Friday, November 30, 2012

Did Romney Pollsters Not Understand Cell Phone Only Demographics

by Michael Handley  (Updated Sat., Dec. 1, 2012 @ 9:38 a.m.)

The Romney campaign and GOP politicos, like Carl Rove, absolutely believed Romney was headed for victory on Election Day. Did Romney's polls skew toward the right by as much as an eight point spread because his internal pollsters fell into the wireless (cell phone) only polling gap trap?

A few journalists have reported that team Romney’s internal polling showed him comfortably moving into the lead in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and a few other swing states.  Add in Ohio, where Romney's internal polling had him in a statistical tie with Obama, and team Romney thought they were on track to lock in enough electoral votes to win the White House.  GOP confidence in these numbers was such that Romney decided to not prepare a concession speech in advance.

An article by Noam Scheiber published today in The New Republic provides some details about the Romney Campaign's internal polling snafu.
The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He'd Win

...In an exclusive to The New Republic, a Romney aide has provided the campaign’s final internal polling numbers for six key states, along with additional breakdowns of the data, which the aide obtained from the campaign’s chief pollster, Neil Newhouse.  Newhouse himself then discussed the numbers with TNR.

...Newhouse and some of his colleagues have said that the biggest flaw in their polling was the failure to predict the demographic composition of the electorate. Broadly speaking, the people who showed up to vote on November 6 were younger and less white than Team Romney anticipated, and far more Democratic as a result. "The Colorado Latino vote was extraordinarily challenging," Newhouse told me. "As it was in Florida.

...One Romney aide told me that he ran into Tagg Romney, the candidate’s eldest son, as the results came in on election night. “He looked like he was in a complete state of shock,” the aide said. “[As if] these numbers cannot be real.”

Read the full story @ The New Republic.
We know polls that included properly weighted cell phone only voters gave Obama the lead in all battle ground states through the summer and fall.  In late September Nate Silver wrote that Obama has shown a clear lead in the 16 cell phone-inclusive polls of seven top battleground states taken since the convention. A national survey conducted by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, in mid September, which include properly weighted cell phone only respondents, found that Obama had an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters.  

The cell phone only trend is increasingly problematic for pollsters for several reasons.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Political Engagement In The Digital Age

Pew Research Center: The growth of social media and the rapid adoption of smartphones have changed the way Americans engage in politics. Here is a summary of Pew's 2012 findings.

Background and details @ ePolitics

Monday, November 26, 2012

Florida Republicans Admit Voter Suppression Agenda

Florida’s former Republican Party chairman, Jim Greer, claims Republicans have made a systemic effort to suppress the Democratic vote. Greer served as Florida's GOP chairman from 2006 until 2010 when he was forced to resign after allegedly stealing $200,000 from the party. He was arrested and his case is pending trial in February.

In a 630-page deposition, related to his corruption case, recorded over two days in late May, Greer unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

In the deposition, released to the press last July and reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said.

Repeating his allegations of voter suppression, Greer last week told the Palm Beach Post, “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,”  “It’s done for one reason and one reason only...‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.’"

"When those consultants and legislative leaders approached me about putting forth election changes to the law that would benefit the Republican Party, I didn't agree to it," Florida 10-News reported.

But in 2010 with Charlie Crist out and Governor Rick Scott in as Governor, Greer says the voter suppression effort had support at the top.

Florida's HB 1355 bill, which was passed by Florida's Republican dominated legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November 2011, reduced the number of early voting days from 14 down to eight. Republicans promoted the legislation as a measure to reduce rampant voter fraud, but Greer says the voter fraud argument was simply a "marketing ploy. Despite lines during early voting and lines as long as nine hours on Election Day 2012 in Florida, Scott said he stands by the new law.  "Well I'm very comfortable that the right thing happened," he told WKMG Orlando after the election.

Former Governor Charlie Crist and a GOP consultant have also been quoted as part of a growing chorus accusing Republicans of intentionally trying to keep Democrats from the polls.  Gov. Scott's immediate predecessor, the formerly Republican Charlie Crist,says he frustrated Republican legislative efforts to shorten the state's early voting period while he held the governor's office, citing reasons that mesh with Greer's claims.  In an interview with The Huffington Post, Crist said HB 1355 was clearly aimed at curbing turnout among Democrats.
"The only thing that makes any sense as to why this is happening and being done is voter suppression," he said, "People have fought and died for our right to vote, and unfortunately our legislature and this governor have decided they want to make early voting less available to Floridians rather than more available ... It's hard for me as an American to comprehend why you don't make democracy as easy as possible to exercise for the people of our state. It's frankly unconscionable."
Greer acknowledged that the effort to restrict early voting would directly affect turnout among Florida's African Americans, a demographic that consistently supports Democrats. There is "absolutely nothing" state Republicans wouldn't do in their "absolute obsession with retaining power," he told the Post.


Has The GOP Lost A Generation Of Voters?

Barack Obama won 60% of the vote among those younger than 30, down from 66% in 2008, says a Pew Research Center survey of the 2012 youth vote.  Nationwide, Obama received a blowout 66% of the national vote among the 18-29 year old age group in 2008 compared to McCain's 33% of that vote. Obama also won the 2008 youth vote in many Republican states like Texas, where he won 54% of the vote. Young voters also gave 63% of the vote to House Democrats in 2008 -- Young voters not only voted for Obama at the top of the ballot, they also voted down ballot or straight ticket by a high margin for other Democratic candidates.

The divide between young voters and older voters was as stark this year as it was in 2008. While Obama lost ground among voters younger than 30, he still won this age group by 24 points over Mitt Romney (60% to 36%). He also maintained a slimmer advantage among voters 30 to 44 (52% Obama, 45% Romney), while losing ground among those 45 to 64 and those 65 and older.

Among all voters 30 and older, Obama ran behind Mitt Romney (48% for Obama, 50% for Romney). Four years ago, Obama edged John McCain, 50% to 49%, among all 30+ voters.

In Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania, Obama also failed to win a majority of voters 30 and older. Yet he swept all four battleground states, in part because he won majorities of 60% or more among young voters.

Just as critically, young people made up as large a share of the overall electorate as they did in 2008, according to the national exit poll (19% in 2012, 18% in 2008). As recently as September, young voters were significantly less engaged in the campaign than they had been four years earlier. But their interest and engagement levels increased in the campaign’s final weeks. In the Pew Research Center’s final pre-election survey, as many registered voters under 30 said they were giving a lot of thought to the election as did so in the last weekend of the 2008 race.

Young voters continue to identify with the Democratic Party at relatively high levels and express more liberal attitudes on a range of issues – from gay marriage to the role of the federal government – than do older voters. In fact, voters under 30 were as likely to identify as Democrats in the 2012 exit poll as they had been in 2008 (44% now, 45% then). And they are the only age group in which a majority said that the government should do more to solve problems.

His losses among young voters since 2008 might have been even greater, but for the fact that the under 30s are by far the most racially and ethnically diverse age group. Just 58% are white non-Hispanic, compared with 76% of voters older than 30. A recent report by Pew Social and Demographic Trends found that minorities are on track to become a majority of the overall population by 2050.

The racial and ethnic composition of young voters has shifted dramatically over the last four presidential elections. Just 58% of voters age 18-29 identified as white non-Hispanics, while 18% were Hispanic, 17% were African American and 7% identified as mixed-race or some other race. The share of young voters who are white has declined 16 points since 2000, when 74% of voters under 30 identified as white and 26% identified as nonwhite (including 12% who were African American and 10% Hispanic).

This stands in sharp contrast to older voters. Fully 76% of voters 30 and older were white, down only six points from 2000. Only 24% of voters 30 and older were nonwhite, including 12% who identified as black and 8% as Hispanic.

Read the full survey report @ Pew Research Center.

Related: The Millennial Generation: Our Liberal Future

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Collin Co Election Results

by Michael Handley

Like much of the rest of Texas, 2012 Collin County election results drifted to the right.  On measures of both candidate and party, Collin County voted less Democratic and more Republican in 2012 than in 2008.

Obama's performance in Collin County declined on both raw vote count and vote spread and Romney's performance improved over McCain's 2008 vote count and percentage wins.

This table represents early results and does not include
the number of provisional ballots accepted for counting
or final number of mail ballots returned. 3,565
provisional ballots were cast. Final numbers will be
reported in December.
While straight party voting increased for both parties in 2012 over 2008, Republican straight party voting increased much more than Democratic party voting. 4,176 more Democrats and 20,199 more Republicans voted straight party in 2012 over 2008.

Comparing ballots cast as a percentage of registered voters, 2012 turnout lags behind 2008 turnout in Collin County, as it also does in eleven other of Texas' fifteen largest counties.

According to Texas DSHS Center for Health Statistics population estimates the Collin County population base has expanded over the last four years.

While the population has grown, the percentage of voting age persons (VAP) who registered to vote for the presidential election has fallen from 2008 levels.

Does this mean these Texans were less motivated to vote in 2012 than in 2008?

It seems apparent from the county and top line turnout numbers that Texas Democrats, including those who live in Collin County were less motivated to vote in 2012 than in 2008.

Cell Phone Only Voters Making GOTV Phone Banks Obsolete

In the final weeks before Election Day, a scary statistic emerged from the databases at Barack Obama’s Chicago headquarters: more than half the campaign’s targeted swing-state voters under age 29 had no listed phone number. They have adopted a wireless cell phone only lifestyle, effectively immune to the obsolete 20th century "voice phone bank canvassing" get-out-the-vote efforts.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Collin Co. Election Day Vote Center Follow Up

by Michael Handley

Collin County had countywide "Voting Center" polling locations on Election Day, November 6th, 2012.  Election Day Vote Centers worked like Early Voting polling locations where voters living anywhere in Collin County could vote at any of the 67 Voting Centers open around the county on Election Day.

This is a follow up to our November 5th article, Collin Co. Election Day Vote "Anywhere" Centers.  A few locations had wait lines during the day and through out the entire day.  Plano's Carpenter Park Recreation Center location opened with approximately 150 people already waiting in line. The last person to join that line at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, as the Judge called "the polls are open," waited about 70 minutes to vote.  The Carpenter Park Recreation Center wait line ranged from over 70 minutes to about 40 minutes through out the day. About 140 people were waiting in line at that location at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, when the Judge called "the polls are closed." The last person in that closing line voted at 7:50 p.m.

Posted below the "Read more »" jump are the Vote Center ePollBook voter check-in counts. This count does not include manually processed provisional ballots or voters who surrendered their vote by mail ballot to the Election Judges, so they could cast an in-person ballot.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Observer: Texas Democrats, Make Your Move

From The Texas Observer ~ by Eileen Smith

Yes, there have been isolated [Texas Democratic] victories in the form of really good candidates — San Antonio Mayor Juli├ín Castro, his brother Joaquin, the newly elected congressman, and Congressman-elect Pete Gallego who unseated Francesco “Quico” Canseco.  But relying on the random strong candidate instead of building a solid state party infrastructure is like playing the political lottery. You’re just wasting your time and money fantasizing about hitting the jackpot in the form of yet another rising star.

So forget about the great GOP awakening. Now is the perfect time for Texas Democrats to figure out what the hell they’re doing. The default explanation for their dismal showing was that Texas is not just red but bloody red, a stronghold of the Republican Party and ruled with an iron fist by Pharaoh, forcing the Chosen Ones to wander aimlessly in the desert looking for manna from heaven. But now the shifting demographics coupled with a rather clueless opposition party should be working in their favor. In the meantime the only thing Democrats here seem to do is nominate bumbling statewide candidates who can’t do much better than 40 percent. Is that any way to boost morale in a defeatist party so used to losing it’s forgotten how to win?

Read the full article @ The Texas Observer.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hundreds Of Motor Voters Forced To Cast Provisional Ballots

by Michael Handley

After working the 12 days of early voting as an Election Judge at one of Collin County's busier polling centers, I wrote an article, Broken Texas Motor Voter Registration Process:
Every day during early voting, several people who tried to check-in to vote at my polling location were not listed on the Collin County poll list. The first question I asked these would-be voters was, "when did you register to vote in Collin County?"  The answer most often given by the would-be voters was, "when I changed the address on my driver's license at the DPS (or on the DPS website) after I moved to Collin County," from another Texas county.  A quick voter registration look up on the Texas Secretary of State's "Am I Registered to Vote" web page often found these new, and some not so new, Collin County residents remained registered in the county of their former residence.
The lucky voters who remained registered in their former county of residence got to listen to my short, "you can vote a limited ballot," speech...

The small number of less lucky Collin County voters, who were not registered in any Texas county, got to listen to my short "provisional ballot" speech and proceed through the provisional ballot process...
The broken Texas Motor Voter Registration process has been a top problem for voters and polling place officials for many years...

Hispanic Electorate To Double

Latinos who cast ballots for president this year are the leading edge of an ascendant ethnic voting bloc that is likely to double in size within a generation, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Election Day exit polls and a new nationwide survey of Hispanic immigrants.

According to Pew Hispanic Center projections, Hispanics will account for 40% of the growth in the eligible electorate in the U.S. between now and 2030, at which time 40 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote, up from 23.7 million now.

The nation’s 53 million Hispanics comprise 17% of the total U.S. population but just 10% of all voters this year, according to the national exit poll.

To borrow a boxing metaphor, they still “punch below their weight.”

However, their share of the electorate will rise quickly for several reasons. The most important is that Hispanics are by far the nation’s youngest ethnic group.

Their median age is 27 years—and just 18 years among native-born Hispanics—compared with 42 years for that of white non-Hispanics. In the coming decades, their share of the age-eligible electorate will rise markedly through generational replacement alone.

Moreover, if Hispanics’ relatively low voter participation rates and naturalization rates were to increase to the levels of other groups, the number of votes that Hispanics actually cast in future elections could double within two decades.

Read the full report @  Pew Hispanic Center.

State and District 2012 Texas Election Summary

 by Michael Handley

Down ballot results for statewide and district Democratic candidates follows top of the ballot presidential voting patterns.
U.S. Senate Results by County
Senate Democratic candidate Paul Sadler became the latest Democrat seeking that office to fall far from the 50 percent mark, receiving just 40.5 percent of the vote.

Sadler, a former Texas House member with solid credentials, was no match against the tea party-backed candidate, Ted Cruz, who won with 56.6 percent of the vote.  Cruz got strong support in Tarrant County, winning 57 percent of the vote.

Similarly, Democrat Keith Hampton captured just over 40 percent of the vote in his loss to Republican Sharon Keller for a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals post.  Democrat Michele Petty pulled 42 percent of the vote in her loss to Nathan Hecht for Justice, Texas Supreme Court. Democrat Dale Henry got 40 percent of the vote to Christi Craddick's 56 percent for Railroad Commissioner.

The few brighter spots, including one bittersweet spot, of news for Texas Democrats comes from the Texas Senate and House results.  Senator Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, won re-election to his Texas state Senate seat last Tuesday, three weeks after his death. Sen. Gallegos died on October 16 of complications related to liver disease. Gallegos, who had served since 1994, overwhelmingly beat his challenger, Republican newcomer, R.W. Bray.

Changes For SDEC Committeewoman Linda Magid

Dear Friends:

As we experience and express our joy and gratitude that President Obama was reelected, I must share some disappointing news. My husband accepted a job in San Antonio and we are moving at the end of December. It was a very difficult decision to make in part because I will have to resign from my position as your SDEC representative, but ultimately it is the right one for our family.
Linda Magid with Sen. Wendy Davis at
the 2012 State Democratic Convention
You know how much I love being on the SDEC and helping you make Texas a Democratic state again. It has been my honor to serve as your representative and to bring my abilities and skills to the Texas Democratic Party. I intend to work with the TDP in finding a new place for me where I can continue to make a difference.

Soon SD8 will elect my replacement and I trust you to choose someone with the same commitment that I have to representing all of SD8 and to give you what you need to win. As well, you have a champion in SD 8 Committeeman James White who continues to find new ways to grow the Party locally and work with you all toward Democratic success.

Thank you for trusting me to represent you. I wish you all of the best.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Slicing And Dicing The Topline 2012 Texas Election Numbers

by Michael Handley

Republicans have held every statewide office for 14 years, the Legislature for 12 years and every state board and agency for 14 years – with GOP appointees overseeing everything from education to health to the environment.

Texans have voted for Republicans for president in each of the past nine general elections.   Not since 1976 has Texas gone blue in a presidential election year.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Social Media Predicted 2012 Election Results

PRWEB ~ November 09, 2012

The 2012 presidential election results are in, and it is evident that social media played a larger role than ever in the outcome. President Obama dominated the social media battle, and ended up winning the presidency. Despite pollsters claiming a ‘tight’ race in the final days before the election, social media statistics told another story. This divergence raises an important question; Can social media predict election results?

Social media allows people to ‘connect’ with a candidate in a tangible way by providing an open channel of communication. This is a valuable tool for a campaign, as it gives people who are interested in a candidate a way to become engaged and contribute, which is a reality that internet marketers have known for some time.

Predicting Presidential Election Results

Monday, November 5, 2012

Collin Co. Election Day Vote "Anywhere" Centers

by Michael Handley

Collin County will again have countywide "Voting Center" polling locations on Election Day, November 6th, 2012. Election Day Vote Centers work like Early Voting polling locations where voters living anywhere in Collin County may vote at any of the 67 Voting Centers that will be open around the county on Election Day

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Early Voting 2012 Wrap

by Michael Handley

Comparing early ballots cast as a percentage of registered voters, 2012 turnout lags 2008 turnout in Collin County and ten of Texas' fifteen largest counties. This means that either voters are less motivated in 2012 than in 2008 or more people are just waiting to vote on Election Day.   

Early voting polls closed at 7 p.m. Friday, but many polling places in Collin Co. and around Texas still had people waiting in line to vote at that hour.  The last person in line at 7 p.m. at some polling locations in Collin Co. had to wait over 45 minutes to cast their ballot Friday evening.

The number of Collin Co. ballots cast on Friday was a record 30,908, an increase of 5,667 ballots cast over the 2008 final Friday early voting count.  Some increase in the number of ballots cast in 2008 is expected for this 2012 election, considering the rapid pace of Collin Co. population growth.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Broken Texas Motor Voter Registration Process

by Michael Handley

I haven't been publishing articles over the last twelve days because I've been working at one of the busiest Collin County Early Voting polling locations as an Alternate Election Judge.

The Texas Motor Voter Registration process remains broken.  The most common voter problem Early Voting Election Judges, Alternate Judges and Clerks across Texas handled again this year was the failure of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to register some people to vote when they obtained, updated or renewed their driver's license.  In 2012, over a third of all new Texas voters registered to vote through the DPS.