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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 20 days
MONEY MATTERS: Particularly interesting campaign finance transactions in the last 24 hours. (Independent expenditures, big ballot measure dough, and pass-through contributions.)
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The Nooner for Tuesday, January 14, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy Taco Tuesday folks! As I'm tackling another Whole30 to compensate for my tamale overload through the holidays (I'm one big ole masa ball right now), I need to go pick up some bibb lettuce for debate night carnitas with a great pork shoulder I cooked Sunday that I got from Riverdog Farm at farmers market, which is one of my favorite Capay Valley farms. I know many other Sac-based Nooner readers are also fans as I've bumped shoulders there with you scrambling for those limited first-of-the-season asparagus stalks that we're all waiting for.
The debate from Des Moines is 6pm PST on CNN and on stage from inside-out will be Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Steyer.
As I wrote to you in December, I had to pull back from SacTownTalks to focus on tackling several Nooner/AroundTheCapitol issues as that's what pays my bills. Gibran continues to do great work and has a new What a Week episode as listed under Recent Pods above. I'll continue to do Nooner Conversations as time allows, but my first priority is writing and data.
Here are some of the things I've been working on in the New Year beyond the words you see in this space:
Thank you for your patience. I still have a lot of work to do, but I think I've answered the oft-asked question of "What do you do after 12pm Scott?"
Most importantly, thank you for your readership and support.
Let's get to it after the jump!
POLL POSITION, PREZ STYLE: Late yesterday, the Public Policy Institute of California released the results from a question on its Statewide Survey that will be released tomorrow on the Democratic presidential primary in California. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Since PPIC uses a telephone-only survey methodology in English and Spanish and conducts its Statewide Survey on many issues (November's had 34 questions), it's important to manage question quantity and length, as well as understandability to the person on the other end of the line. If a survey is too long, people quit mid-interview, wasting both sides time. If a question is too long, the veracity of the respondent's answer is unreliable.
Live interview polling is VERY expensive particularly these days when few of us answer unknown calls. This month's Statewide survey includes interviews with 1,707 adult respondents, of whom 525 were identified as likely Democratic primary voters. The average interview took 18 minutes to complete.
We're talking a huge number of person-hours, even with advances beyond the rotary telephone.
The goal of the question was to determine how Californians will vote in the Democratic presidential primary on March 3, which includes registered Democrats and No Party Preference voters who have requested a Democratic Party presidential ballot. That alone complicates any polling in California as counties are wildly different in how they are handling the NPP outreach and some NPP voters I've talked to said that they'll wait until Election Day and go to a Vote Center and request a Democratic presidential ballot. This is a pollster's nightmare.
Also a pollster's nightmare is that there are 20 "generally recognized presidential candidates" who are registered Democrats on the March 3 ballot for voters in that primary to choose from. Of these, Booker, Castro, Sestak, and Williamson have dropped out. Of course they will still be on the ballot and undoubtedly will get votes albeit under the 15% threshold at the state and congressional-district levels to earn delegates.
Of the remaining 16, I have no clue who three of them are (Boyd, Ellinger, and Greenstein). I only know Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente III because he is the son of perennial candidate Rocky De La Fuente, who is running in CA21 and in the Republican presidential primary. Dad also ran in the 2016 primary--as a Democrat. And, of course, the other son, Ricardo, is running in CA21 as a Democrat, in the same race as dad is running now as a member the GOP.
You can't make this crap up. What's a pollster to do?
Every candidate on the ballot wants their name to be polled. However, SurveyUSA can't do that because there aren't 20 buttons on a telephone.
The top-notch pollsters at PPIC decided in December on their January poll construction for the Democratic presidential primary question. Candidates who qualified for the January debate stage with criteria set by the Democratic National Committee, would be listed in the poll question. There was no editorial discretion.
There was a problem, though. To obtain the results on schedule for the Statewide Survey, they needed to start the polling interviews on January 3 after the holiday polling blackout. As usual, they stayed "in the field" until they reached the desired margin of error, and that turned out to be January 12. The problem is that the DNC's debate qualification was open until December 10. Thus, one candidate who will be on the stage tonight, Tom Steyer, was not included in the polling question. The other five (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren) in the debate were.
Here are the results (full crosstabs and methodology):
Supporters of Andrew Yang immediately took umbrage and that's understandable. He's likely around 6% if a listed candidate as reflected in other state polls, including the tracking poll Paul Mitchell is doing in conjunction with Capitol Weekly. In that poll's latest, there were 13 candidates, including Williamson and Booker who have since dropped out.
Thirteen candidates is too many for a live interview, multi-subject telephone poll that is expected by the nonprofit foundations and Donor Circle that fund PPIC. I have not seen their poll coming out tomorrow, but I expect we'll see approval ratings of Governor Newsom and the Legislature. We may see the top issues Californians want state lawmakers to address this you (guarantee "housing and homeless" is at the top). The poll was in the field while the Governor's January Budget was released, so we won't see the proposals rolled out leading up to it in the poll.
Frankly, I care about the other questions on the PPIC Statewide Survey far more than the Democratic presidential primary. Lots of folks will move around after Iowa and New Hampshire as our mail-in ballots sit on our kitchen tables. Honestly, and you know I am with you about pretty much everything, if polled, I would have been soundly in the "don't know" category.
Should Andrew Yang, Michael Bloomberg, and Tom Steyer been included? Absolutely. But point to the DNC's debate qualifications thresholds rather than the experts at PPIC. Bloomberg and Yang are not at 15% in recent national or early-state polls, and Steyer only reached that because of a last-minute South Carolina poll, after the survey was being conducted.
Should they have polled on the Democratic presidential nomination at all? That's debatable.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
more after the jump...
HOMELESSNESS: Yesterday, the task force appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom and co-chaired by Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas released recommendations, including creating a constitutional mandate that cities and counties address the issue. For CalMatters, Matt Levin and Jackie Botts report:
Declaring that moral persuasion and economic incentives aren’t working to bring people in from the sidewalks, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness called Monday for a “legally enforceable mandate” that would force municipalities and the state to house the growing number of homeless Californians.
The proposal, which came as Newsom kicked off a weeklong tour of the state aimed at drawing attention to the homelessness crisis, urged the Legislature to put a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would force California cities and counties to take steps to provide housing for the more than 150,000 Californians who lack it, or face legal action.
“California mandates free public education for all of its children and subsidized health insurance for its low-income residents. It requires its subdivisions to provide services to people with developmental disabilities and foster children,” the commission wrote in a letter signed by both elected officials.
“Yet everything that state, county and city governments do to alleviate this crisis is voluntary. There is no mandate to ensure people can live indoors, no legal accountability for failing to do so, no enforceable housing production standard and no requirement to consolidate and coordinate funding streams across jurisdictions. The results speak for themselves.
The council’s recommendation stops short of Steinberg’s and Ridley-Thomas’ initial call for a “right to shelter,” which would not only have required cities to provide immediate beds, but also obligated people experiencing homelessness to come inside. But it adds momentum to the strategy of elevating litigation as a tool to accomplish what compassion and money haven’t been able to do.
The problem is that obligating people experiencing homelessness to come inside without reasonable alternatives was recently held by by the Ninth Circuit in Boise v. Martin as a violation of the Eighth Amendment fo the United States Constitution as "cruel and unusual punishment."
Surprising a lot of legal watchers, the Supreme Court of United States declined to review what is seen as a landmark case. UC Davis law professor Carlton F.W. Larson and I talked about this at the December 9 event at Capital Books. As we geeked out on constitutional law, we both thought SCOTUS would take up the case. Larson is a Harvard/Yale JD and clerked for a Ninth Circuit judge so he is far smarter than me.
EVAN LOW'S "NEW POLITICAL ADVENTURE": All I have right now is Assemblymember Evan Low's (D-Campbell) tweet yesterday. "Excited to pursue a new political adventure... I will work hard to earn your trust and support. Stay tuned this week! 🙏" [h/t David Vazquez]
The speculation ranges for a major tech advocacy job for 35-year-old Low to a retirement announcement by his congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, who turned 77 in December. Low, a former mayor and councilmember of Campbell, is very close to Silicon Valley and represents the western side--home of Apple and many of the wealthy foothills that executives call home.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Esthela Pacheco!