Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Busby Lost

Please continue to donate to the MyDD / Courage Campaign Polling Project. We need another $2,000 to complete testing on the accountability message we suggest at the end of the memo. This small amount of money could have a major impact on changing the way Democrats run campaigns in 2006. Donate today--Chris

Today, the Courage Campaign, a non-partisan, progressive 527 based in Los Angeles, and MyDD, a progressive blog devoted to analysis and commentary on political campaigns and infrastructure, announced findings today from the poll they commissioned in California's 50th Congressional District to determine why the national Democratic message centered on allegations of Republican corruption failed to give Francine Busby the seat formerly occupied by convicted felon, Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Busby lost to Republican, Brian Bilbray in the June 6th election.

The poll was funded by the netroots, and was conducted by Wright Consulting Services. It was in the field from July 6, 2006 to July 27, 2006. The poll surveyed 503 people who voted in the June 6th special election, and included 188 people who voted in either the 2003 recall election (Schwarzenegger) or the 2004 Presidential election, but did not vote on June 6th. The margin of error for the entire sample of 691 is +/- 3.8%, and +/- 4.5% for people who voted. Smaller subsets, such as Republicans, Democrats and Independents, had higher margin or errors.

The questionnaire used for the poll can be found here:
http://www.mydd.com/images/user/217/CA_5 0_Post_election_Questionnaire_1.pdf

The full cross tabs for the poll can be found here:
http://www.mydd.com/images/user/217/CA_50_banner_crosstabs.pdf

Our finding from the poll are in the extended entry.

For further information, contact Chris Bowers of MyDD at chris@mydd.com, or Susanne Savage of the Courage Campaign at ssavage@couragecampaign.org

Update: Read the press release for the poll on Yahoo News. Check The Huffington Post for further commentary on the poll by Rick Jacbos of hte Courage Campaign.
Major Findings

(all questions cited in parenthesis refer to the crosstabs file)

  • Turnout: Democratic turnout in this election very high relative to voter registration. Voter registration in the district is 29.7% Democratic, 44.5% Republican, and 25.8% Independent / Other (Source: California Secretary of State). The partisan breakdown of the MyDD / Courage Campaign poll, which has the final vote results within one-tenth of one-percent for all candidates, was 39% registered Democrats, 43% registered Republicans, and 18% Independents / Others (see Q5). In other words, Democrats turned out in force, Republicans were slightly below par, and Independents barely showed up at all. Further, our over-sample of 188 non-voters in this election showed that those who did not vote hold nearly identical candidate preferences in the November test election question to those who did vote (Q21). Considering how heavily Republican this district is, the extremely low Independent turnout was a severe drag on Francine Busby's chances to win this election. She needed a big turnout among Independents in order to win, but that did not happen.

  • Third-Parties and Independent Voters: While Francine Busby won a plurality of the Independent / Other vote (she received 40% to 34% for Bilbray) (Q5), given low Independent turnout and the heavily Republican nature of the district, this margin was insufficient to win the election. One major problem for Busby was that third-party candidates received a surprising 26% of the Independent vote (Q5). The MyDD / Courage Campaign poll indicates tremendous dissatisfaction among Independents toward Bush (Q16c), Randy Cunningham (Q16d), Brian Bilbray (Q16f), the direction of the country (Q14) and conservative immigration messaging (Q17b and 17c). However, while they are frustrated with Bush and conservatives, Independents did not turn to Democrats in this district, and instead opted for third-party candidates.

  • Base Excitement: Democrats, liberals and progressives, who all went for Busby by more than 90%, indicated a higher level of voting "for" their candidate rather than "against" the other candidate than did Republican and conservative Bilbray voters (Q10). Democrats, liberals and progressives were also less potentially "movable" than Republicans and conservatives, turned out at higher rates, made their minds up earlier (Q8), had a more favorable opinion of their own candidate (Q16b and Q16d), and had fewer reservations about their vote than either Republicans or conservatives (Q6). However, despite lower base enthusiasm, among those who did come out to vote, Bilbray still held his base as well as Busby held her base. Both candidates received 90% of the vote from members of their own party (Q5). For Bilbray, this seems to have been accomplished significantly through negative advertising (Bilbray's campaign was seen as more negative, Q18f), harsh immigration rhetoric (which did not appeal at all to moderates or Independents, but did appeal to conservatives), and the widely publicized "gaffe" where Francine Busby accidentally said "you don't need papers for voting." (Q11 and Q11a) Overall, because of the low Independent turnout, Busby won 77% of her vote from registered Democrats, while Bilbray won 80% of his vote from registered Republicans.

  • Culture of Corruption: The "culture of corruption" message, on which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee based most of it's multi-million dollar advertising budget in the district, and which was a pillar of the national Democratic message going into the Busby campaign, failed. In an open-ended question where poll participants gave reasons for their vote, less than 2% cited Republican corruption as a reason for voting for Busby (Q9). Further, while people in the district viewed Bilbray as more corrupt than Busby (Q18b), Independents in particular still view Democrats as being corrupt, and as such do not believe Democrats can solve the corruption problem in Washington (Q20a). Yet still further, the "culture of corruption" message may well have been responsible for what was very low Independent turnout and for Independents to break heavily for third-party candidates (since they think both major parties are corrupt). Thus, for Democrats, the culture of corruption message quite possibly did more harm than good in this district. In a district with a 3-2 Republican registration advantage such as the CA-50, in order to win Francine Busby needed both high Independent turnout, and a large win among Independents. She received neither. She failed to define herself as a clear alternative with strong views (Q18c), instead running against a criminal, but incarcerated and retired incumbent.

  • Immigration: Also contrary to many pundits, both moderates and Independents were far more drawn to progressive immigration messaging of the sort Busby gave rather than the harsh, punitive rhetoric from conservatives in the district (Q17b and Q17c). It is possible that such harsh rhetoric kept the Republican base together, but it should also be noted that no one, not even conservatives, believe that Republicans in Congress will be able to thwart Bush and enact harsh immigration legislation (Q20b). It is possible that this belief also helped keep conservatives home, and may be an avenue for Democrats to exploit in the fall. Put simply, voters see the current majority party as incapable of governing, and Democrats incapable of stopping them from making mistakes.

  • Iraq:: Until this week, Democrats had no unified message on Iraq. While polling has consistently shown that voters like the idea of troop withdrawal or Murtha-style redeployment (including polling from the first MyDD poll in January, also conducted by Wright Consulting Services, see http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/1/31/1156 11/441), harsh Republican "cut and run" messaging completely dominated Democratic Iraq messaging in this district (Q17a). Our premise is that, like with culture of corruption and immigration, voters do not believe that either Democratic or Republican members of Congress can change current Iraq policy with Bush in the White House. We are currently engaged in pursing follow up questions to flesh this issue out further.

  • Candidate Images: Neither candidate was well-defined among the electorate. When poll participants were given a battery of character and candidate quality phrases, in all but two cases the combination of "neither" and "don't know" was the most common response. The only two exceptions were that 44% of voters thought Francine Busby would "fight for ordinary people" (20% said Bilbray and 34% said neither), and that 45% of voters thought that Bilbray was "too close to powerful special interests." (17% said Busby and 38% said neither). Never once did a majority of participants in the poll ascribe a characteristic to one candidate. (Q18a through Q18h)

  • The Gaffe: A few days before the election, at a campaign rally Francine Busby accidentally said ""you don't need papers for voting." This "gaffe" was widely publicized in local and conservative media. While the "gaffe" was widely known (61% of voters had heard about it, Q11), and while it hurt her image among many voters (41% of those who heard about it said it gave them a less favorable opinion of her, Q11a), those voters were overwhelmingly within Bilbray's conservative and Republican base (Q11). Overall, the percentage of people who heard about the gaffe, who had a lower opinion of Busby after the gaffe, who had not yet made up their minds, and who were predisposed to potentially vote for Busby anyway was very, very small (lower than Bilbray's winning margin). Specifically, only 28% of the voters had yet to decide for whom they would vote after the "gaffe," which means the it probably had an impact, and may have caused more Republicans to turn out and / or Independents to go with third-party candidates. However, data from this poll does not show that it swung the already close election.
Overall

Voters did not believe either candidate's vow to change President Bush's policies. This was as true of Bilbray on immigration as it was of Busby on the culture of corruption or troop deployment in Iraq. Thus, while Independents hold an outlook very similar to Democrats on a range of people and issues, including the Bush administration, the direction of the country, and public policy, they are not turning to Democrats. In fact, most Independents are not even bothering to vote.

Therefore, if Democrats want to win in November, we conclude the following:
  • 1. The culture of corruption message must be abandoned altogether unless there is a direct connection to the opposing candidate (think Tom DeLay, Richard Pombo and Bob Ney)

  • 2. Democrats should stop proposing, or at least stop foregrounding, legislation to enact if or when they are in control of Congress. Since few believe the Democrats can turn these proposals into law, we do not think anyone will vote for Democrats or against Republicans based on this issue.

  • 3. Expect Democratic pick-ups in November in districts where:
    • A. Less money will be spent (which quite possibly is everywhere)
    • B. There will be less media attention preventing a potential "gaffe" (again, which quite possibly will be everywhere)
    • C. There is a higher percentage of Democrats relative to Republicans (most competitive, Republican-held districts this fall)
    • D. Fewer third party candidates will be on the ballot.
We also have a hypothesis:
  • Swing voters want politicians who will stand up to George Bush, stop his agenda, and hold him accountable for problems that have occurred under his watch both at home and abroad. We are testing this thesis with follow up interviews this week. If swing voters do not like Bush's agenda, and if they do not believe Congress can create a new agenda, then in the short term the only remaining option is to promise to grind Bush's agenda to a halt while holding both him and his enablers accountable for the problems that have occurred under his watch.
In the current environment, Democrats will likely make gains and may even win control of the House. Their base appears both fired up and solid, at least compared to what appears to be a somewhat demoralized Republican and conservative base. However, based on the results of the special election in California's 50th congressional district, a pro-Democratic realignment appears unlikely. Since any such realignment is supposed to be an "Indycrat realignment" where Independents side overwhelmingly with Democrats, the real worry for Democrats is that movable Independents will either stay home or vote third party. That is what happened in the CA-50 special election.

Tags: CA-50, culture of corruption, Francine Busby, House 2006, immigration, Iraq, messaging, public opinion, turnout (all tags)

Comments

68 Comments

Hey! We Already Knew That!

Not to disparage the effort in the least.  I'm pleased to see it.

But it's striking how much this simply confirms what most of the MyDD community (yeah, we're a community, in spite of wonkish, professional bent) has been saying for quite some time.

Plus, it's not the least bit surprising, really.  As I see it, there are two dominant facts involved: (A) You can't beat something with nothing. (B) Folks know that Congress can't set an agenda, so the only thing to be for is stopping Bush.

What this means, IMHO, is that you can and should define yourself by what you stand for, but then say, "and that's why I'll stand up to Bush and prevent him from doing X, Y, Z."

It also means that investigating the shit of the Bush Administration is a winner.  And impeachment should not be off the table.  It has to be well-executed, of course.  That should go without saying.  But if done right, it can be the anvil to hand the GOP heading into 2008, and beyond.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-08-02 07:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Hey! We Already Knew That!
I don't you want to mention impeachment, though. I think the country got sick of that idea in the 1990's.

But yeah, have some self-respect, stand up for yourself and stand up to Bush and stop him from making it any worse. We are looking into it.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-02 07:49AM | 0 recs
The Polls For Impeachment Say Otherwise

The polls never favored impeachment of Clinton. That was a purely Versailles phenomena.  But the polls for impeaching Bush are remarkably strong for something that's almost never mentioned.

If you're talking about campaigning, however, I agree, and apologize for any lack of clarity.  You don't want to give them an easy counter-attack point.

But once elected, Dems have an obligation to investigate the Bush Administration on a wide range of fronts.  And the prima facie case for impeachment is already out there.  So it cannot be ruled off the table.  It should come as a natural result of the investigative process.

The Dems bought this same "people are sick of it" line back in the 80s with Iran-Contra. And the GOP thanked them for it by impeaching Clinton.  Once is enough for making that mistake.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-08-02 08:05AM | 0 recs
So do we impeach...

Bush and then start it up again for Cheney...?

by MNPundit 2006-08-02 08:18AM | 0 recs
Of course!

Actually, impeachment cases -- if we're going to bring any -- can equally well be made against Bush, Cheney, and probably Rumsfeld as well, each on their own grounds.

But if we could only impeach Bush, and succeed? An emphatic yes, because our President must be held accountable on principle.

If you want an argument on pragmatics, Cheney wouldn't be around long, and at least more realistically represents the kind of people who have actually been running things during the Bush years.

If you want an argument on political grounds, Cheney's popularity is around 20%, and he'd get zilch for clout with his party in Congress. You think R's are running from Bush in '06? Imagine '08. Plus, their nominee for President would have no major incumbent or living past President to help out on the campaign trail.

by bruorton 2006-08-02 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Hey! We Already Knew That!

Much of the poll results have been discussed elsewhere just after the election, for example here [limited appeal of culture of corruption; district just too Repub].

The most interesting results are the conclusions that "culture of corruption" may actually turn off Indies while not energizing Dems and that immigration isn't enough in a district where it is either less salient or there are fewer Repubs.  And there are many districts that fit this bill.

One other point:  You had more Dems and fewer Indies in your sample than the registration.  Is it possible that some people who registered Ind are now identifying as Dem?  As I understand it, most Indies really identify more and vote more with one party, but don't want to be considered "part" of the party for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps they are identifying more with Dems now?  That seems counter to some of your other findings.  Interesting results.

by Mimikatz 2006-08-02 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Hey! We Already Knew That!
Taht is possible. We can't conclude from teh poll results alone that Dems turned out at a higher rate than Reps. However, absentee voter data supports our conclusion, and we asked a voter reistration question, not a voter self-identification question. So I think our bases on covered on that one: Dems turned out pretty well, Inds did not.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-02 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Hey! We Already Knew That!

I read blogs avidly -- probably because I think politics is so damn 'broken' that the ramifications for business, education, health care, and the environment are truly terrifying.

I'm someone who couldn't even bring myself to vote last November, and I'm *definitely political.* But I couldn't stand feeling like I was participating in a giant lie.   That hardly makes me 'apathetic'!  But my only alternative was to give up and not vote.  For me, it was a difficult, but very conscious, CHOICE.  

In my own mind, two things are key: (1) competence, and (2) accountability.  All the great policies in the world don't mean squat if those two elements are missing.

I want basic competence. I don't expect every politician to master every issue, but they need to meet a basic mastery on the key ideas of things that represent enormous investment -- remarks about 'trucks' on the 'pipes' of 'the Internets' being only one of the more obvious, sad examples.

I want accountability. And by "accountability" I mean that you don't turn a blind eye to torture, lying, stealing, and other crimes.

I'm an American citizen.  Those actions were taken in my name, using my tax dollars.  I want those crimes investigated, exposed, and punished.  Failure to do that is a dereliction of Congressional responsibility.

Millions of Americans work every day with people in other countries, and if we don't get to the bottom of who authorized torture, who lied about WMD, then we are basically telling the rest of the world that we are willing to turn a blind eye to cruelty, dishonesty, and malfeasance.

Who in their right mind is going to want to do biz with 'Americans' if we're simply liars, torturers, thieves, or SUV gluttons who have no regard for anyone else on the planet?  

Many of us are NOT apathetic. We're just pissed off, and sick of enabling a completely corrupt, delusional gravy train that operates at our expense, with no brakes, and no input whatsoever from us.

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2006-08-02 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Hey! We Already Knew That!
I agree that the culture of corruption must be stopped.  I also agree that ANY method of bringing people to justice for the unconstitutional atrocities and outright war crimes must be implemented!  This includes impeachment but also includes prosecution for felonies that I believe have been committed by this administration.  
I am disheartened to hear your reasoning behind not voting, though.  The primary responsibility that we have as citizens is the right to vote. Even in times when the veracity of the vote is in question, not voting is a huge mistake, in my estimation.  When Americans don't vote, for whatever reason, we are telling our government that we don't care. We are also inviting in corruption. In some ways, this lack of concern or caring on our part is what allowed America and the Republican party to be taken over by a bunch of idealogic, histrionic religious zealots.  Whether through apathy or disgust, not voting is realistically the root cause of all of the problems in our government. Voting ensures a measure of accountability.  
by daerius 2006-08-26 07:44PM | 0 recs
Culture of Corruption still an issue

The problem is not enough education on the excesses of corruption by Republicans--lobby system,etc.

Need a mailing brochure to detail the issues--the money lobby trail, DeLay, etc.  That this was not just about Cunningham.  

Need further voter education.

Complicated issues like this cannot be talked about in a 30 second commercial.  Need frequent newsletters, mail- ins etc.

by jasmine 2006-08-02 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Culture of Corruption still an issue

Mail copies of Washington post or other newspaper articles, etc. frequently and with updates.  

by jasmine 2006-08-02 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Culture of Corruption still an issue

The problem is that educational mailers are great for wonkish & cereberal activists.  They do zilch for the average voter.

by InigoMontoya 2006-08-02 12:19PM | 0 recs
Culture of Corruption
I've long thought that the "Culture of Corrruption" was a good off-year message, but not a good election message. It was good to knock down the GOP and create a mood in the electorate. And it can be exploited now. But it needs to be indirect. Now if a Democratic candidate talks of $9 billion missing in Iraq, it resonates as more than just a book-keeping error. It's corruption. Or when a Democrat makes an issue of the lack of body armor, it resonates as corruption. The corruption theme was a good one to plant in the spring because it gives added resonance to other messaging, and it gives a selfish cast to GOP Reps actions. But it's not a message for the election unto itself for the reasons already explained. Unless a clear connection can be made, as in the case of Ney or something like that.
by BriVT 2006-08-02 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Culture of Complication

The corruption issue lends itself to distortion
by the Noise Machine.

The details of who bribed whom and how
the money moved and when, oh, it's so
damn complicated. Then you get
the talk radio bozos going on about
one fool with cash in his freezer -- hey,
everyone understands that one! -- and
it starts to sound like "They all do it."
A large part of the population, and
independents especially, seem disposed
to believe that anyway.

At that point, the Republicans have won
the battle. When the issue is neutralized,
all the time, money, and effort that
Democrats have spent to make the (R)
Culture of Corruption an issue goes
down the toilet.

But frame the case simply: "Elect us and
we will try to stop them from doing
more damage." Hard to see how the
Noise Machine could confuse anyone
about that message.

by Woody 2006-08-02 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Hey! We Already Knew That!

A valid reason for not mentioning impeachment might be 'we don't want to excite the Republican base into tuning in/turning out.' People being tired of it, I don't believe. There's a strong case for impeachment that the people are more than ready for. The man is at 35%. Shoot him already.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-08-02 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Hey! We Already Knew That!

Justice in America needs to apply to more than black males.  Conyers said it over and over and over.  People are sick of the ruling "elite" and the double standards they apply.  They don't trust Dems either (and neither do I) because they, too, perpetrate and participate in the ruling elite.  Justice is what this election is about.  No justice, no peace!

Now will someone please go tell the Dems......
"Swing voters want politicians who will stand up to George Bush, stop his agenda, and hold him accountable for problems that have occurred under his watch both at home and abroad. We are testing this thesis with follow up interviews this week. If swing voters do not like Bush's agenda, and if they do not believe Congress can create a new agenda, then in the short term the only remaining option is to promise to grind Bush's agenda to a halt while holding both him and his enablers accountable for the problems that have occurred under his watch."

by dkmich 2006-11-02 01:05AM | 0 recs
Well

To me it's this simple: this is a heavily Republican district. For Busby to come as close as she did, given that she lost by 20% in 2004, is a miracle in and of itself. I never expected her to win.

by jiacinto 2006-08-02 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Well
It is a heavily Republican district, but we need to do better in places like this in order build a landslide / realignment type eleciton.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-02 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Spend Money Well

We need to do better in more marginal districts.  There are plenty of those in the country, and this is why Cook and Todd have the R's defending 44 seats and the D's defending 10.  

We may also be able to make a big difference in some pretty R seats where the cost of campaigning is low, such as WY-AL, ID-01, PA-10, CO-05 etc.  The marginal benefit of more money is likely to be comparatively low in the top 12 districts (CT 02 and 04, OH-15 and 18, PA 06, 07, and 08, FL-22 and IN-08 and 09, NM-01 and KY-04).  But the marginal benefit of more money in some of the cheaper markets could be substantial. This is where the netroots should be looking.

by Mimikatz 2006-08-02 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus
We are testing a rlated message. That is why we need a few more bucks.

Begging aside, the problem with Indepdents is severe. They really did not turn out at all, and a lot of the movable indies went for 3rd parties. Something has to be done to engage them and get them to support Democrats. Looking tough next to Bush might be the answer--we are testing it.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-02 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

And the reason why Indys were able to play such a large role, is that they make up a significant percentage of the California voting public and one that is growing in number.  It is now up to 18.8%.

by juls 2006-08-02 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

Indeed -- in a state like CA, that is a lot of people.

A recent ARG poll found that 42% of voters in VT are independent/other. Might explain why our Republican governor and Bernie Sanders are way ahead in their respective races, while the open House seat is tied at 41%.  We've got our own "independents" issues here too, just on a smaller scale.

by bruorton 2006-08-02 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

The reality about 'independent' voters is that many of them are apolitical and apathetic. They are independent only in the sense that frankly they never bother to figure out whats going on. I don't have any polling like you to to back this us. I just have experience talking to enough independents to realize there is normally not very much behind it or much that will sway them. You face the reality that most people in modern America are jaded.

by bruh21 2006-08-02 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus
There is certainly some truth to that. Still, I think they can turnout at least somewhat higher rates, and certainly those who do vote can go with Dems rather than 3rd parties, as long as we do better ourselves.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-02 08:03AM | 0 recs
independents apathetic?

In my canvassing experience I saw something very similar to what bruh21 describes.

There are however a lot of people in that subset - mostly young people- who aren't apathetic about issues like the environment, corporate greed, the war etc etc but who don't want to participate in electoral politics or especially align with a major political party because they vew alll of it as sell-out. Frankly the DLC's agenda is a large part of why these young "independent liberals" think that the Dems aren't worth supporting.

They can be motivated to vote but it takes a very passionate candidate to break through the cynicism and alienation these young independents have. And yes, some of the reason why they don't end up supporting the Sherrod Brown's and Russ Feingolds'of the world is because they are not educated in politics enough to know that there are a handful of people in office -the good guys- who actually support their anti-sell-out beliefs.

by Our Gal in Brooklyn 2006-08-02 08:47AM | 0 recs
independents apathetic?

In my canvassing experience I saw something very similar to what bruh21 describes.

There are however a lot of people in that subset - mostly young people- who aren't apathetic about issues like the environment, corporate greed, the war etc etc but who don't want to participate in electoral politics or especially align with a major political party because they view alll of it as sell-out. Frankly the DLC's agenda is a large part of why these young "independent liberals" think that the Dems aren't worth supporting.

They can be motivated to vote but it takes a very passionate candidate to break through the cynicism and alienation these young independents have. And yes, some of the reason why they don't end up supporting the Sherrod Brown's and Russ Feingolds'of the world is because they are not educated in politics enough to know that there are a handful of people in office -the good guys- who actually support their anti-sell-out beliefs.

by Our Gal in Brooklyn 2006-08-02 08:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

I think it's particularly hard to turn out Independents in a special election.

by Steve M 2006-08-03 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

That's not always true here in California.  I know plenty of Democrats who are registered Decline to State so that they get out of all of the political mail that gets sent.

by juls 2006-08-02 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

That maybe true, but I lived in california for a combined total of 4 years in various parts of the state- I saw nothing which suggests that it is that different from the rest of the country in terms of voter apathy, the reasons why or how it presents itself. There is a subset of voters one maybe able tor reach- but I am starting to ask the question are they worth it? Seriously, it's like the question with evangelical conservative voters- will we peel off enough to matter enough to shift strategies?

by bruh21 2006-08-02 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign

That so sucks. In some districts (like mine) the primary election is the only election and if you aren't in a party you can't vote in it.

Giving up your vote because of junk mail - when you can even tell the government to put you on a no junkmail list, is truly sad.

by Our Gal in Brooklyn 2006-08-02 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus
I used to be a registered Independent voter, not because of apathy, but out of a deep-seated distrust of both political parties. Independent voters are just that...INDEPENDENT, in both thought and action. The Independent voter community is comprised of a lot of disenfranchised voters and it covers the gamut from ultra-liberal, like myself, to die hard political conservatives. Portraying Independent voters as somehow more apathetic or less knowledgeable does not do them or the Democratic Party justice and belittles a whole group of people.
I have become a registered Democrat because Independents are not allowed a full voice in the democratic process and because my views are much more in line with the Democratic party than with the Republican. But that doesn't mean that the Democrats get a free ride either!  Much of the fiasco of the Iraq War and its illegality rests squarely on the complacent shoulders of our Democratic representatives. If the Democratic party wants the Independent vote it needs to do two things- present itself as "Cowboy" tough, and speak its messages in sound bites. Come to think of it, that's how Clinton and Bush BOTH got elected!
by daerius 2006-08-26 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

This is a very conservative district.  The fact that some large proportion of Indies went for Gilchrist or one of the others is not indicative of the rest of the country.  I am more concerned about the "plague on both of your houses" phenomenon.  Already most disengaged voters don;t see any connection between voting and concrete changes in their lives, even thoughBush's economic and foreign policies are making things more difficult for everyone but the top 1%.

Perhaps candidates should be more concrete and promise to attack such things as global warming and need for more scientific research to get us out of problems.

by Mimikatz 2006-08-02 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Independents did not turn out at all

Are you sure?  When I analyzed the results from the June 6 vote, I compared the (1) number of people who voted in the special election runoff with (2) the number who voted in the primary for who would run in the November General.  (Only registered Dems or those who select a Dem ballot can vote in the party Primary).  I found a significant number who voted in the run-off who did not vote in the Dem primary.  I concluded these were Indies who voted for Busby.  See here for analysis and here and here for data.

by Mimikatz 2006-08-02 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Independents did not turn out at all
Interesting. I'll take a look at that. But now, I gotta run.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-02 09:44AM | 0 recs
Question

Why was the poll fielded over such an extended period of time?

by kojo 2006-08-02 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Two reasons:

--To save money (we didn't have a lot--it was funded by small donors, and you guys gave us all you had, which was great)

--Because it was difficult to reach people who voted in the primary. There was only 34% turnout, which made it three times harder to find people than normal polls.
by Chris Bowers 2006-08-02 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Question

Thanks.

by kojo 2006-08-02 09:42AM | 0 recs
Is this off topic?

I HATE the new ad placement. There. Someone had to say it.

by NCDem 2006-08-02 08:57AM | 0 recs
seriously...

A campaign ad that insinuates you'll have an orgasm if you visit overstock.com. Right in the middle of the page... it's sort of gross. I see enough of that shit on t.v.

by NCDem 2006-08-02 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Francine Busby Lost

http://www.bradblog.com/docs/CA50_Contes tPetition_073106.pdf

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Electi on_lawyer_to_file_legal_contest_0731.htm l

http://www.bradblog.com/audio/EdSchultz_ PaulLehto_073106.mp3

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mimi-kenne dy/lawless-elections-sleepo_b_25729.html

How can you keep your fingers in your ears, and not even talk about the lawsuit filed this week in San Diego?
You can assess to your hearts desire but if you have not defined the problem correctly, the answers will not be accurate either.
There is a lot of talk now about 100 Republican activists arriving a few days before the election, and finding 10,000 absentee votes ...
If that is true, and apparently it is acknowleged all around, of course these votes included the 5000 that were the missing margin ...
If you assessed why Kerry lost in Ohio in 2004 you could not do it without an assessment of 10 hour lines at the polls, 350,000 uncounted votes, and all of the other election equipment and registration anomalies reported by the Conyers Report.
We know that somewhere along the line a lot of you were convinced to discount these issues, falsely I believe, but you now you must allow these factors into account if you want to have an accurate picture at all of what happened.  

Finally, even the Election Institute of the DNC
has called for a full accounting, and recount, of this CA-50 election.

by syolles 2006-08-02 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Francine Busby Lost

If you look at the poll, most people believed their votes were counted. Only 14% had strong reservations about voter integrity. Everyone who continues to make that the sole focus is going down a dead end. We have to learn from information such as what this poll provides to get turnout better than 34%.  

by Lemonsquare 2006-08-02 10:17AM | 0 recs
Voting Integrity

Granted Busby, Kerry was not cheated,  but it still does not preclude that wwe cannot trust the voting machines because:

1.  proven hackable

  1.  not following security measures--bringing home machines
  2. partisan election officials
  3. partisan owner of voting machine
  4. no paper trail

I am so disappointed with Democrats that they are not fighting strongly for this.

Didnt you learn the lesson of 2000--the consequence of not fighting Al Gore's win--the drastic consequence to the world.

This is a critical and crucial  topic and must be talked about and demand reform.

by jasmine 2006-08-02 10:35AM | 0 recs
Low Independent Motivation

I think the finding that independents weren't motivated is quite heartening. Turnout of independents will naturaly be much higher in a general election, particularly a gubinatorial election, then during a special election that also fell on the day of the partisan primaries.

by dantheman 2006-08-02 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

I agree with you about wishing Kos would get off his  "the base isn't energized" hobby horse.

I understand that Kos wants this to be a base-oriented election but wanting something is not the same as it being so.  

I don't anyone whom I regard as part of the Democratic base who isn't looking forward to this election with a vengeance.  The Indies are, by definition, less partisan and tend to be less informed but I'll take every Indie vote I can get.  The sick truth is that most close elections are decided by these folks who have the least interest and knowledge about politics, folks who vote on the basis of what their hairdresser said or what they think of a candidate's spouse.

If I limited voting to people who met only my criteria...[does some checking]...why, I would be the only voter and I'd save everyone else the trouble.

by InigoMontoya 2006-08-02 09:56AM | 0 recs
Doesn't anyone remember the 10-day Rule?

Ok, this is coming from a old-time political activist (over 40 years).  No fancy polls or netroots.  Back in The Day, we had a rule on the final ten days of any campaign, and more often than not, it worked.

Go Positive.

If you continue nagging and gripping right thru to the end, voters will perceive you as a grumbling, churlish jerk (a la Teddy-Boy Stevens), and turn on you.

Did that happen in this race?  It sounds like Busby kept hitting the same themes right to the end.  And, as we old-timers know, if you stay negative in the last ten days, the marginal voters (independents here) will turn against you and either stay home or vote for someone else (e.g., independents, here).

The Key: you must, must give people a reason to vote for you.  What reasons was Busby giving in the last ten days to vote for her? And did they dominate her message those last ten days?

And BTW I still don't believe in investing a lot of emotional (note: emotional) energy in races where the registration numbers are heavily to the opposition (not exactly the case in this race).  Some districts are carved to guarantee a certain outcome (is this a surprise?).  Some seats will always be held by the Fascists.  So: Protect your base; fight in the marginals; put up candidates in the districts where you have almost no chance, to keep the Fascists on their toes. But keep your expectations realistic.  Optimistic, hard-working, and realistic.  Crunch the numbers, like we did in  The Day, and you'll have lots of successes and fewer heartbreaks--which will keep your positive energy flowing.

by traveler 2006-08-02 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Doesn't anyone remember the 10-day Rule?

Raises an interesting question.  Chris's interpretation of the poll suggests that the best message is inherently a negative one --"I'll stop Bush."  I'm inclined to agree with you that a more positive message may be best as a closer, but what is that, or can opposing Bush be framed in a positive way?

by David in NY 2006-08-02 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Doesn't anyone remember the 10-day Rule?

Americans have usually responded to messages couched in the language of the american dream and the mythology of the frontier.  Offer programs of hope.  Offer programs of a better future.  Offer programs that will give your kids a better life.  Pretty much the Johnny Sunshine [oops, I mean John Edwards] approach.  If Edwards had been the closer in 2004, Democrats would probably have won [overlooking the massive election fraud in Ohio and Florida].

There have been plenty of posts and diaries here and on DK that cover the details.  Anything I say would be redundant.

by traveler 2006-08-02 02:17PM | 0 recs
I love your themes, traveler

I've emphasized similar for years, mostly on DU. It frustrates and unnerves me to no end when the negativity is emhasized and your astute reason to vote FOR is all but ignored. Ten days should be a minimum.

The country is already negative toward Bush and has been for years. That's the reason for the generic poll advantage. We are spinning wheels with the continued onslaught. MoveOn might as well give all the money to charity.

Notice the anti-Bush angle is merely a hypothesis. It is a garbage hypothesis. Very mindful of current root level thinking. The most highly progressive have the greatest hatred for Bush. Therefore, they rationalize and reach that it is the proper angle to pursue, since everyone no doubt will think just like them if only a bit more info and cuddling is applied. It's like the Diebold crew. They just know the exit polling was accurate because it supports what they knew all along, that Kerry was destined to win because he had the hidden cell phone users and their great aunt who never voted for a Democrat suddenly switched to Kerry.

I supported Edwards beginning in late 2002 for just the reason you mentioned. He was by far our best hope in that climate of fear, and especially against an incumbent. That's another aspect I'm constantly miffed by, the lack of differentation between an open race and ousting an incumbent. Unless that incumbent is imploding on cue with dismal approval numbers, you need a unique and charismatic challenger to knock him/her out. Not an ideal resume. Edwards could have swayed that reluctant  "vote For" person much more than Kerry

by jagakid 2006-08-02 04:13PM | 0 recs
Yes, at some point the positive must come thru

I try to ask the younger believers what motivated them to get involved in the first place--and what they wanted the world to look like when they were finished. [I don't tell them they'll never be finished: too daunting.]

Some are working out negative issues from their own lives.  That's fine.  We're not trying to build a movement of Happy Faces.  My hope is that they can find the beginning of a resolution to their issues by joining a community, and realizing the positives of being and working with and for that community. In the meantime, having a platoon of angry ass-kickers is always good.

The others I ask to visualize/paint/flesh out that positive vision, and then start learning some of the history, programs, details of Progressive movements.  Then, to merge their vision with the hard work of realpolitik. These are the ones that get to run the phone banks, stuff the envelopes, etc., and get a special group photo op with the candidate.  Bring them along, and give them a life work to do, even when they go off to straight jobs.

I was very sad when we lost Paul Wellstone.  Damn he would have been a great candidate.  And a great President.  Now I'm thinking Edwards/Feingold.  The second person has to be the bulldog.  That's the function of the VP candidate.  That way the top dog always has a safe opening to go with the positive message. Edwards was just the wrong type for #2.  At the top, his hope can come thru, and we'll still have the attack dog that we'll need to take on the Fascist Hate Machine.  Edwards/Clark sounds like a loser.  Too much nice.  How about Edwards/Boxer? Perfect name. [Despite her recent stupid endorsement--everyone makes mistakes.]

by traveler 2006-08-02 05:52PM | 0 recs
Time For A Change

The new message should be "time for a change"

Tried and true.

Knowing that policy changes can't happen until Bush is gone, voters might looking "merely" to send a message this cycle.  

The campaign messages need to be shaped to allow people to cast their protest vote.  

Voters aren't protesting a "culture of corruption" -- that's too inside baseball for most, and as the poll shows, Dems don't have a lot of credibility there.  They're protesting how everything is FUBAR, without analyzing WHY everyting is FUBAR

Time for a Change, on Iraq
Time for a Change, on Health Care
Tiem for a Change, on education

Lather, rinse, repeat

by gregabbott 2006-08-02 10:06AM | 0 recs
Implications for Colorado Dem Challengers

Also diaried at Squarestate.net.

Chris bowers at MyDD presents fascinating results from the Courage Campaign/MyDD  CA-50 polling project investigating "Why Francine Busby Lost". This research has major implications for several Colorado Democrats running in districts dominated by Republican registration, namely Winter, Fawcett and Paccione.

Short results:
  - Dem & GOP base turned out, but Independents didn't
  - "Culture of Corruption" framing totally failed, despite the conviction of Duke Cunningham's.
  - Anti-immigration issue only persuaded the GOP base; no impact on Dems or Indies.
  - Busby's "immigrants can vote" gaffe had no impact. (Those people were already against her.)
  - Busby was not perceived as standing FOR anything.
  - Strategy of moderation & letting the GOP lose on its own, totally failed.

An unusual and significant piece of research.

The key to winning in districts that favor the Republicans 2-1 requires the challenger to get a high percentage of Independent voters.

If you view Independents as moderates, then maybe you move to the middle, hoping the Dem base doesn't abandon hope. Combine this "strategy of moderation" with a pro-Iraq war stand, and you get the DLC strategy. (See Lieberman, H. Clinton & K. Salazar).

However, if you see Independents as sitting out because they unhappy with both parties, then you have to give Indies some reason to support you. That means taking stronger stands (i.e. be less moderate) on issues in order to drive passion and turnout from Independents. This is even more important in an off-year election. Let's call this the "GOP whip up the base" strategy, in honor of how successful it has been for Republicans.

No matter how moderately positioned, Dem challengers in a 2-1 GOP district are never going to win over the GOP base, so they have nothing to lose by choosing to attack George Bush, denounce the war in Iraq, support women's right to contraception, etc.

The GOP has polarized politics so extensively, that Democratic candidates can directly oppose GOP framing designed to whip up their base. Immigration is one such issue. In other words, If Immigration only speaks to the GOP base, then Bill Winter could actually run a pro-immigrant campaign. This would show him "Standing FOR Something". Working with five issues like that, and maybe we get to see his campaign go Lamont on us.

The DLC pursues a "strategy of moderation" seeks to pull independents to our side, by moving to the political middle, however that is actually a strategy of "Not standing for anything", which encourages Independents to stay disengaged.

by MetaData 2006-08-02 10:15AM | 0 recs
Energize the Base

In this mid term elections, only partisan voters and not independents win.  GOTV + Energize the base.

I disagree with this statement:

1. The culture of corruption message must be abandoned altogether unless there is a direct connection to the opposing candidate (think Tom DeLay, Richard Pombo and Bob Ney)

For one thing the culture of corruption energizes the base to vote because they want a change in Washington.

I wish you dealth with the voting integrity issues too.  What is this about the absentee voting last minute?  ANd taking home of poll machines.  

Should we just stay naive and trust them?

by jasmine 2006-08-02 10:30AM | 0 recs
Your poll told you exactly what I said months ago.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/3/28/ 93921/4062

"The Democrats' sole message should be --

You know George W. Bush is a terrible President. You know the Republicans in Congress are corrupt and refuse to hold President Bush accountable for anything. You need the Democratic party to force the President and the Republican party to take responsibility for tehir actions, and to make sure your voices are heard and no longer ignored.

That's it. Period. No Iraq policy, No entitlements policy. No education policy. No nothing. The the entire message of the Democratic party should be: "The only way to hold George W. bsuh and the Republicans accountavble is to elect Democrats." Period...end of discussion.

The reason for this is simple. No matter what happens in the elections -- the Democrats will not be in any position to advance a policy agenda. That's putting the cart before the horse. It also turns the election into a policy debate rather than a referrendum on the Republican party. Which is exactly what the Republicans want.

Now, I can hear some of you grumbliing out there. "But this is irresponsible!"

I say to you that it is not in any way irresponsible. IF the Democrats tale control of one or both houses of Congress, then and ONLY then do they have an obligation to advance a positive policy agenda on all the important issues of the day. Because, at that point, the dynamics of the 2008 and 2010 electios will have changed.

Right now the voters want somebody to keep watch on George W. Bush, and don't fully trsut the Democrats on policy yet. The only thing they do trust about us, at this point, is that we will not let George W. Bush get away with anything if we have control of Congress.

Policy is an afterthought right now for voters.

Only when they are attempting to parlay a 2006 midterm election victory into full control of the Government must the Democrats lay out tehir policy agenda. Then, the Democratic nominee in 2008 can be the standard bearer." Emphasis added

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-08-02 11:07AM | 0 recs
I sent my $25

If we don't fund a little retrospective education, who will?

by msnook 2006-08-02 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: I sent my $25

Just send the money to me. I can give you the same advice without paying for a poll. ;)

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-08-02 11:41AM | 0 recs
Reality Check

At risk of sounding like a troll, what is wrong with you guys?

The poll results/conclusions were spot on:

   * 1. The culture of corruption message must be abandoned altogether unless there is a direct connection to the opposing candidate (think Tom DeLay, Richard Pombo and Bob Ney)

   * 2. Democrats should stop proposing, or at least stop foregrounding, legislation to enact if or when they are in control of Congress. Since few believe the Democrats can turn these proposals into law, we do not think anyone will vote for Democrats or against Republicans based on this issue.

But then you discredit everything with this:

    * 3. Expect Democratic pick-ups in November in districts where:
          o A. Less money will be spent (which quite possibly is everywhere)
          o B. There will be less media attention preventing a potential "gaffe" (again, which quite possibly will be everywhere)
          o C. There is a higher percentage of Democrats relative to Republicans (most competitive, Republican-held districts this fall)
          o D. Fewer third party candidates will be on the ballot.

Essentially you've said that the entire DNC campaign is a failure as it currently stands, and that it needs to be completely re-tooled.

Then you've said that Dems will only win when there is little to no third party activity, it's a low budget campaign, and the obvious statement of "if there is a higher percentage of Dems to Republicans"... (you needed a poll to figure out the last one?).

If the MESSAGE that the DNC is putting out is good, you wont need 101 qualifying factors to prop up a winning candidate.

The problem is that Dems have no solutions, and Repubs dont either, but the Repubs are at least listing off what they think might fix the problem, meanwhile Dems are still bogged down in the blame game and trying to worry about who's most to blame.

Then, this stupid "impeachment" crap keeps coming up.  I'm telling you now:  As an Independent, I will not support Impeachment hearings if Dems take back power.  It is nothing more than sour grapes, and revenge tactics.  The entire premise of saying he's broke the law... maybe, so we're going to try and get him kicked out 5 months before he has to leave anyway is just going to piss off voters, and show that yet again, Dems have no agenda of their own except to oppose Bush and try to take him down.

QUIT CAMPAIGNING AGAINST BUSH!

He cannot run again, he will not win again, no Repubs are tying themselves to him.  If you want to win, try to cater to those Independents that you seem to be blaming for election losses.

Look at the issues they want to discuss and stop pandering to fringe elements that have taken over your party.

by G 2006-08-02 11:50AM | 0 recs
Reality Check

At risk of sounding like a troll, what is wrong with you guys?

The poll results/conclusions were spot on:

   * 1. The culture of corruption message must be abandoned altogether unless there is a direct connection to the opposing candidate (think Tom DeLay, Richard Pombo and Bob Ney)

   * 2. Democrats should stop proposing, or at least stop foregrounding, legislation to enact if or when they are in control of Congress. Since few believe the Democrats can turn these proposals into law, we do not think anyone will vote for Democrats or against Republicans based on this issue.

But then you discredit everything with this:

    * 3. Expect Democratic pick-ups in November in districts where:
          o A. Less money will be spent (which quite possibly is everywhere)
          o B. There will be less media attention preventing a potential "gaffe" (again, which quite possibly will be everywhere)
          o C. There is a higher percentage of Democrats relative to Republicans (most competitive, Republican-held districts this fall)
          o D. Fewer third party candidates will be on the ballot.

Essentially you've said that the entire DNC campaign is a failure as it currently stands, and that it needs to be completely re-tooled.

Then you've said that Dems will only win when there is little to no third party activity, it's a low budget campaign, and the obvious statement of "if there is a higher percentage of Dems to Republicans"... (you needed a poll to figure out the last one?).

If the MESSAGE that the DNC is putting out is good, you wont need 101 qualifying factors to prop up a winning candidate.

The problem is that Dems have no solutions, and Repubs dont either, but the Repubs are at least listing off what they think might fix the problem, meanwhile Dems are still bogged down in the blame game and trying to worry about who's most to blame.

Then, this stupid "impeachment" crap keeps coming up.  I'm telling you now:  As an Independent, I will not support Impeachment hearings if Dems take back power.  It is nothing more than sour grapes, and revenge tactics.  The entire premise of saying he's broke the law... maybe, so we're going to try and get him kicked out 5 months before he has to leave anyway is just going to piss off voters, and show that yet again, Dems have no agenda of their own except to oppose Bush and try to take him down.

QUIT CAMPAIGNING AGAINST BUSH!

He cannot run again, he will not win again, no Repubs are tying themselves to him.  If you want to win, try to cater to those Independents that you seem to be blaming for election losses.

Look at the issues they want to discuss and stop pandering to fringe elements that have taken over your party.

by G 2006-08-02 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Reality Check

You're in a different reality than I am.

My reality includes interacting with people in Bangalore, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, and Asia -- each and every week.

I think you are naive.

All of my contacts are courteous and professional. They understand quite well that not all Americans are fools, but we have really sunk in their esteem.  

They understand that the Russians don't have a lot of influence on Putin, and the Chinese don't call the shots in Peking.  But they assumed that because America was a 'democracy' that things that happen under our name are condoned by all Americans.

For this reason, Americans are held to a higher standard of accountability.  If you want to lead, you have to expect to set an example.  

The Bush admin has done untold damage to our reputation, and that has very serious repurcussions that are not often clearly stated, but they are very, very real.

People around the world are courteous, but in the silence of their hearts, they assume that people in a 'democracy' support what their government does.

At the current time, Americans appear to tolerate being lied to, having people tortured, held with no trials... all of this evokes the worst nightmares of communism, fascism, and every pervert from Stalin to Pol Pot.

To fail to thoroughly, methodically, judiciously clean up this nightmare will allow everyone around the globe to believe that we don't care, we aren't worth believing, we can't be trusted, and we're not reliable.

We are in very, very big trouble and hang-wringing over 'what the polls say' is just more stupid, craven brain-fog.

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2006-08-02 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Reality Check

I'm confused what world opinion has to do with domestic elections?  You wont win Independent vote with talk of how people in Bangalore, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, and Asia feel about us.  Kerry attempted this in '04 and it got him just about booed out speaking engagements.  

Have you seen the bad publicity that the Supreme court got on using foreign law to influence their interpretation of OUR Constitution?

I dont think too many honest Americans would argue with the need for change, but jumping off a cliff of complete unknown due to the lack of a coherent message aside from "we're NOT Bush!" is not something their ready to do.

As said before:  "Better to deal with the devil you know than the one you don't"

by G 2006-08-03 07:03AM | 0 recs
Reality Check

At risk of sounding like a troll, what is wrong with you guys?

The poll results/conclusions were spot on:

   * 1. The culture of corruption message must be abandoned altogether unless there is a direct connection to the opposing candidate (think Tom DeLay, Richard Pombo and Bob Ney)

   * 2. Democrats should stop proposing, or at least stop foregrounding, legislation to enact if or when they are in control of Congress. Since few believe the Democrats can turn these proposals into law, we do not think anyone will vote for Democrats or against Republicans based on this issue.

But then you discredit everything with this:

    * 3. Expect Democratic pick-ups in November in districts where:
          o A. Less money will be spent (which quite possibly is everywhere)
          o B. There will be less media attention preventing a potential "gaffe" (again, which quite possibly will be everywhere)
          o C. There is a higher percentage of Democrats relative to Republicans (most competitive, Republican-held districts this fall)
          o D. Fewer third party candidates will be on the ballot.

Essentially you've said that the entire DNC campaign is a failure as it currently stands, and that it needs to be completely re-tooled.

Then you've said that Dems will only win when there is little to no third party activity, it's a low budget campaign, and the obvious statement of "if there is a higher percentage of Dems to Republicans"... (you needed a poll to figure out the last one?).

If the MESSAGE that the DNC is putting out is good, you wont need 101 qualifying factors to prop up a winning candidate.

The problem is that Dems have no solutions, and Repubs dont either, but the Repubs are at least listing off what they think might fix the problem, meanwhile Dems are still bogged down in the blame game and trying to worry about who's most to blame.

Then, this stupid "impeachment" crap keeps coming up.  I'm telling you now:  As an Independent, I will not support Impeachment hearings if Dems take back power.  It is nothing more than sour grapes, and revenge tactics.  The entire premise of saying he's broke the law... maybe, so we're going to try and get him kicked out 5 months before he has to leave anyway is just going to piss off voters, and show that yet again, Dems have no agenda of their own except to oppose Bush and try to take him down.

QUIT CAMPAIGNING AGAINST BUSH!

He cannot run again, he will not win again, no Repubs are tying themselves to him.  If you want to win, try to cater to those Independents that you seem to be blaming for election losses.

Look at the issues they want to discuss and stop pandering to fringe elements that have taken over your party.

by G 2006-08-02 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: seriously...

yeah... that whole white and red theme with the ageless blondish naked girlwoman with the "O" bling-bling necklace who... speaks... really... slowly... and... uses... lots... of... words... with... the... letter... "o"...

"It's ALL about the O" (eyebrowtwinkle...semifuckmewink)...

she freaks me out and makes my nose wrinkle rather than make me want to buy overstocked goods.

by NCDem 2006-08-02 01:02PM | 0 recs
That sounds good

I'm not sure I would use the "first step" approach as opposed to emphasizing our positions foremost, then blending in the contrast to Bush.

And it should be "I', not "We." One of the many things from this study that I agree with, along with eliminating the corruption theme, is Democrats should stop talking about what will happen if we take over congress. The voters understand the red tape. Don't tell them we'll get this passed. Tell them this is what I believe. For god's sakes, if I'm running for office I should be most confident and comfortable and accurate talking about me.

I don't want to imply I'm completely opposed to knocking Bush. But I post on balanced sites as well as lefty sites, and the relentless theme on those balanced sites is "Democrats don't stand for anything except bashing Bush." That comes from the most level headed and independent posters, not merely the hard right.

Plus if you look at our generic approval numbers they are always troubling, straddling 50% even though the Republicans have been in a year long freefall. It would be much more long term and nationwide beneficial if we got those numbers us, as opposed to ripping a lame duck like Bush. I mean, what is our strategy come March 2008, when Bush is essentially a non-factor? I'll turn off the TV if our convention speeches are ripping Bush. I can hear the swing voters saying "so what?" in unison. Trust me, I've hosted debate watching parties for a decade and they won't be interested in the outgoing president. Not nearly to the extent I fear we're excpecting.

by jagakid 2006-08-02 04:32PM | 0 recs
!Big Newsflash!

The culture of corruption message didn't even work in Cunningham's district.

The "culture of corruption" message, on which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee based most of it's multi-million dollar advertising budget in the district, and which was a pillar of the national Democratic message going into the Busby campaign, failed.

I have made many comments on this blog since 2004 that failures of GOP policies will blow up in the Republicans' faces, and all the Democrats have to do to win in 2006 is articulate a broad, mainstream opposition to these policies.  eg. here and here.

I also predicted that simply harping on GOP failures without presenting a comprehensive alternative vision will not deliver victory.

The current political culture encourages candidates to have no substantial message, lest they be criticized.  Fuck that man, I am tired of vacuous nonsense mascarading as political positions.  One of the reasons I am such a Jack Carter fan is because he is not afraid to take bold specific positions on a huge array of issues.  

And I am kinda of happy now that I contributed to this poll.

by Winston Smith 2006-08-03 01:40AM | 0 recs
Factor in Poss Republican Dirty Tricks

Last month, I ran into Mimi Kennedy, the thoughtful and articulate chair of PDA, at Democracyfest in San Diego. She'd been thinking about the press stories of the R strategy for "winning" in the 50th, from the perspective of a person familiar with the logistics of field campaigns. Things didn't add up.

I think we need to factor this perspective into our analysis.

Read the whole thing here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mimi-kenne dy/lawless-elections-sleepo_b_25729.html

<snip>

A lot of Republicans did show up in San Diego county the weekend before the election, according to the LA Times Opinion section last Sunday. They 'poured in' to CA-50, wrote authors Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten...

The LA Times article is one of many burbling up in the mainstream media lately about voting machines - Newsweek, USA Today. The Washington Post's headline tells the problem: "ONE PERSON CAN SWING AN ELECTION."

The Op-Ed piece began: "Four days before the election, Republican strategists in Washington were worried."

Who were these 'strategists?' It didn't give their names. In fact, the whole article stated things that were unsourced.

Here was the strategists' worry: more Democrat absentee ballots had come into the Registrar's office in San Diego than Republican ones. That's when "strategists" send "activists" to "pour in" to San Diego County. And in three days, Republican absentee ballots outnumbered Democratic ones by 10,000 ballots!

Now, I know, from a friend on Capitol Hill, that Republican staffers were dispatched to San Diego before the election. Shades of that rowdy demonstration that stopped the Florida recount, all staffers organized from Tom DeLay's office.

I don't know how you get, on a Friday afternoon (assuming the GOP strategists' meeting was literally four days before the election) enough plane reservations arranged on enough empty flights to get enough activists to 'pour into' San Diego to" that they can contact 3000 new absentee voters PER DAY over a weekend and a Monday and successfully get their ballots to the Registrar.

You can't get 3000 people a day to answer their DOORS in Southern California on a weekend, much less drop everything, know exactly where their Absentee ballot is, get it and fill it out and hand it to you on the spot!

The article attributed the feat to the Republicans' 'high-tech edge' delivered by a reputedly mind-bogglingly-detailed database called the 'Voter Vault'. 'Voter-Vault!' How comic book-sounding is that? Karl Rove and Dick Cheney in the Fortress of Solitude, poring over their Voter Vault! Is it possible that when I thought I was signing up for a discount card at my mall or supermarket, I was being sucked into...Voter Vault?!

3000 absentee ballots a day produced. Well, maybe Voter Vault has cell-phone numbers! But people would still have to get to the post office on a weekend to make sure their mailing arrived in time Or activists would have to do home-visits to pick them up? A high-tech edge - one's imagination does not have to wander far to think that perhaps the high-tech capacity goes beyond extensive, intrusive database help for getting out the vote. Couldn't the high-tech edge extend to knowing the trade secrets of their friendly supporters' voting machine companies? And what to do with that?

But the LA Times wants you to believe that GOP activism trumped the Democratic grassroots activism, by printing this claptrap just when the San Diego Registrar's defiance of emergency security regulations for Diebold machines has put the election of a Republican into the House of Representatives in doubt. </snip>

She also has a few insightful things to say about people staying away from the polls:

Here's the point: tens of thousands of voters were left feeling, once again, superfluous. And that's killing democracy. Both major parties wonder why more of their voters don't vote. Why bother with all that trouble - getting the kids ready, having dinner late, paying a babysitter, being late to work, changing carpool - when outcomes are always announced as definitive before thousands of votes are counted? It's apparent that all those votes are just a costly bureaucratic burden for hard-working elections officials, and nice people don't like to be a burden. So, increasingly, nice people don't vote. Voter Vault can do that work, with less effort and more predictability.

I heard a well-meaning woman on the radio the other day commenting on a screw-up with military absentee ballots. Outraged, she said, "If anyone deserves the vote, it's our troops - they deserve it more than anyone else!"

I understood and agreed with her emotion, but the underlying assumption is lethal: voting is a reward for the deserving, not a right for citizens."

Good discussion going on here. Glad to contribute to it.

by CalifSherry 2006-08-03 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Voting Integrity

Many of you people must be deranged or something. There is a 100 megaton pile of information about coordinated computer vote hacking at sites like BradBlog, and you talk about how many voters think, or how the candidate probably thinks they were never cheated. Nobody seems to give a tinker's damn about the reality faced by the voters!

IT WAS STOLEN. RIPPED OFF. BY TRICKY MACHINES.

BURYING YOUR HEADS IN THE SAND WILL NOT CHANGE THAT.

WHY NOT JUST SMASH THE INFERNAL MACHINES AND HAVE REGULAR, HAND-COUNTED, DECENTRALIZED TABULATION BALLOTS LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD? TIME TO START MARCHING IN THE STREETS, LIKE THEY DO IN REAL DEMOCRACIES!

WAKE UP. THAT'S NOT JUST THE COFFEE! THE DAMN HOUSE IS AFIRE!!!

by blues 2006-08-03 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

Congratulations on producing a very illuminating study of the CA-50 special election.  It is a helpful review of ...
  a. the way Republican operatives motivate the Republican base -- strongly conservative rhetoric that often turns off moderates and independents; this is right out of their '02 and '04 Rove playboook and we will see it again in '06 (flag burning, gays, terrorism, stem cells)

 b. the extraordinary anti-Bush energy in the Democratic base -- with motivation more AGAINST the Republicans than FOR our nominee

 c. the way that left-right strident rhetoric doesn't attract the middle to the polls and doesn't necessarily move them to the Dems when Independents do show up to vote

It's illuminating, though not surprising, that "culture of corruption" works in the specific but not the general.  

It's also clear that Dems have trouble attracting swing voters because they are not seen as strong leaders.  However, a desire for strong leadership does not mean that independents want lefty-liberal strong leadership.  They just want somebody who can change Bush's direction and who stands for something.  This can be liberal; it can be moderate; it can be conservative.  The poll summary suggests in some places (wishful thinking?) that it really, really must reflect what the liberal base wants.  It's not about ideology as much as it is about character and strength.  The summary does say that in its big conclusion even though some sub-conclusions suggest the opposite.

Sometimes there are not enough Democrats to win an election.  This is also a big conclusion from the poll.  That is what happened here (and what I wrote about in the Huffington Post on June 8 after the primary).  The election was decided in April's first round with an impressive, highly energized effort that left little room to grow.  Much of the national attention and the money spent was not going to (and did not) make a difference on June 6.  [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donnie-fow ler/californias-busby-bilb_b_22590.html]

Great and useful work!

by donnie 2006-08-03 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus
EBW's commented here:
http://wampum.wabanaki.net/vault/2006/08 /002920.html
by MBW 2006-08-04 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Courage Campaign / MyDD Poll: Why Francine Bus

Very interesting thing you've done here. It's a pity that Busby didn't win big among the independents and that it wasn't a big independent turnout.

by Marilyn T 2008-03-01 12:23AM | 0 recs

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