Saturday, February 2, 2013

I saw my Shadow Saturday Morning

  For those of you who are interested. I rose at 4:42 AM Saturday to let my dog Sally out to do her business. When she was finished at approximateley 4:48 AM, I let her back in. I then saw my Shadow in the hall light, and went back to bed until after 7 AM. I believe this means at least 7 more weeks of winter. Now go to bed and get some sleep, it is freaking cold outside!

Interesting Trends in Lehigh Valley Voter Registration since 2003

                  I have had reason in the last couple of weeks to once again peruse voter data on Lehigh County. But in recent days I also started taking a closer look at Northampton County. I have the data by precinct for Lehigh County going back a decade, but I don't have it for Northampton....yet. What I do have is registration totals for the both counties overall, and when I put them up beside each other, the similarities are not all that surprising. I am using the period from May 2003 to November 2011 because I don't have any figures for Northampton in 2012. This makes the comparison easier and somewhat cleaner, in my opinion.
   In May of 2003, Lehigh County had 177,769 total registered voters

  That was 78,101 Democrats
                 74,902 Republicans
                 34,766 Other

   In November of 2011 Lehigh County had  214,881 total registered voters, a gain of 37,112.

   That was 107,594 Democrats  (+29,493)
                    73,857 Republicans (-1,045)
                    44,864 Other   (+10,098)

  Now initial glances at the data would have you think that Lehigh County had an invasion of Democrats migrating from the east, while Republicans were suffering from a case of fewer conservatives moving into the valley combined with a number of voters becoming unaffiliated  and changing their registration to something else.

    In Nov 2006 the Republicans did reach a registration total of over 80,000, but it has declined steadily at about 1,000 a year since then. I see this as an exodus of the more moderate voters. I see evidence of it in how far right the primary contests have continued to swing in results. This is exactly why the "REFORM" team won in 2011. It was a culmination of a perfect storm of electoral variables as it related to a party struggling to define itself. And an opposition party leader more focused on his own Congressional race than his local political obligations.

    Now lets take a look at Northampton County

In May 2003 Northampton County had 166,779 voters (only 11,010 fewer than Lehigh)

       That was 68,904 Democrats
                      55,190 Republicans
                      42,673 Other

By November of 2011, Northampton county had 201, 592 voters, (13,289 fewer than Lehigh County)

       That was 99,217 Democrats (+30,313)
                      67,986 Republicans (+12,796)
                      34,389 Other    (-8,284)

   As in Lehigh, The Democrats in Northampton have come excruciatingly close to having 50% of the electorate registered to their party. That doesn't mean they will vote as a D, but there is a psychological edge to it.

        What I find interesting is the disparity of growth in the Republican ranks in both Counties. Northampton Republicans managed to grow by more than 20% since 2003, while Lehigh County stayed more or less static. What caused that? The local leadership? the growth of the Tea party? Divisions in the Republican base between moderate and ultra conservative factions?

   If you look at the two counties from a distance, you would think they are on parallel courses, but when you get close up you have to wonder.

    So there are your thoughts to consider for this weekend What directions are the two main parties headed in? What is driving them? And Why are the Two counties so similar in demographic but so much different in the end electoral result?

Friday, February 1, 2013

The case for Incumbent Percy Dougherty losing the primary

Last week I wrote about some of the circumstances surrounding the challenge of incumbent Percy Dougherty by his own party leadership. I was personally challenged to make the case for why I believed that the respectable Dr. Dougherty was in trouble.

   Well, you asked for it, so here goes:

     I did a comprehensive analysis of Republican turnout in the primary elections for years that Dr. Dougherty ran for office. I concentrated on precincts in the 2nd Commissioner district cross referencing results from precincts that were in the district and are now out, and those precincts that are now in.
    To boot, All 6 Emmaus precincts and Macungie borough are out of the 2nd district, and now in the 5th.
   To balance that, all of South Whitehall's 8 precincts are now in the 2nd district,with 3 precincts (the 2nd,4th, and 5th) moving in from Dan McCarthy's old 4th district.
    The new 2nd district, as of Nov 2012,has 21,916 Registered Republicans.  In 2009, that district would have had 21,111 Registered Rs. By checking individual precinct turnout data from 2009, only 3,276 Republicans voted in those 24 precincts.

   That would be 1815 in Lower Macuncie, 843 in South Whitehall, 539 in Upper Macungie, and 79 in Alburtis. That means there was only 15.4% turnout by Republicans in those districts.

    I don't want to give out to much information on my personal electoral algorithm, but I would tell people to look for clues in the average price of homes in Emmaus/Macungie compared to South Whitehall. There is a distinct correlation in poll results to the average household income. I would argue that there are more farther leaning right R's in South Whitehall than in Emmaus, and a few 100 votes here or there can make a big difference. The people in Emmaus knew Dr. Dougherty, but there are precincts in South Whitehall that have never seen his name on the ballot. They have been voting for Dan McCarthy for the last decade.

   That's what the numbers tell me, argue with them if you want.