The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Busby Lose?

The second polling project is nearly completed, and next week I should be able to post the remaining data online. Today I will prepare for my first state committee meeting, which takes place in Harrisburg on tomorrow morning. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute to both of those campaigns, both of which have been successful. Kevin Scott and I have been officially certified as state committee people by the board of elections. The netroots survey has already been mentioned in The Nation, The New Republic, The Hill, and many other news outlets. It will change the way people think about the netroots, and improve the image of the netroots both within the media and the political establishment. Neither of these victories would not have happened without the MyDD community.

As fast moving as everything is right now, we have decided to speed things up even more. In fact, the third polling project is about to begin, and it is very time sensitive. For our next survey, which will take place in conjunction with The Courage Campaign, we will be attempting to figure out why Francine Busby lost in the CA-50. Figuring out why she lost is neither an academic nor a localized question. This was the first congressional general election of 2006, and in order to produce better results nationwide in November, we need to figure out what worked, and what did not.

We appear to be dealing with a Democratic establishment that does not know how to win anymore. If they can't figure it out, we need to step up and do so ourselves. While I think many of us have some very good deductive and armchair rationales, those reasons must be supported by actual research in order to change the conventional wisdom. As the Courage Campaign writes: Francine is a compelling candidate in many ways. She is humble, direct, intelligent, and eminently likeable. Here's the point: she was at the center of a truly national election so she got a lot of money, but that money came with strings; the "experts" in D.C. decided what the campaign did every day...and she still lost.

But why? We want to find out exactly what happened in June so as not to repeat it in November, both for her and for other elections around the country.
  • Did the Democrats' "culture of corruption" frame fail? Or did Francine do the most humanly possible in a highly Republican district?

  • How did immigration play? Was she right to tout her agreement with Bush and McCain on the issue? What was the Latino voter sentiment?
  • As Matt Stoller at MyDD says, Busby's eleventh hour "gaffe" was inevitable in a race run by consultants who demand milquetoast statements day after day. How many points did that cost her?

  • Was it the DCCC's strategy that failed Busby? Was Markos right this weekend when he said this was a winnable seat but that the Democrats just didn't commit all the resources they could have to win?

  • And most important of all, what would have pushed Busby over the edge?
Many of us raised and gave lots to Francine. I for one am glad that I did. However, I will not be glad to do it again if I can not get better answers as to why she lost. Unfortunately, after we lose races, there is usually no money to figure out what went wrong and therefore no way to learn and to do better next time.

Like with the first polling project, we are soliciting your suggestions in the comments for what we should include in this poll. We need your help to make sure that this poll is done right. What questions would you ask? What do you want to know? Also, we will use GQR for the survey, because they have experience in this field and because using GQR is the best way to get the attention of the Democratic establishment.

The Courage Campaign has already chipped in $5,000 for this poll, and I am sure will be able to raise more from their members. I will personally pledge $250. We need another $14,750, less whatever the Courage Campaign can raise. I'd love it if the MyDD community could chip in a couple grand toward the project, especially since we fell short on our BlogPac fundraiser.

Time is short, and every day that passes makes the information we need to know more difficult to come by. As much as we need to know this information in advance of the 2006 elections, a poll like this has to be done quickly after an election in order to be useful. People will soon forget their motivations for if, why, and how they voted last week. We need to money to make this survey happen immediately, and the right questions to make it useful. Please, help on both counts. Post your suggestion for the poll in the comments. You can donate here.

Update: I made a mistake--we have not decided on a polling yet for sure. That was an error on my part. I apologize.

Tags: Activism, CA-50, House 2006, polling project, public opinion (all tags)



Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

She lost primarily because the corruption frame is a loser even in one of the most corrupt districts in the country. Most voters find the Demos. screaming corruption kind of amusing but discount it. Look at the low poll numbers for Congress in general as proof of this. The D's haven't been able to differiante themselves well enough on this issue to get  free of the charge that given the opportunity they will be just as corrupt as the Repukes. This has enormous consequences for the fall and I'm sure the Repukes and their allies in the media will take every opportunity they have to conflate and inflate this perception. So trying to run against "the kulture of corruption" while your also seen as flying around in the same Corp. jets won't play. The D's are better at focusing on Bu$hCo and hammering away at his incompetent regime. They have to turn this into a Nat'l referendum on mis-rule by a weak minded moron and his bumbling regime. Focusing on Congress just doesn't work for either party. If they want to do that then they should focus on the stupid bills that the Repukes focus on and on SS or the spending etc. Forget about corruption it's a double edged sword and the D's live in too many glass houses to be throwing stones. If the D's take a ticket for a boxing match it's viewed by the MSM whores as the same thing as a Repuke taking millions in out and out bribes. The Repukes huge robberies are in essence reduced to taking boxing tickets and vica versa for the D's crimes. It's un-fair but it's the reality we live in. The Repukes have the power and they own the mike.

by Blutodog 2006-06-16 05:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

Exactly.  The culture of corruption frame sucks because for better or worse most Americans are firm in their beleif that all politics is corrupt.  In many worlds Reid's taking of the tickets is far worse because we have been yelling "culture of corrpution, culture of corruption", but obviously haven't set our own house straight.  Further, taking the tickets gave the MSM a picture to splatter all over the place, never mind that he was sitting next to John McCain in it.  Again, our focus needs to be forward thinking, we need to actually stand for something other than not being republican.  

by Mark J. Bowers 2006-06-16 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

That's my pt. for a pol any pol to run against corruption these days beggars the imagination. The Pols are all corrupt or politics is corrupt mime is just too strong out there. You can use it "locally" if your clean as the driven snow and your opponent is a total slime ball like Tom Delay but if not I'd avoid the topic and only use it if it touches on a specific example like Delay or Abramaoff and then only to high light how bad Bu$hCo is overall. It's a total loser as a central theme, plus it shows a total lack of imagination. With all Bu$hCo has screwed up take your pick, as I said in another reply, at his pt. the attack ads write themselves.

by Blutodog 2006-06-16 10:35AM | 0 recs

She lost primarily because the corruption frame is a loser even in one of the most corrupt districts in the country.

Perhaps, but without a poll there is no way to know.

by Alice Marshall 2006-06-16 06:15AM | 0 recs

We can all conjecture to our hearts' content, but we need new data to actually find out.

I don't know if there are any questions that would in particular help determine why turnout was so low - why people, especially Dems, just plain didn't show up - but if there's a way to get at that, that's what I'd like to see.

Same thing happened in Ciro's race in Texas, and it's got me worried.  If our people aren't motivated to vote, we won't retake Congress.

I'll chip in towards the poll whether you can figure out a turnout question or not, but that's what I'd like if it's possible.

by RT 2006-06-20 03:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Francine Lost

I think the "culture of corruption" has to be part of a larger issue of making sure Washington works for everyone and not just the few.  One of the ways the opposite works is when people enrich themsleves a la Jefferson and Cunningham.  Another is when federal money is misdirected to donors--earmarks.

But corruption is not a major issue and it will work really well only when the oppoonent has enriched himself (think Bob Ney) and not against an opponent with only tangential connections like Bilbray.

People are more interested in forthright stands on Iraq, health care, education, immigration etc.  Even where voters disagree, they appreciate a committed, articulated stand by a candidate.  I think this will be particularly true on immigration.  A Dem needs to explain why s/he thinks immigration is overall net good for the country, and why although securing the borders in important, fences don't work and breaking up families and rounding up and deporting otherwise hard-working and law-abiding people is bad policy.

That said, I thknk the primary reason Busby lost is that there were too many Republicans in the district for anyone but a more charismatic candidate to have won.  Dems turned out at a higher rate than Repubs and she got the lion's share of the Indies.  (See here for the best analysis.)  But there are at least 30 districts with fewer Republicans where we have a candidate that can win.

by Mimikatz 2006-06-16 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Francine Lost

I can buy what your saying. However, she still would have done better had she hammered the war , SS etc. People are hungry for real opposition tho these thugs. The DLC style Demos. aren't going to play well this yr.and really haven't since Clinton. Go left to win this year that's the ticket. The center is to the left not the right. Bu$hCo has pushed itself so far to the right even the smart repugs are finding ways to run to his left on some issues and ironically to his right on others (immigration.) We have to do the same. But , the winning game is to go for the throat by attacking Bu$hCo. The attack ads almost right themselves.

by Blutodog 2006-06-16 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Did Francine Busby Lose?
I think the above commenter is on to something, and I'll take is a step farther: Busby did do remarkably well, considering the district, although I agree that that doesn't preclude the possibility she could have done even better. Did you see the Cook report's analysis where they point out that she not only garnered a huge majority of the independent voters, but also managed to turn out a LARGER % of the Dem base than Bilbray did of the GOP base? She lost because the GOP base was 1.5 times larger than the Dem base.
I wish you luck, of course, in studying this race, but I actually think it is a terrible example to try to apply to the national elections in the fall; what other competitive districts are there where the GOP base is so much larger than the Dem base (I can think only of TX-22)? Where else could we out-mobilize the GOP and pull nearly all indy votes and still lose? Where else will turnout be so low across the board (this is the last special election, remember)? Where else will entrenced always-voting partisans be such a huge chunk of the electorate (such as the older absentee voters who always dominate these special races)?
Don't overthink this one.
by James Gatz 2006-06-16 05:25AM | 0 recs
When are we going to (re-)learn?

Organize locally, win nationally.

And, when your district is 60% republican and 35% democratic, and the republican is not the corrupt bad guy who went to prison, it just ain't gonna happen.  Do the math, please.

Solution: organize locally, and take back state legislatures, so we can redraw districts that have progressive democratic majorities.  Put the fascists in their own enclaves, keep some pressure on them every cycle, so they can't get away with murder, and recognize we're  never going to have 100% of any legislative body.

Stop pinning your hopes on the virtually unwinable.  Focus on creating more winable districts.

by traveler 2006-06-16 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Did Francine Busby Lose?

Thisn is the analysis I linked to above.  It is the best and most fact-based analysis of what happened, at least in terms of turnout and voting patterns.

by Mimikatz 2006-06-16 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

There's a reasonably good case to be made that the vote could have been rigged. See here: 102132/760

And here:

This is worth investigating; it's much easier to prove fraud in a single race than it is to do so on the national level. Proving fraud here could put the dagger into Diebold, et al.

Post election analysis is moot if the ballots were tampered with.

by Tod Westlake 2006-06-16 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

So...if this is so blindlingly obvious to everyone...isn't Busby in court?

Because she knows it's a false issue and diverts time and attention from things that actually win elections.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 06:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Election tamping in CA50

This makes no sense whatsoever. Busby did BETTER among E-Day voters (you know, the ones who used the machines) than she did among absentees (who used paper ballots). The series of polls prior to the election all showed either ties or Bilbray leading; Busby wasn't ahead since early May. She outperformed Kerry in 04 and herself (massively) from 04. Bilbray's vote and the GOP primary vote were nearly identical. The facts are blindingly clear: she lost. Narrowly, and she is to be commended for that. But let's try to stick to the whole 'reality-based community' concept, please.

by James Gatz 2006-06-16 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Election tamping in CA50

Thank you. Dems usually do better in that case of voter. Thanks for the facts rather than the rampant hysteria about stealing elections.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Election tamping in CA50
On what basis do you trust either the electronic totals or the paper?
I have read a lot about the malfunctioning of both processes in state after state in this primary season-- Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, and on and on.  Mistakes are widespread in both electronic touch screen and machine counting of paper ballots.
And why can't they wait for the counting to be finished before they declare winners -- with something like tens of thousands of votes uncounted they declared a winner by some 4,000 votes?
 Why does that seem less hysterical to you, then questioning it?  To me it's logical to question, and hysterical to discount the problems.
by syolles 2006-06-16 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

That may be, however there is NO WAY that we sill have been able to correct the things that make it possible to hack machines and change votes by Nov. So if the election is won by a larger margin it becomes more and more apparent that totals were changed and if a smallish number of votes are changed a large enough margin will overcome it.

by del 2006-06-17 12:00PM | 0 recs
The corruption issue isn't a winner

I understand that if Busby and Bilbray face each other again in November this type of polling can help....Busby.  I'd love to see her win.

My problem is that it probably can't help Larry Kissell much here in NC-08.  While North Carolina has a few districts with similar percentages of Dems and Reps, we don't have Francine Busbys running against the incumbent Reps in those districts. I just don't think that what you will learn is going to help much in other areas of the country, especially here in NC.

I do wish you well on this because I would love to see Busby win and I don't think it's a lost cause.  All of my time, energy and money will be directed toward the North Carolina races, though.

by The Southern Dem 2006-06-16 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Busby Lost

First off, losing by 4 points in an overwhelmingly Republican district is a victory of sorts. That said, two things stand out.

1. Liberals have got to stop framing the illegal immigration question as one of the troglodyte rascists against the enlightened humanoids. Too often, the college educated middle and upper middle refuse to acknowledge that working class folks have legitimate concerns for their own families that trump worrying about the downtrodden immigrant. A front page piece in Sunday's Chicago Tribune (6/11/2006. Sorry I'm not computer savvy enough to include a link) illustrates my point. It's about the catfish processors in the Mississippi Delta who are losing the little ground they had gained due to illegal workers. It's a bit much to ask people who are living on subsistance wages to make room for new workers who are driving down their wages, working for no benefits, and will never file for workers comp or unemployment because of their illegal status.
 We also need to show a little understanding for people who are coping with becoming a minority in their own communities. We label these folks as ignorant and insular at our own peril. Again, these are just folks working and raising their families in small towns and rural communities where everybody has known each other for generations. In the South and Midwest, some of these communities are, in a breathtakingly short period of time, being asked to absorb a new population who speak a different language and have a culture that is completely alien to anything that they are used to. This would cause bewilderment to any human being.
 We must reframe our stance on illegal immigration.
2. Yes, it's the DC Democrats, stupid. In my district, we have a candidate who CAN take out the Republican incumbant. We are trending Democratic in the IL-15, and we have an attractive and charismatic candidate in David Gill. So far, we've received no support from the national party. If we can do it on our own (and we're doing pretty well), we can get support. That is short sighted and self defeating.
 The party needs to be building grassroots organizations, not waiting for the locals to do it by themselves. Across our district, county parties are moribund where they used to be vibrant. The role of a national party should be to offer leadership. Ours seems more interested in shmoozing with DC powerbrokers and protecting their own seats. Don't know how you poll this, but these are the problems as I see them.

by mombear 2006-06-16 06:00AM | 0 recs

But don't expect anyone to jump on this bandwagon. They can't even describe that amazingly stupid gaffe without scare quotes.

I would note that we now have two data points. Busby and Webb.

Webb ran on a harder line with illegal immigration, and anti-outsourcing. He won NOVA, which is a tech center...what a shock, technology workers voting for a guy who opposes outsourcing. Stunner. Dog bites man.

But all you read and confused pundits wondering how he could ever have beaten Miller, because all the Tech executives they know love outsourcing.

by ElitistJohn 2006-06-16 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Busby Lost

We also need to show a little understanding for people who are coping with becoming a minority in their own communities. We label these folks as ignorant and insular at our own peril. Again, these are just folks working and raising their families in small towns and rural communities where everybody has known each other for generations. In the South and Midwest, some of these communities are, in a breathtakingly short period of time, being asked to absorb a new population who speak a different language and have a culture that is completely alien to anything that they are used to. This would cause bewilderment to any human being.

I wouldn't label them as ignorant, but what you're describing sounds to me like a textbook definition of insular.  And being sympathetic to that insularism doesn't make it right.  In fact such changes do not cause bewilderment to every human being, only some human beings.  

by antidoto 2006-06-16 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Busby Lost

Just curious if you live in an area of much immigration?? Speaking as a liberal from Phoenix.

by del 2006-06-17 12:18PM | 0 recs
Depends on the Democratic establishment

We appear to be dealing with a Democratic establishment that does not know how to win anymore.

It depends on the Democratic establishment. If you mean the DSCC and DCCC, you may be right. If you mean the California Dem establishment, well, I wouldn't know, but it is plausible. If you mean local Dem committees everywhere, well, there I have to dissent. We have been winning our races here in Fairfax County every year since 1999, a previously Republican county has been transformed. So I guess it depends on the Democratic establishment.

by Alice Marshall 2006-06-16 06:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Depends on the Democratic establishment

I should have been more precise. By DC Dems, I meant the DCCC.

by mombear 2006-06-16 06:09AM | 0 recs

Said, "This was the first General Congressional Election...". No it wasn't. It was a 119 day Special Election under very strange California rules. And you know I have personal experience with them.

Sorry Chris...but if you think anyone who doesn't live in or nearby this district can have any valid input into the race....well it just won't work. Is the poll strictly within the District? You don't say.

It was a unique set of circumstances. It is a highly partisan district at best and she didn't lose!

She won the Nomination! Now she has 5 months to pick  up approximately 5.5% of the vote from her district not 119 days.

A Special Election in California CANNOT be used as a model.

You know for a fact I am as supportive of your efforts as anyone can be...but if you want to know what Francine Busby needs...what she thinks made a difference...CALL HER and get an interview.

In my opnion, this is NOT a good use of BlogPac funds.

Every District is different and to point to one where we, the blogsphere, in the face of every professional analysis, hung our collective hats on a victory when it was the most unlikely of outcomes....I think this is most likely a time of learning to control our own expectations whether it be Spiro, Hackett or Busby!

It feels to at least one of the leadership like they went from Hero to Dog in one day flat according to the blogsphere. And yet they did the one thing they had to do...Win the Nomination and get 5 months, not 119 days, to change 5-6% of the vote, and do it with better than a 35% turnout.

There was an over-expectation here that corruption would cause lifelong, rock ribbed Republicans to abandon their party. Not hardly. Not if you know that hard Right District.

She had a magnificent result in an extremely emotionally partisan district. Even the Dem's are conservative.

I live just up the road and I guarantee if you run a poll without consideration for the District and the Special Election Circumstances and then try and project the results to other Congressional will be futile.

That is the same error that many of the 'powers that be' make...thinking that a campaign can be designed and then the basics run across multiple districts in disparate areas. Doesn't work.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 06:38AM | 0 recs
No...evil Consultants!

PS: Stroller doesn't have a clue about the Busby campaign. They never had 'messsage consultants'.

How can I say this so it will get through:
SHE DIDN'T HAVE ANY DC CONSULTANTS TELLING HER WHAT TO DO! SHE HAD A PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND THE PEOPLE THAT HAD BEEN WITH THER FOR 3 YEARS. Meet Francine Busby and I dare you to tell her what to do that she didn't want to do already.

Call the Campaign Manager and ask him which DC message consultants were telling her what to say? I know that particular idea of Stroller's is crazy! And I know it for a FACT.

Ask Stroller to name names or if this is just part of his paranoia every time he is disappointed in a race backed by the Dtrip?

Change that part of the paradigm if you insist on going forward, Chris.

There were no consultants from DC...just a professional, solid campaign team.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 06:52AM | 0 recs
Re: No...evil Consultants!

I could be wrong about my reasons for her loss.  That's why this poll is so important.

But you are wrong about DC consultants.  The DCCC pumped money into this race, and they got something for it.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-16 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: No...evil Consultants!

Be more specific. What is your evidence?  What did they "get"?  Wouldn't the bounce her victory would have given the Dems and the deflation it would have given the R's have justified the expense?

by Mimikatz 2006-06-16 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

This is a good idea. Lots of people like to speculate about these things, or try to read tea leaves in exit polls. Some people just assert that they "know" it was because of X, Y or Z. How about getting some hard data?

I would ask just three questions:

1. Did you vote in the special election in CA-50 to replace Duke Cunningham?

2. How did you vote?

3. (open ended) What were your primary reasons for voting the way you did?

I wouldn't even ask demographic questions unless it's needed for a technical reason. I don't care about the motivations of soccer moms, or Nascar dads or silver foxes. I'd just want to know what persuades the largest groups of persuadable voters.

by fwiffo 2006-06-16 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

I concur that what we want to know is who voted, who they voted for and (most importantly) why. While open-ended questions are harder to process, I'd think you'd get a better picture of what people are thinking and feeling if you just let them talk. Plus you'd probably get some great quotes that way :+)

However, I do think the demographic info might be important in the final analysis. My understanding is that the Repugs (with the help of the NSA?) have gotten this down to a fine-grained art that this could not compete with. But if you've got them on the phone, it can't hurt to do it at the end (age, career, party affiliation, religion, location of residence).

I like the simplicity, but, again, if you can get some more info, it might be helpful:

Do you vote regularly in elections?

Did you vote in the special election?

If not, do you have any reason for not voting? Is there anything that would have made you want to vote in that election?

If so, who did you vote for? Why did you vote for that person? Is there anything that would have made you change your vote for Busby / Bilbray?

Do you plan to vote in November?

You probably want to do an ersatz "focus group" on the major Democratic and Republican talking points for the next election: what we should do about the war in Iraq, affordable health care, federal corruption, fiscal responsibility, immigration.

With that raw data, it would seem that you could build some models about what is motivating or not motivating voters in that particular district. As others have commented, extrapolating those findings to other districts might be problematic, but it might give some illumination into the mind of Republican districts.

And, the pseudo "exit poll" would give some validation of the reported election results, although MOE would make it impossible to use as evidence of fraud.

by ProgressiveChristian 2006-06-16 07:52AM | 0 recs
Missing half the picture

If you're only going to poll about message, you're missing half the picture.  A big question I have is why the Dems thought this was going to be close, but it turned out not to be close.  What is wrong with our polling?  

Taking it a step further, what is wrong with our field operations -- voter ID, persuasion and GOTV?  

PC gets close to it in discussing the GOP's use of demographics, but we need to understand how the GOP uses those demographics.  To find out, I'd ask the voters -- were you contacted by either campaign or by anyone else about this race?  Who contacted you and how?  Was it a robocall?  Was it direct mail only?  Was it by personal contact at the door?  If so, was it a local person who talked to you?  Was it a volunteer?  What did you think about each of these contacts?  Did any of them make you think of the candidates in a better or worse light?

I really fear that we have learned nothing from 2004.  We have a bunch of consultants who talk a good game about "grassroots", but really are just doing "grasstopping" -- going through the motions of grassroots organizing to put on a good show and relying on media and general trends to win elections.  

We should use this opportunity to learn what the GOP is doing -- how do they find their voters?  Do they send kids door to door?  How do they persuade?  Do they hire their consultants' side business to do robocalls?

What I have heard happened in this race is that the Republicans set aside several million dollars.  They honed their relatively rich data systems (obtaining data on voters from commercial data vendors) to target likely R voters on an individual basis.  They broke the 50th CD into 100 or so units comprised of 1000 or so priority voters each.  They hired 160 workers and assigned most to manage their virtual neighborhoods using the rich data tools.  Then they worked on a. persuasion; and b. turnout for about a month.   If you considered the 2004 Presidential votes as a baseline adjusted for the latest polling, then the R's were working on a universe of 140,000 2004 voters and the D's started with about 130,000 (supposedly more motivated).    The weekend D polling had it even.  Could the R field system have persuaded some voters over time?  Could it have effected turnout by 60 people per subdistrict?  

These are lessons that we can apply across the country.  Not every congressional district is on the Mexican border, so learning that you don't say "you don't need papers to vote" is not the most important lesson we can draw from losing this race.  I hope we can figure out what we did wrong in the field, or else we're going to be frustrated again on the day after the election and we will have squandered hundreds of millions of dollars to make some media and Democratic consultants rich.

by Flatiron Dante 2006-06-17 12:50PM | 0 recs
Great Idea!!!

BTW Chris...I think polling the district is a great idea. As evidenced in the comments, there are alot of folks making intuitive judgments about why Busby lost. But without empirical data, it's all just guessing based on existing prejudices. Even if the results can't be generalized over the country, it would be a nice chunk of data we can file away to inform our choices in the future.

by ProgressiveChristian 2006-06-16 07:58AM | 0 recs
Use Controls

The obvious problem (mentioned a million times in previous posts) is that you might just be picking up on the peculiarities of CA-50 and not learning anything that would help in other districts. If you come up with any interesting results, skeptics will immediately point to that to discredit you.

I might recommend asking some of the same questions you plan on asking CA-50ers to other people around the country. It would make this a bit more of a controlled experiment. Obviously you can't ask non-Californians about the special election, but other questions might work outside the area. You could restrict your control group to people in competitive districts. Or maybe you could also use neighboring districts as a control, since people there are probably familiar with the special election but have different demographics.

by nstrauss 2006-06-16 07:26AM | 0 recs

I think she lost because of the comment about illegal immigration.

by jiacinto 2006-06-16 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine...

It would be nice if Democrats stopped conceding races so quickly. The fucking turds challenged the WA governor's race for 6 fucking months-at least!!!!

by bobbyk 2006-06-16 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine...

She has no basis.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine...

Hey, I just wanted to say how I support you when you argue against the fraud angle.  There may be fraud in other places but I think to look for it everywhere is a potential crutch that cripples.  Busby lost, not by much, in a district that was very hard to win.  I posted my thinking on this later in this section, but I'll repeat myself more or less:  Busby didn't inspire the uninspired, or the tired.  She really needed another 5 or 10% of all the district's Democrats to vote.  Plain and simple.

by cuvdog 2006-06-16 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Did Francine Busby Lose?

I moved from San Jose CA (very blue) to CA-50 4 weeks before the election. In watching the Busby/Bilbray fray I must say that the Busby campaign gave me no reason to vote for her the theme of "They are so corrupt and I am so here for you" just doesn't work. Bilbray took one theme, immigration, and ran with it. She could have taken the deficit, for instance or veteran benefits and convinced more people to vote for her. It was an inept campaign: save your money. One thing Busby did prove is that people are ready for change: compare $$$/Vote!

by shirt 2006-06-16 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Did Francine Busby Lose?

Fighting corruption is a good place to start a campaign, but it doesn't get people to go vote after the garage door closes.  Your post, including the comment on $vote (or is it vote$?) is very good.  The "What went wrong?" and "Fraud!" folks should pay attention.

by cuvdog 2006-06-16 05:28PM | 0 recs

The questions people ask on immigration are very important. I've read to many flawed polls. People need to recognize that someone can say that there is an immigration problem and not mean it as "get these brown people out of my country", when they may actually saying "I think our country is handling immigration wrong" or even "what employers are doing to immigrant workers is wrong"    something else like that.

I want to see how many people think that America's immigration policy reflects the interests of our struggling middle class == and I don't mean it in the Lou Dobbs way (ie. marginalizing immigrants more is going to keep them from pushing standards, um no- protecting immigrants workplace rights is going to help them from pushing standards down)
(read the open letter to Lou Dobbs here) an_open_letter_to_lou_dobbs_1.html

I know its not the focus of the poll but if the question is asked it needs to be sensitive to the fact that there are people who think immigration as it currently happens in America is a problem but are not right-wing in their reasons. There are also people who don't support guest worker programs because they creat a two-tiered labor market. Ok don't use that wording. But you get the idea..

by DMIer 2006-06-16 07:42AM | 0 recs
republicans for Busby

I think the most interesting demographic subgroup will be republicans that voted for Busby.  Knowing why they voted for Busby would be very useful for tailoring messages in other campaigns this fall.

With a sample size of 500, there should be about 25 people that fit this category.  I'd recommend focusing on this category, and ask them a couple more questions.  Was the election nationalized to a referendum on Bush in their mind?  

To make up for the extra time these questions take, you could ask fewer questions of democrats why they voted for Busby.  In this climate, we know dems will vote with dems this fall, but we just need a tiny sliver of Republican defections for a rout.

by aip 2006-06-16 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: No...evil Consultants!


Not an invalid criticism until I heard Bill Winter, CO Congressional Candidate give me a different take while taping an interview.

I hope to have that ready for late this afternoon or early this evening Eastern time.

Take a listen and his point is that all the National issues impact so severly on local people that they are local issues as well.

I'll let his speak for himself. It should be up today. Hopefully I'll have time to pull down one of his videos as well so all can see how he comes across on screen.

He's running again Tom Tancredo so it's a really important seat and as of a May poll he's neck and neck. He'll explain.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: No...evil Consultants!

In CA-50, it was Bilbray and his issue versus Busby and her issue.  The national issue (lump it all into one) didn't light up the district.  Your guy Young should play on that, though I think his district (my district) is a tough nut until the demographics change.

by cuvdog 2006-06-16 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

Sorry Lucas,,,you know she would and so would her agressive campaign manager. Don't confuse them with Kerry or Gore.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

We have now given the means to a bunch of GOP crooks who also have motive and opportunity to steal elections. If you've actually been following (i.e. reading about) this issue, rather than simply reacting with a knee-jerk, you would know that it is possible to tamper with these machines and leave absolutely no trace.

Let me repeat that: It is possible to steal an election and leave absolutely no trace of having done so.

Why isn't Busby in court? Because there is no evidence . . . yet.

It's time we took this issue seriously.

by Tod Westlake 2006-06-16 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

Bullshit. These, if you checked the facts, where only used for DISABLED VOTERS. Otherwise they used a paper ballot.

Get over it. They were not the machine of choice.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 09:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

by Tod Westlake 2006-06-16 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Valid?

Can't disgree with that!

by BigDog 2006-06-16 07:59AM | 0 recs
It's Simple...

It's simple,

Busby got what she got in the Primary (45%).  She got what Kerry got (45%) and what Gore got (45%).

I think I see a pattern developing here.  45% of the people in CA-50 vote Democratic.

What should worry the left the most here is that this screamed one thing and one thing only - THIS WILL BE A STATUS QUO ELECTION.

No tidal wave, no 1994.

Also, I believe there was around 35% turnout in an election where other primaries and important issue were also on the ballot.

This was the perfect storm Dems had looked for for a HUGE win, and yet, 45% - status quo.

One more point.  In the recent Webb win in VA, only 3% of Dems showed up to vote.  That's right 3%.

That's not a tidal wave - that's not even a ripple in a pond.

Be afraid, be very afraid...

P.S., and don't even start about how she picked up 18 points from her last run.  In that one she was running against a popular viet war veteran incumbent and she was an unknown school board member.  This time that incumbent was in the clink and she was much better known.

by boomshak 2006-06-16 08:02AM | 0 recs
Re: It's Simple...

The low VA turnout is a concern.  As was the low CA turnout, though it was ten times bigger.

One question I have is whether Dems are more interested in voting for a Dem against a R than Dem-Dem races where they don't feel they have a stake.  (Seems to be the case in MT.)  Busby DID get a higher turnout than just the Dem primary vote--she got most of the indies, who didn't vote in the party primaries.  That's why this is a good laboratory election-- there was simultaneously a party primary (for Noovember's general election) and a run-off in the special election (for the unexpired term).  But this is a very heavily R district.  

Another takeaway from the CA Gov primary and the VA-Dem primary is that voters seem more turned off than usual by negative advertising, and candidates had better pay attention to that and try to have some considered beliefs and positions and articulate them.

by Mimikatz 2006-06-16 10:20AM | 0 recs
Virginia primary

Voting in the 2006 Virginia primary was about the same as the 2005 primary. We did not do so badly in 2005.

by Alice Marshall 2006-06-16 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: It's Simple...

Well, we keep getting this 45 number in CA-50. Just seems to me that considering the Dems expect a landslide in November, they can't get past the status quo.

Add to that that the Dems's are now losing on every major issue:

Iraq is going much better.
The economy is doing great.
Tne deficit came down by a quarter due to 'tax cuts for the rich'.
Two major Dems are under the spotight for corruption.
Carl Rove was cleared.
The immigration debate.

the list just goes on...

What exactly do the Dems plan on running on?  Increasing the friggin minimum wage?  Are the serious?  Is that even on Americans radar now?

I can hear it now.  There is a debate between a Rep and Dem candidate.  The question if the Iraq War and the Dem says "what I really want to talk about today is the Minimum Wage!"

Haha, too funny.  Clueless.

by boomshak 2006-06-17 02:46AM | 0 recs
Re: It's Simple...

Glad the economy is going so good for you. As for me, 90,000 of the 400,000 tech jobs that Bush blew away have come back and dumb comments from Bush's appointee to the Fed have just blown away 16% of my retirement savings.

Iraq's going so good that two US Soldiers were taken prisoner from their checkpoint and some 90 odd people were blown away by Zarqawi's successor.

Jefferson is a major Dem? Never heard of him before he decided to freeze his pay-off money. I doubt if 90%+ of independents did either. Whose the other Dem?

Have you been watching Fox News or something?

by antiHyde 2006-06-17 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: It's Simple...

We have the highest growth rate and lowest unemployment rate in the civilized world.  If you have found a way to have that suck for you then you are a perfect Democrat.  They love victims.

Anyone who cannot find a way to succeed financially in the current environment is either lazy or a fool (or both).

I am a headhunter and I'll tell you something about those great 'tech' jobs under Clinton.  75% were rubbish based upon the bubble.  I was placing people in $180,000 a year jobs that weren't worth $50,000.

I still place IT and my business is BOOMING.  I don't know what you are doing dude, but you must be screwin up somewhere.

by boomshak 2006-06-17 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: It's Simple...

I guess China and India are uncivilized, because they have higher growth rates than us.

The unemployment rate is rubbish. When people can't find jobs they are considered to be "not seeking employment". According to those numbers the number of people who want a job has gone down since 2000 while the population has gone up.

by antiHyde 2006-06-17 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: It's Simple...

Please lord, help me make this simple so even this Democrat can get it.

Chnaa and India have higher 'growth rates' because they are growing from almost zero.  I don't consider them established economies.

Example.  If I go from 0 to 1, I have a 100% growth rate.  If you go from 100 to 120, you have only a 20% growth rate even though your growth results from far larger numbers.

So now you are saying the unemployment rate is bogus?

Dude, I thank the lord for blind Democrats like you.  You are the reason your party lost power and will never gain it back.

Don't confuse me with the facts man!  Lol.

And I bet you think the government is lying when they tell us that tax revenues have exploded since the Bush tax cuts right?

Lol, duh.

by boomshak 2006-06-18 02:47AM | 0 recs
Re: It's Simple...

Do you think they're lying when they say the deficit has exploded, troll?

by antiHyde 2006-06-18 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

"As Matt Stoller at MyDD says, Busby's eleventh hour "gaffe" was inevitable in a race run by consultants who demand milquetoast statements day after day."

God, what a hack.

by Epitome22 2006-06-16 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

Except she didn't have the 'dreaded' consultants.

by BigDog 2006-06-16 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Did Francine Busby Lose?

You can ignore this stuff just as long as you want to, and you can discount it (and even make fun of it as if you were Marshall Witless himself), but if you are making an assessment of why Busby lost, you need to look at all angles if you want to come up with a meaningful assessment. Every time I read such assessments here, and on daily kos, I think, I love everything these guys are doing, but how can they think they can win any of these races without looking at the integrity of the election process. How can we be so serious about assessing Democrats chances when the circumstances on the ground are this insecure?
I really admired what Kos had to see about the DCCC not going all out for this race.  
And I wonder every day why the DCCC doesn't go all out for election integrity either.
I actually doubted Paul Hackett's loss in Ohio more than I do Busby's, but the question is HOW can we know?  The more we know about the technology, the less we can trust it.
There is really no basis for trust in this election process.
We want to say to the officials in San Diego --
If you say this one lost and this one won, you MUST prove it to us--
Joining a growing drumbeat of individuals and organizations, including The BRAD BLOG, Tribune Media's Bob Koehler and, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has just issued a declaration of "No Confidence" in the reported results of the Busby/Bilbray special U.S. House of Representative run-off election last week in California's 50th congressional district!

We are told that other organizations will likely be issuing similar statements and declarations on this matter soon.

TO REVIEW: The election was run on highly hackable Diebold voting machines that were sent home overnight and unsecurely with poll workers for days prior to the election which rendered the machines both illegal and uncertified for use in the election under both federal and state laws, requirements and statutes. The GOP has since rushed to swear-in Bilbray before the votes were counted, or the election even certified by the state of California.

PDA's strongly worded declaration of "No Confidence" posted on their website and is currently being emailed to all of their 60,000+ national members, urging the public to sign VelvetRevolution's Petition demanding a manual hand count of the ballots.

BLOGGED BY Brad ON 6/15/2006 2:24PM PT  

by syolles 2006-06-16 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

I am born and raised in CA-50, and here's my gut feeling: no PTA, school board Mom can win in our district, which includes all the Pendleton marines who have settled down, Ramona and the other hick areas, etc..  We needed a veteran in there, no offense, but anyone else just isn't going to go far.  Not in this day in age, not in this particular congressional district.

by dih123 2006-06-16 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

I drove down from my home in Lake Forest to walk a precinct.  I took on a pretty conservative precinct in University City.  I know this because nice people I met told me so.  I saw only two Busby signs at people's homes.  I saw three cars with Busby bumpersickers.  I saw two Busby signs at street intersections.

And yet I put out a lot of literature.  I assume the places I went had registered Democrats or Independents because I sure didn't go everywhere (at least in this one precinct, Busby-possible voters tended to live in odd-numbered houses with either newly updated front doors/landscaping or child-scrawled chalk all over the driveway).

Let's try this for size:  Busby lost because she didn't inspire the uninspired, or at least the tired.  She got a pretty good turn-out, all things considered, but what she needed was a great turn-out.  The corruption issue wasn't enough.  Those families out there needed more of a reason.

by cuvdog 2006-06-16 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

Then she violated the first princple of politics "all politics are local." Had she tied her local vision to  how she would help San Diego by going to DC and then high lited the GOP corruption by using "Duke" and pt. the local GOP to him then maybe she'd won? Maybe , not? Who knows with that many GOP voters it was going to be tough anyway she ran.

by Blutodog 2006-06-16 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

I'd say it was a flaw alright. What consultant did she use? Who ever was giving her advice it was almost all bad. Is she running again this fall against Bilbray?

by Blutodog 2006-06-16 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

I agree , nevertheless, it's possible in a Demo landslide Nat'lly. She has to go back out and tie this guy to Bu$hCo somehow? Plus, in the mean time I'd challenge the election results based on the fact that the GOP run elections office seems to have violated State election law if reports I'm reading turn out to be true. She cannot give these bastards an inch they didn't give her one. Look at how they got Arnuld in.

by Blutodog 2006-06-16 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Did Francine Busby lose?

I live in the 50th, worked for the Busby campaign, and for a while there, I actually thought we had a chance. But as the election drew near, and Bilbray's attack ads began to saturate the airwaves and his direct mail pieces began to fill the mailboxes, it became abundantly clear that we didn't have a shot in hell.

I gotta hand it to them; Bilbray's people ran a great campaign. His ads were slick, highly professional, and each of them used the dreaded "L" word, accusing Busby of being an out-of-touch liberal.

IMHO, Busby should have taken those attack ads as an opportunity to discuss the issues--issues that could very well have invigorated an apathetic voting public (i.e. "Yes, I'm a liberal, if liberal means a willingness to fight for affordable healthcare, a woman's right to choose, the plight of the little guy over the big corporations, etc.), but instead, her campaign responded with a moronic ad starring a poorly animated kangaroo (meant to highlight an Australian junket taken by Bilbray). Talk about squandered opportunities. It was Swift Boat all over again.

And now, even though the election is over, the Republicans are still totally mobilized. They've got registration stations set up all over town (mostly in front of grocery stores) with big, fat signs that read, "Republicans register here!"

Ugh. At this rate, I can't imagine November is going to be very pretty here in the 50th.

by kga in the 50th 2006-06-17 10:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Next Polling...

The culture of corruption frame is a total loser. It wasn't going to work with Republicans exclusively under investigation and it certainly won't work with William Jefferson splashed across the front page. Then Pelosi wanted to make it a constitutional issue (executive brach agents searching the Congress!) and it got even more play. Most people simply think all politicians are corrupt to some degree or another and can't be convinced that corruption is a one party problem. The Democratic argument would end up boiling down in most people's minds as "we are marginally less corrupt then the other guys". That is suffice it to say, not a winning message.  

by wjpugliese 2006-06-19 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The Next Polling Project: Why Did Francine Bus

I cannot BELIEVE this thread.  You people are so OBTUSE.

Francine Busby lost because

A.  She was OUTSPENT 3:1 by the Republican machine which was scared out of their minds by the prospect of her victory.  It would have been an unmitigated disaster, a catastrophe of Armageddon-like proportions for the GOP's chances in November.  Corps and the rich would have started cutting checks to DEM candidates, and the smart money would have finally come to the Dem checkbook.  They simply could not AFFORD to lose; that is why after this campaign, Dems are finally ahead in cash-on-hand.

B.  Close to 100 high-level GOP operatives and staffers were sent to CA-50 in a strike force like the bastards who shut down the counting in Florida.

This was a TREMENDOUS victory for us, stop the fucking hand-wringing, pass out the Veuve Clicquot, and let's move on.

We have Elections to win.

by dembluestates 2006-06-20 03:42PM | 0 recs
poll motivation

I think it important that this poll include people who didn't vote, but were eligible to.  People should be asked why they thought it was important to vote, or not important to vote; why they did vote, or why they didn't.  We need to get a picture of the correlations between persuasion and motivation.  That is, did the different priorities people had, and their different opinions, that affected which candidate they supported, also affect how motivated they were to vote.

by cos 2006-06-20 10:29PM | 0 recs


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