A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

29 July 2017 — 1636 mdt

Could this be the mother of all political Venns?

Celinda Lake, the Democratic pollster who graduated from Montana State University, recently delivered a PowerPoint presentation, Comparing the Voting Electorate in 2012-2016 and Predicting 2018 Drop-off, for the Voter Participation Center, whose mission is:

…to increase civic engagement among the Rising American Electorate: unmarried women, people of color, and millennials.

The Democratic Strategist has a serviceable discussion of the data and methodology covered in the PowerPoint presentation (I’m not going to call a PPP a report; see Tufte). I’ll therefore defer to that discussion and the presentation for those details, but I will call your attention to the Venn diagram depicting the RAE, and report the turnout drop-off Lake predicts for Montana’s 2018 general election.

First, the Venn diagram from the PPP (page 8):

Slide 1

It’s probably wise to consider this diagram as a exercise in identifying sets and their intersections, but not to consider the areas of the various segments as proportional to the size of the populations the areas represent. It’s also wise to be mindful that the diagram actually simplifies the complexity of the RAE.

Hispanic and Latino are ethnicities, not races

For most intents and purposes, the terms Hispanic and Latino are interchangeable. Hispanic refers to the Spanish language, and thus includes Spain as well as most Latin American nations. Latino refers to geography and thus includes Latin American nations with other national languages (Brazil speaks Portuguese, the majority language of South America; Haiti and French Guiana, French; Suriname, Dutch; Guyana and the Falklands, English).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of self-identified Hispanics and Latinos consider themselves white:

The 2010 Census racial distributions of the Hispanic population and of the non-Hispanic population differ and are shown in Table 2. Over half of the Hispanic population identified as White and no other race, while about one-third provided responses that were classified as Some Other Race alone when responding to the question on race. Much smaller proportions of Hispanics identified as other race groups alone: Black alone (3 percent), American Indian and Alaska Native alone (1 percent), Asian alone (0.4 percent), and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (0.1 percent).

The racial distribution of the non- Hispanic population, on the other hand, was mostly White alone (76 percent), Black alone (15 percent), and Asian alone (6 percent). Less than 1 percent of non-Hispanics provided responses to the race question that were classified as Some Other Race alone (0.2 percent). [Page 6.]

Democrats seem to prefer Latino to Hispanic — and Democrats almost always claim that Latino is a race, not an ethnicity. Democrats deliberately minimize the size of the white population because that supports their narrative of an America in which whites soon will be a minority.

Lake’s predictions for Montana’s 2018 fall-off from 2016

You’ll find the numbers on page 50 of the PPP. Lake predicts a 28 percent fall-off (53,585 votes) for the RAE, and a 15.5 percent fall-off (50,857.6; yes, Lake predicts this population to the tenth of a vote) for the rest of the electorate. In 2016, 516,201 votes were cast in Montana. Therefore, Lake is predicting a 2018 turnout of 412,458, an overall decline of approximately 20 percent. The Democratic fall-off in 2018, of course, will be greater than the GOP turnout.

My back-of-the envelope calculations indicate that Lake is predicting a 2018 registered voter turnout of 57–59 percent.

Take Lake’s numbers with a barrel of salt. Five and six significant figure precision is not possible for that kind of modeling. Estimating fall-off to the tenth of a vote is both ludicrous and sloppy. Not providing a fall-off range is sloppy or lazy; possibly, both.

Download Flathead Memo’s 1920–2017 turnout spreadsheet.

Turnout in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections was low. Democrats hope that President Trump’s conduct and the Republican attempt to rob tens of millions of Americans of health insurance will boost turnout, allowing Democrats to win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and to not lose seats in the U.S. Senate.

I share those hopes, but I have my doubts. Democrats are divided, confused, susceptible to Bipartisan Fever, the compulsion to compromise that leads to cave-ins to Republicans, and have forgotten how to win elections. A political party that nominated Hillary Clinton for President cannot be expected to reform and strengthen itself in just one election cycle.