Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Five - The Parties' Proposals, Outstate edition

Redistricting MinnesotaFriday of last week was the deadline for parties in Minnesota's redistricting lawsuit to submit their maps. Three groups submitted maps; the Britton, Hippert (GOP) and Martin (DFL) intervenors. On Monday I went over the partisan composition of the three maps and yesterday I went over the five metro area districts. Today I'm going to discuss the way the three outstate districts were drawn.

Before I get into the maps I'll once again recap the partisan numbers with this nifty color coded excel table.

ave Dem% diff

This is a table of the differences in the average Democratic vote %, color coded so that the districts that get the most Republican are redder and the ones that get the most Democratic are bluer.

With that, on to the last of the maps!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Five - The Parties' Proposals, Metro edition

Redistricting MinnesotaYesterday I posted the partisan numbers of the proposed districts, today I'm going to look at the districts themselves, starting today in the metro and going outstate tomorrow.

Before I get into that I just wanted to recap the numbers from yesterday in the form of a color coded excel table!

ave Dem% diff

This is a table of the differences in the average Democratic vote %, color coded so that the districts that get the most Republican are redder and the ones that get the most Democratic are bluer.

With that, on to the maps!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Redistricting: Partisan numbers for proposed maps

Redistricting MinnesotaI tried to resist the urge to break this up into multiple posts and instead just do one big post comparing all the proposals. That post quickly grew to unmanageable proportions though, so I'm going to go ahead and break it up anyway.

So, today I'm going to go over the partisan numbers of the proposed districts and tomorrow I'll start breaking down the districts themselves.

The three proposals are from the Britton, Hippert (GOP) and Martin (DFL) intervenors. The Hippert map is old news, as it is the same map that passed through the GOP controlled legislature earlier this year and was vetoed by Governor Dayton. The two other maps are interesting in their similarities and their differences; drawing rural Minnesota almost exactly the same but taking completely different approaches in the metro area.

Cutting to the chase though; here are the Obama percentages for the three maps:

Obama % for proposed maps
CD Britton Hippert Martin Old
1 52% 51% 52% 51%
2 45% 49% 45% 48%
3 50% 50% 55% 52%
4 64% 64% 62% 64%
5 72% 74% 73% 74%
6 48% 45% 43% 45%
7 47% 45% 48% 47%
8 53% 56% 54% 53%

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yet another poll on the anti-family amendment

MNPrideAround this time each year St. Cloud State University does a statewide poll and this years version featured a question about the anti-family amendment.

SCSU (11/12, no trend lines):
"Should the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one
woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"

Yes 44
No 47
Don't know/refused 9
(MoE: ±5%)

This result runs contrary to the two polls from last week, by the Star Tribune (PSRA) and KSTP (SurveyUSA), who both found outside the margin of error leads for the amendment. And other than a PPP poll at the end of May that showed the amendment losing by a single point this is the only poll with the "one man, one woman" language to show the amendment losing outright.

If we simply average the three latest polls we get this; 43% do not support the amendment and 46% do. This leaves 10-11% in the undecided/don't know category. It's that 10% who will decide the fate of the amendment.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A-Klo cruising

Amy KlobucharIn addition to testing the anti-family amendment and the Vikings stadium SurveyUSA also tested the 2012 Senate race and to absolutely no one's surprise Amy Klobuchar has wide leads over her announced opposition, Dan/Doc Severson and first term city councilman Joe Arwood.

SurveyUSA (11/8, no trendlines):
Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 49
Tim Pawlenty (R) 37
Undecided 14

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 50
Norm Coleman (R) 37
Undecided 14

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 55
Dan Severson (R) 23
Undecided 22

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 56
Joe Arwood (R) 22
Undecided 22
(MoE: ±4.3%)

I might as well just write up a template for all these A-Klo poll posts, because they've all been the same so far. Amy Klobuchar is polling well over 50% against her announced opponents and is polling at 50% against the MN GOP's A-team, who can't even crack 40% against her.

You can see why she does so well by looking at the cross-tabs, she loses at most 7% of Democrats, while taking 17% of Republicans against the known names and 28% against the unknowns. And there is simply nothing in any of these numbers that indicate any vulnerability for the GOP to exploit.

The only real question I have about this race is weather A-Klo can actually do better than the 58% she got in 2006.

Another poll shows the anti-family amendment winning

Gay MarriageOn Tuesday I posted about the Minnesota Poll and it's findings vis-a-vie the anti-family amendment, which were discouraging to say the least. Right on the heels of that comes a SurveyUSA poll showing basically the same result, Minnesota voters favoring the amendment by a handful of points.

SurveyUSA (11/8, 5/25 in parenthesis, 3/31 in brackets):
"If an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution were on the ballot, that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, would you vote..."

For 46 (51) [62]
Against 40 (40) [33]
Not vote 10 (8)
Not sure 4 (2) [5]
(MoE: ±4.3%)

This somewhat mirror's the Strib's 48-43 result in favor of the amendment. The big difference though is that SurveyUSA gave people the "not vote" option, of which 10% availed themselves.

If people actually voted this way next November the amendment would fail. This is because for an amendment to the Minnesota constitution to pass it needs to receive 50% + 1 of the entire electorate. Meaning not voting on the measure is as good as voting no.

The other thing you can see is that actual support for the amendment has eroded quite a bit since SurveyUSA's first poll of the issue at the end of March, going from 62% support, to 51% to 46% now. Opposition to the amendment hasn't risen at the same level as support has fallen, meaning that many people who at first supported the amendment have moved into the "Not vote" and "Not sure" categories.

Like in the Minnesota poll though, there are a substantial number of Democrats, 26% in this case, who are in favor of the amendment while only 58% are opposed. This will simply not do if we want to beat this thing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Minnesota Poll: the anti-family amendment makes big gains

MNPrideThere's no way to really sugar coat this one, since last time PSRA was in the field in Minnesota opposition to the anti-family amendment has softened by twelve points and support has increased by nine.

StarTribune (PSRA) (11/8, 5/13 in parenthesis):
"Would you favor or oppose amending the Minnesota Constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman?"

Favor 48 (39)
Oppose 43 (55)
Don't know/refused 8 (7)
(MoE: ±4.4%)

It's hard to say exactly what happened since May that would result in opposition going from plus sixteen points to minus five, but this certainly helps to illustrate the uncertainties of polling ballot questions, especially this particular ballot question.

[Note: I missed it at first, but the question wording is different from the May poll to this one and that is almost certainly what is driving the results.]

Looking at the cross-tabs the changes come from some expected and some unexpected places. Back in May the 65+ cohort actually opposed the amendment, 51-44, now that same group is in favor of the amendment 70-26. This is a preposterously large swing and may be the root of the dramatic topline swing.

Redistricting: Special panel releases redistricting principals

Redistricting MinnesotaIn an order filed on Friday the Special Redistricting Panel released it's redistricting principals. These are the criteria the court will use to actually draw the maps we will be using for the next ten years.

In this post I'm going to look at the principals in the court order and how they compare to the principals from the last redistricting cycle and also the principals submitted by the four intervenors.

First, lets take a look at the principals and what they actually mean before looking at how the different parties put them in order.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Four - Draw the Line Minnesota

Redistricting MinnesotaOn Friday, the Citizens’ Redistricting Commission, a group brought together by Draw the Line Minnesota, submitted it's maps to the Special Redistricting Panel. Here's a statement for the group's chair, Candi Walz:

We’re taking advantage of this opportunity to share what we heard with the judicial panel and to ensure Minnesotans who attended our meetings have their voice heard. We heard from hundreds of Minnesotans that want our state’s Congressional and legislative districts drawn to reflect the lives and needs of our citizens and communities, rather partisan interests of any kind, and that’s what this report aims to communicate.

In response to this, Rep. Sarah Anderson, had a comment of her own:

As best we can tell Draw the Line has ripped apart at least three tribal communities and is carving up almost four times the number of cities they are reporting. Draw the Line’s top principle was to preserve communities of interest, yet they completely disregard city and county boundaries, ignored the Voting Rights Act altogether and disenfranchise thousands of Minnesotans of their equal representation rights.

As we all know, Rep. Anderson has a knack for first-class hyperbole, but this is quite the statement, even for her. First of all, I don't really see how any plan that creates districts of equal population (as this one does) could "disenfranchise thousands of Minnesotans of their equal representation rights," but perhaps Rep. Anderson is using some sort of quantum theory of redistricting where things behave in ways that no one quite understands.

But this is not what really makes Rep. Anderson upset:

Monday, October 17, 2011

MN-8: Clark leads DFLers in fundraising

Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range RailwayThe three DFL candidates (minus Daniel Fanning) running for Chip Cravaack's eighth district seat have released their fundraising numbers for the third quarter and more so than endorsements and straw polls, the money raised by these candidates will have a tangible effect on the race.

8th District fundraising; DFLers through 9/30/11
Name Net raised Net spent Cash-on-hand
Tarryl Clark $375,143 $166,702 $235,545
Rick Nolan $65,649 $33,617 $32,032
Jeff Anderson $51,020 $30,409 $20,611

Tarryl Clark is proving that her fundraising chops were not solely the product of being Michele Bachmann's opponent, she raised more than three times as much money as her two DFL rivals combined, Rick Nolan and Jeff Anderson, who need to do much better at bringing in the cash if they are going to seriously challenge Cravaack in November.

Based on the endorsement arms race that is currently unfolding between Nolan and Anderson the DFL party endorsement for the eighth district seems like it is out of Tarryl Clark's reach. And since Nolan and Anderson are in the process of seeking the endorsement, they might feel like they don't need to be fundraising in earnest quite yet.

This is the advantage that Tarryl Clark has over her opponents. Having just run for congress in 2010, she is well aware of the fundraising required to mount a congressional campaign and clearly has no qualms about asking for money.

Jeff Anderson has only run for the city council, and when Rick Nolan last ran for congress things were quite a bit different; a candidate didn't need to spend every waking hour on the phone asking people for money, these days they do.

So while it seems unlikely that Tarryl Clark is going to win the DFL endorsement in the eighth district, she is building a warchest for the inevitable primary fight that will ensue after the endorsement is handed out. And if she keeps fundraising at this rate, she will be a tough primary opponent.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Redistricting: Odds and Ends

Redistricting MinnesotaThese are a few redistricting related stories that don't quite fit into their own posts. I used to do this sort of thing as "This Week in Redistricting" but now I don't. What is the significance of this change? We'll likely never know, but we must move forward under the new regime, "Odds and Ends" it is!


First we have the Special Redistricting Panel releasing it's schedule for oral arguments, which is as follows:

Scheduling Order #2
Oct 19, 2011 Responses to motions to adopt proposed redistricting criteria
Oct 26, 2011 Oral argument on redistricting criteria and unresolved issues
Nov 18, 2011 Motions to adopt redistricting plans and supporting memoranda
Dec 9, 2011 Responses to motions to adopt redistricting plans and supporting memoranda
Jan 4, 2011 Oral argument on redistricting plans

Monday, September 26, 2011

Redistricting: The Post-Citizens United landscape

Redistricting MinnesotaAll the way back in June MPR reported that:

Three attorneys for Briggs and Morgan have filed as "attorneys of record" for eight citizens in a redistricting case. The attorneys; former MN Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson, Elizabeth Brama and Michael Wilhelm, all filed the paperwork this morning to say that they would represent the eight Republican citizens who have filed lawsuits both in federal and state courts.

The Republican Party of Minnesota is working with an independent group, "Minnesotans for a Fair Redistricting," on redistricting efforts.

And now comes this ProPublica article:

Minnesotans for a Fair Redistricting describes itself as independent, but it has much of its leadership in common with the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a group with ties to the political empire of the Koch brothers, industrialists from Kansas who’ve spent millions funding conservative causes. The head of the Freedom Foundation, Annette Meeks, told ProPublica she has “no involvement” with Fair Redistricting. But both organizations’ tax filings list the same address: Meeks’ home address.

Fair Redistricting is registered under the name of her husband, Jack Meeks, who is also on the board of the Freedom Foundation. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Redistricting: Utz Fail!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTim Utz was last seen losing to DLFer Carolyn Laine by almost 20 points in the biggest Republican wave election in the history of whatever. Yet still featured on the front of his campaign website is this absolute jem of a passage:

Although we lost the election yesterday, the results of the campaign have much to be proud of. As in 2008, our campaign again put a hurt on the DFL stronghold in House District 50-A, breaking open the fortress perception of invincibility.

I don't know how you get from a 19.5 percentage point loss to "breaking open the fortress perception of invincibility," but than again I'm not Tim Utz.

In a sort of "where are they now" fashion we'll catch up with Mr. Utz, who these days can be found tilting at redistricting windmills. I am unsure of what outcome he expects, but his reasoning is pure as Tea!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Congressional Progressive Caucus is tired of being ignored

Rep. Keith EllisonThis is a good sign:

Over the past several months, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has begun formalizing ties to a number of outside groups and organizing internally to bring more pressure to bear on leadership.

“We’ve always been a great group, but in my opinion we’ve not punched above our weight; we’ve punched below,” Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chairman of the CPC, said in an interview last week.

It has seemed at times as though the liberals in the Democratic party were expected to stand in the corner and be quite while the "adults" worked things out. So it's encouraging to see an effort to change this dynamic.

The CPC held its first retreat earlier this year and released a budget proposal in April, which was drafted with the help of the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute. The caucus also recently hired a new executive director, Brad Bauman, whom aides describe as an aggressive and press-savvy strategist. Staff to Members within the caucus also are working together more closely, aides said.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some dude to challenge Keith Ellison

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBecause he represents what is easily the safest house district in the entire state Keith Ellison isn't going to attract any top tier Republican challengers. Instead he faces a series of some dudes and wackos who have little hope of winning.

Chris Fields, who announced his campaign last Wednesday, appears to fall into the some dude column. Even if he isn't stark raving mad though, he's still capable of regurgitating the standard GOP talking points, from his website:

Congressman Keith Ellison supports and represents economic policies that have hurt the people of our district and country. We have watched each day as factories close and our jobs are being exported overseas. We are told we aren’t competitive and the price of labor is too high. Policies he has defended have made it more attractive for our businesses to invest elsewhere.

When he says the price of labor is too high, what Chris Fields means is that those of us in the fifth district make too much damn money. If only we would accept lower wages, businesses would want to invest here!

Welcome to the race Chris, your challenge is to get more than 25% of the vote, something no one else has been able to do against Keith Ellison in the 5th district. I'd say good luck, but I wouldn't really mean it so what's the point.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Redistricting: Schedule for Public hearings set

Redistricting MinnesotaOn Friday of last week the Special Redistricting Panel released the public hearing schedule for redistricting. Why do we need public hearings for redistricting you may ask?

The preservation of "communities of interest" is a well-established redistricting principle. For purposes of redistricting, "communities of interest" have been defined to include, but are not limited to, "groups of Minnesota citizens with clearly recognizable similarities of social, geographic, political, cultural, ethnic, economic, or other interests."

Therefore, the panel seeks public comment about communities of interest that should be identified and preserved in the redistricting process. This input will aid the panel in evaluating plans that will be submitted by the parties and in establishing plans that will be adopted if the legislative and executive branches of the government do not reach an agreement on redistricting by February 21, 2012, as required by Minn. Stat. § 204B.14, subd. 1a(2010).

These meetings are open to the public, so if you want to have your concerns heard about where new lines should be drawn, these are the places and times you can go to do just that.

Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel Public Hearing Schedule
Day Time Location City
Wednesday October 5th 6:30 - 8:30pm Minnesota Judicial Center Courtroom #300 St. Paul
Thursday October 6th 6:30 - 8:30pm John B. Davis Educational Service Center Minneapolis
Friday October 7th Tuesday October 4th 6:30 - 8:30pm Bloomington Civic Plaza Bloomington
Monday October 10th 6:30 - 8:30pm Fond du Lac Tribal Community College Ampitheater Cloquet
Tuesday October 11th 6:30 - 8:30pm Beltrami County Administration Building Bemidji
Wednesday October 12th 6:30 - 8:30pm Moorhead City Hall Moorhead
Thursday October 13th 6:30 - 8:30pm Stearns County Administration Center St. Cloud
Friday October 14th 6:30 - 8:30pm Blue Earth County Justice Center Mankato

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

About that State Fair poll

MNPrideYesterday, The Big E went over the results of the State Fair poll on the Anti-Family Amendment as it pertains to the task ahead.

Today, I will use the same poll to point out the uncertain nature of the outcome of that task and why organizing will be the key to winning.

First, though, the results of the poll, conducted by the Minnesota House of Representatives, one more time.

"Should the state constitution be amended to define marriage as "only a union of one man and one woman?" This question will be on the November 2012 ballot."

Yes 29.8%
No 66.5%
Undecided 3.7%

What you see is that unlike with normal polls, this poll has no margin of error (but it has insignificant digits!). That's because it's actually not a poll at all, it's a straw poll.

There are two key differentiating factors between the State Fair poll and a poll from, say, Gallup; the nature of the sample and weighting.

At the State Fair anybody can just walk up and take the poll. In a traditional survey every effort is made to get as random a sample as possible. And by random I mean everyone who makes up the sample frame should theoretically have as equal a chance of being a respondent as anyone else.

Additionally, even though you go to every effort to get as random a sample as possible, the final result is often a little different from the actual demographics of the sample frame. To alleviate this, pollsters will weight their samples based on immutable characteristics like age, gender and race. The State Fair poll doesn't do any of these things.

So, the State Fair (straw) poll violates two of the most fundamental aspects of traditional public opinion polling, but just because it's a completely unscientific survey doesn't mean we can't do a little bit of analysis right?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kyle Wilson replies

Kyle WilsonIn today's morning take, Blois Olson reports on the email he received from Kyle Wilson in response to his reporting on Friday that Wilson used to be a Republican organizer.

Do you want the long answer or the short answer? The short answer is that I am not a Republican anymore and do not support the party. I consider myself pretty progressive these days actually and I would say that Bernie Sanders matches my views the closest out of any sitting politician.

If Kyle says he's a Democrat - and if he is claims to be most similar to Bernie Sanders that technically makes him a socialist - then I take him at his word.

I do, however, think that it's disingenuous to fail to disclose beforehand that he used to be a Republican. This is the point I made in the comments of my post on Friday in response to this comment from fellow contributor EricF:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Candidate in SD61 DFL primary has a GOP past

Kyle WilsonIt appears as though Kyle Wilson, a candidate in the DFL primary to replace the state Senate seat vacated by Linda Berglin, has a curious political history. From this morning's take, by Blois Olson (if you're not a subscriber go here):
A Republican tipster has informed morning take that SD61 candidate Kyle Wilson, who is running as a DFLer, has been a GOP supporter and operative since 2004 and as late as 2010.
Blois provides a few bits of linky proof, this article from MNDaily in 2004:
"It's really nice to be the best College Republican organization in the nation," said Kyle Wilson, a University sophomore who was made the club's state technical director. "You really feel like you're making a difference."
And there's the above photograph of Kyle at an Elephant Club event. The outfit tells the whole story, the brown jacket and black turtle neck, only Republicans (excluding Marcus Bachmann) have fashion sense like that! None of which quite vibes with this statement from Kyle's campaign announcement:
I want to be a strong advocate for progressive change in Minnesota.
Sure you do Kyle, sure you do.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Laurie Halverson to challenge Doug Wardlow in 38B

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOn Monday Laurie Halverson filed paperwork declaring her intention to run for the state house seat currently held by everyone's favorite dyed-in-the-wool tea-partier, Doug Wardlow.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rep. Wardlow, he is one of the many freshman swept into office in the great GOP wave of 2010, defeating Mike Obermulluer 52-48, to reclaim his father's former seat. Back in June of this year, during the limbo period after the legislative session ended and the shutdown began, Alec attended a forum that Wardlow was on and got to see him in action firsthand.

This was Wardlow's position on negotiating for those who don't remember:

When negotiating, you cannot compromise your principles with your opponent, because if you compromise they won't negotiate with you because you don't have a principled base to compromise from.

When I updated the Senate hPVI numbers earlier this year I noted that Senate district 38 was the one that had moved the most in the Democratic direction, going from R+6 to R+2. Assuming it doesn't change too much in redistricting, something we really can't be sure of, it should be a very winnable race.

That's why it's nice to see a strong DFL candidate get into the race, from the Eagan Patch:

Halverson since 2006 has served on the Eagan Advisory Parks and Recreation Commission, and has been an active leader for the Eagan Foundation, according to a news release. She graduated from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul with a degree in political science, and has a Master of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the release states.

Doug Wardlow is one of the more vulnerable of the GOP freshman class and having a credible challenger running against him makes it that much better of an investment of time and money for anyone looking for races to help with next year.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

T-Paw missed his moment

Tim PawlentyLooking back at the 2008 Presidential election it's hard for me not to conclude that Barack Obama's March 18th speech on race was the most important single moment for his candidacy. Certainly without his 2004 Democratic Convention speech he likely doesn't even get to that point in the first place, but without the speech on race, at the height of the Jeremiah Wright controversy, he would probably not be President now.

Tim Pawlenty's 2011 Presidential campaign has a similarly singular moment you can point to as the end and it wasn't the Iowa straw poll.

I wrote this on June 8th in response to a PPP poll that showed Pawlenty in double digits for the first time:

This is the best showing for Tim Pawlenty in a national poll so far, going from only 5% on May 10th into the low double digits in three weeks. This rise in his support coincides with his official campaign announcement and subsequent media blitz, so it could be a temporary spike, or it could be upward momentum, we'll have to wait and see.

Four days later, on Fox News, Pawlenty uttered a line perfectly designed to destroy Mitt Romney, "ObamneyCare." It seemed like Tim Pawlenty had finally taken the gloves off and would start attacking the front runner. Not only the front runner, but a candidate who occupied almost the same exact political space as him.

And the very next day is the day his campaign died.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisconsin Aftermath

SolidarityDemocrats managed to win just two state Senate seats in Wisconsin yesterday, falling short of the three they needed to take back control of the state Senate. It was a disappointing, but hardly surprising outcome, after all, these Republicans had survived the 2008 blue wave.

The thing that stood out to me as I'm looking over the results this morning is the incredible accuracy of Public Policy Polling in the races they polled, check it out (actual results in parenthesis):

Jennifer Shilling (D): 54 (55)
Dan Kapanke (R-inc): 43 (45)
(MoE: ±3.4%)

Jessica King (D): 48 (51)
Randy Hopper (R-inc): 49 (49)
(MoE: ±2.7%)

Shelly Moore (D): 42 (42)
Sheila Harsdorf (R-inc): 54 (58)
(MoE: ±2.7%)

Fred Clark (D): 47 (48)
Luther Olsen (R-inc): 50 (52)
(MoE: ±2.8%)

Everyone they had at 50% and over won their race and they weren't off by more then a couple of points on any of the races. For unprecedented state legislature recall elections happening in the summer they got about as close as could possibly be expected.

So kudos to PPP for doing excellent work and for anyone still skeptical of the automated polling concept, take note, some automated pollsters are not as sloppy and methodologically unsound as Rasmussen is.

Monday, August 8, 2011

When to fade a sharp

Picture of a roll of cashFair warning; I'm bringing some sports betting terms into this post because these were the terms that I felt best articulated the credit downgrade issued by S&P on Friday and Nate Silver's resulting post.

In sports betting a "sharp" is someone who knows what they're doing, they're the smart money. If you've seen the movie "Casino," Robert De Niro's character is a sharp.

Betting with the sharps is a good way to make money in sports betting, but it's not that easy. Some sharps are so well known and so good that when they make a bet the whole market reacts, and a flood of money will come in on the same side as the sharp. Most books will watch these sharps moves as well and adjust their lines accordingly.

To alleviate this, many sharps, because their bets are so influential, will purposely bet a line one way early in the week in an effort to push the line in a direction to their liking and then at the last minute money will pour in on the other side of their initial wager.

Because of these reasons betting with the sharp's isn't always easy and for many sports bettor's, finding a sharp to bet with isn't nearly as profitable as finding a square to bet against.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

MinnPost gets into the polling game

MinnPost PollCiting a lack of other news organizations polling about the state of opinion in Minnesota in the post-shutdown environment MinnPost decided to run with that ball and commissioned themselves a poll.

MinnPost (7/28, all Minnesotans):
Who do you think is most responsible for the budget crisis and shutdown?

Governor Dayton: 21
Republicans in the Legislature: 42
Both (volunteered): 22
No opinion: 15
(MoE: ±4.8%)

There's not really much to parse in these results, 64% of respondents blame the GOP while 43% blame Governor Dayton, supporting the impression I had that the public was siding with Dayton.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Redistricting: Special Panel releases schedule

Redistricting MinnesotaThe Special Redistricting Panel, appointed by MN Supreme Court Chief justice Lorie Gildea, issued a scheduling order yesterday that sets filing deadlines for petitioners and a hearing schedule for gathering input from the public.

The schedule is as follows:

Intervention: motions due July 29th, responses due August 12th
Stipulations and Unresolved Issues: September 28th
Redistricting Criteria: motions due October 5th, responses due October 19th, oral arguments (if necessary) October 26th
Remote Electronic Access to Records: request for oral argument due July 29th, if requested will coincide with Intervention hearing.
Public Hearings: October 6th - 14th

If everything goes according to schedule the Special Redistricting Panel will have concluded it's hearings by the end of October. For comparisons sake, in 2000, the deadline for motions to intervene was September 14th, so this new schedule is about a month ahead of the 2000 schedule.

In 2000 the final plan was released on March 19th so at this point it's probably safe to say that the Special Redistricting Panel is shooting for the February 21st deadline to wrap things up.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dayton's deal

Governor Mark DaytonThere has been a great deal of teeth gnashing among some Democrats and progressives over the deal Governor Dayton struck with the GOP to end the shutdown. So for anyone who thinks Dayton capitulated, let's brake the deal down to it's essential elements:

Mark Dayton gave up an income tax increase on top earners and in return he got everything else he wanted; his $35+ billion budget, none of the GOPs crazy policy bills including cutting 15% of the state workforce and even his long forgotten bonding bill.

The GOP got to not raise taxes on the wealthy and they gave up everything else; their grab bag of extreme social policy provisions, their demand not to spend more than $34 billion, their desire to cut an arbitrary percentage of state workers for no good reason and they even agreed to go along with Dayton's bonding bill.

Still not convinced? How about this; Mark Dayton will get most of the credit from the public for ending the shutdown.

So tell me again, who won?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gretchen Carlson is furious that Keith Ellison supports gender equality

Gretchen Carlson is the clueless co-host of the friendly sounding "Fox and Friends" morning show and she is pissed off. At who? About what? Well, Keith Ellison, of course, for supporting women's rights:

I recently hosted a forum in my district called Women's Rights in the Era of Extremism. And this is an era of extremism. These same people who want to shrink government till you can drown it in a bathtub also want mom to get back in the kitchen and take her shoes off and get pregnant. You understand? They are offended by strong, powerful women. And here's the sad part -- some of them are women themselves. Michele Bachmann being an example. So let's stand up -- let's stand up for women's rights, and brothers don't leave the sisters out there. We gotta be in this thing together.

My quoting of this passage uttered by Congressman Ellison probably just made Gretchen's head explode again like it exploded earlier today:

Let me just say this, as a strong, powerful woman, that is offensive. That is offensive. How dare you say that about any woman? You don't know what she wants. You don't know that she thinks it's OK to be back in the kitchen and pregnant. Are you kidding me? She wouldn't be running for president unless she wasn't a strong, powerful woman. She wouldn't be getting those people out on the sidelines there of all those streets in Iowa and every other state she goes to unless she was a strong, powerful woman. Just because she has a differing point of view from other people does not mean that she's not a strong, powerful woman.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Keith Ellison rejects including Social Security in debt ceiling negotiations

Rep. Keith EllisonThis is good to hear:

Social Security actually is not contributing to the deficit. Social Security loans us money. So at the end of the day, all this discussion about how we’re going to cut Social Security is very distressing to me because Social Security isn’t the problem…This is inequitable and regressive…We’re asking the poorest Americans to sacrifice. When are the wealthiest Americans going to step up and do the patriotic thing, which is to contribute to deal with this budget deficit.

The simple fact is that there is no Social Security crisis. The whole idea of the program being in crisis is manufactured for this very reason, to justify changing a popular and successful program that nonetheless conservatives hate.

Congressional Democrats need to stand firm and not allow Social Security, along with Medicare and Medicaid, to become part of the deficit negotiations. As Nate Silver pointed out yesterday, for any debt ceiling deal to happen, there will almost certainly need to be support from the House Progressive Caucus.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WI-Recall: Two Dems leading, a third close

SolidarityDailyKos sent PPP out to Wisconsin again to have a look at the upcoming state Senate recall elections, here's what they came back with:

PPP (6/28 likely voters, 3/14 in parenthesis*)
Senate district 32
Jennifer Shilling (D): 55 (55)
Dan Kapanke (R-Inc): 42 (41)

Senate district 18
Jessica King (D): 50 (49)
Randy Hopper (R-Inc): 47 (44)

Senate district 10
Sheila Harsdorf (R-Inc): 50 (48)
Shelly Moore (D): 45 (44)

* the 3/14 poll pitted the GOP incumbents against generic democrats

There has been remarkably little movement in these races since the first poll that PPP did on them back in mid-march. I say remarkably because in the earlier poll PPP didn't even know who the Republicans were going to be facing and so polled them against a generic democratic opponent.

There is good news in this poll and there is bad news; the good news, Dan Kapanke is toast and Jessica King is up by a small amount on Randy Hopper. The bad news, Sheila Harsdorf continues to have a small but significant lead.

WI-Recall: Two Dems leading, a third close

DailyKos sent PPP out to Wisconsin again to have a look at the upcoming state Senate recall elections, here's what they came back with:

PPP (6/28 likely voters, 3/14 in parenthesis*)
Senate district 32
Jennifer Shilling (D): 55 (55)
Dan Kapanke (R-Inc): 42 (41)

Senate district 18
Jessica King (D): 50 (49)
Randy Hopper (R-Inc): 47 (44)

Senate district 10
Sheila Harsdorf (R-Inc): 50 (48)
Shelly Moore (D): 45 (44)

* the 3/14 poll pitted the GOP incumbents against generic democrats

There has been remarkably little movement in these races since the first poll that PPP did on them back in mid-march. I say remarkably because in the earlier poll PPP didn't even know who the Republicans were going to be facing and so polled them against a generic democratic opponent.

There is good news in this poll and there is bad news; the good news, Dan Kapanke is toast and Jessica King is up by a small amount on Randy Hopper. The bad news, Sheila Harsdorf continues to have a small but significant lead.

Keith Ellison to be challenged again by racist

The racist, Lynne TorgersonLynne Torgerson has an announcement:

I, Lynne Torgerson, am running for Congress in Minnesota, against radical Islamist Keith Ellison. Keith Ellison fails to oppose banning Islamic Sharia law in the United States. He accuses people of trying to ban it as ‘conspiratorilists.’ Keith Ellison also fails to support that the United States Constitution should be supreme over Islamic Sharia law.

Sharia is taking over America, but Lynne Torgerson will stop it by losing to Keith Ellison by 70 points. Or something.

But that's not all:

Considering herself a "stateswoman" rather than a "politician," Torgerson’s platform has chiefly been comprised of her suspicion of Islam.

She considers herself a stateswoman though, so there's that. There's also this:

Torgerson insists that she is "very tolerant," blaming Muslims for failing "to become tolerant of us." Yet, when the Independent Party explained to her "that a winning campaign would need to incorporate a platform of equality and inclusion," she reportedly replied, to the effect, "Well I don’t support those ideas."

Oh she's a stateswoman alright, if the state you're talking about is the Tea Party Nation.

Here's a link to contribute to Keith.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Three - The Court Map, Outstate Edition

Redistricting MinnesotaThis is the second part of a post I started two weeks ago going over what I think will be the most likely outcome of the now court lead redistricting process. The first part went over past court precedent and some different Twin Cities district options.

As always, these maps are drawn using Dave's Redistricting App, a free and easy to use redistricting tool.

This was the final version of the Twin Cities that I arrived at in the previous post:

Image Hosted by

Now let's see what happens to the rest of the map, first up, CD1:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

KSTP poll: It's all in the question

@aaronklemz If you were going to commission a poll at this point, wouldn't YOU ask

That pretty much sums up my feelings about this poll. Only I might add a WTF, or something similar, but I'm a bit more uncouth than Aaron is.

KSTP, as they are wont to do, asked a couple different questions about the budget, but none of them really got to the point; who's budget do you favor the Governor's or the GOP Legislature's.

Not only that, they asked completely different questions from the survey that they did at the end of May, only one month ago, meaning we can't even really compare the two surveys.

SurveyUSA (6/20, no trendlines):
Going forward, should Minnesota's government increase spending? Decrease spending? Or continue to spend about the same amount as it has been?

Increase 8
Decrease 60
About The Same 27
Not Sure 5
(MoE: ±4.1%)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pawlenty Polling Roundup

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe last time I posted something about Tim Pawlenty, it was to look at the disconnect between how he was polling and how he was being talked up by the media. That was back in March.

Not much had really changed since then, the pundits were still treating him like a front runner and the polls still disagreed. But in the past week or so he has officially announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for President and for the first time he's posted some decent polling numbers. Since I haven't covered any of these polls yet, I'm going to throw them all into one big Pawlenty polls post.

Are you ready for the T-Pawmentum?

PPP (6/2, GOP primary voters, 5/10 in parenthesis):
Mitt Romney: 16 (18)
Sarah Palin: 16 (12)
Tim Pawlenty: 13 (5)
Herman Cain: 12
Michele Bachmann: 9 (7)
Ron Paul: 9 (8)
Newt Gingrich: 9 (13)
Jon Huntsman: 4
Someone else/Undecided: 12 (11)
(MoE: ±4.1%)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Three - The Court Map, Twin Cities Edition

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe legislative session has now ended and with no deal on redistricting reached the job of drawing new district lines will go to the courts (they could work something out in a special session, but if you think that's going to happen, I've got a bridge to sell you). To that end the Chief Justice of the Minnsota Supreme Court has already appointed a panel of five judges to oversee the proceedings.

Unlike maps drawn by the legislature, the courts will not look at or use things like incumbent residency or partisan performance. Instead, if 2001 is any guide, the court will draw a map that's fairly similar to the one we have right now.

To try and figure out how the new map will be drawn, I'm first going to look at how the court decided to draw the lines in 2001 and use those same criteria for the current census data. Of course these judges are not the same ones who oversaw this process in 2001 and there's no telling how they'll rule this time around, but I suspect the final result will be similar.

From the 2001 court ruling:

Accordingly, approximately 53.7% of Minnesota's population now lives in the seven-county metro area, and 58.3% of the state's population lives in the eleven-county metropolitan statistical area. Adding the portions of St. Cloud sitting in Stearns and Benton Counties to this total, 59.4%, or closer to five-eighths than one-half, of the state's population lives in the urban and suburban areas reaching from southeastern Dakota County to St. Cloud.

Given that Minnesota has eight congressional seats, these statistics indicate that five of the eight districts should lie in this urban/suburban area, while three of the eight districts should lie in Greater Minnesota.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A-Klo crushes

PhotobucketNo real analysis needed here, simply put, unless Amy Klobuchar gets caught sending a tweet of little Amy to a high school kid, she's a virtual lock for re-election.

PPP (6/2, 12/7 in parenthesis):
Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 54 (53)
Tim Pawlenty (R) 41 (43)
Undecided 5 (4)

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 57 (56)
Michele Bachmann (R) 37 (39)
Undecided 5 (4)

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 57
Chris Barden (R) 30
Undecided 13

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 56
Dan Severson (R) 28
Undecided 16

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 55
Dave Thompson (R) 28
Undecided 17
(MoE: ±2.9%)

Redistricting: Judicial Board Appointed

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe Chief Justice of the MN Supreme Court, Lorie Gildea, yesterday announced the starting lineup for the court in the coming redistricting battle. The panel she appointed is a diverse group consisting of; three men and two women, three urban/suburban and two rural members and a lot of different in legal backgrounds.

The five justices are (with the Governor who appointed them in parenthesis):

Wilhelmina Wright (Ventura) presiding judge
Ivy Bernhardson (Pawlenty)
James Florey (Carlson)
Edward Lynch (Perpich)
John Rodenberg (Ventura)

If you're wondering why Gildea is already appointing a redistricting panel when there's still the possibility that new district lines could get worked out during a special session here's your answer:

Although future agreement on redistricting legislation by the legislative and executive branches remains a possibility, in light of the significant duties and responsibilities to be undertaken by the panel and the requirement for completion of redistricting in time for the 2012 election cycle, appointment of a redistricting panel is now necessary and appropriate.

So than, let's find out a little bit more about who these judges are.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Unpacking the rest of the PPP poll

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usYesterday I went over the questions in the recent PPP poll concerning the Marriage Discrimination Amendment, today I'm going to look at the numbers on Governor Dayton and the Legislature.

PPP (6/1, no trendlines):
"Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Mark Dayton’s job performance?"

Approve 51
Disapprove 38
Not sure 10
(MoE: ±2.9%)

As Tom Jensen points out in his analysis of the polling info:

The buyer's remorse about the results of last year's Gubernatorial elections that we've found in midwestern states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania appears to be a Republican only phenomenon. Mark Dayton has a very solid 51/38 approval rating with more GOP voters (12%) happy with the job he's doing than Democrats (6%) who are unhappy. Independents think he's doing a good job by a 48/39 spread as well.

John Kasich in Ohio (33/56), Rick Snyder in Michigan (33/50), Terry Branstad in Iowa (41/45) and Scott Walker in Wisconsin (43/54) all have underwater approval spreads according to PPP's results. Yet Mark Dayton, dealing with a larger budget deficit issue than any of the aforementioned Governor's is comfortably in positive territory.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PPP splits the difference

PhotobucketThis is the third poll in the last three weeks that has asked Minnesotan's about the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. The first, the StarTribune's Minnesota Poll, showed Minnesotan's opposed to the amendment 55-39, the second, from SurveyUSA, showed Minnesotan's in favor 51-40 (51-48 if the "not vote on the measure" group is applied to the oppose column).

If you do some simple math and average those results you get 47.5% opposed to the amendment and 45% in favor, which is almost exactly the results that PPP got in their new poll.

PPP (6/1, no trendlines):
"Should the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"

Yes 46
No 47
Not sure 7
(MoE: ±2.9%)

So even though these three polls are all over the map, there is some consistency in their inconsistency.

Friday, May 27, 2011

SurveyUSA polls the Marriage Discrimination Amendment

PhotobucketSurveyUSA had their polling robots calling Minnesotan's on the 23rd and 24th, the robots came back with these results.

KSTP (SurveyUSA) (5/25, 3/31 in parenthesis):
"If an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution were on the ballot, that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, would you vote..."

For the amendment 51 (62)
Against the amendment 40 (33)
Not vote on the measure 8
Not sure 2 (5)
(MoE: ±4.3%)

While the topline numbers are not great, the trendlines are. In just a couple months the For side has gone from a +29 spread to a +11 spread, an incredible 18 point drop. Additionally, if you add the "Not vote on the measure" group to the Against group (since not voting on the amendment is just as good as a no) it gets narrowed down to a 3 point advantage.

So even though the top line numbers of this poll look ugly, I would make that case that it's actually good news. The problem for supporters of the amendment is that people will vote on it a year and a half from now and the thing that helps our side the most is time.

To illustrate that point here's the breakdown by age (For/Against):

65+ 66/27
50-64 52/40
35-49 51/37
18-34 42/50

The more old people who stop voting and the more young people who grow into voting age the more support our side has. It's that simple.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Two - The GOP Gerrymanders

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIt's time for round two of Redistricting Maps! In this edition we'll look at some possible GOP gerrymanders, including the much talked about idea of combining Minneapolis and St. Paul into one district, in the previous edition we looked at some possible DFL gerymanders.

Before we get started, here's the Obama share of the vote in the eight congressional districts as they are currently drawn:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCD1: 51%
CD2: 48%
CD3: 52%
CD4: 64%
CD5: 74%
CD6: 45%
CD7: 47%
CD8: 53%

As you can see, the current map is pretty favorable to the GOP. There are already two districts packed with Democrats and the remaining districts are all within reach with the right candidate in the right cycle, as Chip Cravaack proved in November.

Is there a way to make an even more favorable GOP map though?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

The following video features Rep. Sarah Anderson getting a tad bit upset when someone (Pat Hentges, the Mankato City Manager) dares to call her redistricting plan a gerrymander. She then gets upset at those in attendance for cheering on one of her DFL colleagues (Melissa Hortman) and then gets upset with said colleague.

Sarah Anderson want's to make sure everyone knows that the redistricting plan she authored is super fair and not a gerrymander at all. Really. For super serious. Definitely not a gerrymander. Why would you even suggest that? Don't you know how awful it makes Sarah feel when you call her redistricting plan a big fat gerrymander?

Cause it's totally not a gerrymander:

Let's take a quick look at one aspect of the plan, the incumbents who would get drawn together. If this was truly a "fair" plan we would expect the instances of incumbents getting drawn together to breakdown roughly evenly between the types of match-ups. Is this what happens?

Incumbent match-ups in house GOP plan
GOP vs GOP: 1
DFL vs DFL: 7
DFL vs GOP: 5

All but one of the incumbent pairings includes a DFLer and the majority are DFL on DFL. Essentially what was done with the map was to draw first ring suburban DFLers into seats with outer ring suburban DFLers and GOPers while at the same time creating a bunch of suburban open seats ripe for GOP pickups.

Some further context; there are a total of 109 Republicans in the Minnesota legislature and 92 Democrats. That means 21% of the DFL caucus would get drawn into a district with another incumbent while a whooping 6% of GOPers would suffer the same fate.

But that totally happened by chance and was not at all part of an effort to draw DFLers into districts with each other. Seriously. Why doesn't anyone believe Sarah Anderson when she insists that her plan is most certainly not a gerrymander.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Minnesota Poll throws everything at the wall, some it of sticks

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe StarTribune spent last week and weekend doing a slow release of information from their Minnesota Poll, with some of the numbers providing a bit of a surprise. Let's dive right in starting in chronological order of when the Strib released the individual numbers.

StarTribune (PSRA) (5/9, no trend lines):
"Do you think Native American tribes should continue to have exclusive rights to operate casino gambling facilities in Minnesota, or do you think gambling should be opened up to others?"

Should be opened up to others 72
Tribes should have exclusive rights 23
Don't know/refused 5

"If the gambling is expanded, which one of the following would you most prefer? The choices are:"

Allowing video slot machines at Canterbury Park and Running Aces racetracks 20
A casino in downtown Minneapolis 12
A casino at the mall of America 8
Allowing video slot machines in bars and restaurants 8
Would you prefer to see gambling expanded in all of these areas? 37
None/oppose all (volunteered) 11
Don't know/refused 4
(MoE: ±4.7%)

The fact that 72% of respondents don't like the tribal exclusive on gambling might be the least surprising result of the entire poll. There is some genuine opposition to gambling expansion, but not all of that opposition is from the tribal rights point of view so when the expansion question is framed this way it's not surprising to see results like this.

The follow-up though confirms that there is not insignificant support for an overall expansion of gambling, a plurality, 37% want to see gambling opened up in all areas. You can probably think of the Downtown Casino and Mall of America Casino answers as supporting essentially the same idea, so that group is about 20% and another 20% for the Racino's.

Feel free to add the 37% who support all forms of gambling expansion to both the Twin Cities Casino or the Racino's support numbers to come up with well over 50% in favor of both proposals with only 11% firmly against any expansion.

This should be a no-brainer for the legislature, but considering the blow-up happening in the GOP over gambling right now, who knows what will come of it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Tea Party Protection Plan

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe Minnesota House GOP's recently released congressional redistricting map, authored by Rep. Sarah Anderson, is a rather devious little gerrymander. It solves the "Peterson problem" for the GOP in a creative way, handing him a more liberal district than even Jim Oberstar had while at the same time drawing Chip Cravaack a considerably more conservative district than the one he is currently Representing.

Additionally Michele Bachmann's CD6 remains largely intact and Eric Paulson's CD3 gets slightly more red. The surprise is that the House Education Committee Chairman, Rep. John Kline, doesn't get any help, in fact his CD2 gets slightly more blue. On the DFL side CDs 1, 4 and 5 don't change much at all in terms of partisans.

Here's what the Obama percentages in the districts would look like under the Anderson plan (current Obama percentages in parenthesis) [this information was obtained by plotting the Anderson map in Dave's Redistricting App which does not go down to the block level, so these numbers are not exact, they are however close enough for this analysis]:

CD1: 51% (51%)
CD2: 49% (48%)
CD3: 50% (52%)
CD4: 64% (64%)
CD5: 74% (74%)
CD6: 45% (45%)
CD7: 45% (47%)
CD8: 56% (53%)

As I alluded to in the first paragraph, the main thrust of this plan is to solve the "Peterson problem" for the GOP. What is the "Peterson problem" you ask? Let me explain.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Sarahmander

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe GOP House redistricting plan authored by Rep. Sarah Anderson passed out of committee Tuesday on a party line vote. Despite this, the plan is fair, or so say's it's author:

[Rep.] Anderson characterized her propsal as a "fair plan" that is based on the population growth derived from the 2010 census.

Of course those responsible for drawing the map consider it to be "fair," but is it?

Let's take a quick look at one aspect of the plan, the incumbents who would get drawn together. If this was truly a "fair" plan we would expect the instances of incumbents getting drawn together to breakdown roughly evenly between the types of match-ups. Is this what happens?

Incumbent match-ups in house GOP plan
GOP vs GOP: 1
DFL vs DFL: 7
DFL vs GOP: 5

All but one of the incumbent pairings includes a DFLer and the majority are DFL on DFL. Essentially what was done with the map was to draw first ring suburban DFLers into seats with outer ring suburban DFLers and GOPers while at the same time creating a bunch of suburban open seats ripe for GOP pickups.

Friday, April 29, 2011

This Week in Redistricting 4/29

It's been awhile since the last TWIR but I've finally been able to cobble together a couple of links for a post, so that's a good thing.

  • Some movement has begun on the actual legislative redistricting effort, the brodkorbmander, with both sides outlining their "principals" for redistricting, which are simply all the things we usually associate with redistricting, equal population, compactness, not splitting counties and cities, etc.

    Aaron Klemz points out that the principals released by Governor Dayton and those released by the GOP have one major difference, the placement of the incumbency language in the principals.

    In Dayton's:

    5. Not be drawn for the purpose of protecting or defeating an incumbent.

    Where is it in the GOP's principals? (emphasis mine)

    As a factor subordinate to all other principles contained in this section, a plan may be reviewed to determine its effect on all incumbents, including determination of whether the plan results in either undue incumbent protection or excessive incumbent conflicts

    In other words, they don't care much for the incumbency language. That's not surprising, they have two congressional incumbents who live on the fringes of their districts so they'll want to massage those lines as much as possible, god forbid Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack get drawn into the same district. Or Michele's stillwater home drawn into Betty McCollum's district.

    The thing is this though, if Brodkorb and Dayton are able to hammer out a deal, it will be an incumbent protection deal, so in the end, this language is meaningless as far as the legislative process is concerned. If redistricting ends up being done in the courts however, then all of this stuff will be considered by the judges who draw the lines, or at least, they'll have that option.

  • In Aaron's above linked post he also talks a little about the relative quite surrounding the redistricting negotiations so far, at least until the flurry of activity this week. He's no the only one worried about that, Mike Dean the Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota talks about his concerns about the lack of attention to such an important issue.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Michele raises a lot of money, and spends a lot too

There has been much talk about the massive amounts of money Michele Bachmann raised in Q1, more than Mitt Romney, no lightweight fundraiser for sure. And while she did raise a lot of money, the part of the story that hasn't been reported very much is how much she spent to raise that money.

This is from the FEC report for the Bachmann for Congress committee:

Total Receipts: $1,747,618
Total Disbursements: $786,614
Net raised: $961,004

While netting almost a million dollars is still a very good fundraising quarter, it's not as good as the headlines make it sound. You see, Michele Bachmann uses a fundraising technique popular with conservatives that involves paying direct mail and telemarketing companies vast sums of money to raise money for her.

Of that almost $800k of expenses, $440,000 went to these activities. To be more precise:

Direct Mail: $152,278.53
Telemarketing: $286,768.21
Total: $439,046,74

That $440k represents 25% of the money she raised, no small amount to be sure. For comparisons sake, let's look at another Minnesota politician who is raising money for re-election right now, Amy Klobuchar.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round One - The DFL Gerrymanders

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs promised, I finally got around to drawing some redistricting maps with the easy to use, and free(!) Dave's Redistricting App.

For my first set of maps I'm going to do what I like best and draw some Democratic gerrymanders, which in Minnesota means cracking open the Twin Cities.

Let's start with what is the essential problem that drives the motivation for the Democratic gerrymander, that is the consolidation of Democratic votes in the Twin Cities. As a refresher, here's Obama's share of the vote in the eight congressional districts as they are currently drawn:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCD1: 51%
CD2: 48%
CD3: 52%
CD4: 64%
CD5: 74%
CD6: 45%
CD7: 47%
CD8: 53%

All of the districts were within 5 points of being even except for the two Twin Cities districts which are packed with Democrats. What if we could spread those voters into more than just two districts, though, how many strong DFL seats can we get?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Additional Prosser votes are not that suspicious

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNews that some 14,000 additional votes had been added to the totals of conservative Waukesha County, netting David Prosser an additional 7,500 votes, was met with quite a bit of skepticism, esspecially considering County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus spotty history and refusal to follow state procedures.

None of this means that mistakes can't happen though, and anyone who has been following Minnesota elections for the last few years should know that unofficial results are just that, until a vote total is certified by the proper authority we can't be certain of the numbers.

I began working on this post this morning and because of the obligations of life some sports guy from the New York Times posted something very similar before I could finish. Undaunted, (or more accurately, not wanting to waste all the words I'd already written and charts I'd already made) I will post this thing anyway.

What I want to do is take a look at what these 14,000 additional votes mean in the grand scheme of things. For this analysis I'm going to use the number of registered voters from the 2010 midterm elections as the baseline to see what the turnout numbers looked like for all the counties in the Supreme Court election.