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How the GOP can lose its remaining support from Latino voters, in one easy step (November 25, 2014, 10:00 AM)

A Latino Decisions poll shows 89% of Latino voters approve of the President's executive actions on immigration.
The numbers above, are, quite frankly, amazing. Latino voters are a diverse group, and like any diverse group, it's hard to get nearly uniform opinion on anything.

But immigration does it. A whopping 89 percent of Latino voters support President Obama's immigration executive orders in a new poll published November 24 by Latino Decisions, sponsored by Presente.org/NALACC/Mi Familia Vota. And while it found Latino voters were, on the whole, astoundingly supportive of the executive actions and opposed to any measures that might be used to counteract them, one bit in particular stood out:

Even a majority of Latino Republicans support the executive actions.

Latino Decisions points out:

It is fair to say this is the most unified we have ever found Latino public opinion.
While the majority of Latino voters did not approve of President Obama's handling of immigration policy prior to the election, they're pleased that the promised actions did finally arrive. For many, this is personal. Threatening to defund the immigration executive actions, sue to have them stopped, or even impeach the president?or any other lunatic shenanigans that Republicans can come up with?is clearly not the way for the GOP to endear themselves to this important and growing group of voters. Not even those who are Republicans.

Does the GOP want the 2016 Democratic nominee to break records for Latino support? As the president might say, Please proceed.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/25 (November 25, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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? President-by-LD: Today we venture back to the Garden State to take a look at the 2013 special election for U.S. Senate and the gubernatorial contest three weeks later. You can check out our master list of data, including our previously-released data for the 2012 presidential and Senate races, here.

We have the 2013 results calculated by congressional and state legislative district (each legislative seat elects one senator and two assemblymembers). Democrat Cory Booker defeated Republican Steve Lonegan 55-44 statewide in the Senate race, netting six of the 12 congressional districts and 25 of the 40 legislative seats. Three weeks later, Republican Gov. Chris Christie won re-election 60-38. Christie took 10 congressional districts and 31 legislative seats, though his landslide win didn't help his party net any legislative seats. (Jeff Singer)


Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Post-election GOTV breathes new life into Oregon GMO measure (November 25, 2014, 08:00 AM)

Protestors support Oregon's Measure 92
Protesters support Oregon's Measure 92
Leading Off:

? OR Ballot: In an unusual twist, post-election get-out-the-vote activity has played a role in a presumed-defeated ballot measure rising from the dead and landing in automatic recount territory. Oregon's Measure 92, which would require labeling of so-called genetically modified organisms, was declared defeated right after Election Day, losing at the time by a margin of about 1.2 percent. As of this writing, however, that margin has dwindled to just 0.06 percent, or just 809 votes.

While the last votes to be counted in all-mail Oregon are usually a little more left-leaning than the electorate as a whole, in this case the narrowing spread was assisted by activists for the Yes on 92 campaign. A new law this year provided for the release of the names of voters whose ballots were submitted but not recognized as valid. The Yes on 92 campaign proceeded to contact those voters on the list who were likely supporters of the measure, and remind them to correct any errors (typically signature problems) that prevented their ballot from being tallied. A spokesperson for the Yes on 92 campaign said "several thousand" votes were added to the tally in this way.

The threshold for an automatic recount is a margin of less than 0.2 percent; the Secretary of State's office hopes to certify the election and call for any required recounts sometime during the first week of December. It's unlikely that a recount will change the outcome, but it's still impressive that Measure 92 supporters closed the gap in this fashion, and it heralds a new era of post-Election Day GOTV.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/24 (November 24, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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8:18 AM PT: Click the link:

A friend sent this to me w/caption "Baby Fud." Older sister was heard to be whispering, "Oh please, oh please" http://t.co/...
? @DKElections


Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Here's to the losers! (November 24, 2014, 08:00 AM)

Republican Lee Zeldin lost by 16 points when he first ran in 2008, but won by 10 this year

Leading Off:

? House: It's no secret that the DCCC is trying to convince several unseated incumbents and other unsuccessful candidates to run again in 2016. As those would-be contenders mull their plans, here's a statistic from Nathan Gonzales at Roll Call that should give them some hope: More than 40 percent of this year's House freshman class lost at least one race sometime in their careers.

There's a lot of interesting information in Gonzales' piece. For instance, Democratic Rep.-elect Brad Ashford ran for Nebraska's 2nd District all the way back in 1994 but lost the Republican primary. Republican Mike Bishop of MI-08 also lost his 2010 primary for attorney general and 2012 race for Oakland County prosecutor, but in 2014 he won the GOP primary and general without much trouble.

NY-01's incoming Republican representative Lee Zeldin is another one-time loser, unsuccessfully challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop for this seat back in 2008. Back then Zeldin was pretty much a Some Dude and he predictably lost to Bishop 58-42 in the Democratic wave. However, Zeldin was elected to the state Senate two years later and emerged as a much more formidable contender in 2014. The district didn't change much in the intervening six years but a stronger campaign from Zeldin, the Republican wave, and Bishop's ethics problems led to a 10-point GOP victory this time.

Gonzales also takes a look at this year's crop of new governors and finds that four lost a race in the past. The most interesting is Republican Larry Hogan of Maryland, who lost the primary for a House race all the way back in 1981. The whole article is a good reminder that while a political loss can be embarrassing and demoralizing, good candidates can bounce back.


When the going gets tough, the tough go to the initiative process (November 23, 2014, 05:59 PM)

Map of U.S. detailing states with ballot initiatives in 2014
You've probably seen it mentioned before, but it bears repeating: There wasn't much good news for Democratic candidates in the election several weeks ago, but there were a number of victories for Democratic action items, via ballot measures. Whether it was minimum wage increases, environmental protections, marijuana legalization, or gun safety, the people in a number of states enacted policies that their state legislatures weren't likely to act on. In some of these states, voters checked the box on several big pieces of the Democratic agenda even as they were also voting out Democratic senators.

That may make no sense to well-informed, usually logical people like the average Daily Kos reader, but it's part of a larger pattern that I discussed last week: midterm elections almost always bounce badly against the party that holds the White House, regardless of how the economy is doing, and even regardless of the party's messaging or what it's promising to do. The party with the presidential power is the one that tends to absorb most of the blame for everything that goes wrong, even when that party is doing things that a majority of people like, when the ideas themselves are separated from the party or the president.

That gets compounded by people's tendency to associate with one party or the other not because of its policies, but because of "team spirit," as political scientist Lilliana Mason describes it in her research. That explains why rural white Christian voters are going to ally themselves with the rural white Christian team, rather than the educated diverse urban team, even when, in a vacuum with the "D" and "R" labels missing, they might prefer the other team's policies more.

One important example from recent years is the Affordable Care Act, where poll respondents like all the individual components of the law (except for the individual mandate, which is the stick among the carrots) even as they disapprove of the whole. Approval or disapproval of the ACA, instead, just becomes a proxy for approval or disapproval of the Democrats.

And so it went with individual policies during the midterm election. Arkansas hiked its minimum wage at the same time as Mark Pryor was getting voted out, and Alaska instituted new environmental protections at the same time as Mark Begich was getting voted out. If the Democrats are going to continue to occupy the White House in future cycles?as they seem likelier than not to do, if only because of demographic change if not disparities in candidate quality?midterm election patterns are going to continue to deprive the Democrats of consistent working majorities in Congress, and we need to start thinking about what else is in our toolbox that lets us move our agenda.

The shift toward ballot measures in service of a progressive agenda feels like a big change from, say, the 1990s, when ballot measures tended to be linked in the public mind with conservative grievances. Anti-tax activists like Tim Eyman in Washington, Bill Sizemore in Oregon, and (if you want to go way back to the '70s) Howard Jarvis in California, used the process to essentially troll their respective state governments. Similarly, some of the most notorious ballot measures of that period were right-wing action items (like California's anti-affirmative action Proposition 209 and anti-immigrant Proposition 187 ... which, on the plus side, created so much backlash that they helped cement California's current dark-blue status). But there's no reason we can't appropriate the initiative process for our own goals.

Ballot measures aren't subject to congressional or legislative gridlock, they can't be gerrymandered, they're hard to link to unpopular individual politicians, and all the opposition can do is try to bury them under a heap of ads. Which isn't to say that we should write off control of Congress, just that the direct democracy process offers us a clear path forward in the states that allow it. (And if we can use the initiative process to enact independent redistricting in key states, it can even be a big help in regaining control of the U.S. House.)

Over the fold, we'll talk about specific results from ballot measures from two weeks ago, and also about what issues in particular we might target in future years.


Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread: What were you wrongest about this cycle? (November 21, 2014, 07:48 PM)

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With Election Day fading into our rear-view, the Daily Kos Elections team decided that it's high time for some introspection. With that view in mind, the theme of this week's open thread is: What were you wrongest about this cycle? In the comments, please feel free to share your blown calls, dead-wrong predictions, and incorrect assumptions leading up to November 4th. In the interests of good-faith reciprocity, the DKE team has offered our "wrongests" for you to consider below the fold.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/21 (November 21, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Kansas GOP may be in for some more intra-party hellfire (November 21, 2014, 08:00 AM)

New U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) reacts after picking number four in the office lottery for all new House members of Congress in Washington, November 19, 2010.      REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXUTKS
Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp is looking at primarying Sen. Jerry Moran

Leading Off:

? KS-Sen: Well, this would be funny at least. Rep. Tim Huelskamp isn't ruling out the possibility that he'll challenge Sen. Jerry Moran in the Republican primary, telling Roll Call, "We haven't decided what we're doing yet."

Huelskamp may be encouraged by tea partier Milton Wolf's performance in this year's primary against Sen. Pat Roberts, with Wolf falling only 7 points short despite being... well, creepy. Moran is the outgoing NRSC chair, while Huelskamp's attempted coup against Speaker John Boehner in 2013 has left him utterly hated by the House leadership. The congressman may be thinking that he can use this insider/ outsider dynamic to his advantage.

Of course, Huelskamp has his own flaws. To begin with, he's not exactly popular at home. Huelskamp only defeated his unheralded 2014 primary opponent Alan LaPolice 55-45, and he probably can't count on a huge base of support among primary voters in his rural 1st District. Part of Huelskamp's problem this year was that his goal to cut federal ethanol subsidies pissed off powerful groups like the Kansas Corn Growers Association, the Kansas Farm Bureau, and the Kansas Association of Ethanol Processors. In 2014 those organizations were content to just blast him in a joint-statement but if he runs against Moran, they'll almost certainly do a lot more to beat Huelskamp.

Of course, it's possible that the congressman has decided that he may actually have a better shot in a statewide contest against Moran than he might if someone much more serious than LaPolice runs against him for re-election. Huelskamp also may be wondering if he should take his chances with a Senate bid rather than spend his career in the House as a pariah. In any case, Daily Kos Elections' Arjun Jaikumar has the perfect slogan for Huelskamp: "Too many Morans in the Senate."


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/20 (November 20, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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? San Antonio Mayor: We recently noted that state Sen. and 2014 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte was considering a run here, and on Wednesday she jumped in the race. She will join fellow Democrat and former state Rep. Mike Villarreal in the contest. There are several other potential candidates, though they may get cold feet now that Van de Putte is in. (Jeff Singer)


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