Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 27, 2008
By: Neil Sinhababu

INSTANT CONGRESSIONAL RACE RANKINGS....This is pretty nifty: Nicholas Beaudrot analyzed the demographics of the 27 GOP-held open seats and all 170 races with GOP incumbents to see how Barack Obama would perform in each district.

The thinking is that demographics predict Obama's performance (blacks and college-educated whites help him), and Obama's performance serves as a rough proxy for how Democrats will do this time around. It's a neat way to identify races that may become unexpectedly competitive with Obama at the top of the ticket.

So if you're represented by a Republican in the House, take a look at the spreadsheets (embedded into the page by the magic of Google Docs) and take a look at how the demographics project Obama's performance, and how winnable your district is. We've won three straight special elections in places where Democrats don't usually win, so it's a good year to go after the local GOP congressman.

Also, a word to any Democrats suffering under Mike Rogers, the Republican in Michigan's 8th district -- your district comes in as the 18th most competitive! Please try to make sure your challenger's website doesn't look like this. And that number's been stuck at 2880 each time I've checked it tonight.

Neil Sinhababu 12:22 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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I've been trying to figure out why it is that maintenance mode lasts for exactly 48 days. It seems like a rather bizarre number. Maybe it's 48 hours and the text is just inaccurate ...

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on May 27, 2008 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Rogers, the Republican in Michigan's 8th district

Distribute pamphlets or conduct push polls to ask constituents in Michigan's 8th District to encourage their children to join the military and serve in Iraq to support President W. Bush's occupation. Be sure to emphasize Mike Rogers' support for W. Bush, his war in Iraq and the need for Michigan's children to sacrifice themselves for America's security.

Posted by: Brojo on May 27, 2008 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sigh. It's bad enough there's been endless stories about Appalachians failing some test by preferring Clinton over Obama, now our legitimately viable House challengers are going to be written off, too?

We're working our butts off in WV-02 to unseat the ineffective Bush-McCain Republican Shelley Moore Capito. We have a great challenger this cycle in Anne Barth. Barth matches up really well against Capito and in addition to local Netroots and grassroots support the DCCC has made the district a priority (including putting it on the Red to Blue list).

I agree that looking for Obama-friendly district demographics is a "neat way to identify races that may become unexpectedly competitive with Obama at the top of the ticket," but what proof is there of the opposite inference? There's nothing (yet) to show the districts lower on the list will have McCain coat tails.

The voters in this district (WV-02) don't want a third Bush term. Whatever their opinion about Obama thus far, that doesn't translate into any particular love for the direction our Congresswoman has supported taking the country the last 7 years.

Use the list to identify a top 10 new targets (or what not), other than that, treat with care.

Posted by: Clem Guttata on May 27, 2008 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

Unless your support for Obama is contingent on having a split congress.

It is a very big mistake to assume voters are all so stupid to believe that one party has all the answers.

Posted by: Matt on May 27, 2008 at 7:26 AM | PERMALINK

Bob Alexander turned in his 1400 signature petition to get on the ballot. But reality is that he has less than a snowball's chance against Rogers in MI's 8th district. (I live here) It ranks 4th among reddest of the red districts in MI.

Redistricting in 2002 helped Rogers, dropping Washtenaw --Ann Arbor, UofM, and the annual Hash Bash are all in the county-- and Dem Genesee County, traded for red Clinton County and a republican part of Oakland County.

2004 Results Countywide
Congress:
8th District – Mike Rogers (R) – 71.48%, Bob Alexander (D) – 26.71%

Ex-FBI man Mike Rogers is a do nothing, Bush/Cheney toady. But IMHO he has his seat for as long as he wants it, sad as it is.

Posted by: ww on May 27, 2008 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Ditto on Rogers. 18 months of nothing, then it's Jack Bauer for Congress. (He's tough on crime, you know.)

Posted by: Steve Paradis on May 27, 2008 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

There are roughly 125 Democratic incumbents running unopposed for reelection in 2008. This number is trending up and when redistricting occurs in 2010, the Democrats should be able to make at least 150 districts noncompetitive for Republicans. Also, given the changing demographics of the U.S. the Democrats will find more districts where they will dominate.

So, in the long run, what will politics be like as the Democrats get close to have a majority of the U.S. Congressional district in safely Democratic districts where the Republicans have little chance of winning. Who will be the winners and losers. My guess is that the blue dog Democrats will be the big losers because they will no longer be needed by the Democratic leadership.

Posted by: superdestroyer on May 27, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Call your local GOP congressman and say, "We're coming for YOU in November. Your time is done. You are out. We are coming for YOU."

Get 'em on the run, and apply the whip.

Posted by: POed Lib on May 27, 2008 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

There's no way Obama gets 45% in CO-6, but he ought to do better than 29% in the KS-1.

Posted by: John Petty on May 27, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

It is a very big mistake to assume voters are all so stupid to believe that one party has all the answers.

It is a very big mistake to assume voters are going to blindly follow some ideal ticket-splitting-as-a-nice-idea-from-civics-class when the Republic is circling the toilet.

One party doesn't even have the right questions...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on May 27, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

To answer various objections:

Yes, there will be outliers, such as the challenger to SMC in West Virginia, or the challenger to Don Young in Alaska. And in the reverse direction, in some of these districts college degree holding white voters probably don't have a habit of voting Democratic. For example, in Ohio, college whites have yet to start voting D the way they have in Pennsylvania, which hurt Obama in the primary there.

No, the list is not perfect, but I am confident it is a good first cut.

As to Mike Rogers specifically, how well/poorly funded was his challenger last year? And he may be in one of these districts where college whites don't vote D.

Districts like CO-6 probably have the wrong result due to a large number of illegal immigrants, and also possibly the presence of an unusually large number of white college Republicans (the Air Force Academy probably boosts this number). But it would not surprise me if that district was closer than expected. In KS-1, Kerry got only 30% there in 2004. Perhaps Obama gets a boost thanks to being from Kansas, but we'll have to see.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on May 27, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

"(the Air Force Academy probably boosts this number)"

Wow!! I'm sorry but that's a laughable comment.

Posted by: 1SG on May 27, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

What ... that the Air Force Academy would lead to the presence of a large number of people with college degrees who are more likely to vote Republican than your average college degree holder? Why is that laughable?

Oh ... I have the wrong CD. The AFA is in CO-5. CO-6 is the Littleton district.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on May 27, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

WOW, Obama is going to run for President, the Senate and Congress, all at once, this fall! And sweep all the races. OMG!

So, are we going to have a 1 member government. Isn't that called a monarchy?

Jeebus could you cut out the friggin messiah shit. You'll lose regular PA contributors - Kevin will have no business left after he comes back from vacation.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 27, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Man, I'd love nothing better than to see that pig-fucker, Peter Roskam, go down in IL-06, and that's a tantalizingly close projection at 49.5%. Come on, baby... Daddy needs some mojo.

Posted by: junebug on May 27, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Man, I'd love nothing better than to see that pig-fucker, Peter Roskam, go down in IL-06, and that's a tantalizingly close projection at 49.5%. Come on, baby... Daddy needs some mojo.

Posted by: junebug on May 27, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK
Posted by: Swan on May 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

My apologies to all for being redundant all over again.

Posted by: junebug on May 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, man, if Scott Garrett could be defeated in New Jersey's Fifth by a Democrat ... awesome! But I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: melissa on May 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

This comment is undergoing maintenance and will be available soon!

Posted by: K on May 27, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

optical weenie,

You're just grumpy because you didn't think to run Inkblot for King instead of President.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

In Michigan, there is a rule that vastly reduces college student voting in their college town. It forces them to register at home with their legal guardians or declare themselves independent.

Many can't do this because of student loans.

It was formulated by Mike Rogers when he was in the state legislature precisely to take the district containing Michigan State University.

If this blogger is using college student pop as a demographic, he could be grossly over-estimating the performance of Obama in districts containing a university.

Posted by: Nazgul35 on May 27, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites,
No I am grumpy because I threw my back out this weekend while I was chest beating and throwing hapless dudes onto the highway.

It's assinine to take Bambi's demographics and apply to individual congress critter races. Only youngsters forget all politics is local.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 27, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie:
Only youngsters forget all politics is local.

Now you're quoting one of my personal heroes -- Tip O'Neill, who used to be my Rep.

I haven't looked at the stats closely, but as a general observation people seem to overlook that the states where Obama did best in the primaries are states that usually, I think, go Republican.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites,
Oooo but no, Idaho is most certainly going to do a 180 and vote librul this year!

Posted by: optical weenie on May 27, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Idaho is most certainly going to do a 180 and vote librul this year!

You're living in your own private Idaho.
Fortunately, I prefer Maine potatoes, and Maine is reliably purple.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

While Washington State is the biggest potato producer, I prefer PEI potatoes - yup, those red Canadian ones.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 27, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I grew blue potatoes one year. They were pretty tasty, but more vulnerable to blight than the reds.
(Note to self: don't buy property next to swamp.)

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Enjoy the vacation. I'll try to make sure Weenie doesn't beat up the guest bloggers too much.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 3:35 PM

So now I see why you hijacked this thread and turned it into an agricultural forum.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 27, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Someone's gotta stand up for the hapless dudes of the world. But I'll stand aside...

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

While you weenies debate potatoes, I'm going to do something productive -- like save the universe. Gosh!

Posted by: absent observer on May 27, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Would you two please get a room & finally be done with it? This gets tiresome.

Posted by: the_neighbors on May 27, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, the_neighbors, it won't be happening any time soon. I really did throw my back out this weekend. But it happened while I was vacuuming, not throwing hapless dudes onto the highway.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 27, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

We'll always have, um, well, not Paris that's for sure.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

You want to suffer, live where I am: Lamar Smith's district in Texas.

Posted by: Douglas Moran on May 27, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

"It is a very big mistake to assume voters are all so stupid to believe that one party has all the answers."

This just below a thread that has a number of people telling us that Hitler was indeed doing god's will, and that we should all just sit back and accept whatever happens because it is god's plan?

As far as I can tell, it is ALWAYS accurate to assume the voters are complete and utter morons. The only issue is what will be the shiny balloon they follow, running straight over the cliff, this particular year.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on May 27, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

In a year such as this there *appears* to be a chance that the Dems will vote strong and with a candidate such as Obama getting a lot of support from Independents and some Republicans (who are very dissatisfied with the direction of the country) there's a chance for a huge storm that will sweep away all Republicans -- a perfect storm, if you will.

In other years where the base needs to be shored up more this kind of candidate might not be your best bet at all. THIS YEAR it could be a huge win.

The $64 question is whether Hillary's supporters can see their way to opposing Conservative Bush Republican John McCain in the general election. Whether they unite behind that cause depends a lot upon how the delegates of Florida and Michigan are handled and how the general election is run.

Posted by: MarkH on May 27, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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