Monday, November 22, 2010

Minnesota Redistricting Forum Overview

On the 17th of November the Humphrey Institute hosted "Redrawing the Boundaries: A Redistricting Workshop for Minnesota Citizens, Grassroots Organizers and Policy Advocates."

The presenters at the forum came from a diverse collection of organizations; Common Cause Minnesota, The Brennan Center for Justice, George Mason University, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, League of Women Voters, Minnesota Senate Counsel and the Citizens League.

In this post I will give you an overview of the event; what the presentations were about and some of the highlights. In the future I plan to get into more detail on many of these topics.

Friday, November 19, 2010

This week in Redistricting 11/19

  • is a great resource for information on redistricting specific to our region of the country. The site is a collaboration of Midwest Democracy Network, the Brennan Center for Justice and George Mason University.

    On Wednesday the League of Women Voters hosted a redistricting forum featuring these organizations that I'll have a more extensive write-up on next week.

    In the meantime, here's a link to a two page pdf about Minnesota specifically. It goes over the process and criteria used in redistricting.

  • One positive outcome of election day was that Minneapolis approved question 1:

    Should the City of Minneapolis adopt a change in its charter by eliminating the Redistricting Commission and giving the responsibility for redistricting of city wards, park board districts and Minneapolis school board districts to the Charter Commission, with input from an advisory group appointed by the Charter Commission?

    It's a start.

  • Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics has a state by state overview of redistricting. About Minnesota he says:

    Right now it is neck-in-neck between Minnesota and Missouri for the 435th district, with Minnesota holding the short straw. With a Democratic Governor and Republican legislature, the Republicans will probably find themselves unable to complete their longstanding goal of combining Minneapolis and St. Paul into one district. If the governor and legislature can't agree, a judicial panel will draw the map. The 4-4 split between the parties makes it hard to predict a loser, especially since the Republican districts have been growing sharply and 3 of the 4 Democratic districts lost population. A panel would probably opt to draw a Republican and Democrat into an evenly-balanced district.

  • Mike Stark outlines how the GOP could use The Dark Scenario to ram through a redistricting bill that accomplishes their goal of combining Minneapolis and St. Paul.

    This is the real danger of the dark scenario in my view. If the Republicans draw the map they want, it's conceivable that they could get a 6-2 congressional map and hold the state legislature in 2012.

  • In my post on Wednesday I mentioned the split-line algorithm for drawing district lines. This is another automated method, with the prime directive being:

    The best district map is the one where people have the lowest average distance to the center of their district.

    I'm not so sure I agree with that statement, but the maps are interesting nonetheless.

  • Dave's Redistricting App has updated to version 2.0.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Redistricting: The process and proposals for change

The GOP is already gearing up for the fight, as was reported earlier:

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton today announced that Deputy Chairman Michael Brodkorb will serve as the Party's redistricting lead.

With that pleasant thought in mind I'm going to do something I've never done before, repost an old post, the very first blog post I wrote in fact, from all the way back in December of 2008.

I'll be posting more on redistricting in the future, and intended to do a sort of redistricting background piece, but this more than fits the bill. Obviously some of the references are now out of date (Majority leader Larry Pogemiller for one) but all of the info pertaining to redistricting is still relevant.

Here than is the re posting of...

"Please don't take my mother out of my district."

Monday, November 15, 2010

SurveyUSA polls the Governor's race again

SurveyUSA (11/10, 10/28 in parentheses):
Mark Dayton (D): 45 (39)
Tom Emmer (R): 44 (38)
Tom Horner (I): 9 (13)
Undecided: 1 (6)
(MoE: ±3%)

KSTP decided that it would be fun to resurvey the Minnesota Governor's race, you know, now that we know the outcome and everything.

What they found was confirmation of what happened and although we have actual ballots to tell us Mark Dayton won, the ballots don't tell us about some of the underlying numbers that this poll sheds a little light on.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Fela; Gentleman

Now that the election is over and we're settling into another political cycle, I want to start doing a bit more non-political stuff. To that end I'm starting this series, Friday Fela. I hope you like it.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFor those who aren't familiar with him, Fela Kuti was born in Nigeria in 1938 and was the origionator of the afrobeat style of music. In 1958 his parents sent him to London to go to medical school but he instead went to music school.

While on tour in Los Angeles in 1969 he discovered American Black Nationalism and his music quickly grew more political. When he went back to Nigeria he formed the Kalakuta Republic, a sort of community center/commune/socialist experiment.

The period from 1970 to 1977 would prove to be Fela's most prolific musically and influential politically. He would release no less than 24 albums during this period, most of them consisting of two or three songs, with each song lasting around 15 minutes, which is why you never hear him on the radio.

In 1977 the Nigierian government raided the Kalakuta Republic and threw his 82 year old mother out of a second story window, eventually resulting in her death. This event marks the end of Fela's prolific music making period and the beginning of his more overtly political ambitions.

Fela died in 1997 from complications related to AIDS. This press release from the United Democratic Front of Nigeria is a fitting summation of Fela's life:

Those who knew you well were insistent that you could never compromise with the evil you had fought all your life. Even though made weak by time and fate, you remained strong in will and never abandoned your goal of a free, democratic, socialist Africa.

Now on to Friday Fela...

The T-Pawmentum builds

While PPP was in the field polling the Governor's race they were also asking about Presidential preference in 2012, here are the results for Minnesota.

Public Policy Polling (10/30, likely voters, no trend lines):
Tim Pawlenty: 19
Sarah Palin: 18
Mike Huckabee: 14
Mitt Romney: 11
Newt Gingrich: 11
Mitch Daniels: 3
Mike Pence: 3
John Thune: 2
Someone else/Undecided: 18
(MoE: ±4.4%)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This week in Redistricting

I don't know if this will be an ongoing series or not, but now that I don't have GPI updates to keep me busy I might as well try to start another post factory.

So here than is a rundown of redistricting news and related stuff. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Polling in Minnesota Governor's races; part 2

This is part two of a series I began yesterday. Part one can be found here.

In yesterdays post I went through some past Minnesota elections and the polling associated with them. What I found is that polling in Minnesota Governor's races has exhibited a consistent DFL bias, by between 4-5 points on average.

I concluded the post with this:

There are two possibilities; either the polls themselves are wrong, or the polls are right and the GOP candidate is receiving a wave of support at the end of the race.

It's those possibilities that I will deal with today.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Polling in Minnesota Governor's races; part 1

This was intended to be one post but quickly developed into a monster that just had to be segmented. While I am certainly not above splitting posts up simply for the sake of more posts, that is not the case in this instance.

The following comment from ldc sums it up:

I haven't seen a good explanation for why they were so far off, not just MPR/Humphrey but others too. At least in the Nevada senate race, they could explain the difference in pollster vs real election results by the Latino vote and whether the pollsters gave a Spanish language option. So what is the answer here??

She is right in that there doesn't appear to be an easy explanation like in some other states for the inaccuracies of some of the Minnesota Governor's race polls. I have advanced the argument before that errors in 2006 polling was due to late breaking events in that race that caused undecided voters to break heavily for Tim Pawlenty.

What about 2002 than? In that year the pollsters correctly predicted a Pawlenty win, but missed the final margin by about the same amount as in 2006 and 2010, 5 points. On the other hand polling in Minnesota Senate races, and Presidential races, has been rather accurate. Is there something about Minnesota Governor's races that makes polling them especially difficult?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Election polling and predictions


Post-election brain dump

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on any one topic but instead just get a bunch of stuff out that's twirling around in my head. Each of these topics is probably deserving of it's own post, but that will come later. Right now I have to get this stuff out of my head so I can move on with my life.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Governor Projection

The results are still trickling in, but I now have enough information to put up a preliminary projection.

This is based on partial results from the counties, so take it with a grain of salt, but right now I project the final numbers to be:

Mark Dayton (D): 45
Tom Emmer (R): 41

See this post for background info.

Weather in victory or defeat...

...this bottle of Cuvee Rene is getting drank tonight!

Outcome Prediction System

I'm going to try something tonight, that is to predict the final outcome, as returns come in, based on vote totals in some key counties.

Sound fun?

I'll provide a little background on what I'm doing in this post and than start an actual Outcome Estimator post when returns start coming in.

I will be doing this at MN Progressive Project so that I don't have to keep two separate threads going.

Final GPI; Dayton with a 5 point lead

Here is the final GPI.

Image Hosted by

Additionally Nate Silver puts Mark Dayton's odds of winning at 86% and his weighted average is virtually identical to the one above.

Mark Dayton has lead the entire month of October by about five points, but this race will all come down to turnout. The DFL has the advantage in that regard, we just need to capitalize on it.

That said, there is still a 14% chance that everyone is wrong. One of the data points that makes up that 14% is of course the 2006 Minnesota Governor's race. In that contest Mike Hatch had a three point lead in the simple polling average 45.5-42.5 and lost 46-47, a four point swing for Tim Pawlenty.

To avoid that fate again we need to GOTV like mad. So everyone who doesn't have anything to do today, GOTV.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Predicting turnout on Tuesday

I wrote a post before the primary election on predicting turnout. That was quite a bit more involved since there was the issue of the new summer date to consider. Predicting turnout this Tuesday should be a little more straight forward since there are not really any unknown variables to consider, unless you think there will be a GOP surge.

I'm not discounting that possibility, I just don't think that it will have nearly the same effect in Minnesota where we already turnout at a high rate.