Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Colorado Baselines 2010

A few weeks ago, it appeared that Colorado would hold two very competitive races. One race would be the Colorado Gubernatorial race. John Hickelooper (D), the mayor of Denver is facing the former Western Slope congressman Scott McInnis (R). Then McInnis plagiarized so he has imploded. One Republican, Tom Tancredo from conservative Denver suburbs has announced he will run as a Constitution Party member. With the Republican vote split, Hickelooper should win easily unless the Republicans line up with Tancredo. The Senatorial race is a more interesting story. Michael Bennett (D) will either face Jane Norton (R) or Ken Buck (R) who are both very conservative and are destroying each other in the primary. Most polls show a close race here.

Although election night is far away, I have here a map with the baselines. The baselines show how each county in Colorado will vote if the race is tied. You may have seen my earlier baseline posts on races in Maryland, Nevada, Florida and/or Oregon. I put in results from individual candidates to get baselines there but now the only results I am using for the baselines are Obama's 2008 election results. At first, it does not seem too accurate but it probably is because Obama's improvement over Kerry in 2004 was mostly uniform across the state. The only place that may go more Democratic than the map suggests is the Hispanic areas in southern Colorado. The Denver suburbs might vote more Republican but since there are two Denver area Democrats on the ticket, it could tilt the suburbs towards the Democrats. I am also expecting Democratic turnout in the Rocky Mountain counties to drop a bit if the Democrats are unable to excite voters there. Also, I will soon add exit poll baselines with demographic numbers from 2004.
Anyway, the Democrats need to win by pulling out big margins in Denver and Boulder, winning the suburban swing counties of Jefferson and Araphoe and win enough ski area counties. The Republicans need to win by winning big in Douglas and El Paso Counties. They also need to do well in rural Colorado and the Western Slope by winning big in Mesa County. Without further ado, here is the map of the baselines

Here is a link for a clearer map of Colorado: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/maps/colorado_map.html

Dark Red: Republican 65%+
Red: Republican 55%-64%
Light Red: Republican 50%-54%
Light Blue: Democrat 50%-54%
Blue: Democrat 55%-64%
Dark Blue: Democrat 65%+
County Names Democrat Republican


Adams 54% 46%

Alamosa 53% 47%

Arapahoe 52% 48%

Archuleta 39% 61%

Baca 22% 78%

Bent 38% 62%

Boulder 69% 31%

Broomfield 51% 49%

Chaffee 45% 55%

Cheyenne 15% 85%

Clear Creek 55% 45%

Conejos 52% 48%

Costilla 70% 30%

Crowley 32% 68%

Custer 31% 69%

Delta 29% 71%

Denver 72% 28%

Dolores 27% 73%

Eagle 57% 43%

Elbert 26% 74%

El Paso 36% 64%

Fremont 31% 69%

Garfield 45% 55%

Gilpin 57% 43%

Grand 45% 55%

Gunnison 60% 40%

Hinsdale 37% 63%

Huerfano 51% 49%

Jackson 26% 74%

Jefferson 50% 50%

Kiowa 19% 81%

Kit Carson 23% 77%

Lake 58% 42%

La Plata 53% 47%

Larmier 50% 50%

Douglas 37% 63%

Las Animas 49% 51%

Lincoln 21% 79%

Logan 29% 71%

Mesa 31% 69%

Mineral 41% 59%

Moffat 24% 76%

Montezuma 36% 64%

Montrose 31% 69%

Morgan 33% 67%

Otero 40% 60%

Ouray 50% 50%

Park 42% 58%

Philips 23% 77%

Prowers 29% 71%

Pueblo 53% 47%

Rio Blanco 17% 83%

Rio Grande 41% 59%

Routt 59% 41%

Saguache 60% 40%

San Juan 50% 50%

San Miguel 73% 27%

Pitkin 70% 30%

Sedgwick 31% 69%

Summit 62% 38%

Teller 32% 68%

Washington 17% 83%

Weld 41% 59%

Yuma 21% 79%

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The First Gubernatorial Rankings for 2010

You may have seen my Senate rankings that I posted about two weeks ago. Unfortunately, those rankings did not cover all the races because they just mentioned the races I believed were most likely to switch parties. In the Senate, there appeared to be a large amount of movement in what party picked up seats. In the Gubernatorial elections though, there appears to be even more movement because of many term limited Governors. Many Governorships are switching parties mostly because it is easier to become Governor based on personal popularity instead of what letter is next to your name on the ballot. In Wyoming, the Governor is Dave Freudental (D) but in Hawaii, the Governor is Linda Lingle (R). Both of these Governorships should switch parties and by looking at the polls, it appears that people are becoming more partisan. Democratic states seem to be leaning towards Democratic Governors and Republican states are leaning towards Republican Governors. There are a few exceptions though including Illinois where unpopular Pat Quinn (D) may lose to the conservative Downstate candidate Bill Brady (R) who has far right views on a woman's right to choose. Another exception is Georgia where former Governor Roy Barnes (D) is running. Right now, I am looking at the Republican getting an overall gain of 1-3 seats. Now here are the rankings:

Safe Dem (3 held seats, 1 potential Democratic pickup)
Arkansas (Beebe), Hawaii OPEN (Lingle), New Hampshire (Lynch), New York OPEN (Paterson)

Likely Dem (0 seats)

Lean Dem (4 held seats, 3 potential Democratic pickups)
Colorado OPEN (Ritter), Conneticut OPEN (Rell), Florida OPEN (Crist), Georgia OPEN (Perdue), Maine OPEN (Baldacci), Maryland (O'Malley), Oregon OPEN (Kulogoshi)

Toss Up/Tilt Democratic (2 held seats, 2 potential Democratic pickups)
California OPEN (Schwarzenegger), Massachusetts (Patrick), Minnesota OPEN (Pawlenty), New Mexico OPEN (Richardson)

REAL Toss Ups (2 Democratic seats, 2 Republican seats)
Illinois (Quinn), Ohio (Strickland), Rhode Island OPEN (Carcieri), Vermont OPEN (Douglas)

Toss Up/Tilt Republican (1 held seat, 2 potential Republican pickups)
Michigan OPEN (Granholm), Texas (Perry), Wisconsin OPEN (Doyle)

Lean Republican (2 held seats, 1 potential Republican pickup)
Arizona (Brewer), Nevada OPEN (Gibbons), Pennsylvania OPEN (Rendell)

Likely Republican (4 held seats, 3 potential Republican pickups)
Alabama OPEN (Riley), Iowa (Culver), Nevada OPEN (Gibbons), Oklahoma OPEN (Henry), South Carolina OPEN (Sanford), Tennessee OPEN (Bredesen)

Solid Republican (4 held seats, 2 potential Republican pickups)
Alaska (Parnell), Idaho (Otter), Kansas OPEN (Parkinson), Nebraska (Heineman), South Dakota (Rounds), Utah (Herbert), Wyoming OPEN (Freudental)

Do you agree or disagree with the rankings? What are yours? Please feel free to shrae your thoughts.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How Lee Fisher Can Win

 Yet again, Ohio will be a battleground state for a hard fought race. In 2004, this state was ground zero for campaigning as Bush and Kerry focused all their efforts here. Kerry did well in traditionally Democratic cities and even did well in urban swing counties. He unfortunately could not match Bush's margins in rural and suburban counties so he lost. In 2008 though, Obama turned out the cities even more. He improved in certain rural areas, most specifically the northern and western parts of the state. The area Obama was most successful in improving over Kerry was the suburbs of the big cities. Still, the national trend to Obama over Kerry was higher than the trend in Ohio. In the 2010 Senate race, Lee Fisher (D) will need to perform well to be successful in winning Ohio like Obama. Fisher is the Lieutenant Governor and he is from Cleveland. Before he was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2006 , Fisher was a State Senator from Cleveland. Polls show him in a tight race for George Voinovich's (R) open U.S Senate seat against Rob Portman (R). Besides being a former congressman from the Cincinnati area, Portman worked under the Bush Administration. Although 2010 should be a good year for Republicans, Fisher has a chance of actually picking up a Republican Senate seat by beating Portman. Fisher will soon have to face Portman's deep pockets but Fisher can still win this race. Here are some good ways for him to do that:
  • Make the race about Portman and his background. Rob Portman was a U.S trade representative under the Bush Administration.  On his website, Fisher does mention how he will not be a continuation of Bush policies. Unfortunately, this strategy is starting to become stale with the Democrats' popularity falling. The strategy works though because Portman is not an outsider Republican, he was a Republican in the Bush Administration. Fisher must remind voters about how bad Bush was while portraying himself as someone with new ideas. Already, Fisher mentions on his website frequently how he  does not represent the policies that lead us into this economic decline but Portman does. Something else Fisher does well is that he has a page devoted to jobs with a detailed plan for creating them. He needs to keep focusing on jobs. It did not work for Kerry in 2004 in Ohio but it will work now.
  • Focus more on the rural voters. Fisher's website does have a page for rural voters but it should be more detailed and show specific ways Fisher helped farmers and others in rural communities. Farmers and others in rural areas were the reason Bush won Ohio in 2004 so if Fisher can swing some of them to the Democrats, he should be successful. Fisher should run an ad showing how Portman wanted to cut farm subsidies by 60% while Fisher has strongly supported the 2008 farm bill and development for rural communities. Fisher highlights how he strongly fought crime and helped children in urban areas. These issues should help with votes in Cleveland, Akron and will probably play well in Columbus. Farmers working on their crops will not be thinking about crime in urban areas right now though.
  • Win the rural counties near the Ohio River (also known as Southeast Ohio.) Fisher has roots in Northeast Ohio while Portman is popular in the Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio areas. The union presence may help Fisher in Southeast Ohio but if Fisher wants to win, he must run up numbers here. In 2006, successful Gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland (D) and Senatorial candidate Sherrod Brown piled up large margins in these counties. In 2004, Kerry tried to win by winning big margins in Northeast Ohio. Even though he won areas outside of Northeast Ohio like Columbus and Dayton, it still was not enough to win. Overall, Kerry proved that unless you do well in rural areas (or run up margins in urban areas outside of Northeast Ohio,) you cannot win in Ohio. For Fisher to win here, he needs to highlight his family's background as eastern European immigrants. Although many voters are Scots-Irish, there is a good portion of eastern European immigrant descendants throughout Northeast Ohio and the river counties. Also, Fisher needs to highlight strongly how he helped workers rights with his support of the Paycheck Fairness Act for example.
  • Win the progressive base that supported Jennifer Brunner (D) before Fisher beat her in the Senatorial primary. This should not be too hard for Fisher even though Brunner said she will not endorse him. This should not impact Fisher strongly because there is not a large progressive base in Ohio. Many of the Democrats here are more liberal on issues like the economy but are not the environment liberals you find in California or the social liberals you find in New York City. Columbus and Athens are two of the few areas where progressives are strong. Fisher is trying to appeal to the base by highlighting his work on civil rights. Also, the results from the primary show Fisher not doing poorly in progressive areas so maybe he never had any trouble with them at all.
  • Match Portman on the money front. Rob Portman is beating Fisher on the money front. Fisher could consider pandering to the progressive base but that could hurt his standing among moderates. Anyway, Brunner was considered the progressive but she received little money from donors, even the progressive base. At the primary, Brunner interestingly won some rural counties with few progressives though. If Fisher successfully painted Portman as a product of the Bush Administration, he could energize some progressives which would cause him to raise money. Still, Fisher should not nationalize the race. I believe the best way for Fisher to get money is through the unions because they are powerful in Ohio and he has a record of supporting workers rights.
Overall, Fisher is running a good campaign with putting jobs as front and center and making comparisons between Portman and Bush. He is also solidifying his lead in urban Ohio by talking about how he helped reduce crime. What he needs to do is focus more on rural issues and rural voters. Highlighting his family's background as immigrants from Russia and working in the steel industry helps him along the Ohio River and strengthens him in  Northeast Ohio. Many farmers and other rural residents cannot relate to Fisher's family story though. Fisher does not give specific examples of bills he helped work on or sponsored to help rural areas. Saying you support rural residents is good but Fisher must give specific examples of how he helped them. If urban voters turn out strongly for Fisher because he highlighted important issues for them such as crime and workers rights but if Fisher also keeps down margins in rural areas, Fisher can be Ohio's next Senator.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Senate Race Rankings

These are my first rankings of any set of seats for the 2010 Congressional elections. The Senate outlook for the Democrats was at first good (this was early 2009.) Then it became poor as fall hit but now the Democrats have a stronger shot in the Senate. Still, the Republicans will pick up seats but the Democrats will still have a majority in the Senate. I am expecting the Republican to pick up 5 seats and they should lose one or two so I am looking at a 3-4 seat gain for the Republican. This is more optimistic than other rankings I have seen but Republican candidates made some mistakes and/or Democrats found the right candidates. Unfortunately, with the economy starting to slump again, the climate will be less favorable to the Democrats. Still, in many races, it is the candidate and not the climate that people are thinking about when they cast their ballots. This at first looks good for the Democrats but it actually helps the Republicans in a few states such as Illinois where Obama and Democrats are popular but Republicans are waging tough races. Enough chatter about Senate races, to the rankings!

1. North Dakota OPEN (D)
Byron Dorgan (D) retired so popular Governor John Hoeven (R) is running. The race was over before it even started.
Ranking: Safe Republican

2. Arkansas Blanche Lincoln (D)
Blanche Lincoln held off the unions (which were never powerful in Arkansas,) the progressives and Bill Halter (D)  when she won the Democratic primary with the help of Bill Clinton. Although Blanche Lincoln came from behind to win, that should not happen this time. Rep John Boozmen (R) from the northwest portion of the state (where Wal Mart was started) is running. All recent polls show Boozmen with a lead about 20 points. Although this race has not been polled for a couple of weeks, all indications clearly show that Boozmen is ahead. Barring a major gaffe or a big burst of luck, Boozmen will be Arkansas's next Senator.
Ranking: Likely Republican

3. Delaware OPEN Ted Kaufman (D)
The Democrats have had bad luck with this seat. First, Michael Castle (R), Delaware's popular representative threw his hat in the ring and Beau Biden (D), Joe Biden's son who was supposed to run jumped ship. Now Democrats nominated New Castle County (Wilmington) executive, Chris Coons (D) to run for Senate. It should be noted that New Castle County is a bellwether so Coons already has an advantage. Michael Castle though is a moderate and is well known throughout the state but if people get fed up with all the incumbents...Still, expect a Michael Castle win.
Ranking: Lean Republican

4. Indiana OPEN Evan Bayh (D)
Bye Bayh, after being a popular Governor and Senator, Bayh left open a seat the Democrats should have held. Dan Coats (R) is a former Republican Senator and lobbyist who won the primary with only 40% of the vote. He faces Brad Ellsworth (D), the moderate and popular Congressman from southern Indiana, filled with rural swing voters. Although Ellsworth is moderate and should do well with rural voters, Dan Coats has a strong lead. Ellsworth just got out an effective ad attacking lobbyists (not explicitly mentioning the one running against him.) This is helpful but he also needs to appeal to urban voters who were key to Obama's winning coalition in 2008. I think due to the Republican lean of the state and the year's climate, Coats will win by about 5 points.
Ranking: Toss Up/Tilt Republican

5. Colorado Michael Bennett (D)
Michael Bennett was the former School Superintendent for Colorado and he was appointed by Bill Ritter (D) because Ken Salazar (D) was pulled out to become Secretary of the Interior. Now Republicans Ken Buck and Jane Norton are challenging Bennett. Also, Bennett faces a challenge from Andrew Romanoff (D) who is the former speaker for Colorado's House. Although the Republicans are not very moderate, Bennett keeps trailing them by a few points and Romanoff trails them too. Ken Buck though, the leader in the primary favors strong cuts to the Department of Education and Norton favors eliminating it. This could come back to haunt them. Most polls show Bennett winning the primary but I do not have a good feeling about this race.
Ranking: Toss Up/Tilt Republican

6. Missouri OPEN Christopher Bond (R)
I was debating whether I should put Ohio here but in the end, I decided that this spot belonged to Missouri. Christopher Bond, one of the dwindling group of reasonable Republicans is now retiring. A not so reasonable Republican, Roy Blunt (R) from southwest Missouri is running to replace Bond. Blunt is the former House Majority Whip under the Bush Administration. The Democrats found a good candidate in Robin Carnahan (D), a member of a strong political family and the Secretary of State. A recent Rasmussen poll shows Blunt with a 5 point lead but Rasmussen is known to be biased toward the right. The latest non Rasmussen poll was in March and it showed Blunt with a 4 point lead. Missouri has a strong rural conservative base but Carnahan has her advantages. She won by 26 points in 2010, losing only 10 counties so she proved she can win rural areas. Also, her family owns a farm so she can highlight her rural roots. This is why I believe that once Carnahan starts campaigning, the race will become very close.
Ranking: Toss Up

7. Ohio OPEN George Voinovich (R)
Voinovich is another reasonable Republican who is retiring. After a bruising primary against Jennifer Brunner (D), Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher (D) won. He is facing Rob Portman (R) who is a former congressman and official during the Bush Administration. Every poll since March that is not Rasmussen shows Fisher with a lead although most of the leads are by a few points. Fisher's main jobs will be to tie Portman to Bush, remind people how bad Bush was (because everyone is blaming Bush's problems on Obama) and Fisher should highlight how he will create jobs. Also, Fisher needs to step up the fundraising. Also, Portman is from southern Ohio while Fisher is from Northeast Ohio. On election night, you should expect a map similar to 2004 except Fisher may get a few Ohio river counties. I still believe that if one race leads to a recount, it will be this one.
Ranking: Toss Up

8. Illinois OPEN Roland Burris (D)
Really good candidates, especially those whose names are spelled L-I-S-A M-A-D-I-G-A-N decided not to run so we have Alexi Giannoulis (D) who is the State Treasurer. He is young but his family's bank problems are not. Mark Kirk (R), the moderate Republican from Chicago suburbs and candidate for Senate appeared to have an advantage because of this. He still did not think that gave him a strong enough lead so he decided he could woo voters by bragging about military credentials...he forgot he did not have. Now the race is closer and I think due to the Democratic lean of the state, Giannoulis will win by a couple of points.
Ranking: Toss Up/Tilt Democratic

9. Nevada Harry Reid (D)
The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid will be facing Sharron Angle (R) a State Senator from Washoe County. Harry Reid is very unpopular in Nevada but neither is Sharron Angle. Her beliefs range from wanting to eliminate social security, the Department of Education, support of Scientology and that Abraham Lincoln lost all his elections but President (he lost only one election is his whole lifetime.) Also, Angle faces another problem because as of last month, Harry Reid has $12 million COH (cash on hand) and Angle has only $138,000. Recent polls show this race close because many people have not heard about Angle just yet. She is trying to hide her opinions though by saying Harry Reid cannot quote them and she seems shocked that people are monitoring everything she says. Angle...welcome to the world of campaigning. Harry Reid is still unpopular but I expect him to win by a few points. In Nevada, you can vote for "None of these candidates" and I would not be surprised if they won.
Ranking: Toss Up/Tilt Democratic

10. Kentucky OPEN Jim Bunning (R)
Once Bunning realized he had a poor shot at hitting a home run and winning again, he decided to bail out of the race. Rand Paul (R), the son on Ron Paul (R) is now running against Jack Conway (D). At first, it appeared that teabagger Paul would win this race until he revealed how much he hated big government. He thought that government could not prevent businesses from discriminating. Then he flip flopped and believes the U.S needs to use government spending to build a border fence. Conway is a good candidate but Kentucky is too conservative for him and this is not a good year for Democrats.
Ranking: Toss Up/Tilt Republican.

Do you agree or disagree with the rankings? What are yours? Please feel free to share your thoughts.