Patterico's Pontifications


Is the Perry boom over? [Update: Debate Thread!]

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 2:37 pm

[Posted by Karl]

That’s the question being asked in advance of tonight’s nationally televised GOP debate in Orlando, FL.  Most of the people asking think the answer is yes.  I still do not think the race is greatly influenced by debates few watch, based on the current polling numbers.

Take a look at the interactive graph on the GOP campaign at RCP.  Rick Perry zooms upward and reaches a peak of 31.8% on Sept. 12.  On that date, the prior frontrunner, Mitt Romney, is at 19.8%.  Today, Perry stands at 28.4%, while Romney is at 20.6%  Perry has dropped 3.4% from a peak; Romney has gained less than 1% during the period.  Indeed, if you study the graph a bit closer, you will notice that Perry and Romney will occasionally rise and fall together, based on which polls are in the mix at a given moment.

Of course, the campaign ultimately does not depend on these national numbers. In Florida, the site of tonight’s debate, one might hypothesize that Romney’s attacks on Perry over Social Security would be particularly salient. But the recent Florida polls show about the same results as the national numbers: Perry drops 3, Mitt gains 2, with Perry +6 overall.  Perry is fourth in New Hampshire, but those a head of him — Romney, Huntsman and Paul — are probably better fits for that state ideologically or regionally (Romney also leads big in Connecticut).  In South Carolina, Perry leads, with roughly the same amount of support since the end of August, but Romney has gained more than he has nationally (it would be interesting to tote up how much time each has spent in-state this month).  In the bellwether state of Missouri, Perry leads by 16 points.  In the purplish state of Virginia, Perry leads by 6 points.

In sum, Perry’s trendline is no longer a hockey stick.  On the other hand, Romney has not gained much during the period.  What this tells us is that Perry is not the second coming of Reagan… but we all knew that from the start, didn’t we?  The basic dynamic of the campaign remains largely unchanged.  Perry could end up not wearing well with the electorate.  But the conventional wisdom is rushing to that conclusion faster than the numbers warrant.

Update:  Just because they don’t affect the overall campaign all that much doesn’t mean a debate can’t be solid entertainment! Consider this your debate discussion thread…


“Realignment”: California Passes the Buck on Prisoners

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 7:33 am

Californians, you thought that the Ninth Circuit order to release state prisoners was going to create danger? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

“Realignment” is a Jerry Brown brainchild that basically mandates that a huge chunk of people sentenced to state prison be housed in the county jails. The counties are initially given a chunk of money to deal with the cost, but there is no guarantee that will continue, meaning that the state is essentially shifting the burden for housing thousands of its inmates to the counties.

Here in Los Angeles, because the jails are already overcrowded, the sheriff is going to have wide discretion to release these prisoners into the community, regardless of the nominal length of their sentences. Thousands will be placed on home detention with electronic monitoring, and thousands more will be simply released.

Even the Los Angeles Times is appalled, characterizing the notion as passing the buck without passing the bucks:

[B]eginning Oct. 1, newly arriving state parolees will be supervised by county probation officers, and new non-serious convicts will go to county jails instead of state prisons. The transfer is forever, but the budget provides funding for only nine months.

After that, who knows? Perhaps Sacramento will have pangs of conscience and allocate more money. Perhaps GOP lawmakers will change their minds on the tax measures, or perhaps they will send voters a constitutional amendment that requires the funding transfer but does not include the taxes. And perhaps not. Counties may find they have no way to pay for job training, mental health, substance abuse or other rehabilitation programs for the ex-offenders who will be coming home. Or even for jail.

There must be something about that first flight to Sacramento that makes newly elected state lawmakers — many of them former county and city officials — forget that their constituents do not distinguish between state and county failures. If realignment is to become more than the latest California exercise in passing the buck (while keeping the bucks), state officials must step up with a constitutional commitment to funding.

Which, of course, means (to the editors’ way of thinking) new taxes.

Well, crime was going down for a while. Don’t expect that to continue.

Hooray for California!

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