Monday, April 25, 2016

Pennsylvania Primary Election Night Guide

On Tuesday April 19th, Hillary Clinton won New York by 16 points, further cementing her lead and pushing her closer to the nomination. The Sanders campaign has continued to press on claiming that they can win Pennsylvania and try to halt her momentum and push the argument that she will be a weak nominee. With Sanders expected to lose Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut (and win Rhode Island), a win in Pennsylvania could impact the direction of the race. Sanders has treated Pennsylvania as a major part of the race, he even gave his speech on the night of the NY primary here on April 19th showing that while his campaign knew he could not win New York, he would try hard to win Pennsylvania.
Overall, I expect Secretary Clinton to win Pennsylvania due to the similar demographics of New York but I expect a narrower margin (10%-12% instead of 16%) due to the smaller population of the Philadelphia area compared to the New York City population. This will be similar to the margin of her 2008 win where she won by ten points. The map though will be partially reversed from 2008 (in 2008, President Obama won Philadelphia, heavily African American areas and upscale Philadelphia suburbs while Secretary Clinton won strongly in rural and West PA). In 2016, I expect the votes to be partially reversed where Secretary Clinton performs well in Philadelphia, heavily African American and upscale areas while Sen. Sanders plays better (but not winning Secretary Clinton’s 70%+ margins) in rural and West PA.
This is a county by county analysis of Pennsylvania which will predict which counties Secretary Clinton and Sen. Sanders will win.
Pennsylvania primary divided.png
Philadelphia Map 
Dark Blue = Strong Clinton
Light Blue = Leaning Clinton
Grey = Tossup/not enough data
Light Green = Leaning Sanders
Dark Green = Strong Sanders
The dark lines represent my divisions between the Philadelphia metro, Eastern PA, Rural PA and West PA.
Philadelphia  Metropolitan Area:
Philadelphia suburbs.png
Philadelphia Metropolitan area 
With the largest minority percentage in the state, a high population of wealthy white voters and a similarity to New York areas Secretary Clinton won, the Philadelphia metropolitan area should be Secretary Clinton’s strongest area in the state.
In 2008, Philadelphia was President Obama’s strongest county in the Pennsylvania primary. In 2016, it will likely be Secretary Clinton’s strongest county in Pennsylvania. The reason is that Philadelphia is 45% African American, 13% Latino and 35% White. With Secretary Clinton’s 75%-25% margin with African American voters in NY  and 60% win in Brooklyn with a 34% African American population, Secretary Clinton  will likely overperform that 60% number and could win 65% in Philadelphia, a reversal from Obama’s 65% win there in 2008.
Delaware County:
With a generally wealthy population and a 21% African American population, Secretary Clinton should expect a strong win here similar to Westchester County which has similar demographics with upscale white voters and African Americans. Secretary Clinton may not win here 2-1 where she did in Westchester but a 61%-62% win here is very possible. This could be Secretary Clinton’s best or one of her best counties in the state.
Montgomery County:
I expect a Hillary win here due to the similar demographics to wealthy NYC suburbs but with a lower African American population (9%) and a large college  aged population (Lower Merion Township). Sanders could keep it narrower here than Delaware County but barring a massive Secretary Clinton collapse he should be unable to win here. The wealthy Democrats as shown in Nassau and Westchester Counties should back Clinton.
Bucks County:
If Sanders carries one county in the Philadelphia suburbs, it will likely be this one. Bucks County is 85% White and has many liberal upscale white voters. It also has  more working class voters as well. Still, I expect a Clinton win although I expect it to be narrow.
Eastern Pennsylvania:
Eastern Pennsylvania.png
Eastern PA 
This area represents the counties west of the Philadelphia metropolitan area and east of the rural areas in the Appalachian Mountains. The cities in this area include: Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown/Bethlehem and Scranton. Secretary Clinton should perform well in these areas (although not as well as the Philadelphia metropolitan area) with help from the growing Hispanic and New York transplant population.
Lehigh/Northampton Counties:
I am grouping these two counties together due to being neighbors and similar in demographics. While Allentown/Bethlehem may appear to Sanders country at first due to being heavily working class towns, they also have a rapidly growing Hispanic population and in Lehigh County, the White population recently dropped below 70%(and the Hispanic population increased above 20%). These demographic changes should allow Secretary Clinton to win here.
Dauphin County:
With an 18.7% African American population (that helped propel Obama to a 58%  win here in 2008), Secretary Clinton should perform well  here. I expect a 55%-56% here for her. Harrisburg, the capital of Philadelphia is located here but unlike Albany (which Sanders narrowly won), it has a larger African American population.
Berks County:
After the Allentown area, Berks County is the most heavily Hispanic part of Pennsylvania. I expect Hillary Clinton to play well here, although I do not expect her to win by a large margin.
Lackawanna County:
While Scranton, a heavily working class area could appear to Sanders territory at a first glance, Secretary Clinton has some advantages here. She won 73% in 2008 here, Scranton has demographic similarities to the Youngstown, OH area Secretary Clinton won and her ancestors had roots here, something she highlighted in her 2008 campaign. While Sen. Sanders’s economic message will resonate with many voters here, it may be enough to keep it close but not enough to win.
Monroe County:
This county has had one of the most rapid demographic changes in Pennsylvania in the last couple of decades. Many New York transplants have moved in here and the Hispanic and AFrican American populations have increased to 15% each. The New York transplants moving in though are mostly upscale retirees who are more similar to Westchester County voters than southern Staten Island voters so they are more likely to support Secretary Clinton. The demographic trend is similar to a lesser extent in nearby Pike County as well.
Rural Pennsylvania:
West Pennsylvania.png
Rural PA 
James Carville once said, “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia in the East, Pittsburgh in the West and Alabama in the middle.” Central Pennsylvania may not have a large African American population similarly to Alabama but may be similar in other ways. One of the ways it is not similar though is in Secretary Clinton’s margin. She won Alabama with 78%, that will not happen here. This is Sanders’s best chance to win a region of Pennsylvania. I expect the votes in this area to be more similar to central rural Upstate (strongly pro Sanders) than to Ohio or western New York (narrowly pro Secretary Clinton). I listed many of the rural PA counties as “leaning Sanders” because most of the Upstate counties bordering PA supported Sanders but by narrow margins so I expect the central rural part of the state to vote roughly 54%-55% Sanders.
Centre County:
This could be Sen. Sanders’s best county in Pennsylvania. It is home to “State College” where Penn State is located and has a large rural population as well. There is a little diversity but Sen. Sanders’s strength with young voters should give him a win of around 60% here.
Sullivan County:
Secretary Clinton has the potential to pull off an upset here. The reason is that 27% of the county’s population is 65+ and polls such as NBC/WSJ/Marist and Monmouth show her leading 66%-28% among 45+ voters and 57%-33% respectively among 65+ voters respectively giving Secretary Clinton a chance to win rural counties such as Sullivan County.
Pittsburgh/West Pennsylvania:
West Pennsylvania actual.png
West PA 
Western Pennsylvania should vote similarly to eastern Ohio and western New York. As shown by the numbers in Ohio and Western New York, western Pennsylvania will most likely be close but I expect a narrow Clinton win here. The reason  is that although Sanders did win most of western New York, his margins in Chautauqua County and Niagara County were narrow. These eastern Ohio results show that Secretary Clinton appears to do better in more urbanized working class areas while Sen. Sanders appears to do better in more rural ones as shown by Central New York. Also, the 65+ percentage of the population is higher here than in most Upstate counties. Central New York also has many similarities to Vermont, Sen. Sanders’s home state. Furthermore, many of the West PA Democrats tend to be more conservative than the rural Upstate voters who are more liberal.
Allegheny County:
With a 13% African American population and a small but growing base of wealthy white voters, Secretary Clinton could win here with a 10%-12% margin. Similarly to the 2008 primary, I expect Allegheny County’s results to mirror the state’s. With an African American population of 13%, working class white voters and upscale white voters, Allegheny County is a good representation of the state in the Democratic primary.
Erie County:
The Erie County in New York (with Buffalo) voted for Secretary Clinton by one point. Erie County, PA should be close as well with bordering Chattaqua County in NY voting for Sen. Sanders by eight points and Ashtabula County on the west voting for Secretary Clinton by 10 points. Overall, I expect a narrow Secretary Clinton win here but I would not be surprised if Sen. Sanders won here.
Overall, I predict another Secretary Clinton win in PA, this time by 10-12 points.
Philadelphia area: Secretary Clinton wins Philadelphia overwhelmingly, wins all the suburbs with Bucks County being close.
Eastern Pennsylvania: Secretary Clinton wins most urban areas, she wins strongly in the Harrisburg area but might lose the Scranton area.
Rural Pennsylvania: while Sanders is likely to win, look for upsets in counties that are 20%+ 65 and older such as Sullivan and Forest Counties.
Western Pennsylvania: Secretary Clinton is likely to carry it due to the higher percentages of older voters than in Upstate New York and demographic similarity to Ohio counties that she narrowly carried.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Key Counties to Watch in the New York Primary

On April 19th, the New York primary will take place. Donald Trump is expected to win on the Republican side but on the Democratic side, if Secretary Clinton wins here and she wins with a large margin (10% or more), she could solidify her position as the frontrunner and make her delegate lead nearly insurmountable in top of the media fallout that would have occurred if she were not victorious.

Sen. Sanders has had a string of wins and is hoping that if he wins New York, the win can generate momentum to carry California and then give him the imputes to persuade super delegates to support him. At the same time, Sen. Sanders  needs to win 56% of the remaining delegates and if he loses New York by more than 10 points, not only does the delegate deficit  become larger, he loses the momentum he needs for any success the campaign would have. The RCP polling average shows Secretary Clinton with a 14 point lead, showing  she is on track to win with the margin she needs.   Furthermore, one of the most demographically favorable states for him, Wisconsin went for him by 14 points, barely above the 12 point average he needs through the rest of the contest and not enough for any significant changes in the race for the nomination.

This article is  a county by county analysis showing which counties and demographic groups to watch on Election night.

Sen. Sanders’ strategy: Win crushing margins in Upstate, especially in the 21st district (near Vermont), keep Hillary’s margins in the New York City Boroughs low, win Manhattan and win Suffolk County. Also outperform the Teachout map (Zephyr Teachout  was a Progressive primary challenger for Governor Cuomo in 2014 and lost by 28 points but played well with white rural upstate voters).
Teachout vs. Cuomo Map:
Yellow = Cuomo
Green = Teachout

Secretary Clinton’s strategy: Win all five boroughs, win overwhelming margins  with African Americans and Latinos, win Suffolk County, win the Lower Hudson River Valley, win all major urban areas Upstate and surprise the pundits by winning some rural counties Teachout won.  

Predicted County Map for the New York Primary:
New York Map election.png
Dark Blue = Clinton
Light Blue = Sanders
Gray = Too close to Call/not enough information

New York City Boroughs:
New York City.png
Yes, Brooklyn may be famous for its hipsters and I am sure we all know which Democratic candidate  hipsters will back. At the same time, Brooklyn has a large African American population (34%) and a large Jewish population (23%). Many of those Jews are Orthodox and as shown by Hillary’s margins in heavily Jewish Palm Beach County in Florida, she is very popular with New York Jews. A Fox News poll also showed her with a 59%-35% lead among Jews, and it is probably higher with Orthodox Jewish population. While Sen. Sanders may play better with younger and more secular Jews in Manhattan, there are many Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn who should wind up voting for Clinton. My grandmother grew up in Brighton Beach so I have a genuine  connection to Brooklyn and have learned very much about the Brooklyn culture from her. Secretary Clinton won Brooklyn by under one point in 2008 vs. then Sen. Barack Obama despite performing poorly with the African American community.  With the added support from African Americans, Hillary should increase her margin and win Brooklyn with 58%-60% of the vote.  

Staten Island:
On paper, Staten Island should be Sen. Sanders country. It is white and working class. At the same time, it should support Secretary Clinton because many Democrats here are generally conservative and also, there is a growing minority population as well that would keep the Sanders numbers lower than anticipated.

While Sen. Sanders may not win Manhattan, this is the borough he would have the best chance to win. The reason is that while many voters here may be the “limousine” liberals that would potentially vote for Sanders, there are large numbers of college students in NYU and Columbia that would vote with Sanders. Secretary Clinton will likely win Manhattan due to strong support from Harlem and Washington Heights (Manhattan has an 18% African American population and a 26% Hispanic population) but it could be close.

Sen. Sanders may play better here than Brooklyn but the 21% African American and 28% Latino figures do not help him. Still I expect a tighter margin here than in Brooklyn (about 56%-57% for Secretary Clinton). The reason is that Queens is 25% Asian and Bernie has been shown to perform better with Asian voters than African American and Latino voters.

If Secretary Clinton’s margins with Puerto Ricans are similar to her Floridian margins with Puerto Ricans (many Floridian Puerto Ricans moved there from New York), expect a resounding performance here, with about 65% of the vote. If Sen. Sanders does better than expected  among Latinos (one poll shows a tie while others show Secretary Clinton leading with Latinos), expect a Secretary Clinton win but narrower (57%).

Suburban Counties:
New York suburbs.png

Nassau County:
Attacking Wall Street works across most of the country but in Nassau County with cities such as Great Neck and Oyster Bay with large Wall Street populations, it definitely does not. Secretary Clinton should win Nassau County and having heavily African American Hempstead in the county does not hurt either (Nassau County is 13% African American).

Rockland County:
Despite being Jewish, Sen. Sanders has struggled to perform well with older and Orthodox Jewish voters (but plays better with secular, younger and Progressive Jews) as mentioned earlier. Due to the high Orthodox Jewish population in Rockland County with a 31% Jewish population (highest % of Jews in any county in the U.S), I would expect a solid victory for Secretary Clinton.

Suffolk County:
If Sen. Sanders wins one suburban county, it will be this one. The African American and Hispanic populations are lower here. There is also less wealth here than in Nassau County and many of the middle class south shore voters may be open to Sanders. If Sanders fails to win Suffolk County, expect a bad night for him.

Westchester County:
Besides being Secretary Clinton’s home as a Senator, Westchester County was almost made for her. Not only does it have a sizable African American and Latino population (16% and 24% respectively), it also has large number of wealthy white voters. Those voters are Secretary Clinton’s strength (as shown in the Massachusetts suburbs on Super Tuesday) so she should perform well here.

Upstate New York:
Upstate New York.png
I expect Sen. Sanders to play  well here and win most of the central rural counties, due to the high number of progressive rural white voters and proximity to his home state Vermont (yes, I expect Secretary Clinton to lose “Clinton County” because it borders Vermont and has the demographic profile of counties Sen. Sanders wins). Secretary Clinton though has relationships in Upstate Counties and performed well in the 2008 primary. The NBC poll shows Sen. Sanders with a 1 point lead in Upstate, suggesting a close race here. The counties where Secretary Clinton can perform the best include:

Erie County (Buffalo):
On March 15th, Secretary Clinton surprised many pundits by not only winning Ohio but winning by 14 points and winning urban areas that faced large manufacturing job loss such as Cleveland and Toledo. Buffalo is similar demographically to many of those Ohio cities and Erie County has a 13% African American population, suggesting Secretary Clinton should play well here.

Albany County:
Due to the 12% African American population and large number of voters here involved in New York politics (New York politicians and political workers are firmly behind Secretary Clinton), I expect she will carry Albany County.

Monroe County (Rochester):
With the 16% African American population and similarity to Buffalo, Secretary Clinton  should win here as well.

Orange County:
This county is a fine boundary between Upstate and Downstate with a small population of Jewish voters, some Latinos (19%) and some African Americans (12%). I expect a Secretary Clinton  win here due to demographics and Orthodox Jews in places such as Kiryas Joel but the progressives here may keep it close for Sen. Sanders.

Other borderline Upstate/NYC Metro Counties: I expect Secretary Clinton to win Putnam County due to the high income level of the voters. The counties Bernie should win include Dutchess and Ulster (Secretary Clinton won Ulster by only 3 in 2008).

Overall, I expect a 10%-15% win for Secretary Clinton in New York. Her ability to win demographic groups such as African Americans, Latinos and Jews will be extremely helpful here, as well as Bernie’s stalled momentum after the Daily News Interview, the delegate tie in Wyoming (most pundits expected a blowout there), and the “not qualified” comment he recently made.

Here is how I see New York Regionally:
Secretary Clinton will most likely win all five boroughs with the closest being Manhattan..
Secretary Clinton will win all the suburban counties with the possible exceptions of Suffolk and Orange Counties.
Secretary Clinton will lose in Central Upstate due to the Progressive streak and proximity to Vermont but may do well in Western New York (Buffalo, Rochester) due to the similarities to the voters she won in Ohio and relationships she previously built as Senator.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Will Trump Hurt House Republicans?

Cross posted on which has more election analysis. 
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Recently, the cook political report updated its House race ratings and all ten races favored Democrats. Before mid March of 2016, most pundits assumed that Democrats could not take the House. Trump may be the nomiee  and can harm downballot Republican candidates with his hateful rhetoric. While the downballot Republicans may not make the statements themselves, many will endorse Trump for President and many may appear with him at rallies. One however has already implied that he will not endorse Trump and possibly even vote for Hillary. This representative, Carlos Cuebelo (R) represents FL-26, a Democratic leaning and heavily Hispanic district that he narrowly won in 2014. 
The main question is though how strong of an impact will Trump have on downballot races? My answer is that if his candidacy causes high Democratic turnout, it will. If Trump’s candidacy does not generate high turnout among Democrats but only causes Independents to switch, it will not. As shown in states such as Ohio, Virginia and New York, Democratic wave elections that rely on low propensity voters (infrequent voters) have stronger downballot effects than wave elections that rely on persuading Independents.  
1. Ohio in 2006: Ohio in 2006 is a prime example of how top of the ticket races that rely on persuading voters instead of turning out base voters do not help downticket. In 2006, Rep. Ted Strickland (D) won the Governorship with 60%. He won for a couple of reasons. One was that Strickland’s opponent, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (R) was unpopular statewide. Strickland also ran touting his moderate roots and connection to Appalachia (he represented a congressional district in southeastern Ohio). At the same time, Democrats failed to make major gains in House  seats. They only gained one, Rep. Bob Ney’s (R) seat which could have been explained as the result of a scandal. 
Ohio 2006 Gubernatorial Election results (red and blue are switched) 
As shown by the 2006 exit polls, turnout among key groups such as African Americans, Democrats and young voters remained similar to 2004 but Independents backed Strickland by 43 points. Therefore, Republicans won House seats such as OH-15 which was located in the Columbus area and strongly backed Strickland. The reason the Republican won though was that the voters were not low propensity Democrats but regular voters who backed Republicans in the past (OH-15 supported Bush in 2004) and decided to stick with Republicans downballot. Columbus has a high number of  college students and African Americans so a high  turnout among those groups would be problematic for Republicans in this district. The same happened in OH-01 as well which voted for  Bush by 2 points in 2004. The district is located around Cinncinatti and has a high African American population (27%).  
In 2008 however, although Obama won by five points instead of 24 in Ohio, turnout was stronger among young voters, African Americans and Democrats. OH-15 flipped however with help from high turnout from African Americans and young voters in Franklin County (Columbus). OH-01 flipped as well. With high  African American turnout in Cinncinati, OH-01 flipped as well. 
2. 2008 Virginia: in 2008, President Obama won Virginia by seven points, thanks to high turnout among upscale liberals/Hispanics/Asians  in Northern Virginia, high turnout from African Americans in SE  VA and high turnout from college students in areas such as Charlottesville. It is no surprise that Democrats gained three House seats in Virginia in 2008 despite gaining none in  2006. Even though Democrats won on top of the ticket, Dems won on winning over Independents, not by turning out low propensity voters.  
In 2006, Democrats did win a Senate seat with Jim Webb (D) defeating  Sen. George Allen (R). Webb’s strategy though did not appear to rely on turning out low propensity voters but appeared to rely on winning over blue dog Democrats in SW VA with his moderate views and winning over upscale voters in NoVA due to Allen’s extremism. Allen called an Indian campaign  worker of Webb’s a “macaca” (a racial slur from North Africa). Webb used that to cause upscale voters who may have backed Bush in 2004 (Bush received 46% in Fairfax County, the main suburban county in NoVa), to switch to Webb (Allen won 40% of the Fairfax County vote). At the same time, those voters voted Republican downballot. Take VA-11 for example, it flipped in 2008 when Obama won it by 11 but its Republican incumbent won by 13 points. The reason is  that its incumbent, Tom Davis (R) was a moderate similar to many of the upscale voters who switched from Bush in 2004 to Webb in 2006. If Webb had brought out more low propensity Democrats though, they may have voted against Davis. 
2008 overall was a strong year for Democrats in Virginia. Besides Obama winning statewide by seven points, Democrats also gained VA-2 and VA-5. VA-2 was a district in the Hampton Roads with a sizable African American population that turned out to elect  a Democrat. VA-5 is a rural district with some  African Americans as well as young voters in Charlottesville. 
3. New York 2014: In 2010, Andrew Cuomo (D), then Gubernatorial candidate was thought to be facing a tough race (a poll showed him leading by only 6 points). Cuomo won by 28 points. Democrats however lost many House seats in New York, especially in Upstate. The reason is that although Cuomo may have won, he won by winning over enough center right voters. The Republican candidate, Carl Paladino (R) was in my opinion in a mini Donald Trump. Paladino told a reporter who asked him a tough question, “I’ll take you out!” Paladino then went on to compare being LGBT to being alcoholic. At his concession speech, Paladino also appeared to threaten newly elected Gov. Cuomo with a baseball bat. One can also make parallels between Paladino and Trump (they both made outlandish statements and both had a chance at winning for awhile) but that is a discussion for another article. 
 In 2014, Cuomo had angered most of the Democratic base and won by only 13 points, despite being on no one’s radar. At the same time though, Democratic turnout was extremely low hurting Democrats across the state. In NY-24 for example, a 57% Obama seat centered around Syracuse, a Republican John Katko (R) won it thanks to low Democratic turnout. Also, Rep.  Bishop (D) lost a Long Island Congressional seat that he had held for 12 years and won through 2010 and the Republican leaning years of 2002 and 2004. 
Overall, Trump will hurt House Republicans as long as his candidacy increases Democratic turnout.  It should not be difficult for Democrats to bring out their base regardless of the nominee, especially  with Trump’s hateful comments toward women, hateful comments toward Hispanics and refusal to denounce the KKK. If Trump’s candidacy though fails to turnout the Democratic base and instead mainly persuades moderate suburban Republicans to support the nominee, it will  not have as strong an impact downballot.
Also, both Democrats have arguments that they will increase higher turnout. Hillary’s campaign will argue that they can increase turnout with African Americans and Hispanics and Bernie’s campaign will argue that they will increase turnout among young people. With Trump’s candidacy though, turnout among all three groups should skyrocket. 
At this time, it is still unlikely that Democrats regain the House due to gerrymandering but  they can greatly narrow the GOP majority. At least any swing district Democrats hold with a high Hispanic population will now be safer due to high Hispanic turnout against Trump. What will be important for Democrats though is that besides persuading center right Hispanics, they also need to register and turnout as many low propensity Hispanic voters as they can. As shown in Ohio, New York and Virginia, sweeping Democratic wins have stronger coattail effects when those sweeping Democratic wins are fueled by low propensity voters instead of simply by persuading Independents to vote Democratic in a top of the ticket race.