Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Air War": Spending for Political Television Ads on KTVU: October & November 2014


The “air war” for the November 2014 election was not as intense in the San Francisco Bay Area as it was in past elections.  More than one million dollars were spent for political ads on KTVU (channel 2, Fox owned-and-operated station, Oakland) in October and November, 2014.  

Governor of California

Incumbent Governor Jerry Brown (D) spent a total of $394,840 on KTVU ads between October 8 and Election Day.  Brown spent $30,000 on a spot during the Giants-Royals World Series on October 26, $81,000 during the October 28 game and another $81,000 during the October 29 game.  Brown spent $14,000 on a spot during the October 19 Oakland Raiders game. Those four spots during sporting events cost Brown $210,000 (53% of his total KTVU ad spending).   

Political television commercials are lucrative not only for broadcasters, but also for the campaign’s advertising placement agents, who generally receive 15 percent of ad spending as commissions.  The Brown campaign’s agent was Sadler Strategic Media of Studio City (southern California).

Republican challenger Neel Kashkari spent $337,815 on KTVU ads between October 14 and Election Day.  Kashkari’s big splurge was $162,000 for a 60-second spot that ran during the World Series game on October 28 (nearly one-half of Kashkari's total KTVU ad spending was on this single advertisement; $162,000 is more than five times the California per capita money income of $29,551).  Kashkari also spent $60,000 for a single 60-second spot during the November 2nd 49ers game. 

Kashkari ran 30-second ads in mid-October.  In late October through Election Day, he ran 60-second spots.  KTVU mistakenly ran the 30-second spot during its 5 p.m. newscasts on October 30 and 31.  It charged for those spots, but compensated the Kashkari campaign by running the 60-second spots during the 5 p.m. newscasts on November 2 and 3 at no charge.  The Kashkari campaign’s agent was the Smart Media Group of Alexandria, Virginia. 

State Legislature: 16th Assembly District (East Bay: Orinda to Livermore)

The race for the 16th Assembly District (AD16) [East Bay: Tri-Valley, Walnut Creek (part), Lamorinda] was a rare state legislative contest that attracted television advertising on broadcast stations in 2014.

Legislative candidates in the San Francisco Bay Area usually avoid television broadcast advertising because they are an extremely inefficient means of reaching likely voters in a specific district.  The 2010 Census of Population found 7.15 million Bay Area residents.  The population of AD16 is 466,000, a mere 6.3 percent of Bay Area population.  Theoretically, this means that for every 1,000 KTVU viewers, just 63 reside in AD16.  Many of those 63 out of 1,000 viewers are not registered or are unlikely to vote.  The ad is mostly irrelevant to the other 937 out of 1000 viewers.

AD16 Democratic candidate Tim Sbranti apparently spent more money on KTVU ads in October and November 2014 than any other candidate for any other office.  From invoices reported as of November 10, 2014, the Sbranti campaign spent a total of $267,600 on KTVU ads.  These included $81,000 spent on a 30-second spot during the October 29 World Series game and $72,000 spent on a 30-second spot during the October 26 World Series game and $55,000 for a single 30-second spot during the October 11 Giants playoff game.  

Sbranti has been active in the statewide political affairs of the California Teachers Association union.  A single World Series spot bought by the Sbranti campaign cost more than the beginning or mid-range annual salary of the average California public school teacher at the elementary and high school levels and exceeded the highest annual salary of teachers at small school districts, according to California Department of Education statistics for the year 2011-12.  So the Sbranti campaign spent more in 30 seconds than most California teachers earn in an entire year.

The grand total of KTVU ad spending by the Sbranti campaign likely will rise as more invoices are disclosed in coming days because the Sbranti campaign signed contracts for other World Series ads that have not yet appeared in invoices.  Sbranti signed contracts for ads on KTVU during six of the seven World Series games; if those six spots are invoiced, Sbranti’s grand total for KTVU 2014 World Series ads will be $427,500.   

Sbranti spent $59,600 on ads during KTVU's morning and evening newcasts in the days leading up to Election Day (ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 per 30-second spot).  The Sbranti campaign’s agent was MBMG, Inc. (Milner Butcher Media Group) of Studio City in southern California.

Catharine Baker, Sbranti’s Republican challenger for the open Assembly seat, did not purchase any KTVU ads in 2014.  Spirit of Democracy California, a pro-Baker independent expenditure committee largely funded by multi-millionaire Charles Munger, Jr., executed an advertising agreement with KTVU on October 22.  Spirit of Democracy apparently placed ads on KTVU, but KTVU is declining to disclose when those ads ran and what those ads cost.  Non-federal "issue advertising" apparently is exempt from the FCC's political advertising disclosure requirements.  (If anyone has information about AD16-related TV advertising by Spirit of Democracy-California, especially the content of those ads, please share that information in the comments section below.)  Chariot LLC was Spirit of Democracy California's media purchasing agent.

Baker agreed to the California Fair Political Practices Commission's voluntary expenditure ceiling of $953,000 for Assembly candidates in the November 2014 election. Sbranti did not and therefore spent as much money as he wished (apparently a half million dollars on KTVU commercials alone).

Ms. Baker narrowly won AD16.  She became the first Republican to capture a Democratic-held Assembly seat in the East Bay since 1980, when Bill Baker (R-Danville) won Dan Boatwright’s (D-Concord) vacant Assembly seat in Contra Costa County and Gib Marguth (R-Livermore) defeated incumbent Assemblyman Floyd Mori (D-Pleasanton).

Congress: 17th District (South Bay: Fremont to Sunnyvale & Cupertino)

The only congressional campaign that purchased KTVU ads in fall 2014 was that of incumbent Michael Honda (D) in the 17th congressional district [South Bay: Newark and part of Fremont in Alameda County; Milpitas, northern part of San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Cupertino in Santa Clara County).  Challenger Ro Khanna (D) bought KTVU ads in spring 2014, but apparently did not purchase KTVU ads in the fall.

As with Bay Area Assembly and state Senate races, spending on broadcast TV ads for Bay Area congressional contests makes little sense.  Each congressional district was a population of approximately 703,000 or 9.8% of the entire Bay Area.  Theoretically, 902 out of every 1,000 KTVU viewers cannot vote in the CD17 race.

The Honda campaign bought $95,030 worth of ads on KTVU in October and November 2014, mostly during newscasts and syndicated sitcom re-runs (“Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family”).   The Honda campaign spent $2,800 each for at least five 30-second spots in the week preceding Election Day during KTVU's "10 o'clock News." Honda’s agent was Adelstein & Associates of Chicago.

Honda narrowly defeated Khanna in November 2014.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

East San Francisco Bay Area Members of Congress: 1865 to 2014: George Miller is Just Third to Retire Normally in 150 Years


Thirty-five individuals (thirty-three men and two women) have represented the East San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) in the U.S. House of Representatives since California’s first single-member districts were created in 1864.  (This does not include the two congressmen who represented California at-large from 1883 to 1885.  California gained two seats in 1882 as a result of the post-1880 census re-apportionment but the Legislature postponed re-districting until the 1884 congressional elections.)

The East Bay today has six U.S. representatives: George Miller, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda and Mike Thompson.

Here is how the 29 other U.S. representatives left their East Bay districts:

  • Defeated in primary or general elections: 14 (Higby, Page, Hilborn, English, MacLafferty, Eltse, Carter, Condon, Allen, Cohelan, George P. Miller, Baker, Pombo, Stark)
  • Died in office: 3 (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Resigned mid-term: 4 (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Re-districting caused loss of all East Bay territory: 3 (Curry Jr., Edwards, Garamendi)
  • Ran for another office at end of term: 3 (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Retired at end of term: 2 (Budd, Tolan)
Retirements are very rare.  Just two East Bay representatives in the past 150 years have retired from the House at the ends of their terms and not sought another political office immediately thereafter: James Budd in 1884 and John Tolan in 1946.  George Miller III will become the third in 2014.

There have been just sixteen open House seats in the East Bay since 1864, created by:

  • Four new congressional seats (1912, 1932, 1952, 1992)
  • Four mid-term resignations (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Three deaths (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Three runs for higher office at the ends of term (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Two retirements (Budd, Tolan)
George Miller III’s retirement in 2014 will create the 17th open congressional seat in the East Bay in the past 150 years. On average, an open East Bay congressional seat is a once-in-a-decade phenomenon.

A "George Miller" has represented the East Bay in Congress for 68 of the past 70 years.  Rep. George P. Miller (D-Alameda), no relation to George Miller III, served from 1945 until after Pete Stark defeated him in the 1972 Democratic primary.  That Rep. Miller was chairman of the House Science & Astronautics committee for most of the 1960s and therefore oversaw NASA's Apollo/lunar landing program.  The only time since World War II that there was not a "Rep. George Miller" from the East Bay was 1973-75.

Several East Bay members of Congress have attained higher political offices.  Rep. James Budd, a Stockton lawyer, was elected to the California governorship in 1894, a decade after he retired from his single term in Congress.  A close friend of suffragist Susan B. Anthony, Rep. Aaron Sargent ascended to the U.S. Senate in 1872, where he introduced the first constitutional amendment (unsuccessful) granting women the franchise. 

Rep. Joseph McKenna resigned in 1892 to serve as U.S. Ninth Circuit Court judge. He subsequently became U.S. attorney general (1897) and Associate Justice of the United States (1898 to 1925).  Rep. Victor Metcalf resigned from Congress mid-term to become President Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of Commerce and Labor (1904-06) and Secretary of the Navy (1906-08).

Two East Bay representatives did not run for re-election because they sought other higher offices.  In 1914, Rep. Joseph Knowland (father of future U.S. Sen. William Knowland) ran unsuccessfully in California’s first direct U.S. Senate election.  In 1974, Rep. Jerome Waldie ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Governor of California (he lost to Jerry Brown – Waldie’s bid is perhaps most famous for his walk across a portion of the state, memorialized in Mary Ellen Leary's book Phantom Politics).

James Budd of Stockton, elected in 1882, was the first Democrat to represent an East Bay district.  [John Glascock (D-Oakland) also was elected in 1882, but he was elected at-large by all voters of California.]  The first third-party member, Progressive John Elston, was elected in 1914.  The first African American, Ronald V. Dellums of Berkeley, was elected in 1970.  Ellen O. Tauscher of Tassajara Valley became the region’s first congresswoman in 1997.

The following are the 35 occupants of the East Bay’s nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives over the past 150 years:

Seat A: Created in 1864 as one of California’s original three congressional districts.  2nd District from 1865 to 1885 (central Sierra Nevada to East Bay).  3rd District from 1885 to 1913.  6th District from 1933 to 1953.  8th District from 1953 to 1975 (southern Alameda County plus eastern Oakland).  9th District from 1975 to 1993 (San Leandro to Livermore Valley).  13th District from 1993 to 2003 (I-880 corridor from San Leandro to Milpitas).  15th District from 2013 to 2023 (most of southern Alameda County, all of eastern Alameda, San Ramon).  [15 occupants]

1865-69            William Higby (R-Calaveras County)(defeated for re-nomination)
1869-73            Aaron A. Sargent (R-Nevada City) (elected to U.S. Senate)
1873-83            Horace Page (R-Placerville) (defeated by Budd in genl. election after re-districting)
1883-85            James Budd (D-Stockton) [retired – did not seek re-election; later elected governor (1895-99)]
1885-3/92         Joseph McKenna (R-Suisun City) (resigned to serve as U.S. 9th Circuit judge)
12/92-4/94        Samuel Hilborn (R-Oakland) (unseated by House; Warren English declared winner)
4/94-95            Warren B. English (D-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1895-99            Samuel Hilborn (R-Oakland) (defeated for re-nomination)
1899-7/04          Victor Metcalf (R-Oakland) (resigned to serve as Secretary of Commerce & Labor)
12/04-15            Joseph Knowland (R-Alameda) (unsuccessfully ran for Senate)
1915-12/1921     John A. Elston (Progressive/R-Berkeley) (died in office)
11/1922-1925     James H. MacLafferty (R-Oakland) (defeated in primary)
1925-45            Albert Carter (R-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1945-73            George P. Miller (D-Alameda) (defeated in primary)
1973-2013         Fortney “Pete” Stark (D-Danville/Oakland/Hayward/Fremont)(defeated Nov. ‘12)
2013-present       Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin)

[Seat A is now a southern & eastern Alameda County district plus San Ramon in Contra Costa County.  It is entirely within the East Bay.]

Seat B: Created in 1912.  California’s 3rd District from 1913 to 1933 (Based in Central Valley but included Contra Costa County).  As of 1933, no longer an East Bay district.  [2 occupants]

1913-10/30       Charles F. Curry (R-Sacramento) (died)
1931-33            Charles F. Curry Jr. (R-Sacramento) (defeated; district lost East Bay territory)
[Seat B lost its East Bay territory in 1932 and evolved into Sacramento/Central Valley district].

Seat C: Created in 1932: California’s 7th District from 1933 to 1975; 8th District from 1975 to 1993; 9th District from 1993 to 2003. 13th District from 2013 to 2023. [6 occupants]

1933-35            Ralph Eltse (R-Berkeley) (defeated in general election)
1935-47            John H. Tolan (D-Oakland) (did not seek re-election; retired in Jan. 1947)
1947-59            John J. Allen (R-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1959-71            Jeffery Cohelan (D-Berkeley) (defeated in primary)
1971-2/1998      Ronald Dellums (D-Berkeley/Oakland) (resigned mid-term)
4/1998-present   Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
[Centered on Oakland and Berkeley (covering all of northern Alameda County from Albany to San Leandro), Seat C remains in the East Bay in the 2010s.]

Seat D: Created in 1952.  California’s 6th District from 1953 to 1963 (all of Contra Costa and Solano counties).  14th District from 1963 to 1975.  7th District from 1975 to 2003.  11th District from 2013 to 2023. [4 occupants]

1953-55            Robert L. Condon (D-Walnut Creek) (defeated in general election)
1955-3/66         John F. Baldwin, Jr. (R-Martinez) (died in office)
6/66-75            Jerome Waldie (D-Antioch) (ran for governor)
1975-present     George Miller III (D-Martinez) (not seeking re-election; retiring in January 2015)
[Seat remains in East Bay in 2010s, entirely within Contra Costa County.  It includes most of central Contra Costa County plus Pittsburg and western Antioch plus Richmond/El Cerrito/San Pablo/Pinole]

Seat E: Created in 1962.  Primarily based in Santa Clara County.  Included portion of Alameda County from 1963 to 1993.  9th District from 1963 to 1975.  10th District from 1975 to 1993.  District lost its East Bay territory in 1992. [1 occupant]

1963-93            Don Edwards (D-San Jose) (retired in Jan. 1995, but after district left East Bay)
[Seat E lost its East Bay territory in 1992.  Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) now occupies it.]

Seat F: Created in 1992.  California’s 10th District from 1993 to 2003 (central and eastern Contra Costa County; eastern Alameda County plus Castro Valley).  District lost its East Bay territory in 2012 [3 occupants]

1993-97            William P. Baker (R-Danville) (defeated in general election)
1997-2009         Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Tassajara Valley/Alamo) (resigned mid-term)
2009-13            John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove)  (district no longer in East Bay)
[Seat F lost its East Bay territory in 2012.]

Seat G:   San Joaquin County-centered district.   Added East Bay territory in 2002. 11th District from 2003 to 2013 (Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, most of Brentwood, most of San Joaquin County, Morgan Hill). 9th District [most of San Joaquin County plus much of eastern Contra Costa County (eastern Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay)] [2 occupants]
2003-2007              Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) (defeated in 2006 general election)
2007-present            Gerald "Jerry" McNerney (D-Pleasanton/Stockton)

Seat H:  North Bay-centered district.  Added East Bay territory in 2012. 5th District from 2013 to 2023. [1 occupant]
2013-present            Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena)

[Seat H historically has been a North Bay district.  In 2012, a portion of Contra Costa County was added to the district, including most of Martinez, Crockett, Hercules.  Outside of the East Bay, district includes Vallejo and Benicia in Solano County, all of Napa County, part of Lake County and the Santa Rosa/Rohnert Park/Cotati area of Sonoma County.]

Seat I: Silicon Valley district.  Added East Bay territory in 2012.  17th District from 2013 to 2023. [1 occupant]
2013-present             Michael Honda (D-San Jose)

[Seat I historically has been a Santa Clara County district.  Southern Fremont was added in 2012.]

Friday, January 4, 2013

California: Home to Nearly 1 in 5 House Democrats

The 113th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2013.  The House of Representatives includes 38 California Democrats, the largest partisan delegation ever from a state.  California Democrats comprise 19 percent of the 200-member House Democratic Caucus (nearly one in five House Democrats), the third-highest percentage from a single state in the past century and the highest for a state's Democratic delegation in the past century.

The 38 Democrats of the California House delegation comprise the largest partisan delegation of any state in any Congress in American history.  This breaks the record set by the Pennsylvania House delegation in the 69th Congress (1925-27), composed of 36 Republicans elected by Keystone State voters in the Calvin Coolidge landslide of 1924 and again in the 71st Congress (1929-31), from June 4, 1929 until March 4, 1931.

It is impossible for any other state to break California’s record at the present time.  The 36 House members elected by Texas comprise the second-largest House delegation.  Even if all Texas congressional districts elected a Republican (or, improbably, a Democrat), the 36 Republicans would still fall two short of California’s record.  Just two U.S. states have had more than 36 members in their House delegations – California from 1963 to present and New York from 1903 to 1983.

In the 113th Congress, the Texas (24 out of 36) and Florida (17 out of 27) delegations contain more House Republicans than California (15 out of 53).  Other states with 10 or more House Republicans include Pennsylvania (13 out of 18) and Ohio (12 out of 16).  Those four states (Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio) elected a total of 66 Republicans and 31 Democrats in November 2012.  The fifteen California House Republicans in the 113th Congress comprise a mere six percent of the entire House Republican Conference.

Two other states have had partisan delegations that have compromised larger shares of their partisan caucuses/conferences in the past century.  In the first New Deal Congress (73rd Congress, 1933-35), Republicans were a small minority, with a total of 117 House members.  Pennsylvania accounted for 23 of the 117 Republicans (19.7 percent).  This was the highest concentration of House members of a major party in any state in the past century.  The second-highest record was the 17 Republicans in the New York delegation in the 75th Congress (1937-39).  They accounted for 19.1 percent of all 89 House Republicans in that Congress.
 

California holds the record for the highest single-state concentration of House Democrats in the past century.  As of January 3, 2013, 38 of the 200 members of the House Democratic Caucus were Californians (19 percent).  This is an increase from 17.7 percent in the 112th Congress (2011-13), 34 out of 192.  The only other state that has been a contender for this record is Texas.  In the 67th Congress (1921-23), 17 of the 131 House Democrats were Texans (13.0 percent).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fresno County-Voted Twice for Obama

President Obama won Fresno County in 2012, with vote-by-mail ballots counted in the final days putting him ahead of Republican "Mitt" Romney.  Obama is the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Fresno County twice since Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s.

Obama won Fresno County by 5,691 ballots in 2008 (Obama 136,706 vs. McCain 131,015).  In 2012, he won it by a slightly narrower margin, 4,639 votes (Obama 129,129 vs. Romney 124,490).

Fresno County was a Democratic stalwart in the mid-20th century.  Between the Herbert Hoover landslide of 1928 and the Ronald Reagan landslide of 1980, Fresno County voted for a Republican for president just once -- Richard Nixon in his 1972 re-election landslide.  From 1980 to 2004, Fresno County was reliably Republican, favoring a Democrat in just one presidential election (a narrow win for Bill Clinton in 1992).

The San Joaquin Valley voted more Democratic than the nation in the 1950s and '60s.  Adlai Stevenson won eight California counties, including Fresno, Madera and Kings, in 1952.  Stevenson won thirteen California counties, including Fresno, Madera, Kings, Merced and Stanislaus, in 1956.  Hubert Humphrey won 21 California counties in 1968, including Fresno, Madera, Kings, Merced and Stanislaus.  Into the 1980s, Fresno County was competitive.  In 1988, Democrat Michael Dukakis narrowly lost Fresno County (94,835 Bush vs. 92,635 Dukakis).

On General Election Day, 2012, Registrar of Voters Brandi Orth operated "drive-thru" vote-by-mail ballot return locations at nine sites across the county.  They were open during the same eleven hours as polling places.

Agribusiness is the foundation of the Fresno County economy.  The 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture found that Fresno County was the top county in the nation in terms of total value of agricultural products sold ($3.73 billion).  Fresno County was no. 2 in the country in terms of "value of crops" and no. 4 in terms of "value of livestock, poultry and their products sold."  Its 6,081 farms covered 1.6 million acres of farmland.  Fresno County grew the most acres of grapes and tomatoes in the nation in 2007.

Final 2012 election results for California show that just three counties shifted from favoring Obama in 2008 to supporting Romney in 2012: Butte, Nevada and Trinity.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Riverside County - For Obama in 2012, First Democrat Ever to Win Twice

Riverside County voted for President Obama in 2012, according to results released by the county Registrar of Voters on Monday, November 19th.  Republican "Mitt" Romney had been leading in earlier reports.  Now the vast 7,208 square-mile county in California's "Inland Empire" will change colors on national political maps.

Mr. Obama won Riverside County by 4,232 ballots (315,553 Obama vs. 311,321 Romney; 49.32% vs. 48.66%), according to returns released on November 19th.  These figures likely will change as the registrar says that 33,000 provisional ballots remain to be processed.

Obama is the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Riverside County twice.  In 2008 he won the county by nearly 15,000 voters (325,017 Obama vs. 310,041 McCain, 50.3% vs. 47.9%).

Aside from Obama, none of the Democrats who has won re-election has won Riverside County more that once. Democrat Bill Clinton won Riverside County in 1992 (Clinton 38.7% vs. Bush 37.1% vs. Perot 23.8%), but lost it in 1996 (Clinton 43.1% vs. Dole 45.6% vs. Perot 9.1%).

Franklin Roosevelt won Riverside County just once in his four presidential elections.  F.D.R. narrowly won Riverside County in 1936 (17,011 Roosevelt vs. 16,624 Landon), becoming the first Democratic presidential nominee ever to win the county.  F.D.R. lost Riverside County in 1932, 1940 and 1944.

Riverside County once was so staunchly Republican that it was the only California county that voted against Franklin Roosevelt and for Republican President Herbert Hoover in 1932. (Hoover won Riverside County by 1,357 votes in 1932; 14,112 Hoover vs. 12,755 Roosevelt; 50.2% vs. 45.4%.)  Riverside was among the six California counties that voted for Republican Wendell Willkie and against a third term for Roosevelt in 1940 (along with Orange, Alpine, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Lake counties). (Riverside County voted 21,779 Willkie vs. 20,003 Roosevelt; 51.4% vs. 47.2%).  In 1944, Riverside was among the eleven California counties that voted for New York Republican Gov. Thomas Dewey and rejected F.D.R.'s fourth term (Imperial, San Benito, Sutter, Mono and Inyo counties joined the six counties that voted Republican in 1940) (Riverside County favored Dewey by 3,729 votes; 23,168 Dewey vs. 19,439 Roosevelt; 53.9% vs. 45.3%).

Since Riverside County was created in 1893, it has voted in 29 presidential elections.  Democrats have won just five times: in 1936, 1964, 1992, 2008 and 2012, roughly once per generation.  Obama is responsible for 40% of all successful Democratic presidential campaigns in Riverside County's history.  Riverside County has voted Republican in 23 presidential elections since the county's creation.  The only time that it voted for a third-party candidate was when it favored ex-President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, when he ran with California Gov. Hiram Johnson on the "Progressive" presidential ticket.

The demographics of Riverside County have changed considerably since it was a sparsely populated land of desert and citrus groves a century ago.  From 2000 to 2010, the Hispanic/Latino population increased 78%, from 560,000 in 2000 to nearly 1 million in 2010.  Whereas, Hispanics/Latinos comprised 36.2% of Riverside County population in 2000, their share increased to 45.5% in 2010.

Riverside County voted solidly Republican in the 2004 presidential election.  President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Sen. John Kerry by more than 93,000 votes and nearly 17 percentage points (322,473 Bush vs. 228,806 Kerry; 57.9% vs. 41.1%).

The 2012 election was good for Riverside County Democrats, as Jim Miller reported on the Riverside Press-Enterprise website on November 10th.  The county elected two Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives by comfortable margins.  Democrat Dr. Raul Ruiz defeated Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) in the 36th Congressional District (eastern Riverside County) (107,702 Ruiz vs. 96,562 Bono Mack; 52.7% vs. 47.3%).  [See the Riverside Press-Enterprise's analysis of the Ruiz-Bono Mack congressional race by Jim Miller.]  In the 41st Congressional District (Riverside-Moreno Valley area), Democrat Mark Takano won an open seat (97,215 Takano vs. 69,944 Tavaglione; 58.2% vs. 41.8%).

Not a single square mile of Riverside County has been represented by a Democratic congressman in the past 20 years (Rep. George Brown represented the Riverside city area in 1993).  The last time that Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley and eastern Riverside County were represented by a Democratic congressman was 42 years ago in 1971 (Rep. John V. Tunney).

In addition, western Riverside County elected a Democrat to the 31st Senate District, a new open seat that covers Riverside, Moreno Valley, Corona and Norco.  Democrat Richard Roth defeated Republican Jeff Miller (127,050 Roth vs. 105,376 Miller; 54.7% vs. 45.3%).  See Jim Miller's analysis on the Riverside Press-Enterprise website.

The city of San Jacinto in Riverside County has the best record of any California city in following the national outcome.  San Jacinto voted for the national electoral vote winner in every presidential election from 1964 to 2008.  No other California city can match that record of voting for the winner in all twelve of those presidential elections.  Once city-level data are released for the 2012 election, we will know if San Jacinto will extend its streak to thirteen in a row.

The city of Riverside also can claim to be among California's "presidential bellwether" cities.  Riverside, Adelanto in San Bernardino County and Imperial Beach in San Diego County, are the trio of California cities that voted for all national popular vote winners from 1964 to 2008.  Those three cities voted in 2000 for Al Gore, who won the national popular vote.  They also voted for the winners of all eleven other presidential elections during that time period.  If Riverside, Adelanto and Imperial Beach voted for President Obama in 2012, they will have extended their streak to thirteen.

In California gubernatorial elections since 1990, Cathedral City in Riverside County has the best record of any southern California city in following the statewide outcome, as discussed in this blog in 2010.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Obama in '12: Outperformed Bush ('04) & Reagan ('80) in National Popular Vote Share

President Barack Obama earned a higher percentage of the national popular vote in his 2012 re-election than did George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election.

As of December 30th, Obama had won 51.04% of the total national popular vote (65,892,518 Obama votes out of 129,099,912 total votes cast).

President Bush garnered 50.73% of the national popular vote in 2004 (62,040,610 votes out of 122,293,548 total votes cast).  As votes continued to be tallied in the weeks after Election Day, Obama surpassed Bush's figure on November 19th [when Obama had won 50.746% of the total national popular vote (63,798,599 Obama votes out of 125,721,735 total votes cast)].

On Tuesday, November 20th, Obama surpassed Ronald Reagan's 50.75% share of the national popular vote in 1980 (43,903,230 votes out of 86,509,678 total votes cast).

Since the Civil War (1861-65), just two other Democratic presidential nominees have won higher shares of national popular vote than President Obama did in 2008 and 2012:

(1) Franklin Roosevelt won between 53.39% and 60.80% of the popular vote in 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944 and
(2) Lyndon Johnson won 61.05% in 1964.

Mr. Obama won 52.87% of the national popular vote in 2008.  His share of the popular vote declined when he was re-elected, a rarity for a re-elected president.  Obama's 69,498,516 votes in 2008 is the largest popular vote total in U.S. history.

Democrats Grover Cleveland (1884, 1892), Woodrow Wilson (1912, 1916), Harry Truman (1948), John F. Kennedy (1960) and Bill Clinton (1992, 1996) won the presidency but each failed to win a majority (50.0%) of the national popular vote.  Jimmy Carter (1976) won a majority of the popular vote.  Grover Cleveland (1888) and Al Gore (2000) won pluralities (not majorities) of the popular vote, but failed to win electoral vote majorities.  Samuel Tilden won a majority of the popular vote (50.92%) in 1876, yet lost the election in the Electoral College after controversial post-election legal and political wrangling that was enmeshed with Reconstruction issues.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Contrarian Counties: 10 Flipped from McCain in '08 to Obama in '12

Support for President Barack Obama generally declined across the country from 2008, when he won 52.93% of the national popular vote, to 2012, when he won 50.70%, according to the latest figures.  Mr. Obama lost the states of Indiana and North Carolina and the 2nd congressional district of Nebraska (Omaha area), where won electoral votes in 2008.

President Obama lost dozens of counties across the nation in 2012 that he won four years earlier.  In California, for example, three counties (Trinity, Butte and Nevada) voted for Obama in 2008 but "flipped" to Republican "Mitt" Romney in 2012.

However, ten "contrarian" counties across the nation countered the tide and "swung" from backing Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 to supporting President Obama in 2012.   These counties are:

(1) Chaffee County, Colorado (Salida) [last voted for Democrat for president in 1964],
(2) Woodbury County, Iowa (Sioux City, western Iowa's metropolis),
(3) Franklin County, Kentucky (Frankfort, the state capital),
(4) Warren County, Mississippi (Vicksburg) [last voted for Democrat for president in 1960],
(5) Conecuh County, Alabama (Evergreen),
(6) Barbour County, Alabama (Clayton/Eufala),
(7) Early County, Georgia (Blakely),
(8) Darlington County, South Carolina (Florence metro area),
(9) Nash County, North Carolina (Rocky Mount metro area) [last voted for a Democrat for president in 1976] and
(10) Richmond County, New York (Staten Island borough of New York City).

Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections and its "McCain 2008/Obama 2012 counties" discussion forum were helpful in identifying these counties.

(1) Chaffee County, Colorado (2010 census population: 17,809) is in the Rocky Mountains at the junction of U.S. Highways 50 and 285 in central Colorado.  The Arkansas River runs through it.  Much of the population lives in the river valley towns of Salida (county seat) and Buena Vista.  National forest lands virtually surround the valley.  The 2011 population was 86.1% non-Hispanic whites.

Chaffee County supported Republican John McCain over Mr. Obama by a mere nine votes in 2008.  President Obama won Chaffee County by 18 votes in 2012 (4,967 Obama vs. 4,949 Romney).  The "early vote" was crucial to President Obama's victory there (382 Obama vs. 277 Romney) as Obama lost the large "absentee vote" by three ballots (3,992 Obama vs. 3,995 Romney) and also lost the Election Day vote by 86 ballots (593 Obama vs. 677 Romney).

President Obama won Colorado by 123,000 votes in 2012 compared to his 215,000 votes margin of victory four years earlier.  Chaffee County was the only Colorado county that "flipped" either way at the presidential level in 2012.  As recent as 2004, it had been a solidly Republican county, voting 55.6% for President George W. Bush.  The last time Chaffee County backed a Democrat for president was in 1964. Chaffee County shifted from being a minuscule drag on Obama in 2008 to giving him a tiny boost in 2012.

(2) Woodbury County, Iowa (2010 census population: 102,172) is best known for Sioux City, its county seat, the metropolis of western Iowa.  It is on the Missouri River, opposite from Nebraska.  Interstate 29 passes through it en route north-south from Kansas City to Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Its population peaked in the 1960 census when its famous stockyards still processed vast quantities of hogs and cattle.  (The final livestock auction in Sioux City was held in 2002, according to the Associated Press.)  The unionized meat packers once were a local political force.

Woodbury County narrowly favored Republican John McCain in 2008 (22,219 McCain vs. 21,983 Obama).  It "flipped" to President Obama in 2012 (21,841 Romney vs. 22,302 Obama).

In the past half-century, Woodbury County has voted Democratic for president just four times: for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, for Michael Dukakis in 1988, for Bill Clinton in 1996 and for Barack Obama in 2012.  It was the only county in far western Iowa (the row of three counties immediately east of the Missouri River) to vote for Obama in 2012.  It is located in the most politically conservative part of Iowa.

(3) Franklin County, Kentucky (2010 census population: 49,285) is the location of Frankfort, the state capital.  Interstate Highway 64 passes east-west through Franklin County.

Republican John McCain won Franklin County in 2008 by just 144 votes (McCain 11,911 vs. Obama 11,767).  In 2012, Mr. Obama "flipped" the county and won by 190 votes (11,345 Romney vs. 11,535 Obama).  Twelve years earlier, Democrat Al Gore also won Franklin County (10,853 Gore vs. 10,209 Bush).

Obama won eight Kentucky counties in 2008 and just four in 2012.  That was the smallest number of Kentucky counties won by a Democratic presidential nominee since the Republican party was founded in the 1850s. The five counties that Obama won in 2008 but lost in 2012 were Henderson, Hancock, Rowan, Menifee and Wolfe.

Elliott County is only eastern Kentucky county that voted for President Obama in 2012.  It is the last holdout of what used to be a large cluster of eastern Kentucky counties that were Democratic stalwarts in presidential elections. The Wikipedia page for Elliott County claims, "Elliott County has voted for the Democratic Party's nominee in every Presidential election since it incorporated in 1869. This is the longest ongoing streak of any county voting Democratic in the United States ... Elliott County was the second whitest county in the country, at 99.04%, to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election, the whitest being Mitchell County, Iowa."

Against the Nixon Republican landslide of 1972, when President Nixon won 63% of the Kentucky statewide vote, Democrat George McGovern won Elliott and six other eastern Kentucky counties.  Against the Reagan landslide of 1984, Democrat Walter Mondale won Elliott and eleven other eastern Kentucky counties.

Elliott County used to be a major coal mining county, but tonnage extracted has dropped significantly since the 1980s. The United Mine Workers union was a major political force locally when coal mining was in its heyday.  Elliott today is a "dry county;" the sale of alcoholic beverages is forbidden everywhere.

Until 2008, Kentucky had been considered a "bellwether" state in presidential elections in recent decades, akin to Tennessee and Missouri.  From 1964 to 2004, Kentucky voted for the national electoral vote winner in every election.  In Bill Clinton's final campaign day in November 1992, he held a rally in Paducah, Kentucky.  A special congressional election in 1993 in Kentucky was a harbinger of the "Republican Revolution" that took over both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterm election.

(4) Warren County, Mississippi (2010 population: 48,773) is the location of Vicksburg, long nicknamed the "Queen City of the Bluff."  It is perhaps the state of Mississippi's most famous city on the Mississippi River, known for an 1863 Civil War battle, its grand antebellum homes and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' research center.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Warren County's population was 49.4% non-Hispanic white in 2011.  Among the state of Mississippi's counties along the Mississippi River, Warren is second in terms of percentage of non-Hispanic whites (behind DeSoto County, in the state's far northwestern corner, which was 69.6% non-Hispanic white in 2011).  It is among the most white, least black counties along Mississippi's stretch of the Mississippi River.

Mississippi is among the four states where President Obama increased his share of the vote over 2008.  According to the latest returns from Mississippi, Mr. Obama won 43.55% of the statewide vote in 2012, compared with 43.00% four years earlier.  Obama won all of the same counties that he did in 2008, plus added Warren County.

Mr. Obama lost Warren County to McCain in 2008 by 663 votes (10,489 Obama vs. 11,152 McCain), but won it in 2012 by 509 votes (9,899 Obama vs. 9,390 Romney).  Obama is the first Democrat to win Warren County in 52 years, since passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The last Democratic presidential nominee to win Warren County was John F. Kennedy in 1960; he lost the state to "Unpledged Electors," who ended up casting the state's electoral votes for Virginia U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd.  Warren County voted for Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964 and for independent presidential candidate Governor George Wallace of Alabama in 1968.  Not even Democrat Jimmy Carter, who won Mississippi in 1976 and came close to winning again in 1980, won Warren County.  Democrat Bill Clinton won all Mississippi counties along the Mississippi River except DeSoto and Warren counties, in both 1992 and 1996.

Obama's win of Warren County in 2012 (Obama 51.0% vs. 48.4% Romney) was a major contrast from eight years earlier when Republican George W. Bush decisively won there (Kerry 41.8% vs. Bush 57.7%).

(5) Conecuh County, Alabama (2010 population: 13,228) is one of two Alabama counties that swung from McCain in 2008 to Obama in 2012.  Conecuh County is in south central Alabama, on Interstate 65 midway between Montgomery and Mobile.  Its county seat and only major town is Evergreen.  Its population in 2011 was 50.8% non-Hispanic white and 46.7% black.  Conecuh County's population peaked at 25,489 in 1940 and has been nearly halved since.  With the decline of the local cotton industry, many of its blacks left to seek employment in western and northern states in the "Second Great Migration."

Conecuh County supported McCain in 2008 by a mere 41 votes (3,470 McCain vs. 3,429 Obama).  In 2012, Obama won by 117 votes (3,434 Romney vs. 3,551 Obama).  Conecuh County voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980, for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and for Al Gore in 2000 (2,699 Bush vs. 2,783 Gore).


(6) Barbour County, Alabama (2010 population: 27,457) is the second of two Alabama counties that McCain won in 2008 that Obama "flipped" in 2012.  It is located in southeastern Alabama on the Chattahoochee River/Walter F. George Reservoir opposite from Georgia.  Its largest towns are Eufala and Clayton.  No interstate highway passes through or near Barbour County.  In 2011, its population was 46.9% black and 46.7% non-Hispanic white.

A major incident in post-Civil War Reconstruction, the "Election Riot of 1874," where the "White League" killed several black Republicans and chased Republican voters away from the polls on election day, occurred in Barbour County.

Barbour County supported McCain by a 167-vote margin in 2008 (5,697 McCain vs. 5,866 Obama).  In 2012, the county gave a 334-vote margin to Obama (5,539 Romney vs. 5,873 Obama).  Barbour County previously voted Democratic for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980, for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and for Al Gore in 2000 (5,188 Gore vs. 5,096 Bush).

(7) Early County, Georgia (2010 population: 11,008) is located along the Chattahoocee River in southwestern Georgia, southeast of Barbour County, Alabama.  The county seat is Blakely. It is about 70 miles southwest of Plains, Georgia, President Jimmy Carter's hometown.  In 2011, it was 49.3% black and 47.7% non-Hispanic white.

Early County voted for McCain by a 108-vote margin in 2008 (2,711 McCain vs. 2,603 Obama).  In 2012, Obama won the county by 208 ballots (2,557 Romney vs. 2,765 Obama).  Jimmy Carter won Early County in 1976 and 1980 and Bill Clinton won it in 1992 and 1996.  It voted strongly for Republican George W. Bush in 2004 (59%).

(8) Darlington County, South Carolina (2010 population: 68,681) is in the northeastern part of South Carolina. It is a portion of the Florence, S.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area.  Interstate Highways I-20 and I-95 pass through the county.  Its county seat and main city is Darlington.  In 2011, its population was 55.4% non-Hispanic white and 41.6% black.

Darlington County favored McCain by just 39 votes in 2008 (14,544 McCain vs. 14,505 Obama).  In 2012, Obama won by a mere 23 votes (15,434 Romney vs. 15,457 Obama).  John F. Kennedy won Darlington County in 1960, Jimmy Carter won it in 1976 and 1980 and Bill Clinton won it in 1992 and 1996.

(9) Nash County, North Carolina (2010 population: 95,840) is part of the Rocky Mount Metropolitan Statistical Area.  Its county seat is the town of Nashville. Its population was 53.5% non-Hispanic white and 37.9% black in 2011.

Nash County favored McCain over Obama in 2008 by 629 ballots (23,728 McCain vs. 23,099 Obama).  In 2012, it voted for Obama by 471 votes (23,842 Romney vs. 24,313 Obama).

This was a big change from 2004; George W. Bush defeated the Kerry/Edwards ticket by a wide, 16.5 percentage point margin in Nash County (21,902 Bush vs. 15,693 Kerry, 58.1% vs. 41.7%).  In 2000, Bush defeated Gore by 18 percentage points in this county (17,995 Bush vs. 12,376 Gore, 59.0% vs. 40.6%).  (If North Carolina U.S. Senator John Edwards' selection as Democratic running mate was supposed to give John Kerry any great advantage in North Carolina in 2004, that did not happen in Nash County.)  Before 2012, the last time that Nash County favored a Democrat for president was in 1976 (Jimmy Carter).

(10) Richmond County, New York (2010 population: 468,730) is the Borough of Staten Island of New York City.  Before 2012, Richmond County last voted for a Democrat for president in 2000 (51.9% Gore vs. 45.0% Bush).

Staten Island backed McCain in 2008 by 6,751 votes (86,062 McCain vs. 79,311 Obama).  In 2012, it swung to Obama, giving him a 1,104-vote margin over Romney (66,420 Romney vs. 67,524 Obama).  Turnout was significantly lower in 2012 than in 2008, likely because most Staten Island residents were preoccupied with flooding, power outages and other issues related to "Superstorm Sandy."