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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:18 am 
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I did a little bit of analysis on not only the 2006 Senate campaign in which former Lt. Governor Michael Steele was the losing candidate but on the last six Maryland Senate races. Here's what I found out.

First, some background on Maryland. Maryland is the closest thing that a Democratic politician has to paradise. It's a safe Democratic state. Before Bob Ehrlich and Michael Steele shocked the state and much of the country by taking the State House in 2002 (defeating former Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend), the last Republican Governor of Maryland had been former Vice President Spiro Agnew, who left office in early 1969. Both of Maryland's Senators are Democrats. Seven of Maryland's eight Congressional seats are now held by Democrats. Only 14 of the 47 members of the Maryland Senate are Republicans along with 36 of the 141 members of the House of Delegates. The last time a Republican Presidential nominee carried Maryland was when President George H.W. Bush did so in 1988 and carried the state by less than three points despite winning a national landslide.

(Ironically, and along the lines of my other arguments, the reason that Maryland is such a reliable blue state is because it is a third black and blacks typically don't vote for Republicans. Bush narrowly won the majority of white voters here in 2000 but lost the state. He won the majority of white voters again in 2004 but lost the state. McCain narrowly won the majority of white voters over Obama last year but lost the state resoundingly. Maryland is a case study of why Republican failures to make inroads with non-white voters helps the Democrats gain power. And many of these voters are actually conservatives or at least conservative moderates, not liberals).

And so, let's take a look at what Michael Steele did in 2006 in his innovative campaign and compare it with what happened beforehand when most Republicans have tried to run statewide in Maryland.

* In 1992, incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski ran against Ambassador Alan Keyes, a black Republican. She beat him 71% to 29% and carried 23 out of 24 jurisdictions.

* In 1994, incumbent Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes ran against Republican William Brock. This was the year of the Republican Revolution and Sarbanes won but not as comfortably as Mikulski had two years beforehand. Sarbanes won 59% - 41%. He carried 16 out of 24 jurisdictions.

* In 1998, Mikulski beat Republican Ross Pierpont, 70% to 30%, carrying 23 out of 24 jurisdictions.

* In 2000, Sarbanes beat Republican Paul Rappaport 63% to 36%, carrying 16 out of 24 jurisdictions.

* In 2004, Mikulski beat Republican Legislator E.J. Pipkin, 65% to 34%, carrying 18 out of 24 jurisdictions.

In 2006, however, Steele ran very close with his longtime Democratic Congressman opponnent. He was incumbent outgoing Lieutenant Governor at the time. Cardin beat him 54%-44%. The race was called early in the evening for Cardin. And then the Washington Post had to pull back its call because the returns were showing it as actually being too close to call. Cardin only won in six of the state's 24 jurisdictions. The Democrats had to call in both President Clinton and then-Senator Barack Obama to help Cardin persuade Democratic voters to vote for him.

Steele did do better among African Americans than other Republican candidates, although he still resoundingly lost the black vote to Democrat Cardin. But he also did substantially better with young voters and did substantially better with conservatives (he got 83% of the conservative vote in 2006 while Pipkin got 69% of that vote in 2004 and Pierpont got 64% in 1998).

It's very likely that had all Republicans not been bodyslammed in 2006 that Steele might have won. He ran a very clever campaign. The main attack line of his opponent, Cardin, was in trying to associate Steele with President Bush. Nearly every campaign ad I can remember seeing showed pictures of Steele hugging Bush.

It's also true that if the Republican Party did better with blacks, he would have won the seat and Harry Reid would not have become Senate Majority Leader in 2007. Steele won all eight jurisdictions in which blacks made up less than ten percent of the population but lost three of the five in which blacks make up more than 25%.

Sources:
http://www.uselectionatlas.org
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/MD/S/01/epolls.0.html
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/MD/S/01/epolls.0.html
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/1998/states/MD/S/exit.poll.html

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:43 am 
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Intersting. I wonder what an analysis would show about white ethnic Catholics?

I think Maryland could be a test case for Mike Huckabee. His problem may be that the Maryland Republicans, by and large, are liberal like the rest of the state --are they not? If so, he could lose that primary, as he did this time to McCain.

But, in a general election... cutting deeply into the black vote, and maybe cutting even more deeply into the Catholic vote could prove to be a Hucka-coup.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:43 am 
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VertiCon wrote:
Intersting. I wonder what an analysis would show about white ethnic Catholics?

I think Maryland could be a test case for Mike Huckabee. His problem may be that the Maryland Republicans, by and large, are liberal like the rest of the state --are they not? If so, he could lose that primary, as he did this time to McCain.

But, in a general election... cutting deeply into the black vote, and maybe cutting even more deeply into the Catholic vote could prove to be a Hucka-coup.


Steele himself is a Catholic (as is Chip for that matter, I believe). I can't access exit polls that break out how Catholic voters voted except for in 2006 and 2004, but Steele won the Catholic vote by nine points and the Republican candidate, Pipkin, who tried to win Maryland's other Senate seat in 2004, lost the Catholic vote by 14 points. Steele swept every county in the heavily Catholic Eastern Shore and was the only Republican since at least 1992 to do so. He also won heavily Catholic St. Mary's County (site of the first Catholic mass celebrated in the original thirteen colonies) by about seventeen points - it had gone narrowly Democratic in 2004, and went heavily Democratic in 2000, 1998, 1994, and 1992.

According to the 2008 exit polls (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#MDP00p1), 23% of Marylanders consider themselves conservative. 52% consider themselves moderate. 26% consider themselves liberal.

This contrasts with a national estimate in the exit polls (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=USP00p1)that shows 34% conservative, 44% moderate, and 22% liberal. (This in itself should make people scratch their heads. The Republicans got wiped out even though there are more conservatives than liberals in the country. In my opinion, people need to wake up and start asking why this happens and not just look at the pundit talking points, which only go knee-deep.).

Another study (http://sda.berkeley.edu:8080/quicktables/quickoptions.do) suggests that in 2004, 24.4% of people in the country identified themselves as liberal, 37.9% considered themselves moderate, and 37.6% considered themselves conservative.

So, Maryland is probably a little more liberal than the country at large, but not nearly enough to justify Republican losses in Presidential contests for the past twenty years. The reasons this happens are directly traceable back to the things that I had been talking about, as it is in a number of other traditional blue states.

Huck lost Maryland in part for the same reason that Huck lost Texas. Because the establishment here did the math and concluded that McCain was the horse to bet on. Former Governor Ehrlich and others backed McCain.

Incidentally, a number of the black conservatives who made a public press announcement before Super Tuesday in order to plead with Mike Huckabee to stay in the race were from Maryland.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:34 pm 
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Another observation: Steele won 94% of the Republican vote (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/MD/S/01/epolls.0.html) while his competitor only won 86% of the Democratic vote. Things in Maryland are often the reverse of this - the Previous Republican Candidate (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/MD/S/01/epolls.0.html) only got 78% of the Republican vote while Senator Mikulski, the Democrat, got 94% of it. He pulled Democratic voters away from the Democratic candidate. And he did it without "selling out" on conservative issues, as some Republicans in blue states do.

Look, I don't know who will be the RNC Chairman. It's not my party and what will be will be. However, there is one thing to be learned here in my opinion.

When you see Republicans who are able to win or at least be really competitive in blue states who do that without becoming liberals, pay attention to them. Take notes from them. People like Mike Huckabee, who won four elections in Arkansas in the wake of Bill Clinton's lifetime term as Governor and, to a lesser degree, people like Michael Steele.

My take: a lot of people think that the way to win is just to appeal to "the base." But when that works, it tends to barely work, as it did with Bush in 2000 and 2004. A lot of times it doesn't work at all. People who know how to win elections or at least be always in the running tend to know how to pull people in from the other side. They may be conservatives, as Reagan and Huck were/are, or liberals, as Clinton and Obama are, but they have one thing in common. They know how to talk to people who don't share their views. In many cases, they know how to resonate with people who disagree with them without caving and changing their views or positions.

America is a blend. No one is going to be able to win by purely appealing to one "side." Neither side has enough people on it to carry the day alone. But when you can reach the other side without becoming a member of the other side, you've got something. I respect Republicans who can win Democratic votes without caving at all on issues like abortion.

Seems like people who can do things like this can teach valuable political lessons, regardless of the role they find themselves in.

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