Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

The Losing Regions – Part II

All the best for a great holiday break. The Political Updates will return on Monday, Jan. 4.

A look at how things might play out in key states in the redistricting tug of wars

By Jim Ellis
Dec. 24, 2020 — Continuing our two-part series of examining reapportionment projections for states expected to lose congressional seats, today we look at an additional four states with CDs on the chopping block: Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

At this point, it appears a total of ten states are in the losing category. Yesterday, we covered Alabama, California, Michigan, and Minnesota. The remaining two, Rhode Island and West Virginia, are moving to at-large and two district status, respectively, meaning their new maps become obvious.

The new apportionment, originally due at the end of this year but delayed due to COVID, could be released sometime in January.


Illinois

Illinois is a sure loser and one of the few states where the overall population is less (over 158,000 people) according the latest available numbers (July 2019) than registered 10 years ago. Therefore, Illinois is in the rare situation of losing congressional representation not because the population failed to keep pace with the rate of growth, but rather due to the entity actually having fewer people.

This leads to speculation that the state could lose two seats because even in such a scenario the per district population number would be under 800,000 individuals. A two-seat loss would still render the state with a lesser per district total population figure than some of the other states losing one.

All current 18 Illinois CDs need to gain population even under a one-seat loss scenario. Making such calculations we see that the new rudimentary per district population figure would be approximately 745,401 individuals, less than the number projected for most states. Typically, states losing congressional districts feature much higher numbers. This adds to the speculation that the state could drop a second CD.

If the loss is only one, as the current projection formula suggests, the southern part of the state would appear to take the hit. This means that Republicans, while holding only five of the state’s current 18 districts, would likely lose a seat. Aside from Rep. Cheri Bustos’ (D-Moline) 17th District anchored in the Quad Cities region, which has the largest population number to gain, over 79,000 people, the remaining seven of the top eight districts needing a population increase come from the Downstate region.

The figures suggest that combining the five central and southern districts of Reps. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), incoming freshman Mary Miller (R), Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon), and Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) into four districts would be the most likely scenario unless the Bustos district is collapsed. Considering that the Democrats control the redistricting process, it is probable that the former scenario would be the one adopted.


New York

Like Illinois, New York, while having slightly more people than they did in 2010 (just over 75,000 more according to July 2019 estimated figures), could be on the cusp of losing two seats. Of their current 27 districts, 24 must gain population. Only the seats of Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), and Adriano Espaillat (D-Bronx) are in the position of shedding residents. All others need a population influx even to reach the approximated 748,213 figure that appears be present at this point for a 26-District model.

As in Illinois, a two-seat loss would still keep the per district number at well under 800,000, much less than other states that are projected to lose congressional representation.

Also as in Illinois, the non-urban area looks to need the largest population gain (meaning Upstate, in this case), would contain the area most prone to lose a seat. This means, also as in Illinois, that the party in a small minority, the Republicans, is most likely the one on the chopping block.

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The Early Vote Predictor

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 3, 2020 — While it became clear that the plethora of polling data published during the 2020 election cycle again proved to be a poor predictor of eventual campaign outcome in most states, another resource was discovered that might be the more reliable prognosticator.

The states releasing early voting numbers before the election – not the actual election results, of course, but the numbers of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters who had returned their ballots – provided the opportunity of charting possible race outcomes. As a predictor, the early voting numbers, largely because they are actual votes and not extrapolations and estimates as found in polling, look to be a more reliable gauge.

Let’s examine the results in the key battleground states and compare them to both the 2020 and 2016 early voting numbers as compiled by the Target Smart organization. Target Smart monitored, categorized, and published the early ballot return numbers throughout the acceptance period in every state that publicly released such data. Unfortunately, for purposes of our exercise, the Georgia 2020 numbers are among the states not currently available.

In Arizona, we see a difference in the 2016 and 2020 early vote numbers that indicated a small shift in the voting patterns. Detecting that Democratic early vote participation had increased several points from four years ago while Republicans were down slightly did prove indicative in relation to the final Arizona result that yielded an official 10,457 vote Biden victory.

In Florida, we see the Democratic early vote numbers dropping slightly. This is a bit surprising in that 2020 featured a record voter turnout. The fact that Republicans gained a bit in the swing was a predictor of President Trump’s stronger performance in the Sunshine State as compared to the result from four years previous.

As we can see from the Michigan numbers, Democrats increased their early voting participation while Republicans saw a decrease. Unaffiliated voters substantially increased. Considering the final result, it is apparent that most of the Unaffiliateds voted Democratic in the presidential contest.

The North Carolina early vote numbers gave us our first clear indication that the pollsters were mis-casting the state’s electorate. The clear indication that Democrats were missing their marks in early voting while Republicans were exceeding their expectations was the first indication that the final vote would produce a different result than the plethora of polls were suggesting.

Pennsylvania featured drastic changes in not only the partisan early vote pattern, but also in volume as early voting increased by more than twelve-fold in comparison to 2016. The stark difference in Democratic versus Republican participation levels did forecast a swing to the former party, though the final totals were not as drastically different as the early voting yields.

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Presidential Polling Report – Part I

By Jim Ellis

Note: All the best for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Political Updates will return on Monday, Nov. 30.

Former VP Joe Biden

Nov. 25, 2020 — Now that the states are certifying their election results and the numbers are becoming clearer, we can look at the key battleground regions and assess the cumulative polling community’s accuracy.

Today we look at the key Great Lakes region and the states that turned away from President Trump and landed in former vice president Joe Biden’s camp. Polling had predicted Biden to win all four of the key states, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which he did, but they largely missed the mark when it came to margin. In three of the five instances the pollsters predicted substantial wins for Biden, not the close result he ultimately recorded.

In each place, we take the five publicly released polls conducted closest to the election and analyze whether the cumulative and individual survey research firms came close to the final result or missed beyond the polling margin of error.


Michigan

In Michigan, where Biden scored a 50.6 to 47.8 percent victory, the final five pollsters were the Trafalgar Group, Insider Advantage, CNBC/Change Research, Emerson College, and Mitchell Research. Insider Advantage came the closest, predicting a Biden two-point victory. Three pollsters missed beyond the polling margin of error. The Trafalgar Group actually predicted a Trump win.

Michigan – Biden 2.8 percent

Trafalgar Group 10/30 – 31 1033 LV 46 48 Trump +2
Insider Advantage 10/30 – 31 500 LV 49 47 Biden +2
CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 383 LV 51 44 Biden +7
Emerson 10/29 – 30 700 LV 52 45 Biden +7
Mitchell Research 10/29 817 LV 52 45 Biden +7

Minnesota

Though Minnesota is the most loyal state to the Democrats in the presidential race, it appeared for a time that the state could become close, just like in 2016 when President Trump came within 1.5 percentage points of capturing the domain. In 2020, however, Minnesota returned to form and awarded Biden a 52.5 to 45.4 percent win. Here, the final five pollsters were Survey USA, the Trafalgar Group, KSTP/Survey USA (two separate polls), and Minnesota Post. All fell within an acceptable accuracy range.

Minnesota – Biden 7.1 percent

SurveyUSA 10/23 – 27 649 LV 47 42 Biden +5
Trafalgar Group 10/24 – 25 165 LV 48 45 Biden +3
KSTP/SurveyUSA 10/16 – 20 625 LV 48 42 Biden +6
MinnPost 10/12 – 15 1021 LV 49 44 Biden +5
KSTP/SurveyUSA 10/1 – 6 929 LV 47 40 Biden +7

Pennsylvania

The Keystone State has been the site of the most strenuous voter fraud lawsuits, which included a Trump legal victory. In the end, however, the victorious lawsuit(s) would not be enough to overturn the projected result, which was a close 50.0 – 48.8% finish. Polling was inconsistent with Rasmussen Reports coming closest to the final result. Three of the five firms actually predicted a Trump victory. The pollsters were: Susquehanna Polling & Research, Rasmussen Reports, the Trafalgar Group, NBC News/Marist College, and Insider Advantage.

Penn – Biden 1.2 percent

Susquehanna 11/1 – 2 499 LV 48 49 Trump +1
Rasmussen Reports 10/31 – 1 800 LV 50 47 Biden +3
Trafalgar Group 10/30 – 31 1062 LV 46 48 Trump +2
NBC News/Marist 10/29 – 11/1 772 LV 51 46 Biden +5
Insider Advantage 10/30 – 31 500 LV 47 49 Trump +2

Wisconsin

The Badger State was the closest of the four regional entities that touch a Great Lake. The final result saw the two candidates coming within just 20,608 votes, or a percentage breakdown of 49.4 – 48.8 percent in favor of the Democratic nominee. Polling from four of the five entities missed badly, all predicting a substantial win for Biden.

Susquehanna was the closest of the group, missing by just over two percentage points. CNBC/ Change Research, Susquehanna Polling & Research, Emerson College, Ipsos/Reuters, and Siena College/New York Times comprised the final group of survey research entities.

Wisconsin – Biden 0.7 percent

CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 553 LV 53 45 Biden +8
Susquehanna 10/29 – 31 450 LV 49 46 Biden +3
Emerson 10/29 – 30 751 LV 53 45 Biden +8
Reuters/Ipsos 10/27 – 11/1 696 LV 53 43 Biden +10
NY Times/Siena 10/26 – 30 1253 LV 52 41 Biden +11

NE-2

For the second time in the past four presidential elections, the 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska went against the statewide trend and awarded an electoral vote to the candidate losing the statewide count. In addition to this year, the same pattern occurred in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama carried the district but not the state.

This time the Biden victory was substantial with FM3 Research projecting the correct margin of 11 percentage points. The other pollsters, while forecasting a Biden win, significantly missed the actual winning spread. The five pollsters were: UNLV Business School, Change Research, Emerson College, FM3 Research, and Siena College/New York Times.

NE-2 – Biden 11.4 percent

UNLV Business School 10/30 -11/2 191 LV 50 44 Biden +6
Change Research 10/29 – 11/2 547 LV 50 47 Biden +3
Emerson College 10/29 – 30 806 LV 50 48 Biden +2
FM3 Research 10/1 – 10/4 450 LV 53 42 Biden +11
Siena College/NYT 9/25 – 9/27 420 LV 48 41 Biden +7

More on Redistricting

By Jim Ellis

Winners & losers in the redistricting tug of wars

Nov. 19, 2020 — In yesterday’s Update, we ended with the paragraph, “Considering the states that are losing and gaining seats, party control, and changing political trends, the Republicans are still likely to lose a small net number of seats in the transfer process despite holding the most redistricting power.”

This statement generated some questions about why the Republicans could lose seats in the apportionment transfer when they hold the balance of power in more states. Today, we delve deeper.

At this point, and remembering these are only estimates that could change when the actual apportionment formula produces the official number of seats that each state will possess, it appears ten seats will move from one state to others. Therefore, it is projected that Texas (3), Florida (2), Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon will gain districts, while Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia will lose a seat apiece. We will now explore each individually:


States That Lose

• Alabama – Even though Republicans have full control and a 6R-1D delegation, the Republicans will take the loss here. The Democratic district is a Voting Rights seat, so the loss will come from the GOP column even though they hold the redistricting pen.

• California – The lopsided California delegation, even with Republicans gaining one to three seats here when the votes are all finally counted, will likely yield the Democrats losing the district. California is a commission state that operates under strict guidelines. Therefore, the mathematics suggest, in what will potentially end as a 43D-10R delegation that the transfer seat loss will come from the Democratic column.

• Illinois – Though the state delegation features only five Republicans from a group of 18 members, the Democrats control the redistricting process here and 10 years ago produced the most lopsided of partisan gerrymanders. Expect them to figure a way for the Republicans to take the one seat loss.

• Michigan – The voters adopted a new redistricting commission, but the composition parameters look to favor the Democrats. Therefore, expect the 7D-7R delegation to recede by one Republican seat.

• Minnesota – This state features the only state legislature where each party controls one legislative chamber. Though this gives the Republicans a seat at the redistricting table, the population loss in the northern part of the state, where they have two seats, will likely result in the 4D-4R delegation lessening by one Republican seat.

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The Redistricting Prelude

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 18, 2020 — The Census Bureau continues to make progress in completing the decennial population count and it appears the national apportionment report, which details how many congressional seats each state’s population earns, will be delivered to Congress in early January. Because of COVID, the apportionment process has been slightly delayed since the report typically has a year-end deadline.

Once apportionment is known, states then begin receiving their updated data necessary for drawing new congressional and state legislative districts. The states with the earliest primaries are the first to receive their data so they have adequate time to prepare their new congressional and state legislative boundaries.

In terms of apportionment, it is expected that Texas may gain approximately three seats and Florida two. The other gaining states are likely to be Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. Those losing seats appear to be Alabama, California (for the first time in history), Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. These estimates are not always completely correct, so this list could change when the actual apportionment is applied and publicly released.

A total of 34 states will draw their new districts solely through the legislative process. The remaining multi-member states operate through a type of commission, either an independent body or one under political control. Seven states are at-large meaning their congressional race is statewide. Rhode Island joins this group in 2021 as it will lose its second seat, while Montana will likely regain the district that was lost in the 1991 reapportionment.

In the Nov. 3 election, Republicans saw a net gain in state legislative seats around the country. Only one state saw its legislative chambers flip, however, the New Hampshire House and Senate moving from Democrat to Republican. This means Republicans will control 61 legislative chambers as compared to the Democrats’ 37. The Nebraska unicameral legislature is elected on a non-partisan basis, but Republicans control that chamber as well.

Republicans will again have the advantage in the states where the legislatures and governors determine the new map boundaries. Democrats, largely under the National Democratic Redistricting Committee that former Attorney General Eric Holder leads, targeted 13 states to protect or gain legislative chambers. They failed in all, as Republicans kept their majorities in each state they previously controlled and flipped New Hampshire to their column.

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