Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Assessing The Cross-Voting Districts

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 23, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections website staff have just completed the calculations they perform after every presidential election: that is, determining how all 435 congressional district electorates voted for president, and then cross-referencing that result with their US House vote.

In the 2020 election, they find that more than 96 percent of the districts voted for the same party’s candidate for President and US House, thus leaving 16 in the “cross-district” category. Nine of the 16 voted for President Biden but then chose a Republican House member. In seven others, the electorates backed former President Trump but reverted to the Democrat’s column for their US House Representative.


The districts that went for Biden for President
and a Republican for House are:

• CA-21: President Biden: 54.4% – David Valadao (R): 50.5%

It’s not a surprise to see this Bakersfield-Fresno district on the cross-district list. When Valadao first represented the seat, the CD was either the first or second-most Democratic seat in the nation to elect a Republican congressman.

• CA-25: President Biden: 54.0% – Rep. Mike Garcia (R): 50.0%

The more extraordinary vote here was Rep. Garcia overcoming a strong Biden vote in a district that has been trending Democratic for the past several elections. Hillary Clinton also won here with a 50-44 percent margin four years earlier. Garcia survived the 2020 election by a mere 333 votes. This district is likely to change significantly in redistricting.

• CA-39: President Biden: 54.1% – Young Kim (R): 50.6%

Republican Kim returned this Orange/LA County seat to the GOP column after a term under Democratic representation. The voters here also went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 with a 51-43 percent spread even while simultaneously re-electing then-Rep. Ed Royce (R-Yorba Linda), 57-43 percent.

• CA-48: President Biden: 49.7% – Michelle Steel (R): 51.1%

The coastal Orange County district somewhat returned to its Republican roots when the electorate swung back to Republican Michelle Steel after electing Democrat Harley Rouda in 2018. Previously, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) held the district, or those with similar confines, for 30 years. President Biden carried the seat by 1.5 percentage points in November, similar to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margin.

• FL-27: President Biden: 51.3% – Maria Elvira Salazar (R): 51.4%

The congressional vote was the outlier here as this seat was drawn as a Democratic district as part of the state Supreme Court’s mid-decade re-districting directive. Expect the Republican map drawers to improve this seat for freshman Rep. Salazar (R-Miami).

• NE-2: President Biden: 52.2% – Rep. Don Bacon (R): 50.8%

In a significant way, Nebraska’s 2nd District may have clinched the Presidency for Joe Biden. Nebraska is one of two states that split their electoral votes and when this CD went for Biden, opposite from the rest of the state, it made the Trump national victory path very difficult. Rep. Bacon survived another close election in the Omaha metro district, winning here for the third time with 51 percent or less.

• NY-24: President Biden: 53.4% – Rep. John Katko (R): 53.1%

Despite a nine-point win for President Biden in this Syracuse anchored district (53.4 – 44.4 percent), four-term Rep. Katko recorded a 10-point victory in his own right marking the widest swing of any cross-district.

• PA-1: President Biden: 52.4% – Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R): 56.6%

In a similar result to that found in NY-24, third-term Rep. Fitzpatrick was again able to swing the electorate hard in his direction and win a comfortable re-election victory despite the opposite result at the top of the ticket.
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The Losing Regions – Part I

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 23, 2020 — With the Census Bureau readying the national apportionment formula to present to the Clerk of the House at some point next month, it is a reasonable time to again look at the states projected to lose congressional districts and begin to determine where a dragging population could cost a region its current representation.

Today, we look at four states projected to lose a district: Alabama, California, Michigan, and Minnesota. Tomorrow, we will examine Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Rhode Island and West Virginia are also going to lose seats but because they are two- and three-district states, the new redistricting map becomes obvious, particularly in the former’s case.


Alabama

The Alabama population suggests that it is too small to keep its seventh congressional district, but such makes the remaining six districts very large, likely well over population figures of 800,000 residents apiece. It is an ironic problem for the states losing districts in that the remaining CDs actually become much larger. If Alabama is on the losing end in final reapportionment, the scenario of dropping a district and making the remaining seats much larger will certainly come to pass.

As with all redistricting, those in a corner of a state, i.e., either bordered by another state, body of water, or country are in the best shape because their districts can only expand or contract one or two ways. In Alabama, the 1st and 5th CDs, those of incoming Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) and Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) are in the most favorable geographic positions.

The district appearing to lose the most population is Rep. Terri Sewell’s (D-Birmingham) 7th CD, but this is a protected Civil Rights district meaning it must be protected. The seat could need to gain almost 150,000 people according to rudimentary calculations, and the most likely place for the increase comes from Montgomery County at the expense of the 2nd District and possibly the 3rd.

The 2nd District, even when bordered by states on two sides, appears the most vulnerable to collapse. Needing to likely gain over 140,000 individuals before almost certainly losing population to the current 7th District, the collapsing of the 2nd and 3rd Districts into one seat appears to be a potential outcome. This would place incoming freshman Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and veteran Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Anniston) in the same district.


California

For the first time in history, California looks to lose congressional representation. In the last census, the state remained constant for the first time. In every previous census apportionment, the Golden State had gained representation. In the 1980 census, for example, California gained seven new congressional districts. Now, it appears they will reduce representation from 53 to 52 seats, but still be the most populous state by a wide stretch.

The region not keeping up with the rate of growth appears to occur in the southern California expanse from Bakersfield through Los Angeles County and portions of Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties. Such a region covers 18 congressional districts, 16 of which will need to gain population under a rudimentary calculation suggesting that each of the state’s 52 CDs will require approximately 760,000 residents. Of the 18 districts, Democrats represent 15 and Republicans’ three.

Only two of these 18 districts, those of Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Norma Torres (D-Pomona), are either at or slightly over the approximated population goal.

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Florida Data

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 18, 2020 — Continuing with our project this week of analyzing statewide data now that official final election results are being published from around the country, today we look at the Sunshine State of Florida, another key redistricting state.

Though having only three-quarters of Texas’ population, the Florida presidential turnout came within only a few hundred to equaling that of the Lone Star State (FL: 11,067,366; TX: 11,315,056).

On the statewide tally, President Trump carried Florida with a 51.2 – 47.5 percent margin over former vice president Joe Biden. The result represents a net 2.2 percentage increase for the president when compared with his 2016 statewide total, while Biden’s performance registered a decline of 0.3 percent from Hillary Clinton’s Sunshine State aggregate vote.

The House performance detected in California and Texas, showing that the average victorious congressional candidate performed better within their particular district than President Trump, was not nearly as pronounced in Florida.

On average, Texas US House Republican candidates ran 2.8 percentage points better than Trump, and the average California GOP House candidate ran 4.2 points ahead of the president’s statewide percentage. In Florida, however, the number was virtually equal to the president’s, with the average House Republican contender running just 0.2 percent above Trump’s statewide total.

Because two of the Republican incumbents, Reps. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami/Hialeah), ran either without Democratic opposition (Dunn) or totally unopposed (Diaz-Balart) the Florida Secretary of State does not record votes in such a district. Therefore, for purposes of this exercise, a projected result of 65-35 percent for the two congressional districts was added as an estimated total. This percentage spread was extrapolated when comparing the performance of Republican and Democratic congressional candidates in similar Florida districts.

To review, in California, Democratic House incumbent performance fell below their 2018 recorded vote in 33 of 44 districts, while results improved for four of the six Republican incumbents on the ballot. In Texas, vote percentages for 11 of the 16 Republican incumbents seeking re-election improved from 2018, while the Democratic incumbent performance index declined for all 13 who ran for a succeeding term.

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Texas Data

By Jim Ellis

Texas US House Districts

Dec. 17, 2020 — Yesterday, we analyzed the California official 2020 Statement of the Vote and today we turn out attention to voting statistics from the Lone Star State of Texas, a particularly interesting domain for the coming redistricting process. Estimates project that Texas will gain three congressional districts from reapportionment, which should become official at some point in January.

Despite predictions of a “blue wave” hitting Texas and putting the state in play for Joe Biden, Republicans once again swept the competitive races. Though President Trump’s margin did decline from 2016, his 52-46 percent margin was still more than comfortable, especially when considering he was simultaneously losing the nationwide vote.

As was the case in California, down-ballot GOP candidates, as a rule, performed better than President Trump. Sen. John Cornyn (R) was re-elected, and the GOP won 23 congressional races in the state, accounting for almost 11 percent of their party’s national total.

Sen. Cornyn topped 53 percent of the vote in recording a nine-point win over his Democratic opponent, retired Army helicopter pilot M.J. Hegar. In the 23 victorious Republican House races, the winning GOP candidate outpaced President Trump in 19 districts most of which were competitive at least to a degree.

Compared with the Democratic improvement in elections two years ago, the GOP rebounded in 2020. A total of 16 Republican incumbents sought re-election, and 11 of those improved their vote percentages from 2018. Additionally, all five of those falling below their previous benchmark did so by less than one percentage point.

For the Democrats, all 13 of their House incumbents saw a downgrade in their voter support from 2018. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), who fought off a tough Democratic primary challenge in early March, saw the biggest drop for any Texas House incumbent, falling from 84.4 percent in 2018 to a 58.3 percent win in November. The more serious drop, however, was for Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) who won re-election to a third term from his South Texas district with just 50.5 percent of the vote against an opponent who spent only $404,000. Gonzalez’s victory percentage slipped from 59.7 percent in 2018.

The TX-15 district is largely a Mexican border seat that starts just east San Antonio in the Seguin area and travels south all the way through the city of McAllen in Hidalgo County. The latter entity hosts three-quarters of the 15th District’s population. Republicans, including President Trump, improved their standing throughout the Mexican border area in the 2020 election, which was a principal reason that Democratic gains in the Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio metropolitan areas were somewhat offset.

Statewide turnout was up a strong 23.7 percent when compared to 2016, enabling the state to exceed 11 million voters (11,315,056) for the first time. The Texas population grew 3.9 percent during that same time interval.

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Biden Elected; Calif. Data Published

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 16, 2020 — The Electoral College met in the various state capitols Monday, as scheduled, and the electors cast their ballots in the exact correlation with the state election data. Since the Electoral College increased to 538 members in time for the 1964 presidential election, we’ve seen faithless electors — those who vote for a candidate other than whom the state voters supported — in seven presidential elections.

No faithless elector appeared in Monday’s vote, however, meaning the final official count is Joe Biden, 306; President Trump, 232; the exact numbers produced on election night. The Supreme Court issued a ruling earlier in the year codifying that the states have the right to bind their electors. A total of 29 states and the District of Columbia had previously taken such action, so the court’s July 6, 2020 ruling in the Chiafalo v. Washington State case meant that these 30 entities’ votes would be forced to directly follow their respective electorates.

The remaining 21 states do not bind their electors, so those electors were still free to vote for someone outside of the Nov. 3 election totals. Monday, however, none did.

The action now means that Joe Biden is officially the President-Elect. The Electoral College will now report their results to the Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, where the votes will be counted and recorded. At that point, Biden will be officially elected and ready to take the oath of office as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021.

The California delegation is the group that put Biden over the top, allowing him to first clinch a majority vote in the Electoral College. Also coming from the Golden State is the official Statement of the Vote from the 2020 election, and it contains some interesting numbers to analyze.

Biden received more than 11.1 million votes in California, or 63.5 percent of the total ballots cast. President Trump obtained just over 6 million votes, good for 34.3 percent. Though the latter percentage is small, it is almost three full points beyond than his 2016 showing within the state.

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