Monday, January 28, 2008

More California Election Madness

California has a unique primary system. In past primary elections, "decline-to-state" voters could show up to their polling place and vote as either Republicans or Democrats by requesting the ballot.

However, for this year's CA presidential primary, the California Republican Party decided to not allow "decline-to-state" voters the opportunity to request and vote with a Republican ballot. The result is that any "decline-to-state" voter who wishes to have a say in one of the two important primary battles must vote the Democratic ballot, even if the individual would likely prefer to support the chances of a Republican candidate.

My initial reactions: (1) sucks for McCain; and (2) good for Obama - people who would have picked up that Republican ballot may now be grabbing that Democratic ballot for fun, and they really don't like Hillary.

Any other observations / predictions? What do you think?



Blogger matt said...

I feel like the assessment that says the Republican block on 'decline-to-state' voters is good for Obama and bad for McCain is about right, as long as most 'decline-to-state' voters are independents. On the other hand, if there are a lot of 'decline-to-state' hard-line Republicans out there, who are looking at electability and winnability as a factor, they may like the way they stack up against Clinton. As always, we'll see...

1/28/2008 5:01 PM  
Blogger Earl Warren said...

Yeah, this is good for Obama, good for Romney, good for Huckabee, bad for McCain.

As for clever strategery: in my (limited) experience in politics, the number of voters who cagily vote for the weaker nominee of the opposing party (e.g. GOP-leaning DTS voters asking for the Dem ballot to make Hillary the nominee) would almost fill a BarBri class at Boalt, were one to be so offered. It's just not a real phenomenon among real voters.

1/28/2008 7:12 PM  
Blogger tj said...

EW: My Poli Sci classes agree that voters have not acted strategically in the primaries.

However, how many times have undeclared voters been faced with a scenario where they can choose one party's ballot but not the other's?

Let's give this some real numbers. Approximately 20% of voters are registered as "decline to state".

What are these individuals going to say? Oh, never mind, give me the small ballot?

Some, for sure. But this race may get very tight over the next week in light of Obama's momentum. It may not require too many of them to seriously throw a monkey wrench into the biggest Democratic delegate cash cow.

1/28/2008 9:38 PM  

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