Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

  • In response to my persistent begging, you guys responded terrifically! Lieutenant Colonel and State Representative Rick Noriega is up to eight contributions and $375 on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. Thank you so much! Currently, on the EtM! page, Noriega has 8 contributions, State Senator Andrew Rice has 27 and former Congressman Larry LaRocco has 19. I really like numbers that end in zero, so we have a new goal: by the end of the week, let's get Rice to 30 contributions, LaRocco to 20, and Noriega to 10. That means we need 3 more contributions for Rice, 1 more for LaRocco, and 2 more for Noriega by the end of the week. I know you can do it. You guys are awesome. Any amount you can contribute, please help out if you can!

  • Alaska: Senate Democrats are aggressively courting Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich to run for Senate in 2008 against Ted Stevens, who takes the expression "appearance of impropriety" to new heights. I'll sweeten the pot a little for Mayor Begich; as soon as he announces for Senate and has an ActBlue page up, he'll immediately join the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. What do you say, Mayor Begich? Meanwhile, the FBI investigation into Ted Stevens' earmarks has been expanded to an investigation into legislation Stevens filed as well.

  • Mississippi: Republican Thad Cochran will make an official announcement regarding his 2008 electoral plans following Mississippi's November 6 statewide elections. I'm still expecting him to run for re-election, for the time being anyway; but, yeah, $44,000 is a seemingly very low amount to have raised in Q3 if he was serious about re-election. If he does retire and popular Democratic former state Attorney General Mike Moore does enter the race, Mississippi will actually see a first tier competitive Senate race. Stay tuned - we should know in a couple weeks.

  • New Mexico: Despite the denials, could Bill Richardson still be considering a Senate run?

  • Minnesota: I don't know if we need to start sounding the dirty tricks alarm, but we ought to be on dirty tricks watch.

  • Georgia: Tondee's Tavern will be offering lengthy Q&A's with the Democratic Senate candidates looking to oust Spineless Saxby Chambliss. First up: businessman Josh Lanier. The best line:

    10. What is the single biggest difference between you and Saxby Chambliss on national security issues?

    He supports whatever George Bush does. I support our security, our troops and our Constitution.

  • South Carolina: Tim Carnes, a South Carolina Republican challenging Lindsey Graham to a primary, is now challenging Graham to a series of primary debates. I absolutely think Graham should debate Carnes. (And before you accuse me of simply trying to make partisan hay, I'll remind you that I suggested that Democratic Massachusetts Senator John Kerry ought to debate his primary opponent "to promote the integrity of the democratic process.") What say you, Lindsey? Ready to fight for re-nomination? Graham also has a second announced primary opponent in the person of Republican Air Force veteran John Cina. Perhaps Mr. Cina would be interested in joining the call for debates.

  • Texas: Democratic former state Comptroller John Sharp puts to rest any rumors that he is considering a 2008 Senate bid. (HT: Stop Cornyn) Meanwhile, State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega sends this thank you to the netroots.

  • Colorado: Do we already have a 2010 GOP primary on our hands? Shortly after Tom Tancredo hinted that he'd consider a 2010 challenge to Senator Ken Salazar, conservative radio personality Dan Caplis says that he, too, is looking at a 2010 bid.


    Blogger Neal said...

    There is no rationale for Richardson running for the US Senate other than the fact he can win the election and he can spend the rest of his career in Washington.

    Richardson started his political career getting elected to Congress in the early 1980s- as a member of the US House of Reps.- Richardson worked his way up to the leadership position in the US House- He was the Chief Deputy Whip during the final years in the US House. During the mid 1990's he got appointed UN Ambassador then Energy Secretary by Bill Clinton. After Clinton left office and George W. Bush stole the 2000 election. Richardson moved back to New Mexico and became Governor of New Mexico-
    Richardson is going from the states top dog/international statesman to back bench Junior Senator.
    Richardson is not a person that likes to debate issues- HE is more of a dealmaker or negotiator. Bloggers would not be happy once Richardson gets in the Senate. He will be too much of a Mr Bipartisan. It is difficult to picture Richardson as a member of the Senate Foriegn Relations committee cross examing- the Blackwater USA Clowns.

    The only way Richardson would accept a Senate Run is if the Democrats in the Senate promise Richardson a leadership position in the US Senate- Offer him chairmanship of the DSCC- promise him a chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee or Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus.

    Richardson would love the Secretary of State position because he will be Clinton's chief Foriegn policy advisor - He will be present on National Security Briefings. He does what he does best- Negotiates with foriegn leaders and diplomats. Richardson can do more as Secretary of State than as US Senator.

    2:00 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    It is absolutely not a push poll in Minnesota, for several reasons. The biggest is the fact that its taking place A YEAR before Election Day.

    Why people still have absolutely no clue what a push poll is boggles my mind, but I'm sick of hearing the phrase being thrown around by dickwads who have no f'n clue what they're talking about.

    On top of which, there's no way to determine whether the survey was sponsored by a Democrat or a Republican. If they're calling Franken soft on Iraq, it sounds like an issue to be used in the primary.

    3:04 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger The Husband said...

    Let's not forget Thad Chochran recently lost his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a seat I can't see him winning back within the next two terms.

    5:22 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...


    What is the definition of a push poll in your mind? I am not being a jerk here just interested.

    I hear the term a lot but it never seems clear to me what people mean. For instance this poll in MN may be legitimate issue testing or just and effort to spread the word on a potential Franken negative but I don't know if that makes it a push poll. Other times it seems people are refering to really nasty defamatory attacks disguised as polls as it was alleged happened to McCain in South Carolina in 2000.

    So my question is what does the word mean and where is the line?

    5:39 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    A push poll is not a poll at all. An effective push poll will reach thousands of voters, and will be something along the lines of this:

    "In the upcoming election, are you planning on voting for John Doe or Bob Smith?

    If you knew Bob Smith gave blowjobs for crack and molests children, would you be more or less likely to vote for him?"

    End of call. Under thirty seconds, and you're able to make several thousand in a small amount of time.

    The point of a push poll is to make an advocacy call to a large group of people in a short amount of time, usually right before an election. If people hear a fact from a third-party, rather than a campaign, they're more likely to believe it. In truth, calling it a "poll" at all is inaccurate, because no responses are being recorded, and the point is to "educate" (and I use that term loosely, given that most push polls are negative and/or inaccurat) not to survey.

    People wrongly and often confuse legitimate message testing for a push poll, and anytime something is ever said negatively about a politician in a poll, its called a push poll. Even illegitimate message testings, if its not done by the thousands with the intent to sway undecideds to vote against someone, it is not a push poll.

    Push polls are an example of the phenomenon where everyone has heard of them, and can think of an example of when it's been done (SC GOP Primary 2000), and therefore assumes they're done all the time. They're not. And improper labelling of push polls not only damages reputable polling organizations that are conducting legitimate surveys, it also lessens the stigma of real push polls.

    JC, if you'd like more info, here are a few links:

    5:55 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    VA Blogger, I think the point of the liked post was that the poster had insufficient information on whether it was a push poll and was looking for more info to figure out. To say that the definition of a push poll requires that it be done close to election day, and therefore anything this far out cannot be a push poll, strikes me as absurd. I also don't see why one couldn't be done on a small scale, say in a key swing district. Are you saying that if I commissioned a polling firm to phone Minnesota voters with no intention of recording the answers, just to spread the word that Franken flipped on Iraq, it couldn't possibly be a push poll unless I did it x number of days before the election, and reached y number of voters -- and what exactly are the minimum values supposed to be for x and y?

    6:13 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    "But two sources in Washington, who are close to Cochran and declined to be named, say the senator may be leaning towards retirement because he has grown weary of the ongoing partisan battles on Capitol Hill."

    Mmmmm. The sound of that makes me lick my lips. I can almost taste it.

    6:37 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    Thanks VAB

    11:38 PM, October 31, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...


    Of course you could commission a polling firm to do such a thing, though most reputable ones would not. However, it would be quite possibly the dumbest thing you could ever do, to waste that much money on such an ineffective tactic.

    The reason push polls are effective is because you contact a large amount of people right before an election so there's no time to challenge the information. A standard statewide survey can cost anywhere between a thousand and ten thousand dollars, and reaches 400-600 people. I have no idea why you would pay ten thousand dollars to spread a message to 600 people a year before election day. If you thought that was a prudent use of your money... knock yourself out.

    Check the links that I provided if you think what I'm talking about is absurd. Of course, there are no hard set rules that determine if X is a push poll and Y is not. However, the people who are going to use such tactics are going to use it because its effective, especially with the risk involved of using such an unethical tactic. The characteristics of a push poll are thus:

    1) A very short script, two to three questions at most, which takes under a minute to read

    2) Contacting thousands, not hundreds, of people

    3) Used to provide negative, usually false and controversial, attacks against an opponent

    4) Will take place very close to election day

    5) Will give a fake disclosure, if they give one at all

    While theoretically its possible to conduct a push poll with a small target size and/or far out from an election, no one is going to do it.

    8:25 AM, November 01, 2007  

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