Thursday, August 11, 2016

Calling all political science grad students

I don't know how well this is been explored in the past, but something interesting is happening in California this election and there might just be a paper or thesis topic in it for someone.

Phil Willon writing for the LA Times:

Republican voters taking a pass on California's U.S. Senate race, poll finds

Half of California’s likely Republican voters and a third of independents said they wouldn't vote for either candidate in the state’s U.S. Senate race this November, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey found that 28% of all likely California voters said they didn’t support state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris or Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez, and 14% said they were undecided. Harris and Sanchez are Democrats.


The two Democrats will face off in the November election, setting the stage for the highest-profile contest between two members of the same party since California adopted a top-two primary election system.

In the June 6 primary, Harris received 40% of the vote and Sanchez nabbed 19% among the 34 candidates on the Senate ballot. Duf Sundheim, a former chairman of the California Republican Party, landed in third place with 8%.

Since no candidate won more than 50%, the top two advanced to the runoff.

Bill Carrick, a political consultant for the Sanchez campaign, has said the congresswoman is trying to build a coalition that will “cross party lines, cross regional lines — every kind of line you can imagine” to overtake Harris before November.

To do so, Sanchez will likely need support from Republicans and independents because, according to the PPIC poll, Harris leads Sanchez by a 2-to-1 margin among Democratic voters.

Harris also leads among independents. Sanchez leads Harris among likely Latino voters.

Among likely Republican voters, 50% said they would not support either candidate and 19% said they were undecided.

I would be hesitant to infer too much from any election involving Donald Trump, but you could at least get some interesting preliminary results looking at the following question:

Consider definitely non-purple states with open primaries. We can often get the situation we have now in California where voters in the minority party know that their vote for the president will almost certainly have no impact on the outcome and they have no option to vote for a member of their own party in one or more major state-wide race. What impact might this have on minority party districts in the state?

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