Tag: analysis

My preview of the Wisconsin presidential primaries and the Wisconsin Supreme Court race

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Donald Trump is NOT supporting JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court…and that’s a good thing. An earlier version of this blog post did not make it clear as to whether or not Joe Donald or Donald Trump had endorsed Kloppenburg; Joe Donald has endorsed Kloppenburg; Donald Trump has, to my knowledge, not endorsed a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court.


On Tuesday, April 5, Wisconsinites will go to the polls to vote for major-party (Democratic and Republican) presidential nominees and a state supreme court justice. Additionally, there are numerous local offices on the ballot in Wisconsin, including a couple of high-profile local races in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Mayor and Milwaukee County Executive), although this preview will focus on the three statewide races in Wisconsin on April 5.

Democratic presidential primary

Democrats Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard “Bernie” Sanders are seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and 52 pledged delegates allocated by congressional district, 5 alternate delegates allocated by congressional district, 19 pledged delegates allocated on a statewide basis, and 10 pledged party leader and elected official delegates allocated on a statewide basis are up for grabs (delegate plan here). Wisconsin also has 10 superdelegates, who can vote for any presidential candidate they wish. Currently, 4 Wisconsin superdelegates are supporting Hillary, while 6 Wisconsin superdelegates have not endorsed a presidential candidate; however, superdelegates can change their preferences at any time up until the vote for the Democratic presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention.

All recent polling in Wisconsin has shown Bernie with a slight lead either within the margin of polling error or just outside of the margin of polling error, with Bernie’s lead averaging around four percentage points. Due to proportional allocation of pledged delegates, either Bernie or Hillary would need to win by a large margin to get the vast majority of Wisconsin’s delegates. Bernie has about a 65% chance of receiving more votes statewide than Hillary.

Bernie is expected to run up a big margin in Madison, whereas Hillary is expected to run up a big margin in Milwaukee. The race is going to be decided in the Milwaukee suburbs (which, despite being one of the most Republican areas of the entire country in general elections, delivers a surprisingly high number of Democratic primary votes), as well as the rural northern and western parts of Wisconsin. To get a rough idea of the geographical dynamic at play in the Wisconsin Democratic primary, one could draw a line from Manitowoc to the middle of Lake Winnebago to Fond du Lac to Fort Atkinson to Janesville to Beloit, and anything south and east of that line should go to Hillary by a wide margin outside of some pro-Bernie pockets of support, and anything north and west of that line should go to Bernie by a wide margin outside of some pro-Hillary pockets of support. If Bernie is winning both the Milwaukee suburbs and the rural areas in the north and west of the state, then Bernie is likely winning statewide. If Hillary is winning both the Milwaukee suburbs and the rural areas in the north and west of the state, then Hillary is likely winning statewide. It’s worth noting that the expected swing areas in the Democratic primary are areas that tend to vote for Republican candidates in the general election.

Democratic congressional district delegates are allocated as follows:

  • 1st CD (Janesville/Racine/Kenosha/Lake Geneva) – 6
  • 2nd CD (Madison/Beloit/Middleton) – 10
  • 3rd CD (La Crosse/Eau Claire/Stevens Point) – 6
  • 4th CD (Milwaukee/Shorewood/St. Francis) – 9
  • 5th CD (Waukesha/West Bend/West Allis/Port Washington) – 5
  • 6th CD (Oshkosh/Fond du Lac/Manitowoc/Sheboygan) – 5
  • 7th CD (Wausau/Superior/Hudson) – 6
  • 8th CD (Green Bay/Appleton/Sturgeon Bay) – 5

Regarding the Democratic alternate delegates, the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th congressional districts are allocated one alternate delegate each, whereas no alternate delegates are allocated for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th congressional districts.

Based on the delegate allocations for each congressional district, here’s my predictions for the pledged congressional district delegates:

  • 1st CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Hillary Favored 1, Up For Grabs 1
  • 2nd CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 6, Up for Grabs 2
  • 3rd CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1
  • 4th CD – Hillary 5, Bernie 1, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 2
  • 5th CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Up for Grabs 1
  • 6th CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Bernie Favored 1
  • 7th CD – Hillary 1, Bernie 3, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1
  • 8th CD – Hillary 1, Bernie 1, Hillary Favored 1, Bernie Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1

That’s a total of 17 Hillary, 19 Bernie, 5 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, and 9 Up for Grabs in the congressional district delegate pools, representing anywhere from a 35 Bernie-17 Hillary to a 33 Hillary-19 Bernie delegate spread in regards to the pledged congressional district delegates. Anything outside of that range would surprise me. I have no clue as to how the alternate delegates would be allocated to the candidates.

Here’s my predictions for the two statewide pledged delegate pools:

  • Statewide pledged – 6 Hillary, 7 Bernie, 2 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, 2 Up for Grabs
  • Party leader and elected official pledged – 3 Hillary, 4 Bernie, 1 Hillary Favored, 2 Up for Grabs

That’s a total of 9 Hillary, 11 Bernie, 3 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, and 4 Up for Grabs in regards to the two statewide delegate pools, representing anywhere from a 20 Bernie-9 Hillary to a 18 Hillary-11 Bernie delegate spread in regards to the two pools of pledged statewide delegates. Anything outside of that range would surprise me.

Based on my pledged delegate predictions and not counting alternate delegates, anywhere from a 55 Bernie-26 Hillary to a 51 Hillary-30 Bernie delegate spread in regards to pledged delegates is possible. Anything outside of that range would surprise me, and, if I were to guess, the actual result is likely to be closer to the middle of that range than either end of the range.

Republican presidential primary

Republicans Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, Donald John Trump, and John Richatd Kasich are seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and 24 pledged delegates allocated by congressional district, 15 pledged delegates awarded on a statewide basis, and 3 Republican National Committee (RNC) delegates bound to the statewide primary winner are up for grabs.

Recent polling in Wisconsin has shown Cruz with an average lead of four percentage points, with even larger leads in some of the more recent polls, so Cruz is favored to win the Wisconsin primary and win most of Wisconsin’s Republican delegates, although Trump and Kasich may also get Republican delegates from the Wisconsin primary. Additionally, polls have shown Trump in second place statewide, with Kasich in third place statewide. Cruz has about a 90% chance of winning at least a plurality of the vote statewide and about a 3% chance of winning every Republican delegate at stake in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the Republican presidential candidate who receives a plurality of the statewide Republican vote receives all 15 of the statewide pledged delegates and all 3 of the RNC member delegates, and the Republican presidential candidate who receives a plurality of the popular vote within a particular congressional district receives all 3 of said congressional district’s delegates.

For Cruz to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up a large margin in the 5th, 1st, and 6th congressional districts, win or narrowly lose in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th congressional districts, and the 7th and 8th congressional districts wouldn’t play a factor for Cruz in regards to the statewide delegates. If Cruz were to receive at least a plurality of the vote in all 8 congressional districts, he would win either all 42 delegates.

For Trump to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up very large margins in the 3rd, 7th, and 8th congressional districts (he would probably need to win the 7th by 40+ percentage points over the second-place candidate in that district), win by more than a handful of votes in the 2nd and 6th congressional districts, and not lose badly in the 1st, 4th, and 5th congressional districts. Trump doesn’t appear to have any chance of winning all 42 from Wisconsin; Trump’s best-case scenario would have him winning 30 delegates (statewide + 4 CDs).

For Kasich to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up an extremely large margin in the 2nd congressional district (probably by 40+ percentage points over the second-place candidate in that district), win the 3rd congressional district by a very large margin, win the 6th and 7th congressional districts by more than a handful of votes, win or come in a close second place in the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th congressional districts (Kasich would probably lose at least three of these in his best-case scenario). Kasich doesn’t appear to have any chance of winning all 42 delegates from Wisconsin; his best-case scenario would have him winning anywhere from 30 to 33 delegates (statewide + 4 or 5 CDs).

Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court – Seat 6

Although seats of the seven-member Wisconsin Supreme Court bench are not officially numbered, I’ve chosen to number them based on the last digit of the year in which they are up for election. Since there is one Wisconsin Supreme Court seat up for election in 2016, seat 6 is up for election this year. The seat was held by moderate justice N. Patrick Crooks (I’ve never been able to find Crooks’s full first name) until his death in September of 2015. Republican Governor Scott Walker appointed Rebecca Lynn Grassl Bradley, a ultra-conservative who Walker has appointed to judgeships at every opportunity, to fill the vacancy on the state supreme court. Seat 6 would have been up for election this year regardless of whether or not the seat became vacant.

A non-partisan top-two primary, in which the candidates with the most and second-most votes advance to the non-partisan general election, regardless of whether or not one candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, was held in February of this year (primary results here). Bradley received a 44.61% plurality of the primary vote, with progressive candidate JoAnne F. Kloppenburg (I do not know what Kloppenburg’s full middle name is) receiving 43.16% of the primary vote. Joe Donald (not sure of full name) received 12.12% of the primary vote and failed to advance to the general election, with “scattering”, which is how Wisconsin classifies invalid write-in votes, receiving 0.11% of the primary vote. Bradley and Kloppenburg are running in the state supreme court general election, which is being held in conjunction with the Wisconsin presidential primaries. While the race is officially non-partisan, Bradley is the de facto Republican and Kloppenburg is the de facto Democrat.

I’ve created a spreadsheet here as a guide showing detailed primary results (including a Kloppenburg + Donald total from the primary, with red shading <45%, yellow shading 45%-55%, and green shading >55%), shading indicating Bradley plurality (light red), Kloppenburg plurality (light blue), Bradley majority (red), and Kloppenburg majority (blue) from the primary, the partisan lean of each Wisconsin county based on the Bradley and Kloppenburg + Donald results from the primary, and county-by-county baselines for a tied race between Bradley and Kloppenburg based on the Bradley and Kloppenburg + Donald results from the primary.

Here are several important points about the Wisconsin Supreme Court race:

  • Although Wisconsin voters can opt not to vote for a presidential candidate, but vote for a state supreme court candidate, very few Wisconsin voters will do that.
  • Bradley is going to get the vast majority of the Republican primary voters, and Kloppenburg is going to get nearly all of the Democratic primary voters.
  • Joe Donald has endorsed Kloppenburg, Hillary Clinton has publicly criticized Bradley, and Bernie Sanders has stated that he hopes that large voter turnout will help Kloppenburg win.
  • If an equal number of Democratic and Republican primary voters show up, Kloppenburg would need to get approximately 56% of Donald’s voters to vote for her in order to win.
  • If more Republicans show up to vote than Democrats, Kloppenburg would need an even higher percentage of Joe Donald’s voters, as well as Kasich/Kloppenburg and possibly Trump/Kloppenburg voters to win.
  • Bradley and her campaign have tried to tie Kloppenburg to Hillary and have attacked Kloppenburg for opposing big-money politics and supporting equal rights.
  • Bradley was found to have authored a series of hateful columns for the Marquette University student newspaper and student magazine during the early 1990’s.
  • Bradley has falsely compared contraception to murder.

I’m not going to attempt to make a prediction in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. The most recent poll (a Marquette University poll) had Bradley ahead of Kloppenburg by five percentage points, although there were a lot of undecided voters according to that poll.

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About that poll showing a Hillary/Bernie tie in Nevada…

Yesterday, a poll was released showing Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a 45-45 tie in Nevada, with the Nevada Democratic caucuses one week from today.

However, here’s a few caveats about the poll:

  • The poll was conducted for The Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing website.
  • The poll was conducted by TargetPoint Consulting, a consulting/polling firm that I’ve never heard of before.
  • Nevada holds caucuses for major-party presidential nominations, which are extremely difficult to poll accurately.

Those points, in and of themselves, makes the poll immediately suspect in my eyes (remember, I’m a Bernie supporter). However, there’s been extremely little polling of Nevada on the Democratic side, so this is one of the few polls that we can go by to get a general idea as to the state of the Democratic race in Nevada.

I’m not all that familiar with the Nevada Democratic caucus electorate, but, looking at the crosstabs of the poll, a few of them stood out to me:

  • The percentage of respondents aged 45-64 (32%) was the same as the percentage of respondents aged 65 or older (32%). In most parts of the country, the 45-64 age demographic is the largest voting bloc by a statistically significant margin.
  • A majority of poll respondents (55%) had never participated in a prior Democratic caucus in Nevada. This is extremely high for any part of the country, although there were a lot more new voters who registered in Nevada in 2015 than in 2007, the year before the last seriously-contested Democratic presidential nomination race.
  • For the questions about which candidate cares about the poll respondent more and which candidate is more progressive, the exact same result was reached: 36% Hillary, 49% Bernie, and 15% “both equal”.
  • Three questions (Clinton Foundation donations, 2008 bank bailout vote, and FBI investigation) were asked that were negative of Hillary, and two questions (tax increases and government spending increases) were asked that were negative of Bernie. Of those questions, neither of the two Bernie questions made a majority of poll respondents less likely to support him, whereas two of the three Hillary questions (Clinton Foundation donations and 2008 bank bailout vote) made a majority of poll respondents less likely to support her (the other question, regarding the FBI investigation, had a majority of respondents say that they were “not at all concerned” about it)
  • Only 4% of the poll respondents said that they were members of the Culinary Workers Union (simply known as “the Culinary” in Nevada parlance), the largest group of organized workers in Nevada. If I were to guess, the Culinary compromises a much larger percentage of the Nevada Democratic caucus electorate.
  • 66% of the poll respondents live in Clark County (Las Vegas area), compared to 18% who live in Washoe County (Reno/Sparks area), with 16% living in the rest of the state (listed as “Rural” in the poll). Nevada has one of the most uneven population distributions of any state. Clark County has, per the 2010 Census, nearly 69% of Nevada’s population, and Clark County is more Democratic than Nevada as a whole is, so Clark County appears to have actually been undersampled in the poll.

I’m a staunch Bernie supporter, but I don’t think that these poll numbers are accurate, and I would guess that Hillary is actually ahead in Nevada by 4 to 7 percentage points.

My 2015 Rugby World Cup predictions

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup (RWC), the premier international tournament in the sport of rugby union, scheduled for next month, I’m going to make predictions for every game of the entire tournament. Since this is a two-stage tournament, with a four-pool, 20-team round robin segment called the pool stage, followed by an eight-team elimination segment called the knockout stage, with a somewhat complex point system being used to determine standings for the pool stage, predicting the entire tournament correctly is extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible.

In the RWC, wins in the pool stage are worth four points, draws are worth two points (if two teams are tied after regulation in the pool stage, the game is declared a draw), and losses are worth zero points. Additionally, one bonus point is awarded for scoring four or more tries (in rugby, a try is scored by grounding the ball behind the opposing team’s goal line) in a game, and one bonus point is awarded for losing by seven points or fewer. I’ve listed games according to pool and in the order within the pool that they are scheduled to be played. I’m using the (winning team) (winning score)-(losing score) (losing team) format to display projections, with teams scoring bonus points (BP) being noted in parenthesis. For standings, if at least one game in a particular pool ends in a draw, I’ll use the win-draw-loss format for team records, and, if no games in a particular pool end in a draw, I’ll use the win-loss format for team records. Points are displayed as the following mathematical formula: (win and draw points)+(bonus points)=(total points)

Here are my predictions for the pool stage of the 2015 RWC:

POOL A (Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay)

England 21-17 Fiji (Fiji BP)
Wales 32-6 Uruguay (Wales BP)
Australia 25-19 Fiji (Fiji BP)
England 17-17 Wales
Australia 49-9 Uruguay (Australia BP)
Fiji 20-19 Wales (Wales BP)
Australia 34-30 England (Australia and England BP)
Fiji 31-11 Uruguay (Fiji BP)
Australia 25-13 Wales (Australia BP)
England 71-3 Uruguay (England BP)

Australia – 4-0-0 – 16+3=19
England – 3-1-0 – 14+1=15
Fiji – 2-0-2 – 8+3=11
Wales – 1-1-2 – 6+2=8
Uruguay – 0-0-4 – 0+0=0

POOL B (Japan, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, United States)

Japan 22-21 South Africa (South Africa BP)
Samoa 29-22 United States (Samoa and United States BP)
Scotland 11-10 Japan (Japan BP)
South Africa 57-24 Samoa (South Africa BP)
United States 22-20 Scotland (Scotland BP)
Samoa 31-12 Japan (Samoa BP)
South Africa 37-20 Scotland (South Africa BP)
South Africa 30-24 United States (South Africa and United States BP)
Samoa 27-15 Scotland (Samoa BP)
United States 22-21 Japan (Japan BP)

South Africa – 3-1 – 12+4=16
Samoa – 3-1 – 12+3=15
United States – 2-2 – 8+2=10
Japan – 1-3 – 4+2=6
Scotland – 1-3 – 4+1=5

POOL C (Argentina, Georgia Republic, Namibia, New Zealand, Tonga)

Tonga 40-15 Georgia Republic (Tonga BP)
New Zealand 19-18 Argentina (Argentina BP)
New Zealand 102-6 Namibia (New Zealand BP)
Argentina 38-10 Georgia Republic (Argentina BP)
Tonga 35-14 Namibia (Tonga BP)
New Zealand 49-18 Georgia Republic (New Zealand BP)
Tonga 22-9 Argentina
Namibia 24-19 Georgia Republic (Namibia and Georgia Republic BP)
New Zealand 32-20 Tonga (New Zealand BP)
Argentina 49-3 Namibia (Argentina BP)

New Zealand – 4-0 – 16+3=19
Tonga – 3-1 – 12+2=14
Argentina – 2-2 – 8+3=11
Namibia – 1-3 – 4+1=5
Georgia Republic – 0-4 – 0+1=1

POOL D (Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Romania)

Ireland 36-11 Canada (Ireland BP)
France 40-36 Italy (France BP, Italy 2 BPs)
France 39-12 Romania (France BP)
Italy 29-16 Canada
Ireland 41-3 Romania (Ireland BP)
France 41-20 Canada (France BP)
Italy 33-29 Ireland (Italy BP, Ireland 2 BPs)
Canada 44-30 Romania (Canada and Romania BP)
Italy 55-12 Romania (Italy BP)
France 19-19 Ireland

France – 3-1-0 – 14+3=17
Italy – 3-0-1 – 12+4=16
Ireland – 2-1-1 – 10+4=14
Canada – 1-0-3 – 4+1=5
Romania – 0-0-4 – 0+1=1

In rugby union, tries are worth five points in a game, conversions after tries are worth two points in a game, and goals (which can be scored on either penalty kicks or drop kicks) are worth three points in a game. If I’ve predicted a team to win a game and earn a bonus point in the standings, lose a game by more than seven points and earn a bonus point in the standings, or lose a game and earn two bonus points in the standings, then I’m predicting that the team will score at least four tries in the game in question.

Since the top two in each pool advance to the knockout stage of the RWC, that means that I predict that Australia, England, South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand, Argentina, France, and Italy will advance to the knockout stage. In addition, I’m also predicting that, in addition to the eight teams that I’ve predicted to advance to the knockout phase, Fiji, the United States, Tonga, and Ireland will qualify for the 2019 RWC based on their performance in the 2015 RWC.

The quarterfinal pairings for the knockout stage are 1B (first-place from Group B) vs. 2A (second-place from Group A), 1C vs. 2D, 1D vs. 2C, and 1A vs. 2B, with the winners of the first two quarterfinal pairings facing each other in the first semifinal, and the winners of the last two quarterfinal pairings facing each other in the second semifinal. The winners of the semifinal matches advance to the final to play for the Webb Ellis Cup that is presented to the winner of the RWC, whereas the losers of the semi-final matches advance to the bronze final to play for third-place.

Should any knockout stage game end in a tie after regulation, two ten-minute extra time periods would be played, with both periods being played in their entirety regardless of whether or not scoring occurs and/or one team is ahead after the first extra time period. Should extra time end in a tie, a ten-minute sudden death extra time period, in which the first team to score wins, would be played. Should neither team score in the sudden death extra time period, a kicking competition, in which both teams will get five place-kicks at goal, would be played, and whoever kicks the most goals in the kicking competition wins. Should the kicking competition end in a tie after each team has taken five kicks, then a sudden death kicking competition, in which the kicking competition is continued until one team kicks a goal and the other team misses, would be played.

QUARTERFINALS

England 25-22 South Africa (Sudden Death Extra Time)
New Zealand 41-19 Italy
France 45-18 Tonga
Australia 36-15 Samoa

SEMIFINALS

England 26-23 New Zealand
Australia 24-21 France

BRONZE FINAL

New Zealand 33-27 France

FINAL

England 19-19 Australia (England wins in Sudden Death Kicking Competition 12-11)

I’m predicting that England, the primary host country of the tournament (Wales will host several games, although most of the games will be held in England), will win the 2015 Rugby World Cup and claim the Webb Ellis Cup.

What Democrats here in the United States can learn from a major progressive victory in Alberta

The Rachel Notley-led Alberta New Democratic Party (Alberta NDP), which ran on a platform consisting nearly entirely of progressive ideas and values, is projected by CBC News to win a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and, therefore, is projected to be the governing party in Alberta’s provincial government. Both the Canadian federal government and each Canadian province uses a parliamentary system to determine control of government.

The Alberta NDP’s platform is very progressive on nearly every issue they gave a position on in their platform, especially when one considers that the Canadian province of Alberta is about as right-wing as the U.S. state of Texas is. The NDP’s platform included planks supporting increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour, getting the undue influence of money out of politics, enacting stronger ethics laws, improving access to health care, investing in public education, raising income taxes on Alberta-based corporations and the wealthiest 10% of Albertans, investing in child care, providing for the safety and well-being of Albertan children and women, and, surprisingly for an oil-rich state, investing in renewable energy.

The NDP’s victory in Alberta speaks volumes about how the corrupt, corporate Democratic Party “leadership” here in the United States is failing progressives and the American people on many levels. Very few Democrats are willing to openly run as progressives, and, as a result, the Democratic Party often has trouble winning races outside of states and constituencies that strongly favor the Democrats to begin with. I would strongly encourage Democratic leaders to take a look at how the Alberta NDP won big in tonight’s provincial elections and use the NDP’s Alberta victory as a model to win back both houses of Congress, as well as many state and local offices.

If progressive-minded people can win in Alberta, progressive-minded people can win anywhere!