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Last year's elections may be receding in the rearview mirror, but let's take a brief look back at those halcyon days of November 2012. We know that the Democrats, as a whole, did well, in that they gained seats in both the Senate and House ... but how did they do individually? How did the candidates in the most competitive races fare, compared with the expectations that were set for them?

The unfortunate reality is that the majority of races are utterly predictable from the start. While there used to be a lot more Republicans elected in traditionally Democratic areas and Democrats in Republican areas, the decline in ticket-splitting (as the parties have gotten more nationalized and lost their regional quirks) and the parties' increased skill at gerrymandering has largely wiped that out. The majority of House districts, for instance, are so partisan in one direction or the other that it's a foregone conclusion which party will represent it. (Consider this graph from Daily Kos Elections diarist Xenocrypt, where all the House districts are arranged from worst to best Obama performance. Districts with Democratic reps are blue, those with GOP Reps. are red—and notice how there are almost no outliers at all.)

Plot of current House of Representatives
Plot of current House of Representatives

Even for those races that are in that band of swing districts where a competitive race could exist, only a limited number of those manage not be foregone conclusions. Disparities in candidate recruitment and fundraising—where only a little-known opponent with no money rose to challenge an incumbent—took a lot of races off the table from the outset. In 2012, that left well under 100 House races, and maybe only a dozen Senate races, that were even vaguely up in the air.

So when we talk about "expectations," we're talking about how elections prognosticators expected those remaining races to come out. Even among that small sample of race handicappers—the Charlie Cooks, Larry Sabatos, and, yes, Daily Kos Electionses of the world—there always tends to be a great deal of consensus about each individual race. (There might be some disagreement on whether something is, say, Lean D or Likely D, but none on whether it's Lean D or Likely R.)

It's tempting to blame the Beltway herd mentality for that consensus, but the reality is, they (and we) all see the same indicators. Everybody sees the same polls, the same fundraising reports, the same ad buys, the same confident body language or flailing messaging. They certainly aren't guarantees of future performance, but they are adequate to form, well, "expectations." (For reference, you can see our last sets of ratings from right before Election Day, for the Senate, House and governor's races.)

This look back is partly in preparation for the next round of race ratings from Daily Kos Elections. As refreshing as it was to have a month or two off, the 2014 cycle is now well and truly upon us. And we have enough rudimentary information about retirements and potential challengers, at least at the Senate and gubernatorial levels, to start making some projections for next year. We'll be bringing you those ratings in the coming weeks, but part of the process of getting ready to do that means going back and considering how well we fared in 2012, and asking how we might improve on our performance next time.

And partly, this type of analysis helps with Democratic targeting next time. It helps us spot Republican incumbents who everyone assumed was safe or near-safe last time but who turned out to have something of a glass jaw and barely squeaked by. Also, it alerts us to Democratic incumbents who might be at risk of underperforming again, progressives who, because of a newly modified district or just complacency, had unexpectedly close races.

Follow over the fold for our Senate, House and gubernatorial charts, in that order ...


Prognosticating for the Senate was actually quite easy. It being a presidential year, and with many of the key races located in presidential swing states (like Ohio and Virginia), there was such a critical mass of polls of those states that we could pick winners with confidence, mostly just based on what poll aggregation was telling us. (Unless, of course, it turned out that all the polls were skewed. Which they weren't.)

In the end, all of our "Lean" and "Likely" races went in the right direction. We kept 7 races in the "Tossup" category, which meant that we felt they could go either way. Of those Tossups, the Democrats won 5 and the GOP won 2.

State D winner Margin DKE rating State R winner Margin DKE rating
ND Heitkamp 0.9 Tossup NV Heller 1.2 Tossup
MT Tester 3.7 Tossup AZ Flake 3.0 Tossup
WI Baldwin 5.5 Tossup NE Fischer 15.6 Likely R
IN Donnelly 5.7 Tossup TX Cruz 15.9 Safe R
NM Heinrich 5.7 Likely D MS Wicker 16.6 Safe R
VA Kaine 5.9 Tossup TN Corker 34.1 Safe R
OH Brown 6.0 Lean D UT Hatch 35.3 Safe R
MA Warren 7.5 Lean D WY Barrasso 54.0 Safe R
PA Casey 9.1 Lean D -- -- -- --
CT Murphy 11.7 Lean D -- -- -- --
FL Nelson 13.0 Likely D -- -- -- --
MO McCaskill 15.7 Lean D -- -- -- --
NJ Menendez 19.5 Likely D -- -- -- --
MI Stabenow 20.8 Safe D -- -- -- --
WA Cantwell 20.9 Safe D -- -- -- --
ME King 22.2 Lean I -- -- -- --
WV Manchin 24.1 Likely D -- -- -- --
CA Feinstein 25.0 Safe D -- -- -- --
HI Hirono 25.2 Likely D -- -- -- --
MD Cardin 29.7 Safe D -- -- -- --
RI Whitehouse 29.8 Safe D -- -- -- --
MN Klobuchar 34.7 Safe D -- -- -- --
DE Carper 37.4 Safe D -- -- -- --
NY Gillibrand 45.8 Safe D -- -- -- --
VT Sanders 46.1 Safe I -- -- -- --

Even then, with most of the Tossups, there was a pretty clear sense of which way they were likely to go. For instance, aggregated polls put Democrat Tim Kaine up in the three-or-four-point ballpark in Virginia; the same was true of Republican Jeff Flake in Arizona. (We may add a "Tossup/Tilt D" formulation to our ratings next cycle, which some prognosticators already use, for these grey-area races where there's a weak but definite trend.)

There was really only one race where we simply had no idea who would win, and that was North Dakota. (Even the various individual bloggers of DKE were equally divided, if pushed to name who would win.) The majority of public polls gave the lead to Republican Rick Berg, and North Dakota's redness at the presidential level made it likely that any remaining undecideds would lean Republican. On the other hand, the scarcity of reliable polls here (North Dakota is one of only two states that prohibits robocalling) and a long, consistent thread of Democratic internal polls gave Heitkamp the edge. In the end, that uncertainty was warranted: it was the nation's closest Senate race.

Nevada was also a cause for uncertainty, in a similar way. Most public polls gave a small edge to incumbent GOPer Dean Heller, while there were frequent Democratic internal polls giving the edge to Shelley Berkley (many from the Mellman Group, Harry Reid's pollster and one of the few to get the 2010 Nevada Senate race right). The optimistic Democratic internals seemed to stop coming at the very tail end of the race, though, which turned out to be an accurate warning sign: This was the nation's second-closest Senate race, and the narrowest victory for a Republican.


Now let's turn to the House. Here a prognosticator's job gets much harder, because many of these races see no public polling at all, let alone a large enough number of them to average them out with confidence. Instead, you're left relying on whatever internal polls get leaked (which means figuring out what's the agenda of the party who leaked the poll), along with more indirect data. In the early phases of a race, that means fundraising numbers; in the closing months, that means watching where the media buys are, from the DCCC, NRCC, and outsiders like Crossroads or House Majority PAC.

In the end, our predictions held up admirably. We whiffed on only 3 races out of the 86 races on our Big Board, and luckily, all three of those whiffs went in the Democratic direction (in that the Democratic candidate won a "Lean R" race). (In addition, we missed on one of the 7 Democrat-on-Democrat or GOP-on-GOP races that happened under California and Louisiana's unique systems.)

We left 31 D/R races in the "Tossup" category; of those, the Democrats won 24 and the GOP won 7. That's not unusual; one party tends to have the wind at its back going into the election and knocks down the majority of the too-close-to-call races; in 2008 it was the Democrats who got most of our "Tossups" and in 2010, obviously, it was the Republicans.

Dist. D winner Margin DKE rating Dist. R winner Margin DKE rating
NC-07 McIntyre 0.2 Tossup IL-13 Davis 0.4 Tossup
FL-18 Murphy 0.4 Tossup MI-01 Benishek 0.7 Tossup
CA-52 Peters 0.4 Tossup MN-06 Bachmann 1.2 Lean R
AZ-02 Barber 0.8 Lean D IN-02 Walorski 1.4 Likely R
IL-10 Schneider 1.0 Tossup NY-27 Collins 1.4 Lean R
MA-06 Tierney 1.0 Lean R NE-02 Terry 1.4 Likely R
UT-04 Matheson 1.2 Lean R PA-12 Rothfus 3.0 Tossup
NY-21 Owens 2.0 Tossup FL-10 Webster 3.6 Lean R
CA-07 Bera 2.2 Tossup CO-06 Coffman 3.6 Lean R
CA-36 Ruiz 2.8 Tossup KY-06 Barr 3.9 Tossup
CT-05 Esty 3.0 Tossup NY-23 Reed 4.2 Safe R
NY-18 Maloney 3.4 Lean R OH-16 Renacci 4.4 Tossup
CA-26 Brownley 3.4 Tossup FL-02 Southerland 5.4 Lean R
AZ-01 Kirkpatrick 3.7 Tossup NC-09 Pittenger 6.1 Safe R
NH-01 Shea-Porter 3.7 Tossup MI-11 Bentivolio 6.3 Lean R
AZ-09 Sinema 3.7 Tossup NY-11 Grimm 6.6 Likely R
NY-01 Bishop 4.4 Tossup OH-06 Johnson 6.6 Lean R
NY-24 Maffei 4.6 Tossup NY-19 Gibson 6.8 Lean R
TX-23 Gallego 4.8 Tossup FL-16 Buchanan 7.2 Likely R
NH-02 Kuster 5.1 Tossup NV-03 Heck 7.5 Lean R
CA-15 Swalwell * 6.0 Tossup CA-10 Denham 7.6 Tossup
IL-17 Bustos 6.6 Tossup VA-02 Rigell 7.6 Likely R
WA-01 DelBene 7.2 Lean D MN-02 Kline 8.2 Likely R
GA-12 Barrow 7.4 Tossup NC-08 Hudson 8.2 Likely R
CA-33 Waxman 7.4 Likely D IA-04 King 8.6 Lean R
CA-03 Garamendi 7.4 Likely D MI-03 Amash 8.6 Likely R
WV-03 Rahall 7.8 Likely D IA-03 Latham 8.7 Tossup
NV-04 Horsford 8.0 Tossup TX-14 Weber 8.9 Lean R
CA-09 McNerney 8.2 Lean D NJ-03 Runyan 9.0 Likely R
IL-12 Enyart 8.6 Tossup SC-07 Rice 9.8 Safe R
MN-08 Nolan 9.0 Tossup IN-08 Bucshon 10.3 Lean R
CA-16 Costa 9.0 Likely D MI-07 Walberg 10.3 Safe R
HI-01 Hanabusa 9.2 Safe D MT-AL Daines 10.3 Likely R
FL-22 Frankel 9.2 Lean D CA-25 McKeon 10.4 Safe R
IL-08 Duckworth 9.4 Lean D CA-31 Miller * 10.4 Lean Miller
CA-24 Capps 9.6 Lean D SC-05 Mulvaney 11.2 Safe R
CA-47 Lowenthal 10.2 Lean D WI-01 Ryan 11.5 Safe R
FL-26 Garcia 10.6 Lean D TN-04 DesJarlais 11.6 Likely R
RI-01 Cicilline 10.9 Tossup MI-06 Upton 11.6 Safe R
OR-05 Schrader 11.4 Safe D WI-08 Ribble 11.8 Likely R
CA-35 Negrete McLeod * 11.4 Likely Baca WI-07 Duffy 12.2 Lean R
CO-07 Perlmutter 12.1 Lean D CO-03 Tipton 12.4 Lean R
CA-41 Takano 12.8 Tossup IN-09 Young 12.6 Safe R
IA-02 Loebsack 12.9 Lean D VA-05 Hurt 13.1 Safe R
NY-25 Slaughter 14.4 Lean D NJ-05 Garrett 13.1 Safe R
IA-01 Braley 15.2 Lean D ND-AL Cramer 13.2 Likely R
MN-01 Walz 15.2 Safe D PA-15 Dent 13.2 Safe R
NY-03 Israel 15.8 Safe D PA-08 Fitzpatrick 13.3 Likely R
ME-02 Michaud 16.2 Safe D OH-07 Gibbs 13.4 Safe R
IL-11 Foster 16.2 Tossup PA-03 Kelly 13.6 Safe R
WA-10 Heck 16.6 Safe D NC-10 McHenry 14.0 Safe R
CO-02 Polis 17.4 Safe D NC-13 Holding 14.2 Safe R
WA-06 Kilmer 17.6 Safe D PA-06 Gerlach 14.2 Likely R
NM-01 Lujan Grisham 18.2 Safe D VA-04 Forbes 14.2 Safe R
CA-40 Roybal-Allard * 18.8 Safe R-A FL-06 DeSantis 14.4 Safe R
OR-04 DeFazio 19.3 Safe D NC-02 Ellmers 14.5 Safe R
CT-04 Himes 19.6 Safe D NC-11 Meadows 14.8 Likely R
CA-44 Hahn * 20.0 Likely Hahn NC-05 Foxx 15.0 Safe R
AZ-03 Grijalva 20.1 Safe D SD-AL Noem 15.0 Likely R
RI-02 Langevin 20.5 Safe D VA-01 Wittman 15.1 Safe R
CA-53 Davis 20.8 Safe D CA-08 Cook * 15.2 Likely Cook
MD-06 Delaney 20.9 Likely D FL-13 Young 15.2 Safe R
PA-17 Cartwright 21.0 Safe D AR-02 Griffin 15.7 Safe R
CA-30 Sherman * 21.0 Likely Sherman CA-01 LaMalfa 15.8 Safe R
CA-46 Sanchez 21.2 Safe D OH-14 Joyce 15.8 Safe R
WA-02 Larsen 21.8 Safe D PA-16 Pitts 16.1 Safe R
MO-05 Cleaver 23.6 Safe D -- Over 20
Safe R races
-- --
TX-15 Hinojosa 24.1 Safe D OK-02 Mullin 19.1 Likely R
FL-09 Grayson 25.0 Likely D CA-21 Valadao 19.8 Likely R

(In the table, you'll notice several races with asterisks next to them. These are the same-party races in California, where a Dem beat a Dem or a GOPer beat a GOPer. The closest one, CA-15, was the only one of these oddities that we rated Tossup; the second-closest was the two-GOPer race in Dem-leaning CA-31, which will be the DCCC's highest priority in 2014.)

The three Democrats who pulled it out, despite a "Lean R" rating, were two incumbents, John Tierney in MA-06 and Jim Matheson in UT-04, and one challenger, Sean Patrick Maloney in NY-18. Tierney's victory may have been the most surprising, despite the fact that of the three, he had by far the friendliest district (which went 55 percent for Obama last year). Tierney, however, had some perception problems from a scandal in which his wife was convicted of tax fraud, though he wasn't implicated himself; he then drew about the best option that the MassGOP had on its bench, moderate and openly gay state Sen. Richard Tisei.

The race's one public poll, taken several months before Election Day, had Tierney ahead, but in the race's closing weeks, a Tisei internal gave Tisei a huge double-digit lead. Tierney didn't do what one ordinarily does in that situation, which is to put out a dueling internal that shows "no, I'm winning" (or at least "no, I'm not losing by that much"), and that also coincided with a triage decision by House Majority PAC to stop running ads on his behalf. By all indications, to us that meant that Tierney was DOA, and we downgraded the race accordingly. Neverthless, Tierney went on to win. Maybe that was because Tisei screwed up with his final (offputting and substance-less) TV ad, or maybe it was just a case of a weak incumbent saved by a district's lean.

Jim Matheson didn't have any ethical clouds having over him, but he may have had a bigger problem: One of the reddest districts of any Democratic incumbent running for reelection (it wound up going 30 percent Obama in 2012). In addition, he was up against a highly touted GOP recruit, Mia Love, the African-American mayor of Saratoga Springs who was given a prime speaking spot at the GOP convention. Early polling showed him holding his own, thanks to his Blue Doggishness and the residual value of the Matheson family name in Utah, but a last-minute public poll showed him losing by 12. We figured that was the end for him, but maybe we shouldn't have been taken in: That poll was from Mason-Dixon, a once-decent pollster who had an all-around terrible year in 2012, and was part of a larger Utah sample that was rife with method problems.

The one challenger to win despite a "Lean R" was Sean Patrick Maloney, who beat GOP freshman Nan Hayworth in New York's Hudson Valley. What few polls we saw here had Maloney closing the gap but never actually in the lead; outside committees continued to pour in the money here, as they did in many other second-tier races where the Democrat had a shot, but not in any way that seemed to make this race stand out. So how did Maloney manage to close the deal at the end? It's simply not that clear; the district's lean may have helped (going 51 percent Obama), but isn't so blue that it would clinch it for him. The overall surge toward the Democrats in the greater NYC area, attributed to Hurricane Sandy, may have given Maloney that last boost. That was an even greater factor in Staten Island's NY-11, where GOPer Mike Grimm was expected to cruise (we had it at "Likely R" but Grimm only narrowly won).

Finally, we, unlike most of the other prognosticators, took the extra step of handicapping the competitive Democrat-on-Democrat or GOP-on-GOP races in November, brought about by California's top 2 primary or Louisiana's jungle primary. We missed on one of those—although, in our defense, I don't think anyone in the political establishment saw it coming either. The Democrat-on-Democrat race is dark-blue CA-35, where Rep. Joe Baca faced state sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, had been rated "Likely Baca," but a last minute ad blitz by Michael Bloomberg, hitting Baca for his NRA-friendly ways, seemed to turn the tide at the end.

What other Democrats wound up falling short of expectations, but still winning? Rep. Ron Barber, elected in a special election to replace Gabby Giffords, certainly stands out on the list at "Lean D." What few polls we'd seen had him holding his own, and he had a financial advantage over veteran Martha McSally; moreover, he'd won his special election earlier in the year in extremely convincing fashion. However, the combination of a not-very-friendly district (48 percent Obama) and McSally's compelling personal story may have undercut him at the end, and he only squeaked by. It's not clear whether McSally will try again, but we'll need to keep an eye carefully on how Barber fares in a non-presidential year.

One surprising name on the list is long-time Los Angeles-area progressive Henry Waxman, who had probably his closest race in most of our lifetimes last year, winning by seven against a free-spending former Republican running under the "Independent" rather than GOP banner. No other prognosticator seemed to notice this race, and we probably would have missed it too if our resident Angeleno, Steve Singiser, hadn't gotten a bad feeling about this race in the closing weeks (we added it as "Likely D" shortly before Election Day). Waxman's shift to a new, much-less-blue district and a lot of new constituents probably explains a lot, but clearly he's got some rust to shake off if he's going to run again in 2014.

Of all the Democrats who were "Safe D," you might expect the closest race to have come in a swing district, but no ... it came in dark-blue HI-01, when freshman Rep. Colleen Hanabusa only won by nine points against Republican ex-Rep. Charles Djou. Rather than worrying about Democratic futures in Hawaii, though, I'd probably chalk that up to the fact that Djou briefly represented the seat (winning a screwy three-way special election and serving half a year until losing in the 2010 general election to Hanabusa).

Of the Democrats who overperformed, I think none overperformed expectations more so than ex-Rep. Bill Foster, who roared back into the House after getting bumped off by Randy Hultgren in the 2010 wave. He took advantage of the Democratic-engineered gerrymander to go up against Judy Biggert in IL-11. While a number of other Democratic challengers also won "Tossup" races in Illinois in newly configured seats, the others won by single digits. Even the hyped Tammy Duckworth beat the odious Joe Walsh by only nine. As for Foster? He defeated the ostensibly moderate Biggert by 16!

Also deserving a tip of the hat is Mark Takano, who won the newly formed CA-41 in Riverside by a surprising 13-point margin. All we'd seen during his campaign was middling fundraising and one 'meh' internal, so we kept the race at "Tossup." But his district's mostly-Latino population and blue surge (62 percent Obama, up from 59 percent Obama in 2008) easily propelled him, and I can't imagine he'll be much endangered in the future.

Finally, we should give some credit to Alan Grayson. Of all the Democrats on the Big Board, he did the best, whomping Todd Long by 25 points. There wasn't much doubt toward the end, given the district's lean and Long's lack of money, but we left him on at "Likely D" given his tendency to go off message. In the end, no need for concern.

What about vulnerable Republicans? The most surprising name may be Tom Reed in NY-23; after some initial high hopes about his challenger, Nate Shinagawa, we moved this race to "Safe R" after Shinagawa made little headway on the fundraising front. However, we never saw any credible polls to back up that decision; maybe the polls would have shown Shinagawa trailing badly, or maybe no one ever bothered polling this district in the first place. At any rate, Shinagawa lost by only 4 points in this 48 percent district in upstate New York; if he runs again with some actual DCCC/House Majority PAC backing next time, we might actually have something here!

Another interesting name is Robert Pittenger, who won the open seat in Charlotte's suburbs, replacing Sue Myrick in NC-09, by only six points (this was another "Safe R" race). He had a decent challenger in Jennifer Roberts, but she too may have suffered from the chicken/egg problem of weak initial polls/no outside money. If she tries again, this could be the Democrats' best opportunity to go on the offense in North Carolina.

Two other GOPers who barely won in "Likely R" races are Lee Terry, who has often underperformed in presidential years in the Omaha-area NE-02, and Jackie Walorski. She's the newly elected frosh in IN-02, replacing Joe Donnelly (who moved up to the Senate); she only barely won against Democrat Brendan Mullen in what started as a competitive race but was on the wrong end of triage decisions by Democratic outside groups.

As for overperforming Republicans, Rep. Tom Latham certainly comes to mind; he had the biggest GOP win of all the Tossups, beating fellow Rep. Leonard Boswell in IA-03 (after their two districts got merged) by nine. Latham's a decent bet to keep holding down this super-swingy district, but Democrats have to like their chances to pick it up if he gives it up for a run for the open Senate seat. Also overperforming a bit was Jeff Denham, who defeated astronaut and netroots fave Jose Hernandez by an eight-point margin, despite a handful of internals giving Hernandez a small edge. Despite CA-10's large Latino population, he'll be a tough nut to crack, especially given off-year turnout in 2014.

Of all the Republicans on the board, who did the best? Helped along by utter Democratic recruiting fail, it's freshman David Valadao, who won the heavily-redistricted CA-21 in the Fresno area by almost 20 points. This district went 55 percent Obama, so there's no excuse for this big a GOP victory here, but after all the Democrats in the state legislature from this area passed on this very winnable race, the task fell to a poorly funded businessman who was one step above Some Dude. Expect this to be at the top of DCCC target lists next time, assuming they can better coordinate the candidate-wrangling process.


Finally, there's not much to say about the governor's races. By Election Day, there was really only one race that was up in the air (Montana), and it wound up going the Democrats' direction. (We also had Washington and New Hampshire as Tossups.) Interestingly, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire wound up doing much better than Earl Ray Tomblin in West Virginia, whose race we had at "Lean D." That may have a lot to say with the different directions that those two states are headed.

State D winner Margin DKE rating State R winner Margin DKE rating
MT Bullock 1.6 Tossup IN Pence 2.9 Likely R
WA Inslee 3.1 Tossup NC McCrory 11.4 Likely R
WV Tomblin 4.9 Lean D ND Dalrymple 28.8 Safe R
NH Hassan 12.1 Tossup UT Herbert 40.8 Safe R
MO Nixon 12.3 Lean D -- -- -- --
VT Shumlin 20.2 Safe D -- -- -- --
DE Markell 40.7 Safe D -- -- -- --

The only surprise on the Republican side was in Indiana, where hard-right Mike Pence wound up winning the open seat by only three points over affable but underfunded Democrat John Gregg. Polls hadn't shown this a particularly close race, and Barack Obama didn't have the same Indiana coattails as he did in 2008. Whatever the explanation, I'll bet the DGA wishes it had put in some money here instead of pouring all the money it did into North Carolina.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think you have a mistake in your text--you said (5+ / 0-)

    there were 7 tossups, of which Dems won 5 and Republicans 7, but it was 2. (and I always love reading your reports)

  •  future (6+ / 0-)

    Basically, we're morphing into 2 distinct parties--which is appropriate for a parliamentary system--yet we don't have that type of system.  Hopefully, the Rs go full in as tea party nuts, and enough conservative libertarian supporters bail--then the question becomes will a new party be centrist, or will the Dems move to the right to grab the opportunity?  For me, the Ds are already too far to the right--I'd love to see a Bernie Sanders led party formed.
    These are interesting times, but it's not always good to be living in such epochs.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:13:10 AM PST

    •  I think we have actually morphed into (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a variation on Itally. We have a highly polarized, deeply corrupted system that is extremely resistant to change because of a very entrenched political/industrial/commercial structure. It's most obvious on the glacial structure of one district after another. The Cuban Politbureau has more turnover. I approved of the open primary system in California and supported the introduction of an independent Congressional District boundaries committee in CA. That's a model for the whole country. Over time, such reforms will tend to reduce polarity and improve the chances for reform of the system.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:09:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I will support the latter (5+ / 0-)

        but will never support open primaries.  Parties should be able to choose the nominees they put forth before voters.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:33:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seems to work well for CA. (0+ / 0-)

          The problem with closed primaries is the Tea Party effect. The most ideologically committed faction tends to skew the selection process. So you have two things happening. First, the more extreme on nominee is, the less centrist the opponent has to be. The second is that an incumbent has to adopt much more extreme legislative positions than they would otherwise in order to ward off primary challenges. So, although in principle one might want to afford Parties their choice of candidate, it hardly helps the cause of democracy by giving voters a choice between dumb and dumber.

          For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

          by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:26:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I really don't care about that, and I don't think (4+ / 0-)

            it is true anyway.  Here in Oregon we don't have a major problem with extremists winning primaries.  Tea Party candidates usually lose to establishment Republicans.  Social conservatives usually get fewer votes than moderate Republicans.  See the 2008 Republican primary for OR-05, or the Republican gubernatorial primaries in 2002 and 2006.  And on the other side the Dem primary for governor in 2006 or when Blue Dog Kurt Schrader beat a more progressive Democrat in the 2008 primary, but he fits the swing district he represents.  Telling me it seems to work in California means nothing to me, as an Oregonian.  In fact, it might make it less appealing to me.  

            And is it working well?  It ended up creating a situation where Gary Miller is still in congress in a seat a Democrat should have won.

            ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

            by James Allen on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:37:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have heard about the parochialism of Oregonians. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Now I see what it looks like.

              For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

              by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:18:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I appreciate the depth of your argument in this (4+ / 0-)


                ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                by James Allen on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:26:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, I apologize. I don't really think about (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  stevenaxelrod, LtNOWIS

                  Oregon at all to tell the truth. But the point is that the political system of this country is really broken. So arguing from the point of view of what you think is good for Oregon doesn't really address the larger question, does it? The CA experience has been very instructive for the rest of the country. We now have a really huge majority of non-Silly Party people in our legislature, and a pretty decent House delegation with the odd exception. Over the coming years, you will see the demise of extremists as a controlling element in the CA GOP due to the changes we have made. The changes are not instantaneous, but they are having an effect, unless you think having one Party run by rightwing extremists is a good idea.

                  For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                  by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:14:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  if that party is in a deep minority (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    R30A, Theodore J Pickle

                    as they have less than 1/3 of the legislature, does it really matter?

                    Also, since this is a state election law in California and Washington, shouldn't we, before we declare it should be adopted in every state, actually look and see how conditions are in individual states?

                    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                    by James Allen on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:06:18 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I don't see how top two (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thetadelta, sapelcovits

            helps correct the problem you identified of a system deeply resistant to change. As difficult as a primary challenge was before, it is that much more difficult now due to top two.

            And James already brought up the CA-31 example. This shows that parties need to coalesce around a single candidate early in the process rather than run a bunch of candidates, which cuts down on the choices the voters have. This seems to make the process even more insular and potential to corruption.

            •  Well, if the object is a 2-party system, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I don't see how it helps to have one of those 2parties utterly fucked by the primary system. And that is a fact. The GOP has been wrecked by the system and it is now fucking the country.

              For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

              by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:17:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  But it leaves too many voters underrepresented (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Why should Democratic voters, especially in a lean-Democratic district, be punished because their party can find multiple strong candidates that split the base, while the Republicans put forward 2 mediocre ones who squeeze through into the general? This system is unsustainable, it would never work for the rest of the country, and I think it's absolutely debatable whether or not it "works for California". How does it "work" when it leaves voters underrepresented?

            "No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters." --Elizabeth Warren

            by foreverblue on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:52:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see a third or fourth party forming (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The FPTP electoral system effectively precludes that

      •  access (0+ / 0-)

        Access to unlimited funds from a sugar daddy makes anything possible.  Money has always made the world go 'round.

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:20:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No one with that much money will do it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Allen, gabjoh

          It's much much cheaper to buy Democrats or Republicans than to pay for a splinter 3rd party candidate that may or may not have a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected.

          •  realize (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Allen

            There are some people with enough money--and enough suck up friends--that even this is possible.  Mayor Bloomberg funded his entire campaign-- the oil industry--Big PHARMA--silicon valley--so many billionaires, such easy access--so many "attractive" whores-- it's gonna happen.

            Apres Bush, le deluge.

            by melvynny on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:44:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  nah (0+ / 0-)

          Money's doesn't just straight up buy elections. Partisanship is a powerful force, and money has fairly steeply diminishing returns.

          We also have ideologically coherent parties, actually more coherent than in recent memory. So, it's not like there's some segment of party machinery that can be broken off.

          IL-10 to IL-07 by way of -09, -17 and -18.

          by GaleForceBurg on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:54:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The limits of partisanship (0+ / 0-)

            This discussion goes beyond the topical coverage of DKE, but let me just say that neither party is going to do anything to really injure the interests of any of the huge corporations that have essentially captured or at least subverted government with campaign contributions. Think of the biggest banks, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, military contractors. Any of those end up nationalized or broken up? Any laws passed penalizing the political participation of corporations that had to pay more than x-amount of damages in lawsuits? Any major executives prosecuted for wrongdoing? Then I think you have your answer.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:30:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  it doesn't preclude that at all (0+ / 0-)

        if the country in question has strong regional variations, it's quite possible to have a multiparty system emerge from a FPTP electoral system. the more gerrymandered the districts and the population itself becomes, the easier it is for third and fourth parties to win majorities in regions favorable to them. see also: great britain.

  •  Re-check some of those house margins (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, jncca, wu ming, gabjoh

    Particularly in late counting states like California where Denham won by closer to 6 than eight. David Wasserman's spreadsheet should be keeping up with changes and annoying things like amended certifications.

    Anyway, otherwise a good article. I'm currently in the process of mapping out what Xenocrypt's graph does, both by district and county so we can see who ran ahead of and behind the presidential ticket.

    It would be fairly interesting to see a race ratings comparison of all the predictions including DKE, RRH, Cook/Sabato/Rothenburg etc, and people like myself on here.

    •  Wikipedia has (5+ / 0-)

      a table that covers all of the major prognosticators. I'm not sure if it was updated right before Election Day, but it's pretty thorough.

      The only prognosticator to get MA-06 was the NYT, and I think they got it only by virtue of how rarely they updated things (i.e. they never even bothered to move it from Tossup).

      Looks like Denham's final margin according to the CA SoS was 5.4%, so yes, that would move him up the totem pole seven spots; thanks.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:35:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was thinking more along the lines of analysis (0+ / 0-)

        that tried to show whose ratings were better than others, since I know RRH was pretty strongly R-biased and it wouldn't surprise me if some of the professional ones were as well. Mine were slightly D biased but that was almost entirely a factor of underestimating Dem strength in ancestrally Dem races, I still miscalled that trio of Maloney, Matheson, and Tierney and the last one was solely because every pundit seemed to do so (I had him as a tossup).

        •  I'd like to see a diary (0+ / 0-)

          I have to say mine were pretty good :)  

          20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)

          Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
          UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

          by jncca on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:38:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  heck I only moved MA-06 to Tossup (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stephen Wolf, GoUBears, ArkDem14, gabjoh

        in my own mind in the last week of the election, and only because everyone else had basically conceded the race and that spooked me.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:25:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  CA final margins (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David Jarman

      Peters 2.4
      Bera 3.4
      Ruiz 5.9
      Brownley 5.4
      Garamendi 8.5
      McNerney 11.1
      Costa 14.8
      Capps 10.2
      Lowenthal 13.1
      Takano 17.9
      Lo Sanchez 27.7
      Denham 5.4

      The late vote always goes Dem.

      SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

      by sacman701 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:21:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOP "Nationalized"? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, phillies, Eric Nelson, Woody

    "Democratic areas and Democrats in Republican areas, the decline in ticket-splitting (as the parties have gotten more nationalized and lost their regional quirks) and the parties' increased skill at gerrymandering has largely wiped that out."

    While the gerrymandering is certainly true, my sense is that the GOP is losing its national identity and beginning to devolve into a regional party based largely in the south and in portions of the mountain states. Am I misreading what you mean by "nationalized"?

    As soon as I get to the bottom of this, I'll get the next plane.

    by Holly Martins on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:21:44 AM PST

    •  Maybe "standardized" on a national basis (9+ / 0-)

      Used to be you'd have, for instance, suburban areas in the northeast voting for a Democrat for President and a moderate Rockefeller Republican for the House, or rural areas in the south voting Republican for President and a conservative Boll Weevil (i.e. pre-Blue Dog) Democrat for the House. Now liberals and moderates have mostly sorted themselves out in the Democratic direction; conservatives have sorted themselves out in the Republican direction; and there's less ticket-splitting as a result.

      The Republicans have one uniform national identity now, and that's one that's not terribly appealing anymore in the north and that is appealing in the south, which explains how their voters are more heavily concentrated in the south. We can't truly call them a "regional party" until we get to the point where they don't have, say, a Republican governor in Pennsylvania, though.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:45:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nationalized? Tierney. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArkDem14, KingofSpades

      One might propose that the parties are becoming nationalized, in the sense they spread the same message everywhere, as opposed to when I was a little boy, when southern Democrats were a bit different than other Democrats.  The Republicans are becoming nationally unified, as the Christian Right party, a position that only sells in some parts of the country.  Note that here in Massachusetts the outcome of the last State Committee elections (four year terms, held during the Presidential Primary) is that the MAGOP State Committee is claimed to have an anti-abortion majority.

      Tierney was in a three-person race including Libertarian Dan Fishman.  Republicans whine that Fishman cost them the election.  Fishman drew more heavily in the districts that Tierney carried.  He worked the polls on election day, and had voters tell him that they could not vote for Tierney over the alleged ethical issues, and certainly would never vote for a Republican, but he gave them a choice for whom they could vote.

      We can have change for the better.

      by phillies on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:58:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pittenger (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, ArkDem14

    I live in the Charlotte burbs .. Pittenger could be a good target as he's not all that popular due to some shady dealings while he was in state politics.  He survived a pretty brutal primary.

    Roberts is probably a good candidate (I believe she was well thought of as a city councilperson).  Her 2012 campaign didn't seem too strong (either from promoting herself or going after Pittenger's record).

    Perhaps in 2014, she'll be more prepared or another candidate can emerge.

    •  Jennifer Roberts did really well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      redrelic17, bumiputera

      no national support (what with it being a red suburban district and all) and she got over 45%.

      "Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game." -Voltaire

      by KingofSpades on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:34:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  She did do well .. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        .. and I think if Pittenger follows the tea party folks, he could be in trouble .. it is a solid red district, BUT it's also a district with more and more northern/rust belt transplants not typical of the red strength of more rural southern districts .. I think on social issues, the district is a lot more progressive

        With a strong banking/financial residency, the big key is to get around the "free market" economic fallacies espoused by the Repubs

        I hope she (or another strong Dem) candidate gets some national support and can go after Pittenger

  •  MA-06 (0+ / 0-)

    No, the beach video wasn't a TV ad. I spoke to members of his team and it was a web ad that they released on YouTube as a joke and it caught fire.

    Home: North Shore of Illinois, College: Main Line of Pennsylvania (PA-07)

    by IllinoyedR on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:31:11 AM PST

  •  Also the CA-49 race (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Woody, Eric Nelson, Gygaxian

    I was the only one who reported this race between Jerry Tetalman and Darrell Issa, which on the national stage wasn't a race at all since Issa pretty much coasted to a safe re-election.

    The one thing to keep in mind was that there were three Democratic candidates that emerged in the 2012 primaries, one of which was Jerry Tetalman and he got 33% of the vote, plus 41% of the votes in the general election with less than $90,000 in campaign funds.  All the funds were from individual donors.  Two major supporters were Francine Busby, who ran against Brian Bilbray more than once and is the current chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, as well as Sandra Fluke.

    One big problem that Tetalman had was that the DCCC never put the race on the radar and neither did Democracy for America, which supposedly supports progressives across the board.  However, based on the activity at the Jerry Tetalman for Congress Facebook page, it appears there were a lot of dedicated supporters who even reported Tetalman for Congress yard signs around Carlsbad and San Clemente, something which even MSNBC reports.

    It's funny because Tetalman's campaign manager told me they've been trying to contact the Ed Show on MSNBC seeing as Tetalman has been right in the midst of a Postal Worker Protest at Darrell Issa's own Vista, CA office and Ed Schultz covers US Postal issues quite regularly.  No feedback.

    Anyway, we'll see what happens in 2014.  Right now, I'm working to get a hold of all the Tetalman for Congress supporters (and there are lots of them in the CA-49 district) so everyone can get fired up about 2014 and start recruiting Democratic candidates.

  •  The Indiana Governor decision was stupid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, Eric Nelson

    Indiana lie I always say is more solidly Republican than solidly Conservative in state wide election. They have a long history of rejecting hard right Republicans, the Democrats really got suckered by Indiana's Republicanism and not looking at what type of Republicans they vote for. Yes a solid Republican will beat a solid Democrat in state wide elections, but a moderate Democrat will usually beat a hard right Republican.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:12:55 PM PST

  •  Hassan won every county of NH too. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArkDem14, lordpet8

    Poor Ovide just can't ever catch a break.

    "Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game." -Voltaire

    by KingofSpades on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:31:38 PM PST

    •  Why would someone (0+ / 0-)

      who got there ass kicked in a 1996 election for Governor, when the state was much more Republican, win in NH circa 2012? Especially not after the charged, virulent primary campaign he waged in 2010 against Ayotte, running on an incredibly conservative and repulsive platform of angry Tea Party platitudes?

      I just wish Democrats could have gotten a better and braver Democrat to run, one willing to quite pandering on tax issues in the state.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:54:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really is too bad Ovide didn't win the '10 primary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Swingnut since 2009, 22, Male, Democrat, CA-49 (home) CA-12 (college)

        by Daman09 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:10:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Had he won he would have been awful. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Allen

          Although I am far from certain that he would have been too much worse than Ayotte. Has she done anything to bring about the image of moderation at all?

          Registered in NY-02, College CT-01, Spent most of the rest of my life on the border of NY-08 and NY-15

          by R30A on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:37:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  She's not a moderate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but she's a normal Republican.  Like Thad Cochran or Lamar Alexander or Dean Heller.  Rational and open to compromise.

            20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
            Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
            UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

            by jncca on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:06:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I guess they wanted him to finally get his day (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and with Gov. Lynch retiring, they saw an opening.

        "Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game." -Voltaire

        by KingofSpades on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:28:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Heinrich (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How did that happen exactly?

    "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

    by conspiracy on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:12:48 PM PST

    •  Wilson has moderate cred. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      As my diary shows, she ran ahead of Heinrich Romney in about 2/3 of the state, running behind him in much of the 2nd district but doing very well among Natives/Hispanics (for a Republican) and running a couple points ahead of him in the Albuquerque area, where both are known.  As a longtime incumbent who is center-right, I'm not surprised she did well.  I'm just surprised anyone had it at Likely; I kept it at Lean the whole time.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:39:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you mean how did he only win by that much (0+ / 0-)

      it kinda surprised me seeing the modest margin in the table.

      At the same time, the modest number doesn't surprise me as Obama won by 9.9%, so the infinitely stronger Wilson performing 4.2% better than Mitt seems logical.  

      Pollin sure wasn't great though.  PPP had Obama running 2% ahead of Heinrich, while 4% actual margin seems more sensible.  They missed Obama by 1, Heinrich by 3.

      Albuquerque Journal and WeAsk only other non-Ras pollsters both got Obama right on (and Ras only missed by 2 points).  

      Albuquerque Journal missed Heinrich by 2 points.  WeAsk and Ras both improbably thought Heinrich would run slightly better than Obama.

      Not surprisingly Heather Wilson was a significantly better fit for the state than Mitt, but the decent pollsters only got 2 points of the 4 point difference.

      Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

      by tommypaine on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:40:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama won about how I expected (0+ / 0-)

        I thought Heinrich would run behind but not by as many as he did.

        "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

        by conspiracy on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:56:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bernalillo county (0+ / 0-)

          Obama won by 16%, Henrich by 10%
          Obama won it by 43k, Heinrich by 28k, 15k difference

          Wilson got 15k more votes statewide than Mitt
          Heinrich got 19k less votes statewide than Obama

          Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

          by tommypaine on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:08:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  A word about Mark Takano. (7+ / 0-)

    He won the California 41st by almost 13 points in what was deemed a toss-up race. His Republican opponent, John Tavaglione, was much better known and was widely respected. He was was a county supervisor whereas Takano was only a member of a community college board. Tavaglione is sane--a conservative but not a tea-party type. His campaign was more visible on the ground and in the press, and I would expect (though I don't know) that it spent more money. Tavaglione was endorsed by the once-significant Riverside Press-Enterprise. The day after the election, the P-E, apparently in a snit, barely mentioned that Takano had won.

    Takano's internal polling showed a very close race, though it indicated that Takano would probably pull it out. Takano's pollster told him to expect a long night. Yet in the end, Takano won easily. What happened?

    It's just as David says. Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans turned out in force to vote for Obama, and most of them stuck around to vote for Takano as well. They also elected a Democratic state senator and assemblyman to replace Republicans. The politics of Riverside has dramatically changed, thanks in part to changing demographics (growing Latino and Asian-American populations).

    The pro-Democratic shift is also thanks in part to the end of legislatively-drawn districts, which, it turned out, favored Republicans even though Democrats (guided by Howard Berman's brother Michael) nominally drew the lines. The new independent commission, drawing non-politicized lines, helped the Democrats more than the Democrats ever did themselves. Once districts were no longer drawn to protect incumbents, it was the Republican incumbents who dropped like flies in an increasingly Democratic state (either by losing a viable district to run in or by being defeated at the polls).

    As David says, Takano will be in Congress for a long time. He's going to be excellent. And Riverside has become another Democratic bastion in a state full of them.

  •  The graph: you're in a big hurry when you have to (0+ / 0-)

    shorten "2008" and "2012" to "008" and "012"


  •  You do a very good work rating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You have a very prudent rating and it works in the way that you want. It is a very good work.

    Looking at the mistakes that you did, I think there is a little trend that drive you to some mistake. I think you expected bigger weakness from some endangered Democratic incumbents.

    Like you know I follow numerical rules for the ratings, and I remember to comment with David that I was not looking in the numbers as clear defeats for some Democratic incumbents. If I remember well we talk more about NY-27, but I think it were some case more.

    I commented it with you because while my rating was a little less prudent than your rating, giving easier Lean D or Lean R rating, I think I never have worse than a Toss-Up races like UT-04 or NY-27 (I was also giving the Republicans as winners of both races). And I see that you were a little less prudent than the average of your own rating for some races with endangered Democratic incumbents.

    Congratulations you did a very good work.

  •  NY-18 explained (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, slothlax

    I don't think Sandy had much to do with it—the only effect we noticed at the campaign was that some of the people we called up in rural (well, since there are not many farms left in those areas anymore, let's say "woodsy") areas of Westchester County within the district didn't have any power for days afterward. But they saw no problem getting out to vote.

    What you aren't accounting for is redistricting. Hayworth beat John Hall in 2010 by three points, basically just about the default Republican margin that year, in a slightly different district that was then NY-19. When Maurice Hinchey retired, his wishes to the contrary, everyone knew his artfully-drawn NY-22 would be dismantled, with all the surrounding Republicans having to take a little of the medicine. Hayworth got a new NY-18 that largely had similar boundaries ... but now included the cities of Middletown, Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, huge Dem vote sinks (relative to the size of most communities in the district) that had previously been just outside the district. They now just offset the deep-red regions closer to the Connecticut state line and in rural Orange County enough to make the new NY-18 pretty much a swing district.

    Maloney, or any Democrat (in case, God forbid, something happens between now and November 2014), will certainly have to work to get re-elected. But any Republican will have to work harder than they did in the old NY-19, which had been created to accommodate moderate Republican Sue Kelly in 2000.

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