Friday, October 30, 2015

Local chattering class predicts HERO goes down

Not 'too close to call' as in the headline.

Turnout is up sharply from previous Houston municipal elections, with the largest increases occurring in predominantly Republican and African-American precincts, where a majority of voters are likely to oppose HERO, according to Bob Stein, a political scientist at Rice University. 

“I’ve actually looked at the scenario, and think [HERO] could go down, and go down by a big margin,” Stein said. “That’s the worst part. If it goes down closely, the council members and the mayor might try to amend it, but if it goes down by a big margin, it really becomes difficult to do much with.”

I've thrown rocks at Stein's polling conclusions and then been wrong before, and it's accurate that he called the Bill King surge -- though I still think he has oversold it.  Campos gets King's email and he's been bragging about "he and Turner pulling away" of late.  I'm hoping Stein's misreading the entrails, because even the city's worst political pundit is less committed to a HERO fail.

Mark Jones, another Rice political scientist, agreed that early voting returns, along with public opinion polls showing only a slim margin in favor of the ordinance, should be cause for concern for HERO supporters. 

“If I had to do an even-money bet, I’d say it may not pass, but I think it really is too close to call,” Jones said.

Not Dr. Richard Murray at U of H is less than sanguine also.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston political scientist, said the rare ballot presence of a viable Republican mayoral candidate, Bill King, is driving up GOP turnout. Meanwhile, well-known Democratic state Representative Sylvester Turner, the mayoral frontrunner, is fueling an increase among African-American voters, who polls show as less likely to support HERO than whites, or Hispanic or Latino voters. 

“There are significant splits in communities that are otherwise inclined to vote more with Democrats or vote more liberally on HERO that create problems for its passage,” Rottinghaus said. “We’ve had kind of a perfect storm of alignment between conservative politics and conservative voters in a way we don’t normally see in Houston mayoral elections.” 

And finally some turnout analysis that makes sense. 

Through Wednesday, 133,594 Houston voters had cast early or mail-in ballots. With two days left in early voting, that figure was already nearly double the number who cast early or mail-in ballots in 2009, the last time the mayor’s seat was open.

HERO supporters suggest the increase in turnout is part of a historic trend toward more voters casting ballots early as opposed to on Election Day.

But Stein countered that much of the increase has been among “unexpected voters,” which he defines as those who haven’t cast ballots in at least two of the last three mayoral races. A significant number of those unexpected voters are from heavily GOP and black precincts.  

Stein said he now expects overall turnout to be as high as 230,000 of the city’s nearly 1 million voters, up from fewer than 180,000 in 2009. 

Charles thinks Stein's number is too high, at least from what I can tell.  But Stein definitely gets this next premise correct.

Stein said Houston Unites should have done more to highlight the potential negative economic consequences of repealing HERO, an argument the KHOU/KUHF also found to be persuasive, rather than trying to humanize transgender people or characterize the ordinance as “the right thing to do.”

I did my part in this regard.  So did Doug Miller at KHOU.  The LBGT folks focused on a Beyonce' hashtag, and that got them nothing.  Campos is already blaming Houston Unites for not buying teevee on Spanish-language stations.  (This FG always has a ready-made excuse for losing, and it's always because somebody didn't kiss enough Latino ass.  It's sickening how he so consistently plays the La Raza card.)

There's more gloom and doom at the link, but note this at the very end from Rottinghaus.

“How much can the Democrats push Texas to be more liberal?” he said, pointing to an anti-HERO TV ad from GOP Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. “The fact that he’s put his own money behind this shows there’s a growing concern amongst Republicans that as the demographics in Texas change, that some of the politics will change, and the Republicans need to find ways to counteract this progressive movement before it starts.” 

My humble O is that the liberal and progressive non-voters of Houston, Harris County, and the entire state of Texas simply aren't interested enough in the future of this city, county, and state to make the effort to move away from the conservative ways bidness has always been done.  And in my personal precinct mobilizing experience, they do not try hard enough to overcome the obstacles to voting that the TXGOP throws in their way.  Because of outfits like True the Vote, and all the way to the harshest photo ID law in country, too many potential liberal voters have just quit.

(If I'm wrong, please prove me so on Election Day next Tuesday.  It's your last chance.)

Nobody outside Texas is going to help us fix this fucking mess until it looks like we're trying to help ourselves.  Hillary Clinton/Julian Castro supporters need to keep this in mind for next year. 

Update: More scary stories from Texas Monthly.  At least the Texas Progressive Alliance's nonsequiteuse got quoted (though she is not upbeat either).

Update II: Charles throws a little shade on the professors too.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Agreed the economic angle should have been played. Anybody who's above the idiot level of political organization knows that in America especially, people vote their wallets, often.