Eugene Mayoral Race Predictive Tracking Results

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This graphic takes the polling data and models the likely vote percentage for the two candidates. It’s typical in local races for voters to be unfamiliar with the candidates until late in the process. This method adjusts for that lack of knowledge and creates a prediction. In practice, the method is better at predicting the front runner percentage than all the others.

First, the last poll, two weeks before the election, had Vinis winning 54% and she got 53%. That implies Vinis had the race sewed up relatively early.

Next, as noted in the last post, Vinis gained in early to mid April. From that point on her lead was solid.

Finally, Clark’s paid media push at the end appears to have had no significant impact.

POLLING QUESTION: If the Eugene mayoral election were held today, would you vote for: Mike Clark, Bob Cassidy, Stefan Strek, Lucy Vinis, or Scott Landfield [ROTATE NAMES]? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way would you lean?
NOTE: Landfield not included on Feb. 8-9 survey because he had not yet announced his candidacy.

POLLING METHODOLOGY: Data for surveys: 200 live telephone interviews of City of Eugene likely 2016 Primary voters were conducted on each of February 8-9, April 4-5, April 18-19, and May 2-3, 2016. The margin of error for each survey was plus or minus 7%.

ELECTION DATA: Lane County Elections.

Eugene Mayoral Election Polling Trend

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Okay, now that we know the magnitude of Clark’s landslide loss, we need to examine how his level of support evolved during the campaign itself.

Mike Clark started with a solid lead based on his name ID advantage. As one would expect, Lucy Vinis closed the gap. Vinis broke through in early mid April and maintained a solid lead throughout. Clark’s ad blitz at the end of the campaign was not enough to gain, it might even have caused him to lose ground. Vinis’ break through appears to coincide with the first time both candidates’ messages were presented.

POLLING QUESTION: If the Eugene mayoral election were held today, would you vote for: Mike Clark, Bob Cassidy, Stefan Strek, Lucy Vinis, or Scott Landfield [ROTATE NAMES]? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way would you lean?
NOTE: Landfield not included on Feb. 8-9 survey because he had not yet announced his candidacy.

POLLING METHODOLOGY: Data for surveys: 200 live telephone interviews of City of Eugene likely 2016 Primary voters were conducted on each of February 8-9, April 4-5, April 18-19, and May 2-3, 2016. The margin of error for each survey was plus or minus 7%.

ELECTION DATA: Lane County Elections.

Eugene Mayoral Contest Result in Historical Perspective, 1996-2016

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This chart includes the last five significant mayoral contests. These span the past 20 years. Several things are immediately clear.

First, after 1996 and before 2016 the Business and Progressive sides were fairly evenly matched.

Second, at each end of the time series, however, there were landslides. Torrey beat Weaver and Vinis beat Clark. Both wins were by more than 15 points. Torrey’s win was slightly bigger. The two landslides, though, are not exactly comparable. Torrey vs. Weaver was head to head. Clark vs. Vinis included three minor candidates.

Finally, while Vinis’ percentage was only slightly above the norm for Progressive candidates, Clark’s percentage was far below that for Business candidates.

Two different conclusions are reasonable: 1. Eugene has become far more progressive since 2008. The minor candidates in 2016 were all progressive and they could have taken votes meant for Vinis. 2. For some reason, the Clark campaign significantly underperformed.

At this point the data supports conclusion #2. There are many reasons for this. Among these are that Pat Farr had little problem winning the North Eugene County Commissioner seat against a strong opponent. His numbers were far above Bobby Green’s in 2008 while Mike Clark’s were far below Jim Torrey’s in 2008. The polling over the past decade has been pretty consistent and shows no big changes in the Eugene electorate. Finally, polling for the mayoral race closely matched the actual result. This will be covered in the next post.

METHODOLOGY: The totals do not always equal 100% due to minor candidates. The mayoral contests included were: 1996 Gen.: Jim Torrey (Business) vs. Jim Weaver (Progressive). 2004 Prim.: Nancy Nathanson (Business) vs. Kitty Piercy (Progressive). There were some minor candidates. 2008 Prim.: Jim Torrey (Business) vs. Kitty Piercy (Progressive). There were some minor candidates. 2008 Gen.: Jim Torrey (Business) vs. Kitty Piercy (Progressive). 2016 Prim.: Mike Clark (Business) vs. Lucy Vinis (Progressive). There were some minor candidates. There were no minor candidates running in either of the general elections considered due to Eugene City Charter requirements.

SOURCE: Lane County elections.

Perlow Tops Among Oregon DA Candidates

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Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow received the highest percentage among all the DA candidates on Oregon’s May ballot.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

(I) = incumbent.

Disclaimer: Lindholm Company served as the general consultant on the Perlow campaign.

Lane Board Job Performance Trend in Eugene

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Pat Farr’s landslide win does not mean the Lane County Board is necessarily seen in any better light throughout the county. The Lane Board’s job disapproval rating declined, but the approval rating stayed level early this year.

QUESTION: How would you rate the job the Lane County Board of Commissioners is doing: excellent, good, fair, poor?

METHODOLOGY: 200 live telephone interviews of City of Eugene likely General Election voters were conducted February 16-18, 2015, June 1-2, 2015, September 21-22, 2015, December 1-2, 2015, and February 22-23, 2016. The margin of error at the sample median is 7%.
The total might not equal 100% due to rounding.

Countywide Lane Board Job Performance Trend

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Pat Farr’s landslide win does not mean the Lane County Board is necessarily seen in any better light throughout the county. The Lane County Board of Commissioners’ rating has remained roughly level since June.

QUESTION: How would you rate the job Lane County Board of Commissioners is doing: excellent, good, fair, poor?

METHODOLOGY: 200 live telephone interviews of likely Lane general election voters were conducted February 29-March 3, 2012, October 28-29, 2013, June 29-30, 2015, and January 25-26, 2016. The margin of error at the sample median is 7 percent for all surveys.

As with all measures of approval and disapproval based on job performance questions on this blog: excellent and good are judged approval and fair and poor disapproval. This method tends to be a good predictor of associated decision variables.

Farr Performance Improves Over 2012 Landslide Win

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Pat Farr dramatically improved his percentage over 2012 despite facing a strong opponent and a less hospitable partisan registration margin.

The district’s registration has been trending Democratic. The net Republican margin has dropped by nearly 5% since 2012.

Farr’s opponent in 2012, incumbent Rob Handy, was beset by a wide range of challenges. On the other hand, Farr’s opponent in 2016, Tony McCown, has long experience on the Lane Community College Board and has served on numerous key City of Eugene and Lane County committees. With the exception of Farr himself in 2012, McCown was easily the most experienced challenger to a Lane County Commissioner seeking re-election in the past decade.

Disclaimer: Lindholm Company supported and worked on the Pat Farr campaign.

Source: Lane County Elections. 2016 numbers are unofficial as of end of election night.

Some History of the Eugene Mayoral Race

Today’s the day the votes are due and the results start coming in for Eugene’s mayoral race. History can provide a guide and context to the results.

One observation is that experience has mattered. City councilors have an overwhelming advantage when running for mayor. Of the eleven open elections for mayor, city councilors have won eight, or 73%. Combining the incumbency and city councilor advantages, fully 15 out of 18 races, or 83%, have been won by a city councilor or mayor since 1944. Along with this, no incumbent mayor has lost a bid for re-election since Eugene had the council-manager form of government was established in May 1944. Piercy’s 2008 run was by far the closest to losing.

Another observation is that, during the past quarter century the results have seen a wide spread. The 2000 and 2012 contests, where an incumbent faced no significant opposition were landslides. Among the other four contests where there were at least two major competitors, three (1992, 2004, and 2008) were close and one (1996: Torrey v. Weaver) a landslide. This implies a landslide is possible, though unlikely.

Looking at the two major candidates for mayor, Mike Clark and Lucy Vinis, we can see what history implies. Clark is an incumbent city councilor. Vinis, on the other hand, should she win, would be the only mayor with neither significant experience with the city (nothing elected or appointed) nor high-level political experience (Piercy was a former House Minority Leader). This would imply that, based on history, Clark possesses an advantage. On the other hand, the rarity of landslides implies that this will be a close race.

Our polling has shown that the race has tightened, as we predicted and fully expected (as probably everyone did), since our last public poll in February: http://lindholmcompanyblog.com/?p=12719

Remember that anything can happen.

Matching Up Republican Presidential and Secretary of State Candidates

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In the Republican Secretary of State race each of the candidates has more definition, though probably more due to Richardson’s run for Governor than Leiken’s terms as county commissioner and mayor. Richardson is closer to Cruz and Leiken is closer to Kasich and Trump.

QUESTION: If the Republican Presidential Primary were held today, would you vote for: Ted Cruz, John R. Kasich, or Donald J. Trump? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way do you lean?

QUESTION: If the Republican Oregon Secretary of State Primary were held today, would you vote for: Dennis Richardson or Sid Leiken? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way do you lean?

SAMPLE METHODOLOGY: 400 live telephone interviews of likely 2016 Oregon Republican Primary voters were conducted April 25-27, 2016. Quotas were established for gender, age, and region. The margin of error at the sample median is 5%.

STATISTICAL METHODOLOGY: Correspondence Analysis can be seen as a visual version of a crosstabulation. It represents in distance the similarity between responses from two questions. Responses along the same angle tend to be similar. The closer to the center the closer to the center of the electorate.

Matching Up Republican Presidential and Governor Candidates

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The Republican Governor’s race has more clarity than the Senate race. Pierce is closer to Trump and Alley is closer to Kasich.

QUESTION: If the Republican Presidential Primary were held today, would you vote for: Ted Cruz, John R. Kasich, or Donald J. Trump? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way do you lean?

QUESTION: If the Republican Oregon Governor Primary were held today, would you vote for: Bruce Cuff, Bob Niemeyer, Bob Forthan, Bud Pierce, or Allen Alley? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way do you lean?

SAMPLE METHODOLOGY: 400 live telephone interviews of likely 2016 Oregon Republican Primary voters were conducted April 25-27, 2016. Quotas were established for gender, age, and region. The margin of error at the sample median is 5%.

STATISTICAL METHODOLOGY: Correspondence Analysis can be seen as a visual version of a crosstabulation. It represents in distance the similarity between responses from two questions. Responses along the same angle tend to be similar. The closer to the center the closer to the center of the electorate.