Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Absentee Ballot Numbers Look Good For Murphy

Standard campaign protocol dictates that in a race that is too close to call, even after several days, that each side stop just short of declaring themselves the winner. Confidence is key and it also helps to bring in donations to fund all the election lawyers either candidate needs. However, beneath what the candidate says, is the reality of the polling situation. As of this moment, with a day to go before counting of absentee ballots begins, Scott Murphy in the 20th District seems to have the numbers on his side.

From The Albany Project:

NY-20: Absentee Ballot Distribution Appears to Favor Murphy (D)

One thing that seems fairly clear is that there tend to be a relatively higher proportion of absentee ballots returned in counties where Murphy performed well on election night. For example, Columbia County, where Murphy won 56.3 percent of the of the vote last week, accounted for 9.8 percent of ballots on election night, but accounts for 15.3 percent of absentees. Conversely, Saratoga County, which is a Tedisco stronghold, represented 36 percent of ballots on election night but only 27.2 percent of absentees:

If I simply apportion the absentee ballots based on the distribution of the election day vote in each county, I show Murphy gaining a net of 173 ballots during the absentee counting phase. In addition, as Michael Barone has noted, although a plurality of the absentee ballot returns are Republican, they are somewhat less Republican than registration in the district as a whole.

And some more from Campaign Diaries:

1. 3107 (45,8%) ballots have been returned from registered Republicans and 2383 (35,1%) from registered Democrats. Among the entire electorate, the gap between the share of registered Republicans and of registered Democrats is 15%. That means that the pool of absentee voters is significantly Republican than the electorate at large.

2. Counties where Murphy performed well are dramatically over-represented in the pool of (uncounted) absentee ballots:

* Columbia County, which gave the Democrat 56% of the vote, cast 9.8% of the district's votes last Tuesday; but 15,3% of the absentee ballots come from there!

* Two other counties that gave Murphy 56% are over-represented. Warren County and Washington County represented 10% and 8,1% of last Tuesday's districtwide, respectively; but they make up 15% and 9,2% of the incoming absentee ballots!

* Inversely, Saratoga County, which saved Tedisco's candidacy by giving him 54% of the vote, represented 36% of the districtwide vote last Tuesday. Now, only 27% of absentee ballots come from Saratoga - a sharp drop.

Let's put this otherwise: Murphy is winning Columbia County and Warren County by 12%; he is losing Saratoga by 8%. Last Tuesday, Columbia and Warren combined made up 20% of the districtwide vote, while Saratoga made up 36%. Now, there are more absentee ballots from Warren and Columbia combined than from Saratoga. That does not bode well for Tedisco.

Philip at TAP points out that while the numbers are good, we should all help chip in to make sure Murphy's lawyers get compensated for doing their work. Tedisco has plenty of people on his side trying to make the results more favorable for him, so we need to work twice as hard to ensure that the results come out with a full degree of accuracy so that the actual winner prevails.