Friday, November 17, 2006

I can be beaten down, but I cannot be broken.

Honestly, As In Last Tuesday's Obviously Terrific Hometown Election. Various Initiatives Couldn't Turn Ohio Red. Subsequently, Various Attempts Lacked Intelligence And Never Took Hold. And I Looked High And Immeasurably Low, Taking On Many Intrepid Conservative Hacks, Idiotic Goons, And Naysayers.

I hope y'all enjoy the weekend, but not too much.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In Extremis #1, because people like graphs

There is quite a bit of hope resting on the outstanding provisional ballots here in Franklin County. Bev Campbell is still hoping for enough votes to defeat Jim McGregor in the 20th State House District, and Mary Jo Kilroy is still hoping to take the OH-15 Race away from Deb Pryce.

Democrats tend to hold out this hope because there is a belief that Provisional Votes break for the Democrats. This is due, once again, to the increased housing instability which leads to greater rates of provisional voting, among low income urban voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. But does it really happen?

First, let me tell you why you shouldn't believe it. Each graph you see here (and most every one elsewhere) is based on Provisional Ballots cast. There is every reason to believe that Republicans will hold the same advantages in having Provisional Ballots accepted as they did in avoiding having to cast such ballots in the first place.

Now, however, I'll show you some actual data supporting that belief. Using the proportion of the vote that went to Sykes as a proxy for Dem Partisanship (see earlier post-mortems), it's obvious that as Dem partisanship increases, the proportion of ballots that are cast provisionally also increases:

What is also obvious, is that this line isn't nearly as clean as some of the others I've plotted. The relationship holds fairly well for Republican and Swing Districts, and goes totally non-linear for Dem Precincts. This brings up two points: A) It seems that Dem Leaning districts are categorically different in terms of provisional ballot usage, and B) Yes, these high-Dem precincts are the same ones that I said tended to be lower in turnout.

To look at this, I divided the precincts into D-Leaning (Sykes Vote > 50%, n=323) and R-Leaning (Sykes vote <= 50%, n=410). By percentage, 5.1% of R-leaning precinct votes were cast provisionally, as opposed to 8.4% in D-leaning precincts (more than 1.5 times the rate). By gross votes, more than 20,000 more regular votes were cast in R-precincts than in D-precincts, but 3000+ more provisional votes were cast in D-leaning precincts.

Finally, it is not unreasonable to assume that within each individual precinct, that Dem voters were more likely than R voters to vote provisionally, which would intensify the effects displayed at the precinct level. I'll do my final post-mortem after the votes are counted this weekend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Post-Mortem #2, Why We Tend to Lose

There are a lot of reasons that you always see the pattern displayed below, not the least of which is that the greater transience of folks in lower Socio-Economic brackets results in a greater number of 'abandoned' registrations in Dem precincts (this is what the folk on the right worry about in terms of fraud), leading to situations where registrations outnumber voters and perfect turnout is impossible.

But underneath it all, the effect is what it is. As Dem partisanship increases, turnout decreases. In 2004, you could see the GOTV effort in a big spike that occured when partisanship got up over 85% Dem. The rest of the line showed the old familiar negative slope.

The graph below shows Barbara Sykes's vote decreasing as turnout increases. It shows Sherrod Brown's vote decreasing at a slightly slower rate, with a fairly consistent 3 point advantage over Sykes. Strickland's line is much different. First of all, the regression line only gives us 2/3 as much information as Syke's and Brown's lines give us (meaning that the Strickland vote is less related to precinct turnout). Secondly, the slope is much less negative, meaning that as precincts display greater turnout (and Republican Partisanship), Strickland lost much less support than the other Dems shown here. So Strickland cruised by gaining more support in Republican territory, Brown won by getting smaller but more consistent increases in support across the board.

What the graph really shows, though, is that if we could get out voters in our solid neighborhoods the way the GOP does in theirs, we would win. Most every race, most every time.

Make Sure Your Vote is Counted

We're not actually done with the election yet. Lawyers are negotiating rules for counting provisional ballots, and a ton of them are still out there. The Kilroy campaign is distributing the following call to provisional voters. (They are specifically looking for help in the 15th U.S. House district, obviously, but if you happened to cast a provisional vote for Bev Campbell for State Representative, email me at and I will pass your info on to the Campbell campaign):

The election hangs in the balance and Kilroy for Congress wants every vote to count! Almost 10,000 people in OH-15 cast Provisional Ballots and may need to provide further ID to make their votes count. If you or anyone you know received a yellow paper receipt when you voted, or believe you voted provisionally, you have only until this Friday, November 17th to verify your identity in person at the Board of Elections!

PLEASE CALL (614) 267-2006 OR EMAIL
- If you or anyone you know voted provisionally
- If you need a ride to the Board of Elections (280 E. Broad St. – 43215)
- If you or anyone you know experienced problems at the polls
- If you have any questions or concerns about your voting rights

We are offering rides to and from the Board of Elections during the following times:
Tuesday – Thursday / 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Friday / 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
We will pick you up at home or work at whatever time is convenient for you, provide information and assistance at the Board of Elections, and wait outside to give you a ride home. We'll even have food and drink if you need to use your break time or lunch hour!

Monday, November 13, 2006

As Promised, post-mortem #1

First of all, thanks for your patience, those of you who have been checking back here. Second, thanks for your patience, those of you who are insisting that every vote be counted. I will keep you updated as I get info on the provisionals and absentees in House District 20.

There will be some changes coming to Blue Bexley. Some changes will be merely cosmetic, others will be more substantive. I'm happy to take suggestions, as well.

In the meantime, here's the first autopsy data on the SS-3 race:

I started with the idea that this district was split pretty evenly at the top of the ticket in '04, which means that voters were more pro-Kerry here than statewide, and that the top of the ticket went overwhelmingly blue in '06. The question then is whether the district trended rightward this go-around compared to '04, if Goodman over-achieved for a Republican, or if using the top of the ticket is simply an inaccurate measure of partisan tendencies.

So the 3rd State Senate District went for Strickland by approximately a 24% Margin (61-37), which is almost identical to the 60-37 margin being reported unofficially statewide. So Democrats at the top of the ticket apparently did very well, and just as well as they did statewide.

But the Coattails were pretty short statewide, with the Democrat Sykes losing very narrowly to Republican Taylor for State Auditor. As such, using the gubernatorial vote as an estimate of partisanship is overstating things. In line with this, Taylor received almost 5000 more votes than Sykes in SS-3. So if we assume that the Sykes vote represents the partisanship of a district more accurately, the Sykes vote makes a good basis for comparison when analyzing other Dem races.

Emily did not do as well as Sykes in the 3rd District. There were two reasons for this:

1) In general, Sykes voters were only voting for Emily about 94% of the time, meaning that Emily lost about 6% of the Dem-leaning voters, and

2) Specifically, although a few precincts primarily in Westerville and Worthington, showed a pattern of Emily outperforming Barbara Sykes, a handful of traditionally Democratic precincts split their votes heavily between mostly Dems + David Goodman. As I implied earlier, that handful of Dem precincts is an embarrassing list:
Precinct Sykes-Kreider (%)


So all in all, the Dems moved voters at the top of the ticket, did not get the coattails one would hope for, and as a result just getting the Dem-Freindly voters wouldn't have carried the district. A more balanced media approach by the party might very well have made things a rout up and down the ticket. It still would have been closer, however, if Emily had run stronger in some of the Goodman-friendly Dem precincts. Like in my hometown. As I said, changes are in store.