keep California from implementing the federal health care reform.

Number Of Uninsured Californians Expected To Plummet Under Health Care Ruling
David Siders @
sacbee.com
California could see more than 5 million residents obtain health insurance coverage by 2019, substantially reducing the number of the state's uninsured, state officials and health care advocates said following the Supreme Court's health care ruling Thursday.

New California budget crafted to influence voters
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
utsandiego.com
Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers say there will be dire consequences if California voters reject the governor's tax hike on the November ballot.

Coverage For Most Americans, A Scramble For States - Wire Business News - The Sacramento Bee
sacbee.com
President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, after the Supreme Court ruled on his health care legislation.

Tax label is a small price to pay for survival of healthcare reform
David Lauter @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court upheld the heart of President Obama 's healthcare law Thursday, ruling 5-4 in favor of the requirement that, starting in 2014, individuals either obtain healthcare coverage or pay a tax.

The Caucus: TimesCast Politics: Health Care Decision
THE NEW YORK TIMES @
nytimes.com
David Leonhardt discusses the details of the Supreme Court's ruling on President Obama's health care law, Jim Rutenberg analyzes the political implications of the rulings, and BuzzFeed's Ben Smith recaps the day's discussion on social media.

Compromise On School Fees Bill
toped.svefoundation.org
The requirement of posting a notice of the prohibition on fees in every classroom remains. So does the complaint process, which is based on the procedures in the settlement of the Williams lawsuit protecting low-income children, requiring textbooks in every classroom, qualified teachers in every school, and clean, safe facilities. Parents who believe they are being charged illegally can file a complaint to their principal, who can resolve it or refer the matter to the district office, which has a month to reimburse and settle. If not, the parent can forward the complaint to the state Department of Education for a determination and order to reimburse.

The Buzz: Initiative to regulate health insurance rates won't make November ballot
sacbee.com
An initiative allowing California's elected insurance commissioner to regulate health insurance rates has failed to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot, but proponents say voters will have a say on the measure in 2014.

Effort To Boost Governor's Tax Hike Draws Lawsuit - Sfgate
sfgate.com
The lawsuit filed against the secretary of state accuses state lawmakers of abusing their power and says they are trying "to change the rules in the middle of the game." The suit was filed Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court by wealthy Los Angeles civil rights attorney Molly Munger and her campaign.

Obama Campaign Seeking To Box Romney In With Healthcare Ruling
Michael Memoli @
latimes.com
While President Obama celebrated a victory on policy, the Obama campaign is treating the Supreme Court's decision on healthcare reform as another chance to raise questions Mitt Romney's record and his plans for the country and calling his response to the ruling a "missed opportunity."

Health Care Act Faces November Election Hurdle
Carolyn Lochhead @
sfgate.com
For Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, Thursday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the sweeping federal health care law cements their place in history as completers of the New Deal. Almost.

The Caucus: Romney Campaign Begins Coordinated Response to Court Ruling on Health Care
MICHAEL D. SHEAR @
nytimes.com
Moments after the Supreme Court ruling on the health care law, Republicans began a campaign designed to ensure their party's response to whatever the court decided served Mitt Romney's presidential ambitions.

Health Care: Roberts Betrays Right-wing Court Coup
calbuzz.com
In every presidential election season, you can count on the mainstream media to overwrite the trivial and underplay the essential, a double-barreled M.O. based on a reflexive reverence for conventional wisdom and an addiction to instant gratification. More specifically:

Jerry Brown Cuts $195.7 Million From Budget
Chris Megerian and Michael J. Mishak @
latimes.com
The governor uses line-item vetoes to eliminate 14,000 children from a care program, reduce Cal Grants college scholarships and trim state park funding.

California Budget Would Indefinitely Extend Ban On Dredge Mining
Carlos Alcala @
sacbee.com
Suction dredge mining foes are crowing following news that an addition to the California budget bill will effectively extend indefinitely a moratorium on the controversial practice. Opponents are vowing to sue to restore miners' ability to used the dredges to find gold.

Angelenos On Healthcare Ruling: 'I Wish I Didn't Have To Pay More'
William D'Urso @
latimes.com
Some Los Angeles residents hailed the Supreme Court's healthcare ruling Thursday morning as good for the poor and uninsured, while others questioned whether people are being overtaxed.

Conservatives seize on tax label to attack healthcare ruling
Matea Gold @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON — Critics of President Obama's healthcare overhaul are seizing on the Supreme Court’s ruling that the individual mandate can be upheld as a tax penalty, saying that formulation offers them a fresh way to attack the measure.

History of U.S. health care reform, from Roosevelt to Roberts
Connie Cass @
mercurynews.com
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care law follows a century of debate over what role the government should play in helping people in the United States afford medical care.

AM Alert: With budget signed, lawmakers flee Sacramento
Micaela Massimino @
blogs.sacbee.com
Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the state budget and penciled out some funding for state parks, child care and Cal Grants, the Legislature doesn't have floor sessions scheduled until Monday.