Tag Archives: Iowa

Inconsistent Turnout/Voting Patterns

As more and more election data makes its way into the public domain, the less sense some key voting patterns seem to be making.

Last week we reported on the turnout patterns for all 50 states and made the observation that voter participation dropped in 35 states when comparing the 2014 mid-term election to the 2010 mid-term. At the time, 2010 was considered to have yielded a low voter model, even in a mid-term election context.

The main conclusion being drawn from the aggregate data is that we may be returning to a similar electoral pattern that we saw in the pre-Reagan era, where Republicans did well in low turnout elections and Democrats excelled when voter participation was higher. This pattern has clearly taken hold since 2006. But, we find more to the 2014 turnout model when looking beyond a cursory overview.

Senate

As we know, the Senate races dominated the political landscape in this past election and saw Republicans gain nine seats to create a new 54R-46D majority (counting the two Independents who caucus with the Democrats). One would figure that, when overlaying the aforementioned observation, the GOP victories came because turnout dropped lower than even four years ago. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
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State Primary Dance Already Underway

As the calendar turns to 2015, we immediately usher in a new year of political jockeying. Come January, we will be reading many stories describing how political party leaders are attempting to move their state into a prime nomination position for the upcoming presidential campaign. With an open national race upon us for the first time in eight years, and on the threshold of what could become the most exciting political contest in generations, the schedule of primaries and caucuses become of tantamount importance.

With several exceptions, Republicans and Democrats generally have the same respective nominating schedule as it relates to voters participating in primaries or caucus events. Though the dates are not yet finalized, a projected schedule can be constructed. Most of the political musical chairs tend to occur on the Republican side because GOP leaders in states like Florida have a history of jumping ahead from their historical primary position into a more prominent spot.

From a big state, the Floridians gain significant leverage if they hold their primary just before what is normally pegged as “Super Tuesday”, the large gathering of mostly southern state primaries held on the same day in early March of the election year. But, Republican National Committees have previously punished state delegations for threatening the early positioning of the four sanctioned states. In fact, Florida itself has been stripped of its entire slate of delegates Continue reading >

Breaking Down the 2014 Election by CD

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. The PRIsm Political Update will return on Monday, Dec. 1. Don’t eat too much!!

Cross Districts

The 2014 election increased the universe of federal “cross-districts”.

In the 2012 presidential election, voters in 411 congressional districts uniformly chose a US House member of the same party as they supported for president. This means only 24 CDs elected a representative belonging to the opposite party of the candidate they backed for the nation’s top office. In 2012, 16 districts elected a Republican representative while simultaneously supporting President Obama; conversely, eight CDs chose a Democratic congressman while voting for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In 2014, we see a slightly different pattern. The total number of cross-districts rose to 31, but 404 still elected a House member consistent with the party of their previously chosen presidential candidate. Twenty-six of those CDs elected a Republican House member earlier this month, even though those casting ballots supported President Obama two years earlier. Voters in only five incoming House districts backed Romney in 2012, but elected a Democratic Representative in the current election; two Continue reading >

The Polling Report Card

As we all know, a plethora of polls were conducted throughout the country but some proved much more accurate than others. By and large, virtually every pollster correctly forecasted the races in Colorado and South Dakota, but fared very poorly in Kansas and Virginia.

Of the late polls taken, usually the last five immediately prior to the election, we look at which pollsters did the best and worst in the most competitive Senate campaigns.

Alaska
• Actual result: Dan Sullivan (R) 48%; Sen. Mark Begich (D) 46% – +2 points
• Closest Pollster: Public Policy Polling (Nov. 1-2): Sullivan, 46-45% – +1 point
• Worst Poll: Ivan Moore & Assoc (Oct. 24-26): Begich 48-42%; missed by 9 points

Arkansas
• Actual result: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) 57%; Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 40% (+17)
• Closest Pollster: University of Arkansas (Oct. 21-27); Cotton 49-36% – +13 points
• Worst Poll: Opinion Research Assoc (Oct. 25-26); Pryor 45-44%; missed by 18 points

Colorado
• Actual result: Rep. Cory Gardner (R) 49%; Sen. Mark Udall (D) 46% (+3)
• Closest Pollster: The final Public Policy Polling, Quinnipiac University, and YouGov surveys were all between one and three points
• Worst Poll: None; all of the Colorado participating pollsters correctly predicted the final trend.
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The Building Wave

The last set of pre-election polls, mostly from survey research firms more often associated with Democrats, suggest that a Republican wave is building. Right now, the GOP looks to be knocking on the door of 52 seats (gain of seven in this election), and that’s if none of the closest polling states, Kansas, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, result in Republican victories. Should every state break their way, the Senate could completely flip to 55R-45D. But, it’s unlikely that the final numbers will go that far.

Looking at the latest polling, it is important to note that the margin between the leading Republican and the trailing Democrat in the isolated races is larger than we’ve seen during the entire election cycle. If these numbers are accurate, it would signal that the Republicans are peaking at exactly the right time.

Here are the poll results:

• Arkansas: Public Policy Polling (Oct. 30-Nov. 1; 1,092 likely voters)
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) …………. 49%
Sen. Mark Pryor (D) …………………… 41%

• Georgia: NBC News/Marist College (Oct. 31; 603 likely voters)
B-man David Perdue (R) …………….. 48%
B-woman Michelle Nunn (D) ………. 44%

• Iowa: Selzer & Company for Des Moines Register (Oct. 28-31; 701 likely voters)
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