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Google Surveys MT-AL Poll: Gianforte +10

As I’ve previously mentioned in a Diary for a South Dakota presidential poll I conducted in October 2016 and elsewhere, Google Surveys allows users to create relatively cheap 1-question polls on state and national issues. State polls are usually $0.15 per respondent, or $75 for a 500-respondent poll. Multiple question polls are 10x more expensive. The main problem is that you get what you pay for – these polls aren’t that good, and the one-question methodology requires some sacrifices that probably lower reliability even more. 538 gave Google Consumer Surveys a B rating before the 2016 cycle, but their track record has likely deteriorated since then.

Nevertheless, I recently conducted a Google Survey of the upcoming Montana At-Large Special Election. I put it into the field on April 19, one day before RRH announced that it was going to try to poll the race. It completed today, April 21. The question asked was:

Montanans will go to the polls on May 25 to vote for a new U.S. Congressman. If this special election were held today, for whom would you vote?

The choices were: (randomized) Democrat Rob Quist, Republican Greg Gianforte, Libertarian Mark Wicks and “I am not likely to vote in this election” (always last). As expected about 33% of the 533 respondents chose the “not likely to vote” option. Among the 356 respondents to answer with one of the candidates, the weighted results were as follows:

Gianforte 51%
Quist 41%
Wicks 8%

These results were weighted for sex and age to the percentage of those subgroups who reported voting in the 2014 November CPS survey. The raw results were Gianforte 49%, Quist 42%, Wicks 9%.  Google weighted to the Internet Audience, it is Gianforte 48%, Quist 42%, Wicks 10%.

As I’ve seen in the other recent Google Surveys of the race (more on this below), there is a huge divide between Eastern and Western Montana: Quist leads by 2 points (weighted)/9 points (unweighted) in Western Montana (n=188); Gianforte leads by 24 points (weighted)/23 points (unweighted) in Eastern Montana (n=160). I’ve divided Eastern and Western Montana this way:

Montana Regional Map

Eastern Montana is slightly overrepresented in the poll results. It makes up about 41% of the electorate in your typical election and 46% in the poll. I estimate that controlling for this would cause the poll to move about 2 points toward Quist.

There was no large gender gap in the raw results. Men were about 3 points less likely to choose Quist, but about 4 points more likely to choose Wicks. Suburbanites were much more likely to vote for Quist Q+6 (raw) than Rural residents G+30 (raw). Montana has very few urbanites, according to the poll. 87% of respondents earned $25,000-$49,999 per year, making discerning an income gap difficult.

Other recent Google Surveys have been all over the place:

Poll Dates Weighted Raw
3/12 to 3/14 Quist +17 Quist +14
3/14 to 3/16 Tie Tie
3/18 to 3/20 Quist +8 Quist +8
4/6 to 4/8 Gianforte +1 Quist +2

Gravis also polled the race on April 6, finding Gianforte up by 12.

As I said above, one constant in all of the Google Surveys is that Western Montana is signficantly more Quist-leaning than Eastern Montana. The gap between the two regions has ranged from about 20 to 42 points. A 20-point gap may be believable, but a 42-point gap isn’t.

RRH is currently raising funds to do a proper poll of the election. It would be good to see a reliable poll instead of crappy Google polls.

North Carolina Congressional Redistricting for the 2020s

Longtime lurker, figured I’d try my hand at a North Carolina map for the next redistricting cycle. The data in DRA has been modified to reflect 2020 population projections.

Based on population growth, the state will be awarded a 14th congressional district. This map has been drawn with the goals of minimizing change and keeping incumbents in their districts. Of the 14 districts, 3 of them are strongly Democratic based on recent election results, while 11 are competitive for Republican candidates. Please note that all election results contained here are based on the two-party vote.

The entire map:

Next, an overview of each district:


The 1st District is almost completely unchanged from its previous iteration and should be safe for any black Democrat. Of note, Durham County now consists of almost 40% of the district’s population.

30.5% Trump

30.9% Romney

30.7% Tillis


The 2nd District withdraws from southern and eastern Wake County, adds Wayne County, and, in a move that is sure to tick off Rep. David Rouzer, is bolstered by adding all of deep-red Johnston County for good measure. Rep. George Holding’s home is now back in the district. This seat should be safe for the GOP so long as exurbia remains a Republican stronghold.

56.2% Trump

57.2% Romney

56.5% Tillis


Almost nothing changes here. This is now the second-most Republican district in the state (based off election returns, not party registration) and Democrats will have a very uphill climb here, even in an open seat race.

62.2% Trump

58.9% Romney

59.3% Tillis


The second of the Democratic vote sinks, drawn to accommodate white liberals in the Research Triangle area. Because of population growth, the more purplish precincts in the district are removed and Democrats are packed more efficiently. The nature of the district would favor a Wake County Democrat in the event of an open seat.

25.6% Trump

30.7% Romney

28.5% Tillis


The Fifth District loses several counties on the Virginia border and adds Caldwell, Alexander, and parts of Iredell counties to the south. It’s still a safe GOP district.

57.4% Trump

55.7% Romney

56.3% Tillis


The Sixth District looks similar to the version in the 2011 map struck down by the courts, but this time it extends all the way to the Tennessee line. It contains suburban Greensboro and Alamance County, both of which swung to Hillary Clinton in 2016, but most of the Virginia border counties are ruby-red and getting redder.

56.1% Trump

54.7% Romney

54.3% Tillis


Rep. David Rouzer is the big loser in this map, as he loses his home and political base in Johnston County while gaining some of Fayetteville. His biggest concern here should be in the form of a primary challenger from the Wilmington area, but as an entrenched incumbent, he shouldn’t have too much to worry about. This district contains some of the strongest GOP-trending parts of the state and should grow even more Republican through the decade.

56.5% Trump

53.8% Romney

52.6% Tillis


Another district with only minor changes.

57.8% Trump

55.4% Romney

56.4% Tillis


The Ninth District is largely unchanged and continues to be an interesting mix of affluent, suburban, socially moderate white areas in the western half of the district vs. racially diverse, socially conservative, impoverished and Trumpist areas in the east. Based off the 2016 elections, the GOP starts off with the advantage here.

56.0% Trump

56.6% Romney

56.7% Tillis


The Tenth District retreats from Asheville and instead takes the northern suburbs of Mecklenburg County, which are much more Republican. The result: Patrick McHenry is rewarded with the most GOP district in the state.

66.2% Trump

62.8% Romney

62.2% Tillis


With the GOP trend in Appalachia and Heath Shuler no longer being a factor, taking out Asheville from the Eleventh is no longer necessary, so it’s brought back in. The result is still a safe GOP district.

58.3% Trump

55.5% Romney

53.3% Tillis


The Twelfth loses the more Republican suburbs to the north and becomes a better pack. This is now the most Democratic district in the state.

23.7% Trump

25.5% Romney

24.9% Tillis


The new Thirteenth now goes from the Hickory area all the way up through Greensboro. The parts of Catawba County are new to the district. Northern Iredell County, including Statesville, is removed to the Fifth. Under the current maps, this is the weakest GOP district; now it’s been made stronger.

58.5% Trump

56.2% Romney

57.2% Tillis


The new Fourteenth Congressional District is based in the central part of the state and includes Chatham, Harnett, Lee, and Randolph counties, and the southern and eastern parts of Wake County. It has been drawn to favor the GOP.

57.2% Trump

58.4% Romney

56.8% Tillis

Some caveats for this map: it’s based on the assumption that the political environment and the partisan makeup of the congressional delegation will be the same in 2021. Obviously, much will change between now and then – incumbents will probably retire, run for higher office, or even lose their seats. The election results in 2020 might be dramatically different and the new map drawn will have to incorporate those changes. There might even be a SCOTUS decision prohibiting partisan gerrymandering.

Some will wonder if going for 11 seats is too aggressive and whether a 10-4 map would be safer. Which route to pursue will obviously depend on what happens in 2020, but with the 2016 results I see no reason for the GOP to cede another seat to the Democrats. Also, my experience in drawing a fourth Democratic seat is that it makes surrounding districts maybe 2%-3% more Republican while leaving the other districts unchanged. In other words, the benefits are marginal.

Alabama Presidential PVI by County 1944-2016

Picking up on a state-by-state analysis I began at Swing State Project before the 2012 elections, I will try my hand here, with results including 2012 and 2016. I will use Charlie Cook’s PVI when comparing counties. I know PVI itself is not the best way to gauge the partisan leanings of states, counties, or districts, but it can still be useful in making comparisons.

Here are the Cook PVIs I calculated, from 1944 to 2016.

As we all know, most of Alabama’s counties were much more Democratic than the national average in the “Solid South” years. Central Alabama around Birmingham was less Democratic than most of the state in these years because of some Appalachian and anti-secession attitudes, from “the Republic of” Winston County to Chilton County. The Republican trend spread to Jefferson County (Birmingham) itself as well as outside of Central Alabama to Dallas County (Selma), Montgomery (Montgomery), the Gulf counties Mobile (Mobile) and Baldwin, and a little in Houston County (Dothan) in the late 1950s, due to the option of “unpledged electors” on the ballot.

 photo AL PVI Diary 1_zpsvxqvfn5q.png

The option “unpledged” appeared on the ballot again in 1960, and the Republican trend continued in the aforementioned counties, turning Dallas, Montgomery, and Jefferson more Republican as per PVI. In the counties that were already trending Republican, the bottom fell out of Democratic numbers in 1964 as most of the counties flipped to R+ PVIs. The presence of the Tennessee Valley Authority in North Alabama kept most counties in that region in the D+ PVI range. The only blue county outside North Alabama in the 1964 map is heavily black and college county Macon (Tuskegee). Also-heavily black Bullock and Greene Counties joined Macon in 1968. Washington County, along with Mobile to the south, also trended slightly Democratic.

 photo AL PVI Diary 2_zpsgamr1skm.png

During the Nixon years, the racial divisions in Alabama began to become more apparent, with much of Central Alabama becoming very Republican, and North Alabama and the Florida counties beginning to trend that way. Carter temporarily stopped the bleeding, but the Reagan revolution would put an end to that for the foreseeable future. The Reagan revolution brought a rapid Republican trend in most counties in Alabama, resulting in many R+ counties in 1988 as the national margin went slightly less for Bush than for Reagan.

 photo AL PVI Diary 3_zpsuanrqqxn.png

In spite of two Southerners on the Democratic ticket in the 1990s, the Republican trend in Alabama continued, and the realignment of the counties, stalled in the Carter and early Bill Clinton years, picked up. North Alabama was the last holdout outside the Black Belt through 2000 probably because of the connections some voters there felt to the Tennessee Valley Authority and to Al Gore, who came from demographically similar Middle Tennessee.

 photo AL PVI Diary 4_zpsbljx01ww.png

The 2004 and 2008 elections saw the realignment pretty much consolidate, with the only Democratic counties for both elections in the Black Belt. Polarization continued into 2012 and 2016, with North Alabama catching up to most of the rest of the state, as memories of the Tennessee Valley Authority diminish with each passing day. Increasingly Democratic numbers from Birmingham made Jefferson the only county outside the Black Belt with a D+ PVI in 2016.

 photo AL PVI Diary 5_zpsmqs1po4o.png

Stop by The Elections Geek for more in-depth information on past elections.

The Documentary is Done

I arrived on this site 6 years ago with a tale that I was making a documentary about the 2009-2010 election and the Tea Party. And that’s just what it was for some time since I didn’t have the funds to finish it. That changed in 2015 and then something remarkable happened. My story about the origin of the angry voter became incredibly relevant. The angry voter was popping up everywhere and he or she wasn’t only part of the Tea Party. He supported Donald trump or Bernie Sanders.

The film will be finished in the next few weeks. Kelsey Grammer recorded the narration on Tuesday. We’re waiting to hear from our first festival. If we’re in a festival in your area, I want to make sure to invite you guys. And maybe we’ll just end up doing a screening in your city at some point.

If you’re interested email me your info at




My take on Texas


I was reading the comments on this post regarding the possibility that Texas may need to redistrict again by 2020. I decided to have a little bit of fun and create what might have passed muster. I did increase the number of Hispanic majority seats while making them as favorable to Republicans as possible. I also decided to focus on the compact aspect of VRA as much as possible, so I tried to make them and all the districts meet what I thought would be compact. I used C235 as the basis, and then I changed as felt like. I also tried to prevent many county splits. So, without further ado, here we go. Maps are below the statistics.

  1. 30.9% Obama, 69.1% McCain (See whole state)
  2. 40.5%, 59.5%; 41.6% White, 19.6% Black, 29.6% Hispanic (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  3. 38.1%, 61.9% (See Metroplex)
  4. 29.3%, 70.7% (See whole state)
  5. 36.1%, 63.9% (See whole state and Metroplex)
  6. 38.9%, 61.1% (See Metroplex)
  7. 43.6%, 56.4%; 48.4%, 8.9%, 32.1% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  8. 26.3%, 73.7% (See whole state)
  9. 80.7%, 19.3%; 10.5%, 41.5%, 36.6% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  10. 34.1%, 65.9% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  11. 24.6%, 75.4% (See whole state)
  12. 45.2%, 54.8% (See Metroplex)
  13. 22.6%, 77.4% (See whole state)
  14. 42.0%, 58.0% (See whole state and Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  15. 51.0%, 49.0%; 23.3%, 3.2%, 72.1% (See whole state and Hidalgo County)
  16. 65.2%, 34.8%; 14.7%, 2.9%, 80.2% (See whole state)
  17. 34.8%, 65.2% (See whole state)
  18. 71.9%, 28.1%; 13.9%, 23.8%, 58.8% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  19. 28.4%, 71.6% (See whole state)
  20. 50.9%, 49.1%; 31.2%, 4.2%, 59.8% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  21. 58.0%, 42.0%; 26.6%, 9.5%, 60.9% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  22. 41.1%, 58.9%; 42.2% White, 14.6% Black, 24.3% Hispanic, 16.7% Asian [Only district in which this group seemed noticeable] (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  23. 36.1%, 59.5%; 35.5%, 3.1%, 59.5% (See whole state)
  24. 37.2%, 62.8% (See Metroplex)
  25. 46.0%, 54.0% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  26. 36.9%, 63.1% (See whole map and Metroplex)
  27. 50.8%, 49.2%; 26.8%, 2.4%, 68.7% (See whole state and Hidalgo County)
  28. 50.6%, 49.4%; 25.5%, 2.3%, 70.0% (See whole state and Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  29. 52.6%, 47.4%; 25.6%, 10.6%, 59.2% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  30. 80.1%, 19.9%; 15.5%, 44.7%, 36.9% (See Metroplex)
  31. 43.2%, 56.8% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  32. 45.2%, 54.8% (See Metroplex)
  33. 62.8%, 37.2%; 18.8%, 11.5%, 65.8% (See Metroplex)
  34. 65.7%, 34.3%; 10.1%, .3%, 88.3% (See Hidalgo County)
  35. 73.9%, 26.1%; 39.2%, 11.0%, 42.7% (See Bexar, Harris, and Travis County)
  36. 30.1%, 69.9%

So, if I do my math right, this is 8 strong D seats (>55%), 1 lean D (51-55%), 4 swing seats (between 49-51% for either party), 3 lean R seats, and 20 strong R seats. I also count 2 Black plurality seats (9 and 30), 3 White plurality seats (2, 7, 22), 1 Hispanic plurality seat (35), and 11 Hispanic majority seats (15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28, 29, 33, 34). I am willing to send my file to anyone who wants to amend it.

Whole state


Bexar, Harris, and Travis County


The Metroplex


Hidalgo County

The Healthcare Bill May Lead to Republican Electoral Disaster

The healthcare bill in congress is likely to lead to dire electoral consequences for Republicans. I write this because the bill has been depicted as benefitting the rich and result in much higher expense for everyone else. If that’s what happens or people believe will happen, Republicans will be punished.

There’s an argument out there that if Republicans fail to pass a healthcare bill or the one they pass has flaws then Democrats will share the blame. After all, the ACA was their bill originally. It’s flaws are due to them. Democrats spent President Obama’s Presidency taking credit for any positives in the economy while at the same time blaming President Bush for any negatives. People assumed that eventually Democrats would “own the economy” because at some point it’d only be their actions that were affecting it. They never stopped blaming George Bush and the public accepted that.

I disagree with that reasoning. First, the press is usually going to depict Democrats positively and Republicans negatively. They supported the idea that the economy was “all Bush’s fault.” Republicans won’t be so lucky on healthcare. Articles are out already that they are ruining it and they haven’t done anything. Democrats were actually held accountable for a lot of their actions and didn’t fare well during the Obama years. Even if America didn’t blame them for the economy they blamed them for other things.

Obamacare is now in effect, a far different situation from 2009. Back then Democrats were taking no government involvement and created a system with a lot of government involvement. The baseline was nothing. The baseline here is real.

I’m aware of Obamacare’s negatives. It was promised as a way to control health insurance costs and premiums have skyrocketed. People who don’t get subsidies avoid the exchanges because the policies on the exchanges are pricey, have high deductibles, and cover fewer doctors and hospitals. Insurers keep pulling out of Obamacare exchanges and that’s going to lead to, in some counties, one or no insurers on the exchange. Prices will rise even higher or people won’t be able to get a policy at all.

That said, there are plenty of people either getting their insurance through the exchange or in Medicaid expansion. In 2009 Republicans could be against these handouts. No one was getting them, so people didn’t have a problem. Once people get handouts, however, they get very angry if you take them away. They don’t care if it’s a bad plan or if it’s collapsing. They want their free/discounted stuff.

Democrats have created entitlements going back to FDR and Social Security. The philosophy has been that it didn’t matter whether they did the entitlement well or if it was sustainable. Once people had the entitlement Republicans wouldn’t dare take it away and would have to fix it. That’s true. It doesn’t matter how negative people are about Obamacare. Take something away from people and they’ll vote you out of office.

This plan is getting savaged in the media. They don’t believe Republicans when they say this plan will be better for people. The Democratic plan was treated well and Democrats got creamed at the polls. I can’t see how hearing that your health insurance will either go away or become a lot more expensive won’t influence people.

The Republican plan repeals the Obamacare taxes. That fits Republican philosophy but doesn’t fit where America is now, because these taxes are on people perceived as rich. It doesn’t matter if these people aren’t paying taxes and the rich pay a huge share. The perception is that they’re paying too much and the rich aren’t paying their fair share. While Republicans might get support for not passing new taxes on the rich they won’t get much for repealing taxes on the rich.

The perception will be that the voter will have worse and more expensive healthcare while the rich will benefit. That’ll be a disaster for Republicans at the polls in 2018.

Is there a way to avoid it? Republicans would have to propose a completely different plan for it to be one people view as positive rather than negative. Not passing a plan at all might be better for them but if Obamacare continues to implode I doubt they’ll let the Republicans off the hook for not stopping it.

2018 Michigan State Senate Elections

Cross-posted at The Western RightRight Michigan, and Red Racing Horses.

All 38 seats in the Michigan Senate are up for election in 2014.  Republicans currently have a 27-11 supermajority, and have controlled the senate since 1983.  Republican control of the state senate has prevented democrats from complete control of Michigan’s government in some years, and stopped a lot of bad things from being passed.

Fortunately for Republicans, the Michigan state senate is up only in midterms, which usually favor Republicans much more than presidential years.  Republicans had a good year in 2014, picking up one state senate seat, following four pickups in 2010.

The 2010 redistricting produced a map that was moderately pro-Republican, while complying with all relevant laws.

Michigan Redistricting: Official Republican State Senate Map Released
Michigan Redistricting: Republican State Senate Map Passed

There are 26 open seats due to term-limits, 7 D and 19 R.  There may be other openings due to retirement or seeking another office.

All current state senators are former state representatives except three (Colbeck, Conyers, Hertel).  This pattern held in the past, and most credible candidates this time are current or former state reps.

I have included election data for the 2014 state senate election, and McCain (2008), Romney (2012), and Trump (2016) results in each district.  More data is available from Republican Michigander and RRH Elections.

Republican Michigander district profiles (see sidebar)
RRH Michigan Senate Data File

The McCain numbers look terrible for Republicans because he collapsed after publicly pulling out of Michigan.  The largest McCain percentage in any Michigan state senate district won by a democrat in the past twelve years is 46.2% in (old) district 31.

Here is a breakdown of the individual races.  State reps years in office are listed after their names, with P meaning present.

1. [Detroit riverfront, Downriver] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 28-72 McCain: 22.0 Romney: 21.5 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Coleman Young (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Several state reps may compete here.

2. [NE Detroit, Grosse Pointes] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 25-71 McCain: 20.1 Romney: 19.3 Trump: XX
Incumbent:  Bert Johnson (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Several state reps may compete here, including disgraced rep Brian Banks (12-17), who resigned in a plea bargain.

3. [West-central Detroit, Dearborn, Melvindale] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 20-80 McCain: 16.3 Romney: 14.5 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Morris Hood (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Several state reps may compete here.

4. [Central Detroit, Lincoln Park, Southgate, Allen Park] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 16-84 McCain: 18.5 Romney: 16.7 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Ian Conyers (D)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Virgil Smith resigned after pleading guilty to shooting at his ex-wife.  The 2016 special election was won by Ian Conyers, the great-nephew of Congressman John Conyers.

5. [W Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Redford] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 18-82 McCain: 20.6 Romney: 18.4 Trump: XX
Incumbent: David Knezek (D)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Knezek, who is white, won a split primary with 29% in 2014.

6. [SW Wayne, Westland, Taylor] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 38-62 McCain: 34.3 Romney: 35.1 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D)
Analysis: State reps Doug Geiss (08-14), Erika Geiss (14-P), Robert Kosowski (12-18), and Darrin Camilleri (16-P) are potential candidates.

7. [Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Wayne city] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 52-48 McCain: 47.3 Romney: 50.0 Trump: 49.0
Incumbent: Patrick Colbeck (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Laura Cox (14-P), who represented more than half of the district on the Wayne County commission, is likely the favorite here.  R state reps. Kurt Heise (10-16) and Jeff Noble (16-P) could also run.  D state reps Dain Slavens (08-14), who lost to Colbeck in 2014, and Kristy Pagan (14-P) could run.

8. [N/E Macomb] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 50.3 Romney: 54.0 Trump: 62.4
Incumbent: Jack Brandenburg (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps. Pete Lund (08-14), Peter Lucido (14-P), Ken Goike (10-16), and Tony Forlini (10-16) may run here.

9. [Warren, Roseville, Eastpointe, Fraser, S Clinton] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 32-68 McCain: 37.7 Romney: 36.7 Trump: 44.2
Incumbent: Steven Bieda (D term-limited)
Analysis: D state reps Jon Switalski (08-14), Derek Miller (14-16), Patrick Green (16-P), John Chirkun (14-P), Harold Haugh (08-14), and Marilyn Lane (10-16) could run.

10. [Sterling Heights, Macomb, N Clinton] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 63-37 McCain: 47.8 Romney: 51.1 Trump: 58.4
Incumbent: Tory Rocca (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps Leon Drolet (00-06), Kim Meltzer (06-10), Jeff Farrington (10-16), and Diane Farrington (16-P) may run, though the Farringtons live just outside the district.  D state reps Henry Yanez (12-18) and William Sowerby (16-P) could run.

11. [Farmington, Southfield, Oak Park, Madison Heights] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 24-76 McCain: 25.8 Romney: 26 Trump: 25.6
Incumbent: Vincent Gregory (D term-limited)
Analysis: Gregory narrowly defeated state reps, Vicki Barnett (08-14) and Ellen Cogen Lipton (08-14) in the 2014 primary.  Both could run again, along with reps Christine Grieg (14-P), Robert Whittenberg (14-P), and Jeremy Moss (14-P).

12. [NE Oakland, Pontiac, Bloomfield Twp.] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 57-43 McCain: 46.4 Romney: 50.2 Trump: 50.3
Incumbent: Jim Marleau (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps Bradford Jacobsen (10-16), John Reilly (16-P), Michael McCready (12-18), and Jim Tedder (14-P) could run.  D state house minority leader Tim Greimel (12-18) could run, but low turnout in Pontiac hurts Ds in midterms in this district.

13. [Troy, Rochester, Royal Oak, Birmingham] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 46.5 Romney: 50.4 Trump: 46.9
Incumbent: Marty Knollenberg (R)
Analysis: Knollenberg won a very close primary in 2014.  D state rep Jim Townsend (10-16) could run.

14. [SW Genesee, NW Oakland, Waterford] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 48.5 Romney: 51.9 Trump: 58.9
Incumbent: David Robertson (R term-limited)
Analysis: Surprisingly, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who once represented this area as a state rep (98-04), is exploring moving down to the state senate.  If she doesn’t run, state rep Joe Graves (12-18) would likely be the favorite.

15. [SW Oakland] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 48.3 Romney: 52.9 Trump: 52.2
Incumbent: Mike Kowall (R term-limited)
Analysis: Kowall beat Tea Party leader Matt Maddock only 50-43 in the 2014 primary.  Maddock may run again, and state reps Klint Kesto (12-18) and Jim Runestad (14-P) could run.

16. [Jackson, Hillsdale, Branch] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 50.8 Romney: 55.6 Trump: 64.8
Incumbent: Mike Shirkey (R)
Analysis: Shirkey, who led the fights for both Right to Work and Medicaid expansion, may be a candidate for leadership in the state senate.

17. [Monroe, Lenawee] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 51-46 McCain: 47.6 Romney: 49.9 Trump: 61.5
Incumbent: Dale Zorn (R)
Analysis: Rs have held this competitive district for at least the last five elections.  Zorn defeated rep Doug Spade (98-04) in 2014.  Other possible D candidates include state reps Dudley Spade (04-10) and Bill Lavoy (12-16).

18. [Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 28-72 McCain: 24.9 Romney: 27.0 Trump: 23.6
Incumbent: Rebekah Warren (D term-limited)
Analysis: Ann Arbor loves electing left-wing feminist state senators, including Warren, Liz Brater, Alma Wheeler Smith, and Lana Pollack.  D state reps Jeff Irwin (10-16), David Rutledge (10-16), Adam Zemke (12-18), Yousef Rabhi (16-P), and Ronnie Petersen (16-P) could run.

19. [Calhoun, Barry, Ionia] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 49.6 Romney: 53.4 Trump: 61.8
Incumbent: Mike Nofs (R term-limited)
Analysis: R former rep. Mike Callton (10-16) is likely to run.  Reps. John Bizon (14-P) and Jase Bolger (08-14) could also run.  D rep Kate Segal (08-14) could run.

20. [Kalamazoo County] Tossup
SS 2014: 45.5-45.4 McCain: 40.1 Romney: 43.3 Trump: 43.2
Incumbent: Margaret O’Brien (R)
Analysis: Kalamazoo County is a battleground, with democrats usually winning the top of the ticket, and Republicans doing better at the bottom.  In 2014, O’Brien (10-14) defeated D state rep Sean McCann (10-14) and Libertarian former state rep Lorence Wenke (04-10).  D state rep Jon Hoadley (14-P) is a likely candidate.

21. [Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 64-36 McCain: 48.1 Romney: 54.6 Trump: 60.5
Incumbent: John Proos (R term-limited)
Analysis: State reps Al Pscholka (10-16), Dave Pagel (12-18), Sharon Tyler (08-12), Matt Lori (08-14) and Aaron Miller (14-P) could run.

22. [Livingston, W Washtenaw] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 59-41 McCain: 52.8 Romney: 57.2 Trump: 59.2
Incumbent: Joe Hune (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Lana Theis (14-P) is likely the favorite. Other possible candidates are state reps Henry Vaupel (14-P), Cindy Denby (08-14), and Bill Rogers (08-14).

23. [Ingham] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 34-66 McCain: 31.9 Romney: 34.5 Trump: 34.6
Incumbent: Curtis Hertel Jr. (D)
Analysis: Hertel, then Ingham Register of Deeds, won in 2014.

24. [Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee, NE Ingham] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 47.1 Romney: 50.1 Trump: 56.1
Incumbent: Rick Jones (R term-limited)
Analysis: Speaker Tom Leonard (12-18), and state reps Tom Barrett (14-P), Ben Glardon (10-16), and Ben Frederick (16-P) could run.

25. [St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 50.1 Romney: 55.6 Trump: 68.4
Incumbent: Phil Pavlov (R term-limited)
Analysis: State reps Dan Lauwers (12-18), Andrea LaFontaine (10-16), Pam Hornberger (16-P), Paul Muxlow (10-16), and Shane Hernandez (16-P) could run.

26. [Van Buren, Allegan, Kentwood] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 51.5 Romney: 55.4 Trump: 58.9
Incumbent: Tonya Schuitmaker (R term-limited)
Analysis: Tonya is likely to run for Attorney General. State reps Aric Nesbitt (10-16), Beth Griffin (16-P), Bob Genetski (08-14), Mary Whiteford (16-P), Ken Yonker (10-16), and Steve Johnson (16-P) could run.

27. [Flint, central Genesee] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 23-77 McCain: 24.0 Romney: 25.0 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Jim Ananich (D)
Analysis: Ananich, who won a special election in 2013, is now the D state senate minority leader.

28. [N Kent, Walker] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 66-34 McCain: 56.5 Romney: 61.1 Trump: 61.9
Incumbent: Peter MacGregor (R)
Analysis: MacGregor holds one of the safest R districts in Michigan.

29. [Grand Rapids, SE Kent] Tossup
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 42.8 Romney: 46.8 Trump: 41.9
Incumbent: Dave Hildenbrand (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district has been trending away from Rs at the top of the ticket, but has more R strength downballot.  Dave LaGrand, 2006 and 2010 D nominee, is now a state rep (16-P). D state rep Winnie Brinks (12-18) could also run.  D state chairman Brandon Dillon (10-15) seems unlikely to run. Former R state rep Lisa Lyons (10-16) would be a strong candidate, but is now Kent County Clerk.  R state reps Chris Afendoulis (14-P) and Thomas Albert (16-P) could also run.

30. [Ottawa County] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 71-29 McCain: 62.1 Romney: 67.4 Trump: 66.3
Incumbent: Arlan Meekhof (R term-limited)
Analysis: Ottawa County is usually the most Republican in Michigan.  R state reps Roger Victory (12-18), Amanda Price (10-16), Jim Lilly (16-P), Daniella Garcia (14-P), and Joe Haveman (08-14) could run.

31. [Bay, Tuscola, Lapeer] Tossup
SS 2014: 55-45 McCain: 47.2 Romney: 52.0 Trump: 64.4
Incumbent: Mike Green (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district has alternated between parties every 8-10 years since the 1980s.  Mike Green narrowly won the 2014 primary 50-46 over conservative state rep. Kevin Daley of Lapeer County.  Daley has already declared for 2018.  R state reps Edward Canfield (14-P) and Gary Howell (16-P) could also run.  D state rep Charles Brunner, a moderate from Bay City, is likely to run.

32. [Saginaw, W Genesee] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 54-46 McCain: 43.1 Romney: 45.9 Trump: 53.2
Incumbent: Ken Horn (R)
Analysis: Incredibly, despite D dominance of Saginaw County, Rs have won this district for the last seven elections.  Ds tend to nominate black state reps from Saginaw who don’t appeal to the white union voters who dominate the rest of the district.  D state rep Vanessa Guerra (14-P) could run.

33. [Montcalm, Isabella, Gratiot, Mecosta, Clare] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 57-43 McCain: 46.8 Romney: 51.5 Trump: 62.3
Incumbent: Judy Emmons (R term-limited)
Analysis: State reps Rick Outman (10-16), James Lower (16-P), Kevin Cotter (10-16), and Roger Hauck (16-P) could run.

34. [Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana] Tossup
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 39.8 Romney: 46.0 Trump: 55.5
Incumbent: Geoff Hansen (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Jon Bumstead (10-16) of Newaygo, an early endorser of Trump, is already running.  State rep. Holly Hughes (10-12, 14-18) of Muskegon County is also likely to run.  Bumstead is somewhat more conservative.  D state reps Marcia Hovey Wright (10-16) and Terry Sabo (16-P) could run.

35. [NC Lower Peninsula] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 60-40 McCain: 49.8 Romney: 54.5 Trump: 64.6
Incumbent: Darwin Booher (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps. Ray Franz (10-16), Phil Potvin (10-16), Bruce Rendon (10-16), Curt VanderWall (16-P), Michelle Hoitenga (16-P), and Daire Rendon (16-P) could run.

36. [NE Lower Peninsula, Midland] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 50.8 Romney: 56.0 Trump: 65.4
Incumbent: Jim Stamas (R)
Analysis: This district was competitive in 2002, but has moved right since then.  Stamas is a leadership candidate.

37. [NW Lower Peninsula, E Upper Peninsula] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 51.9 Romney: 56.8 Trump: 61.1
Incumbent: Wayne Schmidt (R)
Analysis: Schmidt won a bitter primary in 2014.  He may get a challenge from the right in the 2018 primary.

38. [Upper Peninsula excluding Mackinac, Chippewa, Luce] Tossup
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 46.2 Romney: 51.0 Trump: 59.0
Incumbent: Tom Casperson (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district was held for Ds for decades until Casperson won it in 2010.  The likely R candidate is state rep Ed McBroom (10-16) of Dickinson County.  Moderate D state rep Scott Dianda (12-18) from western UP is likely to run.  D state rep John Kivela (12-18) of Marquette, who pled after being charged with “super drunk” driving could also run.

Summary of Ratings:
Safe democrat: 11
Toss-up: 5
Lean Republican: 4
Safe Republican: 18

GOP should stop gerrymandering for its own good

Yes it is time, way past time really. Otherwise, the GOP  runs the risk of winning the battle, while losing the war. Focusing on CD districts, it seems pretty clear to me, that the net effect of gerrymanders currently in place nets the GOP a max of maybe 10 CD’s nationwide. I suspect it’s less now, as the the GOP loses cosmopolitan voters in big metro areas, while cutting into the white working class elsewhere in more exurban and rural areas, and smaller industrial towns. Meanwhile the Dems are launching a jihad to gerrymander CD’s in their favor, on the premise that the share of the pie in legislatures, should be more reflective of the share of the pie in statewide popular votes. That has some appeal, and the GOP is more vulnerable to the extent it plays its own gerrymandering game.

A case in point is PA. Just look at the graphics. This is a map I drew based on projected 2020 census numbers, in other words, a map that one might draw in 2021. Without a gerrymander, net the GOP cedes the CD that PA losses after the next census. Sure, the PVI numbers are based on the 2016 election alone, where Trump cut into the white working class in a way that might not hold for the GOP in general going forward. But that is not the point. The point is that the GOP abandoning its hideous gerrymander in PA, does not cost it much, while giving it the high ground, the better to the deflect the coming Dem jihad on this issue. It’s kind of ironic, that the GOP Dem pack of PA-17, is now having the effect of saving the seat for the Dems, that otherwise might well go down the drain. One would think, the GOP would go about the unpacking business. Yes, some seats are somewhat marginal, that could with a hideous gerrymander, be made safe GOP, but I think more marginal seats is just what the public square needs. It tends to encourage folks to run, actually interested in trying to find common ground, rather than divisive slash and burn policies, that in the end tend to be public policy failures. Just the opinion of this old man, who has been running around the track since rocks cooled.

So says this former Pub, now a Dem, but really not a very partisan person. I am more of a data based good government person, more of a technocrat that anything else. What do you think? Yes, I know it might be something of a pipe dream. In my opinion, both parties are well, not very helpful when it comes to intelligent public policy. No, they tend to be more into high school towel snapping, but I digress.


Below is a slightly revised PA map that gets a slightly higher score, using totally objective criteria. I won’t bore you as to the details as to why, unless someone is interested. But as you can see, it looks a bit better to the eye. Avoid chops, either by county or county subdivision, and  minimize erosity, and keep metro areas intact, as much as one can, to get the max score. A computer does it all. Mere humans need not apply. When it comes to redistricting, humans are just too biased. Even God may be too biased to do it. One needs to set up tight rules in advance, and let a computer do the implementation. This works guys. It really does. 

Addendum 2:

Somebody below mentioned Missouri, the “Show Me” state, expressing doubt that the rules as outlined by me, would effect anything other than aesthetic excrescence of a map for the state. So I drew the map, based on 202o census projections to find out. What do you guys think? Is it map malpractice, or a museum quality object d’art?  I feel the force is with the creator of this algorithm, yes I do.  And you guys are getting an advance preview. Isn’t that exciting? 🙂


Addendum 3:

Addendum 4; a higher scoring Michigan map

Addendum 5: New York map based on the March 2017 county population estimates projected forward to the 2020 April, 1, 2020 census date. 


The Torymander, Part 6: The West Country

Well, here we are; the last diary in the series. The West Country is culturally similar but subtly different from the rest of Southern England. It has a fairly conservative culture, but less militant than that of the home counties. It values relative moderation in its leaders, but has a fairly intense dislike of socialism outside of a few pockets of red. That means that the two largest parties in the region are the Tories and and the LibDems. By 2015, the LibDems had managed to capture a very good share of the seats in the region after decades of hard work. That all got wiped away in an instant as the Tories took every LibDem seat in the West Country.








Dorset is probably the most conservative part of the region, with big retirement and tourist sectors and very few non-white people. The population growth here is okay, but not blowing the doors off. Therefore, it loses most of a seat, taking its total from eight seats to seven so that Wiltshire doesn’t lose one (Bournemouth West is the seat that gets axed). All seven seats are Safe Conservative, as was the seat that was eliminated.





Wiltshire is hair less conservative than Dorset, but all seven constituencies here are also Safe Conservative. The LibDems used to compete for South Swindon, but no longer.





Gloucestershire actually had some competitive seats, but no longer. Stroud expands a bit and moves from Likely Conservative to Safe Conservative. Thornbury and Yate should theoretically be a target for recapture for the LibDems. However, its successor of Dursley, Thornbury and Yate is now Safe Conservative as well. All seven other seats keep that same rating.


Somerset and Bristol:



There’s a similar story in Somerset. The LibDems used to have several seats here, but lost them all in 2015. Bath would still be competitive, except that it added some rural territory and moved to Safe Conservative. All eight other seats are playing the same tune.

For a change of pace, Bristol is an island of red in a sea of blue. Bristol East and Bristol South are Safe Labour. Bristol North West is Safe Conservative. Bristol West is somewhat competitive between Labour and the Greens, so we’ll call it Likely Labour.


Devon and Cornwall:



And here we come to Devon. Fun fact: Devon is the home of the protagonist Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. As with Somerset and Gloucestershire, the LibDems used to perform well here. With their current poll numbers, though, they’re only really competing to take back Torbay, and that’s Likely Conservative. The two Plymouth seats, though Tory-held, are competitive. The Plymouth seats repeat the pattern the we’ve seen with other two-seat cities; the more conservative seat takes some leftist or swingy territory from the more leftist seat, while the more leftist seat takes in some very conservative surrounding territory. To accomplish that, Plymouth Moor View takes in more of Plymouth and moves from Tossup to Likely Conservative, becoming Plymouth North. Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport also moves from Lean Conservative to Likely Conservative and becomes Plymouth South (Labour is the second party in both seats). Exeter remains Safe Labour. The other six seats are Safe Conservative.

Cornwall is a land all it’s own. It’s part of the Celtic Fringe, and the locals recently managed to save their native language from dying out. Unlike Wales, though, it’s historically had a privileged position; before the Great Reform Bill, Cornwall had forty-four MPs because The Crown heavily valued the local tin mining industry. These days, Cornwall has six constituencies (in the new map one seat has part of Devon). Five of them were already Safe Conservative. St. Ives was Likely Conservative, but it had to expand and becomes Safe Conservative as well.


And there you have; That’s the last in the series, as I won’t be doing a full piece on Scotland (though I may include a few notes on it in the future). The final totals (sans Scotland) are: 290 Safe Conservative, 157 Safe Labour, 19 Likely Conservative, 17 Likely Labour, 2 Likely Liberal Democrat, 2 Likely Plaid Cymru, 12 Lean Conservative, 6 Lean Labour, 1 Lean Liberal Democrat, 1 Lean Plaid Cymru, 21 Tossup. You read that right, folks. The Tories could lose every Tossup and still have a comfortable majority of 321. Remember, these ratings assume a movement to the Tories of four points or less, which is pretty modest given their current poll numbers. The flip side of that is that a few of the Tossups don’t involve Team Blue and Labour has relatively few Likely seats that can be poached in a big Tory win. May should have a fairly comfortable majority, but she’d probably need the supposed breakthrough in Scotland to materialize in good seat gains to get a very large majority.

11-3 North Carolina

Here’s my 11-3 NC map, as promised. This is going to be quick and dirty because I’m working to get the last UK diary out in a few days. These aren’t final, but they’ve got rough population estimates. Once we get the real numbers, the map can be refined. Keep in mind that we’re using 2008 numbers, so adjust accordingly.





This one is blacker than the current district, so there’s no problem on that front. Not much changes except the acquisition of part of Nash County.



Pro-Dem trends in Wake County should be mostly counteracted by exurban Republican growth in Franklin and Johnston Counties.



Jones will be fine in his own little world and he even gets to keep his beloved Camp Lejeune. I suppose that if you dropped Goldsboro into this seat you could get a bit more juice out of it to use in the 14th, but we can try that adjustment another day.



David Price will remain one of the most anonymous members of the House who ever actually had tough races.



Foxx should be fine here as this seat should have trended rightward a bit over the last few cycles.



The same goes for Rev. Walker.



I had to play around with Fayetteville a fair amount to get 7, 8, and 9 right, but I think I found the balance. I would be worried that a possible successor to Rouzer comes from Wake County. I guess that just gives us license to split up Wake County more in 2030, though.



The challenge with this district was actually making it LESS Republican, but Fayetteville obliged me.



And here we see the fruits of that effort. Pittenger isn’t going to break any margin records, but this should be fine for him.



There’s not much to say here, so I won’t.



Ditto on this one.



I’m almost certain that adams will get another primary challenge because she doesn’t actually live in Charlotte. If she’s in office to see a map like this though, she;ll likely be entrenched.



Tedd Budd actually gets some PVI improvement. I guess that I could have given the 6th a bit of help, but again, that detail can be worked out later.



And here is the new district. As I said earlier, some moves with the 7th and 3rd could boost the numbers a bit. However, it should be noted that Trump will have done a lot better than McCain here. Also, the growth in the area (and there’s a lot of it) is mostly Yankee Rs, especially military and middle-class retirees.