washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

HuffPo’s senior polling editor Natalie Jackson explains “Here’s Why The Kentucky Polls Were Wrong” in reporting that Democratic candidate for Governor Jack Conway was leading (with one exception) in the late polling. In one key graph, Jackson notes, “It’s not a disaster for pollsters, but the industry did miss the mark.”turnout in the race was only around 31 percent. That means the polls probably overshot turnout projections in trying to identify likely voters. This is the same problem that we see in primary polling — when turnout is low, it’s very difficult to predict who will vote. And lower turnout often favors Republicans.”
At FiveThirtyEight.com Harry Enten opines, “It’s not yet clear whether pollsters simply projected that more Democratic voters would show up than actually did or whether undecided voters broke overwhelmingly for the Republican candidates. The former suggests an electorate modeling problem that could be a big problem during the presidential primaries, when turnout is low. On the other hand, trouble modeling the electorate would be less of an issue in the 2016 general election, when turnout is at its highest…Yet, I would be careful of making too much of the Kentucky results. Only three polls not sponsored by a candidate came out during the final three weeks of the campaign. That’s far less polling than was conducted in other recent polling mishaps…”
In Chicken Little reportage, Josh Kraushaar makes a case at National Journal that “Matt Bevin’s Kentucky Win Is the End of an Era–and That Should Scare Democrats Everywhere.” Overstated though it may be, Kraushaar’s post does offer an interesting observation: “The GOP’s out­reach to Afric­an-Amer­ic­an voters is con­sequen­tial–even if it isn’t provid­ing im­me­di­ate di­vidends. Bev­in wasn’t just a Re­pub­lic­an out­sider be­cause of his apolit­ic­al bio­graphy. His cam­paign also looked a lot dif­fer­ent than pre­vi­ous can­did­ates, and he traveled to parts of the state that Re­pub­lic­ans rarely ven­tured. At his vic­tory speech Tues­day night, he was ac­com­pan­ied by his nine chil­dren–four ad­op­ted from Ethiopia–and his Afric­an-Amer­ic­an run­ning mate Jenean Hamp­ton, who be­comes the first black statewide of­fice­hold­er in the state’s 223-year his­tory.”
Robert McCartney addresses an important question about Tuesday’s election at The Washington Post, “Did gun control cost McAuliffe and Democrats the Virginia election?” McCartney reports, “In a race that proved decisive in enabling Republicans to retain control of the Senate, Republican Glen H. Sturtevant won the 10th District seat after benefiting from a huge turnout in conservative Powhatan County, which analysts attributed in part to the gun issue.” McCartney’s article also notes another interesting possibility: “”Donald Trump probably gets some of the credit” for the Republicans’ success, said Christopher Newport University political scientist Quentin Kidd. “The primary has raised awareness. Republicans are just more tuned in right now.”
Estelle Erasmus argues at Newsweek that Hillary Clinton should emphasize more forcefully “her dedication to advocating for women and children at home and abroad, a topic that has yet to be as boldly embraced by any prior presidential candidate.” Erasmus says that child development and education are priorities that enjoy enormous public support, and should become a central focus of her campaign.
Bush 41 distances himself from the neocon lunacy of Dick Cheney and “arrogance of Donald Rumsfeld,” both architects of the Iraq mess. Along with the global financial meltdown, the Iraq quagmire helped Bush 43 earn the designation of “worst president ever” in the opinions of millions, as well as 61 percent of a poll of 109 historians. Wonder what 41 thinks of the current crop of GOP presidential aspirants.
“Then there are the lesser crimes,” adds M.W. Jacobs at Huffpo, “theft of the 2000 election, multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts for cronies, pandering to anti-gay bigotry during his reelection campaign, withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol lowering greenhouse gas emissions, withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, invalidation of the Geneva Convention protocols against torture, and here are 300 anti-environmental actions listed by the Sierra Club.” All of which should make voters more than a little concerned about the presidential ambitions of Bush 43’s stoutest defender, brother Jeb.
A reported half million petitioners want Saturday Night Live to disinvite Donald Trump as guest host in their upcoming show. Latino voters are not amused by the prospect of Trump’s immigration bigotry becoming fodder for public merriment. There is also grumbling among other presidential campaigns about giving choice media exposure to humanize an already over-exposed presidential contender to the detriment of his competition.
It appears that Ohio’s reefer referendum may have increased voter turnout a smidgen or two, according to the Associated Press. “Unofficial results show more Ohioans voted in Tuesday’s off-year election that included a marijuana legalization issue than in last year’s midterm election highlighted by the race for governor…Nearly 3.2 million people, or about 42.4 percent of Ohio’s registered voters, cast ballots for this general election…The turnout topped the roughly 40.7 percent reported last November, when Gov. John Kasich was re-elected. The number of ballots cast also is higher this year.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.