Wednesday, September 29, 2010

GPI update; what happened to a tight race?

MPR/Humphrey released a new poll of the governor's race today and it's good news for the blue team. Not only do they show Mark Dayton with an 11 point edge, 38-27, the internals paint an even better picture.

• Minnesota voters have awoken from their summer slumber. More than 8 out of 10 Minnesotans are interested in the November elections, a substantial increase that is being propelled by the energizing of formerly turned-off Democrats.

•Horner is crippling Emmer's campaign, soaking up one-fifth of Republican voters while taking only half as much from Dayton.

• Dayton is tapping voter frustration and appears better positioned among voters who have not yet declared their support for a candidate.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Minnesota Senate Race Ratings

Last week I posted ratings for the Minnesota House races, this week it's the Senate's turn.

Quick Overview

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The Senate is also up for grabs, if the Republicans run the table in the Toss-ups they would take control, but the DFL only needs to win three of them to remain in control, assuming they hold the rest of their seats. The overall picture for the Democrats is better in the senate than it is in the house if only marginally so.

Monday, September 27, 2010

GPI update; mo' polls mo' problems

The StarTribune released a poll of the governor's race on Sunday with very different results from the last three polls to come out on the race, but with almost exactly the same results as their previous, pre-primary poll. So what's going on here?

First I'll update the GPI and then we can get into the poll itself.

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With the inclusion of the Rasmussen poll last week Tom Emmer had gotten as close as he's been in a while, with this update he's lost ground. Looking back at all the polls of this cycle you see a definate pattern, Mark Dayton is polling anywhere from around 41-35, Tom Emmer is polling around 36-30 and Tom Horner is polling around 18-10. The only recent poll that has shown a number outside these ranges was Rasmussen showing Tom Emmer at 42 last week.

It might be that the Rasmussen poll was an outlier or it could have something to do with their pushing of leaners, but even before pushing leaners they were showing Emmer ahead 36-34, which was Emmer's first lead in a poll since a May Rasmussen poll. More likely than not it's just a case of Rasmussen being Rasmussen and showing a GOP advantage.

Friday, September 24, 2010

GPI update; the new normal

Let's just get to it:

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That's three polls in a row showing essentially a tied race, regardless of whatever issues some of us may have with some of these polls, an even evenly split electorate seems to be the new normal of the Minnesota Governors race.

While I usually agree with Joe, I don't have a problem with Rasmussen pushing leaners in this poll. As this old fivethrityeight post points out, most pollsters will push leaners to some degree or another and publish the with leaners and without leaners results, usually using the with leaners for their top lines. In the end most leaners will end up voting their lean anyways, so I don't see the problem with this method.

What's interesting about these numbers though is what happens to Tom Horner's numbers when leaners are pushed, he goes from 18% to 9%. This is indicative of what is likely to happen to much of his support if he can't pull into actual competitiveness, but for half of his support to evaporate means it's mostly soft support right now.

If the dynamics remain as they are the key to this whole thing will be who can GOTV.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Minnesota House Race Ratings

Due to the dearth in information about the competitiveness of the Minnesota state legislative races I decided doing race ratings for the house and senate would be a good idea. If you don't know what I'm talking about when I say race ratings, I mean something along the lines of this. While Cook and some of the others who do this sort of thing on a national level usually use four tiers of rankings, I'm only going to use three; Safe, Tilt and Toss-up.

A Safe rating implies a very high confidence level, approaching 95%, so unless it's an upset of Weltian proportions, the chances of another outcome are not good. A Tilt rating is still likely to go in that direction, but there may be a red flag or two that is cause for hedging. A Toss-up means just that, it's a wide open race.

Quick Overview

First off, let's quickly go over the bottom line numbers before getting into the minutia of how the ratings were made and the actual ratings.

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If these ratings are close than control of the house is in play this election, but all Democrats need to do is win a third the toss-ups to retain control and since most of the toss-ups are currently held by Democrats it's likely that they will. And if 32 seems like a lot of toss-ups, it's less then 25% of the total seats. I'll do an update to these when we're closer to the election that will likely push some of the Toss-ups out to Tilt status.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Last week I posted the complete SILVER listings for the US Senate, now for the US House. First a graph of the House Republicanss, just like when I did this for the Senate, the DW-Nominate scores are plotted on the x-axis and PVI on the y-axis.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

GPI update; SurveyUSA's Dem Downer Tour

SurveyUSA has shown some particularly bad numbers for Democrats this cycle and while their latest poll on the Minnesota governors race isn't bad news, it certainly isn't good. Here are the toplines:

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There has been some significant movement towards Tom Emmer from the last SurveyUSA poll, both of which have been polls of likely voters, while Tom Horner has doubled his polling number. As I mentioned previously SurveyUSA has been Rasmussenesque in their election polling this year, often showing the Democratic candidate doing far worse then other pollsters, but they had been bucking that trend in Minnesota, until now that is.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Waiting for Tom Emmer's budget, A Samuel Becket play in many acts

Tom Emmer has now released parts 1 and 2 of his budget plan, and yet we still wait for Tom Emmer's budget plan.

(peers into shoe)

Part 1, the "jobs" part, consists of tax cuts that will magically pay for themselves. Part 2, the "kids" part, consists of kicking the can down the road, Pawlenty style, for another four years and a complete education reform that will, also magically, not cost any money.

What will Part 3 be? Will it be the end, or does Tom have yet more acts to follow it? Like Vladimir and Estragon we will have to wait, however impatiently, for our Godot to arrive.

(peers into hat)

What shall we do to pass the time? Let me think.

(places hat on head)


I've got it! Let's play a game. What will Part 3 of Tom Emmer's magical budget plan be? Will it be a unicorn for all little girls and a hockey stick for all little boys? Will it be fairy dust that when sprinkled on problems magically makes them go away? Will it be something else, something not so magical, like the elimination of LGA?

Play along in the comments for your chance to win nothing!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


As promised here are the SILVER rankings for the entire U.S. Senate, but before we get to that, a few graphs.

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That's a scatter plot of Senate Republicans, the X axis represents the DW-Nominate score and the Y axis is the PVI score. You'll notice that the scatter plot is basically random and that is reflected in the r-squared number, there isn't much of any correlation between Senate Republicans voting tendencies and the partisan nature of the states they represent.

Here's the Senate Democrats scatterplot:

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What you see is a somewhat tighter, somewhat more linear distribution, with an r-squared value approaching 50. The Senate Democrats DW-Nominate and PVI scores are more correlated than the Senate Republicans.

When you put the two graphs together and you can actually see the partisan split.

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What you can also see by looking at the SILVER rankings for the entire Senate GOP below, and as Nate pointed out last week, the Tea Party has actually been pretty smart in the incumbents they've taken out, as Bennett and Murkowski are among the least valuable GOP Senators according to this metric.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The GOP's missed votes

While looking at missed votes for my earlier post on Tom Emmers missed votes there was something else I noticed, Tom Emmer wasn't the only Minnesota House GOPer who missed a lot of votes. The member that missed the second most votes was a Republican, Slayton Rep. Doug Magnus. Third most was also a from the GOP, Jim Abeler. Fourth most, you guessed it, Republican Paul Kohls. Fifth was Paul Thissen, the first Democrat on the list.

It gets worse though. The DFL has 87 members in the house the GOP has 47, the DFL missed a total of 1,194 votes, the GOP missed 1,370. The DFL has 85% more members in the house and yet the GOP still missed 15% more votes. Even excluding Mr. Emmer and his gargantuan 147 missed votes the GOP still missed more votes than the DFL. To further an analogy, if Tom Emmer is the Babe Ruth of missed votes, the house GOP are the New York Yankees.

I suppose when you're as deep in the minority as the Minnesota GOP is in the house you can get kind of discouraged about voting, but really, is there any excuse for this kind of systematic failure to show up and do your job?

Friday, September 3, 2010

County hPVI Map

After making the map of the counties Mark Dayton won in the DFL primary I got a little map making crazy and made a bunch of maps. One of them is a map of the County hPVI list I posted awhile ago.

The way the color coding works is any county with an hPVI of D+5 to R+5 is white, any county with an hPVI of D+6 to D+20 is light blue and any county with an hPVI greater than D+20 is dark blue. The GOP counties followed the same parameters, so light red is R+6 to R+20 and dark red is R+21 and greater.