Playing Around with SUSA

So I've been playing around with the SUSA tracking polls for each Senator.  It's a fun gauge, though kind of kooky.  I don't notice any clear patterns with the 2006 elections.  While Santorum and Burns were both loathed by their voters, only Santorum was blown out.  Burns, with disapprovals in the 60s, nearly managed to eke out a victory.  Talent was pretty well-liked until the end, when his disapprovals went up into the 50s and his approval crashed into the high 30s/low 40s.  Even so, he nearly won.  Mike DeWine by contrast had lukewarm approval ratings until September, when he became quite unpopular.  He was blown out.  Both George Allen and Lincoln Chafee stayed reasonably popular the whole time, except for a brief drop in late October (oops), and then bounced back.  Chafee lost badly, Allen lost in a squeaker.

In terms of winners, Democrats didn't have any trouble holding on.  Bill Nelson and Bob Menendez exhibited the same pattern of relatively high and stable unfavorable as Talent and DeWine, but without the electoral consequences.  Jon Kyl's fav/unfav chart looks worse than George Allen's, but he had no trouble handling Pederson.  Maria Cantwell had pretty high unfaves, but she had no problem staying easily aloft.  Joe Lieberman was the most popular Senator who had a reelection campaign of any note, with a consistently high approval in the low 60s and low disapproval in the high 20s until the spring primary campaign.  He dripped down until November, and could have been beaten, but his position in the electorate was a very strong one.  It wasn't as strong as Robert Byrd, but it was strong nonetheless.

I don't have any interesting conclusions here.  It looks to me like favorable/unfavorable ratings can give you a very loose sense of whether someone might be vulnerable, though I really have no clear idea of whether that's true and tend to be skeptical on the utility of this poll as a predictive tool of anything but trends.  In 2006, if you were above 60 in favorables or below 30 in unfavorables a year out, you were in pretty good shape to be reelected.  Otherwise it looks fairly unpredictable.  You can be loathed as Burns was and nearly win reelection; you can be well-liked as Allen was and lose.  You can be hated like Menendez and stomp all over your opponent, disliked like Kyl and win, only kind of sort of appreciated like Cantwell and crush your opponent, or held in neutral esteem like DeWine and be destroyed.  It all depends on the state, the opponent, the dynamics of the environment, and the tenor of the campaign.  Since we don't know the opponent, the environment, or the tenor of the campaign, it's way too early to know what to expect in 2008.

My recommendations are pretty obvious.  If you're facing someone like Lieberman with high approvals and low disapprovals, start early.  He bled a lot but not enough.  If you're facing someone with disapprovals in the 40s, good for you.  Unless it's New Jersey and you're a Republican, in which case you should give up now and save yourself a whole lot of trouble.  Then again, even these recommendations are probably kind of dumb, since some states like the Dakotas tend to have Senators with very high approval ratings, but it's possible to 'like' a Senator and vote against him/her.  Midwesterners like everything.

When I'm looking at a race, I assume that partisans will come home to roost, which usually bumps a challenger's numbers up substantially.  And then I try to understand the main issues in a state, and give a structural advantage to the dominant party candidate (red candidates get extra points in red states, and vice versa), and throw in demographic changes (Northern Virginia, for instance).  This year it was obviously a nationalized election, so the main issues in every state were the same - Iraq and Bush.  In 2008 we could see a nationalized election yet again, much as 1978 and 1980 were both nationalized around reactionary themes.  We could get our Reagan, though I doubt it very strongly.  Hillary Clinton is not it; she had no coattails this cycle.  This leaves Obama and Edwards, but neither one has a coherent sense of how to ask for sacrifice, so I imagine both will be easily steamrolled in either the primary or general.  I suppose the Republican candidate could nationalize the election - McCain has that potential.  Or maybe we'll get another 2000, another limp set of candidates and a Senate map of localized campaigns.

Who knows?  I don't.  I imgagine we have to concede that Iraq is not going away, and that candidates will have to take positions on the investigations that are obviously coming, as well as policy changes on torture, wiretapping, taxes, corporate profits, and war profiteering.  If those work well in your state, then start up your engines.  

Tags: SUSA (all tags)



Some contrasting and comparing

Bill Nelson, October 2006-
With Dems: 54/34 favorable
With Reps: 46/38 favorable
With Inds: 46/31 unfavorable

Nelson v. Harris, Exit polls-
Dems: 95/4 Nelson
Reps: 75/24 Harris
Inds: 68/28 Nelson

Basically what kept Nelson afloat was not having a serious opponent.

Bob Menendez, October 2006-
Dems: 57/36 favorable
Reps: 74/15 unfavorable
Inds: 56/33 unfavorable

Menendez v. Kean, Exit Polls-
Dems: 92/7 Menendez
Reps: 90/9 Kean
Inds: 49/46 Kean

When it comes to favorability ratings, there's three Senators to keep an eye on in 2008.

Cornyn of Texas
Inhofe of Oklahoma
Lautenberg of New Jersey

All have abnormally low favority ratings amongst their own party, and low ratings with independents.

But, all could win re-election easily, especially if the opposition isn't strong enough.

Oklahoma is actually an interesting place for 2008, since there's a posibility of producing a strong Democratic candidate that a lot of people on the internet wouldn't totally like. Sorta like Brad Carson.

by RBH 2006-11-24 08:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Some contrasting and comparing

Interesting work...

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-24 08:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Some contrasting and comparing


Interesting how the 'moderate' 'independent' Kean had a lower percentage of Democrats voting for him than the percentage that Menendez had of Republicans.

Democrats typically vote for Democrats, even if they disapprove of the job being done by that Democrat.

Example: Blagojevich, who had 53% approval amongst Democrats in October, and then won 81% of Democrats in the election.

Fun note: Topinka the 'moderate' Republican got 11% of Democrats. Blagojevich got 10% of Republicans.

Example 2: Chafee, who had 43% approval amongst the rare Rhode Island Republican, and then got 94% of the vote from Republicans.

Example 3: Chafee had 37% approval amongst Democrats, which was good for 14% of the vote.

The only Chafee job approval number that held up was amongst Independents. 54/41 approval, and a 55/45 lead amongst Independents.

In fact, Independents are probably more likely to vote for someone whose job they actually approve of, instead of just voting for one side or the other.

But, it's probably not a significant difference.

by RBH 2006-11-24 09:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Some contrasting and comparing

This is a very interesting analysis and supports the conclusion that a favorability/unfavorability rating is not dispositive of electoral success.  Elections take into account a variety of factors, including:
     1.  Partisan registration
     2.  Approval ratings
     3.  Candidate name recognition
     4.  National issues
     5.  State and local issues
     6.  Candidate personality

Sometimes, one of these factors may be enough.  In other cases, two or three factors have greater weight.  For instance, Montana is still a red state, despite the elections of Schweitzer and Tester.  Nevertheless, Burns' obscene corruption, coupled with Tester's qualities as a candidate, swayed the election in Tester's favor.  Conversely, Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island had universal name recognition and a solid approval rating, but the partisan breakdown in Rhode Island, coupled with national issues, led to his defeat.

With the 2008 election a little less than two years away, the approval ratings are a good starting point for determining vulnerability, but other factors must be taken into consideration as well.

by Southern Blue Dog 2006-11-25 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

We could get our Reagan, though I doubt it very strongly.  Hillary Clinton is not it; she had no coattails this cycle.  This leaves Obama and Edwards, but neither one has a coherent sense of how to ask for sacrifice, so I imagine both will be easily steamrolled in either the primary or general.

If that's your criteria for what it takes to win, I expect Al Gore could do the trick.

by Califlander 2006-11-24 08:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

Gore had no coattails in 2000.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-24 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

Depends on how you count -- the Dems gained in the Senate that year.

Besides, the campaign run by the narrator of 'An Inconvenient Truth', the guy who opposed the war and endorsed Howard Dean, would be very different from what we saw in 2000.

by Califlander 2006-11-24 09:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

Incidentally, in case my use of boldface type didn't make it clear, I was referring to the ability to ask for sacrific, not the coattails.

by Califlander 2006-11-24 09:17PM | 0 recs
North Carolina

I think Elizabeth Dole is a prime target.  Her popularity is unreasonably high among minorities and Democrats, even "liberals".  I don't see that lasting once she starts getting blasted on her positions.

The downside is that she might not run, there are a lot of rumors.  

by Robert P 2006-11-25 02:22AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina

That's a great observation.  I think the NC Democratic Party may have recruitment problems there.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-25 04:12AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina

Well it seems there's about 18,000 people that are or were considering running for governor. You got, Perdue, Moore, Cooper, Easley, McIntyre, Miller, Marshall, and Etheridge all as very viable (meaning white and not extrememly liberal who could put together the necessary Black/White coalition to win, unlike Harold Ford who had the latter, but not the former condition). Moore has already announced he does not want to run for governor, so perhaps he's already thinking about senator?

by adamterando 2006-11-25 05:25PM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina

I have suspected that the NC democrats did a brilliant move in getting Liddy Dole elected to the U.S. Senate. Her leadership at the Repub Senatorial Campaign Committee this year handed the democrats control of the Senate!

by Ed in Montana 2006-11-25 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

I am hopeful that Abramoff has more gifts to give us.  Just because he has gone to prison does not mean that there will be no more Republicans fingered.  These will be low-hanging fruit.

by Bob H 2006-11-25 02:26AM | 0 recs
Call for sacrifice? Bad idea.

The last time anyone ever won an election by calling for sacrifice was never.

by stevehigh 2006-11-25 02:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Call for sacrifice? Bad idea.

The last one was JFK in 1960 - but I agree, we've been spoiled so much, starting with Reagan in 1980 - "Yes, you can have your taxes cut, and your services won't change a bit!" that I don't see that approach working very well, unless we've got a really clever candidate.

by cycleguy 2006-11-25 04:42AM | 0 recs
JFK called for sacrifice AFTER he was elected.


by stevehigh 2006-11-25 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

Economic Populism, a savvy campaign and a really great candidate helps!

by phastphil 2006-11-25 04:30AM | 0 recs
Edwards and sacrifice

Edwards' relentless focus on poverty is, in reality, asking for sacrifice. He uses morals and values language -- without religiosity -- in talking about how leaving people in poverty is wrong. To help lift up the struggling obviously will require sacrfice, but as Edwards emphasizes, it is the right thing to do. He senses that Americans want to restore a sense of community that has been lost, to show the world -- and more importantly, ourselves -- that we're really better than this.

And he uses an interesting phrase to make his point: "It's time to ask the American people to be patriotic about something other than war."

by MeanBoneII 2006-11-25 05:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards and sacrifice

Actually, I have seen that quote in a context that would warm the cockles of Gore's heart ... stating plainly that we cannot simply R&D our way to sustainable Energy Independence.

The last minute (YouTube from 5:50) of this clip is that talk in a more intimate setting.

And this is, after all, the most important sacrifice that we have to make ... abandoning the pretence that the present energy and transport system is a viable one.

The "sacrifice" of the radical right allegiance to Imperial America is not best framed in terms of sacrifice, and I think that the framing in terms of "letting the rest of the world see who we are as a people" (and all of the rosy American myths that it evokes) has some real legs.

by BruceMcF 2006-11-26 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

Things get more sane when you add in PVI. Burns was highly unpopular (41%), but Bush beat Kerry by 8 more points than he did nationwide (49%), or a squeaker.

Santorum had 38% job approval (with Kerry doing 2% better than the national average), making it a blowout.

Allen's approval was at 50, with Chafee's at 51. Rhode Island gave Kerry +11 over the national average, while Virgia gave Bush +3 over the national average. As such, Rhode Island was a blowout for Dems, while Virginia was a squeaker (within the MOE).

While these numbers probably work better because of the wave tendency of this election, putting PVI into the equation actually makes the favorability results quite usable.

by yodafone 2006-11-25 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

I think yodafone captures the key point...
When i saw matt's post, i was wondering too.  Since i've doing some number crunching on the house races (over at DownWithTyranny), i had a lot of the data already loaded into a database and spreadsheets, so i added in the SUSA info, and crunched away...
Of course, the question Matt asks requires some speculation, so what i did is far from rigorous, but it passes the smell test (IMO).
I set up a simple model that used, incumbant status, overal environment (i.e. how strong was the Dem wind blowing), PVI, scandal presence and quality of candidates.  (This last factor uses a sitting senators approval combined with the challengers quality...)  Using these factors and 14 key senate races, i used some math to figure out what relationship between the factors would match the results.  [Aside: this whole process is a lot more guess-work than science since a lot of factors require subjective assessment - e.g., was Burn's scandal(s) worse than Allen's, and if so, how much more...  I used what i thought were reasonable values and then tweaked them until it all matched up...  Also, a came up with the simpliest model i could think of, but its very possible that the relationships aren't much more complex - like the Democratic wind might might have been more magnified in some states.   So please take this all with a grain (grainery) of salt...]

Here's what the model showed in terms of general rules (this year):
    1. the overall environment accounted for a 3 point shift toward democrats across the board.
    2. if an incumbent was unpopular (either generally or because of scandal), if he was in a state that was highly partison FOR him (by PVI), he had a chance
    3. if an incumbent was unpopular (either generally or because of scandal), if he was in a state that was highly partisan AGAINST him, he was in trouble
    4. if an incumbent was unpopular (either generally or because of scandal), if he was in a state that was general partisan neutral, then both a strong challenger and a sustained period of unpopularity (or scandal) was in trouble.
    5. scandal seemed to be something that could be overcome once the event was over (burns, allen) but not while it was still in the news (DeWine).

To matt's specific examples/questions:

Santorum vs. Burns:
This is mostly explained by the fact that Montana is +9R and PA is +2.9D.  That's a 12 point gap - the same ballpark as the 17 point election difference.

Talent vs. DeWine:
The main difference here was the Scandals in Ohio vs. the personal unpopularity of talent.  The scandals stayed in the news and DeWine couldn't shake them.  The personal unpopularity didn't help, but wasn't as strong of a factor as the scandal.  Also, I rated McCaskil vs. Talent was a slightly better matchup for the Dems than Brown vs. DeWine.

Allen vs. Chafee
Biggest difference here was the PVI 2.4R vs. 14.5D.  

Nelson/Menendez vs. Talent/DeWine:
First factor was the +3 overal environment.  Then for Menendez add in 8.5D PVI (vs. 1.2R and 0.2R for Talent/Dewine respectively) and for Nelson add a horrible challenger who was both unpopular and scandal ridden (and FL's 1.3D PVI didn't hurt) and neither was in any danger.

Kyl vs. Talent/Dewine
Two factors - 1. kyle's negatives weren't as strong as Talent/Dewine and 2. Pederson wasn't the same quality of challenger as McCaskill and Brown (not meant to be a ding, he just didn't seem to have a strong a campagn, not the same level of funding support, not an inspiring speaker, weaker debater, etc.)

For some reason things really broke for her in the last 2 weeks (approval-wise).  Totally unclear as to why.  Even if they hadn't, the model shows she would have had no problem (PVI of 3.8D, etc.)

To screwy to include in the model ;-)

As Matt, yodafone and other point out, relative popularity is only one factor.  The prevailing wind certainly helps, but PVI (or some similar calculation) is hugely important - it make the difference between being able to bounce back and being done for good.  In terms of strategy: targetting PVI of better than 2.0 Republican is good.  High quality candidates make a big difference (in the model a 12 point swing between Kyle-Pederson and Nelson-Harris).  

That was fun...

by DanD 2006-11-26 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

If Obama can pull off beating Hillary and Edwards in the primary he has the potential to bring in a huge sweep for the Democrats.  When I listened to him at the Harkin Steakfry he actually talked extensively about sacrifrice and he did it brilliantly.  He could beat any Republican, especially if the war is still a big issue.  He's not perfect and he's inexperienced, but he has by far the most potential.   He would never carry the South, but I have no doubt that he would take all the states Kerry did and could win in states like Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada,  and New Mexico.  He would also have a good chance in border states like Missouri and Virginia.

by blueryan 2006-11-25 07:28AM | 0 recs

Kerry gets low ratings, but I'm sure those are from his losing to bush, not from his performance as a senator.

by delmoi 2006-11-25 08:01AM | 0 recs
SUSA One Year Prior -- and events overtaking?

The abhorrent information conveyed to Virginia voters about the  newly loathesome Macacawitz -- largely new data, requiring a turnaround by those who'd elected him Governor and Senator  - all saw daylight in the year between 11/2005 and 11/7/06.  Conversely, weren't Burns' Abramoff connexion and racism known to Montanans, who knew (and were okay with) their Senator until Tester offered a viable Montanan alternative?

Finding a predictive quality to individual Senators' SUSAs one year early would be valuable in that Dems are 21-12 in 2008.  Low-hanging fruit will be much more plentiful. But resources will again be finite, of course, and there's a top-ticket affect that was missing in 2006.  The top-ticket effect will also influence in-state activism -- if Dems aren't all healed coming out of our National Convention.

I guess I am asking -- didn't Tester win, while Allen lost?  And how does knowing that drive our choices of races-to-win in 2008?

by TeddySanFran 2006-11-25 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

I think the main thing to note is that in Red states the Republican GOTV effort worked just the way Karl Rove intended. They really did turn out their voters in an amazing display of total disconnect with everything that was happening in the country.

They actually turned out more Republicans than in 2004, but of course it didn't mean anything because independents swung so wildly to the Democrats.

This is what makes the McCain candidacy so frightening. He's a total fraud, just like Lieberman. But Holy Joe was able to paint himself as "bi-partisan" with endless media help and so will McCain.

No matter how big a lie, many voters are not going to look below the surface and see what the candidates are really like.

If McCain wins independents over with his "bi-partisan" crap then many down-ticket Democrats will suffer.

This points out the need to have a much bigger GOTV effort for Democrats in 2008 and to put a stop to Republican dirty tricks like robo-calls designed to look like they're from Demcrats.

As the Republicans get ever more desparate to win back control they get dirtier and dirtier. Gutter-ball is just in their foul natures. And we have to be prepared to counter it, which was not the case in 2006. This year they were just swamped by the tidal-wave.

It will be different in 2008.

by Cugel 2006-11-25 11:07AM | 0 recs
Lamont started plenty early

But the Republicans had nowhere else to go in the general election, and that unique circumstance bailed Lieberman out.

Here's hoping that CT Dems pass a 'Sore Loserman' law like most states have - that if you run in a primary and lose, it's game over for you; no second chances in the general.

by RT 2006-11-25 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA
Edwards has no ideas about national sacrifice?
Have you heard his 2 americas speech?
seen his campaigning for union workers and his consistent opposition to free trade?
as a millworker's son, he is the perfect candidate to represent populist American values.
His family story is GREAT and he is a gripping speaker that reminds me of Bobby Kennedy (I've felt the electricity!)
by lauren 2006-11-25 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Sacrifice By The Other Guys

Edwards has no ideas about national sacrifice?
Have you heard his 2 americas speech?

Most candidates want the other guys to sacrifice - not meaning to put down Edwards at all.

Aren't calls for war calls for sacrifice?  Now when people are asked to sacrifice their own sons and daughters - that is different.

The incredible damage that the middle class nonsense propagated by Clinton and the DLC crowd has done is to throw rich and poor together in one humongous mass that defies any imaginable reason.  Certainly the laws of math and economics are suspended.

Until liberals stomp out this fallacy, they will be giving up home field advantage to Republicans - Heavy and Lites.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-25 03:56PM | 0 recs
knock McCain and the Republicans now

Now is the time to start whittling away at the support for McCain and for the Republican party as a whole.  By 2008 the U.S. will have substantially gotten out of Iraq, and the Republicans will be wiping their hands of it and blaming Bush and Rumsfeld.  

McCain will be running as a "reformer" and we have got to put the stake right through the heart of that illusion of moderation or he will stomp our candidate. We also have to show that Iraq and the disasters and corruption in Washington were a result of Republican policies - not just Bush policies - of believing that the private sector fixes everything (or massive giveaways to the corporate elites if you prefer that language).

This election was about the fiasco in Iraq.  It was not a swing to the Democrats so much as a swing away from the current Administration.  We won't be so lucky with national issues next time and now have to show that Democrats are competent and have a coherent philosophy that is appealing to the majority of this country's voters.

by dwightmc 2006-11-25 02:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

"Hillary Clinton is not it; she had no coattails this cycle.  This leaves Obama and Edwards, but neither one has a coherent sense of how to ask for sacrifice, so I imagine both will be easily steamrolled in either the primary or general."

Matt: can you be objective about Edwards?

Or are we going to be in for a smear the next 2 years?  I just want to know if you can overcome personal issues that maybe leftover to be objective?

by dk2 2006-11-25 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards

Matt: can you be objective about Edwards?

Or are we going to be in for a smear the next 2 years?

I wasn't wild about Edwards in the past but I am beginning to warm up to him along with some others that are not chanting the middle class catechism of the DLC Republican Lites.

Edwards is hobbled by the aroma of being a class action ambulance chaser but he probably has the ability to turn it to his advantage.  A Wesley Clark or Jim Webb suffer no such disability.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-25 04:37PM | 0 recs
I agree.

I also think he can turn any attacks on "ambulance chasers" to his advantage -- a TV spot featuring some of the sympathetic people he represented against the negligent corporations that injured them would be like political judo.

The problem with a candidate like Clark obviously is: How does he unite enough support quickly enough to stop Hillary Clinton from running away with the nomination?

by MeanBoneII 2006-11-26 01:21AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree.

To be honest, I'm not an Edwards supporter; I just don't think he has enough experience. Also, I don't think you can have anyone on the ticket who can't carry his own geographical base. It's too hard to win that way.

However, I thought it was effective in the debate with Cheney when he talked about that 3 cent piece of metal that could have kept a kid from getting killed and I wondered why he didn't use three or more examples like that.

There's a good populist message there. The Republicans talk about lawyers this and lawyers that, but when you see the lawyesrs are the only ones left to fight against the corporations, your opinon of lswyers changes. (Not sure why the trial lawyers don't advertise a populist message either....they don't seem to do any self-promotion.)

(As an aside, I thought he came out good with Cheney--tough and smart--but sort of lost ground when he started smiling and trying to be likable. Or, you know, maybe he's just naturally smiling and likable, but he still should have kept his game face on throughout the debate and maybe started smiling at the end.)

by Bush Bites 2006-11-26 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree.

Well, I live in Edwards base, and as I repeat ad nauseum, the Republicans have never won the Presidency without out us. Ohio that is.

by BruceMcF 2006-11-26 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

Looking for a Democratic (DFL) pick up in a Senate Race -- Well, we Minnesota DFL types want the Wellstone Senate Seat Back, (from Norm Coleman) and it looks as if Al Franken is ready to declare.  Yes, we know there will be others in the race during Precinct Caucuses in March 2008 as there should be, but you want a win-able race, we gottch yuu one.  

Now, let me answer a few classic questions.  First of all, about that matter of sending a stand up comic to the Senate.  Walter Mondale answered it over a year ago in a seminar from the Carter Center on C-Span -- (late night filler).  He said, many in DC did not know they were stand up comics, so it was time Minnesota sent them a real one.  

Is Al Franken from Minnesota?  No, not born here, but he grew up here and was part of the same High School Class (St. Louis Park) as Norm Orenstein and Tom Friedman. Unlike them, Al Franken is a grad of both Harvard and the Dudley Riggs Caffe Expresso Troupe, and he spent the last spring and summer doing Ice Cream Socials, Corn Roasts, and Turkey Races -- and anything else that allowed for a DFL'er to march in a parade. What the media has failed to pick up on is the new act Al does with Walter Mondale, with Mondale as Norwegian Straight man Comic.  I realize the taste for this may be limited, but They are getting good at the duo routine.  

Norm Coleman according to the latest polls is at 48% approval.  I think that can be driven down with a little effort, and time is to start thinking about how to set up the pile driver.  One of the reasons we need a 50 State Plan a la Howard Dean is so that we can spend a little money and effort to drive down Republican rankings before we actually finish our endorsement and nomination process, not for a particular candidate, but on generic voting records and all the rest.  

Remember, Norm Coleman (former St. Paul Mayor, DFL) was the Co-Chair of Wellstone's 1996 Senate Re-election Campaign, and he chaired both Clinton's state 92 and 96 campaigns -- it was only after that that he got twiddled by Rove and Boschwitz, and converted to Republicanism.  In fact Norm had some conversations with the Clintons in 1992 and 93 about his running against Wellstone in 1996 -- as they thought Wellstone too far out.  In the end, and given how one gets endorsed and nominated in Minnesota, he rejected that proposition, but it was made and considered.  For a time the Clinton run DNC actually had a rented office right next to the State DFL office near the legislature that was about that opposition in the Labor building near the Capitol.  No big secret.  At least we had a member funded DFL Office next door in the same building.  

Amy Klobuchar got about 57- 58% of the vote for Senate this year, and I suspect many other DFL nominees rightly supported can do almost or at least as well. Amy will be a dependable Liberal-Progressive.  

There are two semi-announced opponents to Franken, the current Mayor of Mpls, and the former Majority Leader of the State Senate, Dean Johnson.  Johnson was defeated by the rabbid right on the fact that he kept Gay Marriage off the Ballot this fall.  He is a Lutheran Minister and former high ranking Military Chaplain.  Others may come forward, but I doubt either can defeat Franken.  Anyhow, good opposition makes for a stronger candidacy.    

Anyhow this will be an important seat and worth paying attention to the campaign and all.  I hope I have provided enough background, back to Mondale's comments at the Carter Center a year ago, to make clear what it all involves.  And of course there is more.  Much more.  

Someone needs to interview Molly Ivins or ask her to write up the historical essay about how Al got asked to run or at least think about running.  Years ago Molly was a St. Paul Legislative reporter for the old Minneapolis Star, and she knows Minnesota Politics pretty well, following it carefully.  She was a Nation Fan of Paul Wellstone, and she is part of the board of Wellstone Action.  Sadly she has had a cancer relapse, but she may still make it for many more years.  Anyhow -- apparently it was her twit to Mondale and Franken that moved the idea, and I hope someone interviews Molly for the details, just in case, so that the twit is really in the history.  

by Sara 2006-11-25 08:54PM | 0 recs
Not Franken!

While we all love Al on Air America, he would get blown out by Norm Coleman. Minnesotans see him as too clever for his own good, and slick even though he's not the New York Jew in the race (as Franken has said).

The Dem bench isn't deep for Senate, but we've got to do better than a celebrity.

by OtH 2006-11-25 11:07PM | 0 recs
Global warming as an issue

Not sure how much stock to put in this, but a zogby post-election poll claimed global warming was a sleeper issue this time out: D=1194

by Bush Bites 2006-11-25 10:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Playing Around with SUSA

NYS Democrats picked up 3 Congressional seats, a State Senate seat, and 3 Assembly seats.  It was the most successful election for the party in a generation.

I cannot imagine what would constitute coattails for the Spitzer/Clinton ticket from your unrealistic and biased point of view.

At this point, our House delegation is as lopsided as TX, and we have 108 of 150 Assembly seats.  There are 3 million Republicans living up here, and they do vote, so how much hegemony would constitute success?

by Francis Vecellio 2006-11-26 10:27AM | 0 recs
Edwards asks for sacrifice

Edwards' speech with Jim Webb, 27 September 2006: /28/14159/8287

"It is time for us to lead again and be the model for the world not just "over there" but here in America too.  It's time for the Democratic Party, my Party, to lead again.  There is a lot that can be done, the kinds of things that Jim's opponent has been blocking in the Senate."

"We need to raise the minimum wage so that people who work can raise a family.  We can have an economy that works for everyone, not just the top 1%. Middle-class wealth has been going down, poverty is up.  I don't want to live in an America where we've got a few rich people and everybody else.  We're better than this."

"And there are so many other places where leadership is missing.  We need universal healthcare for every man, woman and child in America.  We should not have working mothers with sick four-year-olds having to beg for healthcare."

"We need to lead the way away from dependence on fossil fuels -- toward energy independence. In the process we need to be honest with the country. We need to innovate and invest in clean alternative sources of energy (wind, solar, biofeuels, etc), but that isn't enough to get us off oil. It is time for us to ask the American people to be patriotic about something more than war.  If we want to live in a stronger and more secure America, we're going to have to be patriotic to conserve and not use as much energy as we do today."  

"When I talk about the future, I'm not talking about what I need to do, but what we need to do."

"As I have traveled around America I've realized that there is a hunger [among Americans] to be inspired again.  People want to be proud to be Americans.  A sense of national community matters.  It says something about America that we have millions in poverty and millions without health insurance.  We need to call on Americans to be willing to sacrifice.  I have seen young people change this country before.  I saw kids lead the struggle with courage for civil rights, against the Vietnam war, and to end apartheid in South Africa.  You can change America again. We cannot wait for someone else to do it.  We have to do it.  And our power to do it together is amazing.  There is nothing we can't do together."

by philgoblue 2006-11-26 01:12PM | 0 recs


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