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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.

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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.

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.