Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 30, 2014

King Henry VII of England was crowned on October 30, 1485.

King Charles I of England granted a charter for a new colony called Carolana that included much of present-day Georgia, along with the current states of North and South Carolina, on October 30, 1629.

Stephen Douglas of Illinois campaigned in Atlanta for President of the United States on October 30, 1860. Douglas had defeated Abraham Lincoln for United States Senate in 1858, giving rise to the Lincoln-Douglas style of debate.

On October 30, 1871, Republican Benjamin Conley became acting Governor of Georgia after Republican Governor Rufus Bullock resigned; Conley served as President of the state Senate before taking office as Governor.

Conley took the oath of office on Oct. 30, 1871. Two days later, the new General Assembly convened and elected a new Democratic president of the Senate, but Conley refused to give up the office. The General Assembly then passed a law over Conley’s veto to hold a special election for governor on the third Tuesday in December. In that election, Democratic House speaker James M. Smith defeated Conley and assumed office Jan. 12, 1872.

On October 30, 1938, a science fiction drama called War of the Worlds was broadcast nationwide in the form of a series of simulated radio broadcasts.

Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 30, 1945, becoming the first African-American professional baseball player in the major leagues.

On October 30, 1970, a fastball from Nolan Ryan was timed at 100.9 miles per hour, putting him in the record books. On the same day, Jim Morrison of the Doors was sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine for allegedly exposing himself during a Miami concert. Morrision died before the case was heard on appeal.

Polls and Turnout

This is the time of year when you can play campaign strategist like you play fantasy football. Simply pick the poll you like and then figure out what your candidate needs to make it happen. I’m over public polling for the rest of the election and will instead be watching turnout figures.

That said, here’s my ten-cent analysis.

RealClearPolitics has the Senate race tied up at 45.8% for Republican David Perdue and 45.3% for Democrat Michelle Nunn and 3.7% for Libertarian Amanda Swafford while the Huffington Post Pollster model shows a three-point advantage for Perdue at 46.5% to 43.5% for Nunn and 3.9% for Swafford.

The New York Times forecasting model says we have a 66% chance of a runoff in the Senate race.

In previous Senate runoffs, turnout varied between 55 and 57 percent of general-election turnout (in 2006, when the runoff was for the public service commissioner alone, turnout declined by a factor of 10). In other words, it’s less about attracting third-party voters to your side and more about voter motivation and get-out-the-vote efforts. It is doubtful that a likely-voter model designed for the general election will accurately reflect the composition of the runoff electorate as well.

The few head-to-head polls that have been released suffer from this same problem. The two-party preferences of the November electorate are next to irrelevant in trying to model the outcome of an election held among a very different set of voters.

The Washington Post column The Fix adds to the runoff analysis:

The runoff polls, for instance, apply the same electorate from Election Day to the runoff. And especially in Georgia, where the runoff is still more than two months away and turnout will be lower, it’s not a great measure. (Turnout in Georgia’s last two Senate runoffs — in 1992 and 2008 — has been between 81 and 84 percent as high as turnout in the following midterm elections.)

In addition, that drop in turnout almost always comes at the expense of the Democrats. The last five statewide runoffs have seen Democrats lose an average of nine points from their Election Day margins. In other words, if Nunn’s campaign were offered the same electorate Jan. 6 as Nov. 4, it would take it in a heartbeat. But that’s probably not feasible — especially given that this will be the state’s first post-New Year’s Day runoff.

In the Governor’s race, RCP shows Republican Governor Nathan Deal at 46.2% to Democrat Jason Carter at 44.2% and Libertarian Andrew Hunt with 4.3%. Huffington Post shows Deal 46.5% to 43.1% for Carter and 4.2% for Hunt. Nearly two weeks worth of public polls have shown Gov. Deal between 46% and 48% and I think he’s in solid shape to win without a runoff, depending on turnout.

That last line, “depending on turnout” usually constitutes “weasel words” that allow an analyst to walk back any incorrect guesses predictions, but this year’s Democratic efforts have made turnout the number one question in the election.

So what’s happening in turnout? Nate Cohn of the New York Times Upshot column tweeted last night:

Remember: if the Democrats are able to turnout sufficient voters to bring the African-American percentage to 32%, Democrats will win at least one of the top-of-the-ticket races.

Part of the bump in African-American percentage of early voting is due to last Sunday. Here’s the NYT graphic showing Sunday’s surge:

NYT Upshot Sunday Voting

The Times also has an article about the polling problems caused by weighting. It’s good information.

Even if pollsters had perfect targets for weighting their sample, many public polls might struggle to adequately represent young and nonwhite voters. Response rates from some underrepresented groups have fallen so low that pollsters sometimes need to weight respondents from these groups several times over in order to meet their targets.

This creates a dilemma for pollsters. Overweighting a few respondents might cause a small and unreliable subsample to have too much effect on the overall result; falling short of weighting targets will cause some demographic groups to be underrepresented.

Perhaps as likely to bias a poll as any problem with the respondents or the weighting are the decisions pollsters make about who will vote. These decisions are known as the likely voter screen, and they can bias the results of an otherwise perfectly representative sample.

After taking a sample and weighting it, election pollsters exclude adults deemed unlikely to vote. Polls use a variety of questions to do so — including whether a person is registered, whether they’ve participated in past elections, how certain they say they are to vote, whether they know where their precinct is and whether they’re interested in the election. In general, likely voter screens tend to exclude more Democratic than Republican voters, because more marginal voters lean Democratic.

Likely voter screens are blunt, imperfect instruments. The assumptions underlying them are often no more than educated guesses. Postelection studies have found that many voters deemed “unlikely” in fact vote, and many “likely” voters stay home.

The net results of this, according to the Times, is that polling may systematically underrepresent young and minority voters.

But all the news is not bad. Millenials appear to be shifting toward the GOP according to a large-scale survey by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds slightly more than half (51%) of young Americans who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress with 47 percent favoring Democrat control – a significant departure from IOP polling findings before the last midterm elections (Sept. 2010 – 55%: prefer Democrat control; 43%: prefer Republican control).

The cohort – 26% of whom report they will “definitely” vote in the midterms – appear up-for-grabs to both political parties and could be a critical swing vote in many races in November.

I first heard about this poll last night on GPB’s “Political Rewind,” where Jackie Cushman brought it up. Video of the show should be available in a couple days, and I’ll post it when it is.

PoliticalRewind 10292014

Dark Money in Politics

Yesterday, I heard an interview on NPR, where I got this quote from Nick Confessore,  who writes about the intersection of money, influence and power for The New York Times.

Over half of the advertising in this midterm election has come from groups that do not disclose much or anything about their sources of money and as independent spending in general consumes a bigger and bigger piece of the pie in politics, that’s going to become a bigger and bigger problem. It’s simply very hard to evaluate who is behind a lot of the political advertising on the airwaves.

With candidates, with parties, we can see a lot more and candidates and parties still account for most of the money sloshing around, most of the spending, most of the fundraising. But you know, as outside spending becomes a bigger and bigger part of politics and as more and more outside spending comes from groups that are technically kind of outside the system – off the books – it’s very, very hard. There could be a lot going on, there could be a lot of influence peddling going on that we will just never see, that is impossible to see because we can’t see the money changing hands.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 30, 2014

Phoebe

Phoebe is a small female Terrier mix who was abandoned with her best friend Ziggie when their owners moved away. While she started out frightened, she is now a sweet, social dog. Phoebe is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

Brighton

Brighton is a young male Labrador Retriever mix with a huge smile who was found in a Publix shopping yard. He is friendly, loves to play, and would love an active family. Brighton is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

Nellie1

Nellie is a young female Terrier mix who was found in a dumpster with four puppies who weren’t hers. She loves her wading pool. Nellie is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

Nellie2

Randy Travis of Fox 5 Atlanta brings us the next dog, a pit bull female named Delilah who is currently fostered by his daughter.

Travis dog1

Here’s Delilah’s story:

I found Delilah at Paulding County Animal Control in May in extremely bad shape. She was extremely underweight, no hair on her paws, and with a bad case of kennel cough. The second I walked into her kennel she came right up to me and rolled over with her tail wagging like crazy. After crying like a baby for a half hour, I called Jason from Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue. He agreed to take her on in his rescue and pay for all her veterinary care if I agreed to foster her. Of course I said yes. With two other dogs at home and three cats I felt I could give her a resting place to get her back on her paws and see what she was like in a home setting.

A few months after bringing her home and posting her on any site I could think of to find her forever home, I was contacted by someone who recognized her and knew about her past life. This woman lived next to the man who abused her for the first 4-6 years of her life. She said Delilah was constantly outside, rain or shine, crammed in a crate that was half the size of her. She had six litters by the time she was rescued and completely and totally neglected. The police were called and it was discovered that this man had not only been neglecting her, he’d been raising her puppies for fighting. Thankfully, he was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail.

I’ve loved every single second of having Delilah. But it’s time she go to her forever home. Knowing Delilah’s past, she understandably does not get along well with other dogs. Surprisingly enough though, Delilah adores cats. She’s about six years old. Besides having occasional issues with her joints she is healthy as a horse. Completely vaccinated and spayed (never having puppies again!) And she’s potty trained!The only issue we’ve had with her is her fear of storms.

Delilah would be a wonderful dog for any family that doesn’t currently have dogs. She’s wonderful with children, does not need a lot of room, can go on short walks but doesn’t require tons of exercise to be calm. After five minutes of playing she’s tired for four days! She’d be great for a busy family or a retired couple looking for a companion to hang out with during the day. Please consider adding Delilah to your family!

Randy Travis dog 2

Click here to apply to become Delilah’s forever home.

Click here to donate to Friends of the Forlorn Pit Bull Rescue.

October 29, 2014 – Fall 2014 Survey | The Institute of Politics at Harvard University

A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds slightly more than half (51%) of young Americans who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress with 47 percent favoring Democrat control – a significant departure from IOP polling findings before the last midterm elections (Sept. 2010 – 55%: prefer Democrat control; 43%: prefer Republican control).

The cohort – 26% of whom report they will “definitely” vote in the midterms – appear up-for-grabs to both political parties and could be a critical swing vote in many races in November.

“The IOP’s fall polling shows that young Americans care deeply about their country and are politically up-for-grabs,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Maggie Williams.  “Millennials could be a critical swing vote. Candidates for office: ignore millennial voters at your peril.”

via October 29, 2014 – Fall 2014 Survey | The Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

President George W. Bush: 41- The Book

Your Washington Desk

via – Various Media Reports -

Bush 41

41

Former President George W. Bush will be back in the public eye as he promotes “41,” his upcoming book about his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

George W. Bush’s interview with CBS newsman Bob Schieffer will air in two parts on Sunday, Nov. 9: the first on “Sunday Morning,” the second on “Face the Nation.”

An interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie airs on the “Today” show on Nov. 10. For publication day, Nov. 11, both former presidents will be on “Today” for a discussion with George W. Bush’s daughter and “Today” correspondent Jenna Bush Hager. (more…)

Election 2014: Georgia Governor – Rasmussen Reports™

Republican Governor Nathan Deal is holding on to a six-point lead over Democratic challenger Jason Carter in the final week of his reelection campaign in Georgia and leads by the same margin in a hypothetical runoff contest.

Deal now picks up 49% of the vote to Carter’s 43% in the latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Georgia Voters. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate in the race, while six percent (6%) are undecided.

via Election 2014: Georgia Governor – Rasmussen Reports™.

Campaigning like it’s 2004: Outsourcing re-emerges as election-year issue | Al Jazeera America

Todd Rehm, a Georgia-based Republican political consultant, said the line of attacks fits neatly into Democrats’ messaging that the GOP is out of touch with voters’ needs and favors corporations profiting off of the woes of Americans workers. Rehm noted that Republican candidates around the country could do a better job of communicating their economic policies in a way that resonates with the middle class.

“You can talk about how when a company is faced with low cost imports decimating its market, how outsourcing can be a way to keep some of the jobs,” Rehm said. “That is absolutely a weak spot among a lot of Republicans that come from a business background — they speak about creating a favorable business environment in a way that doesn’t connect with the likes of a lot of people, especially wage workers.”

via Campaigning like it’s 2004: Outsourcing re-emerges as election-year issue | Al Jazeera America.

Democratic hopes run high in Georgia’s tossup Senate race | MSNBC

The story of Nunn’s competitive position is as much a story of Georgia’s changing demographics as it is about the candidate. Republicans have known for some time that the state’s population, which is rapidly becoming less white, is a problem for them. What they didn’t expect was how quickly the threat would arrive, especially in an off-year election without an African American candidate on the top of the ticket. The GOP easily swept its elections in 2010 thanks in part to a large drop in Democratic turnout.

“The competitiveness really caught a lot of folks by surprise,” Todd Rehm, a Republican consultant in the state, told msnbc. “Normally if you said you were going a state to win by turning out people who don’t normally vote you’d be laughed out of the room.”

The race could have implications nationally as a result. One of the biggest questions in politics for 2016 and beyond is whether the ascendant coalition of minority voters, women, and young people that President Obama built can survive beyond his presidency.

via Democratic hopes run high in Georgia’s tossup Senate race | MSNBC.