Should MyDD Conduct Polls Of The Nevada Democratic Caucus?

As Jonathan blogged below, there is a new poll out of Nevada. While I am glad there is finally some more information out of Nevada, this poll is demonstrative of many of the problems we are seeing in polling for the 2008 nomination process. First, it includes two people, Gore and Clark, whoa re not currently announced candidates. That skews the results. Second, it is a poll of "active voters," whatever that means, rather than likely caucus goers. While likely voter screens will be difficult for this caucus, since there is no precedent for it, surely a poll can do better than 240 "active" voters.

Given these repeated frustrations on early polls, and given the repeatedly low amount of information produced in early states (especially Nevada and South Carolina), I am led to wonder if MyDD itself would be able to make up some of the gap. For a little under $10K (Update [2007-3-10 20:54:27 by Jonathan Singer]: The cost would be in the range of $9,500 TOTAL for the four polls), MyDD could commission Survey USA to conduct four polls in Nevada: one in March, one in June, one in September, and one in December. Compared to other polls that will come out on Nevada, we could make sure that only announced candidates were in the questioning, that undecideds were not pushed too hard, that second choices were given, that there was a decently sized sample, that there were lots of good demographic crosstabs, and still probably have a better likely voter screen than anyone else around. With four polls like this, we could build trend lines, and basically be the organization for Nevada polling during the 2007-8 nomination process.

So, much question to you is this: would you be interested in contributing money for a project such as this? We would not have to collect it all right away, and could instead hold fundraisers when it is time for the next poll. MyDD has also been saving some of our ad money for special projects like these, so we could cover some of the costs ourselves. My question to you is: would you contribute money in order for this project to get off the ground?

I have included a poll in the extended entry. Let me know what you think.

Why People Supported And Opposed the Iraq War

So, as you probably have seen discussed on at least one other blog by now, Kevin Drum wants to know why progressive bloggers who opposed the war before it began held that opinion. I actually hold a similar desire, and have for some time. However, instead of caring what pundits thought four years ago, I have always wanted to know why the American people either supported or opposed the war before it began.

I am not referring to opinion polls on whether or not people think the war was a mistake, whether or not we should withdraw troops, or whether or not people think the war is going well. Instead, I have longed for something that pollsters often appear loathe to do: ask the general public why it supports or opposes the war, why it thinks the war is going well or poorly, and why people think we should escalate or withdraw. There have been hundreds of public polls asking the general public if it supports something, but basically nothing asking people why they support or oppose something.

The absence of polling on public rationales is stunning, and it goes beyond Iraq. Outside of exit polls, people are hardly ever asked why they support or oppose anything, just if they support or oppose something. Wouldn't a richer view of public opinion take into account rationale, instead of just support or opposition? Since many other factors could be involved, such as the cost of a poll, I hesitate to immediately label the absence of polling on public rationale as "elitism." However, the lack of interest large news organizations show in commissioning polls (and large news organizations commission most polls) that ask the public why they hold position x, y or z, certainly makes me wonder if they even care why the public holds position x, y or z. Perhaps they would simply have their highly paid opinion journalists declare why the country holds opinion x, y, or z, rather than actually ask the public the public at large.

More in the extended entry.

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Please Help Us Pay Off Our Polling Debt

Update: Hopefully i is working now. If not, I'll take this post down again. I am sorry for the earlier problems--Chris

Yesterday, along with Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign and Joel Wright of Wright Consulting Services, MyDD released its first ever strategy memo for Democratic Congressional Challengers. The memo was the culmination of more than two months of work on CA-50 post-election research. Producing that memo was a new and original step to take for a progressive blog, and there was no way we could have done it without your help.

Now that we have completed the memo, we need to do two things: make sure as many Democratic congressional challengers read the memo as possible, and pay our bills for producing the memo. We will have work to do on the former for the next couple of weeks, but we need to complete the later right away. Currently, we are still $1,125 in the red for the costs of the entire project. That is even after Joel gave us a very good deal on producing the two polls, and after Matt and I worked pro bono on the analysis of the data.

We need to make up the remaining money as soon as possible, so please, donate what you can to the Courage Campaign today. The sooner we pay for the project, the sooner we can start focusing on getting it into the hands of Democratic candidates and staffers. $1,125 is a very doable target, so let's see if we can finish it up today.

For a complete look at the results of the project, please, check out these links: No matter how hard it was, it was a thrill being able to work with everyone to put this project together. Now, we need to pay off our debts so we can start the hard work of getting Democratic campaigns to read it.

Democratic Congressional Challengers Strategy Memo

By Chris Bowers, Rick Jacobs, Matt Stoller and Joel Wright

To: Democratic Congressional Challengers
Re: CA-50 Post-Special Election (Busby-Bilbray) Polling Memo

Fall Election Environment Overview:

This fall, you will face a grotesque political environment, one that requires strategic knowledge, great courage and fortitude to successfully navigate. Facing low approval ratings, Republicans will introduce you to the voters as a flip-flopping, gay-loving, liberal terrorist coddler who wants to cut and run from Iraq, all at the behest of self-absorbed Hollywood moguls and liberal elites.

The establishment Democrats have proven ineffective at combating this positioning, introducing empty slogans like `Together we can do better' that no one repeats or remembers, and policy proposals that few voters believe Democrats are capable of enacting. Most of the polling and advice you'll get from DC insiders and journalists will largely rehash bad information, false choices and irrelevant answers to poorly framed questions. If you take their advice, you will not make significant headway in convincing voters you are best to represent them. And when you lose, it'll be you who ran a bad campaign, not "them." Just ask Francine Busby how that works.

Perhaps worst of all, you will probably face some form of October surprise from the Republicans and your opponent: a game-changing event or message stream. And you will be blind-sided because establishment Democrats will be caught off-guard. Again. And you and your campaign will pay the price of their failure.

Realistically, when it comes to developing a winning position and messaging, you are on your own. Or rather, you are on your own, except that the voters - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike - agree with the outrage that you feel towards the political system and agree that Republican leadership is the problem. Yet, voters will only vote for change if they know you can deliver on that change once elected.

So far, few believe that will happen, as our data in CA-50 show.

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Flipping Out on Pundits

I was on Radio Open Source last night talking about Lieberman-Lamont in the context of our new polling data.  I was on with John Nichols of The Nation and Mary Katherine Ham of Townhall.com.  I like both of them very much, but about two thirds of the way through, I got really angry at both John and Mary Katherine for their rehashed bullshit on Democrats having no message, doing badly this cycle, and presenting no alternative.

Actually, mostly I was mad at John.  Katherine is a partisan, and she had to advocate her side.  But I am tired of the evidence-less 'left' that consistently insults Democrats and insults the American people by putting forward the idea that Democrats in Congress can do anything but hold Bush accountable.  Bush is in charge and he will be in charge for two and a half more years.  The most the Democrats can do is stop him from screwing things up more.  The American people know this.  48% of Republican base voters know this.  Why don't the pundits get it?

Anyway, if you want to hear me flip out on a couple of people on the radio, the show is here. I used to work with Chris Lydon, and he's a great host, one of the best voices in talk radio, and someone who really gets the internet.

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