In Alaska, Democrat and former state representative Mary Peltola defeated Republican Sarah Palin, the former governor, by a 51-49 margin in the final round of ranked-choice voting in the special election. “It’s been a wild time in Alaska and really for Democrats in general after the amazing result in NY-19,” Beard acknowledged. “It’s been really incredible to follow up so quickly.”
As Neer and Beard discussed a few weeks ago, Peltola received 40% of the vote in the first round, compared to 31% for Palin and 28% for fellow Republican, Nick Begich. When Begich was ousted, most of his voters could have gone to Palin and put her over the top, but that ultimately didn’t happen.
Begich voters would go for Palin over Peltola, but only by a margin of 50 to 29%. Others ended their ballots — meaning they didn’t place Paltola or Palin as a second choice, so their votes were lost only for the final round.
Beard thinks it’s a bigger upset than NY-19, which Biden won in 2020. Candidate quality was clearly a factor here, he determined, because Palin was a very unpopular Republican candidate, and Peltola was a very good Democrat.
“National Republicans are incredibly upset at ranked-choice voting to cause this result, which makes no sense because, as we saw, there were really three main candidates; Peltola, Palin and Begich,” Beard added. “And in a normal situation, Palin and Begich would be in a Republican primary, and Palin would probably win that primary.”
Meanwhile, things are looking even worse for Republicans as the financial crisis looms large over the NRSC, the GOP’s official campaign arm responsible for ensuring Republicans win a majority in the Senate. A few weeks ago, stories broke that the NRSC had cut more than $13 million from ad reservations in four key races, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin, due to fundraising issues within the committee.
“It’s amazing that Republicans are having such a hard time raising money because the wind, in theory, should be at their backs. But now, the extent, and in particular, the cause of those troubles has really taken center stage,” Neer told the audience, referring to the recent protracted period. The New York Times A piece that dissects what went wrong at NRSC. The story, in particular, focuses on the incredible leadership of Florida Senator Rick Scott, the committee’s chairman, and highlights the fact that the NRSC spent $23 million trying to acquire new donors through online advertising. did—and largely failed.
The co-hosts also covered the Massachusetts primary this week, the winner of which will succeed retiring Governor Charlie Baker. In his primary for governor, former state representative Geoff Diehl, who was endorsed by Trump and called the 2020 election rigged, defeated his more moderate opponent, 55 to 45, in the primary.
Beard cautioned that, while he is a Republican, Diehl is no Charlie Baker. In fact, he’s far to the right of Baker and any of Massachusetts’ many moderate Republican governors:
He lost the 2018 Senate race to Elizabeth Warren by a wide margin. He’s going to be a huge underdog to Maura Haley, the Democratic attorney general, in the fall. And he joins other Republican gubernatorial nominees, including Maryland state representative Dan Cox and Illinois state senator Darren Bailey, as Trump has endorsed candidates in blue states that are driving his party off a cliff.
“As much as I don’t like it over the past few decades, the GOP has had a long history of successfully winning the governor’s mansion in blue states by nominating moderate or even independent-minded candidates whose voters would normally vote for Democrats. give, especially at the federal level, are willing to support at the state level,” Beard added. “In Massachusetts and Maryland, the GOP has held office more times than the Democrats in recent years. And they’re part of the red tide. Years and the Blue Wave have been able to win both years.”
Neer and Beard also previewed a final set of primaries in New England — specifically New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Next, Wolf joined in to share more information about the groundbreaking data set Daily Cos Elections are now underway. It was a monumental project that involved calculating the results of the 2020 presidential election for the new congressional districts created in the most recent round of redistricting.
“Why don’t you tell us a little bit about why this data is so important and widely used, and especially, if you’re a normal person, how this data might be useful to you?” Neer asked stopping talking.
Wolff explained that the presidential result in a district is one of the most important data points you can have about how competitive it might be in the next election. This is because the decline in split-ticket voting among the electorate has meant that presidential outcomes have become highly correlated with congressional outcomes, especially in the last few election cycles.
According to Wolff, This means that these results can be very useful to readers because looking at any district in the country provides insight into whether it is likely to be competitive, based solely on presidential margins. For example, a district that voted for Biden or Trump by a one-point margin is much more likely to be competitive than a district where a candidate won by 20 percent or more — and those types of districts are roughly There are never competitors.
Neer then asked about ticket splitting and crossover districts, which occurs when a district votes for one party for president, but another for the House. In other words, it voted for Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, but then voted for a Republican member of the House or vice versa. Noting that the number has dropped significantly in recent years, Neer asked, “Why was it so high? Why were there so many crossover districts, and why did they build pits?”
Wolff offered this perspective:
In previous decades, candidates or incumbents who were very popular locally, had a moderate reputation or had a record of delivering many solid results for their district, were considered a common candidate and ideologically high in vote share. There was a lot of benefit. Candidates had to face a huge penalty… In large part because politics today has become highly nationalized and polarized, these factors may have little influence on vote choice. However, they can still be very important and even narrowly divided districts can prove decisive.
All three also covered the importance of the concept of “median district”. As Wolf said,
The purpose of moderate districting is to address the question of which party, if any, has a greater advantage over the other in terms of its share of the national popular vote in a hypothetical tied election. So the way we use it is to determine the margin between the two candidates in each district and then sort all the districts from the largest margin of victory for Biden to the largest margin of victory for Trump and then look at the one in between. .
“So if we compare the district median to the national popular vote and they’re out of sync with each other, that means one party has an advantage over the other, and the difference between the district median and the national popular vote gives us that. This is a rough estimate of how large a margin an unpopular party needs to win the popular vote to win in many districts,” he added.
On a mid-district basis, Democrats would have to win the popular vote by about 2.4 percentage points to have a chance of winning only a handful of districts nationally, Wolf noted.
“So put another way, Democrats can easily win a majority of the national House vote. In other words, you add every candidate running as a Democrat, to every candidate running as a Republican across the country, Democrats can win a majority of that vote, but still not win a majority of seats in the House? Neer joked.
“Yes, that is exactly right. And all of this happened 10 years ago in 2012, where the Democrats won the popular vote by over a million votes over the Republicans but the Republicans had a very solid majority because they carried more congressional districts nationally than the Democrats. Sun,” Wolf replied. .
An interesting trend to note, Neer pointed out, is that at the beginning of the decade, the median was more than five points to the right of the country as a whole — and by the end, it was only two points to the right of the country. The nation as a whole. “Is this a trend you think we might see again in the coming decade?” he asked.
Wolff thinks it’s hard to say for sure, given the potential for gerrymandering to make significant changes to the district’s makeup. Gerrymanders tend to kind of decline in strength over time, as we’ve seen in Texas over the last decade, but there’s also a distinct possibility that the United States Supreme Court will make it too easy for these Republican legislatures. Draw even more extreme gerrymanders as early as next year.
Finally, Beard, Neer, and Wolff discuss the accessibility of election data, which most people often expect to find easily. A common assumption is that the federal government would have this data somewhere, or at least all states would have data that were easily accessible. However, this is not the case, as Wolff points out:
Many states do not have a centralized process or website where they process and publish election results…instead, they rely on county or sometimes even municipal governments to do it for them. . And often, these local election offices are severely underfunded and relying on outdated technology, meaning some don’t even publish results on their websites. And in those cases, we had to contact them personally to ask about their results.
downbelt Every Thursday comes out wherever you listen to the podcast! As a reminder, you can reach our hosts via email [email protected] Please send any questions you have to next week’s mailbag. You can also contact us through Twitter @DKEelections.