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Happy Wednesday! Total firehose day on political news/data.
It's going to be much cooler in Sacramento today, with a forecasted high of 77. Yesterday, I totally didn't know that the President of ABC Entertainment that canned Roseanne is an African-American woman who grew up in Sacramento.
Regardless of whether you think it was a disproportionate reaction compared to other similar issues lately, ABC has to be concerned about Monday Night Football (shown on ESPN, owned by Disney/ABC) this year with the controversy over the "kneeling policy." That's a hugely valuable property and Roseanne and NFL would be a 1-2 punch for an already struggling ESPN.
From PDI (as reported by counties at the end of the day yesterday--district results with demographics here):
BALLOTS MAILED: 11,547,095
Statewide: Dems: 622,438 / Reps: 475,595 / NPP: 245,892 / Others: 60,897
Ethnic (percentages are share of ballots mailed out and those received by county election offices. Of course, no ballots are counted until 8pm Tuesday night.):
The numbers are also likely a bit distorted by the Voters' Choice Act. Under the Act, five counties are mailing vote-by-mail ballots to every voter, rather than to those who requested them, either per election or permanently, in the past. The counties are Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo. Voters can return ballots by mail, or drop them off at voting centers or in drop-box locations. They can also vote in-person at voting centers.
The one thing is that the counties are likely underrepresenting African-American voters and perhaps Latino voters. All that means is that you can't draw on election night results by ethnicity. We just have so many more metrics to follow, which makes predictions that much more difficult.
VOTER REGISTRATION: The Secretary of State's official 15-day pre-election voter registration report isn't out yet (perhaps today), but Political Data Inc. released its data yesterday. Like the Secretary of State, PDI gets its data directly from the 58 counties.
The news is bad for California Republicans, as it appears No Party Preference voters have exceeded the number of Republican voters for the first time.
Now, of course, No Party Preference is relatively new. But, we can compare with teh same 15-day period in the June 2014 primary:
So, from June 2014 to June 2018, we have the following changes:
While minor party and Republicans are shifting to No Party Preference, Democrats continue to grow, mid-term to mid-term. Democrats have lost 283,924 since November 2016 presidential general and Republicans have lost 276,414 as part of the normal shrinking of the roles between the presidential and the mid-terms, so it's not all bad news for Republicans.
I wouldn't read this as bad news necessarily in down-ballot, but the GOP does have a real brand problem statewide in California, but that's not news. There is strong evidence that NPP voters align within each district roughly in the percentage of the underlying Dem/Rep registration. There are still plenty of solidly Republican districts in the state and, while we have some interesting congressional races this year, we're talking 5-7 out of 53 seats.
POLL POSITION: LAT/USC Dornsife poll (candidates above 1%):
Gas tax for road repairs repeal:
Support federal tax bill?
If local member of Congress voted for tax bill?:
Voters' Choice Act (mail-in-ballots+vote centers):
GOV: Homebuilder/philanthropist Eli Broad added another $1,025,000 to the independent committee supporting Antonio Villaraigosa for governor, and San Francisco investor William Obendorf another $1,500,000. That gets Broad to $3,025,000 and Oberdorf to $3,500,000.
GOV: Yesterday, on his bus tour talking to journalists, Gavin Newsom argued that his strategy of trying to get Republican John Cox on the November ballot will not hurt Democrats' House chances in November, reports Ben Christopher for CALmatters. For CapPubRad, Ben Adler reports on the final stretch for the gubernatorial candidates.
AG: For the LAT, Patrick McGreevy reports that Republican attorney general candidate Eric Early filed a lawsuit alleging that Democratic candidate Acting Attorney General Xavier Becerra is ineligible for the office because he was on inactive status with the State Bar while in Congress, before being appointed AG in 2016 to succeed now-Senator Kamala Harris. Gov't Code §15103 requires an officeholder of the office of attorney general unless that person has been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California for the five years immediately prior to holding office.
The same effort was tried against Jerry Brown when he ran for attorney general, but the efforts were rebuffed by the courts.
THE CHASE: In Capitol Weekly, PDI's Paul Mitchell writes that with so many people casting vote-by-mail ballots and 1.4 million already returned to county registrars, it provides a challenge for candidates to trying to persuade undecided voters. This would include voters like me who have filled out my ballot. I can drop it off at The California Museum at the Secretary of State's Office, which is nine blocks away. It's just been quite hot the last couple of days. But, the next couple of days will be perfect for the stroll with my ballot.
The point is that far more than the 1.4 million ballots returned through yesterday have likely already been completed, but over $10 million will likely be spent on the airwaves in the next six days to persuade a relatively small share of the electorate.
$$$: One problem with the Voters' Choice Act is campaign mail inefficiencies. Historically, it has been carefully targeted using three (sometimes overlapping) universes--regular voters, newly registereds, and vote-by-mail voters. Now, with all voters receiving a vote-by-mail ballot in some counties (and in theory, all counties eventually), a lot more mail will be sent out and, without smart use of data, there will be lots of waste.
I'm writing this as the last insert in today's Nooner because I just went out to my mailbox and went straight to my recycle bin. I remember the old days in Orange County with Paul Mitchell when we would go through the trash next to the PO boxes in targeted races we were helping out in, a strategy that I'm sure still being assigned to volunteers/interns.
I bet that here in Sacramento County--a Voters' Choice Act county--those trash/recycle bins are even fuller now.
Divorce sucked, but so did having my voter history wiped out since I moved across county lines (no, they are nothing near the same). But, it looks like I'm a 45-year-old who has voted twice--both in 2016. I've never missed an election.
In some cases, campaign consultants get compensated at least partially on the spending on media, including mail. So, they may not be motivated to narrow the universe of likely voters to mail to. I'm not blaming them, but I'm pointing out that, while we have more data now, things are not necessarily easier.
I plug PDI a lot. I've used PDI for twenty-two years since I was running voter operations in the Davis Democratic Headquarters while at UC Davis, when I think Paul Mitchell still was at American University in DC. I was the only person that knew how to work with the data. This was before online databases and I was literally getting a CD and import it into Microsoft Access. But, that was my introduction to voter targeting and I would build call lists for volunteers.
Anyway, whatever your vendor, there's an amazing amount of data available now, but you have to know how to use it if you're a consultant or a campaign operative, as it's going to get more important every year.
THE DEMS: The DCCC is touting is siding this morning with two Democratic congressional candidates in congressional races with multiple primaries in California as they try to ensure a Democrat advances to November. Specifically, they cite Gil Cisneros in CA39 (Open/Royce) and Harley Rouda in CA48 (Rohrabacher-Huntington Beach). The unusual primary plays in contested Democratic primaries have divided local activists, who are unaccustomed to local plays. Of course, this is all because of top two and an unusual number of well-heeled Democratic candidates.
The committee touts field organizers in four other districts (CA10-Denham, CA25-Knight, CA45-Walters, CA49-Open/Issa) where it hasn't endorsed a candidate and pledge support for TJ Cox in CA21 (Kings).
QUALIFIED: The ballot measure to allow state regulation of kidney dialysis clinics has qualified for the November ballot. The initiative is sponsored by SEIU-UHW, a health care labor union and is strongly opposed by the handful of large-scale dialysis clinic providers. Staffing standards is a big issue, including nurse/tech-patient ratios. Since I've accepted advertising from SEIU-UHW, I don't want to pretend that I know too much about it and, while I've followed it in the Legislature from the sidelines and have a small background in health care, I need to spend more time with it.
BUDGET: The Conference Committee on the State Budget will hold its first meeting today at 1:30pm in Room 4202. As usual with the first hearing, the Legislative Analyst's Office will give an overview of the differences between the plans by the Senate and Assembly from the governor's May Revision budget proposal. The LAO report is included in the agenda.
Both houses assumed higher revenues above the governor's plan--Senate at +$2.2 billion and Assembly at +$2.9 billion, but both would set aside (largely mandatory) modestly higher reserves than the May Revision. All three plans have total reserves over $17 billion to insulate the state government from the next recession.
Of the higher revenue projections, the Senate and Assembly use between 1/3-1/2 for one-time purposes, but the proposals significantly increase out-year ongoing costs.
SLATES: The Bee's Taryn Luna looks at the world of slate cards that are landing in your mailbox right now. Yesterday, some of us were having fun with the "Latino Family Voter Guide" which have paid spots for almost all non-Latino candidates, and against the two major contested statewide Latino candidates--John Chiang (bought by an IE) instead of Antonio Villaraigosa and Dave Jones over Xavier Becerra. Let's just be candid, this is pay-to-play. Totally legal, but totally deceptive. Slates have always been deceptive, but the continuing increase in independent expenditures make it even more so.
DART! People ask me frequently what the frequent donor "DART Container Corporation" is. They make the famous red plastic beer pong cups, and most of the styrofoam containers used for take-out. Both are under attack by environmentalists. They have plants in Chino, Corona, and Lodi.
HIGH-SPEED RAIL: In the Times, Jon Healey writes that voters in California favor high-speed rail, as long as they don't have to pay for it, according to the new LAT/USC Dornsife Poll (discussed on other issues above).
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Pablo Benavente, Bridget Kolakosky, and Shawnda Westly!
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