Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Round-Up

  • Oregon: A week ago, one of the "Democrats for Gordon Smith" was on record heaping praise on Democratic Senate candidate Speaker Jeff Merkley. Then it was reported that the official, State Representative Debbie Boone, had officially withdrawn her support for Smith altogether. I guess Gordo got the message. See if you can spot the difference in the two images to the right, the top one being from over a week ago and the bottom one being from this morning. I doubt Boone's name will be the last one removed from that inauspicious list.

  • New Hampshire: How uniform is discontent with Sprintin' John Sununu? So much so that the Portsmouth Herald declares that popular former Governor Jeanne "Shaheen's Senate bid is good news" and that her campaign announcement "is a welcome one for Granite State residents."

  • Maine & New Mexico: Despite any attempt to feign otherwise, Susan Collins and Pete Domenici are solidly with George W. Bush when it comes to Iraq. Their reactions to Bush's Iraq speech this week:

    Senators Susan Collins, of Maine, and Pete Domenici, of New Mexico - both Republicans facing tough re-election battles in Democratic-leaning states - were among those indicating that they had been swayed.
    There goes any illusion of Collins or Domenici being independent voices for Maine and New Mexico, respectively. Meanwhile, Open Left's Stoller offers more speculation regarding a possible retirement from Domenici.

  • Minnesota: Norm Coleman's big concession on Iraq: he'd "like to see troop levels cut in half within three years." He's content to have American troops there until 2010 before levels are cut in half, much less fully withdrawn.

  • Nebraska: The NE-GOP is gushing over Mike Johanns. Anybody think that he won't get in the race? And how does Senate candidate Jon Bruning feel about the NE-GOP naming their state headquarters "the Mike and Stephanie Johanns Republican Center"?

  • Tennessee: Businessman and gubernatorial son Mike McWherter is expected to enter the 2008 Senate race "in the next couple of weeks."

  • North Carolina: Want to know a reason why Elizabeth Dole will lose in 2008:

    Their own poll, taken last week, shows Dole with a job approval rating of 64 percent and a disapproval rating of 23 percent.
    Dole is delusional. Last November, Survey USA put Dole's approve-disapprove at 52-40, and, last month, Public Policy Polling put Dole's approve-disapprove at a similar 48-41. I encourage Dole to go on embarrassing herself thinking that her approval is a laughable 64-23. Get very comfortable with that, Liddy.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    While Dole's polling probably inflated her approval ratings a little, if her poll was done via live-calling, I would trust that poll over two IVR polls (SUSA and PPP).

    I'm glad, though, that you guys have finally come around to the fact that the only way you'll pick up New Mexico is if Domenici changes his mind and decides not to run. Given his public statements and fundraising, I doubt that's in the cards.

    And I have no idea why you think Mike Johanns wouldn't run for the Senate seat. I think Johanns getting in is more likely than Kerrey getting in, quite frankly.

    3:19 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Ummm, regarding your second and third paragraphs, you make two wildly wrong assumptions. First, who has "come around to the fact that" Domenici can't be beat? Second, who doesn't think Johanns won't run? I think he is going to run. Who are you referring to? Why do you keep making stuff up? (And keep thinking that Dole's approval is closer to the low 60's than the high 40's - that will serve you well.)

    3:30 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Specifically, you and the folks at Open Left, among others. I'm glad that you've abandoned the illusion that Pete Domenici is vulnerable to a challenge, and now are resting your hopes on the unlikely possibility that he'll change his mind and retire. Before, you used to talk about all of the folks that would jump in and allegedly give him a run for his money. That change of course in conversation reflects an attitude that Domenici isn't going to be defeated given the current crop of candidates and the number of Democrats who refuse to go against him. Its an attitude I've held for a long time, and I'm glad to see you guys (collectively) embrace it as well.

    You made the statement, "Anybody think that [Johanns] won't get in the race?" Apparently I mis-interpreted your meaning, but it is by no means clear. Calling me a "liar" because your message was ambiguous is a tad bit defensive, no?

    And for the record, I don't believe that Dole's approval is closer to one more than the other. If I had to assign a number to it, I'd probably say its about 55%. The SUSA poll is now 10 months old, and I simply do not trust PPP polling.

    4:30 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - Are you reading what I'm typing or are you off in Fantasyland? It's a possibility Domenici might retire. It's more likely that he'll run again than retire, but it's still a possibility. Even if he runs again, I think he is vulnerable to a strong challenge, particularly given his approvals' nosedive as a result of his involement in the Attorney Purge scandal. What are you missing? Do you reply to what I actually write or to what you imagine I write?

    As far as my Johanns comment, you misinterpreted it. Your fault. It was quite clear. I'd suggest reading more closely before you spew inane comments in the future. (Or, other option, just don't spew inane comments.)

    4:51 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    The level of vitriol that you are sending my way seems to be entirely unneccesary. I understand that I often get under your skin, what with my "alternative perspectives" and unwillingness to go along with everything you say when you paint unrealistically high chances of success in several races, but that's no reason to stop being civil.

    Certainly, the notion that I'm simply imagining what you're typing seems particularly far-fetched. Our conversations, while I admit we often talk past each other, are usually always on the same topic. The sheer chance that I would simply imagine what you wrote and happen to hit the nail on the head every time is astronomical. I understand you were using hyperbole, but when its combined with your blatant hostility, you come off as sort of cantankerous.

    Its interesting, though, that you failed to realize that I also am accounting for the possibility of Domenici. I just characterized such a possibility as "unlikely". I think he is vulnerable to a strong challenge, like Bill Richardson, but such a strong challenge is unlikely to materialize, given that every strong competitor in New Mexico has ruled out a run against him. And as you yourself have noted in this blog, Domenici's ten point drop (what you exaggeratedly referred to as a "nosedive") has plataued at 51%-55% which, while not as great as 65%, is still not shabby.

    However, my comment was more focused on the fact that you and others, whether consciously or not, have moved away from posting about the possible entries to the race against him, and having thus resigned yourself to the prospect of a Don "Who?" Wiviott candidacy, are now focusing on the "prospect" of Domenici retiring. Its simply a pattern that I've noticed. You can kick and scream until you're red in the face about how I'm "living in FantasyLand" and "making things up", but that won't change the emerging pattern in the shift of attitudes towards the race.

    And I disagree that your statement was "quite clear". You are the author. Obviously you knew what you meant when you wrote it. But your responsibility as a writer in general is not to make sure that you know what you meant, it is to make sure that your readers know what you meant. So far, I am the only one (the other dozen or so haven't checked in) that has said something about it, but your opinion of whether your statement was clear is largely irrelevent. Obviously, it wasn't "quite clear", or we wouldn't be having this discussion. No amount of "reading more closely" would make me believe, initially, that "Anybody think that [Johanns] won't get in the race?" meant that you believed the opposite. Please understand that there are such things as ambiguous sentences. There is no reason to dismiss my comments as "inane" because you stumbled upon one. I'm not attacking you (at least one of us can say that) and I'm not saying its a terribly bad thing, relatively speaking.

    6:21 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    In November 2006, Survey USA clocked Domenici's approval at 68% and his disapproval at just 25%. In August 2007, Survey USA clocked Domenici's approval down to 52% and his disapproval at 41%. His net approval went from 43 points in November to 11 points in August. That is a 32-point plummet. That is not a "ten point drop" as you claim. You are either a liar or horrible at math. Which is it? Even if you go by only the approval percentage, it's still a 16-point nosedive - closer to 20 than the 10 you claim. Again, please stop blatantly bending the facts to fit your false narratives.

    As for the Johanns comment, you misunderstood. I can't apologize on your behalf. My comment wasn't "quite clear" - however, it was "quite clear to anybody reading with a modicum of attention."

    What you smugly call vitriol is just me no longer willing to give you the benefit of the doubt after your numerous condescending and obscene comments.

    I don't have the time or inclination to go through all the comments on the 500+ posts on this blog for every time you said "Shaheen said No" or "Warner's not interested" or any of your other many, many short-sighted, dishonest, or flat-wrong comments. Suffice it to say, I can only, again, ask you to be honest and not use obscenity. (And, in my defense, I can offer that, for all of your inane, obscene mutterings, I have never once deleted a post of yours, even though your use of obscenities after my repeated requests for you to knock it off certainly give me plenty reason to.)

    7:07 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    I have never felt so good about picking up 5-7 Senate seats... we really have a better then decent chance to get the 60 votes we need to make policy happen... this is so big.

    8:29 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    Dole and Domenici would just be grazy, VA Blogger.

    9:18 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    Sorry... typo... Dole and Domenici would just be gravy, VA Blogger.

    9:19 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger David said...


    I'm a liberal Democrat, and I love how much you post on the various Senate races (including the long-shots: as 2006 proved, we never know exactly how it will unfold...)

    However, your comment posting is a bit over the top and makes me less likely to read your site. I also thought that "Anybody think that [Johanns] won't get in the race?" meant you thought he wouldn't run, given that the GOP has gushed over so many non-candidates so far this cycle. Criticizing anyone who misinterpreted your original meaning as "making stuff up" or not "reading with a modicum of attention" is unfair, unseemly and frankly, rude.

    Again, I appreciate the work that you do, and I am, thought not quite as optimistic as you, very excited about our Senate prospects next year. Please don't ruin a good site with childish retorts in your comments. It belittles your efforts throughout the site.



    10:39 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    His approval rating for the last four months has been between 51%-55%. Rounding down 13 points to 10 points is either "lying", "bending facts", or being "horrible at math".

    I'm not asking you to apologize on my behalf. I'm simply asking, when you write an ambiguous sentence, don't get upset with the people who misinterpret it.

    And even if you did go through all of my comments on this blog, what would you find? "Shaheen said no". Is that inaccurate? And while I never said "Warner's not interested", I did say that Warner would have to make a tough choice between VP/Governor and Senate, and sure enough, news articles from just this last week confirm that he was being pulled in multiple directions before choosing Senate.

    11:32 PM, September 16, 2007  
    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    I thought the Guru was pretty clear in his Johanns comment, but I digress.

    I don't know what all is going on in New Mexico. It looks like, with the attorney scandal out of the news, Domenici seems to be picking his numbers back up a bit. I think a Democrat who puts the issue back in the news, though, could bring those numbers back down. But with races like New Hampshire, Virginia, Minnesota and Colorado all big time toss-ups, I think the focus has shifted away from New Mexico.

    And look, I know that Guru and VA Blogger are going to get into it in the comments. VA Blogger is a Republican and Guru is a Democrat, and so when they both project what the race outlooks are going to look like (Blogger saying that Coleman is going to win Minnesota and Guru saying the Democrats are going to pick up the Super-Majority), they're going to be a little biased towards their feelings. For me, I just take what news Guru gives and add in my own conclusions.

    12:37 PM, September 17, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    VA, maybe you don't know much about math, so here goes. Digits, you know, like, 53.2 you'd round that down. Obviously. The .2 is extremely insignificant. 3 out of 13 is pretty significant, therefore you wouldn't round. 1,003. The 3 is insignificant to the 1,000 here, so you could essentially round down. Also, when rounding, you resort to saying things like, "Around 1,000" or whatever the number is, to cue off that it isn't exact.

    As for my 2 cents on the quote. If you look at the words before and after his statement, you can conclude that S'08G thoroughly expects Johanns to get in the race. Why would the NE GOP gush over Johanns if they didn't expect him to get in the race? Because they DO expect him to get in the race. I know, it really is quite the twist. It is simple english/grammar skills and reading comprehension.


    12:57 PM, September 17, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    JTM, thanks for the reading tips. However, it remains an ambiguous statement. Again, I'm not saying its a terrible thing, but its not difficult to see how people could read it in other ways than you did. Certainly, I see that.

    As far as rounding down significant numbers, you're right, and if I were delivering my dissertation in advanced physics, I would never make a mistake so egregious as characterize "13" as "10".

    1:19 PM, September 17, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Anthony - For what it's worth, I am not at odds with va blogger because he is a Republican or a conservative. (I would love to have some intelligent conservatives arguing another perspective.) I'm at odds with va blogger because he is all-too-frequently condescending (without the slightest hint of true intellectual heft to warrant such an attitude) and rarely adds any insight to any discussions. And then when he gets called on any of his many factual errors, he blames me for partisan cheerleading. I'd love an insightful conservative in the comments - unfortunately, we got him.

    1:52 PM, September 17, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    Really VA blogger, it isn't anything about physics, it's common and simple math principles that apply to every day life, not just the higher ups.

    1:12 PM, September 18, 2007  
    Blogger Peter said...

    You have to love the balls of someone who argues that we paint a rosy picture when it comes to our senate prospects for the 2008 election.

    May I remind you that your greatest chances at gaining a seat come in a state where demographic changes from an event laced with Republican controversy have given a small opening for a Republican chance as well as another state where even if the sitting senator was more unpopular he would still get the sympathy vote.

    Simply delusional. Right now the senate looks like it'll go from 51-49 to something more like 56-44.

    You think you're unpopular here!? Trying stepping into Cornyn's or McConnel's shoes for a week or two.

    3:27 PM, September 18, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    When have I ever painted a rosy scenario for the GOP in 2008? And there's more than just the effects of Hurricane Katrina to blame for the state trending Republican.

    I never said I was unpopular here, nor do I particularly care.

    6:11 PM, September 18, 2007  

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