Saturday, October 29, 2022

Early and Absentee Voting Trends for Hamilton County Slightly Up on 2018 Rates, SO FAR...

Through Friday October 28, 2022 Hamilton County data, Early and Absentee Voting totals combined are up in comparison to 2018.  The increase, however, is small at .69% (less than 1%).  Early in person voting continues to be much higher 66.24% up, but mail in (drop off) absentee numbers are -11.8% down.

By political party all in person early voting rates are up, but surprisingly the rate increase for Republicans is by far the highest.  By Total number count, Republicans are still the lowest group of in person early voting.

With numbers fairly close to being flat to 2018, that is a concern for what total turnout will be in 2022.  The reason for that concern is that the portion of the early/absentee voters of ALL voters likely will NOT be the same to 2018.  After COVID the portion of people voting by mail increased.  That number is down.  In person early voting is way up.  That increase may be affected by COVID on a small level, but more likely the increase relates to the convenience factor or those who have a 2020 holdover fear of making sure their votes counts. I don't think the making sure you vote count factor is a big deal, by any stretch.  I don't think it ever was.  I believe the reason early in person voting is up is because those with cars find it easy to vote early.  Those without cars and who use the bus lines and are dedicated to voting can make it happen.  The question is are those voting early those who wouldn't have voted otherwise? 

The only hard data I have to answer that question is: 16.2% of the votes cast thus far are by people who didn't vote in 2018, at least not here.  Only 5.5% of votes cast thus far are from people who did not vote in 2020.  Can we draw any conclusions from that?  I think the main take away so far is that the new registrations and new voters have not yet turned out in comparable numbers to the regular and highly consistent voters. A second take away is that overall Democratic party turnout is up, Republican and Non-Party turnout is down on the Early/Abs voting overall.  There are two reasons I can see making this true: 1) More Republicans being against mail voting or 2) Are deaths of older people reduced demographically the number of Republican voters who voted in 2018 via absentee mail?

Today (Saturday 10/29/2022) is the first day of weekend in person voting and will be one of days that is key for early turnout.  The expectation is that the volume would greatly exceed both the average daily number of in person voters, 1,029 and the correspond 1,708 voters on the first day of early voting in 2018. I think for turnout to be higher this year, we need to see a big day of something approaching 3,000 in person early voters.  We would then need more next weekend, which has Saturday voting and Sunday Afternoon voting during the final weekend before the election.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

HamCo Early and Absentee Vote Totals by Generation as of 10-21-2022

 Early and Absentee votes are starting to come in for the November Election.  Numbers are significantly up in comparison to the last MidTerm election in 2018, but those numbers are pre-COVID so making any predictions about turnout being up for 2022 is not something I believe the data supports.  A simple logical presumption is that since the 2020 election, Early and Absentee voting has become a more popular option for Democrats.  Looking at Party ID in the early numbers, there is an uptick for Democrats vs Republicans, so that could explain some or even most of the increase in voting.

That being said, one reasonable conclusion to make is that there is no evidence of a drop off of the Turnout level from 2018.  That year was a high MidTerm turnout, with Democrats generally exceeding Republicans that year.  In 2020 turnout of course shifted for the Presidential year, so what if any affects that election brings with it for turnout is unknown.

Generationally the votes so far seem typical. There have only been 8 days of early voting so far, so these are only preliminary numbers, but for all votes so far, here's how they break down:

The Silent Generation would be expected to be a large portion of the Absentee voters as the older voters rely on mail in voting much more regularly than younger voters.  The poor showing for Millennials and Zoomers (Gen-Z) is still very troubling. 

 For comparison, if we look at only in person early votes, the numbers look like this:

The in person early voting does show a tilt for the younger voters, but the Boomer voters still dominate.  The number of registered Millennials is the largest segment of all voters in the county, but they continue to not vote.  They should be numbers be much higher.  The generation covers everyone in their 30's right now and they registered to vote, but can't find a way to vote.  Look at the voter registration in HamCo for this election:

The single biggest voting block in the county without question and they can't muster up 150 votes per day of in person voting to exceed GenX early voting.  Is the Millennials so uninformed on the election process that they just don't get how to vote?  How and why did they even get registered to vote in the first place?  GenX's turnout sucks too.  I won't deny that, especially as a member of GenX, but the Silent Generation still edged out Millennials with in person voting.  That is embarrassing.  More people aged 77 to 93 were able to get to Norwood and vote during the first 8 days of early voting than those 26 to 41.  There is plenty of time to voting, but Millennials really need to get off their duffs and vote.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

The Smitherman Gambit - Don't Bet on it Winning in November

Christopher Smitherman has a plan to win a seat on the Hamilton County Commission.   The former member of Cincinnati City Council has gambled that a perfect storm will occur that if he takes the right steps could lead him into a win. His wager is one that requires many moving parts to align perfectly. Call this the Smitherman Gambit, his path to "victory", at least if all of it happened, without a hitch.  Here's my interpretation of the list of steps needed for the Smitherman Gambit to work.

  1. Obfuscate: Smitherman's first step is to pretend to be many things to many people. 
  2. Subtlety and not so subtlety align with Conservatives and Republicans: This includes voting in the Republican Party Primary, gaining the support of right wing extremists like COAST and publicly supporting Republicans just short of Trump. This is easy for a Conservative like Smitherman to do and why he is a Republican in all but name only.
  3. Attack the Democratic Party and anyone not directly aligned with John Canley: This was highlighted by Smitherman's participation the promotion of the text messaging scandal manufactured by Republican lawyers and the cooperation from a sympatric Republican judge.
  4. Give up on being the Mayor of Cincinnati: This one hurt.  The ego of Smitherman so desired the title of Mayor. His overuse of the unearned title of "Vice Mayor" is case in point.
  5. Rebuff invitations to declare himself a Republican: Being labeled a Republican will hurt his standing amongst a segment of African-American voters that don't know he's aligned with the extreme Conservative Republicans.
  6. Bank on a Republican Wave Election in  2022: The politics 101 conventional wisdom states that the1st term midterm election will be a significant win for the party out of power.
  7. Target a Democratic Woman Opponent: Stephanie Dumas fits a type the typical Conservative Republican campaign would target.  The logic presumes Republicans would pick a man over a woman 9/10 times. There is truth to that logic, as Republicans seek to have power over women’s bodies. What also would appeal to Smitherman is trying to gain the support of Conservative black male voters. He may gain that support, but Smitherman may have over estimated how many Conservative black men there are in Hamilton County.
  8. Attempt to finesse the Hamilton County Republican Party into not fielding a candidate for County Commissioner: Smitherman needs to face any Democrat one on one.  This is a must have to ride any Republican wave.
  9. Beg and plead for Republican Support: Even without a Republican running against him, Smitherman would run like a Republican and would depend on the campaign contributions from big GOP donors.

So, now that we are just about a month away from the election, how well are things going for the Smitherman Gambit? 

The clear answer is not so good.  

He has done pretty well on steps 1 through 5. Alas, those were the easy ones.  They didn't require him getting help from anyone else outside his own supporters.  

Steps 6 and 7 are not working out so well.  The Republican wave is not going to happen in Hamilton County.  The SCOTUS abortion decision has vastly reduced any GOP wave.  That wave would have needed to be strong in Hamilton County for Smitherman to do well in a one on one race against a Democratic candidate.  A black woman candidate is the type of candidate that many Republicans want to run against, but that pushes a niche tactic that just turns off voters from a campaign that even hints at pushing those buttons.

The pipe dream in the Smitherman Gambit was from the beginning focused on step 8.  He couldn't stop anyone from running in the Republican Primary.  That by itself is what makes his chance of winning VERY low.  He has to convince Republican voters to vote for him over a candidate with the word "Republican" next to his name. Matthew O'Neill is the Republican candidate and got a formal Hamilton County Republican Party endorsement.  If O'Neill get's 5% of the vote, that alone would likely be enough to doom Smitherman’s campaign.  Depending on how well Democratic turn out occurs, it may not even matter, as Dumas could win an full 50%+ 1 majority.  It is going to take a massive campaign to convince the average Republican voter to go against their party and for Smitherman.  I could imagine O'Neill getting 20% or more of the vote based on party ID alone, even without the Republican donor money Smitherman is getting.

Smitherman’s chance relied on the full support of the Republican Party and he would have to cross over and get some of the past voters going to the Dems. That along with a less than stellar Democratic turnout, where elements of the perfect storm that has failed to materialize for Smitherman. His miscalculation has been epic. The rest of his campaign will be one for him to demonstrate if he has any sense of grace or if he will go down in a fire pit of dirty politics, clawing at his opponents in vain. His reputation is not as a graceful person, so I fear the display of pettiness and animosity he and his campaign team displays towards the rest of the county will be grotesque. I hope I am wrong about that, but hope is wasted on Conservatives too scared to publicly declare they are a Republican.