June 9, 2010

If Prop 14 Had Been In Effect Yesterday

The top overall vote-getters for Governor yesterday were:

Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown1,478,752
Meg Whitman1,101,528
Steve Poizner461,823

So under the old rules, Brown and Whitman are their party's nominees and will face off against each other in November. Same result under the new Prop. 14 rules. How about for Lieutenant Governor?

Gavin Newsom937,982
Abel Maldonado675,854
Janice Hahn588,494
Sam Aanestad477,265

Once again, same result under the old rules and the new. For Attorney General:

Steve Cooley737,048
Kamala D. Harris554,582
John Eastman534,684
Tom Harman290,105
Alberto Torrico249,679
Chris Kelly265,547
Ted W. Lieu176,526
Rocky Delgadillo170,195
Pedro Nava167,897

Much closer, to be sure, but again, same result -- the top two vote-getters are a Democrat and a Republican.  This is a little bit instructive.  Had 20,000 Cooley voters (all Republicans, because this was a closed-primary election) chosen Eastman instead, the results would have been:

Steve Cooley717,048
John Eastman554,684
Kamala D. Harris554,582
Tom Harman290,105
Alberto Torrico249,679
Chris Kelly265,547
Ted W. Lieu176,526
Rocky Delgadillo170,195
Pedro Nava167,897

This would have produced a runoff between two Republicans.  But, this presumably is not how it would have gone down even if Eastman had been marginally more popular than he was -- because in a jungle primary, there would be independents voting for whatever candidate they wanted, enlarging the pool of voters, and there would be crossover voters; it's likely that some Democrats from Los Angeles would have voted for the relatively popular Steve Cooley, for instance, siphoning votes off from some other Democrats, maybe even from Harris.  We can't know for sure, because this election was an old rules election.

But the point is, the evidence suggests that the new rules aren't going to look that different from the old rules.  With the exception of there not being any minor parties at all on the November runoff election ballot.


Matt Parker said...

I think the bigger impact is going to be on outsider major party candidates. There's going to be a ton of pressure by party leaders to make sure that there aren't so many candidates in their party that the party winner loses by attrition.

Kamala Harris won 35% of the Democratic vote, which is more than double the 2nd and 3rd place Dems in a 6 person race, but only slightly better than then 2nd place Republican in a 3 man race. If you split the bottom three Dem candidates votes proportionally amongst the top three, the results look like:

Kamala D. Harris - 821,356
Steve Cooley - 737,048
John Eastman - 534,684
Chris Kelly - 393,285
Alberto Torrico - 369,784
Tom Harman - 290,105

Basically, this will make incumbents even harder to oust, and back-room dealing far more likely.

K_Yew said...

@Matt: are these the same outsider third party candidates that haven't managed to get any traction anywhere in California? Why not use the independents to moderate the two top vote front-runners?

One day, everyone will realize the need for a viable third party, but until then, Prop 14 will help independents gain a voice, even if it's just an advisory whisper.

trumwill said...

My home city has non-partisan elections with runoffs. The result is more-or-less the same as if there were a party system. Several years ago there was a white moderate running for mayor who was just about everyone's second choice. Didn't make the runoff.

Louisiana's jungle primary is also responsible for the infamous Edwards/Duke race. The moderate incumbent lost in first round.

People who are looking for a jungle primary for the sake of reducing partisanship and consensus candidates are in for a disappointment.