Clinton won by roughly 5.5 points. Perot got 19%. The type of voter who detours to a rogue candidate like Perot is not going to to choose a bland out-of-touch incumbent with a horrid approval rating, certainly not by a margin of 12.5-6.5, or anything close to that. It's so ludicrous I can't believe it withstood the laugh test for five minutes, let alone 14 years.
I've never seen these type of accusations on MyDD. And that's something I've always appreciated about the website. On other left leaning blogs any close loss it treated as certain theft. I can just imagine the claims if Lamont had lost by narrow margin to Lieberman. We'd still be reading about it, fraud in this district and theft in that one, even if it was lever machines. And it does get a bit old when Hackett's race then Busby and now Edwards are all treated as manipulation instead of accepted. Again, that's not true of MyDD but jiacinto posts on other sites as well, and has for years, and in this case I think he blanketed the situation too much instead of emphasizing the overall frustration, which I shared as soon as I heard there was a dispute in this race.
In November my greatest fear is we fail by narrow margin in the senate and house, then the liberal blogs identify the close defeats and cry fraud for two years. Anyone who thinks there isn't massive potential for exactly that hasn't handicapped the situation. You're going to have a tons of close races and obviously we'll lose many of them.
This confuses me about Diebold and this race. Did the Wynn people buy or rent the rights to tamper from the Republicans, in the primary only? I thought we had no control over the machines. No wonder we lose if we're stupid enough to fix the primary, then turn the memory cards and everything else back to the GOP in November.
Early in the year someone very sharp told me that was the race we needed to worry about.
Oh yeah, the same Strategiv Vision poll again pointed out two things no one apparently believes or wants to hear:
* Bush's approval rating continues to be significantly lower on the economy that Iraq. His Iraq and overall approval in New Jersey are 38%. On the economy it's 30%.
* Guiliani is burying McCain in New Jersey among GOP preference for 2008. Now 46-24. Yes, it's adjacent to Guiliani's home state, but when you're widening a margin like that and approaching 50% among so many possibles, maybe we'll start getting a hint.
The new PEW poll makes me believe there is more to that than we realize. The numbers are almost identical to '94 in terms of whether this congress is doing more-less-same than typical. It was 9-38-50 in October '94, and 7-38-50 in this PEW report. In June it was slightly worse 7-45-42.
I wouldn't care if we dusted off that old slogan and abused it again, perhaps updating it slightly. We damn sure don't have anything else in the political vocabulary right now.
That was the main reason I predicted Bush's approval rating would rise to 45% by election day, the certainty gas prices would plummet in the fall, and more than typical. I've seen that Pollkatz table many times.
However, after looking at the incredibly extensive PEW findings, I think my 45% might be high, and even if it is not, we are still in excellent shape. Check out the 49 page full report. I've stressed the women's vote is most vital and it looks like older women, in particular (page 20), are simply not fooled by Bush anymore. Women age 50 and up have shifted dramatically in our favor in comparison to the 2002 midterm. So have married moms. I doubt they will switch back due to gas prices. The gains are basically everywhere, other than men and women aged 18-29, and even that's a positive since that block does not vote dependably so you couldn't rely on a preference shift among them.
No doubt we would have been at apex with a June election. Bush's approval was lower, gas prices higher, and opinion of Congress lower. In scanning that PEW report many other things stood out, but I'll highlight a few:
* Republicans in '98 and Democrats in '02 were simply too optimistic. In looking at the numbers it's crystal, and very surprising that the out party expected gains. Clinton and Bush had very high approval numbers and their was no unrest with congress. which had a slightly positive net re-elect margin (page 32, question 13).
* Unfortunately, this is not another '94. Again, check out page 13 of that full PEW report: "Regardless of how you feel about your own representative, would you like to see most members of Congress re-elected in the next congressional election, or not?" The anti-incumbent mood was startling in '94, 56-28 saying no in early October. It fell only modestly, to a 20-point margin, 51-31, in November on the eve of the election. This year we were at 57-29 saying no in June, but that is already 49-35. I would keep an eye on that number in PEW's subsequent surveys. It stabilized from August to September and we need it to maintain or go back up. Anti-incumbency this year means anti-GOP.
* Question 16, page 33: "Do you think of your vote for Congress this fall as a vote FOR George W. Bush, as a vote AGAINST George W. Bush, or isn't George W. Bush much of a factor in your vote?" The numbers in that question demonstrate where Bush is, in relation to recent presidents including himself. It's incredible. Starting with Reagan in '82, no one had a "vote against" percentage above 23 until Bush this year. Even Clinton in '94 had a worst of 17% for, 23% against, hinting that midterm was a vote against congress as much or more than anti-Clinton. This year Bush has had 6 consecutive vote against numbers of 31 or higher. His low was 15% for, 38% against in June. Now it's 20-36. Let's dump some of the pessismism regarding 2002 and 2004. In early November 2002, Bush had a positive vote for/vote against net of 29-16.
* I'll point out again we need more emphasis on the economy. Question 27: "Next, please tell me if you think the REPUBLICAN Party or the DEMOCRATIC Party could do a better job in each of the following areas..." Our advantage above the Republicans on the economy is 14 points (46-32), higher than in any point among the 16 PEW surveys beginning in 1990. That 32 for the GOP is their lowest percentage ever. Even during the Clinton years the Republican percentage on being better on the economy was always between 37 and 45. Regarding Iraq, our lead is just 40-33. Gas prices lead the list in terms of what people are talking about (75%), so naturally the approval rating impacted by a change in price. Iraq (63%) and the economy (62%) are next behind gas prices among issues Democrats talk about. We have the largest advantage ever on the economy, double the edge on Iraq, and talk about it equally as Iraq, but apparently our campaigns have decided we don't want to hear about the economy. Again, interesting handicapping.
Well, preference is undeniably more relevant than GOTV. In 2004 Bush unquestionably won via preference, namely white women preferring him due to national security concerns. But that reminds me in September 2004 we were denouncing security moms as a myth on liberal blogs. Result: 55-44, white women in favor of Bush.
So now we're similarly downplaying Republican GOTV. Interesting. And I would be very careful to define or project GOTV based on number of staffers. I've read dozens of articles on the subject and the GOP methodology has moved to relying on local contact via churches and neighbor to neighbor contact, along with pro-Republican businesses encouraging their employees to vote. I think we're stuck in the traditional mindset of evaluating GOTV by number of people in a small rented office making phone calls and sending out direct mail.
I'm in my 40s but I'd be a fool not to incorporate those aspects into the handicapping. I'm hoping the second one no longer works against us but no doubt #1 and #3 are bigtime players.
This is nothing like '74. I'm old enough to remember Watergate. My family went to Europe that summer and the locals in every country would literally laugh at Nixon, when they found out we were American. "Could not happen here." Bush may be hated worldwide but he is not considered a crooked disgrace by members of his own party. I was in junior high with a civics teacher who had supported McGovern, and still had a McGovern sticker on his Volkswagen. Throughout the '73- '74 school year he talked about Democrats being a cinch to win big in the '74 elections and also the '76 presidency.
'94 has already been convered well, in terms of the House banking scandal and '90s redistricting. And IMO one other aspect is seldom emphasized. Democrats were so relieved to have finally won the presidency in '92 after three failures that a midterm was hardly a priority. I remember sensing that all year. It seemed like an exhibition season a year after winning the Super Bowl. A girl I went to college with married a right winger in '91 and by early '93 with the gays in the military issue she was already anti-Clinton and talking about '94. In college she didn't give a damn about politics, so her mood in early '93 told me what we were facing. I don't think the Democratic party as a whole realized it.
This is closest to '86, a year we won almost all the close races. Can we do it again? I was interested in the comment saying our House nominees are excellent. That's very intriguing, since I've been concerned our focus is primarily vote-against, a strategy that is a natural regulator. We should always nominate someone who we believe can pull 50+% regardless of the opponent. Like Jon Tester. I'd be confident with him against any Republican in that state. If we have vote-for House candidates perhaps we can pull this off. Here in Nevada it's certainly the case, with Tessa Hafen and Jill Derby far superior to anything Democrats have fielded in recent cycles.
BTW, the comment about Republicans with the hand-on application via churches, etc. was one of the most astute and relevant I've read this cycle. On DU there is ranting and raving but the threads asking, "what are you doing to help Democrats win?" are greeted by a handful of posts. Rove was an overrated fraud in 2000 but once he got the miracle reprieve he took full advantage in terms of GOTV.
It seem like I spent half my life rooting for Myrth York to win the Rhode Island governorship. That was three losses. And the numbers were the same there, in terms of the partisan breakdown. So it's hardly as uphill as it seems for Chafee. I'm hoping the competitive gov race this year will finally inspire Democrats and left leaning independents to vote for a tag team and make it truly a blue state.
Just watch Hardball any time a Democratic candidate is on, and you can tell that Iraq alone is not the answer.
Matthews' question is hardly a surprise, "Where do you stand on Iraq?" I've yet to hear a short and competent memorable answer. Within the last week you've had Busby, McCaskill and Pederson stumble around so badly I wanted to turn the channel. Matthews gets that grin which means it's another wimpy response.
He won't often ridicule them directly, but today he was going off that Democrats are afraid to take a stand. And that's exactly how it comes across. Meanwhile, a Republican will always say something quick and emphatic even if it's simpleton idiocy. I guarantee we won't get the traction we expect on Iraq when our own position is neither impressive or even clear.
Expand the playing field. Find something we sound decisive on and can put a couple of memorable sound bites into the national vocabulary. It should be about maximizing our opporunity, not merely attacking Bush because that makes us feel tough and comfy.
"57% of those who prefer Lamont say they are voting "against" another candidate. 60% of those who vote Lieberman say they are voting "for" Lieberman."
No kidding. And that's exactly why Lamont is doomed to fail. It's the current Democratic ignorance in a nutshell. Remember ABB? We are so idiotically envious of the Republican attack machine we think we have to emulate it, and meanwhile it leads to no foundation whatsoever. The anti-Iraq vote is already built into our numbers.
In very few races are we building up our own candidates. It's all negativity toward the other side, a vote against approach. That has automatic limitations. Again, I'll compare it to sports. The worst handicapppers I know are always betting against: "The Raiders sucked Monday night. I'm betting against them every week!" Meanwhile, that leads you to give big points with mediocre teams that are life and death to win. The sharp handicappers always bet WITH excellence, not against crap.
And I see very little difference to politics. Go back and look at the PEW polling from 2004. Bush won because voters were voting for him, not against Kerry. In fact, Bush voters reported higher enthusiasm than any candidate PEW surveyed since Reagan in '84. There was no way a vote-against negative strategy and ABB candidate like Kerry was going to prevail.
But our handicapping is incompetent so we carry the same strategy to 2006. I log onto Kos every day and virtually every main diary he posts is anti-GOP instead of boosting our candidates. Likewise, every email I get from the Democratic organizations rips Bush or the GOP in its header, instead of something positive or interesting regarding our candidates. I delete them without opening. It would be hysterical if it weren't so pathetic. The MyDD memo emphasized we need independents to turn out. Do we really think pure negativity will have optimum benefit there?
I emphasized for a year we needed to bump up our own party favorables and stress other issues, notably the economy. In the next two months you will have Bush's favorability rise. I predicted 45% on election day and I'll stand by that. So where does all the negativity get us if he is inching toward 50/50? It gets us modest wins but disappointing and no control. If we had higher favorables and a few memorable themes it would be a form of teflon and we wouldn't be so dependent on Bush's standing.
And It cracks me up around here when firestorm is assailed as not knowing what he is talking about, when he demonstrates superior handicapping ability in one sentence than the people who condemn him can muster if they posted nonstop for the rest of their lives.
I don't know what anyone is surprised about. On the night of the primary I posted on many sites that Lieberman would lead the general election polling by high single digits, and that Lamont's fortunes were tied to Schlesinger moving into at least mid-teens. I was literally astonished by all the assertions that Lamont would magically drift into the poll lead. How? Did he have momentum among independents and Republicans, people who didn't vote in the Democratic primary? That was always nonsense.
We nominated Lamont because we could afford to. Let's not pretend otherwise. Yes, Lieberman is a disgusting creep who deserves to lose, but if the polling had been identical to the Chafee situation, in which there was a strong Republican who would defeat Lamont but probably lose to Lieberman, then no way in hell we would have nominated Lamont. The far left including the progressive bloggers would still have supported Lamont gung-ho, but the strategic voters would have defaulted to Lieberman and that would have been plenty to overcome the 4 point deficit.
It was tested in 2001 then Ralph Reed put the 72 hour blitz into play in 2002 while heading the Georgia GOTV effort. We always want to pretend those Georgia results were pure Diebold as opposed to a new and very effective strategy by Republicans. Of course, it coincided with a state becoming more red so the impact was an avalanche.
I'm really worried about the logical dynamics of November. I have no doubt we gain, but since we are relying on an anti-GOP vote as opposed to strength of our own, and the Republicans are superior at GOTV, there is plenty of potential for many close losses and not taking control of either chamber. In fact, that's the way I would predict it right now. At that point liberal blogs spend two years insisting we were robbed, by Diebold and otherwise.
It's a great question if we have any equivalent or have made adjustments in our strategy. I've worked GOTV on election day the last two cycles yet no one has contacted me yet. I'll have to get in touch with them.