What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

As election season rolls forward, I clearly have another long day ahead of me. Polls close in California at 11pm eastern, and we probably won't start getting results until at least midnight. But I will be here on MyDD, posting live returns from the CA-50 open primary as they come in, and offering up analysis as I go.

Overall, in the campaign to replace disgraced and corrupt Duke Cunningham, there are 18 candidates. If no one receives 50%+1 tonight, the top finisher from each party will move on to a June 6th run-off. Besides Francine Busby, there is another Democrat, but that person will probably not receive more than 2% of the vote. There are numerous Republicans, including three self-financing Republicans. I also imagine there is the usual slew of California third-party candidates (Green, Libertarian, American Independent), but I don't imagine they will make anything close to the same impact that they made in CA-48.

For Busby, the hope is obviously 50%, but don't count on it. No poll has shown her even within the margin of error for 50%. Most polls have Busby hovering at around 40%. In 2004, she only managed 36.5%. It would take the perfect storm to pull off 50%+1 tonight. This is a difficult district for Democrats, with a 45-30 Republican voter registration edge, a meager 43.8% Democratic performance. Simon beat Davis in this district by 18%. Schwarzenegger defeated Bustamante by 43%. A win here, no matter when it occurs, would be a clear signal of a huge Democratic year, because it will take a big pro-Democratic swing to win such a solidly red district (source for numbers).

For Busby, the goal should really be to surpass 43.8%. With another Democrat in the race, several third party candidates, and numerous Republicans for voters to choose from, if she can surpass the Democratic performance of the district anyway, then she has to be considered the favorite for June 6th. Deep in my heart I am hoping for 50%, but in my head 44% is the number I am really looking for. The number I dread is anything below 40%. Some form of moral victory could be claimed if she surpasses her 2004 percentage of 36.5% and does not reach 40%, but anything less than 40% means that she would no longer be the favorite. I currently project her to finish somewhere in the mid-forties.

The Republican favorites are Brian Bilbray and Eric Roach. Both Datamar polls (here and here, both PDF) on the race show the two neck and neck, with a small but statistically significant lead over the rest of the field. The trend-lines are also in their favor. Howard Kaloogian, of fake Iraqi street photo fame, is still viable in third place, but only just barely. The Survey USA poll actually had Kaloogian in second, and all three of these candidates within the margin of error on each other.

A Kaloogian win among Republicans, though unlikely, would mean two things. First, it would mean that Busby looks very good for the June 6th run-off. Kaloogian has virtually no support outside of Republicans, and is well behind Busby in head to head matchups. Second, it would mean that the Republican activist base is not actually all that discouraged or demoralized in 2006. Kaloogian seems to be the candidate of the conservative activist base, so monitoring his performance should give us a good idea of how effective that base is going to be this year.

A Bilbray win would mean basically the opposite of a Kaloogian win. Bilbray is not popular among the conservative activist base, and draws a far larger percentage of his support from Democrats and Independents than either Roach or Kaloogian. If Bilbray wins anyway, then the conservative activist base in the area was both ineffective and demoralized (although Newt Gingrich did endorse Bilbray). Bilbray would also probably be a more difficult candidate for Busby, since head-to-head polls on a hypothetical Busby-Bilbray election are within the margin for error.

Eric Roach might be the most dangerous potential candidate for Busby. The guy is super rich, and has already spent $1.8M of his own money on the race (and there is a lot more where that came from). Then again, if he has spent $1.8M and still isn't ahead of Bilbray in the polls, maybe he is a shitty campaigner. According to polls, he seems to have as much Republican support as Kaloogian, and almost as much Independent support as Bilbray. Lots of money and potential cross over might make him dangerous. Still, as I already said, if he isn't ahead with the amount of money he has spent, he might just be a bad candidate. Trial heats show Busby and Roach statistically tied.

So there is a lot to look for tonight. 44%+ is great. 40-44% is alright. 37-39%, disappointing. Sub 37%, terrible. Oh yeah, and we get to find out who Busby's main opponent on June 6th will be. Be sure to tune in tonight.

Tags: CA-50, House 2006, Primary Elections (all tags)

Comments

18 Comments

Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

actually, Survey USA released a poll last night that puts Busby at 47%, within the MOE.

by johnny longtorso 2006-04-11 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight
sshhhh!!! Thanks for the link though.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-11 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

Hmmm, I'm torn as I read your post.  As a local just outside of the district, I think your expectations are too low.  But on the other hand, you are keeping people from getting their hopes too high.  Sooo,... here are my reasons why I think it's a possibility that Busby might pull it off tonight.

Forget Bustamante's gubernatorial candidacy in the runoff: he had issues Busy does not, Schwarzenegger had appeal as the "nonpolitician" as well as a novelty candidacy, and people were pissed at Democrat Gray Davis about their TRIPLED car taxes.  Look at another top of the ticket race that measures a Democrat's potential better.  Senator Barbara Boxer barely lost this district with heavy Republican registration by only a 1000 votes.  In this area California Republicans do NOT vote for Boxer - maybe for Feinstein, but definitely not for Boxer.  Boxer's performance in this district is a little-known fact and a stunner for most locally.

Second, I haven't seen this kind of GOTV effort since the '98 Kehoe Congressional campaign which brought Bilbray's re-election numbers to under 50% and the 2000 Davis Congressional campaign which actually defeated him.

And lastly, I hear motivation to actually get out and vote when I talk with Busby voters .  They either tell me, "I have voted!" or "Don't worry, I'm definitely going to vote... and vote for Busby!"  AND I'M NOT EVEN CALLING THEM FOR THAT REASON!

My only worry is the media buy that the RNCC did against her.  But on that point some locals have told me that they think the ads will backfire.  I'm not sure about that, but one can hope.

But go ahead, set your expectations low for the low to mid-40s kind of return and avoid disappointment.  I myself am willing to make a small wager that Busby will take it.

by Phonatic 2006-04-11 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

Interesting to compare the Survey USA poll with the Datamar poll that showed Busby with a lower percentage.  Here is what SUSA says about the two polls, form the link posted above:

"Datamar is relying on past voting history to determine who is a likely voter, including in its survey only voters who voted in both 2004 and 2002. SurveyUSA is relying on the stated intention and the stated passion of poll respondents to determine who is a likely voter. SurveyUSA's likely voter model detects more enthusiasm among Democrats than among Republicans in CA 50. That is reflected in SurveyUSA's voter-turnout model, and in the data we present here. Datamar shows 54% of likely voters to be Republican. SurveyUSA shows 45% of likely voters to be Republican. Datamar shows 32% of likely voters to be Democrat. SurveyUSA shows 37% of likely voters to be Democrat. Datamar shows 49% of likely voters to be male. SurveyUSA shows 51% of likely voters to be male. Datamar has 54% of likely voters earning more than $80,000 a year. SurveyUSA has 47% of likely voters earning more than $80,000 a year. The election presents researchers and scholars with an opportunity to learn whether, in a special election, past-voting behavior is more predictive of outcome than stated intent."

The projections from returned absentee ballots seems to support SUSA.  IIRC the CA voter rolls show party affiliation, so Busby HQ should be able to get an idea during the day if the higher proportion of Dems expected is materializing.

by Mimikatz 2006-04-11 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

This will be an interesting race to analyze. It should provide a window into the performance of a well funded Dem who ran a good campaign in a predominantly Repub district with Repubs on the ropes with district specific issues. So in my mind this would be the best that Dems can expect. This will provide real insight if there is anywhere near the swing towards Dems projected by the generic ballot. And it will show how resilient the Repub base is or if they are likely to sit out the mid-terms in Nov.

by ab initio 2006-04-11 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

Your comments reflect in general what others have said to me.

by Phonatic 2006-04-11 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

I do not trust the Datamar results.  Two things jump out at me.  First, how can any poll with a margain of error of more than 4% claim to give results to the tenth of a percent?  Sorry, but this is classic "lying with statistics," that is, making numbers appear to be much more precise and meaningful than they are.  Second, no undecided voters?  How is that possible?  Third, in a special election with such low turn-out, Datamar's model of a likely voter is suspect to me.  This is not to say that the poll cannot provide a general view of how the candidates are doing vis a vis each other.  But let's put Busby at 35-45, the top R's at 12-22, etc.  

Poll aside, I think your analysis is sound, but I am a bit more optimistic for tonight, and predict Busby to get 45%-48%.  With such a low turn-out election, voter enthusiasm will make a big difference, and I have to believe that it will help Busby.

I also have better hopes for June 6 than many.  With little on the 6/6 ballot to bring out R's, but a lot of state-wide races to bring out D's, Busby should do better.  Also, I continue to hope that the R's will not rally around their top vote getter.  In fact, my gut tells me that at least two, and perhaps three, R's will run in the 6/6 Republican primary for the November race.  This will have to hurt their unifying around the 4/11 leader for the 6/6 special election against Busby.  

by hilltopper 2006-04-11 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

I got one of the hit pieces in the mail.  My impression is that it was a tactic to suppress vote.  It basically said that Francine was sleazy, assumed that you knew they were sleazy and all in all why bother to vote when they are all sleazes. Too bad I had already voted, would have enjoyed voting for Francine all the more after seeing that little piece of shit.

by surfk9 2006-04-11 09:29AM | 0 recs
Who paid for it?

Is there any indication of who paid for the hit piece you got?

by silence 2006-04-11 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Who paid for it?

I'm a registered R in the 50th. In addition to the SCORES (sometimes 4 and 5 per day) of mail I've received over the past month from the three millionaires and other Rs, in the last week I also received two hit pieces from the RNC. I just read the headline, which was to the effect of, "Busby voted to eliminate teachers". They also have a tv commercial playing here in SD.

BTW: I'll be voting for Busby about one hour from now.

by skipper 2006-04-11 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

Lucas, you're underscoring why I feel so hopeful.  Republicans are floundering and Busby and the Democrats are focused.  This really could happen tonight, knock on wood.

by Phonatic 2006-04-11 09:37AM | 0 recs
San Diego

I'm in the CA-50, The Wife and I voted for Busby this morning.  Also sent some cash her way via ActBlue.

My hopes are high but expectations low (how can they not be in this party?)  I think this will pan out the way the last Mayoral election did:

  • in a thick field primary, the sole strong Democrat pulls in decent numbers but not a majority
  • in the run-off, the Democrat pulls -exactly- the same numbers.

So I'm guessing 44% in the primary, 44% in the runoff.

by Stoffel 2006-04-11 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: San Diego

the run-off, the Democrat pulls -exactly- the same numbers

There is one big difference between the SD Mayoral runoff and the putative Busby runoff, which is that this one will be the same day as the statewide primary, which has contested Democratic races from the top of the ticket on down.  Expect Busby to benefit from the turnout efforts of both Democratic gubanatorial candidates.

by Jay 2006-04-11 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: San Diego

I'm right next door in Susan Davis' district.  I'm sorry to say I agree with your analysis.  I sent Busby money twice: early in the campaign and then immediately on hearing about the RNC money dump.  And I made a lot of calls for her via MoveOn.  But I think she needs to win it in the primary; her chances go way down in the runoff.  And it doesn't look like she'll take the primary.  Stay tuned...

by carlmanaster 2006-04-11 08:55PM | 0 recs
Datamar

Is the most ridiculous way of getting to high propensity voters, that skews unbelievably Republican, you had to have voted in the 2002 Primary for Governor a Republican contest and a Dem cake walk. Survey USA has us in the margin. We are going to win.

by Democraticavenger 2006-04-11 03:08PM | 0 recs
Light voting in the 50th this morning
I voted in this morning and voter turnout was a lot lighter than a normal election. I was the only voter there. I'm in a non-conservative enclave of the 50th (there are no liberal enclaves in the 50th), so I fear all the north inland Republicans precincts will have higher voter turnout.

I read that precincts will have touch screen voting. Not true, at least not for our precinct. We got a broken scanner. The ballot jammed and they tried multiple times to get it through. They had to feed it and got to look at the ballot. Some secret vote!

by Dan Anderson 2006-04-11 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight

Worth remembering that if Roach wins and continues to self-fund he'll almost certainly trigger the millionare's amendment in the general. This would make Busby's fundraising a lot easier.

by dantheman 2006-04-11 04:31PM | 0 recs
by paulyell 2006-08-19 03:55AM | 0 recs

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