Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wednesday Rundown

  • Aravosis and Singer both offer missives on Senate Republicans' chronic filibustering to prevent any action on Iraq or any other issue (and, in Aravosis' case, the media's inability to call the GOP on it). Just more obstructionism from those status quo-loving McConnell Republicans doing their darnedest to make sure nothing gets done for America.

  • Louisiana: And the hits on David Vitter's love of prostitutes just keep on coming. The first prominent local Louisiana Republican to call for Vitter's resignation has spoken up:

    On Tuesday, Louisiana Republican State Central Committeeman Vincent Bruno called on Vitter to resign "for his own good, the good of the party and the good of his family." ...

    Should Vitter remain in office, says the Republican state committeeman, then: "We're the party of hypocrites: 'Vote for us and we'll lie to you, we'll engage prostitutes and we'll cheat on our wives.'"
    Meanwhile, Talking Points Memo digs up Vitter's 2004 Senate campaign commercials, and it appears that they all feature discussion about and appearances by or photos of Vitter's wife and kids, y'know, the family he cheated on with prostitutes. Vitter, not the media and not his opponents, brought his family and his "family values" into the political realm. Now, Vitter deserves every ounce of scrutiny and criticism he receives. And, if Vitter lived up to his own standard, he would resign. TPM also offers a few more tidbits on Vitter, and's albeit non-scientific poll on whether Vitter should resign currently stands in favor of resignation by a 57-43 margin.

  • North Carolina: Holy cow. Public Policy Polling looked at match-ups between Elizabeth Dole and state legislators Grier Martin and Kay Hagan. Dole is held to 43% by both of them, and, against Martin, the difference is only six points (43-37)! I would imagine that Dole has a huge name recognition edge over State Representative Grier Martin, so to start with only a six-point deficit is pretty remarkable. These numbers should certainly encourage him toward a decision in favor of a Senate bid. Meanwhile, Dole continues to "hope" for our troops in Iraq without offering any commitments for action on her end.

  • Texas: State Representative Rick Noriega on Thursday will take steps toward making his candidacy for Senate official. If you go to, you'll see the message: "Under Construction, please come back soon!" Looks like he's making all appropriate preparations.

  • Virginia: Raising Kaine offers that, in the likely event of a John Warner retirement, Rep. Tom Davis' road to the GOP Senate nomination in 2008 might not be so pre-ordained.

  • Kentucky: The ad campaigns focusing on Mitch McConnell's failed record on Iraq are now earning free media. And Roll Call is highlighting McConnell's absence from the Iraq debate.

  • Massachusetts: The Hill looks at John Kerry's lackluster poll numbers suggesting that he is vulnerable to a serious challenge. The Hill points to rumors of "former Rep. Peter Blute (R), a talk radio host who served two terms in the House in the mid-1990s" considering a bid. Note to NRSC: Kerry is vulnerable. Dump $5 million in Massachusetts. Go for it!

  • Nebraska: New Nebraska Network highlights state AG Jon Bruning's rightward drift on criminal sentencing over just the last two years.

  • New Jersey: From Senator Frank Lautenberg comes the quote of the day, joking at those who might be worried about his age: "I can send you a copy of the colonoscopy I just took. It's really something to admire."


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    You forgot to mention that to "compensate" for a lack of name ID, the pollster read a brief bio of the challenging candidates before the ballot test, so that cuts deeply into your "lack of name recognition" argument.

    Moreover, this polling firm is the only firm I've seen do North Carolina numbers, and every survey from them has Dole doing poorly. Now, I'm not saying that they're wrong, inaccurate, or biased, but in light of them admitting to boosting the ballot test for Dole's potential opponents, I would very much like to see another firm conduct a poll in the state, and see how their numbers match up to this firm.

    11:12 PM, July 11, 2007  
    Blogger Blue South said...

    The only other people polling in NC regularly is a Republican Think Tank.

    Dole released an internal poll not too long ago, but without many details.

    1:26 AM, July 12, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I don't trust Dole's released "internal" poll, either.

    9:27 AM, July 12, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - Yeah, to "compensate" for the lack of name ID, the only thing that the pollster read about Grier Martin, for instance, was "37 year-old two-term legislator" and "veteran of the War in Afghanistan" - that's it. That's not a "short bio" so much as it is two sentence fragments. So it doesn't really "cut deeply" into the lack of name ID point, but if that's all it takes to run competitively with Dole (two bio phrases), then wait till he actually campaigns and offers an entire bio and list of accomplishments, should he enter the race.

    10:34 AM, July 12, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    There's a difference between an initial ballot test, and what SSP accurately calls an "informed" ballot test. Most of the polls reported are initial ballot tests: you're given the name and the party, because that's all you have to go by on the ballot. Giving information about a candidate (especially resume points like that, which build experience, which translates into a positive) spoils the ballot test. Not every voter who goes to the polls will know that Grier is a war veteran, but every person who participated in the ballot question in this poll did. It is therefore unreliable to use as potential ballot strength.

    When all you have to go on are two names and the party ID, then there are two things you use to make a decision: party and name recognition. Different voters react in different ways, but those are the only two factors which can influence such a ballot. When you introduce a third factor, in this case a brief bio for only one of the candidates in the ballot, it greatly influences the choices. For starters, no bio was given for Senator Dole. So its just the name and party on one side, and the name, party, and positive resume points on the other. Undecided voters who may have voted for Dole or for "Other/Undecided" based on just the two factors may have been swayed to vote for Grier or Hagan based on the biographical information given. There's absolutely no way to tell how many, because the poll didn't do an initial ballot before they conducted an informed ballot, which means we don't know what this poll tells us. Does it show that Dole is weak? Yes. Does it show that Grier would be competitive against her? Its unclear.

    12:20 PM, July 12, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew Worner said...

    This is an awesome blog, Senate 2008 Guru... you have a wealth of info here!!

    9:42 PM, July 15, 2007  

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