UPDATE If Buffy Wicks vs Dan Kalb For California Assembly District 15 2018 Seat, Can Dan Win?
If Google Trends is as accurate in predicting local races as it has been for state and national contests, then Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles or former Obama aide Buffy Wicks should be the winner of the Tuesday June 5th election for the California Assembly District 15 Race and over Oakland District One Councilmember Dan Kalb and Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett. There are no really reliable polls, and the one most-quoted was commissioned by Ben Bartlett, so we’re left with trying to determine who really has some semblance of a grip on the election, and the data points to Jovanka Beckles and Buffy Wicks.
As of now, Google Trends reports that for the period closest to the date of the election, May 27th to June 2nd, Jovanka Beckles is at a search intensity of 73, Buffy Wicks 58, Ben Bartlett at 29, and Dan Kalb and Judy Appel are tied at 15. While Google Trends can’t fit all 12 candidates at once, this author’s analysis showed the others not mentioned above have an average search intensity of less than one.
First, here’s the full list of candidates in this crowded field and in no particular order: Ben Bartlett, Dan Kalb, Buffy Wicks, Judy Appel, Jovanka Beckles , Rochelle Pardue Okimoto, Andy Katz, Owen Poindexter, Cheryl Sudduth, Pranav Jandhyala, Sergey Piterman, and Raquella Thaman. That’s 11 candidates, and because of the large number of them, one wpuld expect the audience to go with the “known” persons in Beckles, Kalb and Barlett.
But its Wicks who’s garnering the most attention – so much so, that a search for “California Assembly District 15 Race” on Google, has the name “Buffy Wicks” as top most of the three named presented as related terms – the others are Judy Appel and Jovanka Beckles.
But here’s where the dynamics of local elections become more complex: people who are more familiar with their councilmembers or perrenial campaigners, tend to vote for them ahead of any new candidate. For example, Tony Thurmond, who’s the currrent seat holder in the California Assembly 15th District, ran for the seat twice, and was a Richmond City Councilmember. In total, he has ran for elected officce seven times since 2004. Thus, in the case of Bartlett and Kalb, voters may feel they know enough about both of them, and so don’t need to search online to know any more.
By contrast, Wicks is a new candidate running for the first time. With that, she’s managed to outraise her opponents, and its the expenditure of that money which, in no small measure, has contributed to her high Google Trends ranking of 58 for the period, after scoring at 100 for the time frame before then.
But keep in mind, Jovanka Beckles does out pace her, but even with that said, the chart shows her rise to be a sudden, giant, spike. That indicates some kind of campaign outreach done has been effective. Will it work to get her elected is something we will learn Tuesday night.