Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reviewing Ohio's 2004 Election Results

In preparing to analyze the impact of Ohio's newly registered voters, it is helpful to understand where Kerry made gains in Ohio in 2004 over Gore's 2000 results.

I found an old post of mine that summarized where Kerry made his inroads.
The Kerry team was very successful at this. They actually netted more votes than Gore in 22 of Ohio's 88 counties. This included urban counties such as Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Franklin (Columbus), Hamilton (Cincinnatti), Summit (Akron), Lucas (Toledo), and Stark (Canton). Another commonality among the list of counties where Kerry improved over Gore's 2000 performance was the existence of a large or medium-sized university. In addition to all of the counties above which have colleges, he also improved over Gore's 2000 performance in Wood (Bowling Green State University) and Athens (Ohio University) counties.
In analyzing the new registered voters in Ohio, it will be important to look at where the voters are coming from. This will be just one more area I focus on in the last month before the election.

Ohio's Early Voters: The drunk, evicted and underaged!

As I stated below below, early voting has begun in Ohio and you can conveniently register at the same time. The Democrats are making sure everyone can exercise their right to vote.

This included the drunk...
Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign blitzed bars, and advocates for the homeless have lined up vans to ferry potential voters from shelters.
The evicted...

People uprooted by foreclosure may have more on their minds than democracy. But activists are encouraging them to register at their new addresses and vote.

The growing ranks of foreclosed homeowners may care mostly about rebuilding their lives.

"They're basically shell-shocked," said Brian Davis, head of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.

But Beau Hill, who runs the Salvation Army's Harbor Light shelter in Cleveland, said people, despite the trauma of losing a home, should vote.

"Voting is a life skill," he said.

And the underaged...
The Franklin County Board of Elections has been searching for Alyce Donahue. They said she forgot to sign her voter-registration card.

But Donahue, contacted by The Dispatch, didn't forget. She never applied. She's 15.

Of course there are 1,000 more underaged registered voters out there.

Makes Hugh's mobilization of the homeless look pretty tame.

Once Ohio registration closes next week, I'll look at how many people registered during the overlap period and where they were from.


How could I forget the incarcerated...
Recently, a local voter-registration group, Oberlin Votes!, attempted to register inmates at the Jail but were turned away by Stammitti. According to press accounts, Stammitti appears to be unwilling to assist the registration efforts in any way. Stammitti’s non-cooperation is in stark contrast to responses by staff and administrators at other Ohio jails who have accommodated voter registration groups without controversy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

Absentee voting begins in Ohio tomorrow. Voter registration continues until next week so this open a one week window where you can do your one stop voting. You can register and vote all in the same day. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that this is legal. Several groups including the Ohio Republican Party filed lawsuits to prevent the overlap. The concern was voter fraud:

Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett was disappointed. He called the ability to immediately register and vote part of Brunner's "partisan efforts to aide the Democrat turnout strategy."

The potential for fraud was one reason the Madison County Board of Elections wanted to make newly registered voters wait to get their absentee ballots, said Donald Brey, who represented the board.

The ruling isn't a surprise. Ohio has had this overlap for many years. The difference is that this year is the first year where you can vote absentee without giving a reason.

The potential for fraud is at least a possibility. You can register and vote in Ohio w/ a utility bill, a bank statement, a government document w/ your name and address or by signing a sworn statement stating your information is correct. I suspect the reality is a lot less.

In any event, this is one area I will be analyzing when the Ohio Secretary of State releases the next list of registered voters in Ohio. At that point, we will be able to determine how many people registered during this overlap period and where they registered.

Bush/Kerry 2004: Get Out The Vote

By the time Nov 2, 2004 came along, the Democratic party had registered almost 400,000 additional voters in the 16 Ohio counties that voted for Gore in 2000. The key now, was to get them to the polls. And to the polls they came. By the time the votes were counted, John Kerry had amassed over 550,000 more votes than Al Gore had in 2000. Team Kerry was confident. After all, Al Gore had lost Ohio by only 200,000 votes in 2000. They had 350,000 additional votes in hand.

Unknown or unappreciated by the Democrats however, was the GOTV effort by the GOP that was quietly going on in the rural areas throughout Ohio. While the Kerry supporters were diligently registering more voters in their strongholds, the Bush team was putting a GOTV infrastructure in place to drive turnout higher among their existing voters. In 2000, the turnout in the Bush counties came in at 64%. In 2004, this increased to 72%. This translated into over 500,000 more votes for George Bush than he got in 2000. In the end, this was enough.

When the dust settled, George Bush had won Ohio again, this time by a slim 118,601 votes. One pro-Gore county switched to Bush (Clark) and one pro-Bush county switched to Kerry (Stark). The other 86 counties remained the same, except they had longer lines at the voting booths.

Next up, I will start to begin my analysis of the most recent voter registration numbers for Ohio and analyze what they may mean for Ohio in 2008.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Campaign On

Got a call from the Ohio Republicans at 7:00 pm tonight telling me there McCain and Palin would be in Columbus tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. Evidently he was planning to be in town over the weekend until he put his campaign on hold.

I wasn't a big fan of that decision, and obviously didn't think it turned out well for him. Now, when I see they're giving people less than 14 hours advance notice of a visit, I've got to wonder how much longer it's going to take to get the campaign back in gear. It will be interesting to see what the turnout looks like. The crowds were huge for Palin on her last visit.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bush/Kerry 2004: Register Those Voters

In my previous post on the subject, I explained how in the 2000 election, Gore ran up a large vote advantage in 16 largely metropolitan counties and then Bush ran up an even larger vote advantage in the remaining 72 largely rural Ohio counties, giving the state of Ohio to Bush.

In 2004, team Kerry clearly understood the dynamics of the state of Ohio. They ran the numbers and felt they could easily pull an additional 100,000 - 200,000 votes from the metropolitan areas Gore won in 2000. If they could do this and eat into Bush's lead in the rural counties, Ohio would turn blue.

The first step in this plan was to register more voters, and register they did. By November 2004, Ohio's registered voters increased by 450,000. The remarkable thing about this was that almost 400,000 of this increase came from 16 counties. Yes, the 16 counties that Gore won in 2000.

In my next post, we'll look at how Gore used this increase in registered voters to his advantage and how Bush counteracted its impact.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Now John..."

Did they talk about issues during the debate?

The comment I heard afterward was the following:

"McCain always called Obama 'Senator Obama' but Obama kept calling McCain 'John'. That's was disrespectful."

I didn't notice and I'm sure most younger voters never noticed either. But how many older voters thought the same thing?


At least that's what it looks like from here.

McCain may still be able to pull something out if a deal gets worked out that looks better than the original Paulson plan, but right now it looks like McCain wanted to cancel the debate and work out a deal and did neither.

The Ohio Newpaper Poll that gave McCain a 6 point advantage over Obama showed how vulnerable McCain could be on the economy in Ohio. A full 47% of all Ohioans polled said they were worse off than they were four years ago. Respondents over the age of 30 had higher "worse off" scores than those under 30. Despite this, McCain led with voters over the age of 30 while Obama led with voters under 30.

It's critical that McCain hold the 30+ demographics to win Ohio, and the economy is certainly the area of vulnerability for him. It will be interesting to see how the polls play out over then next couple of weeks.

If McCain can be seen as the one who stopped the "bailout" and replaced it with something else, that may play well. Right now, it's not looking that way, and with the media deciding on how they want to portray things, I think it's going to get tough.

UPDATE: The Columbus Dispatch is reporting John Boehner from the Cincinnati area is emerging as a prime voice against the bailout as it is currently structured, and is working w/ McCain on a deal. As I mentioned earlier, if the bailout is replaced by something else, this might be OK, and having Boehner involved won't hurt.

Ohio Poll Summary available via Pollster

Pollster.com has a very neat tool that allows anyone to take a detailed look at the results of the Ohio polls. Very slick.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Flyover County Loves Sarah Palin

Now maybe everyone flying over Ohio will get the message that Sarah Palin resonates well with Ohioans.

The Toledo Blade reports on a cornfield maze in Whitehouse, Ohio cut in the shape of Sarah Palin. Nicely visible from the air for all those flying over to more important locations.

UPDATE: Of course, as I warned earlier and Dave mentioned on A Conservative in Cincinatti, it's race. Check out the very first comment on the article by "jason bailey". Scroll to the bottom to see it.
Typical white farmers, why didnt they put Barack out there? Is it because he is black? That is the problem in rural america, no respect for African Americans. Why not Barack? Because his name isnt John? Typical elitist whites, well were gonna win this watch and see.
You can't even make a corn maze anymore w/o being accused.

Bush/Gore 2000: The Results

In my previous post, I explained how even though Ohio has traditionally been very close from total votes perspective, when you break down the vote results by region, Ohio is very similar to the US – the relatively few urban areas (I.e. Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus) trend Democratic while the many less populated areas trend Republican.

The results of the Bush/Gore 2000 election held true to form. Gore ran up a 315,145 vote advantage in 16 counties, with the Cleveland (165,000) and Toledo (35,000) metropolitan areas accounting for over half of the total. Bush then won the remaining 72 counties by a net of 480,164 votes with an average win of 6,600 votes in each county. This was enough for Bush to carry Ohio in 2000 by what was then considered a close 165,019 votes. Overall, Bush totaled 2,351,209 votes to Gore's 2,186,190.

With 7.5M registered voters, the turnout in the 2000 election sat at 62%. The registered voters were split fairly evenly, with 3.8M registered voters in “Bush” counties and 3.7M voters in “Gore” counties.

In my next post, we'll take a look at the leadup to the 2004 Bush/Kerry election.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush/Gore 2000: An Ohio Primer

Ohio has been a key battleground state in the last several presidential elections. This has caused many outside of the state to refer to the state as a purple state that could go either Republican Red or Democratic Blue. This often leads to the misperception that support for the two parties is uniformly close throughout the state. This is false.

Ohio is made up of 88 counties, and in reality, a county-wide map of Ohio mimics the statewide map of the US. Counties in or near the large metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo lean largely Democratic while the numerous rural counties lean Republican. The two notable exceptions are Hamilton county, near Cincinnati, which leans Republican and Athens county, a rural county which is the home of the liberal Ohio University, which leans Democratic.

The strategy for the Democratic party is to run up the vote totals in the few metropolitan counties and then hang on as the rural counties slowly chip away at their cushion. The strategy for the Republicans is basically the opposite.

In my next post, I will review the results of the Bush/Gore 2000 election and show how this strategy manifests itself in the county-by-county vote totals.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Registering to Vote: Why Wait Until You're 18?

Michelle Malkin just posted a voter fraud alert for Ohio on her blog. She was talking about several steps Jennifer Brunner has taken in Ohio that has made life difficult for Republicans.

Even so, I don't think she was expecting to find over 1,000 registered voters in Ohio under the age of 18. The youngest, a fifteen year old born in 1993 and registered in Sandusky county.

On the other end of the spectrum, over 95,000 registered voters were born prior to 1900.

I've been a firm believer that Ohio's election process has been fair and well run in past elections - despite the allegations from the left - and I still believe that to be the case today. For that reason, I've contacted Jennifer Brunner's office and asked for their comment and I expect to see corrections before the final registered voter file is released.

Don't believe me? Go to the Ohio Secretary of State's website and download the files yourself.

Ohio's voter information and election results are very open and available, and because of that, it allows for things like this to be found while action can still be taken. I hope they are.

Ohio Registered Voters: 8 Million and Counting

With two weeks remaining for open registration, a quick analysis of the Ohio Registered Voter file as of 9/21 shows that Ohio now has 8,060,918 registered voters. This is an increase of 50,000 from two weeks earlier. Of these new voters, approximately 20,000 are in traditionally Republican leaning counties and 30,000 are in traditionally Democratic leaning counties.

The Ohio Secretary of State's office seems to be releasing their interim lists every two weeks so this may be our last look until the final list comes out. Once the final list comes out, I will be doing a much more in depth analysis of the new voters based on their location, age, party affiliation, etc.

UPDATE: New new file was released on 10/6/2008 and another 100,000 voters have been registered. A more detailed analysis is here.

Analyzing the Ohio Electorate

This will be the first of several posts summarizing my analysis of the 2008 Presidential race in the state of Ohio. To truly understand the dynamics and changing environment, it is critical to review the results of the 2000 Bush/Gore and 2004 Bush/Kerry elections. These results provide a baseline for understanding the 2008 landscape. They will also provide insight into the potential impact of the new voter registrations that have occurred since 2004.

Over the next several weeks, I shall be documenting this analysis through a series of posts:

  • Bush/Gore 2000: An Ohio Primer
  • Bush/Gore 2000: The Results
  • Bush/Kerry 2004: Register Those Voters
  • Bush/Kerry 2004: Get Out the Vote
  • 2008 Ohio Political Environment
  • 2008 Voter Registration Analysis

I will also give update on the emerging trend in Registered Voters in Ohio as registration continues in Ohio through October 6, 2008.

All of this will culminate on Election Night where I will attempt to call Ohio based on the actual county results prior to the networks. And all without exit poll data!

I was able to do so in 2004, and if it's close, I expect to be able to do so again. In fact, in 2004, I remember laughing as Susan Estrich was spouting off on Fox News that Kerry was about to make a comeback in Ohio – just as soon as the Cleveland returns would start to come in. Unfortunately for her, I was showing that Kerry would need an impossible 80% of the Cleveland vote to even make it close. An hour later, her colleagues told her the same thing when they called Ohio for Bush. I smiled and went to sleep vindicated.

Over the next several posts, I'll explain the nature of the Ohio political landscape and my analysis of elections past, present, and future.

All data used in this analysis was obtained from the Ohio Secretary of States website at http://www.sos.state.oh.us/.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Registered Voters in Ohio Exceed 2004 Levels

Based on a quick analysis of the 9/7 file of registered voters in Ohio, the number of registered voters has exceeded the 8 million voter mark. This is about 30,000 more registered voters than in the 2004 election.

A quick review shows that 20,000 new voters registered in Democratic leaning counties and 10,000 from Republican leaning counties in the last 2 weeks.

A new file as of 9/22 is available and I will be doing a more in depth analysis of this file soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

When I Said Obama Supporters, I didn't mean the AP, but...

Seems like just yesterday I that I said race won't be the reason Obama loses Ohio, but "that won't stop the Obama supporters from making their allegations anyway." Oh wait, that was just couple hours ago!

Even so, at the time I wasn't thinking of the Associated Press , but of course they have a poll that suggests "Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House"
"There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn't mean there's only a few bigots," said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey.
So just how much of an impact could this have on the election?
Statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama's support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice.
Hmmm, the most recent Ohio Newspaper Poll reported McCain's lead in Ohio to be 6%. But this is a national study, surely Ohio has nothing to do with it. The AP certainly wouldn't attempt to insinuate anything about Ohioans, would they?
"We still don't like black people," said John Clouse, 57, reflecting the sentiments of his pals gathered at a coffee shop in Somerset, Ohio.
Look for this to continue over the next two months. Ohio, a bunch of rednecks and yahoos who are the epitome of what's wrong w/ the country.

Ohio Newpaper Poll: McCain Up by 6; Obama Supporters: It's Race

The first of three Ohio Newspaper polls shows McCain leading 48% - 42%.
Respondents attributed to Mr. McCain more than Mr. Obama the qualities of ‘good judgment,’ ‘qualified,’ and ‘higher personal and ethical standards.’

Mr. Obama scored better than Mr. McCain with likely voters on ‘personally likeable’
and ‘best understands the problems facing Ohio.’

Mr. Rademacher said the results suggest that voters don’t know as much about Mr. Obama as they do about Mr. McCain. It showed more ‘defections’ among Democrats than among Republicans, and it revealed that Mr. Obama’s support isn’t as strong in northeast Ohio as it should be.
Obama's support in the northeast is critical for him to carry Ohio. In 2004, Kerry ran up a 226,903 vote advantage in Cleveland's Cuyahoga county and still lost Ohio by over 100,000 votes. Obama will have to do at least as good to have a chance.

Of course if you ask Obama's supporters, it couldn't be experience, judgement, or ethics that would be leading to McCain's support. It's something else entirely:
Several Obama supporters interviewed by the Ohio Newspaper Poll predicted that the Illinois senator’s race will be an impossible obstacle for many voters. Mr. Obama is the son of a black father and a white mother.

‘The color of Mr. Obama’s skin — he will not carry this area,’ said William Nesselrode, 64, of Stockport, in southeast Ohio.
Nesselrode is right about one thing, Obama won't carry Morgan county, the county in which Stockport is located. Gore lost this county 38% - 58% to Bush in 2000. Kerry lost it 43% - 56% in 2004. Somehow however, I don't think race was the prevailing reason why they lost. It won't be the reason Obama loses it either, but that won't stop the Obama supporters from making their allegations anyway.

Ironically, pollster Erick Rademacher found that more people thought McCain's age would hurt him more than Obama's race, with Democrats leading the way.
Mr. Rademacher did not find strong evidence of race bias among voters. Twenty-three percent of the respondents thought Mr. Obama’s race would hurt him in the election — with Democrats holding that view more than twice as often as Republicans.

A much larger number — 44 percent — said Mr. McCain’s age, at 72, would hurt him, with more Democrats than Republicans holding this view.
Of course that shouldn't be a surprise. After all, Republicans nominated Ken Blackwell as their 2006 gubernatorial candidate.

All figures provided in this and other posts on Ohio Voter obtained from the Ohio Secretary of State website.

I'm Back!

With less than two months until the 2008 election, I decided it time to start posting again. So, three and a half years and two kids later we'll see how it goes. The free time isn't what it used to be but I have had time to do some in depth analysis of past election results in Ohio and what they mean for 2008, which I'll be posting over the next several days/weeks.

As the last time when I started, I needed a spark. This time it's the meme that is basically going to go, if Ohio doesn't go for Barack Obama then it must be because he is black. I've seen it a couple times already and I'll be posting more on this later on.

For now, it's just good to find some time.