News from the Votemaster
In the event you didn't check in yesterday, we had a story about dealing with flakey polls that might be of interest. You can always go backward to previous postings by clicking on the "Previous report" button to the right of the map. With enough patience, you can do this to see every posting since May 24, 2004. But to make skipping around easier, a page Links to previous years ... has been added to the "Data galore" page on the menu to the left of the map. Also updated there is the track record page, which compares EVP to Nate Silver, Sam Wang, and some well-known political pundits. Also, the green icon labeled "Smartphone" below the legend now works again.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that Congress has the final say on who may vote in federal elections and Congress has said that the only requirement is that the voter sign a statement under penalty of perjury that he or she is entitled by law to vote. Some states don't like this, citing a vague threat of voter fraud, of which there is no evidence. Arizona and Kansas have responded to the the Court's ruling by creating a two-tier voting system in which a sworn statement is enough to vote in federal elections but proof of citizenship is required for voting in state elections.
The more-or-less naked power play here is that while Republicans concede they cannot stop poor people (who often cannot afford the price of a birth certificate to prove citizenship) from voting in federal elections, they can stop some of them from voting for the governor and the state legislature. And as everyone well knows, in most states it is the state legislature that gerrymanders the congressional districts every 10 years, so control of state elections very much affects who is elected to the House.
A case about the Arizona and Kansas laws will be heard by the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver today. Proponents basically say that states are free to implement any laws they want to for state elections. Opponents say that because people have to pay to get proof of citizenship, the laws are a form of poll tax, which is explicitly prohibited by the 24th amendment to the Constitution. The first clause of the 24th amendment reads:"
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."Proponents of the state laws say that the amendment refers only to taxes, not fees for obtaining citizenship documents.
The case is certain to wind up in the Supreme Court within a year.
Normally Alaska elections don't get much attention in the lower 48, but this year they will attract a huge amount from both parties, as the Democrats desperately try to hang onto Mark Begich's seat in this big red state. Karl Rove's group, Crossroads GPS has already launched a $1.25 million ad buy in the state. The first ad attacks Begich for paying his female staff less than his male staff. Pro-Begich super PACs are also active in Alaska, one of which just spent nearly $500,000 portraying Begich's opponent, Dan Sullivan, as someone Alaskans can't trust. It's only going to get more intense from here on out.
While money isn't everything in an election, it certainly helps and the Democrats have raised more of it so far. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, the DSCC has raised $104 million to the NRSC's $77 million. Over in the House, the DCCC has outraised the NRCC $137 million to $109 million. Of course, outside money is becoming far more important than it used to be, and the Republicans have the advantage here. The billionaire Koch brothers alone are reportedly planning to spend nearly $300 million on the election. The reclusive brothers are also getting quite a bit of unwanted publicity, as they are featured as villains in many Democratic ads. Billionaire Democrats like Tom Steyer and George Soros may also ante up millions for the Democrats this year, but not nearly as much as the Koch brothers.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is more-or-less openly running for President already has a small problem: He is up for reelection as a senator in 2016 and state law does not allow a candidate to appear on the ballot twice. So a run for President might mean giving up a safe Senate seat. He has asked the speaker of the state house, Greg Stumbo, to change the law, but Stumbo, a Democrat, has said he has no intention of bringing up any bills that would change the law. Democrats control 54 of the 100 house seats; Republicans have a majority in the state senate.
This is where Marshall County comes in. Paul's strategy is to spend a lot of time campaigning in 2014 for Republicans running to defeat state house Democrats, such as Rep. Will Coursey of Marshall County in western Kentucky. If he can flip the legislature, it would no doubt look more kindly on his request to change the law. Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) would certainly veto any bill that reached him, but in Kentucky, a veto can be overridden by a simple majority of both chambers of the state legislature.
Republicans have been trying for years to take over the state house but so far without success. What Paul injects in the mix is money. One of the Republicans trying to unseat a local Democrat has $13,000 in the bank. The incumbent has $26,000. If Paul could bring in, say, $100,000 per Republican candidate, it could make a huge difference. He currently has $3 million in his campaign account.
Paul is a rising star within the Republican Party largely due to his unorthodox views and ability to attract people who normally do not like Republicans. However, as the 2016 race heats up, he will start to get blowback from traditional Republicans who strongly disagree with his views on domestic policy (e.g., police forces do not need army tanks) and foreign policy (the U.S. is not the world's cop). For once in a long time, primaries may feature actual fights over policy. In 2012, it was all about style, not issues. For example, during one Republican primary debate, the moderator asked if anyone was willing to sign onto a "grand bargain" that raised taxes by a little bit but cut government spending by 10 times as much and not a single candidate raised his hand. No policy fight there, but there might be in 2016 as Paul is not entirely on the same page as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry, among others.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), another potential contender, has the same problem as Paul, but has indicated he may not run for the Senate if he runs for the White House in order to focus all his energy on one campaign.
A potential Republican candidate who does not have that problem is Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), but he has other problems. He is being investigated concerning a $700,000 donation from a mining company during his recall fight and whether he did anything to help the company as a result of the donation. Walker claims to be unaware of the donation. Historically, when donors give large amounts of money to politicians they make some effort to be sure the politician is aware of their efforts to help him, even if there isn't an immediate quid pro quo.
For decades, people have been moving from the North to the South. This movement has two major effects on elections, although the effects work in opposite directions. First, the movement is largely from blue states to red states. It thus decreases the number of House seats and electoral votes the Northern (blue) states have and increases the number that the Southern (red) states have, Here is a table showing the effect for three states in each region.
Clearly the effect various by state but the migration from New York to Florida has had a huge effect. In this respect, the migration helps the Republicans since it gives the red states more clout.
On the other hand, when people move, they often pack their political views with them. The effect of this is that the red states with significant in-migration from the North are getting less red. States like Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida have become swing states in recent elections. Taken together, the trend favors the Democrats because while the losses in New York are substantial, the ability to wage competitive campaigns in states like Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and soon Georgia, more than outweighs the electoral vote losses in blue states. There is a good article in TheUpshot about this trend.
Based on their voting records, the National Journal has compiled a list of the 15 most conservative senators and a list of the 15 most liberal senators. The top three conservatives are Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). The top three liberal senators are Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).Email a link to a friend or share:
Aug23 Kentucky Race Gets Down in the Weeds
Aug23 2016 Presidential Election News
Aug22 Florida Judge Strikes Down Ban on Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages
Aug22 Pryor Begins Touting Obamacare
Aug22 Could Begich Win in Alaska?
Aug22 Nunn and Perdue Attack Each Other in Debate
Aug21 Electoral-vote.com Goes Live Today
Aug21 The Key Races for 2014
Aug20 Daily Tracking to Start this Week
Aug20 Special Elections in Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Hawaii This Year
Aug20 Third-Party Candidates a Factor in Some States
Aug20 Sullivan Wins Alaska Republican Senate Primary
Aug20 Hanabusa Concedes in Hawaii Senate Primary
Aug20 DSCC Outraises NRSC in July
Aug16 Schatz Defeats Hanabusa for Democratic Senate Nomination in Hawaii
Aug16 Gov. Rick Perry Indicted for Abusing His Office
Aug16 2016 Presidential Race Already in Full Swing Under the Radar
Aug10 Schatz Holds Small Lead over Hanabusa in Hawaii Democratic Primary
Aug10 Abercrombie Defeated in Gubernatorial Primary in Hawaii
Aug10 Federal Judge Upholds North Carolina Law Restricting Voting
Aug08 Alexander Easily Defeats Tea Party Challenger in Tennessee Republican Senate Primary
Aug08 Walsh Drops out of Montana Senate Race
Aug06 Roberts Beats Tea Party Challenger in Kansas Senate Primary
Aug06 Peters and Land to Face Each Other in November in Michigan
Aug06 Rand Paul is Already Campaigning in Iowa against Hillary Clinton
Jul23 Perdue Wins Georgia Republican Senatorial Primary
Jul23 Supreme Court Will Probably Get to Rule on the ACA (Again)
Jul23 Fiery Pastor Jody Hice Wins Runoff for Broun's Seat
Jul09 2016 Republican National Convention Will Be in Cleveland
Jun25 Cochran Beats McDaniel in Mississippi
Jun25 Establishment Candidate Beauprez Wins Colorado Gubernatorial Nomination
Jun11 House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Defeated in Primary
Jun04 Independent Gums Up the Works in Mississippi
Jun04 Joni Ernst to Face Bruce Braley in Iowa
Jun04 Independent Gums Up the Works in Mississippi
May28 Democrats Escape Disaster in Texas
May28 Republicans Court Disaster in Texas
May21 Perdue and Kingston Advance to Runoff in Georgia Senate Race
May21 McConnell Whips Bevin in Kentucky
May21 Wehby Beats Conger in Oregon
May21 Chelsea Clinton's Mother-in-law Loses in Pennsylvania
May18 How Republican is the South?
May07 Tillis Wins North Carolina Primary
May07 Boehner Renominated Easily
May07 Long View of the Senate
May07 Future Voters May Use iPads
Apr23 Summary of the Prognosticators on the 2014 Senate Races
Apr23 North Carolina Primary is Next
Apr23 Other Southern Races Tight