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Leading Off:

MA-Sen: Recently, I wondered about a discrepancy in the partisan composition of two MA-Sen Democratic primary polls: one from PPP, the other from MassINC. While the wording in MassINC's toplines PDF was a little confusing (they referred to all of their demographic categories as "questions"), it turns out that they were using party registration figures while PPP, as always, simply relied on partisan self-identification from its respondents. As you'd expect, these two metrics can yield very different results, and in a separate item, MassINC shows just how divergent they can be:






Unenrolled / Other

Generally speaking, do you usually consider yourself a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, or something else? Democrat















Something Else





Don’t Know / Refused





Using data from an October poll, MassINC compared partisan self-ID (the column highlighted in gray) with actual registration data. As you can see when reading horizontally, only 80 percent of self-identified Democrats (who comprise 36 percent of respondents) are actually registered as such, while 13 percent are independents. Somewhat similarly, 76 percent of Republicans are officially members of the GOP while 8 percent are indies and, weirdly, 4 percent are enrolled Democrats! (Only 15 percent of the sample were self-ID'ed Republicans, though, so we're talking very tiny numbers.) Meanwhile, about three quarters of self-professed independents (who make up close to half of the poll) are members of third parties or are "unenrolled" in either party, but a full quarter are actually registered Dems or Republicans.

It's for this reason that many pollsters (like the aforementioned PPP) prefer party self-ID to registration. Indeed, about 20 states don't even have registration by party, so this kind of data doesn't even exist. And in certain places, like some Southern states, there's still a considerable "Dixiecrat overhang," as I like to call it, whereby lots of voters are registered as Democrats due to tradition, even though they probably would never pull the lever for Team Blue. For instance, almost 55 percent of Kentucky voters are still enrolled as Democrats, despite the state's conservative nature.

It's not clear to me why MassINC likes to use registration figures, particularly since they themselves acknowledge that the overlap with partisan self-identification "is not close to perfect." Indeed, given how fluid party ID can be, it seems like you can miss real movement if you rely on registration instead of self-ID, since it's a lot easier to change your mind about what party you identify with when talking to a pollster versus actually bothering to fill out a new voter registration form. But this is still an interesting and illustrative example of the differences between self identification and voter registration statistics.


NE-Sen, -Gov, -01: Republican state Auditor Mike Foley says he's openly considering any of four electoral possibilities next year: Senate, governor, the 1st Congressional District (presumably if Rep. Jeff Fortenberry looks for a promotion of his own), or another term as auditor. Republicans (and Democrats) are all still waiting to see if term-limited Gov. Dave Heineman runs for Senate, though, as that will inform a lot of other decisions.


AR-Gov: During his unsuccessful attempt to unseat then-Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the 2010 Democratic primary, unions were some of ex-LG Bill Halter's biggest backers. So it's little surprise to see one big labor group already getting behind him in his bid for governor: the United Steelworkers, who represent some 850,000 members nationwide.


AR-04: Democratic congressional recruitment in Arkansas last cycle was the pits—not a single candidate broke 40 percent in November, in a state that featured a 3 D, 1 R delegation as recently as 2010. Times, though, have changed in the Razorback State, and it may be a while before we elect another Dem there, but at least one guy is willing to consider a try: State Sen. Bruce Maloch says that if freshman GOP Rep. Tom Cotton runs for Senate, he'd "definitely be interested" in looking at the race.

If Cotton doesn't leave his seat open, though, then Maloch say he is (understandably) less enthused about the prospect of running. Despite serving in the House for less than two months, though, Cotton may well seek a promotion (many news reports suggest he's the preferred choice of the Republican establishment), so Maloch may get his shot. But seeing as Mitt Romney won this seat by a punishing 62-36 margin, he'll still have a hell of a time even if he doesn't have to face an incumbent.

CA-21: It looks like Democrats won't get the guy who once was their top choice for California's 21st next year: State Sen. Michael Rubio is resigning to take a job as a lobbyist for Chevron, and he pretty clearly has no interest in politics anymore ("my current professional path has left little opportunity to be home for those who are most important to me"). Rubio specifically mentioned his youngest daughter, who was born with Down syndrome in late 2011, leading Rubio to abandon plans to run for Congress last cycle. That left Democrats without any strong candidates, ultimately handing this blue-tilting seat to Republican David Valadao. But even without Rubio, Valadao will be a top target for Dems next year.

A special election will also be necessary for Rubio's state Senate seat, which looks to be safely Democratic. Unfortunately, Rubio's departure does temporarily deprive California Democrats of super-majority status in the Senate thanks to some other vacancies, but we'll get it back shortly (perhaps as soon as next month).

IL-02: So here's a copy of that mailer from the Illinois State Rifle Association, the local affiliate of the NRA that just sent out some lit on behalf of ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the Democratic primary. It's a cheap two-sided postcard, printed in black ink (and sporting a union bug!) that weirdly conveys the message that state Sen. Toi Hutchinson is still in the race. (The piece went out just the other day, after Hutchinson dropped out, so it seems like there's no excuse.) Mostly it's just an attack on NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, whose super PAC has spent some $2 million on the race.

IL-02 ISRA mailer pt. 1
The back side features a wall of text (no photos, even), the nut of which is this:
The Bloomberg plan is to create a nanny state where the government controls what you eat, what you drink, how you travel, your health-care — Bloomberg wants to control it all.
Other than paranoid black helicopter-fearing maniacs (who don't typically vote in Democratic primaries), please tell me who is going to be receptive to this message? And oh man. Just above the address area, they manage to misspell the current month as "Februay"! They misspell "Halvorson" as "Halvorsen," too—in a four-line paragraph where they also spell it properly. What a bunch of clowns. If this is the best the NRA has to offer, then Democrats really ought to feel a lot more gung-ho about taking them on in the future.

MA-05: In the previous Digest, we ran through a long list of possible Democrats who might run for Rep. Ed Markey's seat, should he prevail in the upcoming Senate special election. One name was mentioned in error, though: Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn announced a little while back that he would not make a bid for Congress. McGlynn, notes the Globe, briefly ran for the House in 1984, when Markey considered seeking the state's then-open Senate seat. But Markey ultimately backed down, allowing John Kerry—the man he is now hoping to replace—to succeed Paul Tsongas. McGlynn likewise abandoned his congressional hopes and later became mayor in 1988, serving ever since.

Grab Bag:

WATN?: Justin Lamar Sternad, the fake Democrat put up by ex-Rep. David Rivera to try to harm Joe Garcia in the primary, was indicted on Friday afternoon on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws. Sternad, a conservative without any money, somehow managed to pay for a host of mailers attacking Garcia (on incredibly specious bullshit), but the Miami Herald's reporting made it seem all but certain that the ethically challenged Rivera was behind the whole scheme. Unfortunately, according to the Herald, River is not named in the indictment, but perhaps he'll be charged separately at a later time.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's David Rivera, good friend of Marco Rubio (5+ / 0-)

    and still co-owners of a house here in Tallahassee. One must always tie the 2 best buddies - preferably by a chain gang irons!

    "As long as Unicorns roam the earth, evil can never harm the pure of heart."

    by PHScott on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:31:11 AM PST

  •  That ISRA/NRA flyer has the looks of an Army (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Aquarius40, stevenaxelrod

    Stencil that might have been used on a wood box or crate of ammunition decades ago. (My frame of reference is pre-VN service.) Perhaps they thought it would evoke positive memories from old vets. Can't think of any other reason for such an ugly and bizarre flyer.

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:15:16 AM PST

  •  Massachusetts is an odd duck. (5+ / 0-)
    Somewhat similarly, 76 percent of Republicans are officially members of the GOP while 8 percent are indies and, weirdly, 4 percent are enrolled Democrats
    That 4 percent is not that weird, actually. There's essentially a two-party system in MA: Liberal Democrats and Conservative Democrats (see Senate race). I suspect that the 4 percent that are enrolled Democrats who vote Republican or identify that way are conservative Democrats who vote Democratic in some races for conservative candidates, and Republican nationally or for Governor. They may in fact only be registered Democrats out of tradition and to be able to vote in a Dem primary to keep their conservative State rep safe from a primary challenge.

    Maine is not that dissimilar. Many people in the second congressional district vote time after time for conservative Democrat Mike Michaud but likely voted for Romney for President and maybe even LePage for governor. The "liberal" Massachusetts of the national imagination essentially exists only inside Rte. 128 and outside of South Boston.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:15:27 AM PST

    •  I'm sure the MD numbers would be similar (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, pademocrat

      As blue as Maryland is, a lot of the registered Dems are blue collar types that have always been Democrats but usually vote for Republicans now. The idea of Maryland being solidly blue isn't true outside of Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and Baltimore City, although its starting to spread out a big because of people moving to the exurbs for cheaper housing.

  •  It may make sense for Reps to reg dem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, dc1000, pademocrat

    In some counties, where the general will always go to a democrat, the primary is the only game in town.  That may explain why some Reps register as Dems.  I don't know if Mass has crossover primary voting in local elections.

    •  Not that I know of. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      When I voted in MA (three or four years ago) my voter registration card was stamped "Democrat" and my party affiliation was listed on the voter list at the polls.

      See my explanation above (or below, I have to refresh) as to what I think is going on with the 4 percent of registered Dems that identify as GOP voters.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:20:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think MA is like RI (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      where independents can vote in either primary but once you vote in the primary, your party affiliation changes to the party whose primary you voted in.

      Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

      by sapelcovits on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:52:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Massachusetts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, stevenaxelrod

        First, the registration data does not appear to be right.  There are way too many Republicans.  Republicans are between 11 and 12%

        Second, having done petitioning in MA, I can assure you that asking people in which party they are registered is apt to lead to wrong answers, though less than was once the case.

        With respect to voting in primaries, MA rules have gradually changed from: "Independents (which we call "Unenrolleds", because "Independent Voters Party" was at one time a Party) may vote in primaries, but become whatever they voted in", to "Independents may vote in primaries, are momentarily re-registered into whichever major party they belong to, but are  re-registered as independent on the way out".  Note that people registered in minor parties (which we call "Political Designations") are not able to vote in primaries.

        Also, everyone gets on the ballot by petitioning.  Major party candidates (D, R, sometimes Green or Libertarian) can only use signatures of their own party or independents.  Minor party candidates can use any registered voter.

        We can have change for the better.

        by phillies on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:01:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Something REALLY wrong with the table (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, xynz

    106% of Independents belong to something. That's not rounding error.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:45:21 AM PST

    •  Not the table (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, blue aardvark, Caj

      The interpretation.

      It's not that 4% of self identified Republicans are actually registered Democrats, it's that 4% of registered Democrats self-identify as Republicans.  The table should be read down each column, not across the rows.

      "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

      by libdevil on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:49:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The diarist said to read across horizontally: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark
        As you can see when reading horizontally, only 80 percent of self-identified Democrats (who comprise 36 percent of respondents) are actually registered as such, while 13 percent are independents. Somewhat similarly, 76 percent of Republicans are officially members of the GOP while 8 percent.....

        In the Fox News Christian Nation, public schools won't teach sex education and evolution; instead they'll have an NRA sponsored Shots for Tots: Gunz in Schoolz program.

        by xynz on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:31:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which doesn't mean it's right (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ltsply2, xynz, Mokurai

          If you read horizontally, you find, as blue aardvark noted, 106% of self-identified independents belong to either party or no party.  And 94% of self-identified Democrats belong to either party or no party.  The numbers don't add up.  Read down the columns, they make perfect sense.  Of registered Democrats, 80% self-identify as Dems, 15% as Independents, 4% as Republicans and 1% each either identified as something else or didn't answer.  Those numbers add up to 100% with a reasonable rounding error.

          It doesn't matter what the diarist said to do when that instruction is to read the table incorrectly.

          "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

          by libdevil on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:55:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Reading horizontally is wrong. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ltsply2, xynz

          These are percentages that add up vertically:  80% of registered democrats identify as democrats, not vice-versa.

          The table doesn't say what the diarist thinks it does.  To find the % of self-identified democrats who are registered democrats, you need to compute 80A/(80A+1B+13C), where A, B and C are the numbers/percentages of party registration.  

          That information isn't given in the table, but under any reasonable guess for A, B, and C, the value should be higher than 80%.

          Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

          by Caj on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:40:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  PA-GOV: Inching Forward (5+ / 0-)

    Two Schwartz items this morning. John Baer, Phila Daily News:

    In November, even December, Schwartz seemed certain that she wouldn't challenge Tom Corbett for governor. Now she seems certain that she will.

    "It is my intention," she tells me, to give up her House seat and take on T.C.

    Why the change? Not so much frustration with Congress or being in the House minority, she says. Instead, it's more an "opportunity" to push priorities and issues related to jobs, education and economic development she sees largely ignored.

    "I am very disappointed in the lack of leadership, vision and effectiveness of this governor," says Schwartz.

    And National Journal notes one national implication:
    Schwartz was named to the top fundraising post for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in December. It’s a key job—nearly $184 million in donations came through the DCCC’s doors in the 2012 cycle—ahead of what’s expected to be another tough midterm election.

    But Schwartz appears to have other political ambitions on her mind. In recent weeks, the chatter has grown loud that she will run for Pennsylvania governor next year and thus depart Congress. Earlier this month, one of her political advisers, Neil Deegan, registered a handful of potential gubernatorial domain names, including,,, and Her advisers are doing little to tamp down the speculation....

    It seems unlikely that Schwartz could serve as both House Democrats’ fundraiser-in-chief and the party’s standard-bearer in a big-state, big-money gubernatorial race. But as Schwartz explores a challenge to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, she is remaining in her DCCC post. And, from Schwartz’s perspective, why not? The DCCC finance position opens up a national network of potential new contributors to her. She could also opt to skip the governor’s race, though that appears unlikely at the moment.

    •  And one more. (0+ / 0-)

      St. Sen. Mike Stack (D-NE Phila) wats to be considered:

      [T]he Northeast is more like Pittsburgh or Scranton than Center City, Stack argues. And though he has supported her, he thinks Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County is too liberal to win statewide.

      "She's done a great job in Congress and is on the fast track to leadership," Stack said Friday in an interview at the Tiffany Diner on Roosevelt Boulevard. "I think Allyson can best serve Pennsylvania in Washington."...

      Stack disputes one of the strategic assumptions underlying the Schwartz team's planning: that the election of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the first woman to win that post, heralds a new, more open-minded era in Pennsylvania politics. That era, the thinking goes, naturally would favor a certain congresswoman from Jenkintown.

      Kane, a former upstate prosecutor, "ran a tough law-and-order crime-fighting campaign," Stack said. "It's not only that she's an attractive lady and a smart lady; she out-Republicaned the Republicans on crime. The difference is, Allyson doesn't have that kind of track record."

      He said Democrats in Pennsylvania have often lost on values questions, what he calls "the guns-and-God issue." For the record, Stack says he owns a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol and has a permit to carry, though he doesn't. "This state is not really a Democratic state," he said. "It's a conservative hybrid." He and some other Democrats worry that some of Schwartz's positions - she once ran a women's clinic and strongly favors abortion rights - could help Corbett, who will be well-funded, win next year.

      •  Not sure to make of Stack's analysis (0+ / 0-)

        On the one hand, that sounds like "Reagan Democrat" talk that may have been valid in the 1980s but feels dated now.  However, the overall Democratic decline in non-central city western PA is concerning enough that I can't totally dismiss it.

        As for Knox, how many times has he run for office already?  He seemed like a strong candidate for mayor for a time in 2007, but lately seems to be taking on an aura of a not-very-serious "perennial candidate"..

        37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

        by Mike in MD on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:31:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Schwartz would be a strong candidate, but (0+ / 0-)

      her past progressive voting history will hurt her among many PA voters.  A weak and disliked Republican incumbent opponent might be just the ticket to help her win.  There's no one else on the Dem bench who is particularly stronger than Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

  •  Republicans in blue states (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The 4% of Democrats in Mass. who are self described Republicans are strategic voters. They know that mostly Republicans don't win elections in their state, and they want a chance to weigh in for the Democrat they find least offensive in the primary election. Probably a lot of the independents roll the same way, but will self-identify as "moderate" rather than Republican, because the Republican brand name has such negative connotations.

  •  Hutchinson (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Adam B

    If she is still on the ballot, she is worth attacking, from their perspective.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:03:37 AM PST

    •  At this point it would be better to drop attacks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      on Hutchinson and hope she pulls votes from Kelly just by being on the ballot. You don't want to give her another reason to come out with a statement reiterating that she dropped out, as many voters probably aren't even aware of it.

  •  Those Dems who identify as Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    4% - if you've ever called from a list of Dems you know them. I can tick off about 5 people I know who don't vote, somehow registered as Dems a long time ago and may have forgotten, but when you talk to them you know they are doing the FOX/Limbaugh regurgitation thing.

    Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

    by 51percent on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:07:54 AM PST

  •  • MA-05 Who replaces Markey (0+ / 0-)

    should he win - (we are working on it!)
    I hope that that district is ready to support a woman.
    MA has an embarrassing record of women in the state legislature.  
    We have a woman as a senate president, but as a "Blue" state, we still are hard on women who run for office.

    Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

    by 51percent on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:10:25 AM PST

  •  Nope, gotta read the MassINC table DOWN! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xynz, ltsply2

    << only 80 percent of self-identified Democrats are actually registered as such
    >> only 80 percent of registered Democrats actually self-identify as such

    If you read across then 106% of Independents and only 10% of Something Else are registered or not.

  •  24 hour party people (0+ / 0-)

    I see this kind of polling as symptomatic to a fundamental problem of "party" politics.

    Asking people in the abstract which political party they "consider themselves" will ALWAYS result in misleading conclusions.

    The reality is that voters evaluate many other factors before party.  No doubt there are still some party line lever pullers, but they are most certainly in the minority.

    Voters have shown in many elections that the candidates position on key issues - relative to other candidates - is the biggest factor.

    The message for Democratic party should be - STOP trying to be "repbulican lite".  Be proud of strong support of core democratic issues - voting rights and access, social security, common infrastructure, education, market regulation, etc.

    Compromising on core principles makes the difference between candidates less and the likelyhood of voters "considering" themselves Democrat but voting for republican -  See Scott Brown, for example.

  •  While phone banking, I've run into registered Dems (0+ / 0-)

    who are "severely" conservative. Not many, but I chalk it up to Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    In the era of America's First Black President, political alignment can be as surprising as the weather.

    I'd be interested in seeing how many ConservaDems stay in our camp to participate in state-level primaries, but have never voted for a national-office Dem.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:12:42 AM PST

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