I live in Las Vegas and bet politics via offfshore books and in a 16-man betting pool. The parlay odds of sweeping those gov races is enough to build your own Mirage or Bellagio. Particularly when it includes Texas. Sorry, but that's a farce.
As I ran through the list my instant summation was, "let's see, we're an underdog in that one, underdog there, underdog again," and so on. There is a slight difference between a seemingly vulnerable incumbent and actually ousting him. In most cases I don't see superior candidates on our end who can pull if off. In Nevada, for example, we can probably forget this gov mansion unless Oscar Goodman runs, which he apparently will not. Gibbons will pull a big number from northern Nevada and has already been trying to cut his losses in Las Vegas by placing prominent billboards for more than a year.
This reminds me of 2002, when the pre-election hoopla had us netting 10 or 11 gov chairs. In the end I think it was +3 or +4. In a 50/50 polarized nation the word sweep is out of place, particularly when it requires evicting so many incumbents and not always in the friendliest states.
Last month I spent a week vacationing in Big Bear and was shocked at the frequency of Arnold's commercials on the major LA stations. Even during the afternoon news he was seemingly buying every time slot.
Regardless of our nominee or Arnold's numbers, I don't like our chances at all. He won by such a huge percentage in 2003 it would take a massive turnaround, unlikely versus the ungodly monetary resources and celebrity teflon. Whether we like it or not, plenty of Arnold's support will have nothing to do with his performance in office. I can still picture the clips from 2003 when giggling young girls were showing up at the precincts for the first time to vote for a movie star.
That's an incredibly vital state in 2008 and beyond. The huge Republican margin for error is all but gone if we somehow annex Virginia and its 13 electoral votes. Kerry ended up with 252, 18 short of a majority. Add Virginia, hold everything else Kerry won, and suddenly you only need one among the close losses from 2004 -- Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada or Colorado. We could blow Florida and Ohio and still be in very good shape.
So you can guarantee Rove and Co. know the math and will do everything to shore up Virginia prior to 2008. Frankly, I don't see how we have a shot at that state minus Warner atop the ticket. At VP it figures very close but a probable narrow loss. If the partisan shift of 2 or 3 points in our favor every 4 years continues, we're still 3 or 4 points behind in 2008. That's manageable with Warner as the nominee, especially since no one from Virginia has been on a national ticket in quite some time. We were hurt in Tennessee 2000 from kind of a blase attitude after Gore had also been on the ticket in '92 and '96. As a first timer I think he would have carried the state.
At VP I always project a 3 to 3.5 point bump, which is precisely what Edwards was apparently worth last year if you look at the partisan shift from 2000 and 2004 in North Carolina, roughly 13 down to 10. Absolutely sickening we didn't have a young VP candidate from Ohio last year, a John Glenn minus 20-30 years. Kerry would definitely be president in that case. Bench depth can be critical and we perpetually underestimate that.
Atop the ticket you can estimate 4-8 points in partisan swing in a contested home state, which is why I continue to believe Jeb will be the GOP nominee in 2008. He would virtually sew up Florida, allowing time and funds to be spared for other battleground states, and I don't see how the GOP can dodge that incredible opportunity. For his sake It's probably better to pretend he's not running at this point, and then claim the party encouraged him.
We may be at a disadvantage in Virginia due to the overwhelming trend of the out party capturing open gov races beginning in 2002. With a lousy economy on their minds voters have taken out their wrath on the party they associate with the gov mansion. The percentage is staggering. Without an incumbent to defend his/her case the voters have detoured to the party not in office in absurd regularity. I'm not sure the dynamics apply to Virginia, however. We have only been in office one term, Warner has high approval numbers and if I'm not mistaken the state economy is above that of the nation as a whole. Still, it's been so decisive I default in that direction.
"During the late 1990s, Democrats outnumbered Republicans among Hispanics by a margin of more than two-to-one (41% to 19%). In the aftermath of 9/11, Democrats still lead, but by a smaller margin (36% to 22%).
Republican gains have been greatest among Protestant Hispanics especially those who consider themselves evangelical Christians.
Among Catholic Hispanics, there has been little change in partisan identification.
The Northeast is the only region where the Democratic party has held its own. Hispanics and Latinos living in that region are just as Democratic today as before Sept. 11."
At least 4 points on election eve. Otherwise, he is toast.
This will probably be scoffed at, or worse. It is as legit as bizarre. Corzine's facial hair is a monumental disadvantage in a statewide race. It will cost him 3-4 points minimum. He could save milions of dollars with the purchase and utilization of a 5 cent Bic razor. There is absolutely zero chance Corzine will match his final poll number. I wrote that elsewhere before his 2000 senate race and it applies in the governors race as well.
Women do not prefer facial hair on a man, perhaps subconsciously, and will not vote for a candidate who features it, as least not in typical number. Jimmy The Greek Snyder understood that in 1948 and it was the key rationale behind his huge bet on Truman over Dewey. The theory still holds up in statewide races or higher. Beside the 2000 New Jersey senate race, the theory was also perfect in 2002. Every major candidate with facial hair lost and did not come close to his poll number. I made a large wager against Tom Strickland in Colorado due to that theory. It also held up in the Texas senate race (Ron Kirk), Wyoming gov race (big upset) and one other governors race, Ithink in Kansas.
I worked GOTV on election day. When I returned home in early evening, the Democratic blogs were aglee, based on early exit polls. I took one look at the exit polls and knew Kerry was finished.
They made absolutely no sense in the battleground states, with ridiculous numbers like Kerry +16 in New Hampshire, +10 in Pennsylvania, -2 in North Carolina, etc. Everything was tilted toward Kerry, so far askew from partisan index realities that I have studied since '96, with a chart very similar to the one Chris put together last year.
When I saw the Florida and Ohio numbers, and Kerry up by a tiny margin in each, I was certain they would naturally err by a similar margin to the other states and Kerry would lose both. My energy was zapped almost to nil.
Yet Steven Freeman and other academic geniuses are somehow embracing the exit polls as gospel, totally ignoring how they compare to the natural partisan tendencies of the state, and to the way the rest of the country voted. It's like if someone posted a golf scorecard with me at 6 under and Vijay Singh at 15 over and ESPN simply accepted it and reported the numbers minus any other scrutiny. Freeman's 250 million to 1 odds are pure garbage.
He is immensely popular, over 80% in several approval polls. The GOP would attack him based on a history as a mob lawyer, and many financial benefits toward his son and other family interests since Goodman has been mayor. Still, Oscar has remarkable name recognition, personality and therefore Teflon. He could pull a huge number out of Clark County that would be difficult for Gibbons or any Republican to overcome.
Supposedly, Goodman's wife does not want him to run for governor. That is exactly opposite to Gibbons, whose wife opposed a senate run versus Harry Reid in preference to a governors race in 2006. But Oscar Goodman has a huge ego and may not be able to resist an open race he can win.
State attorney general Lorriane Hunt may oppose Gibbons for the GOP nomination. She is even more disgusting than Gibbons. There has also been speculation Gibbons may be promoted to as high position in the House, perhaps head of the intelligence committee, and that would keep him out of the governors race in 2006.
Which automatically kicks in if the margin is 2000 or less.
Plenty of interesting developments today. King County, Gregoire's stronghold, unexpectedly reported an additional 17,000 votes, although more than 2000 of them had a vote for president but not governor.
Gregoire now leads by 324 votes, last I checked late Monday afternoon. But supposedly 65% of the remaining votes are from counties Rossi is carrying. Several websites have election models analyzing the outstanding votes. They generally predict a Rossi win in the neighborhood of 1300 votes.
Maria Cantwell only gained 300 or so votes in the 2000 statewide recound of the senate race against Slade Gordon. We need a great finish beginning Wednesday, when the provisionals are counted.
A friend of mine in Las Vegas always badmouths Democrats, would never vote for one, but loves Oscar Goodman. He initially refused to believe Goodman was a Democrat. When others confirmed it to him, he reluctantly announced, "Well, that's the first good one since Kennedy."
And it also has downballot impact. All the focus on Colorado probably saved Salazar, while abandoning Louisiana allowed Vitter to avoid a runoff by slightly more than 1%.
Last week I looked at Steven Freeman's celebrated PDF announcing 250 million to 1 odds against the exit polls veering so sharply in Bush's favor. Freeman is obviously completely ignorant of the partisan index realities, if he embraces numbers like Kerry leading by 10 points in New Hampshire, etc. He not only ignores the partisan index, but also the average of state polls in those states, which come much closer to predicting the actual vote, other than in Florida.
Even when I accepted every exit poll percentage among Freeman's PDF and adjusted the actual vote in those 11 states accordingly, Kerry only gained 1,567,498 votes net. That's less than half the popular vote margin. Bush would still be leading the national vote by 50.67% to 48.99%, even after those adjustents, including 7 states with more than 2 million votes. It was obviously the ignored states that provided Bush the bulk of his margin, and as you say, cushion against controversy.
Many websites are incorrectly listing Ensign among the most vulnerable GOP senators in '06, primarily because his 55% in 2000 was not overwhelming and Nevada is only slightly red. However, as you indicate, unless celebrity mayor Oscar Goodman shocks everyone and runs, there simply isn't a Democrat who seems capable of defeating Ensign. Only congresswoman Shelly Berkley of Las Vegas jumps to mind at all.
The Nevada Democrats had a disastrous cycle in 2002, losing every major statewide race. That followed 2000, when we had to run local personal injury attorney Ed Bernstein against Ensign after Democratic frontrunner Frankie Sue Del Papa bailed out early. Harry Reid brought in a highly respected woman to rebuild the party statewide after 2002, but right now there is a lack of ideal candidates. Goodman may face congressman Jim Gibbons in a very interesting governors race in 2006. Gibbons is already posting billboards in Las Vegas areas well outside his district, to build name recognition for 2006.
I've looked at North Carolina exit polls for years. We survive there primarily because African Americans are a high percentage of the voting block, 26% this year. But white voters destroy us even more than typical. Both white men and women gave Bush 72% or higher this year. Easley was also crushed in the white vote, although nothing close to Kerry, in the mid-to-high 50s if I recall.
I specifically remember this year's North Carolina exit poll had 40% of the voters describing themselves as conservative to only 17% liberal. In Virginia it was only slightly better, 38% to 17%. After seeing those numbers, I had much less hope for either state in 2008.