Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Those Confounded Numbers

There has been a lot of talk about the changing demographics of CD-11. As development has accelerated and commuting distances lengthened, the Central Valley’s population has boomed. Democrats have eyed this expansion hopefully, thinking that as Bay Area residents move into the Valley, they will bring their more progressive outlook with them, and maybe that pesky gap between registered Republicans and registered Democrats will start to narrow.

Well, not so fast.

The Secretary of State recently issued an updated report on voter registration in CD-11. Additionally, there is this report which gives voter registration data from the 2000 election. Matt pulled the numbers from these two reports together earlier today, and they have a pretty interesting story to tell.

Yes, absolutely, the population of CD-11 is booming; total voter registration is up approximately 13% over the last five years. But the numbers aren’t behaving the way Democrats had anticipated. Democrats have added 9,964 registered voters, but their share of the district has fallen over 2 percentage points. Likewise, Republicans have added to their numbers, by 14,521, but fallen by 1.6 percentage points.

And here’s where the numbers tell their story. CD-11 has added 44,081 voters, but gains to the two parties account for only 55% of those new voters. That means that a whopping 45% of the number of voters who have registered in the last five years do not want to be associated with either party.

Now, currently the number of “Decline to State” voters in CD-11 stands at 53,399 or 15% of the total voters. Approximately 4% of the voters belong to other parties. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have a majority in the district, and it would appear that if the trends shown by the data continue, the number of party members will continue to decrease.

Registered Democrats.......2000/2005

Alameda..................17,236/19,794
Contra Costa.............25,409/29,029
San Joaquin..............70,190/74,534
Santa Clara...............8,840/8,282

District Total..........121,675/131,639
Percent....................39.0/36.98

Registered Republicans.....2000/2005

Alameda..................19,209/19,408
Contra Costa.............36,728/37,973
San Joaquin..............79,168/92,692
Santa Clara...............8,394/7,947

District Total..........143,499/158,020
Percent....................46.0/44.39

Total Registered Voters....2000/2005

Alameda..................45,458/52,102
Contra Costa.............75,814/84,900
San Joaquin.............169,153/198,060
Santa Clara..............21,468/20,912

District Total..........311,893/355,974

So what does all of this mean? Well, the Democrats are going to continue to trail Republicans in CD-11. The “Decline to States” will control any political outcome in the district for now, and, judging by the numbers, their power is going to grow quickly. Traditional party methods of registering new voters, precinct walking and phone banking, in and of themselves, are not and never will be enough for a Democratic victory. The Democrats have to develop not only a message and candidate that will resonate with the uncommitted voters of CD-11, but they must devise an effective campaign strategy to communicate with these voters.

I've now heard both McNerney and Filson speak; Margee Ensign is apparently poised to enter the race later this month, and I hope to meet her soon. I've heard quite a bit of "Rah-rah, here's why Pombo's bad, here's why I'm great, here's why you should support me." But so far, I haven't heard anyone enunciate a strategy for winning the race. Do any of these candidates have one?

1 Comments:

Blogger Rob Lind said...

There are plenty of Democrats with a fully positive message and good feist like Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich. They just needed to refine their skills and convey better managerial talent. They need to convince that they can accomplish the improvements they talk about as an executive of the state. And the GOP sleaze-and-slime machine has been taking some body blows lately DeLay, Libby, Abramoff. Maybe Rove is next. Lets hope but no time to start snoozing Democrats! Get a plan of action for: improving education, RE-protecting the environment and endangered species, national health insurance, fair trade agreements, renewable energy industries.
More tax cuts for the top 1% won't help accomplish any of the above.

8:48 PM, November 02, 2005  

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