Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Night Round-Up

  • Oklahoma: Do you remember about a year-and-a-half ago when Jim "In Denial" Inhofe declared how proud he was that there hasn't been a "homosexual relationship" in the "recorded history" of his family? Sounds a bit homophobic, no? Hold that thought for one second. In Wikipedia's entry on "latent homosexuality," it mentions:

    A theory that homophobia is a result of latent homosexuality was put forth in the late 20th century. A 1996 study conducted at the University of Georgia by Henry Adams, Lester Wright Jr., and Bethany Lohr indicates that a number of "homophobic" males exhibit latent homosexuality.
    What does one have to do with the other? Check out the graphic to the right. It is from an online fundraiser on Inhofe's website, www-dot-jiminhofe-dot-com. It's a tall shaft, atop which is a giant disco ball. And the slogan is "Power the Pole to Light the Ball." Draw your own conclusions, but maybe Inhofe has something else he's in denial about. (Another observer went the Viagra route. Which is more low-brow? Your call.)

    In more serious OK-Sen news, State Senator Andrew Rice's pollster released some new polling data. Some numbers in the release include: 58% of Oklahomans feel the nation is off on the wrong track; only 48% of Oklahomans feel Inhofe is doing an excellent or good job; meanwhile, 45% feel Inhofe is doing only a fair or poor job. The most interesting information from the release:

    As a result of this evaluation, fewer than half of Oklahomans want to re-elect Inhofe to the U.S. Senate. In a ballot matchup between Republican James Inhofe and an unnamed "Democratic candidate," Inhofe fails to break through 50%, beating the unnamed Democrat 46% to 38% - an 8% lead. When Andrew Rice’s name is substituted in for the unnamed Democrat, the ballot remains virtually unchanged with Inhofe failing to break 50% again: Inhofe scores 49% compared to Rice’s 35%. This slim 4% shift is barely outside the margin of error of the survey and occurs despite the fact that 73% of voters are currently unfamiliar with Rice. ...

    To further test openness to Rice’s candidacy we read voters a series of positive statements about Andrew Rice. After hearing these positive statements about Rice’s values, agenda and background when asked a second time about their choice for Senate, Democrat Andrew Rice jumped out to a 2% lead, beating Republican James Inhofe 43% to 41%. This indicates both that voters are potentially open to Rice and that when presented with a positive alternative to Inhofe, support for the Senator dropped significantly below 50%.
    Of course, reading positive statements about Rice would up his numbers, but it also demonstrates that, if he can effectively relay his message and his background, Rice can beat Inhofe. That the race is as close as it is with Rice currently having such low name ID shows a great deal of upside. And Rice's pollster, Benenson Strategy Group, is one of the more reputable pollsters out there (also from the release):

    The Benenson Strategy Group conducted 900 interviews statewide with likely general election voters December 8 - 12, 2007. The margin of error for overall results is ±3.27%.

    The Benenson Strategy Group’s clients include Governor Tim Kaine (VA), Senator Jim Webb (VA), and Senator Robert Menendez (NJ). Peter Brodnitz, who conducted this survey, was named "Pollster of the Year" by the American Association of Political Consultants earlier this year for his work for Kaine, Webb and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. It is a bi-partisan award given to one pollster every two years.
    If you want to help Andrew Rice close in on Inhofe, combat Inhofe's disco ball fundraiser with a contribution to Rice.

  • Oregon: The story I broke this morning on 2006 Constitution Party nominee Mary Starrett not denying rumored interest in a 2008 Senate bid against Republican Gordon Smith has been picked up by numerous Oregon-based outlets: The Oregonian, Blue Oregon, PolitickerOR, Ridenbaugh Press, Forward Oregon, Witigonen, and Just Out, as well as Third Party Watch outside of Oregon. With gathering interest in a Starrett for Senate bid, perhaps she should strike while the iron is hot and announce. Just a few days ago, Ms. Starrett released a missive on her thoughts on laws regarding firearms, in which she comments:

    I would suggest voters fed up with the political duopoly that regularly works to further disarm us and now controls our government, look for another option. Polls show folks are largely dissatisfied with both “Big Box” parties and are considering the “third” option.
    Perhaps Ms. Starrett will take action and be that "third option" for Oregon voters.

    In other Oregon Senate news, a press release today by Democratic candidate Steve Novick alerts us to yet another failure by Gordon Smith on an important local issue:

    Last week, the Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, blocked consideration of an extension of federal payments to timber dependent counties – denying Oregon communities hundreds of millions of dollars in needed assistance for public safety, roads and local services. Given that Gordon Smith hosted a trip by McConnell to Oregon last June specifically to lobby him on the value of the payments, today Democratic Senate candidate Steve Novick questioned how exactly Smith and his membership in the Republican caucus benefits Oregon.
    Novick raises a good point. If Gordon Smith can't stop the leader of his own Party from blocking critical funding to Oregon, Smith is absolutely useless to Oregonians.

  • Kentucky: The DSCC gives us a two-fer today. First up is a month-by-month review of the year in follies for Mitch McConnell.

  • Colorado: The second piece from the DSCC is the latest look at Backwards Bob Schaffer's extremist positions as he "Sided Against Veterans, Homeland Security, Drug Control, Schools, [and] Cops".

  • Texas: The Texas Observer has a terrifically thorough feature on State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega.

  • MyDD's Singer takes a look at the National Republican Senatorial Committee's current doldrums. Poor NRSC; nobody wants to play with them.

  • And the Republican vultures have started circling to pick at the committee seats that will open up when Trent Lott resigns.


    Blogger The Sleep said...

    I've been having a bad day today (lost a tooth). I say that not to curry sympathy but to say that that Rice-Inhofe poll, which the other big blogs didn't seem to pick up for some reason, made the whole day worthwhile. Keep it up Guru, you're changing this country one low-affect evening at a time.

    11:29 PM, December 17, 2007  
    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    First off, as a contributor at Third Party Watch, and the one who posted the story, I'm happy to give the Guru more publicity. Any more information you have on the Starrett story I'll be sure to relay.

    Second, I've been looking for polls out of Oklahoma for quite some time now. I'm doing all I can to help elect Andrew Rice. I've contributed to his campaign, been drumming up some grassroots support, and started my own ActBlue page in support of him. To see him this close this far out is a great sign.

    11:38 PM, December 17, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Wow. I can't believe that Rice's pollster would throw him under the bus like that. Only having a 2% lead after the informed ballot, after a series of positive messages were told to the respondent? That's pitiful.

    Also, you declined to state your usual warning about internal polls. Yes, the pollster is a very credible one. But its still an internal poll. Its not a poll testing the ballot, its a poll testing Rice's potential.

    8:01 AM, December 18, 2007  

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