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THE NOONER for November 20, 2012

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A few quick headlines and then below our sponsor message, let's look at how ballot measures fared relative to their final poll and my weighted polling averages.

Take note at this stat of Orange County's political shift [Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball]:

  • 1988: Bush 67.7%, Dukakis 31.1%
  • 2000: Bush 55.8%, Gore 40.4%
  • 2012: Romney 53.0%, Obama 44.8%

Los Angeles is expected to provide a vote update today after 1pm. Richard Bloom has a 291-vote lead over Betsy Butler in AD50.

If Bloom pulls it out, it will be a huge disappointment for the Assembly Democratic Caucus, which invested heavily for two of its "transferred" caucus members. Democratic party entities spent $436,764 on Betsy Butler and $836,514 on Michael Allen in AD10. In the general, labor groups independently spent $382,887 to oppose Bloom and $214,911 to support Butler. $306,189 to support Allen and $312,120 to oppose Marc Levine.

That's nearly $2.5 million on two safe Democratic seats. Some caucus members have offered some criticisms that a portion of that investment could have been spent in AD36, where Steve Fox came close to stealing a Republican district, or to give Cathleen Galgiani a better shot at the too-close-to-call SD05. Down the stretch, money was shifted from that San Joaquin-based district to Riverside, as Richard Roth was deemed to have a better chance. Clearly, in a race that could very well be decided by 100 votes or less, another hundred thousand into the ground campaign at the end would have been huge.

Speaker Perez did his job, but there's likely going to be future conversations in both parties about how to spend money in these top two races.



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I started reading Silver's "The Signal and the Noise" yesterday, and it should be mandatory reading for anyone who ever reads or quotes a poll. With so many polls way off on their likely voter models (Field was 12.5% 18-29, while LAT/USC's post-election poll found 20%, and Field pegged Latino turnout at 18.9% while LAT/USC had it at 22%).

Anyway, as you likely know, I was running polling averages on the statewide ballot measures starting in late September, which collected all of the public polling data (CBRT/Pepperdine, Field, LAT/USC Dornsife, PPIC, amd Reason/Rupe). The averages weighted polls by methodology (sample size, multilingual, interview method) and recency. I wanted to see if using a Nate Silver-like approach could tell us more than a snapshot poll. 

Here's how the ballot measure polling averages fared. I have listed the final pre-election poll, my final polling average number, and the actual results as of this morning. Of course not all ballots have been counted, but no measure should change significantly at this point. I have also included the share of undecideds that broke "yes," deviating from the conventional wisdom that most undecideds break "no." The bolded item in the final pre-election/polling average is the one closest to the current results.


 Measure Final Pre-election Poll
Scott's Polling Average
Actual Results as of 11/20 Share of Polling Average Undecideds Breaking "Yes"
Proposition 30 48.0% 48.6% 54.7% 43.3%
Proposition 31 37.8% 30.2% 39.4% 36.0%
Proposition 32 34.0% 40.2% 43.7% 21.6%
Proposition 33  48.8% 50.6% 45.1% -39.6%
Proposition 34  45.0% 43.4% 47.7% 25.4%
Proposition 35  76.5% 77.3% 81.3% 41.0%
Proposition 36  67.4% 68.8% 69.0% 2.3%
Proposition 37  39.1% 45.1% 47.7% 24.8%
Proposition 38  34.0% 36.6% 27.9% -51.5%
Proposition 39  54.5% 53.6% 60.7% 42.0%
Proposition 40  48.2% 47.0% 72.3% 93.6%

Final polls:

  • Field: Prop. 30, Prop. 32, Prop. 34, Prop. 38
  • CBRT: Prop. 31, Prop. 33, Prop. 35, Prop 36, Prop. 37, Prop. 39, Prop. 40

Let me be the first to say 5 out of 11 is no Nate Silver (although I would blame it on lack of data points).

In two cases (Propositions 33 and 38), there was a significant share of "yes" voters in earlier polls who broke and switched their votes to "no," resulting in the negative percentage shifts. In Proposition 40's case, voters were really clueless if "yes" meant "yes" or "no" until all polling was completed, leading to 93.6% of undecided voters breaking to the "yes" side, which is virtually unheard of in ballot measure politics. 

Anyway, I'll likely play with my algorithm to see if I can get a little closer in 2014. And, as always, I welcome your feedback!



California Senator Drops Plan To Ask Voters For A Car Tax Increase
Torey Van Oot @
Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu is dropping a push to ask voters to triple the state's vehicle license fee rates.

Jury's Out On Effect Of Election Reforms
Dan Walters @
The usual just-for-junkies autopsies are being staged in the wake of the Nov. 6 election. And one of the aspects being extensively explored is whether the two electoral reforms in place for the first time this year – independent redistricting of legislative and congressional districts and a top-two primary system – had discernible impact and if so, whether it's positive or negative.

Prop. AA widens lead in ballot update
The bond measure Proposition AA in the San Dieguito Union High School District has broaden its lead, but school bond proposals in Del Mar and the MiraCosta Community College District are still failing in a ballot update from the Registrar of Voters office.

California Egg Farmers Sue Over Hen Cage Standards - Business - The Sacramento Bee
Jill Benson file photo, 2011. Chickens have roomier cages at the JS West farm in Atwater as a result of California's Proposition 2.

Richard Bloom's Small Lead Grows Over Betsy Butler For Assembly
Patrick McGreevy @
Nearly two weeks after the election, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom’s lead over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey) has grown to 291 votes.

GOP-backed Super PAC Aims To Raise Millions For Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate Kevin James
Dakota Smith @
A high-profile media consultant has formed a super PAC solely dedicated to raising millions of dollars for mayoral candidate Kevin James, a self-professed City Hall outsider seeking to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

New Ethnic Voters Fortify California Democratic Majorities
Anthony York @
Democrats' overwhelming victory in California on election day was driven by Latino, Asian and African American voters, who made up a record 40% of the state’s electorate, according to exit poll data.

Reddit Is Literally Writing Our Laws Now
Adam Clark Estes @
Just when you thought Reddit couldn't become more powerful, Rep. Zoe Lofgren has enlisted the power of the crowd to help her write a new Internet law. It's right up Reddit's alley, too. Lofgren's law will legislate how domain name seizures are handled in the United States, specifically in the cases of copyright infringement, accusations of libel and obscenity.

New California Lawmakers To Get Less Pay Than Predecessors
California legislators to get less pay than predecessors

Thoughts From Post Election Conferences :: Fox&hounds
While the jury is still out on the value of the top-two primary and redistricting reforms, I thought there were some positive results that would not have occurred under the old system. One example: Congressman Pete Stark had probably overstayed his welcome, yet as a Democrat in a Democratic district, he would have waltzed to victory under the old system. However, he received a solid challenge from Democrat, Eric Swallwell. Stark had to defend his record and Republicans helped make a change in that district.

For O.C. Republicans, Party's Immigration Stance Is A Millstone
Christopher Goffard @
Orange County, once a GOP stronghold, has faded from red to pink with the emergence of Latino voters, who are repelled by party's stand on immigration.

Banks Rely On Short Sales In National Foreclosure Settlement | Settlement, Banks, Billion
Bank of America, Ally Financial, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo said that from March 1 through Sept. 30 they approved $13.3 billion in short sales, in which banks allow homeowners to sell homes for less than is owed on their mortgages. Nearly half of the short sales, $5.9 billion, were in California.

Golden State Warriors OK 2nd Labor Deal - Sfgate
Another day, another Golden State Warriors labor agreement announced just hours before a Board of Supervisors hearing on their waterfront arena plan. Last week it was an agreement that 25 percent of the construction workers and 50 percent of the apprentices for the $1 billion project on Piers 30-32 would be San Franciscans or veterans. Supervisor Scott Wiener, while supportive of the arena, warned that Muni's subway capacity is inadequate to meet current demand, and the situation would worsen with people flocking to a new 17,500-seat arena with about 200 events a year. If Laguna Honda Hospital were a movie being reviewed by The Chronicle, it would now score a Little Man clapping - quite a big improvement from the Little Man sleeping in his chair that it scored two years ago. For ages, the Twin Peaks-area facility was stuck at "Twilight" levels, rating two out of five stars year after year from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which rates nursing homes on staffing, health inspections and quality measures. There were reports of demented patients wandering off campus, fights among patients and institutional wards with no privacy and nowhere to eat meals other than in hospital beds.

State Supreme Court Orders Los Angeles County To Pay Millions To Cities - La Daily News
Los Angeles County improperly withheld millions of tax dollars from 47 cities, the state Supreme Court ruled today.

Obama’s Grassroots Operation Will Live On
President Obama will not dismantle the social media infrastructure his campaign built to engage supporters during the 2012 election, campaign manager Jim Messina said Tuesday morning.

Fiscal Cliff, With Federal Cuts, Not Imminent For School Districts | Edsource Today
The abyss refers to an across-the-board 8.2 percent cut in federal discretionary spending, including defense, that will go into effect Jan. 3 if President Obama and congressional leaders don’t reach a deal on taxes and spending to reduce the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Federal student loans, most child nutrition programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program would be exempt from cuts.

Field Poll: The growing political might of ethnic minorities
Mark DiCamillo, The Field Poll @
The 2012 elections may prove to be a turning point in California politics – one that has been many years in the making – as the political might of the expanding ethnic voter population fully exerted itself in this year's statewide elections.

California Politics: Turkey Of The Year Awards | Nbc Southern California
Uncategorized @
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe is a Senior Fellow at the USC Price School of Public Policy and the political analyst for NBC4.

Union ads take new tack: praising GOP members
Matea Gold @
WASHINGTON—Labor unions seeking a fiscal solution that protects entitlement programs and raises taxes on the rich are trying the carrot approach before taking the stick to lawmakers.

California Homeowners Getting Relief From Bank Settlement
Claudia Buck @
Easing some of California's housing headaches, nearly 62,000 homeowners statewide got roughly $8.2 billion in mortgage relief between March and September this year, according to a report released Monday by the California Monitor for the National Mortgage Settlement.

With the mail-in ballot count complete, Tim Flaherty maintains lead in tight race for third Pleasant Hill council seat
Lisa P. White @
Candidate Jim Bonato trails by 71 votes with only provisional ballots to count. Election to be certified by Dec. 4