Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Rumblings in Louisiana; Ramblings in New Hampshire

  • Louisiana: The Wall Street Journal enters into the rumor mill that Senator Mary Landrieu's 1996 opponent, 28-year former state representative Woody Jenkins, may be interested in a re-match. Jenkins has a lengthy history, but his time likely may have passed. In the meantime, Mary Landrieu seems to be in a more solid position than her moniker as the Senate's most vulnerable Democrat might indicate. (HT: SSP)

  • New Hampshire: Sprintin' John Sununu doesn't necessarily deny global warming in this constituent letter, courtesy of Blue Hampshire, but he does do a Sununu-rific job of fudging any position or discernable belief on this important issue. So, the environment joins health care and Iraq as issues that Sprintin' Sununu runs away from.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Does your analysis that Landrieu is in a solid position take into account the latest polling:

    Under 40% against Jindal. Only 51% say re-elect. Loses to Baker and Boustany in media markets where they have comparable name ID.

    The phrase "whistling past the graveyard" comes to mind.

    12:17 PM, March 11, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...


    12:18 PM, March 11, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Of course I'm never thrilled to see a poll with Landrieu down on anyone, but:

    A) Jindal ain't running for Senate - he's running for Gov (would you call that a "recruitment failure" of the NRSC's?)

    B) Perhaps most importantly, the poll lists several caveats:

    Note 1) this is a partisan poll and 2) they did not release the head-to-head numbers except for Jindal. The first means it is all tilted a bit toward the Rs, but it seems that Jindal would be ahead regardless. Of course, Jindal is not running for SEN because he will be GOV Jindal by then which is his life dream so don't waste your time pining for him to run for SEN.

    C) If Landrieu is in trouble when "only 51% say re-elect" then what is Liddy Dole's situation when only 35% say re-elect for her? Whistling past the graveyard?

    D) Against SoS Dardenne, an actual possible GOP candidate for Senate, Landrieu is starting off up 53-38, so, on its face, not awful for the most vulnerable Democrat.

    Feel free to dismiss any of the several above facts as just "spin."

    2:00 PM, March 11, 2007  
    Blogger the zoom said...

    You can't talk about LA before the 07 elections. If Jindel comes in and he does a good job, he is going to make an argument that he needs a solid republican team to work with, and it might swing the election to the republicans.

    2:54 PM, March 11, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    A) No, I wouldn't call it a recruitment failure, because there are still three top-tier candidates in Louisiana, in Dardenne, Baker, and Kennedy. And Jindal is a possibility if he doesn't win in 2007.

    B) The NRSC didn't release the head-to-heads, but it did note that Baker and Boustany had higher numbers than her where their name IDs were comperable. As I argued with Dardenne, when you have an incumbent Senator with near 100% name ID and you have a relatively unknown statewide official or a Congressman, the incumbent will always be up in early polling, because people will go with what they know. All it really means is that, in order to win, people have to know who they are, a feat accomplished by running in a statewide campaign.

    C) I'm not whistling past the graveyard with Dole, because I never argued that she wasn't in danger. You've gone out of your way, twice, you say that Landrieu isn't in as much trouble as she seems. And anyways, what the hell does Liddy Dole have to do with Mary Landrieu? Changing the subject won't change poll numbers.

    D) You're exactly right on this point: on its face things seem to be going alright. That is to say, if you look at nothing but the numbers with no amount of analytical insight or desire to go deeper, you can paint a rosy picture.

    So what's the bottom line? Against Jindal, Landrieu starts off 15 points down. Against Baker or Boustany, if they launched a statewide campaign and increased their name ID, Landrieu is down. Against Dardenne, once he has a chance to introduce himself to the voters, the numbers are about even. And only half the state, when not given an alternative, says to re-elect her. I would say that her moniker of "most vulnerable Democrat" is well-earned.

    3:00 PM, March 11, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - there you go making stuff up again - you said: "Against Baker or Boustany, if they launched a statewide campaign and increased their name ID, Landrieu is down." No. That is false. That is based on zero public facts. A) Numbers weren't released and B) they haven't launched a statewide campaign - so you're completely making stuff up, and making stuff up about unreleased numbers at that. Just because you want it to be so doesn't make it so.

    And I NEVER disagreed with: "I would say that her moniker of "most vulnerable Democrat" is well-earned." I myself said she's the most vulnerable Democrat - the implication being A) the incumbent Democrats in '08 are, overall, quite safe, if somebody with 51% re-elect is the weakest - and B) I compare it with Liddy Dole's 35% re-elect to demonstrate that the Dems #1 most vulnerable is STILL safer than the GOP's arguably 7th or 8th most vulnerable seat - to put it in perspective between the parties and their relative vulnerabilities.

    12:45 AM, March 12, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    A) I'm not making anything up. The memo that was released with the poll said that Baker and Boustany beat Landrieu in media markets where they have comperable name ID. If you think that's false, take it up with the people who conducted or released the poll, but don't call me a liar because I'm relaying public news. If you want to question the credibility of a poll because you don't like what it said, you go ahead. You've already questioned the political analysis of The Politico for the same reason. There's nothing to stop you from sticking your head in the sand yet again.

    B) The fundamental difference between Landrieu's poll and Dole's poll is the options presented. Louisiana respondents were given two choices: Re-elect, or vote for someone new. Without even being presented with an option of who that new person is, 49% selected it. That means 49% of the state would rather see most people over Landrieu.

    In contrast, North Carolina respondents were given three choices: Re-elect, vote to replace, or consider someone new. While you can compare here solid re-elect (35%) to Landrieu's, you can also compare her solid "vote to replace" (only 23%) to Landrieu's 49%, twice the percentage. So there are two ways to look at it: twice as many people in Lousiana want to replace their Senator than in North Carolina, or the polls are fundamentally too different to compare. The latter has the ring of truth to it, but I wouldn't expect you to be able of competent polling analysis.

    8:24 AM, March 12, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you are lying. You said that the poll said that "Baker and Boustany beat Landrieu in media markets where they have comperable name ID." That's NOT what the poll says - the poll says that the Congressmen beat Landrieu in "his respective media market(s)" - i.e. they beat Landrieu in their specific home districts! Not in several media markets but in their specific home media markets - which makes sense as Congressmen are closer to their districts than Senators who represent the entire state. Please stop misrepresenting the contents of the site you yourself linked to.

    And, in your "competent polling analysis" please tell me the difference between "vote to replace" and "consider someone new" as it applies to Dole getting re-elected or not getting re-elected. In either case, isn't the voter not in favor of Dole? Hmmm?

    Keep making stuff up, va blogger.

    6:20 PM, March 12, 2007  
    Blogger Adam said...

    The Louisiana Political Fax Weekly said the NRSC poll also found, but did not put in their release, that Landrieu's statewide approval rating is at 67%... Bottom line: If home-market numbers are the bestthey could find, and they held back the 67%, you've gotta imagine the numbers weren't quite as bad as the NRSC had hoped...

    8:36 PM, March 12, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    A) Here is the EXACT quote from the memo:

    Thus, anywhere a potential Republican candidate has name ID equal to Landrieu's ID, she trails by double digits.

    Here is the quote that I made:

    The memo that was released with the poll said that Baker and Boustany beat Landrieu in media markets where they have comperable name ID.

    Don't call me a liar again, you dumb oaf.

    If you don't want to believe the poll, I don't care if you cover your ears and stick your head in the ground. All I'm doing is relaying to you polling information--information you've yet to include on your site, though you are more than happy to include diaries from liberal blogs as suitable front-page news.

    And your second point makes you sound even more ridiculous. First, the people who put together the poll say that "vote for someone new" and "consider voting for someone new" two different things. If they didn't, they wouldn't have included each option as a seperate choice. What poll have you heard of where, of three options, two of them mean the same thing?

    Second, the difference is people who have made up their minds and people who have not. A plurality of North Carolina voters have made up their mind to re-elect Senator Dole. Around 29% have made up their mind to vote for someone else, and the rest are somewhere in the middle. That's why there are three options.

    Which only strengthens my point that a "re-elect" question with two choices and a "re-elect" question with three choices are fundamentally incomparable.

    I know you'd rather accuse me of lying than face the truth of the polling that has come out, but maybe if you spent less time making false accusations at me, and spent more time objectively looking at the numbers in front of you, your little blog would be a lot better resource for those looking for real information about the Senate races.

    10:57 PM, March 12, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger:

    A) Resorting to name-calling, very mature. Seriously, please grow up.

    B) You're a liar because you happily misrepresent the poll. What is the sentence right before "Thus, anywhere a potential Republican candidate has name ID equal to Landrieu's ID, she trails by double digits."???

    It is: "Reps. Richard Baker (R-06) and Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-07) each "wins his respective media market(s) by 15 points" - so you are misrepresenting the poll. Period.

    C) Yeah, no kidding, "vote for someone new" and "consider voting for someone new" mean different things - but both mean something other than "I'm voting to re-elect Dole" - that's my point. Feel free to ignore it and repeat yourself.

    D) If there were incontravertible "truths" about the Louisiana polling, why wouldn't the GOP-partisan poll just RELEASE ALL THE NUMBERS instead of just the Landrieu-Jindal numbers?? Answer that. Why not release the numbers? Could it be that they're not favorable to the GOP??? Why on earth else wouldn't they just release all the numbers?

    10:23 PM, March 13, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    B) I'm not misrepresenting anything. I'm quoting the poll and the memo that went with it. What you're saying is that the memo, put together by the people who conducted the poll, misrepresents their own poll. That's quite an accusation to make, isn't it? Especially when they've seen the numbers and you haven't?

    C) The latter doesn't mean they're not voting for Dole. It means they may vote for her, they may not. How hard is that to understand?

    D) What does it matter that they didn't release all the numbers? It doesn't change the numbers they did release.

    8:55 AM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - no, I'm saying that when you take the second sentence of a paragraph out of context, saying that it means "X" while leaving out the first sentence, which explains that the second sentence clearly means something other than what you said it means, you're misrepresenting the poll. So, please, knock it off, and stop taking things out of context. Please. Offer an opinion, share a fact, but don't make stuff up and misrepresent things.

    And it matters that they didn't release all the numbers for too many reasons to count:
    1) they didn't release them for a reason - they released the Jindal numbers to make the GOP look good - if the unreleased numbers made the GOP look good, those would have been released too - hence, they actually make Landrieu look good.
    2) holding back the info gives an incomplete picture - why not release all the numbers? Could it be that they want to "spin" the poll results a certain way? (I thought you were against political "spin" - or is it OK to you when it benefits Republicans?)
    3) If there's going to be comment on the unreleased numbers (like where they did good), for intellectual honesty, all numbers should be laid out.

    Just a few examples.

    11:05 AM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Its not out of context. The first sentence says what their polling showed. The second sentence draws a conclusion, which is why it begins with the word "Thus, ..."

    Why are you spending so much time and effort trying to prove that I'm a liar (sorry, I forgot you back-pedaled to "mis-representer")? All I did was quote directly from the memo that was released with the poll. The memo specifically and succinctly states that Landrieu trails her Republican opponents in areas where they have equal name ID. If you don't like it, take it up with the people who conducted the poll. If you disagree with it, then either put your head in the sand and conduct your own poll.

    A) Of course the numbers don't look good. They could have released the numbers and added the qualifier in the memo, but people like you would never bother to consider what the numbers mean.

    B) If you want to call it spin, feel free. The memo gives an explanation of the numbers, based on what the pollster said. If you want to call them liars, that's your choice.

    C) "For intellectual honesty"... are you accusing them of lying to you?

    12:01 PM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Ah, so you're saying that you think that the pollsters withheld numbers showing Landrieu beating the Congressmen statewide because I wouldn't "bother to consider what the numbers mean"? That's your spin? Very nice. Way to shift blame for a bad poll onto me.

    I am not accusing the pollsters of "lying" when I say "for intellectual honesty" but I am absolutely accusing them of "withholding information." If you're gonna comment on poll numbers (specifically Landrieu vs. Baker/Boustany) without releasing the numbers you're commenting on for the world to see, that in my mind is being intellectually dishonest.

    va blogger, how would you react if I posted something to the effect of, "I have a poll showing Franken beating Coleman by 10 points in every media market that Franken has visited since his formal campaign announcement - but I don't want to release the numbers - just trust me."? Would you trust me or would you suggest I be intellectually honest and actually display all the numbers I had?

    12:23 PM, March 14, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I'm saying that they withheld the numbers because the meaning that they got from them--Boustany and Baker's strength in media markets where their name ID is equal to Landrieu's--would get overshadowed by whatever amount Landrieu leads them by overall. They wanted to highlight what they put in the memo.

    And I must be missing something, because I don't know what you mean when you say its "intellectually dishonest". Its not their job to make sure that you know all the numbers.

    And to answer your hypothetical situation, I would be suspicious, but I wouldn't have any reason to believe that the poll was lying. It would also help to know who was conducting the poll, and what (if any) numbers from the poll were released.

    2:37 PM, March 14, 2007  

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