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THE NOONER for September 26, 2012
First, I totally screwed up the ballot measure polling numbers yesterday--cut and paste and transposition errors. The correct numbers are in yesterday's Nooner online.
GOTV: In 1992, which was the first general election I was politically active in, I remember the intense Get Out the Vote period the last week before November 3. With 82.85% of voters casting the ballots physically at the polls on election day, the election was going to be decided in that final week. Only 17.15% of voters would cast "Absent" ballots, as they were referred to then. And, the general political perception was that these were the most partisan and reliable voters, with very little attention being paid to them.
This year, for the first time in a general election, it is very likely that more than 50% of ballots will be votes by mail. And, many elections will likely be decided by the voters who will make up their mind, and cast their votes, days if not weeks, before election day. In 2010, VBMs were 48.44% of the electorate; in 2008, they were 41.64%. In June's primary, 65.15% of voters cast ballots by mail (or walked in on Election Day). With such a large share of voters choosing to avoid the polling place on election day, these voters can no longer be seen as strictly partisan, reliable voters. And, there is a big problem because they could make up there mind and cast their ballots at any time during the nearly month-long window that the ballot is sitting on their kitchen table.
From a campaign management perspective, this creates a quandary. When is the peak persausion time, at which campaign dollars should be spent?
I asked Paul Mitchell, who if you remember tracked the daily quantity of ballots turned in on a daily basis in June. Using the Political Data Inc. database, he determined that the median absentee was reported by registrars on May 30. Given the Memorial Day weekend, that likely means the median VBM ballot was cast on Friday, May 25 or Saturday, May 26. With 65% of ballots cast as absentee, that means that 32.5% of total ballots were cast at least ten days before the election.
I think it's very likely that we'll see VBMs account for 55-60% of total voters in November. If the June pattern repeats itself, that means that 27.5%-30% of voters will cast their ballots by Saturday, October 27. Door hangers, knocks, phone calls, ads on these voters in the last ten days of the election will all be wasted money. Careful targeting and using the data available is essential and will win elections.
Before my vacation and before reading it, I linked to Sasha Issenberg's The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. Now that I've read it, let me say it is awesome and looks at exactly this sort of microtargeting that is possible now that, with a blend of political science and psychology, will determine many elections this November. [disclosure: I earn a whopping 78 cents for every copy ordered.]
Here's a fascinating statistic: "LA County was at only 47% Absentee, and if you took LA out of the state the remaining 57 counties averaged almost 70% Absentee."
DINNER TABLE QUESTION: Kara: Are you jealous that Paul (Mitchell) and Dustin (Corcoran) both made Capitol Weekly's Top 100 and you didn't? Ouch. (The three of us started in politics together in Orange County.)
BUDGET: How the presidential campaigns are spending money, in one chart [ @ WaPo]
Reforms create competitive House races in California [Garance Burke @ Associated Press]
CD07: Ami Bera Misses Big Chance To Knock Out Dan Lungren [Dan Morain @ SacBee]
AD08: Democratic State Central Committee moves $320,000 in for Ken Cooley.
AD10: Marc Levine released poll claiming 26%-19% lead over Michael Allen. [Global Strategy Group for Levine, n=400, 9/11/12-9/14/12, +/- 4.9%]
ATM: Campaigns in California gold rush [Michelle Quinn @ Politico] - too bad we can't charge a Golden State surcharge
APOLOGIES: To my friend Andre Quintero. Yes, I know he personally didn't personally fire the lifeguards, but the response has been sluggish. At the end of the day, you are da mayor, and you need these kids to be on your team.
WHY I TOOK ON COMCAST
First, I would never criticize most companies for shifting jobs to another state, and even overseas. While I am politically left of center, I'm also fairly free market oriented. Comcast is a healthy company, one which I've owned stock in in the past, and I have no personal problems with it. It made $4.1 billion last year and spent $6.5 billion to buy NBCUniversal.
However, to suggest that Comcast is part of the unrestricted free market is a bit absurd. The company was built on thousands of monopolies in California and various other states. It was a necessity, as no company would voluntarily string up random cables to houses that subscribed.
Comcast spent $690,000 on lobbying the Legislature last year and what it has often lobbied for over the years is more regulations, not fewer. When you are a monopoly, quasi-monopoly, or even a market dominator, regulations can help your business rather than hurt. Comcast has played a part in our oft-overregulated state--before city councils, the PUC and the Legislature--to its own benefit.
One that the lobbyist community knows well is the Capitol Channels. As part of losing the legislative fight to stop AT&T from bundling television with phone service ("triple play"), Comcast was given a monopoly on carrying the video feeds of legislative hearings (other than the single Capitol channel--also a cable monopoly). Thus, all of our organizations that have lobbyists watching the Capitol are forced to get Comcast and pay extra for Capitol Channels. Of course, Comcast won't let me get just those four stations, but I rather have to get over a hundred stations in order to watch what the squawk boxes used to deliver for a much lower cost.
I spoke with a senior Comcast executive yesterday, a few hours after Sacramento's 300 employees were brought to the Convention Center and given the "bad business climate" reason. By late afternoon, they had retracted the rationale for the job shifts. Instead of California's regulatory climate, the rationale was for strategic alignment and customer service. It seems that they just wanted a good scapegoat to offer employees who were gathered to be told their jobs were leaving.
News 10's George Warren was a little pissed that Comcast blamed the media for the bad message, particularly since he had a spokesperson on tape.
Why has this become an issue for me? I bust my butt to be non-partisan with you. I love that you range from some of the most conspiracy-theory liberals to the most knuckle-dragging conservatives in our Golden State. I don't want to jump on a bandwagon that would threaten the great conversation we have each day about California politics and policy.
That said, I care deeply about the hundreds of thousands of community college students I fight for during the day who graduate each year looking for a job. I care deeply about the luster of the Golden State. I want to see bipartisan solutions that make this a better place to live, work, and do business. I simply can't take a BS press release from a corporation that has played the inside game for a long time, and then changes teams and tries to play the outside game. Only scab refs would allow for that.
I should be happy that Comcast changed its rationale for the job changes instead of playing a blame game. But, I really want the jobs for the hardworking Californians who pay their cable bill each month, and most particularly my community college graduates. Sure, ComcastNBCUniversal is keeping Universal Studios in Universal City, CA. But, these $12/hour jobs are important for people that are trying to pull themselves up. Let's work together, as we did with Amazon, to address Comcast's specific concerns and get the company that has gotten so much from California to give a little bit back.
And, finally, I expect proponents of Prop. 39, which would eliminate the option of corporations to use the single sales factor, will point to Comcast's move as using the corporate tax break to shift jobs out of state. The break was added as part of the temporary tax increase deal for the 2009-10 budget. When Jerry Brown proposed eliminating the tax break last year to offset different tax breaks, he specifically exempted cable companies.
If you want to weigh in, let's go through the Rachelle Chong [email@example.com], Vice President for Gov't Affairs for California. If her name sounds familiar, she was Arnold Schwarzenegger's appointment to the PUC whose confirmation was blocked by Democrats in 2009 by the State Senate.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Proposition 38 Campaign Pushes Taxes, Blasts Sacramento
Chris Megarian @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
The Proposition 38 campaign released its first statewide television advertisement Monday, aiming to gain ground in the polls by playing to voters' distrust of Sacramento politicians. The animated advertisement says the initiative would send more money to schools and "guarantees...
Online Voter Registration Draws Critics
Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
California's new online voter registration system went live with much fanfare last week, but one group is not cheering: disabled voters.
Ami Bera Says He Will Take Congressional Pay If Elected After All
Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera's campaign said today that the 7th Congressional District candidate misspoke during Tuesday's debate when he pledged to forgo his own pay if elected to Congress until unemployment drops in the Sacramento region.
L.A. City Council Backs Pension Cuts For New Workers
Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser @ latimes.com
In a victory for Mayor Villaraigosa and a blow to unions, lawmakers vote to reduce pensions and raise retirement age. Another vote is needed for cuts to take effect.
Dan Lungren Fights For His Political Life
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Two decades ago, Dan Lungren was widely considered to be an ascending political star with White House-level potential. Today, he's fighting for his political life, thus demonstrating just how capricious the public realm can be.
Jerry Brown Signs Bill Easing San Francisco's Export Of Trash
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation ensuring San Francisco can continue to haul trash to Solano County, despite opposition from local voters, Brown's office announced today.
Calif. Governor To Sign Bill To OK Driverless Cars - Ap State Wire News - The Sacramento Bee
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Gov. Jerry Brown plans to sign legislation Tuesday at the headquarters of Google Inc. that will pave the way for driverless cars in California.
If November Tax Measures Fail, Martinez School Board Candidates Say There's Not Much Left To Cut
Participants in forum express views on state propositions 30 and 38, also local Measure C
The Caucus: Candidates Address Class Size and Teachers' Unions at Education Forum
TRIP GABRIEL @ thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com
The issue of class size in schools was injected into the presidential race as Mitt Romney said that while governor of Massachusetts, he was able to do more with less during an economic downturn.
Gov. Jerry Brown Approves Two-year Moratorium On State Park Closures
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that puts a two-year moratorium on closing state parks in California and allocates $30 million in recently discovered surplus funds to help them continue operation.
Romney, In Shift, Says Obama Has Not Raised Taxes
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
Mitt Romney, campaigning in Ohio, attacked President Obama's economic policies but, in a shift from previous remarks, said the president has not raised taxes.
Maryland may be first to support same sex marriage in ballot box
Alana Semuels @ latimes.com
When asked about gay marriage at the ballot box, Americans in states across the country have gone to the polls 32 times since 1998 and voted against it. They’ll have the choice to vote on the issue again in November in four states, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, but this time around, advocates for gay marriage are hoping voters will choose differently. After all, President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage in May, and the NAACP followed by endorsing same sex marriage a few days later.
City to pay Prop. B legal fees for mayor, others
The legal battle to defend Proposition B âÂÂ an initiative on the June ballot that overhauled San DiegoâÂÂs pension system âÂÂ has cost taxpayers at least $35,000 so far.
Lessons On Policy And Politics :: Fox&hounds
One lesson I try to emphasize with the students is that they have to understand the politics around any issue if they hope to achieve policy goals. We had an illustration of that concept yesterday and the teacher was Governor Jerry Brown.
Gov. Brown Acts To Speed Up Restitution To Corporate Fraud Victims
Gov. Jerry Brown acts to speed restitution to corporate fraud victims
Mitt Romney Campaign Impaired By Shift In Voter Attitudes
David Lauter, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
Mitt Romney's campaign may be hitting a new head wind as attitudes on the economy improve and Democratic-leaning blocs like Latinos get more excited about voting.
Google's Sergey Brin Joins California Gov. Jerry Brown To Sign New Driverless Car Law
With Google co-founder Sergey Brin by his side, California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill to allow Californias first driverless cars to hit the road.
Romney: Bar teachers unions from giving to political campaigns
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
NEW YORK -- Mitt Romney said Tuesday that teachers unions should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns, because their financial backing tips the negotiation process away from the interests of students.
Gov. Brown Signs Bill To Speed Payouts By Corporate Fraud Fund
Jim Sanders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday designed to cut red tape that has delayed numerous payouts of money set aside in a multimillion-dollar state fund for victims of corporate fraud.
Spate Of Prison Riots Raises Concerns About Safety For Staff And Inmates | 89.3 Kpcc
The California Institution for Men prison in Chino, California.
Gov. Jerry Brown Beefs Up Protection Of Domestic Violence Victims
Gov. Jerry Brown signed bills to help protect domestic violence victims
Prop. 37 Brings Food Labeling Issue To The Fore
Tara Duggan and Stacy Finz @ sfgate.com
With Proposition 37, the state initiative to label genetically engineered food on the November ballot, food labeling is in the spotlight in California. But experts warn that many food labels are unreliable. Some are misleading, using broad terms like "natural" or "whole grain" to lure in consumers. Others are vague and lack important details.
Census Bureau Report Charts Ups And Downs Of California Revenues
Dan Walters @ blogs.sacbee.com
To those who chart state government finances, tax revenues during the second quarter of each year loom large because income taxes are the largest source of income and they peak as the annual tax return deadline arrives in April.