Monday, January 25, 2016

Iowa Election Night Guide, Key Counties and County Benchmarks

After months of traversing the state, arguing about poll numbers and fighting for Iowan voters, the Iowa caucuses are in one week. The race started off with Clinton in a nearly insurmountable lead. Then in the summer, Bernie Sanders started to gain strength. By October, Sanders was nearly tied in Iowa but after the 1st debate and Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi smackdown, Clinton regained a lead. In January though, polls released after Christmas showed a narrow race and the polls have continued to show a close race. The RCP average as of Sunday January 24th show Clinton with a seven point lead but as history shows, the polls can shift within a week and some observers believe the polls are skewed.

This post will show what counties to watch in Iowa on Election night. The post will have an explanation of the three regions of Iowa and show county benchmarks for counties Sanders and Clinton need to win in order to win the caucus.

  1. It should be noted that unless one is privey to the Clinton or Sanders data, it will be nearly impossible to make an accurate prediction as to who will win which counties. I calculated it by giving Sanders all of the Obama 2008 voters, giving Hillary all of the Hillary 2008 voters and splitting the Edwards voters between them until Hillary received 50%. These benchmarks assume Sanders will keep the Obama voters (younger, urban and college educated) and Hillary will keep her voters.

2.  I would like the comments on the diary to be as civil as possible, yes from both sides.

3. Polls show the Iowa caucuses are hard to predict. Some polls predict massive voting turnout and a Sanders win (CNN Sanders +9) and other polls predict smaller turnout (around the low 100s) and a Clinton win (KBUR Clinton +9). The number Sanders needs to win of new voters is between 25%-30%, higher and he wins, lower and he loses.

4. It should be noted that the way caucuses work for Democrats is that they are voting for precinct representatives who are already allocated proportionally so if turnout is concentrated (for example in college towns which should support Sanders), it  may be difficult for Sanders to win especially with Hillary’s support more spread across the more moderate rural areas. Also, the percentages may be changed if actual votes are not reported but instead delegates are.

5. Martin O’Malley is not included and it should be noted the percentages listed are only for Hillary and Sanders.

County Benchmarks:
Dark Yellow: Hillary 55%+
Light Yellow: Hillary 50%-54%
Light Green: Sanders 50%-54%
Dark Green: Sanders 55%+

Google doc with full county percentages:

Eastern Iowa
A few counties here went narrowly for Clinton but eastern Iowa is where Sanders must run up numbers in order to win. There are large numbers of Progressives and college towns here. There are rural voters too but this is a less rural part of Iowa. Here are a few key counties:

Johnson County is Sanders’ best county and he needs it to be. Johnson County is home to the University of Iowa (which Carly Fiorina famously supported in hopes it would win her votes but instead won her the title of a flip flopper and slayed her polling numbers). Iowa polls on average show a mid single digit Clinton lead but a few such as CNN/ORC show a Sanders lead. Those polls show a Sanders lead because they predict an Iowa caucus turnout higher than in 2008. In order for Sanders to win the Iowa caucus, he needs to run up the score in college counties such as Johnson. Sanders can attract crowds but he needs them to turnout, especially in the snow which is predicted for Monday.

Linn County (Cedar Rapids) is the 2nd largest city in Iowa and has a Progressive history as well requiring Sanders to perform well there.

Winneshiek County may not be as populated as the other two but it is important because Sanders had a rally with 2,000 people there in a town of 8,000 a week before the caucus. While those attendees may be from different towns as well and some may be swing voters, it could indicate that Sanders support is strong here.

Eastern Iowa is also more populated than the other two regions which is why this map is 50-50, even most counties supporting Clinton because the Sanders counties are urban counties.

Counties to watch:
Johnson: Sanders 62.2%
Linn: Sanders 53.4%
Winneshiek: Sanders 56.7%

Central Iowa:
It appears the election can be won or lost in Central Iowa. It is a mixture of both urban and rural areas with Des Moines, the capital of Iowa mixed in with Story County, another college town and many rural counties predicted to strongly support Hillary which are mainly sparsely populated. Here are the key counties:

Polk County:
Des Moines, the Iowan Capital is here and 16% of the state’s Democratic votes were cast here, cementing its status as a strong factor in the Iowa caucuses. Historically, Polk County casts more votes than a large number of the Clinton heavy counties on Iowa’s southern border combined. While many of the White Progressives in Polk are expected to support Sanders, Clinton may be able to narrow the margin (but not enough to win Polk in a 50-50 race) by winning large margins among the voters of color (Polk County has a 21% voters of color population which is larger than other Iowan counties). Sanders needs four or more points here to win.

Story County:
Story County is another college town and Iowa state is located here. It is also the location of the famous Iowa straw poll. Sanders also needs heavy turnout here in order to win.

Wayne County:
While Wayne County is not a densely populated county such as Polk County (2,900 votes were cast in 2012 there, compared to 228,000 for Polk), it is a barometer for Hillary Clinton and how well she is performing with rural voters.

Polk County: Sanders 51.7%
Story County: Sanders 54.6%
Wayne County: Clinton 64.3%

Western Iowa
Western Iowa is much different from eastern Iowa. It is less populated and has more Republicans, meaning there are less potential caucus goers here. It is also home of Rep. Steve King (R) who  make immigration comments that would make Donald Trump appear xenophobic. At the same time, a large number of western Iowans do not  share these views and 45% in 2012 backed his opponent. There are few college towns here so this is where Hillary will need a strong showing. Almost all counties are shown as Hillary counties but President Obama won in Sioux County which is the most conservative county in Iowa by winning over disaffected Republicans. Should Bernie have a great night he could surprise observers by winning either Sioux or Plymouth Counties.

Sioux County:
Romney won 83% of the vote here in 2012, making it the most Republican county in Iowa. President Obama won it by winning over disaffected Independents and Republicans, it remains to be seen if Sanders can exert the same pull here.

Pottawattamie County:
One of Western Iowa’s larger cities, Council Bluffs is located here. This is part of Hillary’s base if the benchmarks prove correct and she will need a strong margin from here. The problem for her though is that there are less Democratic voters here than in similarly populated counties in eastern Iowa.

Dickinson County:
Dickinson County is one of the few western Iowa counties where Sanders is leading with the benchmarks. It also voted 50.9% for Sanders so Dickinson could be viewed as a bellwether.

Sioux County: Clinton 51.3%
Pottawattamie County: Clinton 59.6%
Dickinson County: Sanders 50.9%

Overall, while watching election night, keep a few points in mind.
1. Is Bernie Sanders turning out voters in the urban and college counties such as Polk, Johnson and Linn?
2. Is Hillary Clinton turning out the vote in rural counties in western Iowa, making inroads in rural eastern Iowa counties and are the voters of color in Polk County making Polk a close county?

3. Most importantly, are these benchmarks consistently holding muster? Do not watch just one county early in the night and predict a Clinton or Sanders win if one candidate overperforms in one or two counties.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Louisiana Gubernatorial Election Night Guide and Benchmarks

Louisiana has not elected a statewide Democrat since 2008. Even powerhouse Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) lost in 2014 by 12 points in a runoff (Louisiana has a rule that if no candidate receives 50% of the vote on Election Day, the race goes to a runoff). In 2015 however, Democrats have a chance to win the Gubernatorial race. State Sen. John Bel Edwards (D) is a West Point graduate running against U.S. Sen David Vitter. Edwards is leading Vitter by double digits in some polls because of Vitter’s prostitution scandal (Vitter also was eviscerated in an ad where he skipped a vote on veterans to talk to the “D.C. Madam” and the ad said Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots). Vitter responded with an ad of his own featuring Duck Dynasty Stars but Vitter appeared wooden in it. While no poll has shown Vitter ahead, off year elections can have unpredictable polling so Edwards is not guaranteed to win. This post however will show the benchmarks Edwards must hit to win on Election Day (November 21st).

These percentages show the percentage that Edwards needs to win. The results were calculated using the 2010 Senate results (to factor in Vitter’s regional strengths) and the 2014 runoff election (to factor in recent trends and runoff voting patterns).

Sidenote: if Edwards is underperforming some of the benchmarks early in the night, it does not necessarily mean he will lose. It means the benchmarks are a bit off, that Democratic parts of the county report late or that areas where Edwards will overperform have not reported.

Here is a map of the benchmarks:

Dark Blue = Edwards 55%+
Light Blue = Edwards 50%-54%
Light Red = Edwards 45%-49%
Dark Red = Edwards 44%-

Here is a link to all the county benchmarks:

New Orleans Metropolitan Area:
This area is the most Democratic part of Louisiana. New Orleans is the major Democratic area while the suburban Parishes St. Tammany and Jefferson are strongly Republican in national elections. St. Tammany frequently votes Republican in statewide elections too, it has a strong evangelical population and is fast growing. Jefferson County is more of a swing county in close statewide elections. Landrieu lost it by six points in 2014 despite losing by 12 statewide. It has a large African American population and the white voters are not as uniformly Republican as they are throughout the rest of the South. At the same time, Vitter is from the New Orleans area which may give him a few extra points but combined with Jefferson County’s slow but sure Democratic trend, it is the main bellwether to watch.


Baton Rouge Metropolitan Area:
This is the 2nd most Democratic part of Louisiana. Despite being historically Republican (East Baton Rouge Parish voted Republican in 2003 when Louisiana elected a Democratic Governor,) East Baton Rouge Parish now leans Democratic. There is a large African American population there while the suburbs are evangelical and conservative. The suburban Parishes are Ascension and Livingston. Ascension formerly was a Republican leaning county (Bush in 2000 won it by 10,) but now it is heavily Republican with Romney winning 66% there. Livingston is even more Republican, Romney won more than 80% of the vote there. East Baton Rouge used to lean Republican but is trending Democratic. Edwards will need to capitalize on that trend and win at least 58% there.


Southern Louisiana:
There are two divides in rural Louisiana. The northern part of the state has rural southerners similar to Arkansas and Mississippi who vote heavily Republican. The southern part though is different with Catholic French descendants and this area is called the Cajun Country. While in 2012 it voted heavily Republican (Cameron County voted 87% for Romney,) it is open to voting for statewide Democrats, especially Cajun ones. The Cajun voters kept Louisiana competitive after many southern states started voting Republican but they have trended Republican recently too. Winning coalitions for Democrats years back would be winning enough African Americans and Cajuns. Edward’s coalition now is more likely to be focused around urban areas instead of the Cajuns but they will still play an influential role.


Northern Louisiana:
"The further north you go the further south you get" is what they say about Florida, they meant the same about Louisiana. The northern part of Louisiana is the most culturally southern part with few Cajuns and mostly evangelical Protestants. The politics here are closer to Mississippi than they are to the rest of Louisiana. Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) won here after voters did not want to support Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) due to his race but Landrieu and Cassidy are both white. The opening for Edwards here though is in Caddo Parish (Sherveport) which is trending Democratic and turning out the African American voters in the counties surrounding it. Bossier Parish on the right side is suburban and heavily conservative so Edwards need Caddo to outvote it. The voting here is extremely racially polarized but winning campaigns such as Landrieu in 2008 has traditionally made inroads in the parishes around Sherveport (except Bossier which is heavily Republican) so Edwards must win those. Clairborne Parish nearby is also a good bellwether. Keeping margins down in these heavily Republican evangelical counties is crucial too because many voters there may be turned off to Vitter by the prostitution scandal.


So when you are watching Louisiana on election night ask these questions:, who is ahead in Jefferson Parish? Is East Baton Rouge offsetting Republican margins in Ascension and Livingston Parishes? Is Edwards keeping Republican margins low in Republican leaning southern Louisiana Parishes such as St. Martin and Calcaiseu and most importantly, who is hitting 50% in Clairborne Parish?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

California Redistricting: What Could Have Happened

In late June of 2015, the marriage equality case was the Supreme Court case received the most attention. At the same time, the Supreme Court ruled that redistricting commissions (non elected people who are Democrats, Republicans and Independents) can draw redistricting maps. This works out well for Democrats because Republicans have recently drawn convoluted maps across the country including a map with 12-4 Republican districts in Ohio even though President Obama won Ohio in 2012. One district in Florida (drawn by Republicans) represents parts of Orlando and Jacksonville that are almost 200 miles away from each other. Also, if the Supreme Court ruled against the commission, Arizona which has a commission would have redrawn its map and given two seats to the Republicans. In California though, the Democrats would have had to do a mid decade redistricting.

My map shows what the Democrats could do if the Supreme Court ruled the commission unconstitutional and the Democrats performed mid decade redistricting. This map shores up many of their vulnerable incumbents who won close races in 2014. It is a 43-10 Democratic map. While the Democrats could try to draw a 45-8 map, that would cause them to create more convoluted lines and if "good Government groups" lobbied against a strong gerrymander, many Democrats  may decide to go for a map that does not have convoluted lines and mostly respects communities of interest while still increasing Democratic chances in four Republican held districts. Also, many Democratic incumbents will not want drastic changes in their district lines so I did not make major changes to Bay Area seats and many LA ones. I also followed the Voting Rights Act which requires districts to be drawn to elect Hispanic, African American and Asian representatives.

Overall, the map I drew aims to add four new Democratic seats without strongly violating communities of interest and having convoluted lines.

The current map is here and here

The current data is here:

Unless the district is listed below, there were no changes made.

New Map Data:

 (Northern California) 

New Data: (the new data is not as accurate for larger counties such as Los Angeles unless it is the 2008 election. Also, all percentages are based on the two party vote).

Sacramento Area: 

District 3: John Garamendi (D) Likely Democratic Purple
Political Data: (2012): Obama 56.5% (2008): Obama 57.1% (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 54.4%
Demographics 18+: W 54%, AA 6%, Asian 11%, H 24%

The 3rd district becomes a point more Democratic by losing all of Sacramento County and gaining part of Democratic leaning West Sacramento. Garamendi has successfully held this district in 2014 and should continue to represent it.

District 6 Doris Matsui (D) Safe Democratic Teal
Political Data: (2012): Obama 62.9% (2008) Obama 62.9% (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 63.3%
Demographics 18+: W 54%, AA 9%, Asian 12%, H 20%

The 6th district increases from 30% R to 37% R by adding the Citrus Heights area but remains safely Democratic.

District 7 Ami Bera (D) Likely Democratic Grey
Political Data: (2012): Obama 57.4% (2008): Obama 57.3%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 56.9%
Demographics 18+: W 51%, AA 10%, Asian 18%, H 16%

The 7th district becomes more Democratic by removing the Citrus Heights area and adding southern Sacramento. The 2008 Obama percentage increases from 52.7% to 57.3%, meaning Rep. Bera would have won by nine points in 2014. With the higher Democratic percentages, after 2016, the 7th district will no longer hold the title of the district with the most expensive congressional race.

Central California

District 10 Jeff Denham (R) Safe Republican Pink
Political Data: (2012): Obama 43.4%, (2008): Obama 43.1%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 37.8%
Demographics 18+: W 60%, AA 3%, Asian 12%, Hispanic 27%

The 10th district becomes more Republican at it loses  Democratic parts of Stanislaus County (Modesto) and gains heavily  Republican parts of Merced, Madera and Fresno Counties (including Clovis). Denham will have no trouble here.

District 16 Jim Costa (D) Likely Democratic Green
Political Data: (2012): Obama 61.2% (2008): Obama 60.9% (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 56.2%
Demographics 18+: W 35%, AA 4%, H 52%, Asian 7%

The 16th district undergoes major changes. It loses all of Fresno, parts of Merced County and gains Democratic leaning Tracy in San Joaquin County, Democratic leaning parts of Stanislaus County, Gilroy in Santa Clara County, San Benito County and heavily Hispanic parts of Monterey County. The 16th district is rated as "Likely Democratic" because Costa had a close race in a similar district in 2014 but the addition of Tracy (it has higher turnout) and Monterey County should  help protect Costa. Also, there is a chance State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R) who represents a district with similar lines may run but the district he represents is more Republican, making  the 16th district easier for Democrats to win.

Sidenote: Merced County is split under this map and Section 5 of the VRA prevents that but in 2013, Section 5 was found unconstitutional so I chose to split Merced County.

District 20 Sam Farr (D) Safe Democratic Pink
Political Data: (2012) Obama 70.0%, (2008): Obama 70.4%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 64.9%
Demographics 18+: W 47%, AA 3%, H 41%, Asian 6%

The 20th district undergoes a major change as it loses some heavily Hispanic parts of the Salinas Valley to the 16th district which has similar lines to SD-12. The 20th district then gains heavily Republican Kings County but remains strongly Democratic.

District 21 David Valadao (R) Tilt Democratic Dark Brown
Political Data: (2012) Obama 55.0%, (2008): Obama 54.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 53.4%
Demographics 18+: W 22%, AA 5%, H 67%, Asian 4%

The current 21st district voted for President Obama but is represented by a Republican because the Republican has a strong base in Kings County which has high turnout. Also, many of the rural Hispanic voters (especially in Fresno County) are swing voters. The Kern County part votes strongly Democratic however. The new 21st district removes all of Kings and western Fresno Counties and instead adds heavily Hispanic parts of Tulare county where Rep. Valadao does not have a base. Without his base in the district, Valadao may attract a strong challenger such as Assm. Salas who represents Democratic parts of Kern County. Also, the real Obama 2012 percentage is probably close to 57% due to the heavily Hispanic parts of the Central Valley swinging further to Obama than the rest of the counties it represents did.

District 22 Kevin McCarthy (R) vs. Devin Nunes (R) Safe Republican Brown
Political Data: (2012) Obama 35.4%, (2008): Obama 35.4%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Obama 34.0%
Demographics 18+ W 62%, AA 3%, H 28%, Asian 4%

The 22nd district gains heavily Republican parts of San Luis Obispo County and parts of Tulare County. By being the Majority Leader, McCarthy should be safe from a primary challenge from Rep. Nunes. Nunes may run in the 21st district but probably would lose to Valadao in a primary.

District 23 Open Likely Democratic
Political Data: (2012) Obama 59.5% (2008) Obama 59.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 55.3%
Demographics 18+: W 28%, AA 6%, H 55%, Asian 9%

This new district represents heavily Hispanic parts of Fresno (city) as well as western Fresno County. With the strong anchor of Fresno City and more straight ticket urban Democrats, Democrats should be extremely favored here. If Rep. Costa stays in the 16th, Assm. Perea or Assembly candidate Arambula may consider this seat.

Southern California: 

District 24 Open Likely Democratic Dark Purple
Political Data: (2012) Obama 58.3%, (2008) Obama 60.6%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 52.7%
Demographics 18+: W 62%, A 2%, H 30%, Asian 5%

The 24th district loses Republican parts of San Luis Obispo County and gains Ventura in Ventura County, increasing the Democratic percentage by a few points. With a competitive congressional race brewing here, this change should make the district much more Democratic.

District 25 Steve Knight (R) Likely Democratic Tan/Pink
Political Data: (2008) Obama 56.7%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 50.3%
Demographics 18+: W 49%, AA 9%, H 32%, Asian 8%

The 25th district loses heavily Republican Simi Valley and Santa Clarita and instead traverses the San Gabriel Mountains and gains Burbank and part of Glendale. This area has high turnout even during midterms and I find it hard to see Burbank/Glendale voters ticket splitting for Knight, an Antelope Valley Republican.

LA Metropolitan Area

District 26 Julia Brownley (D) Likely Democratic
Political Data: (2008) Obama 57.7% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 49.5%
Demographics 18+: W 48%, AA 2%, H 39%, Asian 8%

The 26th district's partisanship stays stable as it loses Thousand Oaks and gains Simi Valley and Democratic leaning parts of the San Fernando Valley west of the 22. Brownley may want more Democratic votes but she won in 2014, a horrible year for Democrats against the Republican "dream" candidate. The district will only continue to trend Democratic as the Hispanic population increases. Brownley can continue to send her weekly fundraising emails.

District 28 Adam Schiff (D) Safe Democratic Pink Gray (representing Beverly Hills)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 75.6% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 70.6%
Demographics 18+: W 60%, AA 3%, H 20%, Asian 14%

The 28th district loses most of Burbank/Glendale and goes as far west as the 405 in the Westside. Schiff should be safe from a primary challenge but when he retires, I expect a major Westside battle for this seat.

District 29 Tony Cardenas (D) Safe Democratic Green/Gray (representing San Fernando Valley)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 75.9% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 72.6%
Demographics 18+: W 22%, AA 4%, H 63%, Asian 9%

A few minor changes. None of them should affect Cardenas.

District 30 Brad Sherman (D) Safe Democratic Orange/Pink (representing San Fernando Valley)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 62.9%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 55.1%
Demographics 18+: W 55%, AA 4%, H 26%, Asian 13%

Sherman helps the team out by gaining Republican leaning Santa Clarita. Sherman however should be safe with his San Fernando Valley base anchoring his district.

District 31 Pete Aguilar (D) Likely Democratic Light Yellow (representing San Bernardino)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.3%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 54.4%
Demographics 18+: W 34%, AA 11%, H 46%, Asian 8%

The 31st district mostly remains the same. It still leans Democratic and should continue to trend Democratic as the Hispanic population grows. Aguilar won here in 2014 so as long as two Republicans and another Democrat challenge him at the same time, he should be safe.

LA County 
District 33 Ted Lieu (D) Safe Democratic (Blue, representing LA Coast)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 63.0%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 53.8%
Demographics 18+: W 73%, AA 3%, H 11%, Asian 11%

If one Democrat is not happy with the map, Lieu might be that Democrat. The 33rd district loses all of the Westisde east of the 405 and gains Thousand Oaks which narrowly leans Republican. At the same time, the 33rd district gains all of Westchester. Seeing how Lieu won by 16 points in 2014, a Republican year, he should be safe but may have to campaign a little bit in Republican years.

District 35 Norma Torres (D) Safe Democratic Purple (representing San Bernardino County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 65.9%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 62.9%
Demographics 18+: W 20%, AA 7%, H 64%, Asian 8%

Besides a few minor changes, the district remains similar. Torres should be safe.

District 36 Raul Ruiz (D) Likely Democratic Orange (representing Riverside County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 53.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 48.8%
Demographics 18+: W 48%, AA 5%, H 41%, Asian 4%

Ruiz's district becomes two points more Democratic as it loses part of Hemet and gains part of Moreno Valley. I decided not to trade more of Hemet and Moreno Valley in order to prevent the 41st from being too convoluted. Anyway, Ruiz won by 8 points in 2014, a Republican year against a strong candidate (Assm. Nestande) showing that Ruiz is popular. Also, Brown in 2014 overperformed Obama in 2012, the only district where he did so in the Inland Empire, showing the 36th is trending Democratic very quickly.

District 37 Karen Bass (D) Safe Democratic Light Blue (representing Central LA)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 87.2%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 84.1%
Demographics 18+: W 26%, AA 26%, H 35%, Asian 10%

There are a few small changes but Bass's district remains one of the most Democratic in California and the country.

District 38 Linda Sanchez (D) Safe Democratic Turquoise (representing southeast LA County)
Political Data (2008) Obama 63.3% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 60.6%
Demographics 18+: W 22%, AA 3%, H 57%, Asian 17%

The 38th district gains heavily Hispanic precincts in La Habra and a few near Long Beach. Otherwise, it does not change and remains heavily Hispanic and Democratic.

Orange County/Inland Empire
District 39 Ed Royce (R) Safe Republican Light Tan (representing Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 44.2%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 34.2%
Demographics 18+: W 54%, AA 2%, H 18%, Asian 23%

The 39th district becomes more Republican. It loses Democratic leaning Buena Park and southern Fullerton. It gains heavily Republican parts of southern Orange County. Royce should not have major problems.

District 41 Mark Takano (D) Safe Democratic Grey (representing Inland Empire)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.5%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 54.6%
Demographics 18+: W 33%, AA 8%, H 50%, Asian 7%

The 41st district becomes a point more Republican as it loses part of Moreno Valley to the 36th but the 58.5% Obama number should be enough to protect Takano.

District  42 Ken Calvert (R) Safe Republican Green (representing Inland Empire)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 43.9%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 37.5%
Demographics 18+: W 53%, AA 5%, H 30%, Asian 9%

The 42nd district gains part of Hemet and loses heavily Hispanic parts of Corona. It remains Republican by representing conservative parts of southern Riverside County.

District 43 Maxine Waters (D) Safe Democratic Light Pink (representing South LA area)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 75.6%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 71.8%
Demographics 18+: W 17%, AA 23%, H 42%, Asian 15%

The 43rd district gains a few Republican leaning precincts in Torrance to strengthen the 33rd but remains strongly Democratic.

District 44 Open (Nanette Barragan (D) vs. Isadore Hall (D)) Safe Democratic Dark Pink (representing Compton)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 81.7% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 80.3%
Demographics 18+: W 11%, AA 17%, H  63%, Asian 7%

The 44th district becomes a point more Republican by gaining marginal precincts in Long Beach to shore up the 47th district.

District 45 John Campbell (R)? Leans Democratic Light Blue (representing Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 56.6% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 46.1%
Demographics 18+: W 45%, AA 2%, H 30%, Asian 21%

The 45th district is the 2nd Democratic district in Orange County. It is a combination of Rohrabacher and Campbell's seats. It represents half of heavily Hispanic Santa Ana, Democratic leaning parts of Costa Mesa, Democratic leaning Irvine and Laguna Beach. Some may argue that this seat leans Republican due to Brown receiving 46% here in 2010. Part of that can be attributed to Whitman performing extremely well with high income voters (it is unknown but likely that Brown won this district in 2014). The major ticket splitters in Orange County are the Vietnamese voters mainly located in Garden Grove and Westminister  which are in the Republican 48th district. The Asian voters in Irvine and the  Hispanic voters in Santa Ana are less likely to ticket split, therefore preventing a scenario similar to SD-34 where the Vietnamese voters overwhelmingly supported Janet Nguyen (R) even though many of them backed President Obama in 2012 as shown by data from Garden Grove, a heavily Vietnamese community in SD-34 but not in the 45th district. Former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang could be a strong fit for this district. Also, with Democrats winning narrowly Democratic leaning districts with high  numbers of upscale White voters in CA-26 and CA-52, it shows that these voters who voted Republican in the early 2000s are open to voting for Democrats on a congressional as well as Presidential level.

District 46 Open Safe Democratic Brown (representing Central Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.7% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 53.6%
Demographics 18+ W 25%, AA 2%, H 56%, Asian 15%

The 46th district becomes more Republican as it loses part of heavily Democratic Santa Ana and gains less Democratic southern Fullerton and Buena Park. While Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) may not run for House because she is running for Senate (even after he "wha wha wha wha" moment where she "mimicked" Native Americans). Lou Correa (D) has expressed interest in this seat. The 15% Asian population is primarily Vietnamese but it is not large enough to make an impact even with ticket splitting as the 2010 race showed.

District 47 Alan Lowenthal (D) Likely Democratic Light Grey (representing Long Beach)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.9% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 49.8%
Demographics 18+: W 50%, AA 8%, H 26%, Asian 13%

The 47th district loses Garden Grove and gains most of Huntington and Newport Beaches which are Republican. At  the same time, the 47th district gains some heavily Hispanic areas in western Long Beach. The Orange County portion of the district is Republican but the addition of the Hispanic precincts in Long Beach should help counterbalance it. Also, Lowenthal won the 47th district in 2014 by 12 points, showing he can win this district even in a Republican year.

District 48 Vacant Dana Rohrabacher (R)? Safe Republican Orange/Brown (representing Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 45.9% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 39.9%
Demographics 18+: W 42%,  AA 2%, H 23%, Asian 31%

Do not be fooled by the high percentage of minorities in the 48th district. This district is solidly Republican by combining heavily Republican parts of Fullerton with heavily Republican parts of Huntington Beach and heavily Vietnamese Garden Grove. Rohrabacher would probably prefer to run here instead of the 47th which has much of his current territory. The 48th district is much more Republican than the 47th and does not have an incumbent.

District 49 Darrell Issa (R) Safe Republican Brown (representing North County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 47.6%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 37.6%
Demographics 18+: W 65%, AA 3%, H 22%, Asian 8%

Issa's district becomes a few points more Republican. The former car thief will be safe.

San Diego:

District 50 Duncan Hunter Jr. (R) Safe Republican (light blue)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 40.3%,(2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 33.7%
Demographics 18+: W 63%, AA 2%, H 26%, Asian 6%

A few minor tweaks but the district remains one of the most Republican in California.

District 51 Juan Vargas (D) Safe Democratic (brown)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 65.1%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 62.0%
Demographics 18+: W 20%, AA 7%, H 62%, Asian 9%

A few tweaks here too. The district remains heavily Hispanic and Democratic.

District 52 Scott Peters (D) Safe Democratic (green)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 60.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 50.3%
Demographics 18+: W 65%, AA 3%, H 12%, Asian 17%

The 52nd district becomes more Democratic as it loses Republican leaning areas in northern San Diego and gains neighborhoods near Downtown. These changes would meant that Peters would have won in 2014 by double digits. He should be fine with the 60.8% Obama numbers and this should deter major Republican challengers.

District 53 Susan Davis (D) Safe Democratic (white)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 61.6% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 55.5%
Demographics 18+: W 46%, AA 8%, H 29%, Asian 14%

The district becomes a few points more Republican but should remain strongly Democratic and safe for Rep. Davis.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Florida Redistricting from the Democratic Perspective

Earlier in July, Democrats got exciting news! The Florida congressional map the Republicans drew was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court, meaning that the legislature would have to redraw the districts. The specific districts are the 5th, 10th, 13th, 14th, 20-22 and 25-27. The 5th district needs to be redrawn because it has a tendril from Jacksonville traveling nearly 200 miles south to Orlando. The 14th and 13th district because the 14th represents Tampa but goes into Pinellas County to keep heavily African American areas out of the swing 13th district. 20-22 because of how Hendry County (rural southern Florida) is split and how 21-22 need to be north/south instead of east/west. 25 because of Hendry County, 26-27 because the city of Homestead should not be split. In 2010, 63% of Florida's voters passed the "Fair Districts Amendment" that would force the legislature to not consider partisanship when redrawing lines. They should have passed a measure similar to California's where they have a commission with Democrats and Republicans who need to draw a map together. That would  prevent any underlying partisan agenda. The 2012 map had that though as shown by packing Democrats into the 5th and 14th districts but my redraw will attempt to redraw the map fairly and represent communities of interest (communities with similar issues, demographics and proximity) as much as possible. This is similar to the California model which has compact districts following the VRA, representing communities of interest and having many competitive districts.

I know this map is hypothetical because as history shows, Republicans will try to prevent Democratic gains in Florida as much as possible. This map though is what the Democrats should propose as a map that follows all the rules of the Florida Supreme Court's requirements and is not a gerrymander (I will post a Florida gerrymander soon but that is an entirely different diary and much more hypothetical). 

Florida's current map (before the changes):

The map: (with Gainesville in 5th district)

Data (with Gainesville in 5th distict)

(all data on this map is either from Dave's Redistricting App or from Stephen Wolf, an editor for Daily Kos Elections). 

Notes: the 2012 Presidential data was calculated by county and trends were extrapolated from 2008 data so the 2012 data may not be 100% accurate for large counties such as Miami Dade. 

Florida's 1st District: Jeff Miller (R) Safe R (blue)
No change, moving along now. Democrats will win Utah before they win this district.

(with Gainesville option)

The Gainesville option is when the 5th district is redrawn "east to west" by combining Gainesville which is the west and creating an African American 18+ that is higher than 50% of the district's Democratic vote to give them a majority in the primary. Gainesville is west but it is also south (the Supreme Court asked the legislature to not draw south) but Gainesville is closer to Jacksonville, is more of a community of interest and a district combining both would be more compact. At the same time, the court may require a district to Tallahassee in order to ensure that an African American is elected to the House.

Florida's 2nd District Gwen Graham (D) Tilt Democratic (Green)

(18+ population) 68% W, 24% AA, 5% H
Obama 47.8%, McCain 52.2%
Obama 47.3%, Romney 52.7%

Graham will undoubtedly face a tough race in this district that President Obama lost both times. I expect a vary narrow win for her however due to how she was able to win this district in 2014 when Democrats across the country were losing. She was one of the two Democrats to defeat a Republican incumbent in 2014.

Florida's 3rd District Ted Yoho (R) Safe Republican

(18+ population) 785 W, 13% AA, 6% H
Obama 33.4%, McCain 66.6%
Obama 32.1%, Romney 67.9%

Undoubtedly one of the biggest winners here, Yoho maintains most of his current district and remains safe from any Democratic challenge and most likely safe from a primary challenge.

Florida's 4th District Ander Crenshaw (R) Safe Republican

18+ population 81% W, 9% AA, 6% H
Obama 34.7%, McCain 65.3%
Obama 32.9%, Romney 67.1%

Still heavily Republican, still representing suburban Jacksonville. Crenshaw should have no worries.

Florida' 5th District Corrine Brown (D) Safe Democratic

(18+ population) 53% W, 33% AA, 8% H
Obama 62.7%, McCain 37.3%
Obama 61.3%, Romney 38.7%

This district represents parts of Jacksonville and Gainesville with high African American populations. The change in district territory may prompt a primary challenger. Without having run a competitive race in nearly 20 years and only $22,000 in the bank account, Brown is in a tight spot. The district though will likely have an African American majority in the Democratic primary which may be what the commission requires to elect an African American Democrat.

Florida's 11th District Rich Nugent (R) Safe Republican

(18+ population) 84% W, 6% AA, 8% H
Obama 43.4%, McCain 56.6%
Obama 40.4%, Romney 59.6%

(without Gainesville option)

Data (without Gainesville option)

Florida's 2nd District: Vacant (Ted Yoho (R)?) Safe R
(18+ population) W 80%, AA 12%, H 4%
Obama 34.1%, McCain 65.9%
Obama 33.4%, Romney 66.6%

The 2nd district becomes more Republican with the removal of Tallahassee and the addition of Republican rural counties in the central northern part of Florida. While these counties may be less Republican downballot, long gone are the days when Democrats could win a 34% Obama district. Gwen Graham (D) is the incumbent but she will not run here without her Tallahassee base. A Republican will succeed her. 

+1 Republican. 

Florida's 3rd District: Ted Yoho (R)? Safe R
(18+ population) W 72%, AA 14%, H 8%
Obama 45.1%, McCain 54.9%
Obama 42.5%, Romney 57.5%

The 3rd district drops from 61% to 57% Romney with the addition of all of heavily Democratic Gainesville. At the same time, the district represents heavily Republican Jacksonville suburbs in Clay and St. Johns County with no history of electing Democrats. Rep. Yoho can say "yahoo" because he is not losing to a Democrat in this 57% Romney district (but he should watch out for a primary). 

Florida's 4th District Ander Crenshaw (R) Safe R
(18+ population) W 78%, AA 10%, H 6%
Obama 36.1%, McCain 63.9%
Obama 34.6%, Romney 65.4%

The 4th district loses heavily Republican precincts in Clay County and exchanges them for more heavily Republican precincts in St. Johns County (and a few Democratic precincts in St. Augustine). While I feel bad for my Democratic relatives in St. Augustine, this district will remain safely Republican. 

Florida's 5th District Gwen Graham (D) vs. Corrine Brown (D) Tossup between two Democrats
(18+ population) W 47.2% AA 42.4% H 6.0%
Obama 64.5%, McCain 35.5%
Obama 63.9%, Romney 36.1%

While an ideal Democratic proposal would not link Tallahassee and Jacksonville, the court's decision required "east to west" so if the Democrats chose that interpretation, they would draw this district. The new 5th district loses the snake to Orlando and Gainesville and instead gains a snake through some rural counties to Tallahassee. It is impossible to draw an African American pluarity seat so I opted for a minority majority seat. Rep. Brown represents Jacksonville and Rep. Graham represents Tallahassee and they will likely primary each other. Brown has fought against dismantling her gerrymandered district and netting an extra Democratic seat in Orlando. Also, Graham could run for Governor in 2018 and she won a swing district in 2014, the worst possible year for Democrats showing she has the skills to win statewide. So I am obviously supporting Graham. Most of the Democratic primary (roughly 60%-66%) should be African American, potentially making it difficult for Graham but Brown has only raised $22,000 and Graham won a difficult race in 2014 (Brown has not won a competitive race in over 20 years) so Graham has a chance. Furthermore, another African American candidate could see Brown's weakness and run, creating an easier path for Graham. 

Florida's 6th District Vacant Tossup/Tilt Democratic
(18+ population) W 76%, AA 11%, H 10%
Obama 53.2%, McCain 46.8%
Obama 49.9%, Romney 50.1%

The 6th district loses heavily Republican Putnam and St. Johns Counties and gains Democratic leaning Deltona in Volusia County and Democratic Sanford in Seminole County. These changes bring Romney's margin from 16.4% to 0.2%, making it the closest district in Florida in the 2012 Presidential election. Both Flagler and Volusia Counties in the district are swing counties, supporting Obama in 2008 narrowly and Romney in 2012 narrowly. The district also better represents communities of interest because the old district combined Jacksonville suburbs with Daytona Beach nearly 100 miles away while the new one combines Orlando suburbs only 30 miles away from Daytona. The representative for the old 6th district (58% Romney) is freshman Ron DeSantis (R) who is running for Senate. A potential Democratic candidate for the 6th district is young Daytona Beach mayor Derrick Henry (D) who represents the largest city in the district and the center of Volusia County, one of the closest counties in Florida. The Republicans may nominate one of the many legislators from Flagler and Volusia Counties. Expect both parties to heavily invest in this district. In the end, I expect a very narrow Democratic win because it will be a Presidential year and the Democrats won 48% of the House vote here in 2012 even though neither district was contested by Democrats. This district could flip in 2018.

+0 Democrats (1 Gainesville)


Florida's 7th District John Mica (R) Safe Republican
(18+ population) W 73%, AA 8%, H 14%
Obama 45.8%, McCain 54.2%
Obama 44.2%, Romney 55.8%

Rep. Mica's district trades Democratic Sanford for Republican Lake County. Life is good for him, 

Florida's 8th District Bill Posey (R) Safe Republican
No change. 

Florida's 9th District Vacant (Darren Soto (D)?) 
W 44%, AA 9%, H 41%
Obama 60.5%, McCain 39.5%
Obama 61.7%, Romney 38.3%
With current Rep. Alan Grayson (D) running for Senate and making life harder for fellow Senate candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy (D), there will be a primary here. Soto as a legislator who ran previously has a strong shot. 

Florida 10th District Rep. Daniel Webster (R) vs. Val Demmings (D)?) Safe Democratic
(18+ population) 51% W, 24% AA, 18% Hispanic
Obama 59.6%, McCain 40.4%
Obama 59.4%, Romney 40.6%

The new 10th district unites the heavily African American neighborhoods in Orlando with nearby Orange County neighborhoods instead of Jacksonville neighborhoods more than 100 miles away from Orlando. As a result, the 10th now voted 59% for Obama. Rep. Webster can either run here and get demolished by 2012 candidate and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demmings (D) (she lost by 4 points in 2012 in Webster's 54-46 Romney district, running ahead of President Obama showing she is a strong candidate) or Webster can run in the 7th which contains a small percentage of his current district and get demolished by the entrenched Rep, Mica. Life is not good for Webster. 

+1 Democrats (2 Gainesville)

Florida's 11th District Rich Nugent (R) Safe Republican
(18+ population) W 86%, AA 5%, H 7%
Obama 42.5%, McCain 57.5%
Obama 39.6%, Romney 60.4%

Other than a few adjustments in Republican Marion County, the 11th does not change. It remains safely Republican. 

Florida's 12th District Gus Bilrakis (R) Safe Republican
(18+ population) W 83%, AA 3%, H 9%
Obama 47.9%, McCain 52.1%
Obama 46.6%, Romney 53.4%

Other than a few minor adjustments in southern Pinellas and easternn Pasco Counties, the district does not change and remains heavily Republican downballot. 

Florida's 13th District Vacant Likely Democratic
(18+ population) W 78%, AA 11%, H 7%
Obama 56.3%, McCain 43.7%
Obama 55.0%, Romney 45.0%

Originally, the old 13th District voted for President Obama by 2 points in 2012 and represented all of southern Pinellas County except for some heavily African American neighborhoods in St. Petersburg which were placed in the 14th district representing Hillsborough. This violated communities of interest and partisan intent so the 13th gained the heavily African American neighborhoods. Rep. David Jolly (R) bailed and is running in the Republican Senate primary which seems to get new candidates each minute. Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) suggested he may run for the 13th. He won Pinellas County by 11 points in his 2014 Gubernatorial bid so he has a strong chance to win. 

+1 Democrats

Florida's 14th District Kathy Castor (D) Safe Democratic 
(18+ population) 49% W, 19% AA, 26% Hispanic
Obama 61.7%, McCain 38.3%
Obama 61.5%, Romney 38.5%

The district is entirely within Hillsborough County,  representing communities of interest with Tampa and its close in suburbs. The 14th remains safely Democratic. 

Florida's 15th District Dennis Ross (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 71% W, 12% AA, 14% H
Obama 44.4%, McCain 55.6%
Obama 44.1%, Romney 55.9%

The district makes a few small adjustments but remains Republican and safe for Ross. 

Florida's 16th District Vern Buchanan (R) Safe Republican 
18+ population 80% W, 6% AA, 12% H
Obama 48.5%, McCain 51.5%
Obama 45.7%, Romney 54.3%

The district extends into Hillsborough County in order to prevent the 17th District from violating communities of interest and representing part of Hillsborough County. The district shifts 0.5% more Democratic and while the district saw competitive races in the late 2000s, Buchanan appears entrenched and should be safe. 

Florida's 17th District Tom Rooney (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 76% W, 7% AA, 14% H
Obama 44.3%, McCain 55.7%
Obama 41.9%, Romney 58.1%

The district swaps rural Hendry County for part of coastal Lee County and remains strongly Republican. 

Florida's 18th District Vacant Tossup
No Change

This district voted narrowly for Romney in 2012 and narrowly for President Obama in 2008. Rep. Murphy (D) won here in 2014 by 20 points however showing that voters here will side with a Democrat who brings the right message. The race is still developing.

South Florida

Florida's 19th District Curt Clawson (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 78% W, 6% AA, 14% H
Obama 43.3%, McCain 56.7%
Obama 40.0%, Romney 60.0%

Very minor changes here. The 19th lost a few Collier County precincts and gained a few in Lee. It still remains heavily Republican. 

Florida's  20th District Alcee Hastings (D) Safe Democratic
18+ population 30% W, 47% AA, 19% H
Obama 81.5%, McCain 18.5%
Obama 80.9%, Romney 19.1%

A few small changes but still remains majority African American and heavily Democratic. Moving along...

Florida's 21st District Ted Deutch (D)? Safe Democratic

18+ population W 68%, AA 10%, H 17%
Obama 58.4%, McCain 41.6%
Obama 58.0%, Romney 42.0%

The district loses all of Broward County and gains Palm Beach coastline, becoming a few points more Republican but remains Democratic.

Florida's 22nd District Lois Frankel (D)? Safe Democratic

18+ population W 68%, AA 10%, H 18%
Obama 62.7%, McCain 37.3%
Obama 59.3%, Romney 40.7%

This district gains the more Jewish parts of Broward County. It remains strongly Democratic.

Florida's 23rd District Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) Safe Democratic

No changes.

Florida's 24th District Frederica Wilson (D) Safe Democratic

No changes, Frederica Wilson will continue to delight the capitol with her hats.

South Florida zoomed in

Florida's 25th District Mario Diaz Barlet (R) Safe Republican

18+ population W 24%, AA 5%, H 68%
Obama 43.6%, McCain 56.4%
Obama 44.5%, Romney 55.5%
There are very minor changes as it loses Hendry County for VRA reasons. The Democrats will not dismantle the string to heavily Republican Collier County in order to keep swingy FL-18 within Palm Beach County.

Florida's 26th District Carlos Cueblo (R) Lean Democratic

18+ population W 20%, AA 11%, H 66%
Obama 54.3%, McCain 45.7%
Obama 57.3%, Romney 42.7%

This district becomes more Democratic as it gains areas with non Cuban Hispanics and consolidates communities of interest by representing neighborhoods below Highway 90 instead of simply splitting Democratic and Republican ones with the 27th. With these changes, the 2008 Obama percentage increases from 49.5% to 54.3%. I wanted to add more heavily Cuban areas around University Park into the 27th which would increase the Democratic percentage to 56% but that would increase teh 27th district to 80% Hispanic which could generate a lawsuit for packing. My goal was to keep the 26th district at 65% Hispanic or higher. Democrats won this district in 2012 and lost it in 2014 but with these changes, this already swingy district is now more Democratic and should elect one.

+3 Democrats (4 for Gainesville)

Florida's 27th District Illeana Ros Lehtinen (R) Safe Republican
18+ population 17% W, 3% AA, 78% H
Obama 44.7%, McCain 55.3%
Obama 48.6%, Romney 51.4%

Rather than waiting for entrenched and moderate Lehtinen to retire, the 27th district becomes more Republican and combines more communities of interest within the Miami area. This is Lehtinen's district for as long as she wants.

Overall, the Democrats will gain 1-3 seats under the new map, depending on how FL-18 and FL-6 vote. If the court upholds the Gainesville option, then the number increases to 2-4 seats. This could give the Democrats as many as 14 seats or as few as 11, depending how 2016 is.