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Our colleagues at The Upshot have partnered with Siena College to conduct real-time polling in several of the most competitive races in the country, several of which are here in California. They have been reporting the results live, respondent by respondent, as survey calls are being placed. That includes live polls currently underway in California’s 45th and 48th Congressional Districts, in addition to dozens already completed nationally and in the state’s most competitive districts.
We spoke with Nate Cohn, a correspondent who covers elections, polling and demographics, to ask him about the project and what he has been seeing in California.
Q: What’s the reason behind doing live polling?
A: After the 2016 election, we felt like it was important to demystify polling for people. We felt like people didn’t understand why the polls could be wrong, and they took polls to be a little bit more precise than we do. So we wanted to lay out all the challenges involved in polling, the assumptions that underlie it and the increasing challenge of even reaching people in an era of cellphones and caller ID. We thought this would be a compelling way to do it.
Q: What are some of these challenges you’ve mentioned, which news consumers might not understand about polling itself?
A: We show the extent that our results are heavily dependent on assumptions about turnout. Right now there’s an eight-point difference between what we think the result would be in California 45 in a 2014 electorate versus the electorate we currently project.
Obviously the estimates that we report are the best that we can come up with based on the data at our disposal. But anyone who tells you that they are 100 percent sure what a high-turnout California midterm electorate looks like is lying to you, because there hasn’t been one in a long time and certainly in a Democratic-leaning year. We think we’ve laid as much of that out there as we can.
Q: What are insights you’ve gleaned from the polling you’ve already finished in California?
A: I think the biggest thing that we see in our California results is that the “no party preference” vote in Orange County is poised to break really, really big for the Democrats. And that’s not true in the rest of the state. In our poll of California 25, which is a northern Los Angeles County, or California 10, which is in the northern Central Valley, we don’t see that pattern.
But in every poll that we have done in Orange County, the Democrats command a very, very, very wide lead with NVP voters. And that’s important for Democrats because in all these districts the Republicans are likely to have a registration advantage, and indeed they have a registration advantage in the early vote so far. They need that to be competitive; it doesn’t assure them a victory, but it’s an important trend.
This is the eighth in a series of 10 California-themed crossword puzzles, written by the veteran Times crossword constructor and San Diego resident Bruce Haight.
In today’s puzzle, you’ll need to know a little California geography — specifically, the names of two major Silicon Valley cities. There’s also another well-known California geographical location found at 15-Across.
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• President Trump said he was preparing an executive order to end birthright citizenship. It is unclear whether he can do so unilaterally. [The New York Times]
• What would California look like without birthright citizenship? The state is home to more than 10 million immigrants, about a quarter of the foreign-born population nationwide. [The Mercury News]
• The state hasn’t played a meaningful role in national politics for quite some time. But 2018 is different. [The Los Angeles Times]
• So far there has been little sign of the so-called blue wave in California. In some races, the Republican voter response has been strong. [SFGate]
• In the civil war against the Trump administration, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has cast himself as Abraham Lincoln. The governor’s race, he says, will anoint “the next head of the resistance.” [The New Yorker]
• Women are taking charge in the Central Valley, where many are taking lead organizing roles even before candidates rise to challenge incumbents. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• James (Whitey) Bulger, the notorious Boston mobster who vanished for 17 years and was found living in Santa Monica in 2011, was found dead in a West Virginia prison. [The New York Times]
• Southern California Edison said its electrical equipment probably sparked at least part of the enormous Thomas Fire last year. [The Los Angeles Times]
• Waymo will become the first company in California to test autonomous cars on public roads with no human driver. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• Thomas P. Campbell, the former director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was hired to lead the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. [The New York Times]
• More than 200 Google employees are planning a walkout this week in response to the article. [Buzzfeed News]
• Less News Feed, more “Stories”: Facebook disclosed its vision for the future along with its quarterly financial results. [The New York Times]
• “I am convinced the devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children.” The technologists who are making our products don’t want their children anywhere near them. [The New York Times]
• How does a new item get added to a restaurant’s menu? The chef Jeremy Fox created — and recreated — an elaborate chicken dish at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica. [The New York Times]
• What’s your Halloween costume this year? These people chose to show off their love of San Francisco. [SFGate]
And Finally …
Stop. Hammer time.
Earlier this month we told you about a missing 800-pound hammer sculpture in Healdsburg. It turns out the police haven’t had any luck tracking it down — and they need your help.
“There are no leads at this time,” Officer Darryl Erkel of the Healdsburg Police Department said Tuesday, adding that the heist was potentially a felony offense. “Who knows what the motivation is?”
The timing coincides with the disappearance — and discovery — of a giant inflatable intestine in Kansas City, Mo. Could the oversize oddity of Healdsburg also find its way back home?
Read the full story here.
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.