Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

15th December
written by Sean Noble








Usually, when political hacks talk about the “undervote” we are talking about how many fewer votes a particular race had than votes for President or Governor in a district or state. However, the 2016 election exposed a new phenomenon: the presidential undervote.

In Arizona, there were 2,554,240 votes cast for President. However, there were a total of 2,661,497 ballots cast. That means that 107,257 people voted in the election but did not cast a vote for President. That is an astounding number when you compare it with the undervote in previous presidential elections. In 2012 it was 34,777, in 2008 it was 28,771, and in 2004 it was 28,734.

And the presidential undervote this year was not unique to Arizona. A Washington Post analysis shows that in the 33 state where they were able to collect the data, 1.7 million people cast a ballot but did not vote for President. Arizona ranked 2nd highest as a percentage of people who did not vote for President (behind Montana).

Obviously, the record number of people abstaining in the Presidential election is a reflection on the candidates. Donald Trump had some seriously unfavorable ratings heading into Election Day, as did Hillary Clinton. And Clinton didn’t inspire the Democratic base the way Obama did in 2008 and 2012.

Clinton was also a terrible candidate, and while the media fawned over the “amazing” operation coming out of Brooklyn, we now know that they were too smart for their own good. They made some assumptions about the election, created a model, and then never tested the model with inputs throughout the campaign.

On the morning of Election Day, internal Clinton campaign numbers had her winning Michigan by 5 points. By 1 p.m., an aide on the ground called headquarters; the voter turnout tracking system they’d built themselves in defiance of orders — Brooklyn had told operatives in the state they didn’t care about those numbers, and specifically told them not to use any resources to get them — showed urban precincts down 25 percent. Maybe they should get worried, the Michigan operatives said.

Nope, they were told. She was going to win by 5. All Brooklyn’s data said so.

President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign on the other hand was hopeful, but not confident, that he would pull off the win. They also had a data operation, but the difference was they were continuing to get inputs and making changes to strategy up to the weekend before the election. It was not just on a whim that Trump went to Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the last days of the campaign.

The question is how will future Presidential elections look? Is the 2016 presidential undervote an anomaly, or is this the new normal? We won’t know for four more years.

5th May
written by Sean Noble

Obama’s campaign continues to push the narrative that they can win Arizona in November.  As a result, I have accused them of smoking crack.

Last week a couple polls came out that showed Romney and Obama basically dead even in Arizona.  There were breathless stories about how Obama was expanding the map.

To test against those polls, my firm commissioned a poll.  But this poll would be a big sample (900) and would be of likely voters (since the other two polls were of registered voters).

Rather than Romney and Obama in a dead heat, it’s Romney by three lengths.

Romney leads Obama 52 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, and 54 percent to 42 percent among motivated voters.

  • 55 percent of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of President Obama
  • 55 percent disapprove of his job performance
  • 56 percent disapprove of the health care law

Romney is also up by nine percent among independents – 49 percent to 40 percent – and by four percent among women – 49 percent to 45 percent. (You can see the entire poll and cross tabs here.)

So Obama and his team can talk about winning Arizona until they are blue in the face… but it ain’t happening.

28th February
written by Sean Noble







As expected, Romney coasted to a solid 47-26 win in Arizona, and topped Rick Santorum in Michigan 41-38, which puts him in the driver’s seat to lock up the nomination next week on Super Tuesday. At this point, Newt Gingrich (who came in third in Arizona and fourth in Michigan) should drop out, something that he really should have done weeks ago.

As I wrote back in January, Romney is well-positioned to secure the nomination. Last week, I wrote that Romney was going to win Arizona by double digits and also win Michigan.

Romney has proven his ability to win when it matters, and Santorum should join with Gingrich and drop out, conceding the nomination to Romney, so we can move on as a party.

Super Tuesday next week will solidify Romney’s status as the Republican nominee, and for either Gingrich or Santorum to stay in the race only wastes resources that could be used to beat President Obama in November.


8th January
written by Sean Noble









Yesterday, Congressman Paul Gosar announced that he is running in the new “River District,” CD 4, which is comprised of Yavapai and Mohave counties and parts of Pinal and Yuma counties.  This move sets up a showdown with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (and potentially other candidates).

Gosar has the advantage of incumbency and having represented nearly a third of the district, in particular Yavapai County, the heart of the old District 1.

On the other hand, Babeu, as Sheriff, only represents a small portion of the new CD 4.

Babeu’s ambition for higher office has been obvious since right after he got elected to Sheriff of Pinal County in 2008.  He quickly set out to establish a reputation of being tough on the border and sought the national spotlight – which wasn’t difficult given his good looks and how much more articulate he is than another anti-immigration Sheriff from Arizona.

However, at the end of the day, Gosar has the upper hand in a primary with Sheriff Babeu.  Despite some of the chatter about Gosar’s staff, he has some very solid folks on board and will have top-notch political advice for 2012.

(For the record, Gosar is not a client of mine or my firm)

Additionally, Gosar has taken the lead in holding the Obama administration accountable for the outrageous behavior of the Justice Department and the execution of an ATF operation called “Fast and Furious.”  Already, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and the head of ATF, Kenneth Melson, have resigned and been reassigned, respectively, as a result, and when it’s all said and done, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may end up resigning.  And it was Gosar at the front of this investigation.  Not bad for a freshman.

With Gosar having his strongest base in Yavapai County, it will be difficult for anyone to beat him in a primary.

3rd December
written by Sean Noble

The Obama campaign has repeatedly claimed that they view Arizona as an opportunity to “expand the map” for their electoral strategy.

They are smoking crack.

The last time a Democrat Presidential candidate won Arizona was Bill Clinton (with 47% of the vote, to Dole’s 45% of the vote) in 1996 – and that was only because Ross Perot’s 8% showing siphoned off votes that would largely have otherwise gone to Bob Dole.

This New York Times article breathlessly reports how there are many things that point to the possibility of an Obama victory in Arizona: Sen. Russell Pearce being recalled, Daniel Valenzuela being elected to the Phoenix City Council, a Democrat being elected Mayor of Tucson.

Poor Helene Cooper doesn’t realize how absurd her examples look.

Sen. Russell Pearce’s loss in the recall election had nothing to do with Hispanic voters – in fact, Jerry Lewis’s margin of victory demonstrates that Lewis won among Republicans in that race.

Daniel Valenzuela won… wait for it… “an overwhelmingly Latino district.”  It’s like saying that Hispanic support for Democrats is surging because Ed Pastor got re-elected.

And Tucson?  Enough said.

Yes, the Hispanic population has grown by big numbers in the last decade – but it isn’t even at its high point, which was about three years ago.

There is something that is really important to understand when it comes to the Hispanic vote in Arizona.  They just don’t turnout in large enough numbers to sway a statewide race.

To wit: in 2008, Rep. Ed Pastor won in a landslide with 72% of the vote in Congressional District 4.  That 72% consisted of 89,721 votes.

That same year, Democrat candidate Bob Lord only garnered 42% of the vote against Rep. John Shadegg.  That 42% consisted of 115,759 votes.

So you have a losing Democrat in CD3 getting 26,000 more votes than Ed Pastor who wins in a landslide in his majority-Hispanic district.  That is a turnout problem, and it’s not going to be fixed anytime soon – especially by a President who has not delivered the hope and change that he campaigned on in 2008.

However, I hope and pray they spend millions in Arizona in their futile effort.  It means less money will spent in true battleground states.

So, welcome to Arizona!  Maybe your campaign spending will help boost our economy!




15th September
written by Sean Noble

Arizona is a growth state. In fact, historically it’s one of the fastest growing states in the country.  Not that there is much growth at the moment, but as in times past, that will return.

Growth has benefited Arizona in huge ways – low cost of living, lots of job opportunities, good economic growth, etc.  The question is, why does Arizona grow?  Well, it’s a number of factors, but by far the biggest factor is the climate.  Yes, we are on the tail end of a brutal summer, but by October, when snow is falling in the Midwest and Northeast, we’ll all be on the phone with our friends and family bragging about our tans and how we just got out of the pool.

With growth comes the cost of infrastructure – in particular electric infrastructure – power lines, etc.   Under normal circumstances power companies, in this case APS, can plan for future needs and finance construction of infrastructure in a way that allows them deliver reliable electricity without raising rates.

But the Arizona Corporation Commission has imposed a regulation (called a Renewable Energy Standard – RES) on utility companies that 15% of the electricity they produce by the year 2025 must be produced by “renewable” sources – solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, etc.  Inexplicably, hydropower does NOT count as renewable, even though any third grader can explain the hydrological cycle.

Pop quiz: how much of the energy produced in Arizona today is renewable? 10% you say?  Do I hear 5%?  How about 0.1%.  Yep, 1/10th of one-percent.

Back in March I blogged about Commissioner Paul Newman’s letter to Congress stating a goal to push the RES from 15% to 25% and asking for Stimulus funds to be sent directly to the Corporation Commission, bypassing current channels. At the time I figured he was kind of acting as a lone wolf.  But now, I think he may have a cohort on the Commission in Republican Commissioner Kris Mayes.

In a recent article about APS seeking a rate increase to help pay for this additional burden foisted on them by the Corporation Commission was this nugget:

Mayes said that APS might not need the rate hike it is requesting if the policy had been changed yean; ago, because if the state had grown slower, the utilities would not need to build as many power plants and long distance transmission lines to serve the population.

So Mayes thinks that slowing our growth would have made it less likely that APS would need a rate increase?  I tend to think it has more to do with the unattainable mandates the Corporation Commission has put on power companies.

There is no doubt that renewable energy should be a part of the solution in the long term for producing energy, but I think we need to rethink whether it’s a good idea to put huge burdens on utilities to produce power from sources that are inefficient and hugely expensive. 



24th August
written by Sean Noble

Remember the year 1952.  As you read about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his reelection prospects, remember 1952.

1952 was the year a relatively young and unknown upstart businessman (who only had a few years experience on a city council) challenged the sitting Senate Majority Leader and won.

The challenger was Barry Goldwater and he beat Earnest McFarland – in a state in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans nearly 5-1.  McFarland was seen as too out of touch with Arizona, too much a part of the “inside the beltway” problem.  Reid seems to have a lot in common with McFarland – and that could prove to be a problem for him.

If 2010 repeats 1952, it will be the first time in 58 years that the sitting U.S. Senate Majority Leader is defeated in an election.  Couldn’t happen at a better time.

9th June
written by Sean Noble

Figures this would happen.  I came up with what I thought was a clever solution to Arizona’s budget crisis only to learn that it’s an idea that is already in place in eight other states!  Who knew?  This is from ATR’s Patrick Gleason’s blog:

Last week Sean Noble, author of the blog Noble Thinking, offered a solution for those that insist taxes must be raised in Arizona. Noble suggests “The Arizona Department of Revenue should expand the option of voluntarily paying more taxes by adding a form – let’s call it Form SITIC – for “stuff I think is critical.” Then, all these people who want to pay more taxes can check the box for what their additional contribution will fund.”

ATR supports Noble’s idea and notes that it is not without precedent. The solution Noble offers is a Tax Me More Fund. Arizona lawmakers can simply create a Tax Me More Fund so that people who feel they are under-taxed, like Gov. Brewer, Chuck Coughlin, and Randy Pullen, have a place to send their money. As it stands, 8 states already have a Tax Me More Fund in place.

The concept has it’s origins in the cradle of the liberty movement in America. According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability, Massachusetts led the way in developing a Tax Me More Fund proposal at the turn of the century. After Bay State voters passed a 2000 referendum to lower income taxes, the Voluntary Optional Tax Endowment (VOTE) was introduced as a way for opponents of the tax cut to voluntarily pay at the old rate. In 2001, the MA legislature added a checkbox on its state tax forms in 2001 that allows the taxpayer to decide which tax rate to pay.

ATR agrees that those who claim taxes in AZ aren’t high enough should be given the ability to put their money where there mouth is. ATR urges AZ lawmakers to introduce and pass a bill to create a Tax Me More Fund in the Grand Canyon State. The bill might be most appropiately titled “The Brewer-Coughlin Arizona Patriot Act.”

For a list of states that have enacted Tax Me More Funds, Click Here

I find it pretty ironic that the first state to enact a Tax Me More fund was Massachusetts.

6th January
written by Sean Noble

One of the smartest people you likely don’t know is Alan Maguire.  Alan is an institution in Arizona, the guy that Governors, Senators, Congressman, Speakers (of the House), Presidents (of the Senate), state agencies, counties, cities, call when they need help.  He is a first-class economist, brilliant strategist and a master of organizational dynamics.

And, he is a lonely man.

Right now, Maguire is one of the only people out there trying to get people to understand the severity of Arizona’s state budget crisis.  I have written a piece on this topic that is posted on the Deep Thinking  portion of this blog.

The bottom line is that the state is out of actual cash for operating expenses, our bond rating is at risk, we are $1.2 billion in the hole for the period between now and June 09, and then we are another $3 billion in the hole for 2010.  Why?  Because Janet Napolitano grew state government at a staggering 63% in just four years!  And we think Congress is bad…

It’ s all Janet’s fault.

30th December
written by Sean Noble

Greg Patterson runs one of the best blogs in Arizona (and maybe the U.S.).  He wrote about Noble Thinking in a post today which made me laugh out loud.  Here is part of it:

While Sean has a huge advantage over local reporters, I have a huge advantage over him.  I don’t think his Bishop will give him an espresso exemption, so he will be writing without that magic buzz that keeps me going post after post.  

Of course he can substitute energy drinks.  Hey, that’s a great idea because it would allow him to use a better name.  Instead of “Noble Thinking” or “No Bull,”  he could call the blog “Red Bull.”  Dude, that would be awesome.

For one thing, Greg is way more funny than I am, so he’ll always have that advantage.  And, he’s right, given my membership in the LDS Church, I’m not going to get an “espresso exemption” from my Bishop… besides, I happen to be the Bishop in my ward.

I have had an energy drink or two in my day, but I’m not going to change the name of the blog to Rock Star… just seems a little presumptous.