Saturday, March 24, 2012

Politics: Updated Delegate Math - Closing on 1144

Tonight is the Louisiana Primary and Santorum should win this one. Nonetheless, the math is not looking good for Santorum.

The assumptions below:
Santorum wins: Louisiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Nebraska, Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, South Dakota, Montana.
Romney wins: DC, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Utah.
The two more or less tie in all the other states.

Under these scenarios, Romney gets very close to the needed 1144. Thus, he just needs to over-perform in a few of the above projected locations and he gets over the 1144.


state date delegates romney santorum gingrich paul
560 246 141 66
Louisiana 24-Mar 46 15 31 0 0
Wisconsin 3-Apr 42 21 21 0 0
Maryland 3-Apr 37 18 19 0 0
District of Columbia 3-Apr 19 19 0 0 0
Missouri 21-Apr 52 17 35 0 0
New York 24-Apr 95 47 48 0 0
Pennsylvania 24-Apr 72 23 49 0 0
Connecticut 24-Apr 28 18 10 0 0
Rhode Island 24-Apr 19 12 7 0 0
Delaware 24-Apr 17 17 0 0 0
North Carolina 8-May 55 27 28 0 0
Indiana 8-May 46 23 23 0 0
West Virginia 8-May 31 10 21 0 0
Nebraska 15-May 35 11 24 0 0
Oregon 15-May 28 14 14 0 0
Kentucky 22-May 45 14 31 0 0
Arkansas 22-May 36 11 25 0 0
Texas 29-May 155 51 104 0 0
California 5-Jun 172 86 86 0 0
New Jersey 5-Jun 50 25 25 0 0
South Dakota 5-Jun 28 9 19 0 0
Montana 5-Jun 26 8 18 0 0
New Mexico 5-Jun 23 11 12 0 0
Utah 26-Jun 40 40 0 0 0
total 1107 896 141 66

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Politics: Public Policy and Bus Riding

Took the Culver City Rapid 6 Bus to work today. The bus was packed to standing room only.  In fact, at one of the stops, the driver could take no more people!

What are the costs of running a bus service?
1. Buying/leasing the buses
2. Paying the drivers
3. Paying the staff of the agency running the service
4. Repairing/maintaining the buses
5. Insurance costs for the agency
6. Compressed natural gas fuel costs

How is the service paid for?
1. Fares collected at the point-of-service
2. Subsidies by the tax-payers of which the majority do not use the bus

My 8 mile ride today cost me $1.

Does the $1 fare per person cover the cost of the service?

Probably not.

But are there some other benefits to bus usage aside from transportation?

There is the societal benefit of having fewer commuters on the road.  The 100 or so people who came on board the bus at various times are not in cars driving on the road.

Buses use relatively clean natural gas for fuel so there is the benefit of less pollution.

Thus, I accept that the tax-payers at large are subsidizing the bus riders for these benefits.

But the public policy question is, how much subsidies are appropriate for this service?

Came across this article that suggests another aspect of the subsidies is that they are indirect redistribution of wealth since many bus riders are poor.  This item calls bus fares a form of taxation.

I'd be really curious if any city bus agency discloses the level of subsidy each rider gets?

I wonder if the MTA (the LA County transit agency) were to publish the subsidies for each city bus service how the numbers would compare?  Also, how much is the subsidy for the rail services?  If these numbers were broadcasted on the local news or published in the LA Times, I wonder what would be the public reaction?  Would there be political pressure to explain any large differences?  Would public support for/against public transit change?

I think public transit has a place in our cities.  I also accept that subsidies are a part of those operations.

What I would like is some transparency in those services.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Politics: Updated Delegate Math - Can Santorum Win?

Romney holds onto a pretty comfortable lead in the delegate count even after the two losses in Alabama and Mississippi. Admittedly, it isn't much of a rallying cry: the math says I'm going to win! Nonetheless, as seen in the scenario below where Gingrich and Paul get out and Santorum starts winning at 2-to-1 levels in some states and 50-50 in others, Santorum doesn't surpass Romney. Team Santorum has to EXCEED the estimates below to surpass Romney.

In 1976, Reagan was behind Ford going into the convention and Ford got the nomination 1187 to 1070 on the first ballot. Thus, I don't think it is enough for Santorum to keep Romney below 1144 which is the "magic" number for the 2012 GOP Convention Nomination; he actually has to surpass him to win.

In order to do that, Santorum has to out-perform the scenarios listed below.

state date delegates romney santorum gingrich paul
496 236 141 67
Missouri 17-Mar 52 17 35 0 0
Puerto Rico 18-Mar 23 23 0 0 0
Illinois 20-Mar 69 34 35 0 0
Louisiana 24-Mar 46 15 31 0 0
Wisconsin 3-Apr 42 21 21 0 0
Maryland 3-Apr 37 18 19 0 0
District of Columbia 3-Apr 19 19 0 0 0
New York 24-Apr 95 47 48 0 0
Pennsylvania 24-Apr 72 23 49 0 0
Connecticut 24-Apr 28 18 10 0 0
Rhode Island 24-Apr 19 12 7 0 0
Delaware 24-Apr 17 17 0 0 0
North Carolina 8-May 55 27 28 0 0
Indiana 8-May 46 23 23 0 0
West Virginia 8-May 31 10 21 0 0
Nebraska 15-May 35 11 24 0 0
Oregon 15-May 28 14 14 0 0
Kentucky 22-May 45 14 31 0 0
Arkansas 22-May 36 11 25 0 0
Texas 29-May 155 51 104 0 0
California 5-Jun 172 86 86 0 0
New Jersey 5-Jun 50 25 25 0 0
South Dakota 5-Jun 28 9 19 0 0
Montana 5-Jun 26 8 18 0 0
New Mexico 5-Jun 23 7 16 0 0
Utah 26-Jun 40 40 0 0 0
total 1096 925 141 67

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Politics: Celebrity Look-Alike???

Mitt Romney


Steve Lavin




What do you think?

Mitt Romney and Steve Lavin as twins, har har!  Yup, only here at RR can you get such amazing observations about the political scene (not!)!!

I have noticed the media often picks the photos for their news stories where the person is "in action" or something and it is often with a slightly goofy look.

Maybe that will be a future feature of this blog:  finding examples of this phenomena?

Politics: Its another primary night

I posted a scenario of delegate allocation earlier.

3 states and 1 territory will be hosted events.

In order for the stop Romney forces to have any chance, they have to out collect delegates by a 2-to-1 margin.

Polling data in Alabama and Mississippi,  indicate that Romney is holding his own.  If that is indeed the case, the anyone-but-Romney forces may not get the 2:1 margin in delegates they need to stop him.

There is no data on Hawaii or American Samoa which are both caucuses and thus hard to poll.  However, if the Romney organization has any presence there and the non-Romney's have none, then it is likely Romney will pick up at least half if not all those delegates.

After tonight's numbers come in, I'll have to re-jig the scenario of delegate allocation I published earlier and see if the Romney nomination train has been slowed down at all.

UPDATE:  As expected Romney did not win Alabama or Mississippi and he picked up about 1/3 of the delegates to be had in the 4 locations. Thus, the math remains unchanged. But the third place finishes by Romney fuel the perception that Romney is not closing the deal. In this case, the perception has some merit.

Larry Sabato offers this perspective: Barring a massive, difficult-to-fathom shift in this contest, Mitt Romney has a better than 80 percent chance to be the GOP nominee. No amount of wild tapping on CNN’s magic wall will alter those odds. But what kind of nominee will Romney be? We have all witnessed Romney’s weak performance as a candidate. Yes, he’s constructed a solid organization, but it cannot hide Romney’s unappealing inadequacies. Maybe a bad economy will elect him anyway, but without pure luck tossing the White House into his lap, he needs Rick Santorum’s challenge.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Politics: Delegate Math After March 10


The above screen grab is the projected delegate allocations from the March 10 events from RCP.

Romney got 32 while Santorum got 33.

In basketball terminology, Santorum can't afford to trade baskets with Romney.  At some point sooner rather than later, he needs to score points AND play defense to cut into Romney's lead.

March 13 is Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa.

Clearly Romney would want to win all four of these races to put the nomination race away but the delegate math says if he splits them with Santorum, he retains his lead and the clock continues to tick down on Santorum.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Non-profit of the Month: March 2012 - DonorsChoose.org


DonorsChoose.org - Give to a classroom! - Go

In the years I've been posting non-profit of the month, there have been groups that have appeared multiple times. However, this will be the first time an organization will have a back-to-back-to-back appearance. 

Think of the schools you have attended: for me, it was Micheltorena Street Elementary, Thomas Starr King Junior High and John Marshall High School.

See if the schools you went to have projects. Or think of the schools your kids, nephews and nieces go to. Check if their schools have projects.

Hope you will give to support our students in our schools!

World: Kony 2012

In 2007, I participated in an event hosted by Invisible Children called Displace Me.

Sadly, it is now 2012, and the problems in Uganda remain.

This issue has been recently highlighted by the viral video Kony 2012.

Our pastor has shared the following story on a few occasions:
You see lots of injured people in the river.  Some in your group will try to get the people out of the water and bring them to land and tend to their injuries.  This impulse is compassion.  Some in your group will want to go up river and find out who is harming these people and throwing them in to water and stop these people.  This impulse is justice.

Lord, may compassion and justice be done in this situation.

Politics: GOP Delegate Math - Can Santorum Win? Has Romney Closed the Deal?

Am using the information at RCP.

1144 delegates are needed to gain the nomination.

Is the race over?

Well, it depends on your assumptions about the race going forward.

Assumptions very favorable to Santorum in the analysis below:
1) Anti-Romney vote consolidates behind Santorum (Gingrich may eventually get out but Paul is not)
2) Santorum wins 2/3 of delegates in state friendly to him (more conservative) with proportional allotments
3) Santorum wins 1/2 of delegates in closely contested states with proportional allotments
4) Romney wins 2/3 of delegates in locations friendly to him (Northeast and purple states) with proportional allotments
5) Some of the "winner-take-all" are split between winner take all by district and statewide and since I'm not a political professional, I don't know how that actually shakes out in the distribution so I treat them as proportional assuming Santorum would win conservative rural districts and Romney wins less conservative urban/suburban districts which would be likely in a state like California.

In any event, as you can see below in the table, under the very optimistic scenario of the five assumptions above, Santorum could garner enough delegates to deny the nomination to Romney.  Thus, the top two would try to get the support of Gingrich and Paul delegates to clear the 1144 number.

However, I suspect it would be difficult for Santorum to gain the nomination if he is about 100 delegates behind which is what is in the projections below.  Thus, ultimately, for him to succeed, he will have to exceed the projections listed below.

The next handful of contests are on ground favorable to Santorum.  If he picks up wins in those states at the 2 to 1 ratio projected, he will have reason to continue.

I suspect key tests will be Illinois, Wisconsin and Maryland. If Santorum can't garner a clear win in those, Romney keeps racking up delegates in the march to 1144 with Santorum still playing catch up.

April 24 could be the end of the line for Santorum if he only gets 50-50 out of Pennsylvania and loses New York outright.

May 8 is also crucial because Santorum at some point has to outperform the projections listed below.

The June 5 California and New Jersey primaries could put Romney officially over the 1144 number if he does very well or at least bring him so close to 1144 such that it is essentially numerically over.

Anyway, the blueprint is below.  Santorum must exceed the projections below to have a realistic chance to get the nomination. On the other hand, Romney needs to exceed the projections below to put away Hugh Hewitt's "zombie" scenario beyond a reasonable doubt. However, one would suspect even then, some in the main stream media will still insist the zombie still stalks the night...

Sorry the table looks off. I'm afraid my knowledge of HTML is somewhat limited.



state date delegates romney santorum gingrich paul
409 163 111 61
Kansas 10-Mar 40 13 27 0 0
Northern Marianas 10-Mar 9 2 7 0 0
Virgin Islands 10-Mar 9 2 7 0 0
Guam 10-Mar 9 2 7 0 0
Alabama 13-Mar 50 16 34 0 0
Mississippi 13-Mar 40 13 27 0 0
Hawaii 13-Mar 20 10 10 0 0
American Samoa 13-Mar 9 2 7 0 0
Missouri 17-Mar 52 17 35 0 0
Puerto Rico 18-Mar 23 23 0 0 0
Illinois 20-Mar 69 34 35 0 0
Louisiana 24-Mar 46 15 31 0 0
Wisconsin 3-Apr 42 21 21 0 0
Maryland 3-Apr 37 18 19 0 0
District of Columbia 3-Apr 19 19 0 0 0
New York 24-Apr 95 47 48 0 0
Pennsylvania 24-Apr 72 23 49 0 0
Connecticut 24-Apr 28 18 10 0 0
Rhode Island 24-Apr 19 12 7 0 0
Delaware 24-Apr 17 17 0 0 0
North Carolina 8-May 55 27 28 0 0
Indiana 8-May 46 23 23 0 0
West Virginia 8-May 31 10 21 0 0
Nebraska 15-May 35 11 24 0 0
Oregon 15-May 28 14 14 0 0
Kentucky 22-May 45 14 31 0 0
Arkansas 22-May 36 11 25 0 0
Texas 29-May 155 51 104 0 0
California 5-Jun 172 86 86 0 0
New Jersey 5-Jun 50 25 25 0 0
South Dakota 5-Jun 28 9 19 0 0
Montana 5-Jun 26 8 18 0 0
New Mexico 5-Jun 23 7 16 0 0
Utah 26-Jun 40 40 0 0 0
total 1069 978 111 61



Is the race over?

Using a basketball analogy, the first quarter is over and Romney's team has a comfortable lead.

Can they still lose the game?

Theoretically, yes.

Practically, no.

Of course, one can't say with 100% certainty that all five starters on the team won't sprain an ankle thus allowing the other team to get back into the game.

UPDATE: I know that Nate Silver at the NYTimes is the professional in these matters. I did my analysis before looking at his to see if I would come to similar conclusions. To see Silver's number go here. We agree that the path for Santorum is very difficult.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Politics: Super Tuesday for GOP

Alaska, George, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia are hosting caucuses and primaries on Tuesday 6 March.

RCP has polling data for Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia.

Ohio and Tennessee are too close to call between Santorum and Romney.

Georiga is Gingrich's home state so there the only question is how much he will win by.

Virginia is a Romney win since only he and Paul are on the ballot due to failure of the other candidates to get organized enough to get on the ballot.

Figure Massachusetts (Romney home state) and Vermont will be in the Romney win column.

So what will happen in Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota and Oklahoma?

Santorum probably wins the conservative Oklahoma voters.  Romney takes Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota.

Final forecast:
Gingrich:  Georgia
Santorum: Oklahoma
Romney: Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia

If Romney is finally getting the big momentum, he takes Ohio and Tennessee.

Most likely, it will be a split decision with Santorum taking one and Romney taking the other and the struggle goes onward.

UPDATE:  A google search eventually led me to a professional pundit's analysis.  My guesses mostly track with Nate Silver's professional opinion.  He has Santorum taking Tennessee and Romney taking Ohio.  He also predicts ties for Alaska and North Dakota.

UPDATE:
Gingrich:  Georgia
Santorum:  Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Dakota
Romney: Massachusettes, Vermont, Virginia
Still counting:  Ohio (close with Santorum lead), Idaho (early Romney lead), Alaska (no data)
Bottom line:  Romney racks up delegates but hasn't delivered the knockout.