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Red and Blue 2004

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July 26th, 2004

editorgrrrl @ 04:38 pm: Florida Senate poll
To pimp my newspaper:
Go here for a recent poll that sheds very little light on the Florida Senate race.

In summary: Former Education Commissioner Betty Castor leads on the Democratic side, 37 percent, over U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch (21 percent), Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas (10), and Hollywood businessman Bernard Klein (1). Margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum leads with 29 percent, but former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez is within the margin with 24 percent. State House Speaker Johnnie Byrd (7) is next, followed by Doug Gallagher (5) and four more longshots.

32 percent of the Democrats and 30 of the Republicans were undecided. Primary is Aug. 31.

Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: CNN, of course

June 9th, 2004

freedomfry @ 11:56 am: The horse race
There are three elements that every campaign is fighting with: money, resources, and time. Fighting against the clock, you are trying to raise money to send out resources (television ads, door-to-door campaign workers, issue briefs) in order to best deliver your message and win the election.

One of the best ways to gauge how well your message is being received is through polls. The media is often accused, and with fairly good reason, for being more obsessed with the horse race--who's up, who's down--rather than the issues. But a story about a recently released poll is far easier to package than a candidate's position on, say, abortion, adoption, and stem-cell research, and is much less likely to tick members of the readership/viewing public off.

Understanding what is being reported in a poll is important as well. Polls done internally by the campaigns and by political campaigns tend to not be publicized unless they are good news. Most campaigns with the funding to do it will have monthly polls, escalating to weekly and even daily polls as Election Day gets closer. Polls are conducted after launching new political ads and occassionally after the opposition has launched some that might be considered damaging.

Here are some things to look for when reading poll results:
1) Number of people surveyed. In order to be accurate, a poll must include at least 500 people on a state-wide level. This ensures the greatest cross-section of population has been interviewed and provides for a margin of error between 4 and 5 percent. Anything more than that and the poll cannot be really considered accurate.
2) The kind of people surveyed. Right now, most polls are asking all people of voting age, in order to get the greatest cross-section. As the election gets closer, they will start specializing with likely voters and undecided voters. People who aren't planning on voting don't really help to paint an accurate view of what is going to happen on election day. For primary voting, the pollsters will ask people to identify themselves as Republican or Democrat, mostly because asking a Republican who they are voting for in the Democratic primary doesn't do anyone any favors.

After that incredibly long-winded introduction, here are the most recent poll numbers in our races...

Alaska: Polling conducted by local television station KTUU released on June 1 shows Democrat challenger Knowles leading Republican incumbent Murkowski 45.7 percent to 41.4 percent. Knowles has increased his lead from the last poll, where he and Murkowski were running at a virtual dead heat. This is extremely bad news for the incumbent: historically an incumbent running at under 50 percent in the polls in June is unlikely to recover by November.

Colorado: Polling conducted in late April had Democrat Salazar leading both of his Republican opponents: he was up 52-36 percent against Coors and 48-37 percent against Schaffer. The poll had a margin of error of 4 points.

Florida: Because the field is so wide open, no polling has really been conducted.

Illinois: Polling conducted on May 31 by the Chicago Tribune/WGN TV shows Democrat Obama leading Republican Ryan 52-30 percent with a 4 point error margin.

Louisiana: Initial polling around the state has the top two contenders for the open primary (scheduled for November 2) to be Republican Congressman Daniel Vitter against Democratic Congressman Chris John.

Missouri: A February poll conducted by Division Research had Republican incumbent Bond leading Democratic challenger Farmer 49-39 percent.

North Carolina: A Mason-Dixon poll conducted May 15 through 17 has Democrat Bowles leading Republican Burr 55-45 percent.

Oklahoma: In the Republican primary, Wilson Strategies polling has Humphreys and Coburn in a dead heat, each receiving 21 percent of the vote with a 5.7 error margin.

Pennsylvania: Quinnipiac University in Connecticut conducted a poll on May 27 that has Republican incumbent Specter leading Democrat Hoeffel 49-37 percent with a 3.7 error margin. Polling done by Triad Strategies on May 30 had Specter leading with 52 percent of the vote.

South Carolina: No polling yet--I'm expecting some to be released after the run-off on June 22.

South Dakota: A Zogby poll conducted March 19-20 has Democrat incumbent Daschle beating Republican Thune 52-39 percent with a 4.5 margin of error. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted in March had Daschle only leading by 2 points. The Daschle campaign says that their internals confirm the Zogby results.

Washington: A poll conducted by Fairbank, Masin, Maullin, and Associates at the end of April has incumbent Democrat Patty Murruy up by 22 points over challenger Netercutt.

If the election was held today:

Republicans: 50
Democrats: 50

freedomfry @ 10:04 am: South Carolina Congressional Primary Results
The Democratic primary a foregone conclusion, with Inez Tenenbaum winning easily, politics in South Carolina turned toward the 6 Republicans running to have a chance to replace Senator Fritz Hollings in the seat he has held since 1966.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting in, Former Governor David Beasley has received 37 percent of the vote and Congressman Jim DeMint has received 26 percent. The two are separated by less than 5,000 votes total, which means that there will be a run-off on June 22. For more information, look here: http://www.charleston.net/.

June 7th, 2004

freedomfry @ 04:40 pm: Battleground States round-up
Hello, and welcome to the brand-new community! With the presidential elections soon to reach screamingly epic levels of television coverage, I wanted to find a place where the truly competitive Senate races could be discussed. There is a true monumental amount of information about the 12 races deemed to be "competitive" this year, and this should prove to be a good clearinghouse for discussion on many of them.

As a former campaigner in South Dakota, I have a special place in my heart for the Daschle/Thune match-up, but I wanted to list those races that are project to be very interesting to watch in the next few months...

Alaska: Republican incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) is facing former governor Tony Knowles (D).

Colorado: With the retirement of Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R), Colorado has turned a potential political bloodbath. An August primary will settle which of several candidates will face each other in November. Current Democratic candidates are: Attorney General Ken Salazar and activist Mike Miles, facing Republicans Pete Coors (of the beer company) or former Representative Bob Schaffer.

Florida: Democratic Senator Bob Graham's retirement has brought a gazillion candidates out of the woodwork, on both sides of the fence. More than a half-dozen candidates from both parties will face off in a primary at the end of August.

Illinois: With Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald retiring, Illinois has the choice of Democratic State Senator Barack Obama trying to become the third black Senator in US history or the Republican, former governor Jack Ryan.

Louisiana: Any time a seat is open in Louisiana, political intrigue is never far behind. With an electoral system different from every other state in the country, Louisiana has dozens of people fighting to replace retiring Democratic Senator John Breaux. In November the top three, if the leader doesn't receive more than 50 percent of the vote will face each other in a run-off. I'll try to update this race as the contenders get more defined.

Missouri: Republican Senator Kit Bond, who has won three previous terms but has never exceeded 53% of the vote, will be facing Democratic State Treasurer Nancy Farmer.

North Carolina: With the retirement of John Edwards, North Carolinians will get to chose between Democrat Erskine Bowles, who lost in his race against Elizabeth Dole in 2002, and Republican Congressman Richard Burr.

Oklahoma: Long-time Republican Senator Don Nickles' retirement opens up an Oklahoma Senate seat for the first time since 1994. Democratic Congressman Brad Carson will be facing a crowded field of Republicans. The primary will be held at the end of July.

Pennsylvania: Incumbent Republican Senator Arlen Specter, after barely squeaking through the Republican primary will be facing Democratic Congressman Joe Hoeffel.

South Carolina: With the retirement of Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings, South Carolina will get to choose between Inez Tenenbaum, a Democrat currently serving as the Superintendent of Public Education, and a crowded and contentious field of Republicans. The primary will be held tomorrow, June 8, so I will try to update as news comes in...

South Dakota: Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is facing Republican former Congressman John Thune. I will go into more detail on this race later on, but Thune is still stinging from losing his first attempt at the Senate two years ago by only 524 votes. The pressure from Washington to unseat the Minority Leader has been felt, with members of the Administration making visits to a state that is solidly in the Republican camp for the presidential race. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has also made several campaign stops, in a move that is unprecendented (it's generally considered tacky for the majority leader and the minority leader to campaign against each other).

Washington: Incumbent Democrat Patty Murray is facing opposition from Republican Congressman George Nethercutt, the man who defeated former Speaker of the House Tom Foley.

Whew. There's a lot going on...anyone fancy trying to handicap some of these?

Current Mood: productive
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