Should We Move the MN Primary Up?

One of the big issues in the MN GOP Chair race has been the impact of moving the MN primary date from August to June.  There has been a great deal of debate on whether this move would help or hinder the incumbents and therefore impact future grassroots candidates.

It just so happens that 7 states moved their primaries up in the last election cycle.  This provides a rather convenient way to evaluate the impact of an earlier primary.  Here are the raw numbers from ballotpedia:

vote raw

The net effect is an increase in the average win chance for incumbents of 5.2% and a decrease in challenger win chance of 24.0%.  A Chi-Square analysis yields a 17.7% chance of this result being random.  That is to say this evidence is not sufficient to conclude that an earlier primary favors incumbents at a standard level of significance of 5%, but it sure does look like it is trending in that direction.

There are obvious short-comings to this sort of analysis.  I did this in about an hour for a quick evaluation.  That said I do believe the aforementioned provides a strong indication of the potential negative impact toward earlier primaries on the grassroots of the MN GOP.  I challenge earlier primary supporters to issue their own evidence as to the benefits an earlier primary could offer the MN GOP.

23 thoughts on “Should We Move the MN Primary Up?

  1. The image comes across as a black square, and the article is penned by an unnamed source. Without the data, or person to ask questions of, I have no idea if this discussion is about primaries or the general elections nor what information was used to arrive at the conclusion reached.

    It also comes across as one of those “leap to a conclusion without looking at all of the facts” articles. The research “might” be legitimate, but from the article it does not “appear to” take into account other additional factors. For instance, if a primary is moved up, the state is then able to compete with other early-primary states for federal-level dollars before they are all gone. This would be a factor in an incumbent winning if he/she was the one receiving the money. If a primary is moved up, how does the weather affect the campaigns and how they reach the voters.

    The author brings up an interesting aspect, but I really can’t call it anything more than that at this time. #Sorry

  2. Well author is me and the data should be showing up. Not sure why it isn’t, but not overly difficult to pull the information yourself from ballotpedia. Really looking strictly at effect of earlier primaries on general election results for incumbents. Essentially showing that incumbents have a higher chance of winning a general election with earlier primaries. Not to the level of statistical significance (alpha = 5%) but I’d guess another election cycle ought to knock it up to that level. Like I mention this is a quick and dirty evaluation. Controlling for confounding variables requires a great deal of research and is outside the scope of this analysis.

  3. Prob best to just post original data:

    State Year Inc Win Chall. Win
    Florida 2012 98 8
    2010 90 5
    Arizona 2012 53 4
    2010 39 7
    Michigan 2012 82 5
    2010 57 9
    Iowa 2012 88 9
    2010 86 17
    New Hampshire 2012 215 78
    2010 221 90
    Nevada 2012 33 1
    2010 22 2
    South Carolina 2012 138 5
    2010 103 3
    Total 2012 707 110
    2010 618 133

    Aka inc wins 2010: 82.3%; 2012: 86.5%
    Implies expected of 672 inc wins 2012 when observed is 707 inc wins in 2012.
    Chi-Square p-value: 0.177 or 17.7%.

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