Category Archives: Campaigns

The NC trend is less Democrats, more reliable Democratic voters

Registration numbers have been a focus of late, especially in the battleground states.
I can’t speak for how the numbers work in other states, but I do know that if you think that lower numbers of Democrats in North Carolina mean less Democratic votes, you’d be wrong.
The quirky trend of the Old North State for the past two decades or so is that the people migrating here tend to be more reliable Democratic voters than the natives. There was a very good Public Policy Polling study of this in 2008 and what they found holds today. It’s also likely accelerating. The most recent PPP look at the presidential race has the president leading his challenger by a huge margin among the people who have been here ten years or less.

From this month’s Exile on Jones Street Column in the Indy, which came out this week:

Following the rout of 2010, GOP strategists maintained that Obama’s win in North Carolina was an anomaly driven by unusually high turnout. They pointed to a drop in Democratic registrations.

But as the PPP study points out, the people moving here, even independents, are proving to be more reliable Democratic voters than the natives. Born and bred Tar Heels came of age in what was historically a one-party state; if you wanted a say in legislative or county commissioner races, you registered as a Democrat so you could vote in the primary.

That same dynamic identified in 2008 is at play this year. The recent PPP poll on the presidential race notes that Obama and Romney are tied 47-47 for the native vote. The president’s lead can be attributed to an edge among non-native voters, including a 66-to-27-percent lead among those who’ve been here less than 10 years.

There’s a lot of things to note in the registration outlook and the demographic changes, but one that gets little mention is that all the recruiting the state is doing and the new jobs coming to the state – our rapid growth over the past 30 years – is starting to have a real impact on out politics.

Morning Post birthday edition

Today is the 51st birthday of Barack Obama. Funny how this tax thing has made it much more difficult for anyone to bring up the birther thing. That’s a nice change this birthday, but it’s not the best gift. The best gift is that Mitt Romney’s tax returns are now becoming a cultural cliché.

What’s really in Mitt Romney’s tax returns is turning into a set piece for any would be political humorist. Here’s an example via alternet. 10 Theories About What Mitt Romney’s Really Hiding in Those Tax Returns

That’s the kind of stuff that pushes out into the layers of voters who don’t pay attention to the chattering classes.
My guess is there’s nothing out of the ordinary in the returns if you list your occupation as vulture capitalist and tend to shift a lot of your holdings overseas to reduce your tax burden. I’m sure that if we all could discuss this in a ‘quiet room’ there would be no disagreement that as Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom recently said, the candidate “has never zeroed out his tax liability” and has always paid “100 percent of what was owed.” So leave the man alone. What is it with you people?

Except Romney knows that an election is not a board meeting and what’s in the returns will be discussed in very loud places like say, what we now call Carolina Panthers Stadium. You might want to recall that Romney’s 2011 tax return has yet to drop.

The calculation seems to be that he can ride to victory without more transparency. If he were a charismatic type who could deliver a barn burner he could probably get away with it. But he’s said it’s his business experience that makes him more qualified than the current occupant of the White House. If we can’t see the for the record the complete picture of the fruits of his labor in the business world, then his major claim to the presidency falls apart.

Morning Post Day 97

Good morning. Today is the day the new Obamacare rules for contraception coverage takes effect. That means no co-pays, evah. Somehow this is some radical idea opposed by many religious leaders. Well, tough, it’s the law of the land now. Here’s a graphics heavy and plainly-worded presentation by the Guttmacher Institute that make it seem like a thing any reasonable society would want.

Reproductive Health Reality Check on the politics of it. The Key to Unlocking the Youth Vote: Why Birth Control is a Force Multiplier in the 2012 Election

Also, here’s a nice, concise write-up on the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature results that converted another climate-change skeptic by confirming again that the planet is getting warmer and mankind is the causing of it all. Wunderground: Oil industry-funded “BEST” study finds global warming is real, manmade

Shocking news from the campaign trail . . .
Independent study of Romney tax plan says even if it yield all its touted benefits to the economy (just like those Bush cuts did) it still makes the rich richer at the expense of everyone else.
From the WaPo: Study: Romney tax plan would result in cuts for rich, higher burden for others

Even if tax breaks “are eliminated in a way designed to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible, there would still be a shift in the tax burden of roughly $86 billion [a year] from those making over $200,000 to those making less” than that.

What would that mean for the average tax bill? Millionaires would get an $87,000 tax cut, the study says. But for 95 percent of the population, taxes would go up by about 1.2 percent, an average of $500 a year.

More shocking news from NC:
- People are wondering if Romney’s lead in recent polls means North Carolina is really in play or not or what or whatnot. If your memory goes back all the way back to 2008, you might recall that Obama didn’t lead McCain in a poll until September 23. Real Clear Politics N.C.: Trending Red Again or Truly Up for Grabs?

- Perhaps the FLOTUS will have an opinion on the subject when she visits Greensboro and Raleigh today.
- NC Policy Watch has a look at a new report from the Budget and Tax Center showing the link between loss of rights and wage decline in North Carolina. New report: The decline in worker bargaining power is behind falling wages
- It appears that Richard Burr thinks Marco Rubio needs a little more time before seeking national office. The Hill: GOP senator suggests Sen. Rubio could use ‘a little more experience’
- And, we’re still waiting on those vetoes. No word as of 9 a.m. Morning Post Day 98 Vetoes Anyone?

Morning Post – 99 Days and counting

Good morning. This post starts the official ExJS 2012 Election Countdown.
The presidential election is a mere 99 days away. I suppose anyone watching the Olympics on network television in a battleground state is probably well aware that the race is on given the giant ad buys saturating the airwaves. Those of us unable to draw in the weak over-the-air signal are not as lucky. The Olympics have made it into the ExJS house by other, perfectly legal means via Roku’s Caribcast channel which offers CMV TV out of Jamaica. They seem to be showing the BBC feed or the official Olympic feed or something, plus occasional local commentary and, naturally, island wireless service commercials featuring cheery people and a nice beat.

Here are a few reads for Day 99:

- President Obama is due to accept his party’s nomination in a stadium named after a bank that’s too big to fail. The Char-O has a looksee at the relationship between BoA and the Dems and a little of the bank’s history with presidential politics. Bank of America’s support for DNC is quiet, though significant

- President McCain, his pal Lindsey Graham and Romney übersurrogate Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire are coming to Fayetteville today to talk about the defense budget and stuff. McCain comes to N.C. to promote defense spending

- The NYT has a rather large story out on Bill Clinton’s upcoming staring role in Charlotte. Bill Clinton to Have Leading Role at Party’s Convention

- How about that film industry tax break? Three southeast legislators – two Reps and a Senator – are renting out places to the film industry. Yes, one of them is Susi Hamilton. Via the Star News – Third area legislator adds income from film industry

- UVa’s Cooper Center is out with a look at the demographics of Virginia, which may be instructive.
Demographic Change and Presidential Politics in Virginia

- In case you missed it, there’s a little Politico story on Zach Galifianakis, whose uncle was beaten by Jesse Helms using that lovely helmsian slogan “He’s one of us” which translates to, well, you know what it means. From the interview:

“I was a volunteer for the Michael Dukakis campaign in North Carolina. We cold called people,” he said. “I would say, ‘My name is Zach Galifianakis, I’m calling about Michael Dukakis.’”

HAVA funds go missing

One of the biggest devils in the details of the budget compromise hammered out between the NC House and Senate is the missing match for the Help America Vote Act funds. The state is missing out on $4 million in federal dollars to help with election work. Previous versions of the budget included a 660K match needed to get the funds. Instead, there’s actually a cut in funding in the new budget for the Board of Elections.
I just can’t imagine any way a reasonable person could see this as anything but vote suppression.

Here’s Bob Hall from Democracy NC on the matter:

From Democracy North Carolina — June 21, 2012

Do Republican Leaders Want An Election Melt-Down in NC?

Something very strange happened in the final version of the State Budget that House and Senate leaders rolled out yesterday. It eliminates provisions in earlier versions passed by the House and Senate to provide about $600,000 that would automatically release over $4 million in federal funds for improving North Carolina’s election system for 2012.

The $4 million from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is already in a North Carolina bank account, frozen until matching State money is appropriated. The federal funds could be used to pay for voting machine maintenance, software and upgrades, poll workers training, and Early Voting locations. But apparently the legislative leaders decided they would rather starve local election boards than free up money that could open more Early Voting sites for the 2012 election!

County election boards already must pay more than $5 million to operate the second primary in July. Without the HAVA funds, they must get their county commissioners to pay annual machine maintenance fees that add up to $3 million statewide, beginning July 1. In addition, they face the headache of administering the November elections with new district maps, including hundreds of split precincts that complicate ballots and add to voter confusion and delays.

The warning signs are here: The lack of proper poll worker training and equipment failure led to a large number of voters getting the wrong ballots in the May primary!

Starving NC elections is an extremely partisan decision that affects all voters. It sends the message that Republican leaders in the General Assembly are determined to make voting a privilege for the few rather than a fundamental right for all citizens.

It didn’t have to be this way, and for a time everything pointed to a reasonable approach for releasing the $4 million in federal funds.

In a February letter and then in an April resolution, the bipartisan Election Boards Association of North Carolina asked the General Assembly to appropriate the roughly $660,000 of Maintenance of Effort (MOE) State funding needed to free up $4.1 million of Title II HAVA funds.

The House version of the budget, approved in May, included $663,936 for the MOE – see pages 10 and 103:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/sessions/2011/budget/2012/House_Committee_Substitute_for_HB-950_2012-05-30.pdf

The Senate version included $563,936 with a provision that the State Board of Elections could use money from another account to make up any difference needed to hit the right level of MOE funding. See the Senate version, pages 10 and 84:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/sessions/2011/budget/2012/Senate_Committee_Report_2012-06-12.pdf

But when the two sides came together behind closed doors, the General Assembly leaders apparently argued about whether some of this money would go for purposes they didn’t like — so they just cut it out!

The final House/Senate Conference Report actually includes a $102,000 reduction in funding for the State Board of Elections and left the Title II money frozen, except for a small portion to improve compliance with disability access. Look for SBOE funding on page 10 and page 94 of this PDF document:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/sessions/2011/budget/2012/Conference_Committee_Report_2012-06-20.pdf

Why are legislative leaders so determined to throw a monkey wrench into North Carolina’s election system in the busiest, most intense election cycle in our history?

Well, bleh

A few thoughts on the Amendment 1 vote and its aftermath:

Got a call from someone in DC yesterday wanting to know if I wanted to interview a person or two about President Obama’s announcement that he’s OK with same-sex marriage. I said ‘no thanks.’
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the move, but in the wake of the overwhelming Amendment 1 vote here in NC. I’m not so much into DC. I think they – the people who are awash in campaign money – let us down. I think they made a strange calculation based on, something – I don’t know the Cracker Index – and said ‘forget fighting this.’
I sincerely hope this isn’t what we’ll see in the general election.

One of the things that is starting to bug the shit out of me is this idea that because the counties that voted against have colleges and higher numbers of college-educated people, educated people are more tolerant. I haven’t seen the social science behind such a sweeping thought but I think while it makes people feel better about themselves in the midst of a heartbreaking defeat it is exactly the kind of thing that the pro forces like to seize on when warning people about the elites of the state. Being snooty about where you live is not a political strategy. You’re not going to win hearts and minds looking down on folks.
It’s also a little off the mark to say that the education level of folks in the various against counties are higher simply because they have colleges in them. If you look at the counties, you may note that most, if not all, also have major medical centers in them. A lot of degree holding people in the medical world.

Finally, I think those charts that pointed out what would happen if Amendment 1 passed (a lot of discrimination mostly) and what if it didn’t (nothing) need some updating.
What’s really happening is that local elected homophobes are moving to get rid of partner benefits for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. And people who want to get married and can’t are doing some civil disobedience. You shouldn’t be surprised by either move. The vote was the beginning of a long, protracted fight. The whole mess is headed to court, probably several courts. In some places, local governments will have to pay a serious chunk of change to either get rid of the benefits or keep them.