Conservative First

Polling: What Went Wrong?

People who want to know the future have many tools.  There are crystal balls, fortune cookies, horoscopes, and just a bit more credible, public opinion polls.  The 2020 election featured a spectacular failure of the polling industry.

RealClearPolitics catalogues all major (non-candidate) polls.  They also average the results of all recent polls, which effectively increases the sample size and reduces the margin of error.  Their national polling average was Biden +7.2, while the popular vote was Biden +4.5, an error of 2.7%.  The results in many state polls were even worse.  In Ohio, the error favored Biden by 7.2%.  In Iowa, it was 6.2%.  In Wisconsin, it was 6%.  Overall, Trump outperformed the polls in 33 states.  Curiously, Biden did overperform the polls in a few states, including Minnesota.

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2020 Michigan Local Election Results

There were many local election results of interest in Michigan.  Rs picked up some seats in areas where President Trump did well, but there were also missed opportunities due to local GOPs not contesting seats.

Allegan:  Rs won all six countywide offices and won 7/7 county commission seats, all uncontested.

Bay:  What a failure by the Bay County GOP.  Rs won all state elections in Bay County, but the Bay GOP did not contest six of eight countywide offices.  Popular D county executive (and former congressman) Jim Barcia was reelected.  R Michael Rivard did defeat incumbent D drain commissioner (and former state rep) Joe Rivet.  Rs contested only two of seven county commission seats, and won one of them.

Berrien:  Rs won all seven countywide races.  Rs won 10/12 county commission seats.  The district 5 (St. Joseph) seat resulted in a tie, which was won by the R drawing lots.

Calhoun:  Rs won all five countywide offices and 5/7 county commission seats.

Eaton:  Rs won 3 of 5 countywide offices, prosecutor, clerk, and drain commissioner.  Former state senator Rick Jones lost for sheriff by 2.6%, and an R lost for treasurer by 4.5%.  Rs won 9/15 county commission elections, picking up three seats.  An R won district 10 by 7 votes.

Genesee:  Ds won all six countywide offices.  Rs won 2/9 county commission seats, holding district 6 (Fenton) and picking up district 7 (North), but losing district 9 (East) by 2%.  Rs also came within 5% in district 5 (Grand Blanc) and 2% in district 8 (West).  Thus Rs were close to winning a majority on the Genesee County Commission.

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Did Steven Crowder find Massive Voter Fraud in Detroit?

Conservative commentator Steven Crowder claims to have found “173K Anonymous Votes” in the Detroit election returns.

Crowder is a good guy, but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  The “precincts” with no registered voters are for absentee votes (that’s what AV means).  Some jurisdictions put their absentees in separate “precincts”, which often combine several real precincts together.  (Kalamazoo County used to do this.)  Note that Detroit has 503 real precincts, but only 134 AV precincts.  It’s a dumb system, but that’s how Detroit does it.

Does anyone think local Republicans or the Trump campaign wouldn’t have complained about fake precincts with thousands of votes if there was something here?  They didn’t, because they know how Detroit reports election results.

Recall that Detroit had 1000 FEWER votes for Joe Biden than for Hillary Clinton in 2016, which is hard to square with massive voter fraud there.

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Has Dr. Shiva Proven Michigan Voter Fraud?

A recent youtube video by Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai claims that precinct-level data in Michigan reveals voter fraud.  Dr. Shiva has a Ph.D. in biological engineering from MIT.  He has twice run for senate in Massachusetts as an independent, once after losing the Republican primary.  He also has some “interesting” views on other topics, as detailed on his Wikipedia page.

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How Trump Lost Michigan

Four years ago, I wrote a long analysis of How Trump won Michigan.  The key points of that analysis are

  • Trump did much better than other republicans in rural and downscale (working class/union) areas like Downriver, Macomb, suburban Genesee, and the northeastern Lower Peninsula.
  • Trump did poorly in upscale (highly educated) suburbs in Oakland, Kent, and Kalamazoo counties.
  • Turnout in Detroit was relatively poor, providing democrats with a relatively small absolute margin there.

Trump’s margin of victory in Michigan in 2016 was 10,704 votes.  At the moment, the unofficial totals show Joe Biden with 2,804,039 votes and Trump with 2,649,852 votes.  Biden’s margin over Trump is 154,187 votes.  This analysis will consider county vote totals to determine where this shift occurred, and whether there is any reason to be suspicious of the official totals.

County Margin Changes

Trump’s performance by county is illustrated in the map below.

Data at the SOS website is broken down by county.  Subtracting 2016 and 2020 margins, we find the biggest (approximate) changes in margin in the following counties.

-54200 Oakland
-32500 Wayne
-30900 Kent
-23000 Washtenaw
-11300 Ingham
-10700 Kalamazoo
  -9400 Macomb
  -7300 Ottawa
  -4600 Grand Traverse
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Absentee Ballot Backdating Fraud in Detroit

From investigative reporter John Solomon, formerly of the The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and The Hill:

Detroit city worker blows whistle, claims ballots were ordered backdated, FBI probing

The FBI is investigating allegations of election fraud in Detroit after a city worker stepped forward and claimed election workers were asked to backdate ballots that had come in after the election deadline had passed, multiple officials said.

A senior law enforcement official in Washington confirmed that an investigation was opened after the whistleblower’s concerns were forwarded from the Michigan Republican Party. “The FBI is investigating,” the official said.

GOP officials in Michigan said the whistleblower was identified and assisted by Phill Kline, the head of the Thomas More Society’s Amistad Project, which has been litigating voting disputes and irregularities across the country for months.

I doubt this would change enough votes to change the outcome of the election, but regardless this needs to be investigated, and any fraud prosecuted.

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Michigan 2020 Election Results

President:  50.6-47.9 Biden over Trump.  The raw margin was about 146,000.  Close, but not quite enough.

Senate: 49.8-48.3 for Peters over John James.  The raw margin was about 84,000.  That’s probably too large a margin to be due to voter fraud, but any credible allegations of fraud should be investigated.

Proposal 1 (natural resources): 84% yes.

Proposal 2 (privacy): 89% yes.  A rare moment of bipartisan agreement.

Supreme Court:  32% McCormick, 20% Welch for the two winning Ds.  17% Kelly, 14% Swartzle for the two Rs.  Ds take a 4-3 majority on the court.  This will have bad consequences.

State Board of Education:  Ds took both slots, with a 45K vote margin between the second and third candidates.
University of Michigan:  D Mark Bernstein was reelected.  R Sarah Hubbard snagged the second slot with a 12K vote margin over the other D.
Michigan State:  R Pat O’Keefe took the top slot, and D Rema Vassar took second.  D incumbent Brian Mosallam took third, and R Tonya Schuitmaker was fourth.
Wayne State:  R former SOS Terri Land was first, and D Sherley Stancato was second.


1. 61-37 for Bergman.  If Bergman keeps his term limits pledge, this seat will be open in 2022.
2. 59-38 for Huizinga.
3. 53-47 for Meijer.  Kent has trended in the wrong direction.  Hopefully Meijer locks it down.
4. 65-32 for Moolenaar.
5. 42-54 for Kildee.  Closer due to Trump’s appeal to blue collar workers.
6. 56-40 Upton.  A better result against the far-left Hoadley.  If Upton is thinking about retirement, 2022 would be a good year to do so.
7. 59-41 Walberg. This is Walberg’s best margin yet in what was once a swing district.
8. 47.3-50.9 for Slotkin.  A stronger candidate could have won.  This district will likely change significantly in redistricting.
9. 38-58 for Andy Levin.
10. 66-34 for McClain.
11. 47.8-50.2 for Stevens.  Esshaki did well under the circumstances.  This district probably gets chopped up in redistricting.
12. 31-66 for Debbie Dingell.
13. 19-78 for Tlaib.
14. 19-79 for Lawrence.

State house.  Republicans lost two seats and picked up two, for no net change.  The majority is now 58-52.  Conservative Jason Wentworth will be the new speaker.

3-9. Rs got 2-7% in the all-Detroit districts.
13. 42-58 for Tullio Liberati.  This district might be worth contesting in the future.
19. 49.8-50.2 for Pohutski (258 votes).  The same margin as in 2018.  Rs should contest this again.
20. 45-55 for Koleszar.  This upscale suburban district was lost in 2018.
23. 47.5-52.5 for Camilleri.  This district must be contested in 2022, when it will be open.
25. 47-53 for Shannon.  This could have been won with a better candidate.
31. 44-56 for Sowerby.  This could be worth more effort in the future.
38. 48.4-51.6 for Breen.  LOSS in an open suburban seat that was close in 2018.
39. 52-47 for Berman against a far-left candidate.  This was heavily targeted by Ds.
40. 42-58 for Manoogian.  This upscale suburban district swung hard in 2018 after long being safe R.
41. 45-55 for Kuppa.  Lost in 2018, but may be worth contesting again.
43. 60-40 for Schroeder.  Some pundits absurdly thought this would be close.
44. 60-40 for Maddock.
45. 52.3-47.7 for Tisdel.  Close win in a district heavily targeted by Ds.
48. 50.5-49.5 for David Martin.  PICKUP in a blue collar suburban Flint district against far-left incumbent Sheryl Kennedy.
50. 46-54 for Sneller.  Close due to Trump performing well in suburban Flint.
59. 64-36 for Carra.  Possibly the most conservative new member.
60. 25-75 for Rogers.  She previously lost the 61st in 2006 and 2008.
61. 46-54 for Morse.  LOSS in an open suburban seat that was close in 2018.
62. 48.7-51.3 for Haadsma.  Another close loss for Dave Morgan.
63. 61-36 for Matt Hall.
66. 59-41 for Beth Griffin.  The D here got some hype, but it wasn’t close.
67. 46-54 for Hope.  This district is sometimes close, but never close enough.
71. 47.3-51.2 for Witwer.  This district was lost in 2018.
72. 55-45 for Steven Johnson.
73. 57-42 for Posthumus.  MIRS had a poll that showed a 1 point race.
79. 57-43 for Wendzel.  The D candidate got a lot of hype here.
91. 60-40 for VanWoerkem.  Big win in a former swing district.
96. 57-43 for Timothy Beson.  PICKUP in a blue collar Bay County against an incumbent who renounced his pro-life position.
98. 59-41 for Annette Glenn.  Much bigger margin than in 2018, when utilities spent heavily.
99. 61-37 for Hauck.
104. 51-47 for John Roth.  Better candidate than the scandal-plagued incumbent.
109. 42-57 for Cambensy.  This district may be worth targeting when open.
110. 58-41 for Markkanen.  This was a surprise pickup in 2018.

In 2022, Rs should target districts 19, 23, 25, 38, 50, 62, and 71.  Of course, there will be a new district map, so some district boundaries or numbers will change.

My ratings turned out to be pretty accurate.  Every race I had at likely or safe for a party was won by that party.  The only lean races I missed were house 48 and 96.  My state house tossups had margins of 0.4, 3.2, 5, 8, and 4.  My lean R races had margins from 4 to 24.  My lean D races had margins of 10, 6, -1, 1, and -14.  The closest margin in a race I had at safe was 5 (house 23).  My lean ratings for Congress had margins of 6, 16, 3.6.

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2020 Michigan State House Races

Cross-posted at The Western RightRight Michigan, and RRH Elections.

All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in November. Republicans won a 63-47 majorities in 2014 and 2016, and a reduced 58-42 margin in 2018. There are 25 open seats, 12 held by Republicans and 13 held by democrats. There are 22 open due to term-limits, 1 just due to seeking another office, 1 due to death, and 1 pure retirement.

Democrats are hoping to take control of the state house. They may benefit from anti-Trump enthusiasm, particularly in suburban districts in Oakland County.

Republican Michigander has a profile of the Michigan state house focusing more on district demographics.

The following lists district number, current incumbent, geographic description, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 state house results, 2012 Romney %, 2016 Trump % (if known), and political rating.  The complete candidate list and recent fundraising numbers are available here:

2020 Michigan Primary Candidate List
July 2020 Michigan State House Fundraising

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Voter Fraud: Now We Have Proof

For a long time, those of us on the right have suspected that voter fraud is widespread on the left.  There have been plenty of isolated cases where fraud has been proved, but these were usually small or amateurish.  This allowed democrats to claim that voter fraud was rare and oppose measures to secure elections, branding them ‘voter suppression’.

That all changed a week ago with the publication of a bombshell article in the New York Post.

Confessions of a voter fraud: I was a master at fixing mail-in ballots

A democrat operative from New Jersey, speaking anonymously, has exposed the democrats’ operation.  They collect ballots from unsuspecting voters (ballot harvesting), then steam open the envelopes, and replace the ballots with copies they have filled in.  Postal employees can also collect ballots from the mail do the same thing, or just destroy them.  Nursing home employees can also “help” the elderly fill out ballots.  Homeless people can be bribed to vote their way.

The right has focused most on voter impersonation, while mail vote fraud has always been a bigger threat.  Nonetheless, impersonation is also one of their tactics.

So what can we do?  The most secure way to vote is in person.  If you can’t vote in person, fill out your absentee ballot and bring it to your local clerk yourself.  You absolutely should not trust anyone you don’t know (including postal employees) with your ballot.  Then make sure your friends know this as well.

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Lessons from the 2020 Primary Elections

What can we learn from the 2020 primary elections? This article explains what the winning candidates had in common. I wrote similar articles in 20142016, and 2018.

They don’t call it the establishment for nothing Establishment candidates won most state house races. They have the inside track on fundraising, endorsements, and organization.  None of the winners are outright moderates.  Most could be considered establishment conservatives.  Solid conservative winners include Chase Turner, Steve Carra, Ken Borton, and John Damoose.

Experience counts Elected experience is valuable for winning candidates. Ken Borton is a county commissioner, and establishment conservative winners like Robert Bezotte, TC Clements, and Dave Morgan are also elected officials.

Incumbency Matters All incumbent Republicans won renomination. Beating an incumbent in a primary is very hard. In recent years, the only conservative challengers who beat a Republican incumbent are Tim Walberg in 2006, Lee Chatfield in 2014, and Matt Hall in 2018. Certainly many incumbents deserve primary challenges, but conservatives have limited resources. Winning an open seat is much easier than beating an incumbent. Politicians can still be held to account when they run for other offices.  There are still some benefits to primary challenges, though, as they may encourage the incumbent to vote better for awhile and may help the challenger to win an open seat later.

If at first you don’t succeed  Chase Turner almost beat an incumbent in the 2018 primary.  This time, he easily won the primary, advancing to a competitive general election.  Candidates who lost this time should look for opportunities to run again in the future.

Don’t split the vote Conservatives did much better this year than in past years. HD-58 may have been lost to a less conservative candidate due to vote splitting.  Conservatives may have benefited from splits in the establishment in HD-59.

Money doesn’t buy elections  Self-funding candidates have a bad electoral track record.  Sreenivas Cherukuri self-funded and lost badly in HD-38.  Shri Thanedar did win the D nomination in HD-3 with major self-funding after losing a race for governor in 2018.

Money is essential Money does not guarantee victory, but it is essential to get your message out. This is particularly true in local elections, which are often decided by name recognition. Look at how much winning conservative candidates raised.
Turner 31K
Carra 24K
Borton 50K
Damoose 70K

The candidate who raised the most money won in 6 of 12 contested primaries in open Republican seats (fewer than in past cycles), and the remaining winners still had good fundraising.  My rule of thumb is that the minimum amount needed to be a credible candidate is $30,000. Only two winners raised less than 30K this cycle, one in a race where no candidate did.  The minimum raised by a winner was 24K.

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