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Presidential Results by CD

Cook Releases 2008 PVIs, With a Change SSPers Will Like

by: DavidNYC

Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:56 PM EDT

Our friends at the Cook Political Report have released an updated Partisan Voting Index that now includes the results of the 2008 presidential election. They've also made a small change in the formula used to calculate PVIs, and I think it'll be instantly recognizable to SSPers:

To determine the national average for these latest ratings, we have taken the average Democratic share of the two-party presidential vote for 2004 and 2008, which is roughly 51.3 percent, and that of Republicans, which is roughly 48.7 percent. So, if John Kerry captured 55 percent of the vote in a district and Barack Obama carried 57 percent in the district four years later, the district would have a PVI score of roughly D+5. (Emphasis added.)

As we discussed at length, the old PVI formula compared district-level results for the past two presidential elections to nationwide results for only the most recent election. This choice sparked plenty of debate, and some folks even suggested we use our own "SVI" that would compare 2004 to 2004 and 2008 to 2008.

Fortunately, the debate has been resolved. As you can discern from the description above (the key part is in bold), Cook has decided to revise its methodology along the lines proposed by people here. Charlie Cook (an SSP reader, as is House editor David Wasserman) told me he wanted something that was "totally apples and apples," and I agree with the choice. Ultimately, this means that the new PVIs will be about two points bluer than under the old system - e.g., a district that would have been R+10 will now come in at R+8.

You can find the new PVIs by partisan rank in this PDF, as well as by member name and by state/district. There's also a giant-size map and a cool chart showing trends in the PVI over the last decade. (As you'd expect, the number of "competitive" districts, at least on the presidential level, has been shrinking.) Have fun!

Discuss :: (30 Comments)

What About the Losers?

by: Crisitunity

Mon Mar 23, 2009 at 4:06 PM EDT

DavidNYC's great post about House election winners from 2008 who underperformed their district's presidential numbers got me thinking. It left me wondering: what about the incumbents who outright lost? Were there a lot of incumbents who overperformed their district and still lost?

It turns out, yes, there were quite a few. (In fact, it's not a difficult question at all; you can just reverse-engineer the previous diary to find the overperformers. For instance, if Jim Himes underperformed by 16 points, Chris Shays necessarily overperformed by 16.) So, while doing this, what turned out to be interesting was who the truly pathetic figures were... the ones on both sides of the aisle who underperformed their districts' leans on their way down to their own ignominious defeats. By doing this, we can separate out the representatives who simply got swamped by a wave from those who lost purely on their own merits.

Let's start with our five Democratic casualties:

State CD Member Party Dem
TX 22 Lampson (D) -7 -17 +10
KS 02 Boyda (D) -4 -12 +8
LA 06 Cazayoux (D) -8 -16 +8
FL 16 Mahoney (D) -20 -5 -15
LA 02 Jefferson (D) -3 49 -52

Bill Jefferson takes the prize for futility in 2008, with a 52-point disparity. Tim Mahoney also had a run-in with his own petard, while Nick Lampson, Nancy Boyda, and Don Cazayoux overperformed their dark-red districts and still lost.

Now for the Republicans:

State CD Member Party GOPer
CT 04 Shays (R) -4 -20 +16
NV 03 Porter (R) -5 -12 +7
OH 01 Chabot (R) -5 -11 +6
MI 07 Walberg (R) -2 -6 +4
MI 09 Knollenberg (R) -9 -13 +4
FL 08 Keller (R) -4 -6 +2
PA 03 English (R) -2 0 -2
VA 02 Drake (R) -5 -2 -3
VA 05 Goode (R) 0 3 -3
NY 29 Kuhl (R) -2 3 -5
NC 08 Hayes (R) -11 -6 -5
CO 04 Musgrave (R) -12 1 -13
FL 24 Feeney (R) -16 2 -18
ID 01 Sali (R) -1 26 -27

Not surprisingly, moderates Chris Shays and Jon Porter did what they could but simply got drowned by the blue tsunami in their districts. On the other hand, several unlikable wingnuts like Tim Walberg and Steve Chabot also overperformed, indicating that despite their out-of-whackness with their swing districts, they were primarily wave victims.

Instead, the majority of the GOPers who lost underperformed, some badly. Only two underperforming Republicans (Thelma Drake and Robin Hayes) were in districts that Obama narrowly won and thus have at least a partial excuse. The rest were in districts that McCain won, and have nothing to assign blame to other than their own loathsomeness. Bill Sali takes home top honors, managing to take a district that McCain won 62-36 and stil lose.

Discuss :: (25 Comments)

Congressional Underperformers

by: DavidNYC

Mon Mar 23, 2009 at 8:00 AM EDT

Now that we have complete presidential results by CD for the entire nation, we can take a look at how members of Congress fared compared to the top of the ticket in each district. The vast majority of Congressmen and women typically perform better than their party's presidential candidates. The reasons for this are plain: Most members don't face serious challenges, and individual Congresscritters can tailor their politics to suit their CDs far better than any presidential office-seeker, who (in theory, at least) has to appeal nation-wide.

Some Congressmembers, however, invariably run behind the ticket. First up are the laggard Republicans:

State CD Member Party GOPer
WY AL Lummis (R) 10 32 -22
LA 4 Fleming (R) 0 19 -19
KY 2 Guthrie (R) 5 23 -18
AK AL Young (R) 5 21 -16
LA 1 Scalise (R) 31 47 -16
NC 10 McHenry (R) 15 27 -12
OH 2 Schmidt (R) 7 19 -12
SC 1 Brown (R) 4 15 -11
CA 4 McClintock (R) 0 10 -10
TX 22 Olson (R) 7 17 -10
KS 2 Jenkins (R) 4 12 -8
LA 6 Cassidy (R) 8 16 -8
MO 9 Luetkemeyer (R) 3 11 -8
NC 5 Foxx (R) 17 23 -6
AL 3 Rogers (R) 8 13 -5
MN 6 Bachmann (R) 3 8 -5
AL 4 Aderholt (R) 50 53 -3
AZ 3 Shadegg (R) 12 15 -3
TX 7 Culberson (R) 14 17 -3
GA 10 Broun (R) 21 23 -2
AZ 2 Franks (R) 22 23 -1
SC 2 Wilson (R) 8 9 -1
UT 3 Chaffetz (R) 37 38 -1

Most of the folks on this list are freshmen who are almost all certain to do much better in 2010. A handful of others are in extremely red districts to begin with, making any difference between their performance and McCain's mostly a matter of minor noise.

Some, however, stand out for reasons all their own, and their underperformance signals a weakness which could potentially be exploited (again). They include the ethically plagued Don Young, the hapless Patrick McHenry, the well-hated Jean Schmidt, the befuddled Henry Brown, the batshit Virginia Foxx, the caught-napping Mike Rogers, and the loose-lipped Michele Bachmann. While all sit in red districts of varying difficulty, each could be vulnerable (particularly Brown and Rogers, I feel).

Now for the Democratic list:

State CD Member Party Dem
CT 4 Himes (D) 4 20 -16
MI 13 Kilpatrick (D) 55 70 -15
IN 7 Carson (D) 30 43 -13
ME 1 Pingree (D) 10 23 -13
PA 11 Kanjorski (D) 3 15 -12
CA 8 Pelosi (D) 62 73 -11
NM 1 Heinrich (D) 11 20 -9
OH 15 Kilroy (D) 1 9 -8
NV 3 Titus (D) 5 12 -7
CA 6 Woolsey (D) 48 54 -6
IL 7 Davis (D) 70 76 -6
NY 15 Rangel (D) 81 87 -6
OH 1 Driehaus (D) 5 11 -6
GA 13 Scott (D) 38 43 -5
MI 7 Schauer (D) 2 6 -4
MI 9 Peters (D) 9 13 -4
IA 2 Loebsack (D) 19 22 -3
IL 4 Gutierrez (D) 69 72 -3
VA 11 Connolly (D) 12 15 -3
CA 9 Lee (D) 76 78 -2
CO 1 DeGette (D) 48 50 -2
FL 8 Grayson (D) 4 6 -2
FL 23 Hastings (D) 64 66 -2
IL 1 Rush (D) 72 74 -2
OH 10 Kucinich (D) 18 20 -2
PA 2 Fattah (D) 78 80 -2
WA 7 McDermott (D) 67 69 -2
CA 35 Waters (D) 69 70 -1
CO 2 Polis (D) 29 30 -1
IL 2 Jackson (D) 79 80 -1
MN 5 Ellison (D) 49 50 -1
NJ 3 Adler (D) 4 5 -1
OH 11 Fudge (D) 70 71 -1
VA 8 Moran (D) 38 39 -1
WI 8 Kagen (D) 8 9 -1

Once again, the vast majority here are freshmen. There are also quite a few more folks in absurdly blue districts (much bluer than the most Republican districts are red). A few stand out as potentially more than just noise, though. Nancy Pelosi puts in a token appearance here - obviously you're going to take a few dings if you're the party leader, but not quite enough for us to be welcoming Congresswoman Sheehan as our new overlord.

Anyhow, I wouldn't be surprised if Artur Davis's long-manifest desire to run for higher office hurt him with the folks at home. (UPDATE: It was Danny Davis in IL-07, not Artur Davis in AL-07.) Meanwhile, Lynn Woolsey's outspoken, er, leadership of the Progressive Caucus might be chafing at her favorability ratings. Charlie Rangel, of course, endured tons of bad press thanks to his tax problems. And David Scott had to face down all kinds of bullshit from Deborah "The Defrauder" Honeycutt. None of these seats, of course, could ever turn red (is Anh Cao laughing at me as I say this?) - it's just that their current inhabitants had (and in some cases still have) varying "issues" in front of them.

As for more serious situations, it's no surprise to see Paul Kanjorski on this list. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick also has a featured spot, thanks undoubtedly to the serious primary challenge she got last year and her bellicose defense of her disgraced son Kwame (the ex-mayor of Detroit). I wouldn't be surprised if she got primaried again. Otherwise, I don't see too many vulnerable Dem veterans on this list - but Kanjorski and Kilpatrick seriously need to consider retirement.

UPDATE: Himes's margin of victory was actually four points, not one - I had failed to include the votes he got on the Working Families Party line.

Discuss :: (30 Comments)

SSP Releases Presidential Results for All 435 Congressional Districts

by: Crisitunity

Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 5:02 PM EDT

Swing State Project is pleased to announce a final and official tally of the presidential election results in all 435 congressional districts. As you might recall, when we last left off a few weeks ago, we were still six districts shy, with only Nassau County, NY and Tuscaloosa County, AL outstanding. With these last few counties relinquishing their data, we can wrap up those last few districts, making Swing State Project the first outlet anywhere, blogosphere or elsewhere, to provide a full public release of presidential election results by CD... not just of percentages, but a transparent display of the underlying precincts, if you're interested in delving that deep. If you want to bookmark the summary of the percentages for all districts for future reference, click here.

If you're looking for additional detail about previously-discussed districts, see waves one, two, three, four, five, and six. For a truly ridiculous level of detail, each state's database is accessible through our master database.

DistrictObama # McCain #Other #2008 %2004 %2000 %

As you can see, AL-06 was one of our roughest districts, in about a three-way tie with AL-04 and TX-13 for worst Obama performance. And while Obama won Nassau County on Long Island by a decent margin, he didn't improve on Kerry's numbers by much. In fact, the 2008 numbers in both NY-03 (the Republican part of Long Island, relatively speaking) and NY-05 (a mix of Nassau County's wealthiest areas and working-class white and Asian parts of Queens) matched the 2004 numbers exactly. The more diverse NY-02 and NY-04 saw larger improvements.

As with the last few waves, our commitment to accuracy compels us to issue a few more minor adjustments as we've refined our databases and/or gotten newer numbers. And, for one last time, thanks to jeffmd, Democratic Luntz, californianintexas, Benawu, Benjamin Johnstone-Anderson, and all the other SSP contributors who helped out anonymously... you all put the "crowd" in crowdsourcing.

DistrictObama # McCain #Other #Updated %What
we'd said
Discuss :: (79 Comments)

Crowdsourcing Pres-by-CD: Sixth Wave of Results

by: Crisitunity

Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 5:34 PM EST

The waves keep getting smaller and smaller, as we wend our way closer to the conclusion of our massive presidential results-by-congressional district crowdsourcing project. For those of you who are counting, that leaves only six districts that we need to complete (AL-06 and AL-07, NY-02, NY-03, NY-04, and NY-05) in order to be not just the first outlet to make all this information public, but just plain the first outlet, period.

The geography nerds among you might be thinking, hey, that looks like we're only two counties short of completion: Tuscaloosa County, AL, and Nassau County, NY. (You're almost right: we also need Coosa County, AL, but it has only 12,000 people so I'm making a "close enough" call on AL-03 until we actually wrangle some data out of them.) Our ground forces in Alabama are already on the case of Tuscaloosa and Coosa Counties, but, to expedite matters, we need to switch on the SSP Batsignal over Gotham: we need an NYC-area correspondent to make the trek out to Mineola and have a date with the Nassau County Board of Elections' copy machine. If you're available to take this mission, please e-mail our intrepid publisher, DavidNYC (see the right column) and he'll tell you what we need.

If you want to see a summary of the whole list of districts, click here. Waves one, two, three, four, and five provide additional detail, and for a truly ridiculous level of detail, each state's database is accessible through our master database.

DistrictObama # McCain #Other #2008 %2004 %2000 %

Points of interest in this wave include AL-04, which, to our surprise, plummets past the West Texas districts to grab the dubious distinction of Obama's worst performance (at 22%). This district used to send a Democrat to Congress until 1996, and even Gore got 37% here... but this is Alabama's whitest and most rural district, where the southern end of the Appalachians and Birmingham exurbs meet.

Aside from some stagnation in NY-27 (the blue-collar white parts of Buffalo), everything else here is good news: huge swings in both Denver and its conservative suburbs, and even bigger swings in Indiana, where we not just flipped IN-02 (South Bend) but won it pretty convincingly.

As with our previous wave, our resident numbers guru jeffmd has been refining our figures as new data continues to trickle in, so we have another corrections table with 16 revised districts over the flip. Again, nothing major, but we know that many SSP readers are fans of utter and complete accuracy.

There's More... :: (83 Comments, 28 words in story)

Crowdsourcing Pres-by-CD: Fifth Wave of Results

by: Crisitunity

Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 6:19 PM EST

The presidential-results-by-congressional-district crowdsourcing project at Swing State Project just keeps rolling along, and we're really getting close to total completion. We're adding 31 more districts today, having scored precinct-level data from some of the largest counties still outstanding (most notably, Queens County, NY, and Wayne County, MI). That leaves only 18 districts with problem counties left to go! (Nassau and Erie Counties, we're lookin' at you...)

As always, big thanks to all SSP readers who've contributed to this project, with extra thanks for this batch to Democratic Luntz and jeffmd, who rocks an Excel pivot table like nobody's business. If you want to see a handy list of all districts in one place, look here. If you want a fuller picture, waves one, two, three, and four are here. And if you want an absolutely crushing level of detail, just click on our master database and then on a particular state to see each district in all its precinct-level glory.

DistrictObama # McCain #Other #2008 %2004 %2000 %

So what are the highlights and lowlights for this installment? As we've seen earlier, California just went from dark blue to even bluer, and that seeped all the way down to some of its reliably red districts (CA-24 in Ventura County went narrowly for Obama... which hopefully will convince Elton Gallegly of the many botched retirement attempts to actually get off the pot this time... and we even came close in CA-19, which stitches together the Sierras and the whiter parts of the Central Valley). A lot of that movement may have to do with California's huge Latino population, fed up with the GOP's increasing reliance on immigrant-bashing; parallel movement is seen in Texas, where two mostly-Latino districts (TX-15 and TX-27) also show wide swings in the Democratic direction.

Also, as we've seen in other districts, Indiana had some of the biggest Democratic swings in the nation, simply by virtue of the Democrats showing up and competing there for once. Check out IN-06. Remember, this is the district represented by Mike Pence, arch-wingnut who just got promoted from leading the RSC to the #3 position in the whole GOP caucus... and now he's in a district that McCain won by just 6 points.

On the bad side of the ledger, we're seeing continued declines in some of the blue-collar white-ethnic districts in the NYC area. These districts suffered some of the biggest declines in that nation from Gore to Kerry, and I thought that might be a temporary 9/11 effect since those districts were some of the ones hardest hit. However, we've continued to lose ground in NY-09 (the old-school parts of Brookyln and Queens), and are stagnant in NJ-04 (Ocean and Monmouth Counties, where people from NY-09 go to retire). Not that it matters too much; these districts are outweighed by the overall blue trends in these already-blue states. And in NY-09 they still managed to kick out state senator Serphin Maltese to finally flip control of the New York senate; Obama's performance may have to do more with 2008-specific racism/latent PUMAism than an overall trend.

Also troubling is what's going on in eastern Ohio, where we lost ground in OH-06 and OH-17. It's not hard to explain -- OH-06 is considered the Appalachian part of Ohio, while OH-17 is centered on Youngstown, a place similar to Pittsburgh's collar counties where the once-strong union base is dying off or drifting away as the manufacturing sector evaporates. This is more worrisome since Ohio is a swing state where every vote counts, but as this part of the state is hollowing out while the Columbus and Cincinnati areas are starting to move into our column, it's not a killer.

Finally, I'm making good on my promise of some updates, based on further refining of early-vote or split-precinct data, or finding more data from small counties where we'd previously made a "close enough" judgment. As you'll see, the numbers haven't moved that much, with a few exceptions (perhaps most significantly in IL-18, which we originally thought Obama had won by a few thousand votes but turns out he lost by a few hundred; see also improvements in FL-06 and FL-07, SC-01 and SC-06). This will only be of interest to people who are real sticklers for accuracy or who are keeping their own spreadsheets on this subject. (Of course, since we're talking about Swing State Project here, that probably describes most of our readership!) The updates tables is over the flip...

There's More... :: (58 Comments, 88 words in story)

New PVIs: AK, AR, AZ, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL

by: Englishlefty

Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:14 PM EST

Since we now know the presidential results in most congressional districts for 2008, we now possess all the tools we need to calculate the new PVIs.

Charlie Cook's official results will be out in a few months, but unlike in 2004 (where results from 2000 had to be fitted to the new congressional districts) there's no reason we shouldn't jump the gun and have our own figures ready. And there's every reason to want to know who's representing their districts and who's a lot more vulnerable than they used to be.

I'm therefore going to attempt to calculate the new PVIs for the states listed in the diary title. They were picked because we have all the results from districts in those states, and because they represent around 20% of America's congressioanl districts and I'm too lazy right now to do more than that in a sitting.

My methodology conforms to that given in David NYC's comment to DGM's diary. My figures are taken from this spreadsheet. My figures are approximate and you should probably ignore everything beyond the decimal point, because I'm using data rounded to the nearest whole number for the district-by-district results.

Details in the extended entry:

There's More... :: (40 Comments, 356 words in story)

Crowdsourcing Pres-by-CD: Fourth Wave of Results

by: Crisitunity

Mon Feb 02, 2009 at 5:21 PM EST

When we at SSP first hatched the idea of compiling some numbers for presidential election results for congressional districts, we were thinking we'd be lucky to get to 60 or maybe 100 districts. After all, we couldn't track down precinct-level data for hundreds of counties, sort out what precinct goes into what district, and pick apart large metro counties with thousands and thousands of precincts... could we?

Well, with the aid of SSP's crack cadre of some of the brightest and most tenacious elections geeks out there -- in particular the relentless number cruncher jeffmd and master BoE cajoler Democratic Luntz -- we're closing in on completing all 435 districts. With another 54 added to the pile today, we're near the 90% mark, with only 51 remaining incomplete. If you want to see all district percentages so far, the link is here; you can also check out the diaries where we released the numbers in more detail here, here, and here.

DistrictObama # McCain #Other #2008 %2004 %2000 %

Some points of interest to check out in this batch: look at PA-06, with some of the steepest improvement in all of Pennsylvania. Any question why Jim Gerlach may be planning to cash it in and run for governor in 2010? It might be because his district just shot past PA-07 and PA-08 to become the bluest all-suburban district in the Philly area.

We have data for most of upstate New York (except for Erie County, where Buffalo is), and it's striking that Obama improved on Kerry at a much greater clip upstate than in the NYC metro area. One thing that might give us some optimism heading into the NY-20 special election is the nearly 6-point improvement, as well as the fact that the Dem candidate actually won the district in the first time since, well, probably Barry Goldwater. But this is pretty typical across upstate NY, as we also flipped NY-23 and NY-24, moved NY-25 from swing to pretty safe D, and almost even won in New York's reddest district of NY-29. Compare this with, say, the whiter urban districts, like NY-08 or especially NY-13 (Staten Island and white ethnic parts of Brooklyn), where Obama lost narrowly while barely improving on Kerry's numbers, and thus nearly overtaking NY-29 as New York's reddest district.

The biggest improvements here, as in previous installments are in the Mountain West. This is plain to see in Colorado, not just in the 2nd (where the improvement over 2000 is gigantic, although that may have to do with the huge Nader effect among Boulder's granola-munching crowd) but also in the 4th, where Obama lost by less than a point where Gore lost by 20. And although we didn't come even close in Utah, some of the biggest percentage gains were there. Look for UT-03 to lose its worst-PVI-in-the-nation status, as Obama made up 9 points there on Kerry.

Is there any bad news to report here? Well, we came oh-so-close to flipping OH-14 in Cleveland's suburbs (fewer than 1,000 votes), while not moving the numbers much there. And we lost ground in AL-05, the Appalachian portion of Alabama, and PA-04, which, like PA-12, is in the collar counties around Pittsburgh where the Rust Belt fades into the Appalachians.

Probably least appetizing are the numbers out of Oklahoma, but even it provides some interesting insights into the changes from the old Democratic coalition to the current Democratic coalition. Most of the state stayed in neutral over the decade, but compare OK-02 (rural NE Oklahoma around Muskogee) vs. OK-05 (Oklahoma City). We're getting absolutely hammered in the 2nd, a traditionally Yellow Doggish area that Gore almost won. On the other hand, we shot up in the 5th, the most cosmopolitan part of the state.

So what's left to do? Our main task is, at this point, getting data from counties who have been unresponsive or are charging an arm and a leg for it. If you're interested in helping out, check out this diary for a primer; here's our database of elections boards to contact. And, as always, here's our master crowdsourcing database... although, as you might notice, most of those blanks have been filled in! Thanks to you guys, of course.

One final caveat: these numbers are subject to change slightly, as we refine the data. In fact, in a few days I'll be posting a list of several dozen updated districts. None of these changes should amount to more than a fraction of a percentage point, but caution is warranted where a fraction of a percent would make a lot of difference in how the district is perceived (for instance, PA-03, where a very small revision could make all the difference in terms of McCain's 17-vote margin in the district).

Discuss :: (83 Comments)

Crowdsourcing Pres-by-CD: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting County Results

by: DavidNYC

Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 8:00 AM EST

A number of people who've expressed interest in helping gather election data so that we can compile presidential results by CD have asked for a more detailed guide. So here's what I suggest:

1) Open up this spreadsheet.

2) Find a county where the three right-hand columns (F, G & H) are all blank. (If there's information in any of those, it means someone has already requested data from that county, or at least investigated it.)

3) Call the phone number listed in column D. (If there's no phone number, please look it up and paste it into column D.) When I call, this is what I like to say:

Hi. I'm a researcher looking for detailed election results from the 2008 election. Whom might I speak with about this?

Once I have the right person, this is the request I make:

I'm interested in precinct-level results for the Presidential and Congressional races in your county for the 2008 election. Are you able to send that to me?

That's really you need to ask for - this request is very basic and should be readily understood. If you encounter any confusion, report back here in comments and we'll try to figure out what the misunderstanding is.

4) At this point, the response you might get will vary. Some election officials will email you on the spot, some will only mail you hardcopy versions, and some might even insist on mailing you a CD. Still others might ask you to fill out a particular request form, or fax them a signed letter, or file a Freedom of Information request.

Just ask what you need to do and you should be given straightforward instructions. If you follow these, you should get the data you're looking for without a problem. Note: If the county you talk to can only send hardcopies but you don't have access to a scanner, let us know in comments.

5) Side note: Some counties - and this really cheeses me off, but there's not much we can do - may require a payment for the data. If that happens, I recommend you do NOT pay for the data. Rather, find out how much the data would cost. Then open up this spreadsheet again and type your username into column F and the cost into column G. We'll look into making purchases later.

6) Once you get the data, please upload your files to Scribd. (You'll need to create an account there first.) Then, post the URL(s) in column H. That way we'll know we have the data, and we'll know where to find it.

That's really all there is to it. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask in comments.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Crowdsourcing Pres-by-CD: Dialing for Data

by: DavidNYC

Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 8:00 AM EST

The good news: We've scrounged up precinct-level election results for about twenty counties that were on our list in order to complete the presidential results by CD. The bad news: We still need data from another ninety.

The bottom line is that we've downloaded from every website that lets you download, and we've emailed every county that lets you email. The remaining counties either don't have websites or email address, or just haven't responded to emails. So we need to start making phone calls.

I think the netroots - and really, we're just talking about a single small blog here - could make a big impact by releasing a complete set of data. Before we started, I never thought that doing so would be possible, but now I believe it's in our grasp. Finishing this would demonstrate that a dedicated band of volunteers can tackle a project most would assume would require a bunch of professionals and a lot of money.

It would also demonstrate that when it comes to data analysis, the Internet really has ushered in a new era of openness, transparency and accessibility. Indeed, our work has already been favorably cited in places like the Guardian and Roll Call, and in local newspapers as well. We're breaking barriers, people!

Alright, enough with the attempts at rousing exhortations. There are still phone calls to make - the full list is here. If you have some free time during the day and can make a few calls, this short list of "high value" municipalities is a good place to start:

Jurisdiction CDs Covered Would Let
Us Complete
New York City, NY 13 12
Wayne, MI 4 4
Santa Clara, CA 4 3
Ventura, CA 2 2
Fountain, IN 2 2
Fall River town, MA 2 2
St. Louis City, MO 2 2
Josephine, OR 2 2
Cass, TX 2 2

Getting precinct-level data for these counties/cities/towns (especially those toward the top of the list) is key, but all are important. If you want to try another route, start with your home state. If your home state is not on the list, then just pick some counties at random.

Remember that when you call, you need to ask for precinct-level results for both the presidential race and any United States House races within the county in question. (Without the latter data set, we can't figure out which precincts are assigned to which CD.)

Also note that if you see a notation in the "Data Requested" column, or a price listed in the "Cost" column, that means we've already made contact with that county, so there's no need to call them. (Mostly we're waiting to figure out if we can find a sugar daddy to pay for the data from the counties which charge - grr! The nerve of them!)

If you do make a phone call and request the data, please make a note of it in the proper column. If the county emails it to you, great - just upload it to Scribd or Google Docs and post the URL in the spreadsheet. If they offer to mail it to you, please make a note of your request date (along with your name or user name) so that we can follow up if need be. And if they quote you a price, hold off on ordering - just note the price in the proper column.

Again, the full list of counties we need data for is right here. Let's do this thing!

Discuss :: (4 Comments)
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