Arkansas 2008 Congressional Candidates

    Monday was the filing date for candidates running for office in Arkansas. First the good news. No Republican challenger has jumped into the race to challenge Sen. Mark Pryor, Rep. Marion Berry, Rep. Vic Snyder, or Rep. Mike Ross. This is great news that the Arkansas Republican party is so unorganized and to see that they are now just giving up races.

     Now the bad news. No democratic challenger has entered the race to challenge Rep. Jon Boozman-R. How can we expect to win as many seats as possible when we can't even find a candidate to challenge an incumbent. Even though Boozman got 62% of the vote in 2006, Foster's victory on Saturday showed that we can win everywhere! But for us to be able to win across the board we must first be able to have an organized Democratic Party. If we don't run candidates in every congressional district then what's the point of the 50 State Strategy. Hopefully this will never happen again, epically in a state that is trending Democratic.      

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"Dems Surging In Ohio"

So says the headline of the latest Quinnipiac University Poll of 1,430 Ohio voters taken between August 28 - September 3.

How is this surge measured? First of all, as has been diaried ably earlier today, the head-to-head match-ups among the top three candidates of each party now almost all favor the Democrats (only exception being McCain over Obama by 1 point.) Notably, all three top Democrats now beat the traditionally strongest Republican, Rudy Giuliani: Edwards by 9 points, Clinton by 7 points and Obama by 1 point. This contrasts with just a few months ago when Giuliani was leading all three -- in April, he led Clinton by 5 and Obama by 8 and in March, he led Edwards by 8.

This is an astounding turnaround, but instead of focusing on the electability issue, which is the focus of much of the discussion of these numbers, I'd like to look at what's actually driving these numbers, the factor that Harris Interactive (via Advertising Age) says "predicts how [people] will vote far better than polls in which they declare their voting intentions": favorability ratings.

What makes favorability ratings so important for Harris Interactive researchers is that they measure the emotional engagement a candidate has with the electorate, which, as Drew Westen also asserts in his excellent book The Political Brain, is a much better indicator of how someone will ultimately vote.

Ad Age takes us back 3 years:

As the 2004 race drew to a close, the marketing researchers (as opposed to the political pollsters) at Harris Interactive were actually coming to a different conclusion. While Harris Interactive's online poll showed Mr. Kerry ahead in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, engagement numbers in the separate Harris/ARF online poll indicated, correctly, that he'd only win Pennsylvania.

With that in mind, take a look at how the favorability ratings (fav/unfav) of the top presidential candidates of both parties have shifted over the past few months in order of largest net favorability gains (majorities didn't know Thompson and Romney well enough to register ratings.)

CandidateSept. 6July 12May 16Net Change

Note that this is the first time that Clinton's favorability has been over 50% and Giuliani's has been under 50%. Clearly, the more voters get to know these candidates, their previously majority-held preconceptions (in Rudy's case, positive, and in Clinton's case, negative) get reversed. It's also interesting that McCain is seeing an uptick, certainly reflecting the sentiments of the Luntz post-debate focus group last night where people appear to be giving McCain a second (or third or fourth) look. And then of course, there's the Edwards surge, which so far is not reflected in his Ohio Dem primary numbers (he's in 3rd at 11% -- actually slightly down from May -- although keep in mind that Gore is included) but a surge there is something to look for.

What we're seeing here, folks, are blue state-like numbers.

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AFL-CIO Debate Open Thread

Last Friday, I took the long way late one night while in Chicago, walking around the new Soldier's Field, and it looked awesome from along the waterfront. Tonight, with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, the Democratic candidates debate, with labor members delivering the questions from the stands.

Update [2007-8-7 18:59:38 by Todd Beeton]: You can view the candidates' opening statement videos HERE. Link to the LiveStream can be found HERE.

Update [2007-8-7 19:55:26 by Jerome Armstrong]:Obama vs Dodd vs Obama vs Clinton vs Dodd vs Obama

Man, Olbermann, where's the debate clock?

Update [2007-8-7 20:36:59 by Jerome Armstrong]:Best answer of the night:
Question: What are the qualifications you have in mind for your vice president?
Bill Richardson: Not Dick Cheney!

Iowa Independent with the live blog; Chase can type!

Anyone else notice that this was a crowd that Kucinich was more favorable in front of than any previous one? Probably especially in comparison to the YK debate, where he was boo'd more than Clinton.

Update [2007-8-7 21:27:25 by Todd Beeton]:Chuck Todd makes a really good point that a new dynamic is developing in the race that was on display tonight where Clinton's fellow senators (and the DC old guard) Biden and Dodd serve as almost Clinton surrogates defending her positions against the Obama and Edwards upstarts.

Dodd seemed to also take part in the attacks on Obama (less so on Edwards)...The problem for the two chief Clinton challengers, though, is that they are fighting to be the same person, the anti-Hillary. And Clinton, now, has a lot of supporters on stage with her, including Dodd and Biden...But how long can Edwards and Obama be allies and how comfortable will Dodd and Biden be carrying Clinton's water?

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SC Debate, YouTube CNN, 2

Kucinich and Gravel, on either wing of the other candidates, constantly are raising their hands to get more time. Back to Iraq.

Dodd-- he will cut off the funding. Richardson-- Clinton says 50,000 troops left in place; there is a civil war. "No troops left". Biden cuts ahead of Clinton and challenges it by calling Richardson a liar, basically... and says the problem is that we don't have mine resistent vehicles-- whatever. Candidate's should get some sort of penalty for whenever they begin by saying, "I've put forward a comphrensive three point plan." 6 months isn't enought time to get out of Iraq? Kucinich then takes on Obama's credibility on being anti-war for voting to fund the war.

Obama had a great answer about Romney misrepresenting his position on sex ed, saying that he was basically talking about Mitt's plan, and that Mitt must have forgotten about it. Obama likes to use the knife carefully. He might have hit back harder.

Update [2007-7-23 20:52:45 by Jerome Armstrong]: They just aired a Republican question about "Democrats raise taxes" so I hope we get to see the "Republicans bust budgets" YouTube question for the Republicans next month. Or, at least, maybe we'll get some truth in advertising as to what the base of the conservative movement really looks like.

Overall, I like the YouTube format a lot; it's a big success. I have chronic anti-debate syndrome, and usually find the scriptedness of them overwhelming after about 10 minutes, and so have only partaken of them in YouTube snippits. It also seems to keep the candidates on their toes a bit more, or off balance, which is good too. I think the formats of debate that are done by reporter questions are weak in comparison. I'm off to the spin room and then am going to drop by the Marriott to see Clinton speak to her fans, before heading over to downtown for the Google after-party.

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The SC Citadel debate

Whew, made it inside the Citidel, and got access into the hall, and what a fortress. Howard Dean is giving an intro to the debate. I heard that he missed his plane at DC National, took a taxi to Dulles, and another plane to Columbia and then buzzed over to Charleston-- what a chairman. Alongside a few other reporters and bloggers, off to the right of the stage. The candidates are being introduced, consider this an open thread.

Update [2007-7-23 19:20:20 by Jerome Armstrong]: Would you describe yourself as liberal? Clinton on "liberal" goes back to the root of what the word means, and then describes how the Republicans have trashed it; she conssiders herself a progressive, which identifies her with an american tradition, a modern progressive, and that's a pretty good answer. Gravel then takes on Obama, and some Robert Wolfe bundler-- who is that? I dunno; Obama then talks about generalities of transparency, anyway, nice butting of the heads there after a slow start to this debate.

Who would you choose as your VP nominee from the Republican party? Would Lieberman count?
Biden: Hagel; yea for bipartisanship-- he's done it he says.
Edwards: Hagel; then eschews the bipartisan bs and says the only way we are going to get things done is to take the power. "Take these people on" is Edwards angle.

Update [2007-7-23 19:28:59 by Jerome Armstrong]: Dodd's video, on his silver head, rocked. That will be worth seeing again. Hillary has already said the "experience" word many times-- talking point? Edwards on Elizabeth vs Hillary & Clinton following-- doesn't match up to the hype.

Update [2007-7-23 19:46:1 by Jerome Armstrong]: Richardson gets trashed a lot in the debate reviews, but he comes off pretty good when talking about how to solve Darfur; Biden follows up with agreeing to the 'no fly zone' but also wants 'troops on the ground'. Clinton agrees on sending troops (though she talks international) to Darfur, but not American-- "we've got to figure out what to do in Iraq". I can't imagine that Americans want to hear from Democrats about more overseas missions, Bush has sorta ruined that, no matter how good the cause, until we get out of Iraq.

Update [2007-7-23 19:57:56 by Jerome Armstrong]: Iraq. "How do we pull out now?" Obama: "as careful to get out as careless as we went in". Biden: "Time to tell some truth"... stay is going to be longer. Clinton has made a lot of segway into showing some anti-war passion... Anderson Cooper shuts down Kucinich with "we're gonna see your TV commercial" ha. Dodd: diplomacy, moral leadership. Richardson: "There's a big difference between me and the Senators". Six months, out; no residual troops. Get it done. Gravel: "What did all these people die for?" Obama: Fingers Clinton, and says "the time for us to ask about how we are going to get out of Iraq was before we went in." Edwards: To stop this war, turn up the heat on Bush. I think Richardson, more and more, is showing the strongest voice on getting out of Iraq, and unlike Clinton or Edwards, Obama is not going to be able to shut down Richardson's move to his left, based on the 2002 vote.

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