Friday, July 20, 2007

to borrow a phrase.....

.... is this not the very definition of cognitive dissonance?1:
So clearly I am wrong. I admit it. My fall election prognostication is so completely uninformed about public sentiment as to be meaningless. By large measure the public has spoken and the result will be quite an unprecedented blow-out. Of course Governor Swann might disagree.

and this must be the only political race with almost no undecided voters 4 months out... almost unprecedented in American politics...

To be fair, the daily KQV question is clearly labeled an "opinion question" and not a poll or survey... and if I remember how they describe it on the radio there is some disclaimer to the effect that it is not a scientific poll. Nonetheless, this just has to be the kiss of death for the MD campaign. That isn't meant to be flippant... but anyone with a chance of winning hearts and minds in the city is probably not going to show up that well on a KQV poll question like that. A form of countersignaling?

but more maps:

Here are the comparative results from the Roddey results (just within the city) of the 2003 ACE race and again for side-by-side comparison the Weinroth results for Mayor in 2005. Also Chris S. asked about what the results look liked if you lumped together all the votes that didn't go to O'Connor in the Nov 05 General election. I am not sure what that really tells you since it's not that different from the results for Weinroth... but here it is:

and one more map... this seems to be where all the hope for a potential MD victory comes from. The first race for ACE where Roddey beat Wecht.

Of course, the Roddey victory that year was county-wide and as explained in the City Paper, Roddey still only got 37.5% within the City of Pittsburgh proper. Is that 37.5% a valid benchmark for what MD could get in the fall? It's a double edged argument to hold that race up as an example. If it is a valid datapoint then you also have to believe the trend for Republicans in the city is decidedly down: Roddey in 1999 (37.5%), Roddey in 2003 (28.8%), Weinroth in 2005 (27%). But the circumstances of the first-ever race ever for the post of ACE were pretty out of the ordinary.

Take what the City Paper said about the bad publicity Cyril Wecht had going into that race. Does it really compare to the current situation? I actually think the CP misses a bigger factor. If you think any of the infighting within the local Democratic Party these days is serious, it really pales in comparison to the longstanding fighting between the Caliguiri and Wecht factions of the party. You can get a taste of some of that history in this PG piece. So the higher than average % for Roddey (though still far short of victory) clearly reflected some of those internal defections. That solid east end block of votes in that map has to be that core Caliguiri support... i.e. as much anti-Wecht as it was pro-Roddey. To assume that same support falls on one side of either a Peduto-Ravenstahl or Ravenstahl-Desantis split is unfounded. It was a very personal fight.

If you really want to push the point and say there is a similar cleavage within the Democratic party these days, you need to think about that some. The thing about the Caliguiri and Wecht factions is that both were made up of a significant number of likely voters. If you are thinking there is some similar Peduto-Ravenstahl type of infighting going on today..... emotionally you are correct, but I bet only one side is made up of likely voters in the fall.

1. apologies to (Sir) Ed Heath (the Pittsburgh version that is).


Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

The candidates come and go. However, the city, county, and region is not as it was in the past.

Lots of people have moved out. That is more of a factor than who is on the ballot.

Some too have moved into the city as well.

Lots of debt has been built. That is not measured with these flash backs.

The city is on the brink. This can't be given a discount.

Lynn Swann was running for PA -- where the worst was a pay raise. And, Swann didn't even speak out against the pay raise much.

Roddey has done lots to prevent a R from running in the city as Roddey could not do it.

Roddey did a lot to piss off the city residents -- in both of his races and throughout his public career.

City residents don't give a woop about do-whop at QED. We were pissed at the loss of WQEX 16 and the debt that they created there -- despite having Mr. Rodgers to pimp. Then there is PAT -- and that leadership speaks for itself. Roddey supported the work of Sabre Systems too.

DeSantis has none of that first hand damage and baggage that Roddey has created for himself and our region.

Friday, July 20, 2007 6:28:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

lots of points in MR's comment, each of which deserves a paragraph.. but there is one thing. In lots of other contexts I myself will tell the story of how much has changed in the region over the last X years. Industry has changed and workforce has changed even more so. Is that inconsistent with the consistency of voting results? Not really, especially for the city. First off, because of the age issue, and other normal voting patterns here is a telling factoid: only a majority of actual voters are in the workforce at all, let alone currently employed. The city still retains a concentration of elderly and minority population that makes its voting patterns a lot more consistent than other trends in the region.

as for the rest... the offhand comment about how 'debt has built' really deserves comment but would take too long here... let's put it this way, the city has been 'on the brink' for an awfully long time no matter how short popular memory is.

Friday, July 20, 2007 7:06:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Just a few quick thoughts. I find it hard to believe that Roddey lost a lot of votes he would have otherwise received because of the WQEX sale. I mean, really, really hard to believe.

I recall a series of last-minute, devestating ads that Roddey aired against Wecht. One in particular repeated a rather nasty remark that Wecht once made about Caliguiri.

Friday, July 20, 2007 8:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting how Peduto's district almost exactly comports with the areas where Roddey did the best in 1999 - except Highland Park, Mexican War Streets and the areas with the largest number of police officers. Unlike primaries, the cops (lots of registered Republicans, unlike the firefighters) can vote in the General Elections.

Friday, July 20, 2007 1:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I agree that Wecht's divisive role within the party was an important factor in 1999. I just didn't have space to get too deeply into it; in a longer draft of the column, I included his timeless remark that a "heart of sheer malignancy" beat within late Richard Caliguiri, which as Mr. Potts points out appeared in a Roddey ad a few weeks before the election. But I just didn't have space to get into it.

As for Mark's point about Roddey's baggage, my point wasn't that people necessarily thought he was a swell guy back in 1999. But his name recognition was a couple orders of magnitude beyond what DeSantis has started out with.

-- Chris Potter

Friday, July 20, 2007 1:44:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

The correlation between Peduto support and Roddey support in 99 has to be spurious in a sense... If not, you have to believe that Peduto supporters were the most likely to switch support from suppporting Roddey in 99 but not in 03.

WQEX... yeah. too much inside baseball. Those who care, really care, but most don't follow the issue. and given the timing of JR's tenure on the board, would it have mattered for these elections. I honestly would have to go look that up to see.

and I clearly meant to type "a minority of actual voters are in the workforce"...

Friday, July 20, 2007 5:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in 1999, Peduto had yet to transform into the Bill Peduto we know today. There were no lefty Pedutoistas, but the fertile ground where Pedutoistas grow is in Shadyside, Sq Hill, Highland Park, Oakland and Mexican War Streets. That demographic is much more likely to vote for a "socially liberal, economically conservative" GOP candidate like Roddey.

Of course, the 1999 race featured Cyril, who has been actively making enemies for himself since the early 1960s. Those who know him best seem to loath him the most - Sq Hill and Shadyside liberals. Plus Wecht and the police have always had an bad relationship - Johnny Cochran coming to town certainly didn't help seal the deal with the cops.

Fast forward to 2003, take Cyril out of the equation, add a little bit of Iraq, a teaspoon of George Bush and a dash of Dick Cheney, you get a newly engaged lefty activist base hell bent on irradicating anything closely resembling a Republican, and who saw taking back the courthouse as the first step to taking back the country. Asking Roddey "what have you done for me lately?" didn't produce an acceptable response. Onorato certainly is not as liberal as Peduto, and on some issues not as liberal as Roddey, but he was not toxic to the liberal voter in 2003.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Well, I'm not a Democratic activist, so you probably know better than I do. But I find it tough to believe that Roddey lost votes in 2003 because he was in the same party as George W. Bush. Onorato is a lot more likable than Wecht, and Roddey had the property reassessments to deal with. Keep in mind that thanks to the city's two-tiered property tax system (which was dispensed with rather quickly once new assessments came out) many city residents were hit doubly hard.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 8:38:00 AM  
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