Monday, September 15, 2008

Rochester Turning on how to win the 56th

This is very good stuff.

In the 2006 election, Senator Robach won reelection with 50,411 votes (66%) to 26,434 (34%). His only opponent was Willa Powell, a weak Democratic candidate.

The four parts of the district voted as follows:

* The city was the only area that Powell won, and she received just 53%. Rochester cast 26,408 votes, or 34%, of the total number of 76,846 votes cast in this election.
* Robach won the town of Brighton- which cast 18% of the overall votes- with 60%.
* He was also the winner in Greece with a huge 81% to Powell’s 19%. Greece cast 41% of the votes.
* Robach won Parma by the same 81-19 margin in Greece. Parma voters cast just 7% of the total votes.

So Senator Robach won by a nearly two-to-one margin by doing three things: keeping it very close in the city, winning Brighton handily, and destroying his opponent in Greece and Parma (which together cast nearly half of the votes in the race).

What might happen in 2008? Each of the following scenarios assumes that the exact same number of votes cast in each of the four parts of the district that were cast in 2006 will be cast again in 2008. This is charitable to Robach, because it is very likely that Rochester’s- and possibly Brighton’s- share of the overall votes cast will increase in 2008 more than the increased turnout in Greece and Parma.

But let’s assume for the sake of simplicity that the exact same people who voted in this race in 2006 will vote again in 2008, with no more and no less.

Scenario #1: Dollinger wins Rochester with 60%, and Robach wins Brighton with 51%, as well as Greece and Parma with 70%. In that case, Robach will be re-elected by a wide margin, 56% to Dollinger’s 44%.

Scenario #2: Dollinger wins Rochester with 65% and Brighton with 54%, while Robach wins Greece and Parma with 65%. Then, Robach will still be re-elected, but by a much smaller 51-49.

Scenario #3: Dollinger wins Rochester with 68% and Brighton with 57%, and Robach wins Greece and Parma with 62%. Using those numbers, Dollinger would win the seat with less than 52% of the vote.

Conclusion: Of course those aren’t the only three possible outcomes, but for Dollinger to clinch the seat, he has to do three things: win by a 2-1 margin in Rochester; win Brighton by a double-digit margin; and make sure Robach doesn’t go much above 60% in the western towns.

The truth is that Robach is a formidable opponent and this race is far from over. In Brighton, which Dollinger has to win big, there are more Joe Robach lawn signs than I have seen in any of his previous elections and no Dollinger signs to be found anywhere. The Dollinger campaign has its work cut out for it and they should start spreading their message more. Speaking as a Brightonian myself, I will be going to their campaign office sometime this week to pick up some canvassing supplies and a few lawn signs to spread around my neighborhood. I encourage every progressive who lives in the 56th and who wants a Democratic majority in the State Senate to do the same.

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