Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Congressman Jeff Denham Jeopardizes Health Care of More Than 100,000 Constituents

Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) will be closely watched by his Stanislaus and San Joaquin county constituents (Modesto, Turlock, Tracy, Manteca) when the “Trumpcare” medical care scheme is placed before the House for a vote on Thursday, March 23rd.  The Affordable Care Act, which was enacted seven years ago and has withstood numerous court challenges, could be decimated by Congressman Denham's vote.  Health care for a sizable percentage of Congressman Denham’s constituents would be jeopardized.

More than 100,000 residents of Congressman Denham’s district were enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans in 2016.   This includes more than 26,000 enrolled in Covered California plans (the state's Affordable Care Act health care exchange) and more than 79,000 enrolled in Medi-Cal expansion plans.  Nearly one out of every seven residents of Congressman Denham's district is enrolled in an Affordable Care Act plan.  An unknown additional number owe their health insurance to the Affordable Care Act's employer contribution requirements.  Many health care personnel at Modesto's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, among other local hospitals and clinics, would lose their jobs if Congressman Denham approves dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.

All of Stanislaus County is contained within Congressman Denham’s district.  In 2016, more than 82,000 Stanislaus County residents were enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans, including 18,100 in Covered California and 64,410 in Medi-Cal expansion.  Of the 18,100 enrolled in Covered California plans, 16,950 received subsidies.   The vast majority of Stanislaus County Covered California enrollees were in Anthem Blue Cross of California plans (10,680), followed by 5,730 in Kaiser Permanente plans and 1,610 in Blue Shield of California plans.

Modesto would be especially hard-hit if the Affordable Care Act were repealed as nearly 45,000 residents receive their health care through the A.C.A.  Nearly 8,200 residents of Modesto ZIP codes (95350-51, 95354-58) are enrolled in Covered California plans and another 36,400 are enrolled in Medi-Cal expansion plans.

Turlock, along with hosting California State University Stanislaus, is Congressman Denham’s adopted hometown.   More than 12,000 Turlock residents (ZIP codes 95380-82) receive their health care through the Affordable Care Act, including 3,120 through Covered California and 8,959 through the Medi-Cal expansion.

Tracy in San Joaquin County (ZIP codes 95304, 95376-78, 95391) has more than 11,000 enrollees in Affordable Care Act plans, including 4,260 in Covered California and 7,117 in Medi-Cal expansion plans.  More than 9,000 Manteca residents (ZIP codes 95336-37) are enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans, including 2,970 in Covered California and 6,365 in the Medi-Cal expansion.

Health care is an essential human need; it has no partisan bounds.  Republicans and Democrats need access to affordable, quality health care. Ripon in San Joaquin County is among the most politically conservative cities in California.  Nearly 1,400 Ripon residents receive their health care through the Affordable Care Act, including 620 through Covered California plans and 755 through Medi-Cal expansion plans.  Escalon also favored Donald Trump for President in 2016.  Nearly 1,300 Escalon residents are enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans, including 460 in Covered California plans and 833 in Medi-Cal expansion plans.

Behind each of the 100,000 residents of Congressman Denham’s district who are enrolled in Affordable Care Act health care plans is an individual with personal medical needs.  Some cope with serious medical conditions that could not be insured at a reasonable price if the Affordable Care Act were to be abolished.  Others live under precarious economic circumstances wherein a family medical emergency would otherwise cause bankruptcy, had the Affordable Care Act not existed. 

These 100,000 voices and their family members, neighbors and co-workers need to inform Congressman Denham that their medical “safety net” cannot be dismantled.  The axe would fall mercilessly, forcing cancer patients, stroke and heart attack victims and other patients to navigate a devastated medical bureaucracies.  The protections of an important civil rights law (section 1557) would be destroyed.  Congressman Denham, at the instigation of President Trump, is gambling with a trillion dollar sector of the American economy (more than one-sixth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product) with haste and without carefully considering the full ramifications, especially the 100,000 constituents who could lose their health care coverage.

Contact Congressman Denham and tell him to preserve the Affordable Care Act, both through his comment form and through Congressman Denham’s health care survey.

Phone Congressman Denham’s offices at (202) 225-4540 (Washington, D.C.) and (209) 579-5458 (Modesto) and ask him to keep the Affordable Care Act.

For Affordable Care Act Medi-Cal expansion statistics as of October 2016, click here.
For Covered California enrollment statistics as of June 2016, click here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Ronald Reagan Would Oppose Trump/Pruitt Vendetta Against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) is preeminent in the pantheon of American conservative political leaders since World War II.  The quadrennial pilgrimage of Republican presidential candidates to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. for a televised debate in front of the retired Air Force One plane is now an established tradition.  "What would Reagan do?", the Republican presidential candidates ask themselves and each other as they establish their "conservative credentials" before a national audience.

Mr. Reagan, who enjoyed the outdoors (especially by horseback), would be aghast at the current effort by President Donald Trump and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to decimate federal environmental lawmaking and enforcement.  As California governor from 1967 to 1975, Mr. Reagan established a venerable record as a strong environmental champion.  Mr. Reagan signed the 1967 legislation that established the California Air Resources Board, stopped a major dam on the Eel River in northwestern California and halted the Minarets highway that would have bisected a relatively pristine section of the southern Sierra Nevada range.  Journalist Lou Cannon details these accomplishments in his biographical book, "Governor Reagan."  Then-State Resources Agency Secretary Norman B. "Ike" Livermore, a former lumber company executive, advised Governor Reagan to take many of these landmark environmental preservation actions.

Sen. George Murphy: "unrestrained fouling of ... air.  We cannot go backward."

U.S. Senator George Murphy (R-Calif.), another 1960s conservative Republican, also was a strong supporter of clean air laws; Senator Murphy helped to champion the 1967 federal Air Quality Act that included the "California waiver" to permit the Golden State to enact environmental policies that were more stringent than the federal standards.  Senator Murphy said at a federal hearing at San Francisco's federal building on January 15-16, 1968, "California has passed the point in its history when it can allow unrestrained fouling of its air.  We cannot go backward."

Clean air then knew no partisan bounds; California's Democratic congressmen on the House Commerce committee, John Moss of Sacramento and Lionel Van Deerlin of San Diego, also helped to pass the 1967 Air Quality Act.  Congressmen Moss and Van Deerlin worked especially hard in autumn 1967 to overturn the House Commerce committee's vote against the California waiver.

Gov. Ronald Reagan: "Remove smog from politics" - "The smog we breathe brings disease without regard to political alliance."

Appended below is Ronald Reagan's "smog control" campaign plank from his first race for California governor in 1966.   Mr. Reagan promised to "[r]emove smog from politics and influence by special interest groups to insure that positive steps toward air purification are taken immediately and without fear of political reprisals."  Governor Reagan said at his January 9, 1968 State of the State Address, "The compelling issues which face our people are not partisan – in nature or solution.  The burden of taxation presses down upon Democrat and Republican alike.  The smog we breathe brings disease without regard to political alliance.  The search for happier, healthier, more productive life is shared by the vast majority of our citizens.  Those here of goodwill and serious intent know this to be true … While you and I wrestle here with budgets and billions, our citizens wrestle with the day-to-day problems of dirty air and dirty water and dirty and congested streets.   As someone has said, it is a bit incongruous that while we reach for the stars, we stand knee-deep in garbage."

President Trump, EPA Administrator Pruitt, congressional Republicans and the wider circle of Mr. Reagan's acolytes should follow "the Gipper's" sage, time-honored advice.  Federal environmental rulemaking and enforcement should be removed from politics and influence by special interest groups to insure that positive steps toward air purification are taken immediately and without fear of political reprisals.


I am strongly committed to eradicating smog in California … As Governor, I will:   

1.  Work to establish uniform laws on air pollution to insure minimum state wide standards for the reduction of pollutants from diesel trucks and buses, autos, and industrial plants.    

2.  Call for legislation to coordinate research in California on smog prevention and control that is currently being conducted separately by the state, county agencies, auto manufacturers, and the Federal government.   

3.  Work closely with local agencies in making certain that pollutants from industry are adequately regulated and controlled.

4.  Remove smog from politics and influence by special interest groups to insure that positive steps toward air purification are taken immediately and without fear of political reprisals.
With decisive action, such as this, we can hasten the day when all Californians can once more breathe clean, fresh air.

[an original copy of this document is found in the "Reagan" folders of Carton 599 of the Senator Thomas Kuchel Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley]

Monday, December 12, 2016

Donald Trump Won Smallest Republican Share of California Presidential Vote Since 1856

Donald Trump in the 2016 election received the lowest share of the California vote of any Republican presidential candidate that has appeared on the Golden State ballot in the past 160 years (31.62 percent).  Only the first Republican presidential nominee, John C. Fremont in 1856, received a lower share of the California vote (18.78 percent), according to statistics in Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.  The national Republican Party was founded two years earlier, in February 1854, in Ripon, Wisconsin.  The last time that a Republican fared so poorly on the California ballot (in 1856), women and racial minorities could not vote, slavery was legal in fifteen states and no transcontinental railroad or telegraph existed.

Trump’s share of the California vote was lower than the lowest Republican presidential candidate in the 20th century, 31.70 percent for Alf Landon in 1936 (Franklin Roosevelt's first re-election landslide).  Trump's share also was lower than George H.W. Bush’s 32.61 percent of the California presidential vote in 1992 (three-way race including Bill Clinton and Ross Perot) and Barry Goldwater's 38.47 percent of the California presidential vote in 1964 (the Lyndon Johnson landslide).
Just two second-place finishers in California presidential general elections since statehood in 1850 have garnered a smaller share of the Golden State vote than Trump in 2016 (31.62 percent): Democrat James Cox in 1920 (24.28 percent against the Warren Harding "Return to Normalcy" landslide) and Democrat Alton Parker in 1904 (26.94 percent against the Theodore Roosevelt landslide).  In the late 20th century, the Democratic presidential nominee with the lowest share of the California vote was Jimmy Carter in 1980 (35.91 percent).  Carter in 1980, George McGovern in 1972 (41.54 percent in California) and Walter Mondale in 1984 (41.27 percent in California) lost national landslide elections and lost California by wide margins, but fared better in California than Trump did in 2016.  Trump was lower than Democrat Stephen Douglas in 1860 (31.71 percent of California vote) and American Party nominee Millard Fillmore in 1856 (32.83 percent).

Hillary Clinton won the 2016 California presidential election by the widest margin in the past 80 years (30.1 percentage points over Republican Donald Trump).  Since the Golden State participated in its first presidential election in 1852, just four presidential nominees have won California by a wider margin than Hillary Clinton in 2016: (1) Republican Warren Harding in 1920 (nearly 40 percentage points over Democrat James Cox), (2) Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in 1936 (35.25 percentage points over Republican Alf Landon), (3) Republican Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 (nearly 35 percentage points over Democrat Alton Parker) and (4) Republican Herbert Hoover in 1928 (30.5 percentage points over Democrat Al Smith). 

(One caveat: Republican President William Howard Taft received a small number of votes in California as a write-in candidate in 1912. Taft was the party’s official national nominee that year,but his name did not appear on the California ballot.  Former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt's electors appeared as the “Republican” slate on the 1912 California presidential ballot because the California state Republican Convention chose Roosevelt over Taft as the state’s official Republican candidate for the 1912 general election ballot.  The California Secretary of State attempted to list Taft on the ballot, but the California Attorney General advised against it.  Taft challenged Roosevelt all the way up to the California Supreme Court in his failed attempt to be listed on the November 1912 presidential ballot.)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Hillary Clinton Wins San Joaquin Valley, First Democratic Presidential Nominee Since 1964 to Prevail in California's Agricultural Heartland

Democrat Hillary Clinton has won the San Joaquin Valley, the first Democratic presidential nominee to prevail in California's agricultural heartland since 1964.  Based on final election returns certified by the California State of State on December 16th, Clinton won 558,349 votes and Republican Donald Trump won 549,537 votes in the eight San Joaquin Valley counties, yielding a 8,812-ballot margin of victory for Clinton.  The percentages were Clinton, 47.2 percent vs. Trump, 46.5 percent. .

Clinton won San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced and Fresno counties.  Trump prevailed in Madera, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.

Before 2016, the last time that a Democratic presidential nominee won the San Joaquin Valley was in the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964, when President Johnson defeated Republican Senator Barry Goldwater by nearly 140,000 votes.

The closest that Democratic presidential nominees came to winning the San Joaquin Valley counties between 1964 and 2016 was in 1976, followed by 1968.  Democrat Hubert Humphrey lost the San Joaquin Valley by 5,657 votes to Republican Richard Nixon in 1968.  Democratic Governor Jimmy Carter lost the San Joaquin Valley to Republican President Gerald Ford in 1976 by a similar margin, 5,003 votes.

In 1984, Republican President Ronald Reagan won the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley by nearly 152,000 votes over Democrat Walter Mondale.

In 2004, Republican President George W. Bush lost California, but won the San Joaquin Valley counties by a 214,000-vote margin over Democrat John Kerry.

In 2012, Republican "Mitt" Romney won the eight San Joaquin Valley counties by 21,475 votes over Democratic President Barack Obama (Romney: 535,698 vs. Obama: 514,223).

The eight counties include some population outside of the San Joaquin Valley floor.  For example, Kern County extends across the Tehachapi Mountains into the Mojave Desert and includes a few cities that are outside of the Central Valley, such as Tehachapi, California City and Ridgecrest.  These non-Valley cities tend to be much more Republican than the eight-county San Joaquin Valley region as a whole.

Kern County was the state's Republican vote "stronghold" in the 2016 presidential election.  No California county had a larger vote margin for Trump, 30,895 ballots.  (As discussed in a previous "CalPolitiCal" post, Orange County historically had been California's Republican stronghold, but Orange County voted Democratic by nearly 102,000 votes in 2016.)  Clinton's margin in San Joaquin County, 32,188, neutralized Trump's margin in Kern County.

The 2010 U.S. Census of Population found 3.97 million persons in the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley.  If the region were its own state, it would have ranked 27th in the United States by population in 2010, behind Kentucky and just ahead of Oregon.  The San Joaquin Valley has a larger population than many prominent agricultural states, such as Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

"CalPolitical" examined the San Joaquin Valley in presidential election history in a January 2012 post:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton Wins Orange County, California - First Democratic Presidential Nominee in 80 Years To Do So

Orange County, California, the quintessential bastion of post-World War II suburban Republicanism, has voted Democratic for the first time in 80 years in the 2016 presidential election, favoring Secretary Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.  In modern American politics, this is akin to the Rock of Gibraltar crumbling.

The last Democratic presidential nominee who won Orange County was Franklin Roosevelt in his 1936 re-election landslide over Republican Alf Landon.  Since Orange County was created in 1889, it has voted for a Democrat for president just three times: in 1932, in 1936 and now in 2016.

As of December 6th, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump in Orange County by more than 102,000 ballots and 8.6 percentage points [Clinton: 609,961 (50.9 percent); Trump: 507,148 (42.3 percent)].  Clinton's 102,000 surplus votes in Orange County exceed Trump's margin of victory in the pivotal states of Pennsylvania (47,000 vote margin), Wisconsin (22,000 vote margin) and Michigan (11,000 vote margin) combined.

Orange County was a Republican stronghold in the late 20th century, especially during the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan eras.  Nixon was an Orange County native, born in Yorba Linda.  Reagan had close ties to the county.

The Eisenhower/Nixon Republican ticket dominated in Orange County in the 1950s as freeways, tract homes, industrial parks and tourist attractions (including Disneyland) replaced orange groves and bean fields.  Eisenhower/Nixon trounced Democrat Adlai Stevenson 69.9 percent vs. 29.3 percent in Orange County in 1952.  This was the Republican ticket's highest percentage among California counties in 1952 outside of the "cow counties" of Alpine and Mono.  In 1956, Eisenhower/Nixon again soundly defeated Stevenson in Orange County, 66.8 percent vs. 32.3 percent (again, the Republican ticket's highest percentages outside of Alpine and Mono counties).

Richard Nixon defeated Democrat John F. Kennedy in California in 1960 by around 36,000 votes statewide; Orange County provided Nixon with his largest margin, nearly 63,000 votes (60.8 percent of total Orange County vote), to offset Kennedy's 55,000 vote margin in San Francisco and win the Golden State's 32 electoral votes.  When Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey in California in 1968 by around 223,000 votes, Nixon's margin in Orange County exceeded 166,000 votes, the largest of any California county.  Humphrey's margins in his top three counties combined (San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento) were insufficient to offset Nixon's surplus votes in Orange County.  Orange County alone accounted for nearly one-third of Nixon's narrow 512,000 national popular vote margin of victory in 1968.  Nixon won all of Orange County's cities in the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections.

In the 1980s, Orange County was the heart of "Reagan Country."  Ronald Reagan won Orange County by 353,000 votes over Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980 (Reagan: 67.9 percent vs. Carter: 22.6 percent), his highest margin of votes and his highest percentage among California counties.  Reagan's margin of victory in Orange County in 1980 (353,000) was larger than in every state except California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas.

President Reagan won 74.7 percent of the Orange County vote in 1984, his best California county (generating a 429,000 ballot margin over Democrat Walter Mondale).  This arguably was when Orange County Republicanism reached its zenith.  Reagan kicked off his 1984 fall campaign with a Labor Day rally at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.  Reagan said, "Being here among friends, seeing familiar faces, getting just a hint of that breeze from the Pacific Ocean renews our strength and purpose as we start our march to victory this November. And let me add, when people need a little sunshine in their lives and a feel for the optimism that fills the soul of this beautiful country, then I can assure them they'll find it in Orange County."  (A statue of Reagan was unveiled at Mile Square Park in 2015.)  Reagan won every Orange County city in 1980 and 1984, including a nearly 40,000 vote margin in Anaheim alone in 1984 (Reagan: 59,238 vs.  Mondale: 19,266).  Also in 1984, conservative Republican Robert Dornan defeated Democratic Rep. Jerry Patterson, ending 22 years of Democratic control of that Orange County congressional seat.

Orange County's votes kept California in Gerald Ford's column in the close 1976 presidential election.  Ford narrowly won the Golden State by around 140,000 ballots.  Orange County provided Ford's statewide margin of victory as Ford defeated Democrat Jimmy Carter by around 176,000 votes there.  Ford won every Orange County city; his margin over Carter in Newport Beach exceeded 15,000 votes.

The last Republican presidential nominee who won California was George H.W. Bush in 1988.  He defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis statewide by nearly 353,000 votes.  Most of Bush's margin of victory was generated in Orange County, where he defeated Dukakis by nearly 317,000 votes [Bush: 586,230 (67.8 percent) vs. Dukakis: 269,013 (31.1 percent)].  Bush won every Orange County city in 1988.

Orange County trended more Democratic in recent presidential elections.  In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama narrowly lost Orange County to Republican John McCain by around 30,000 votes [McCain: 579,064 (50.2 percent) vs. Obama: 549,558 (47.6 percent)].  Obama won the cities of Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Santa Ana, Stanton and Tustin.

On March 18, 2009, President Obama held a town hall meeting at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa as part of his first California visit as president. President Obama touted the recently-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and how it would  "help combat climate change -- because the weather is already nice in Orange County, we don't want it to get warmer."  

In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney defeated President Obama in Orange County by nearly 70,000 votes and six percentage points [Romney: 582,332 (52.0 percent) vs. Obama: 512,440 (45.8 percent)].  Obama won the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Stanton, Tustin and Westminster.

Hillary Clinton is the first presidential nominee in 32 years to win every southern California county (every county with territory south of the San Bernardino/San Gabriel/Santa Ynez mountains): Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego and Imperial counties.  Ronald Reagan won every southern California county in 1980 and 1984; the last Democratic presidential nominee who won every southern California county was Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.

Clinton's 102,000 vote surplus in Orange County alone offsets her deficits in the ten counties that she lost south of Sacramento (El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera, Kings, Tulare, Inyo and Kern).  Clinton's excess votes in Orange County alone offset all of her losses in California south of Interstate Highway 80.  

In 2016, Kern County was the California county that gave the largest margin of victory to Donald Trump (in terms of net votes), nearly 31,000, followed by Shasta County (nearly 30,000 vote margin for Trump).  So, in a sense, the heart of California Republicanism has shifted from Orange County to Kern County and Bakersfield, home of U.S. House of Representatives Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Until 2016, Orange County had the longest Republican voting streak in presidential elections among California's 58 counties.  It backed Republicans in the nineteen presidential elections from 1940 to 2012.  Orange County was one of five California counties that favored Republican Barry Goldwater against the 1964 Lyndon Johnson Democratic landslide (Alpine, Mono, Sutter, Orange and San Diego counties voted for Goldwater).  Alpine, Mono and San Diego counties have voted Democratic in recent presidential elections.  Sutter County (Yuba City) now assumes the mantle as California's most "stalwart" Republican county, as it has favored Republicans in every presidential election from 1944 to present.

The Last Democratic Presidential Victory in Orange County: 1936
When Franklin Roosevelt won Orange County in 1936, California had 22 electoral votes.  The ballot contained all twenty-two names.  Voters had to mark each of the 22 names in order to vote for president.  Therefore, the vote total for president varied.  In Orange County in 1936, the lowest vote total for a Democratic elector was 29,831; the highest was 29,839.  The 1936 Orange County vote for the twenty-two Republican electors ranged from 23,488 to 23,495.  The 1940 election was the first in which California voters cast a single vote for a presidential nominee's entire slate of electors.

Orange County, of course, has changed much since 1936 when it previously voted Democratic for president.  The county's population then was under 130,000, compared to over three million today.  The Pacific Electric interurban streetcar system linked Santa Ana and Newport Beach with Los Angeles.  Freeways were non-existent. The county's orange groves were near their peak acreage, tended by predominately Mexican and Mexican-American workers, many of whom resided in "barrios" and "colonias," leading to the 1940s Mendez v. Westminster school desegregation lawsuit.

Franklin Roosevelt had long "coattails" in Orange County in 1936.  Orange County voters joined Riverside and San Bernardino counties in ousting two-term Republican Congressman Sam Collins and replacing him with Democrat Harry Sheppard.  Orange County elected a Democratic state senator, Harry Westover, who later became a federal district court judge.  Orange County voters in 1936 ousted Republican Assemblyman James Utt, who later represented Orange County in Congress from 1953 until his death in 1970.

Democratic registration rose dramatically and Republican registration plummeted during the New Deal across the nation, including Orange County.  In 1932, the first time that a Democrat won the Orange County presidential contest, total registration was 62,306, composed of 35 percent Democrats, 61 percent Republicans, three percent decline-to-state and one percent other.

Democrats had a voter registration advantage in Orange County by 1936.  Total registration in Orange County for the November 1936 election was 65,954, composed of 53 percent Democrats, 44 percent Republicans, two percent decline-to-state and one percent other.  Republicans re-gained their voter registration lead in Orange County by May 1944 and have held it for the past 72 years.

Orange County Voter Registration: "No Party Preference" and Democratic Voters Rising
Republicans have a slight, but diminishing, voter registration advantage today in Orange County.  The October 24, 2016 California Secretary of State voter registration report says that Republicans constitute 37.8 percent of Orange County voters compared to 34.0 percent Democrats and 23.9 percent "no party preference."  Democrats outnumber Republicans in Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Stanton and Tustin.  In Santa Ana, the county's seat and largest city, a mere 19 percent of voters are registered as Republicans compared to 55 percent Democrats (Santa Ana is Orange County's only city with a majority of registered Democrats).  In Irvine, 35 percent of registered voters are Democrats versus 29 percent registered voters are Republicans.  More Irvine voters (32 percent) have "no party preference."  Irvine is the county's city with the highest share of "NPP" voters.

In October 2000, Republicans had a much larger advantage.  Republicans then comprised 49 percent of Orange County registered voters, compared to 32 percent Democrats and 14 percent "declined to state."  Over the past sixteen years, Republican registration in Orange County (down 11 percentage points) largely has shifted to "no party preference" (up ten percentage points).  Whereas 660,561 Republicans were registered in Orange County in 2000, there are 580,398 in 2016 (a decline of nearly 80,000, even as the county's population and number of registered voters have expanded).  "Declined to state/no party preference" registration has nearly doubled, from 190,950 in 2000 to 367,544 in 2016 (a 166,000 gain).  Democratic registration in Orange County rose from 431,695 in 2000 to 522,325 in 2016 (a 90,000 gain).

Orange County Demographic Shift: Latino and Asians Shares of Population Rising
Orange County is much more Latino/Hispanic today, boosting Democratic registration in communities such as Santa Ana.  Asian population growth likely accounts for much of the expansion of "no party preference" registration in communities such as Irvine.

The 2010 U.S. Census of Population found 3.01 million residents in Orange County.  White alone, not Hispanic/Latino constituted 44.1 percent of population, followed by 33.7 percent Hispanic/Latino, 17.9 percent Asian alone, 1.7 percent Black/African American alone and 4.2 percent two or more races.

In 1990, Hispanics/Latinos comprised  23.4 percent or Orange County's population.  Asians constituted 10.0 percent.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hillary Clinton Takes Popular Vote Lead in 2016 General Election

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took the lead in the national popular vote in the 2016 presidential election at 3:25 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, November 9th.  Precincts in Los Angeles County, California put her ahead of Republican challenger Donald Trump in the national popular vote.

Secretary Clinton's lead is likely to hold and even increase as outstanding vote-by-mail ballots in California and Washington state are counted through the remainder of November.  Secretary Clinton is the fifth presidential candidate in history who won the national popular vote, but lost the presidency.  The others were Andrew Jackson in 1824 (who lost to John Quincy Adams), Samuel Tilden in 1876 (who lost to Rutherford Hayes), Grover Cleveland in 1888 (who lost to Benjamin Harrison) and Al Gore in 2000 (who lost to George W. Bush).

President-elect Donald Trump won the 2016 election by one of the smallest popular vote percentages in modern U.S. history.  If Mr. Trump's current share of the national popular vote holds (47.6 percent), the only presidential candidates to be elected with smaller shares of the popular vote in the past century were Richard Nixon in 1968 (43.4 percent) and Bill Clinton in 1992 (43.0 percent).  In both of those elections, third-party candidates garnered more than 10 percent of the national popular vote (George Wallace won 13.5 percent in 1968; Ross Perot won 18.9 percent in 1992).

Secretary Clinton's win in California exceeded 28 percentage points.  This was larger than President Barack Obama's victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 (23 percentage points).  Secretary Clinton won Orange County, the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry that one-time Republican bastion since the Franklin Roosevelt landslide of 1936.   Orange County once was an essential building block of Ronald Reagan's gubernatorial and presidential victories in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.  Demographic changes in the past generation, especially a growing Latino population, have transformed it from a Republican stalwart into a jurisdiction that supported a Democratic presidential nominee.

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.