I am not an alarmist, nor would I be considered a chicken little.  In fact, I tend to think systems self-regulate and maintain an equilibrium.

However, for the first time, I am starting to ponder is America’s current two party system heading towards collapse?

Complexity

Over the weekend, I made the mistake of peering down the rabbit hole of the study of complexity and complex systems.

My over-simplified definition of a complex system?  A complex systems is comprised of many, diverse actors who have interdependent relationships providing feedback that operate in an adapting, ever changing landscape.

This field is study’s grandfather could be considered Thomas Schelling.  His nobel prize winning economic work is summarized in Micromotives and Macrobehavior.   You are familiar with his work if you have read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.

A basic point is micro level behavior and preferences can and often will differ from macro level results.  These macro level results “emerge” from the microlevel actors, meaning no central actor is conducting.

I think we all can agree, the american political system could be described as a complex system.

The Collapse of Complex Systems

When we look at complex systems, they are remarkably tolerant systems, because as we defined them, they adapt….to a point.

However, our current political system is suffering fundamentally in two requirements for a healthy complex system:

  • Diversity
  • Feedback

Diversity in a Complex System

One of the requirements of a complex system is diversity.  Not diversity of just the commonly discussed race and gender, but diversity of thought.

Diversity is a sign of the robustness of a system and its ability to adapt.

Making the concept simple: the more robust (diverse) a system, the more likely of optimizing a outcome.

When a system is reduced to homogeneous actors, the system loses robustness and heads towards catastrophic failure.

An example is a lake.Eutrophication-lake

A lake is a large, complex, diverse and robust system.  You put nitrogen run-off into a lake, a lake can adjust and adapt.  No big deal.

You continue to add more nitrogen, a lake will continue to adjust, but its diversity is being reduced.  It is still a healthy lake, but the complex system is undergoing stress.

You continue to add nitrogen to a lake, and at some critical point there is little to no diversity and BAM! you hit a tipping point and we are left with a slimy mess, a eutrophic lake.

Feedback in Complex Systems

Complex systems have cascading effects leading to tipping points.  One of those cascading causing effects is when feedback loops tip too far to positive only or negative only.

With the lack of diversity in both parties and the curating of news, we observe epistemic closure skyrocketing in our political system.

Epistemic closure is not new, it was first talked about in the 1960s.  More recently David Frum, former Bush speechwriter, was warning us about closed feedback loops in 2010 in his NYT piece, Post-Tea-Party Nation.

We observe feedback loops becoming less diverse, reinforced with epistemic closure, further affecting the feedback loop.  It is a death spiral.

Observation of Current System

We would be hard-pressed to find a single thinking American that is satisfied with the current state of America’s political system.

Currently, the American political system is undergoing the Big Sort.  Our politics are becoming more partisan and each party is undergoing it’s own purge of diversity of RINOs and DINOs.

The political system is less diverse thanks to gerrymandered districts and ideological purges.  The feedback loops are closing (if not closed for some) thanks to epistemic closure.

Both factors are accelerating to magnitudes we have not observed due to catalysts such as technology (Internet) and money (super PACS).

This is observed in Gallup’s recent findings that NEITHER the Democratic Party nor the Republican party exceeds a 40% favorability rating.  This is a historical finding:  BOTH parties have NEVER been below 40% at the same time in Gallup’s poll.

gallup

Conclusion

Another observation of change in complex systems and its modeling is the speed at which massive change happens.

Let’s return to the lake example.  A little disfunction is tolerated, but once cascades happen the change is inexorable, and change happens with a violent suddenness.    Recent examples?  the fall of the USSR and the US financial meltdown.

The USSR and the world financial markets were both systems similar to the lake.  You could observe the signs of stress, but no one predicted the rate or size of change.

The current system of 2 party dominance is under tremendous stress.

  • Congress’ approval rating is near an all-time low of 15%.
  • BOTH parties favorabilities are at historic lows.
  • Citizens have lost faith in government’s ability to do its basic job.

When I look at our country’s current two party system, I see signs of collapse and cascades.

There are questions remaining:

  • Can we interject enough diversity back into the complex system to increase the likelihood of the system adapting?   I see little to no evidence of that.
  • Have we already passed the tipping point towards collapse?
  • If we have not reached a tipping point towards collapse, will the system adapt and experience a realignment like we have seen in the past?  V. O. Key, Jr. wrote about such realignments – Whigs, FDR, Nixon, Reagan, etc.
  • If we have reached a tipping point, what would a collapse of the current political system look like?  A third party and the death of one or both of the established parties?  A radical redesign of the governmental system towards a multi-party governance?

I have always tended to believe that our 200 year old system of government is extremely robust and will adapt.  I have previously thought we could and should expect a realignment.

However, with the acceleration of purges and closed feedback loops, I fear the system is now barreling towards collapse.

What I am becoming is more convinced daily that our complex system of governance will undergo a massive change in a relatively short period of time.

This massive change will take the form of a major realignment of the two major political parties or a collapse of our governing system.  I hope it is the first.

As with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Duke leading up to World War 1, in complex systems, a small spark can cause a massive, cascading change.

One possible spark?  The electoral college advantage of the Democrats leading to the election of Hillary Clinton to the Presidency of the United States.

Additional Reading on Complexity

Santa Fe Institute

 

There is a difference between descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.  There is also a difference between the following two questions:keep-calm-and-vote-out-every-incumbent

  • What are my chances of challenging an incumbent? and
  • If I decide to challenge an incumbent, what do I need to do to be successful?

Today, we explore second question.

If I decide to challenge an incumbent, what do I need to do to be successful?

People are upset and anxious and with these feelings comes the desire to throw out every incumbent, but that seldom happens.  Why?

We are not going to explore the substantial advantages incumbents enjoy.  We are going to set them aside and attempt to answer the question, “what does a challenger need to do to be successful?”

Often in politics, we borrow from other disciplines and blend them together.  In attempting to answer this question, I am going to borrow heavily from business to build out a new theory on challenging an incumbent.

The specific theory I am going to use is the New Lanchester Strategy.  The strategy has its roots in Britain and then used by Japan business as a closely guarded trade secret.  The New Lanchester Strategy is considered one of the best tools available for determining market type choices for both start-ups and existing businesses and is used to formulate marketing plans with strategies to attack market share.

The theory has military, business and political implications.

The New Lanchester Strategy asks “How do you win customers for a new, improved offer?  You must understand how customers decide, and you must target at their decision process. It means that the offered products or services must become irresistible for the target market.”

I came across the New Lanchester Strategy when reading The Four Steps to the Epiphany, by Steven Gary Blank.  Mr. Blank is a founder of the lean start-up movement and the book is considered a classic book in the start-up world.

Mr. Blank removes the math and states:

  • If a single company has 74% of the market, the market has become an effective monopoly. For a startup, that’s an unassailable position for a head-on assault
  • If the combined market share for the market leader and second-ranking company is greater than 74% and the first company is within 1.7 times the share of the second, it means the market is held by a duopoly. This is also an unassailable position for a startup to attack.
  • If a company has 41% market share and at least 1.7 times the market share of the next largest company, it is considered the market leader. For a startup, this too is a very difficult market to enter. Markets with a clear market leader are, for a startup an opportunity for re-segmentation.
  • If the biggest player in a market has at least a 26% market share, the market is unstable, with a strong possibility of abrupt shifts in the company rankings. Here there may be some entry opportunities for startups or new products from existing players.
  • If the biggest player has less than 26% market share, it has no real impact in influencing the market. Startups who want to enter an existing market find these the easiest to penetrate.

Blank adds two more important rules in the strategy that are particularly relevant:

  • If you decide to attack a market that has just one dominant player, you need to be prepared to spend three times (3x) the combined sales and marketing budget of that dominant player.
  • In a market that has multiple participants, the cost of entry is lower, but you still need to spend 1.7 times (1.7x) the combined sales and marketing budget of the company you plan to attack.

Lanchester model

Political Implications of the New Lanchester Strategy

If we consider an incumbent politician as having established market-share, and if we switch market-share for favorability polling numbers or even elections results, we can start to apply the New Lanchester Strategy to politics and develop a substitute hypothesis.

I think the best substitute is favorability ratings because it should be more current than past election results.

I am going to over-simplify for a starting point.

  • If an incumbent has a favorability rating over over 74%, it is an unassailable position for a head on-assault; possible with a strategy of re-segmentation.
  • If an incumbent has favorability ratings between 41%-74%, it is still an unassailable position for a for a head on assault; possible with a strategy of re-segmentation.
  • It is not until the favorability rating is less than 41%, do we observe an easier path to entry.

Blanks’s stunning finding using the New Lanchester Strategy: regardless of the specific market-share or favorability ratings, if you are going to challenge an incumbent, you need to spend 1.7 x – 3 x the communication budget of the incumbent to take market-share.  

Conclusion

As a company that has run many challenges to incumbents, some successful, most not; it is difficult to explain to excited candidates the difficulties facing challengers – not even specific to your candidacy – but rather any challenger.

When challenging an incumbent, almost every card in the deck is stacked against the challenger.

Now, consider a political neophyte with no market-share.

Candidates often cite such events like Rep David Blat’s defeat of an Eric Cantor as proof of concept, but interestingly they never consider the true Black Swan nature of such a defeat.

Combine that fallacy with prospective incumbent challengers basing their campaign budgets on what either the incumbent or a previous unsuccessful challenger spent, and we have a recipe for defeat.

We are now going to take this new theory and back test it against races to where incumbents or politicians with high market-share (in open races) were defeated by successful challengers.    Any bets whether this new theory holds true?

Our first case study will be Representative Curt Clawson’s win in Florida.

 

Additional Reading

New Lanchester Theory for Requirement Prioritization, Dr. Thomas Fehmann (PDF)

Lanchester Laws Apllied to Sales Campaign Succes by Paul McNeil (PDF)

The Four Steps to the Epiphany, by Steven Gary Blank (Amazon link, non-affiliate)

In part 1 of The Path to 270, we looked at a logical starting position or “Strong Favors” for each party’s electoral college map.

In part 2 of The Path to 270, we looked at the remaining states and the trend lines for those states.  We also began to noticed the glaring importance of Florida to the GOP.

In part 3 of The Path to 270, we will reconsider our assumptions and look at possible paths to 270 for each party.

Reconsider assumptions

In our quick analysis we have made some critical assumptions that now require reconsideration.

Considering additional information to the historical wins in each state, do any of our “Strong Favors” need to be removed from Strong Favors?  And Why?

We will expand our map slightly by setting an arbitrary cut of line of a margin of victory in 2012 of 10% or less.   (CLICK map for larger view)

2016 Battle Ground States

 

This is how we mark our initial battle ground map, and we require a very good rational to add a state to the map.

What would “a very good rational” be?  Great question.

  • New polling information
  • A black swan event that is not in our consciousnesses (example: some event localized to that state)
  • A mistake by our opponent
  • A new trend emerging since 2012 that we feel will be matured in time for the race (examples: demographics, more recent elections)
  • A statewide issue or campaign that will be on the ballot in a specific state (example: pot legalization)
  • Given our resources, forcing our opponent to defend one of their Strong Favors; thus, spending their own resources.

We are going to break our geography into three tiers, keeping in mind the situation is fluid and smart people update their assumptions when given new information.

  • Tier 1 States – Competitive States.
  • Tier 2 States – Special Circumstance States.
  • Tier 3 States – Conceded States (initially defined as any state with a margin of victory of greater than 10%.

2016 Tier 3 States – Conceded States

At this point, the following states are considered NOT competitive until we get new information indicating they are competitive.   Barring some unforeseen event, the likely-hood of one of these states moving would be considered low.   For example, I think it is fair to say, it is highly unlikely that Republicans will win DC’s electoral votes or that Democrats will win Utah.

EV to 270
Rep Tier 3 134 136
Dem Tier 3 186 84

Tier 3 Detail – sorted by 2012 Margin of Victory

State Rep wins in last 4 2012 Rep Win (Y=1) Electoral Votes 2012 Margin of Victory
MS 4 1 6 0.115
OR 0 0 7 0.1209
MT 4 1 3 0.1364
AK 4 1 3 0.1399
WA 0 0 12 0.1477
ME 0 0 4 0.1529
TX 4 1 38 0.1577
IL 0 0 20 0.1684
LA 4 1 8 0.1721
CT 0 0 7 0.1733
NJ 0 0 14 0.1774
SD 4 1 3 0.1802
DE 0 0 3 0.1863
ND 4 1 3 0.1963
TN 4 1 11 0.2038
KS 4 1 6 0.2161
NE 3 1 5 0.2178
AL 4 1 9 0.2219
KY 4 1 8 0.2268
CA 0 0 55 0.2309
MA 0 0 11 0.2315
AR 4 1 6 0.2369
MD 0 0 10 0.2608
WV 4 1 5 0.2669
RI 0 0 4 0.2746
NY 0 0 29 0.2818
ID 4 1 4 0.3169
OK 4 1 7 0.3354
VT 0 0 3 0.356
WY 4 1 3 0.4082
HI 0 0 4 0.4271
UT 4 1 6 0.4788
DC 0 0 3 0.8363
Grand Total 71 18 320

2016 Tier 2 States – Special Circumstances

The next question we ask, “Is there any compelling reason to move a state off this tier?”

  • For example, does the Hillary campaign have some information showing she can be competitive in Arkansas?
  • Will recent scandals in OR give the Republican’s hope of being competitive?

Seeing no compelling reason at the current moment, we will not move a state and continue.

2016 Tier 1 States

 Tier 1 Detail – sorted by 2012 Margin of Victory

Our goal is to label each state: Toss up, Leans Democratic, Leans Republican, Likely Democrat, or Likely Republican.  These are the 18 states we will do a deeper dive on to see where are model brings us.

State Rep wins in last 4 2012 Rep Win Electoral Votes 2012 Margin of Victory Category
FL 2 0 29 0.0088 Toss Up
NC 3 1 15 0.0204 Leans R
OH 2 0 18 0.0297 Toss Up
VA 2 0 13 0.0387 Toss Up
CO 2 0 9 0.0536 Toss Up
PA 0 0 20 0.0538 Leans D
NH 1 0 4 0.0558 Likely D
IA 1 0 6 0.0581 Toss Up
NV 2 0 6 0.0668 Toss Up
WI 0 0 10 0.0694 Toss Up
MN 0 0 10 0.0769 Likely D
GA 4 1 16 0.078 Likely R
AZ 4 1 11 0.0904 Likely R
MO 4 1 10 0.0936 Likely R
MI 0 0 16 0.0947 Likely D
NM 1 0 5 0.1015 Leans D
IN 3 1 11 0.102 Likely R
SC 4 1 9 0.1047 Likely R
Grand Total 35 6 218

Florida – Toss Up

North Carolina – Leans Republican

  • 2016 Governor on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate pick up – Republican win (+1.7%)
  • 2012 Presidential – Republican win

 Ohio – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot -Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 Governor – Republican win (+30.9%)
  • Average win has been by a margin of 3.29% in last four presidential elections

Virginia – Toss Up

  • 2014 US Senate Race – Democrat win (.8%)
  • 2013 Governors Race – Democrat win (2.5%)
  • You could make the case for a slight lean Democrat, but this far out we will keep it in toss up

Colorado – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot -Democrat Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate Race – Republican win (2.5%)
  • 2014 Governors Race – Democrat win (2.9%)

PA – Leans Democrat

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 Governor Race – Democrat win (9.8%)
  • The only keeping it from a lock for Democrats is the two year trend line in Presidential elections of -5%

NH – Likely Democrat

  • 2016 Governor Race – Democrat Incumbent
  • 2014 Senate Race – Democrat win (3.2%)
  • 2014 Governor Race – Democrat win (5.2%)
  • The only thing keeping it from a lock for Democrats is that Republicans have won the state before and the relatively small margins

IA – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate Race – Republican win (8.5%)
  • 2014 Governors Race – Republican win (21.8%)
  • The only thing keeping it from leaning Republican is the last two Presidential races +7.67 average in favor of Democrats, and  the 1 Republican POTUS win was by less than 1%.
  • One could easily make the case that Iowa is a Lean Democrat state

NV – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Democrat Incumbent
  • President Obama flipped to blue after President Bush carrying state two times
  • 2014 Governor – Republican win (46.7%)
  • 2012 Senate – Republican win (1.2%)
  • Preventing Republican lean is this is the same state that keeps electing Harry Reid and the last two POTUS elections going Democrat by an average of 9.6%

WI – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS elections Democrat
  • 2014 Governor – Republican win (5.7%)
  • Home to Governor Scott Walker

MN – Likely Democrat

  • Last 4 POTUS elections Democrat wins
  • 2014 US Senate – Democrat win (10.3)

GA – Likely Republican

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate – Republican (7.9)
  • Last 4 POTUS – Republican

AZ – Likely Republican

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot- Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS Republican
  • 2014 Governors – Republican (11.9)

MO – Likely Republican

  • 2016 Governor on Ballot – Open Race, current Dem term-limited
  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot- Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS Republican

MI – Likely Democrat

  • Last 4 POTUS Dem wins
  • 2014 Senate – Democrat (13.2)
  • 2014 Governor – Republican (18.2)

NM – Leans Democrat

  • Last two POTUS – Democrat (12.64 avg)
  • 2014 US Senate – Democrat (10.8)
  • 2014 Governor – Republican (14.6)

IN – Likely Republican

  • 2016 Governors Race – Republican Incumbent (Pence may run for President)
  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot (held by Rep)
  • 3 / 4 POTUS races Republican win

SC – Likely Republican

  • 2016 US Senate Race – Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS Republican

 

2016 Electoral Map Starting Summary

Party Tier3 Tier 2 Tier 3 Total EV
Likely
Dem
Lean
Dem
Toss
Up
Lean
Rep
Likely
Rep
Republican 134 15 57 206
Democrat 186 30 25 241
Toss Up 91

2016 Toss Up States

We have arrived at a grand total of 7 toss up states: FL, OH, VA, CO, IA, NV, WI worth 91 electoral votes.

As it stands now, if we give all likely and leans to their respective parties, in order to get to the magic number of 270 – Republicans need 64 electoral votes,  Democrats need 29 electoral votes from Toss Up states.

Here is how the Toss Up states break down by electoral vote.

State Electoral
Votes
FL 29
OH 18
VA 13
CO 9
IA 6
NV 6
WI 10

Conclusions – part 3

It is still very early – 620 days until the election is an eternity in politics – and this analysis does little detailed analysis on demographic trends in each Tier 1 state; however, we can see some things come into clear focus.

Ignoring for a minute a black swan event that re-frames the entire 2016 campaign, Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, is key to the GOP wishes for the Presidency.  If the GOP loses Florida, the GOP would have to make a run on all of the Lean Dem and add a Likely Dem to make up Florida.  That is simply a tall order.  It is extremely difficult to arrive at a likely scenario for a GOP win without Florida.    One could come up with several possible scenarios for a Democrat win not including Florida.  brace

A protracted, bloody primary is NOT in the best interest of the GOP, especially if the Democrats do not engage in one.   With this week’s estimates coming from the Hillary camp of a working budget of $1.7 billion, will need to have a candidate not worried about putting the GOP back together while re-building a war chest.

Also of note is the number of Toss Up States which will have US Senate races occurring at the same time: 6 of our 7 toss up (4 incumbent Rep, 2 Incumbent Dem – if Senator Rubio runs 1 will be vacant) will have active US Senate Races; none have active Governors Races.

As you can see, the model has many moving parts and is inherently fluid.  This is where a Bayesian approach works well : we update this model as we get new information.

But for now, the only two things are certain: the path to 270 is more difficult for Republicans than the Democrats and political ads will flood Florida.

 

DataSet

download the dataset for your own analysis, filetype: CSV

 

Yesterday in part 1 of the path to 270, we took a look at the starting electoral vote scoreboard.

Here is a recap of the “Strong Favors” or states that have been won by 1 party for each of the last 4 Presidential elections.

2016 Starting Scoreboard

Party Strong Favor 270 Shortage
Republicans 175 95
Democrats 242 28

 

 2016 Contested States

Today, we take a look at all states that are not considered “Strong Favors” for any state.  (CLICK map for larger view)
2016 Presidential Map contested states

 2016 Contested States Detail

 

Rep Past Wins Possible EV
3/4 31
2/4 75
1/4 15

 

This is the detail for the map above, color coded by the party that won the race with the margin of victory.   This provides some high level insight into the trends of the states.

 

ST Rep
Wins
AvgDem
Margin
AvgRep
Margin
2016
EV
2012%
Margin
2008%
Margin
2004%
Margin
2000%
Margin
IN 3 1.03% 15.50% 11 10.20% 1.03% 20.68% 15.63%
NC 3 0.33% 9.10% 15 2.04% 0.33% 12.43% 12.83%
NE 3 14.93% 28.00% 5 21.78% 14.93% 33.22% 28.99%
CO 2 7.16% 6.52% 9 5.36% 8.95% 4.67% 8.36%
FL 2 1.85% 2.51% 29 0.88% 2.81% 5.01% 0.01%
NV 2 9.59% 3.07% 6 6.68% 12.49% 2.59% 3.55%
OH 2 3.78% 2.81% 18 2.97% 4.58% 2.11% 3.51%
VA 2 5.09% 8.12% 13 3.87% 6.30% 8.20% 8.04%
IA 1 5.22% 0.67% 6 5.81% 9.53% 0.67% 0.31%
NH 1 5.52% 1.27% 4 5.58% 9.61% 1.37% 1.27%
NM 1 8.45% 0.79% 5 10.15% 15.13% 0.79% 0.06%
5.72% 7.12% 121

 

PART 2 CONCLUSION(S)

With a look of the states that neither party dominated in the last 4 years, we can start to make some early, tentative decision of which states will be important for targeting and identifying ‘must win’ states.

Plainly speaking with a base line shortage of 95 electoral votes, we can clearly observe the GOP’s room for error.

Finally, the importance of Florida jumps off the page.

  • Assuming no “strong favor” state flips color in our base analysis in part 1 , if the GOP doesn’t win Florida, there are only 92 electoral votes (EV) left on the board.
  • Or said a different way, assuming no “strong favor” state flips color in our base analysis in part 1, the Democrats are 28 electoral votes from 270, Florida’s 29 EV puts them over 270.

Tomorrow in Part 3, we dive a little deeper and will reconsider our “strong favors”, reconsider the so-called “Blue Wall” and look at possible paths to 270 for the GOP and the Democrats.

The 2016 presidential campaigns are heating up quickly, and the path to 270 or victory for any presidential campaign is going to be very interesting.

This post starts a multi-part blog post on 2016 presidential politics and strategy.

The Basics of the Electoral College

As you know, there are 538 total electoral votes in the electoral college; therefore it takes 270 electoral college votes to become President of the United States.   (CLICK – If you would like to know more about the electoral college)

In all but two states (Maine and Nebraska), electoral college votes are assigned in a winner takes all manner.  (Maine and Nebraska do a congressional district proportion)

If no one person gets to an absolute majority of 270, then the House of Representatives selects the President. (If that were to happen, God help us all)

Therefore, the total popular vote means nothing in the mechanics of electing our President.

The entire campaign is about getting to 270.

The Electoral Strong Favors

While nothing in politics is guaranteed, there are some assumptions we can make.

As a starting point for this analysis, we will label “strong favor” as any state that a political party has won for the past 4 consecutive presidential elections.  (Double-click map for a larger view)

2016 Electoral College Strong Favors

We will later reconsider if all of these states are correctly labeled as “strong favor”, but for now this is our starting point.

The 2016 Starting Score Board

Party Strong Favor 270 Shortage
Republicans 175 95
Democrats 242 28

 

The Republican Electoral College Strong Favor Detail

State EV 2012 Margin 2008 Margin 2004 Margin 2000 Margin Average Margin Trend4 Trend2
MO 10 9.36% 0.13% 7.20% 3.34% 5.01% 6.02% 9.23%
AZ 11 9.04% 8.48% 10.45% 6.28% 8.56% 2.76% 0.56%
GA 16 7.80% 5.20% 16.59% 11.69% 10.32% -3.89% 2.60%
SC 9 10.47% 8.98% 17.08% 15.93% 13.12% -5.46% 1.49%
TN 11 20.38% 15.06% 14.30% 3.86% 13.40% 16.52% 5.32%
LA 8 17.21% 18.63% 14.51% 7.68% 14.51% 9.53% -1.42%
AR 6 23.69% 19.85% 9.76% 5.44% 14.69% 18.25% 3.84%
WV 5 26.69% 13.09% 12.86% 6.32% 14.74% 20.37% 13.60%
MS 6 11.50% 13.17% 19.69% 16.91% 15.32% -5.41% -1.67%
MT 3 13.64% 2.38% 20.50% 25.07% 15.40% -11.43% 11.26%
SD 3 18.02% 8.41% 21.47% 22.73% 17.66% -4.71% 9.61%
TX 38 15.77% 11.75% 22.86% 21.32% 17.93% -5.55% 4.02%
KY 8 22.68% 16.22% 19.86% 15.13% 18.47% 7.55% 6.46%
KS 6 21.61% 14.92% 25.38% 20.80% 20.68% 0.81% 6.69%
ND 3 19.63% 8.65% 27.36% 27.60% 20.81% -7.97% 10.98%
AL 9 22.19% 21.58% 25.62% 14.88% 21.07% 7.31% 0.61%
AK 3 13.99% 21.54% 25.55% 30.95% 23.01% -16.96% -7.55%
OK 7 33.54% 31.29% 31.14% 21.88% 29.46% 11.66% 2.25%
ID 4 31.69% 25.30% 38.12% 39.53% 33.66% -7.84% 6.39%
WY 3 40.82% 32.24% 39.79% 40.06% 38.23% 0.76% 8.58%
UT 6 47.88% 27.98% 45.54% 40.49% 40.47% 7.39% 19.90%
175 19.36% 1.89% 5.37%

 

The Democrat Electoral College Strong Favor Detail

State EV 2012 Margin 2008 Margin 2004 Margin 2000 Margin Average Margin Trend4 Trend2
WI 10 6.94% 13.90% 0.38% 0.22% 5.36% 6.72% -6.96%
PA 20 5.38% 10.31% 2.50% 4.17% 5.59% 1.21% -4.93%
MN 10 7.69% 10.24% 3.48% 2.40% 5.95% 5.29% -2.55%
OR 7 12.09% 16.35% 4.16% 0.44% 8.26% 11.65% -4.26%
MI 16 9.47% 16.44% 3.42% 5.13% 8.62% 4.34% -6.97%
WA 12 14.77% 17.08% 7.17% 5.58% 11.15% 9.19% -2.31%
ME 4 15.29% 17.32% 9.00% 5.11% 11.68% 10.18% -2.03%
NJ 14 17.74% 15.53% 6.68% 15.83% 13.95% 1.91% 2.21%
DE 3 18.63% 24.98% 7.59% 13.06% 16.07% 5.57% -6.35%
IL 20 16.84% 25.10% 10.34% 12.01% 16.07% 4.83% -8.26%
CT 7 17.33% 22.37% 10.37% 17.47% 16.89% -0.14% -5.04%
CA 55 23.09% 24.02% 9.95% 11.80% 17.22% 11.29% -0.93%
MD 10 26.08% 25.44% 12.98% 16.39% 20.22% 9.69% 0.64%
NY 29 28.18% 26.86% 18.29% 25.00% 24.58% 3.18% 1.32%
MA 11 23.15% 25.81% 25.16% 27.30% 25.36% -4.15% -2.66%
VT 3 35.60% 37.01% 20.14% 9.94% 25.67% 25.66% -1.41%
RI 4 27.46% 27.81% 20.75% 29.08% 26.28% -1.62% -0.35%
HI 4 42.71% 45.26% 8.74% 18.33% 28.76% 24.38% -2.55%
DC 3 83.63% 85.92% 79.84% 76.20% 81.40% 7.43% -2.29%
242 19.42% 7.19% -2.93%

Part 1 Conclusion(s)

It’s clear, the 2016 race to 270 starts with a more difficult path for Republicans than Democrats.

In tomorrow’s Part 2, we will look at the states that are not “Strong Favors.”

In Part 3, we will reconsider our “strong favors”, reconsider the so-called “Blue Wall” and look at possible paths to 270 for the GOP and the Democrats.

About push polls

 

I’ve received several inquiries on whether or not a “push poll” was run in our local area this week.  While I have not polled in the area in question, the question does provide a teachable moment about push polls.

What is a Push Poll?

The American Association of for Public Opinion Research has a lengthy definition and lists characteristics of a push poll.

Here is the gist:

Here are characteristics that will usually indicate to a respondent that the call is not a legitimate survey.

  • One or only a few questions are asked, all about a single candidate or a single issue.
  • The questions are uniformly strongly negative (or sometimes uniformly positive) descriptions of the candidate or issue.
  • The organization conducting the calls is not named, or a phony name is used.
  • Evasive answers are given in response to requests for more information about the survey.

In addition, the following characteristics will indicate to journalists, reporters, and survey professionals that a telephone call is not a legitimate survey.

  • The number of people called is very large, sometimes many thousands.
  • The calls are not based on a random sample.
  • It is difficult to find out which organization conducted the interviews.

What is NOT a Push Poll?

A random sample poll testing negative statements is NOT a push poll.

Again, we look the AAPOR:

One way to tell is that message-testing surveys exhibit the characteristics of a legitimate survey, such as:

  • At the beginning of the call, the interviewer clearly identifies the call center actually making the calls. (However, legitimate political polling firms will often choose not to identify the client who is sponsoring the research, be it a candidate or a political party, since that could bias the survey results.)
  • The interview contains more than a few questions.
  • The questions usually ask about more than one candidate or mention both sides of an issue.
  • Questions, usually near the end of the interview, ask respondents to report demographic characteristics such as age, education level, and party identification.
  • The survey is based on a random sample of voters.
  • The number of respondents falls within the range of legitimate surveys, typically between 400 and 1500 interviews.

Conclusion about what is and is not a push poll

The Marketing Research Association (MRA), the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), the American Association of Public Opinion Research and the entire survey and opinion research profession, oppose the practice of “push polling”.

However, and here is the gist:  Just because a pollster tests what you may perceive as a negative statement DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY mean it is a push poll.  

As a pollster there are legitimate reasons to test negative messages.  As an example, sometimes we test negative messages to convince candidates or interest groups NOT to use the message.

The bottom line is: Please, before you accuse someone of unethical behavior or potentially a crime (in some states), you should know about the accusation you are leveling.  

I had an email question about the Gainesville Mayor’s race from 2013.

“How did a tea-party labeled Republican win in dark blue Democratic Gainesville?”

Great question.

First some background and context on the Gainesville Mayor Race.

Context for 2013’s Mayor Campaign

Gainesville’s elections are officially non-partisan; however, that does not prevent both parties from playing prominent roles, essentially striping away the illusion of nonpartisan elections.

Gainesville elects its Mayor by popular vote.  Gainesville has a weak mayor system, with an election held every three years, in or around the March/April time frame.  Held concurrently is a Gainesville district race in one of the most liberal (containing the infamous Duckpond) districts  in Gainesville – District 4 .

Base Rate for Success for Republican Candidates

Gainesville has popularly elected a Mayor since 1998, since that time there have been 6 Mayor elections.  Of those elected, 2 have been Republicans.  A base rate of success for Republicans in Gainesville Mayor’s elections is 33%.

Some argue the first elected Gainesville Mayor’s race was essentially uncontested and the modern injection of the political parties didn’t happen until the following election where the incumbent Republican lost; therefore the base rate should be 20%.

Craig Lowe

In 2013, a Republican Ed Braddy ran against an incumbent Democratic Mayor, Craig Lowe.   (My man has is own Wikipedia page).  According to his Wikipedia page Craig Lowe became Mayor after he won “a run-off election on April 13, 2010, by a margin of 42 votes (which held through an automatic recount) Lowe became Mayor-elect of Gainesville. He was sworn in on May 20, 2010, becoming the first openly gay Mayor of the city.”

Craig Lowe’s first term was highlighted by his successful handling of the infamous “Pastor” Terry Jones and the Dove Outreach’s plans to burn a Quran on the 9/11 anniversary.  Mayor Lowe was widely praised for his part handling a volatile situation.

Criag Lowe’s first term was also highlighted by charges of favoritism in hiring Lowe’s campaign manager as a city employee, Lowe’s defense of the GREC biomass energy plant and electric rate increases, and Lowe’s heavy handed moves to limit citizen input into government proceedings.

Heading into the election, Craig Lowe was facing headwinds for re-election; however, in Gainesville it takes more than a headwind to stop the Democratic tidal-wave.

Ed Braddy

Ed Braddy was a previously two-time elected Gainesville commissioner from a district (district 2)  in the North West part of town.   The district has a history of performing well for Republicans; however, Braddy was popular and well liked in this district.

Braddy was well known for being a Republican/conservative voice on a commission dominated by Democrats.

During his second term in 2006, Ed Braddy was arrested for DUI.  Braddy spent time in treatment, plead no contest, was sentenced to one year supervised probation and a $250 fine.  Braddy’s drivers license was suspended for six months, and Braddy was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service including five hours with a victim impact panel. A civil traffic infraction against Braddy was dismissed.  (This becomes important shortly.)

Once Braddy reached term limits in his district seat, Braddy was a on-air host for a local radio talk show that was popular with conservatives the two years leading up to his election.

General Election for Mayor

The campaign for Mayor was initially a 6 way race between the incumbent Mayor, 2 former city commissioners, 1 business leader and two others.  The race was held 3/21/2013 with a 15% turnout.

The candidates receiving the two highest vote totals moved on to a run-off to be held approximately a month later on 4/16/2013.

The results of the General election are as follows:

Ed Braddy 4649 38.44%
Scherwin Henry 2058 17.02%
Pete Johnson 787 6.51%
Craig Lowe 4418 36.53%
Donald Shepherd 54 0.45%
Mark Venzke 128 1.06%

 

These results would indicate trouble for any incumbent.  Even in a 6 way race any incumbent should do better than 37% – especially when the District 4 election was held at the same time.

Other things of note, The District 4 election did not goto a run-off and Commissioner Henry is an African American and we will explore the significance of this later.

Run-off Election for Mayor

The run-off election was set between Ed Braddy (Rep) and Craig Lowe (Dem).

The run-off began with a bang when Mayor Lowe was immediately busted for DUI on March 20 after crashing his car.  Mayor Lowe issued a widely criticized statement after the arrest.    On April 2, Mayor Lowe and the State Attorney agreed to “a deferred prosecution agreement that resolves his DUI case.  According to news reports, Lowe was required to complete all requirements for those convicted of DUI, monitored for 18 months and gave up his driver’s license for 14 days.  The program also included 50 hours of community service and an alcohol evaluation.

The candidates’ DUIs became an issue in the campaign as well as biomass, transportation, and Ed Braddy’s conservative talk radio.  The campaign also contained a last minute mail attack from the Democratic Party affiliating Ed Braddy with the Tea Party.  The campaign also had a highly controversial open letter from 19 formerly election Democratic officials published by several news outlets that endorsed Craig Lowe while highly critical of Ed Braddy calling him “a relentless, inflammatory, and often dishonest critic.”

In the end, on April 16, 2013, Ed Braddy won a decisive victory with 55% of the vote, becoming the second elected Republican Mayor in Gainesville’s history.

Turn out increased from the general election of 15% to to 16.2%

Ed Braddy 7267 54.73%
Craig Lowe 6011 45.27%

Analysis of the 2013 Mayor’s Race

We begin our analysis at looking at the differences between the electorate’s composition from the General election and the Run-off Election. Data Notation

Legend

GnR – voted in general but NOT run-off

G&R – vote in BOTH general and run-off

RnG – voted in run-off but NOT general.

We then turn our attention to turnout.  The following three maps show the location and intensity of voters by precinct who 1) Only voted in General Election, 2) Voted in Both General and Run-off Election, and 3)Voted in Run-off election only.  (click map for larger view)

2013-Generalonly

2013-General&Runoff

2013-RunoffOnly

 

 

Hypothesis #1:  Ed Braddy was elected Mayor on the strength of Republican/TeaParty/Conservative votes alone.

It is safe to say, 50% or more of Ed Braddy’s support came from non-Republican voters.

In the Run-off Election, Ed Braddy received 7,267 votes.  Even if we give the impossible but theoretical 100% of the Rep and Other vote totals to Braddy, 5,139 votes, Braddy must have received a minimum of 2,128 votes from Democrats.

If we give the  impossible but theoretical every single Republican vote to Ed Braddy, 3693 votes, 3574 votes came from other than Republican voters.

Hypothesis #2:  Due to the Lowe’s DUI, Lowe’s voters didn’t show up in the run-off to vote for him, instead choosing to stay home.

LoweCorrelation1There are some marginal findings to support this.

When we explore a correlation of Lowe’s run-off percentage and the % difference in turnout between the general and run-off elections by precinct, we observe a slight negative correlation.    BraddyCorrelation1

The real, statistical significant finding is the opposite correlation.    When we explore the correlation between Ed Braddy’s run-off percentage and the difference in turnout from the General to the Run-off election, we see a statistically significant positive correlation.

Meaning, there is evidence for a slight stay-at-home effect for Craig Lowe, but there is more evidence for a surge in turnout for Ed Braddy in the Run-off.

 

Maps showing candidates % of vote by intensity (click map for larger view)

 

2013-BraddyGeneral
2013-BraddyRunOff
2013-LoweGeneral
2013-LoweRunOff

Party General General% Run-off Run-off% Diff Diff%
Npa/Other 1281 11.1% 1446 11.4% 165 0.4%
Rep 3162 27.4% 3693 29.2% 531 1.8%
Dem 7112 61.5% 7505 59.4% 393 -2.2%
Total 11555 100.0% 12644 100.0% 1089 0.0%

 

We observe a decline in the % of Democrats as a % of the Voters from the General to the Run-off election.

We observe a notable increase in % of Republicans as a % of Voters from the General to the Run-off election.

Hypothesis #3:  African Americans didn’t vote for Craig Lowe.

There is some evidence to support this hypothesis.  Democrats traditionally do well with African-American voters.

With Commissioner Henry on the ballot in the General Election, Craig Lowe did not perform well in heavy populated African American precincts.

With Commissioner Henry’s defeat in the general election, there was no African-American candidate on the ballot during the run-off election.

In looking closely at the race break down from the General Election to Run-Off election, we observe 291 fewer African American’s voting in an election that increased in over-all turnout.    African American’s decreased as a percentage of turn out from 15% to 11.4% (-3.6%) of the electorate.

You can observe in the maps above between the General and Run-off elections.

 

Race General General% Run-off Run-off% Diff Diff%
American Indian 31 0.3% 37 0.3% 6 0.0%
Asian 135 1.2% 121 1.0% -14 -0.2%
African American 1734 15.0% 1443 11.4% -291 -3.6%
Hispanic 298 2.6% 339 2.7% 41 0.1%
White 9036 78.2% 10378 82.1% 1342 3.9%
Blank 257 2.2% 266 2.1% 9 -0.1%
Mult-racial 19 0.2% 25 0.2% 6 0.0%
Other/Unkown 45 0.4% 35 0.3% -10 -0.1%
11555 100.0% 12644 100.0% 1089

 

Hypothesis #4:  Students didn’t vote.

Let’s rephrase this to young voters under 24 didn’t show up for the run-off election.

We can see the largest number of under 24 voters showed up for the first, general election, but didn’t return to vote in the run-off.

We observe 698  twenty-four and under voters voting in the general election, but only 418 voting in the Run-off election.  Young Voters decreased as a percentage of turn out from 6% to 3.3% (-2.7%) of the electorate.

The student precincts are precincts where Craig Lowe did well in the General election and past Mayoral elections.

 

Age General General% Run-off Run-off% Diff Diff%
<=24 698 6.0% 418 3.3% -280 -2.7%
25-34 790 6.8% 1069 8.5% 279 1.6%
35-44 998 8.6% 1333 10.5% 335 1.9%
45-54 1573 13.6% 1840 14.6% 267 0.9%
55-64 2610 22.6% 2839 22.5% 229 -0.1%
65+ 4886 42.3% 5145 40.7% 259 -1.6%
11555 100.0% 12644 100.0% 1089 0.0%

Hypothesis #5:  Many new voters who traditional don’t vote in city elections surged to the polls.

 

CountyScore
City Score 0 1 2 3 4 Grand Total
1 39 326 815 528 341 2049
2 25 252 837 934 1355 3403
3 2 69 429 624 1278 2402
4 2 41 351 743 3653 4790
Grand Total 68 688 2432 2829 6627 12644

c

Scoring all voters by two scores: City Score (number of times voting in last 4 Mayors campaigns) and County Score (number of times voting by last 4 county wide races), we see that 2049 or 16% of the run-off voters were casting their first vote in a city election.

Conclusions

So, let’s return to our original question:  “How did a tea-party labeled Republican win in dark blue Democratic Gainesville?”

Inquissima haec bellorum condicio est: prospera omnes sibi indicant, aduersa uni imputantur

Rough Translation: This is an unfair thing about war: victory is claimed by all, failure to one alone
Tacitus, Agricola 27:1 (written ~ 98AD)

As with any campaign, there is no single answer for victory or defeat.

  • Did Ed Braddy win solely because Craig Lowe drove his car through a stop sign while drunk three weeks before the election?
  • Was Craig Lowe’s DUI more damaging than Ed Braddy’s DUI due to recency?
  • Were people fed up with electric rate increases due to biomass?
  • Did people take great offense at an open letter from 19 officials telling them who to vote for?
  • Were voters fed up with the paving plans for streets (16th & 8th Ave) and / or reduction of traffic lanes?
  • Did Craig Lowe’s sexual orientation conflict with Christian African American Voters?
  • Did Craig Lowe not invest enough time with African American voters?
  • Did the students show up in force for the Mayor’s first election in the 2010 because of the remnants of President Barack Obama’s student organization?  Then fade away for the Mayor’s second election due to attrition, but not yet being revved up for the President’s reelection?
  • Is there a growing two Gainesvilles with the split growing between the urban core and suburbs?

It is fair to say that in order for a candidate to overcome a base rate of success of 33%, everything must work in concert with another in a perfect manner.

Some of my Democrat friends say plainly, “Ed Braddy got lucky, being at the right place at the right time.”  Hogwash.   Mayor Braddy is a qualified, skilled candidate who ran a good campaign that assembled a rough coalition of people who wanted change in the Mayor’s office that was able to seize when fortune presented itself.

In summation, I start with the belief that elections are referendums on the incumbent foremost. I think this election can be boiled down to the desire to get rid of the incumbent Mayor clearly outweighed the desire to save him even among those in his own party.

However, the very item Braddy owes his success to is also his challenge – especially for Braddy’s re-election.

The question is: Can Ed Braddy hold together dissimilar parties?  Mayor Braddy is a highly skilled and practiced politician, but holding the coalition together without the foil of an unpopular incumbent and outside the context of the last election will be difficult at best.

Does Gainesville regress to the mean?  This is to be determined.

 

 

 

Data Notation

As astute reader will notice that the totals for turnout in the data analysis do not match the actual turn out numbers on election day. This is due to only active voters being provided by the local Supervisor of Elections.

Active voters “exclude those who have moved out of county, been dropped during file maintenance, deceased, etc. Public lists also exclude voters with records exemptions on file to avoid disclosing their information directly or indirectly. “

General = 12094-11555 = 539 (.045)
Run-off = 13278 – 12644 = 634 (.048)

4.5% of the voters who cast ballots in these elections is missing from this analysis.

Back to top

In Florida, a new state House and Senate have elected new leaders and are getting ready to start a new session after the holidays.

The organizational session, the holidays, and the death of the Conservative Democrat across the nation had an interesting question emailed to us this week : “How many, if any, Christians are left in Florida’s Democratic party?”

That piqued our interest, so we started looking.

Methodology

  • Downloaded the names of Democratic elected members to the FL 114th Congressional Delegation and FL Legislature.
  • Visited each members’ official websites, noting the religious affiliation. If no official website, searched campaign sites and press clippings.
  • Inferred race by caucus affiliation and political activity when appropriate.
  • Avoiding any misunderstanding, Seventh-Day Adventist was coded as Christian.
  • Avoiding any misunderstanding, any  member not declaring a religious affiliation was NOT coded as Christian.

Results

64 total elected Democratic officials include in this review.  The break down of that number is as follows:

  • There are no current state-wide elected Democrat officials.  (0/4 = 0%)
  • There is 1 federally state-wide elected Democrat (1/2=50%)
  • There are 7 elected Democratic Members of Congress in the newly elected House of Representatives. (11/27 = 40.7%)
  • There are 52 elected Democratic members to the Florida House and Senate. (52/160 = 32.5%)
    • 38 reside in the Florida House (38/120=31.66%)
    • 14 reside in the Florida Senate. (14/40= 35%)
  • 33 of the 64 (52%) elected Democrats are minorities (28 African Americans, 5 Hispanic)

You can view and download the entire data set at the end of this post.   (Please direct any corrections to OzeanMedia)

Religion in America

Using the non-partisan, Pew Research and the Religious Landscape Study described by Pew as:

  An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details statistics on religion in America and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid.

major_religious_traditions

 

78.4% of Americans consider themselves Christian – that is kind of a big number.

The political science literature is littered with notes of religious intensity and voting behavior.

As Pew shows us, while the over-all religious situation in America is somewhat ‘fluid’, America remains a Christian dominated country.

Religion, Race and the Democrat Party

“How many, if any, Christians are left in Florida’s Democratic party?”

The answer:  Out of the entire 64 total Democratic officials, 41 (64%) declare themselves Christian, but as Corso says, “BUT NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND, there’s more.”

If we go a step closer and consider race, we find some interesting information and observe the real fault line in Florida’s Democrat Party.

Florida Democrats – Religion by Race – percentage

Group % of Democrats Number of Democrats
AA, Christian 36% 23
White, Jewish 23% 15
White, Christians 20% 13
Hispanic, Christians 8% 4

 

Florida Democrats – Religion by Race – detail

Race
Religion AA Hispanic White Grand Total
African Methodist Episcopal 2 0 0 2
Baptist 12 0 1 13
Catholic 0 3 6 9
Christian 3 1 1 5
Episcopal 4 1 3 8
Jewish 0 0 15 15
Methodist 1 0 1 2
none listed 5 0 3 8
Presbyterian 0 0 1 1
Seventh-Day Adventist 1 0 0 1
Grand Total 28 5 31 64

Florida Christian Democrats by Religion, race=white

Chamber Member District Religious Affiliation
Congress Graham, Gwen 2 Episcopal
Congress Castor, Kathy 14 Presbyterian
Congress Murphy, Patrick 18 Catholic
Senate Nelson, Bill USSEN Episcopal
FLHOUSE Jenne, Evan 99 Episcopal
FLHOUSE Jacobs, Kristin 96 Methodist
FLHOUSE Dwight, Dudley 68 Catholic
FLHOUSE Murphy, Amanda 36 Christian
FLHOUSE Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle 9 Catholic
FLSEN Sachs, Maria Lorts 34 Catholic
FLSEN Abruzzo, Joseph 25 Catholic
FLSEN Soto, Darren 14 Catholic
FLSEN Montford, Bill 3 Baptist

Ramifications

I realize this blog post is mixing race and religion (yes, I am fun at the Holidays), but race and religion almost have to be talked about together at this point because they are so intertwined.

It is true that we can find little information as to the true base rate of Florida’s Christians/Jews among Party, and a valid point can be made as to this is nothing more than a reflection of redistricting.dem-rel

No one is going to lament that the white Christian viewpoint is underrepresented in Florida; it isn’t.

However, it appears that the white Christian viewpoint is underrepresented in Florida’s Democratic party.

According to a Washington Post article written in 2012, The Politics of Race and Religion in Two Pie Charts, 35% of white Democrat voters in 2012 considered themselves Christian – that is 15% different than Florida’s Democratic delegation of elected officials.  Even accounting for Florida’s increased Jewish population, this still remains a stark difference.

This under-representation makes one consider the long-term ramifications, if any, for Florida Democrats and the Democratic party.

We can observe the Democrats starting to question the current state of affairs in Jason Zengerle’s provocative piece for the New Republic, The Death of the Southern White Democrat Hurts African-Americans the Most and the current redistricting court case in Florida.

  • If African American lawmakers are elected from minority-majority districts, is there little to no incentive to reach beyond their districts’ constituents?
  • Do members elected from minority-majority seats even have a responsibility to reach past their districts’ constituents?
  • Do African American lawmakers – who now outnumber white lawmakers in the State House – find themselves increasingly isolated?
  • Do White, Christian Democrats find themselves increasingly isolated?
  • Does this 20% (White, Christians) indicate the major weakness in Florida’s Democrats bench?
  • Do Democrats remember how to talk with white Christians?  Do they care to?
  • Even with Florida’s changing Demographics and with Florida & America becoming less white, can Florida Democrats win statewide if they don’t know how to talk with white Christians?
  • Have we created a complete segregation of the political system?
  • Is this a whole lot to do about nothing?

The biggest question of all:

  • Is the Democratic Party counting on the courts to do for them in the redistricting process what they know politically they can’t do themselves- move away from minority-majority districts?

 DATA

Download csv file

ChamberMemberDistrictReligious AffiliationRaceSexofficial website
CongressHastings, Alcee20African Methodist EpiscopalAAMhttp://alceehastings.house.gov/
FLSENJoyner, Arthenia L.19African Methodist EpiscopalAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s19
CongressBrown, Corrine5BaptistAAFhttp://corrinebrown.house.gov/
FLHOUSEWilliams, Alan B.8BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4437&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJones, Mia14BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4440&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEWatson, Jr., Clovis20BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4541&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEBracy, Randolf45BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4548&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPritchett, Sharon82BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4561&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSELee, Jr., Larry84BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4576&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEDuBose, Bobby94BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4612&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEStafford, Cynthia A.109BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4523&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEMcGhee, Kionne L.117BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4555&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENMontford, Bill3BaptistWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s3
FLSENThompson, Geraldine F. "Geri"12BaptistAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s12
FLSENSmith, Christopher L.31BaptistAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s31
CongressMurphy, Patrick18CatholicWhiteMhttp://patrickmurphy.house.gov/
CongressCurbelo, Carlos26CatholicHispanicMhttp://www.carloscurbelo.com/
FLHOUSERehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle9CatholicWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4464&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSECruz, Janet62CatholicHispanicFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4477&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEDwight, Dudley68CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4570&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERodríguez, José Javier112CatholicHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4563&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENSoto, Darren14CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s14
FLSENAbruzzo, Joseph25CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s25
FLSENSachs, Maria Lorts34CatholicWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s34
FLHOUSEMurphy, Amanda36ChristianWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4596&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSECortes, John43ChristianHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4605&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSENarain, Edwin61ChristianAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4608&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERogers, Hazelle P. "Hazel"95ChristianAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4434&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJones, Shevrin D. "Shev"101ChristianAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4559&LegislativeTermId=86
CongressGraham, Gwen2EpiscopalWhiteFhttps://www.gwengraham.com/
CongressWilson, Frederic24EpiscopalAAFhttp://wilson.house.gov/
USSENNelson, BillUSSENEpiscopalWhiteMhttp://www.billnelson.senate.gov/
FLHOUSETorres, Jr., Victor Manuel "Vic"48EpiscopalHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4538&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEClarke-Reed, Gwyndolen "Gwyn"92EpiscopalAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4432&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJenne, Evan99EpiscopalWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4365&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENBraynon, Oscar , II36EpiscopalAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s36
FLSENBullard, Dwight39EpiscopalAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s39
CongressGrayson, Alan9JewishWhiteMhttp://grayson.house.gov/
CongressDuetch, Ted21JewishWhiteMhttp://teddeutch.house.gov/
CongressFrankel, Lois22JewishWhiteFhttp://frankel.house.gov/
CongressWasserman-Schultz, Debbie23JewishWhiteFhttp://wassermanschultz.house.gov/
FLHOUSERader, Kevin81JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4431&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPafford, Mark86JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4435&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEBerman, Lori90JewishWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4517&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSESlosberg, Irving "Irv"91JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4232&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEMoskowitz, Jared Evan97JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4560&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEEdwards, Katie98JewishWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4566&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEGeller, Joseph100JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4614&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEStark, Richard104JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4557&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENRing, Jeremy29JewishWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s29
FLSENSobel, Eleanor33JewishWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s33
FLSENMargolis, Gwen35JewishWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s35
FLHOUSEAnton, Bruce46MethodistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4269&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJacobs, Kristin96MethodistWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4613&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSETaylor, Dwayne L.26none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4445&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERouson, Darryl Ervin70none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4428&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEKerner, Dave87none listedWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4577&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPowell, Bobby88none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4578&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEWatson, Barbara107none listedAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4532&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERichardson, David113none listedWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4556&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENGibson, Audrey9none listedAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s9
FLSENClemens, Jeff27none listedWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s27
CongressCastor, Kathy14PresbyterianWhiteFhttp://castor.house.gov/
FLHOUSECampbell, Daphne108Seventh-Day Adventist AAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4522&LegislativeTermId=86

(Please direct any corrections to OzeanMedia)

If you know me, I am not a fan of the Libertarian “philosophy” and I generally find Libertarian candidates to be anti-social blowhards.  I say this out loud and from the get go so that you can understand my biases and judge accordingly.

Noting the disclosure, I set out to analyze the effect, if any, Adrian Wyllie had on Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial election.

I became interested because a friend of mine- who is a Democrat – was lamenting about the FACT that Libertarian Adrian Wyllie was the reason that Charlie Crist is not the next Governor of Florida.

Interestingly, they asked my opinion about their FACT.

So, I promised I would do a quick analysis and publish it on the Ozean Blog.

Hypotheses:

I came up with the following possible hypotheses for evaluation:

  • Adrian Wyllie had no effect on the Gubernatorial race.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ more votes from Crist than Scott.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ more votes from Scott than Crist.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ votes from both Scott and Crist equally.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ votes from neither Scott or Crist, instead Wyllie brought new voters to the polls.

My Working Revision:

Further study is warranted, but an initial review of the data indicates Wyllie having a far greater negative effect on Rick Scott with almost no effect on Charlie Crist.  However, that is not the end of the story.

There appears to be a strong correlation of increased turnout (at least higher than the statewide turnout increase) in the counties that Wyllie performed best in.

Did Wyllie increase turnout?  I am not sure yet, because it would take more research and analysis to be able to risk declaring causation.

However, from an initial glance of one afternoon’s work, there appears a revised hypothesis forming:

Wyllie may have ‘took’ votes from Governor Scott, but Wyllie also brought more new voters to the 2014 Florida Gubernatorial Campaign (at least in the counties surrounding the Tampa Bay Area)

The data and graphs are below, I would love to know your thoughts on the matter.

 

Notes

We are still working with non-official data for 2014 and the vote totals may change slightly.

Observations & Data

Observation #1

Looking at a map of Adrian Wyllie’s returns, we see he did his best in the area surrounding Tampa Bay.Adrian Wyllie2014

 

 

County % of Vote Total
Pasco 7.05%
Citrus 6.50%
Hardee 6.34%
Polk 6.20%
Manatee 6.08%
Hernando 6.05%
Pinellas 5.63%
Hillsborough 4.83%

 

For the sake of time, I narrowed my focus into analyzing this area.

Observation #2

From the counties studied, Wyllie received 76,283 votes.

County Raw Vote Total
Pasco 11329
Citrus 3790
Hardee 342
Polk 11910
Manatee 7270
Hernando 3869
Pinellas 19802
Hillsborough 17971
76283

Observation #3

Governor Scott lost % points in each of these counties from 2010 to 2014.

When we compare 2010 to 2014, we see that Governor Scott lost % points in each of these counties.

 County 2010 Scott % 2014 Scott % Change
Pasco 51.73% 46.80% -4.93%
Citrus 54.60% 53.68% -0.92%
Hardee 59.69% 59.49% -0.20%
Polk 53.49% 51.17% -2.32%
Manatee 54.22% 51.75% -2.47%
Hernando 51.53% 47.89% -3.64%
Pinellas 45.04% 41.00% -4.04%
Hillsborough 46.74% 45.74% -1.00%

Observation #4

Charlie Crist, when compared to Alex Sink, was almost flat.

 County 2010 Sink % 2014 Crist % Change
Pasco 43.28% 45.03% 1.75%
Citrus 39.40% 38.45% -0.95%
Hardee 36.03% 32.48% -3.55%
Polk 42.55% 41.40% -1.15%
Manatee 41.79% 41.41% -0.38%
Hernando 43.08% 44.74% 1.66%
Pinellas 50.72% 52.27% 1.55%
Hillsborough 50.07% 48.44% -1.63%

Observation #5

There is a statistically significant negative correlation between the Wyllie percentage received and the change in votes for Governor Scott.  There is no correlation between Wiley percentage and the change in votes from Sink to Scott.

Correlations
p_willey2014 Rep_p_Diff Dem_p_Diff
p_willey2014 Pearson Correlation 1 -.418** .163
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .187
N 67 67 67
Rep_p_Diff Pearson Correlation -.418** 1 -.534**
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000
N 67 67 67
Dem_p_Diff Pearson Correlation .163 -.534** 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .187 .000
N 67 67 67
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
repcorr1

Scatter of Wiley % and Rep Change in Performance

demcorr1

Scatter of Wiley % and Dem Change in Performance

Observation #6

Statewide turnout for the election was up 1.71%

Year Total Votes Cast % Turnout
2010 5460573 48.70%
2014 6026093 50.41%

Observation #7

There was an average 4.29% increase in turnout in the counties studied.

 

County % increase in turnout
Pasco 6.67%
Citrus 3.67%
Hardee 5.74%
Polk 3.81%
Manatee 3.45%
Hernando 3.58%
Pinellas 5.94%
Hillsborough 1.42%
Average 4.29%