Latest look at Iowa early vote numbers compared to 2012

Hillary Clinton urged her Iowa supporters to cast early ballots at a Des Moines rally yesterday, a short walk from the Polk County Elections Office. Her campaign needs to bank as many votes before November 8 as possible to counteract the traditional Republican advantage among election-day voters.

Republican strategist David Kochel has portrayed Iowa as a lost cause for Clinton, thanks to the large proportion of white, non-college-educated voters. Some Democratic activists felt demoralized last week after two opinion polls showed Donald Trump ahead by 8 percent and 7 percent. I’ve always expected a close presidential result here and think the next few Iowa polls will indicate a tight race, thanks to Trump’s disastrous performance in Monday’s debate.

But delivering this state for Clinton will require stronger early GOTV than what Iowa Democrats have produced so far, especially among women, who were more likely than men to vote early in the last presidential election.

Iowa Democratic early voting still lags well behind the party’s 2012 numbers. The big question is how much of the shortfall reflects deliberate tactical choices as opposed to a voter enthusiasm problem.

After the jump I’ve enclosed tables showing how many absentee ballots Iowa voters have requested and county auditors have received as of today and September 28, 2012 (the same number of days before the November 6 general election). Democrats have gained some ground since last week but are still more than 56,000 ballot requests (nearly 42 percent) behind the numbers from four years ago. Republicans were ahead of their 2012 early vote numbers last week; they are now slightly behind that pace. No-party voters have requested about 17,000 fewer absentee ballots this year than they had by this point in the last presidential campaign. That’s probably bad news for Democrats, because Barack Obama received more early votes than Mitt Romney did from Iowans affiliated with neither party.

You can view every day’s absentee ballot numbers here. I draw on figures released by the Secretary of State’s office but present the data in a different way.

P.S.- Ruline Steininger, the 103-year-old Des Moines woman who starred in a recent Clinton campaign video, stood with Clinton yesterday before casting her own early ballot. She told reporters, "I’m 103. That’s the reason I voted early. I’m not taking any chances." Unfortunately, Iowa law would prohibit Steininger’s vote from being counted if (God forbid) she passes away before November 8. Some states, including Virginia and Hawaii, require early votes to be counted in the same circumstance.

Continue Reading...

Joaquin Castro will headline the Iowa Democratic Party's "2016 Gala"

Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas will be the "special guest speaker" at the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2016 Gala, formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, according to invitations that arrived in many Democrats’ mailboxes today. Tickets for the October 14 event at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines (formerly Veterans Auditorium) are available online as well.

Castro represented a San Antonio district for five terms in the Texas legislature before being elected to the U.S. House for the first time in 2012. The Progressive Punch database rates his voting record as the 112th most progressive among current House members. The same database ranks Iowa’s Representative Dave Loebsack 152nd.

Castro spoke about his family’s immigration story and Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. I enclose below parts of that speech, background on Castro’s career, and excerpts from his entertaining essay for the Texas Monthly about his first year in Congress. That piece went viral mainly because the author recounted that in 2013, he heard then-House Speaker John Boehner refer to Iowa’s own Representative Steve King as an "asshole."

This summer, Castro confirmed he will consider running against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in 2018.

His identical twin brother, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, is a former mayor of San Antonio and delivered the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte (transcript here). He was on Hillary Clinton’s short list for vice president.

P.S.-I’m still not happy Iowa Democratic Party leaders turned the Jefferson-Jackson dinner into a generic "gala," which could refer to any fancy fundraiser. They could have honored any number of inspiring Democratic figures with a name more appropriate for what should be a celebration of shared political values.

Continue Reading...

Three ways to vote early in Iowa (2016 edition)

Early voting begins in Iowa tomorrow, 40 days before November 8. Hillary Clinton is coming to downtown Des Moines for a rally less than a mile from the elections office in Polk County, home to about one in seven registered Iowa voters. Donald Trump will rally supporters today in Council Bluffs, Iowa’s seventh-largest city.

More than 43 percent of Iowans who cast ballots in the last presidential election voted before election day. President Barack Obama built up a lead of 137,355 among early Iowa voters, which more than compensated for Mitt Romney’s advantage of 45,428 among those who voted on November 6, 2012.

Strong early GOTV will be important for Clinton and other Democrats for another reason too: Iowa women are more likely than men to vote before election day. Clinton needs high turnout from women to offset Trump’s advantage among men.

Click here for tables showing the latest early vote numbers and here for the same data from 2012. So far, registered Iowa Democrats have requested more than twice as many absentee ballots as have Republicans. However, Democrats are behind their early vote numbers from the last presidential campaign, while the GOP is ahead of its 2012 pace.

Although many people enjoy the experience of going to their local polling place on election day, I encourage all my friends to vote early. Ballots cast in September and October allow campaigns to focus their final GOTV efforts on those who may need an extra push to participate. Voters benefit too, because they won’t have to worry about bad weather, last-minute work obligations, or a family emergency stopping them from getting to the polls on November 8. They also will receive fewer unsolicited phone calls and knocks at the door once their county auditor has processed their ballot.

Iowans have three options for voting early.

Continue Reading...

Donald Trump paid a price for not doing his homework

Donald Trump’s unrehearsed speaking style has been an asset for most of this campaign. People want to watch a guy who could say any off-the-wall thing at any moment.

Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps because he has a short attention span, Trump spent a lot less time preparing for last night’s debate than Hillary Clinton did. His aides didn’t try to hide that fact. His spokesperson mocked Clinton’s intense prep sessions. Trump himself needled his opponent about it during the debate.

Not doing his homework turned out to be a big mistake.

Continue Reading...

The First Debate: Irresistible Force Meets Immovable Object

A must-read review of what recent history tells us about the impact of presidential debates. You can find Dan Guild’s past writing for this site here and here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Debates have arguably remade the race for the Presidency in 1976, 1980, 2000, 2004 and 2012. Even in races where arguably they are less important, they still are significant events. Having said all of this there are patterns that repeat themselves. Guideposts that can help evaluate how they will affect this race. Here they are:

  1. Typically debates consolidate support within their Party for each candidate. Where this is unequal, the candidate who is behind tends to benefit.

  2. In races where there is significant discontent, debates often help the candidate of the party that is on the outside.

  3. Third Parties frequently decline afterwards

    Continue Reading...

Quinnipiac finds Trump ahead in Iowa

Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 50 percent to 44 percent in a two-way race, and by 44 percent to 37 percent in a field including Libertarian Gary Johnson (10 percent) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein (2 percent), according to the new Quinnipiac survey of 612 likely Iowa voters. Trump has gained ground since last month’s Quinnipiac poll showing a small lead for Clinton in both the two-way and four-way races. The polling memo noted Trump’s 52 percent to 26 percent lead among men, which overcame Clinton’s 47 percent to 37 percent advantage with women. Trump also had higher levels of support among Republican respondents (86 percent) than Clinton did among Democrats (83 percent).

Nuggets from the cross-tabs:

• Independents split 38 percent Trump, 33 percent Clinton, 19 percent Johnson, and 4 percent Stein in a four-way race. Against Clinton alone, Trump led 47 percent to 41 percent among independent respondents.

• As expected, Trump has a big lead among non-college-educated whites: 55 percent to 41 percent in a two-way, 48 percent to 33 percent in a larger field.

• Surprisingly, Trump leads among whites with a college degree (49 percent to 44 percent)

• By self-reported party identification, 33 percent of this poll’s respondents were Republicans, 30 percent Democrats, 33 percent independents, and 5 percent other/don’t know. That party breakdown better reflects the 2012 general electorate in Iowa than did last week’s Monmouth poll.

According to Quinnipiac, its poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points—though that number refers to only one of many potential sources of error in opinion polls. I am seeking further details on Quinnipiac’s likely voter screen, which wasn’t explained in the note on methodology. Nate Cohn’s latest post at the New York Times Upshot blog explained how four different approaches to separating "likely voters" from other poll respondents produced four different results from the same set of interviews with North Carolina voters.

View More...