3 of 4 close California races settled; Cooley-Harris attorney general race still too close to call

After eight days of razor thin margins and alternating leads, three of the four California races which were too tight to call on election night have seemingly come to a close; however, the attorney general's is still too close to call.

Attorney General

The big story is the tight race between Republican Steve Cooley and Democrat Kamala Harris for the office of attorney general, and that race remains too close to call. The latest numbers from the Secretary of State's Office show Cooley leading Harris by .2% (that’s 19,357 votes), which is a narrowing lead, but there are still over a million vote-by-mail, provisional and damaged ballots to be counted throughout the state.

Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star uses proportions to predict the distribution of the remaining votes, and predicts that Cooley will win by about 15,000 votes when it's all said and done.


Did Facebook and Twitter help savvy candidates win?

Wired has an interesting article up noting the trend between Facebook and Twitter followers of candidates: those with more friends and/or followers usually won their race. Here's the pertinent information:

"The gubernatorial candidate with the most Twitter followers won Tuesday’s election in 22 of 34 declared races across the country, according to a Wired.com analysis.

Jerry Brown is hollering at his boys (and girls) that followed his Tweets to victory.

The results showed 65 percent of the candidates with a bigger Twitter following won the chief executive’s post in their respective states. Three of the 37 races — in Minnesota, Illinois and Connecticut — were still too close to call Wednesday night and have not been counted in the analysis.

When it comes to Facebook, 20 of the 34 gubernatorial candidates with the most fans, or likes, won the chief-executive spot, according to our review of the data. That’s about 59 percent."

Before you jump to the horrifying conclusion that the Internet is now choosing our elected officials, there's a lot of other factors to consider - like how popular these candidates were with their consituency in the first place (especially if they were incumbents), essentially a foundational fanbase that wouldn't need to be converted. Wired agrees: "It goes without saying that many other factors affect the outcome, including incumbency, money and personality — not to mention ideology."

But reaching out to a constituency via the Internet is easy and trendy: good things to be if you want to convince voters you're on the "cutting edge" and are "a new breed" or whatever silly cliche you want to adopt for your innovative maverick baseball bat-wielding stance.

Money quote: "And if there is any lesson to be learned from the data for future elections, Twitter and Facebook are just as important in marketing politicians as they are for household products and personalities."


Low youth voter turnout hurts Democrats

After the House-cleaning that took place at the polls yesterday, it can be a fun and informative exercise to take a look at these exit polls.

The big story told by the statistics is… ahem, drum roll please…

Young people didn’t vote!  Surprised? Oh well, I tried. After turning out in droves in 2008, making up 18 percent of the electorate then – and actually outvoting the 65+ club – the 18-to-29-year-old demographic gave a much weaker showing of 11 percent yesterday.

No doubt, the weak youth voter turnout did little to quell the firestorm that laid waste to much of the Democratic House and, to a much lesser extent, the Senate.

The Washington Post writes:

To be sure, voters under 30 still gave Democrats a boost. Every other age group favored the GOP, including a whopping 18-point advantage for Republicans among voters over age 65. But the numbers suggested Obama's aggressive appeals to young people in the last month before the election, as well as the rally of comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert over the weekend, did little to inspire young voters.


Environmental politics and election results

KPCC's Molly Peterson has been tracking climate policy in the U.S. Senate race, environmental politics in the Governor's race, and ballot measures of interest to the green community: Proposition 21 (the State Parks Initiative); Prop 23 (the California Jobs Initiative, which would freeze AB32 for an indefinite period of time), and Proposition 26 (which would make raising fees on polluters more challenging).

Updates from Peterson & her co-blogger, Green LA Girl Siel Ju about environmental policy and politics can be found on our sister blog here on KPCC's website, Pacific Swell.


Denver voters reject plan to track space aliens

Thank you, AP services, for catching the strange ballot measures that make us smile. The latest election oddity that likely passed under everyone's radar: voters in Denver rejected a proposal to fund a commission to search for space aliens. By 80,000 votes.

From the AP story:

"The proposal defeated soundly Tuesday night would have established a commission to track extraterrestrials. It also would have allowed residents to post their observations on Denver's city Web page and report sightings.

Early results show Denver residents voted 106,776-20,162 against the proposal.

The Denver man who proposed the measure, Jeff Peckman, says the government is tracking alien sightings but refuses to make the reports public. Peckman is a meditation instructor and promoter of new technology, including something he says reduces the "chaos of electromagnetic fields."

Peckman contends opponents greatly inflated the commission's projected cost.

He previously proposed an unsuccessful ordinance requiring the city to offer stress-reduction measures."