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Chip Cravaack pWP

A DCCC Poll in the 8th Congressional District (Nolan vs. Cravaack) has Nolan up 45-44 with a MOE of 4.9. It’s a push poll, which is bad, but it’s a current poll (Aug 30) in the only interesting federal race in the state. The pWP for Cravaack is 40% (that is, he has a 40% chance of being re-elected, assuming the poll is valid) with 11% of respondents undecided (or ‘other’). I have a majority of the undecideds moving against Chip Cravaack. So Chip has a lot of work to do to keep his seat.


Held Hostage by The State.

Joe Soucheray:

Now that we’ve gotten to beer and cigarettes, everybody should pretty much have it figured out. We work for the government. There can be no disputing this sad and sobering realization. We not only work for it but we are also held hostage by it, nurses, teachers, barkeeps, resort owners, restaurateurs, car dealers and all the rest of the weary souls who need, in order to do business, a particular stamp, card, emblem, chalk mark or imprint issued only by the state.

And now that we’ve gotten to beer and cigarettes, we also must realize that the people we work for can be intractable, obtuse and inflexible

From the Notebook

Cover of "American Assassin: A Thriller (...

Cover via Amazon

Lots of year-end house-cleaning to do here.

-Looks like an easy solution to the Vikings stadium issue is to permanently make Twin Cities Federal Stadium their permanent home. Making some small renovations to the field, like the addition of heating coils, and negotiating concessions and alcohol sales is a lot easier and cheaper than asking for $700-900 million for a new stadium or spending several hundred million renovating or rebuilding the Metrodome site.

– Larry Jacobs’ defense of the HHH/MPR/SCSU/MinnPost/Strib/Minnesota polls (for context, I suggest Mitch Berg’s series on the topic) is (or should be, anyway) embarassing. There is obviously a problem with these polls. The ability of other national polls to be more accurate at an earlier time is a good indication there is some systemic problem with the MPR/HHH and Strib Minnesota Polls.

Recount notes:

– I mentioned throughout the election that I felt Emmer was the weaker of the two MNGOP options to run for governor. Having seen a few thousand ballots now in the recount, I’m more confident of this assertion. I have seen a lot of undervotes for governor on otherwise straight-ticket GOP ballots. And I have seen a lot of Dayton votes in otherwise straight-ticket GOP ballots. These are very anomalous compared to what I saw in the Coleman/Franken recount. I did get to see a lot of split ticket ballots (Colin Peterson being the most common in both recounts, State Senator and former Douglas County Sheriff Bill Ingebritsen being a common split ticket vote getter this time around), but these ballots with votes for Byberg, Westrum or Franson, Ingebritsen, Severson, Barden, and Anderson then a vote for Dayton or a non-vote for governor have me convinced Emmer drove away people who would have voted for any other Republican. And there weren’t a few of these ballots. I saw more than a dozen in the 1000 or so ballots I got to see counted. (I wrote this the first day of the recount, on the second day I saw even more ballots and the pattern held.) And I bet reason #1 for this was Emmer’s DUIs.

– Something new this year, the election judges had the option to declare a challenge “frivolous” and skip sending those ballots to the state canvassing board. While there is a huge potential for abuse, it hasn’t been an issue in my area as the only challenged ballot was a real enigma. Some of my Republican recount volunteers were disappointed in me that I did not challenge a “Bugs Bunny” write-in on a Dayton ballot (one of the very few anamolies I saw). First, I was familiar with a similar issue from the 2008 Senatorial election and I knew how the MinnSupremeCourt ruled on the issue (thus the challenge would be futile) and second, the handout we got on the first day of the recount from the recount officials showed very clearly that they would declare challenging any writing in the write-in areas of the ballots to be frivolous.

-Thankfully, there were very very few problem ballots in this election. Off-year election voters are simply less likely to vote for “lizard people” or do other stuff with their ballots that would be questionable in a hand recount. Everything went smoothly. Emmer’s only hope was for a statewide “reconciliation” of ballots and signatures. Without that, the recount wasn’t going to make a difference.

Books Read:

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton. This novel was found on Crichton’s computer after his death. Unlike the last book he published when he was still alive (“Next”), this one was a simple plot with a small group of main characters. And thus, very pleasant to read. Steven Spielberg is said to be working on a movie. The most interesting part of the book was how true-to-life Crichton was trying to be, rather than other pirate stories that are well beyond what actually happened.

-Herodotus’ Histories (Books I&II). This is part of the Great Books ten-year reading program. Book I dealt mostly with the history of the Persians (and the Hellenes on the west coast of Turkey) and the various interactions thereof. Book II deals entirely with the Egyptians. This was really a joy to read. Herodotus was a writer for a popular audience.

-Prisoner of War Diary of Paul E. Lee Sr. (24 May 1944 to 29 April 1945). This short diary, about twenty pages, deals mostly with the day to day life of a POW. Lee was held as a prisoner for about a year by the Luftwaffe. He spent time in the American side of Stalag-Luft III (the place where the Brits staged their “great escape”). What was most interesting was the obsession with food (not surprising, but the last part of the diary had a page of food Lee intended to eat when he got back, and it makes a great guide for those looking for comfort food ideas). Also interesting was the number of “classes” that were taught. These POW camps, at least the officer camps, were practical universities. The diary was available from Lee’s daughter on eBay. It is no longer available. She put a copyright protection on the diary, so I can’t put anything up (yet).

-Revelations (The Bible). The most enigmatic book of the Bible is also the easiest read. I can see why fundamentalists love the book so much, I read the book in a single sitting. It was interesting, and taken out of context it’s subject can be applied to anything. (For example, are the Vikings the anti-Christ? they wear purple too.) Despite its many misuses, I like many of the passages of Revelations. It is the most literary book of the New Testament.

-Teaching Company Course: “Science Fiction: The Literature of Technological Imagination” by Professor Eric Rabkin (U of Mich). This was the equivalent of a 1-credit undergrad seminar. Rabkin avoided all of what we most commonly know as sci-fi and instead focused entirely on literary sci-fi and sci-fi origins. It is a very interesting course.

– American Assassin, Vince Flynn. The story of Mitch Rapp’s beginning. Like all of Flynn’s novels, there’s a lot of red meat here. A very fun diversion.

Audio Post

Audio Post

Election Redux

"The Third-Term Panic", by Thomas Na...

Image via Wikipedia

– First, can I brag I predicted the vote totals for Tom Emmer and Tom Horner to within about ten thousand votes and one thousand votes, respectively? I was off by about 80,000 votes when it came to Dayton, mainly because I overestimated total turnout. Looks like a lot of voters who were around for 2002/2006 weren’t around for 2010 (about 100,000 or so, or about 4.5% drop in turnout).

– And yes, I did predict a Dayton victory. I calls them as I sees them.  I’m surprised at the failure of Severson and Anderson to win in the SOS/Auditor races. They both outperformed Emmer by a significant margin. I think it’s clear from the fact they lost that Tom Horner took slightly more DFL votes than GOP votes.

– For those wondering how the MNGOP could take both houses of the state legislature and still lose all the statewide races, you need to remember two things. First coattails don’t go down the ballot, sometimes they can go up. But mostly, summing averages does not deliver a real mean. Winning in a majority of small districts does not translate into statewide victory as you could barely win in a majority of those races, but lose by a substantial margin the rest of those races.

-Most polls accurately predicted Dayton’s final precentage. I saw polls from 40-44% with most around 44%. He got 43.7%. And, the pollsters also got Horner’s support total right, with a little more error there. What the pollsters had a hard time measuring was Emmer. Correction, the propaganda polls failed to measure Emmer’s support accruately. The MPR/Minnesota/Humphrey polls never got close. Rasmussen and PPP were the most accurate. PPP uses a large sample size while Rasmussen has a deal with evil corporations. For the most part, these elections vindicated the top pollsters.

– The results of these elections were surprisingly just. While a lot of Blue Dog Democrats who voted against healthcare lost, there are still plenty of them around. And, conservative Democrats (WV being a good example) who separated themselves from Obama did really well. The House dems lost a lot of leadership experience, including Jim Oberstar, which is a just result. I was worried that these elections would wipe out a generation of pro-life Democrats, and for the most part that didn’t happen.

Dayton v. Emmer

It’s time to move beyond polls and look at potential vote totals in the Governors race.

Believe it or not, this should be very predictable. Over the last two elections, approximately 2,200,000 voters cast their ballots in both 2002 and 2006. In fact, the vote total actually went down about 50,000 votes from 2002 to 2006. About a million voters went for Pawlenty in 2006, about a million for Hatch, and about 150,000 votes went to Hutchinson.  In presidential election years, turnout is higher. Coleman and Franken each got about 1.2 million votes, and Dean Barkley got 437,000 votes. This represents the vote total ceiling.

Dayton will get a million votes. That’s easy. That’s the DFL base. There won’t be much more on top of that, perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 votes. Peter Hutchinson will get 200,000 to 250,000 votes. His support has varied widely, but has consistently been stronger than Hutchinson’s in ’06. He looks more like Penny in 2002, who got 360,000+ votes in 2002. Horner is no Tim Penny, but 250,000 votes is very plausible.

With Dayton topping out at 1.1 million, and Horner topping out at 250,000 votes, this leaves less than a million voters for Emmer. About 900,000 votes.

Past results are not destiny. Dayton is not a popular character. It’s completely possible that, in this environment, he will struggle to get a million votes as frustrated Democrats stay home. But Emmer is also hurting from the beating he has taken in this election. Can he find an extra 200,000 votes? Sure. I wouldn’t bank on it, but this is an unusual election cycle. Emmer should be able to match Pawlenty’s total in 2002.

Still, any way I look at it, I see an election that will, in the best circumstance, be decided in Emmer’s favor by less than 50,000 votes. This race is not a coin flip. I give Dayton a solid 70% win probability.

Rasmussen Poll

The latest Rasmussen poll in the MN Gov race has Dayton up by two points on Emmer; 38-40-15 (Horner is the fifteen). This is a 65% pWP (political Win Probability) for Dayton and it closely matches a previous Rasmussen poll and the average pWP for Dayton so far in this campaign. What gets me is Horner’s 15%, which I think is too high. Rasmussen says it will likely stay that high, at least 10% of the vote will be Horner’s. That’s good news, if true, for Emmer. If undecideds and a surprise conservative turnout break for him, he could easily close the gap on election day. Right now this race depends entirely on GOTV.

Re: Horner

Tom Horner Facebook Ad - 05/18/10

Image by DavidErickson via Flickr

Was just thinking about how the current strategy of the local leftymedia and maybe of the Dayton campaign (the ads focused on Horner are from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, and they get $ from another umbrella group that got a lot of $ from Dayton’s exwife and several other Dayton family members) regarding Tom Horner are trying to make him look more “Republican.” In theory the strategy is good, it should attract GOP votes to Horner and bring liberal votes to Dayton.

Maybe it will work. However, I think the strategy is a wrong one. It gives Tom Horner a lot of free press and increases his nameID. The best strategy regarding IP candidates, from the DFL perspective, is to simply ignore them. If anything, I would produce a campaign calling the IP “DFL-Lite” and try to win back wishy-washy but generally liberally minded people back to the DFL.

What should Emmer do? Nothing. Horner is simply not taking votes away from Emmer that he hasn’t already lost (Arne Carlson Republicans and those who won’t vote Emmer because of the DUI stuff). Would I have Emmer answer the DUI ads? Maybe. But probably not. Focusing on economic issues (taxes/business) is the best and simplest strategy.

New MPR/Humphrey Poll

This poll has Dayton 11 points up on Emmer and has Horner sitting at 16%. (38-27-16). This leaves 19% undecided and gives Dayton a 98+% pWP (political Win Probability). This matches closely the pWP total of the Strib poll (unadjusted for methodology). So, I would say it’s likely Dayton has gotten a bit of a bump (from what, I don’t know, but all the commentary is focused on Horner). However, I would also say it’s also likely both the Strib and the Humphrey Institute practice poor methodology in their polls.