SSP Daily Digest: 6/4 (Afternoon Edition)

AR-Sen: I don’t know if this is outright shenanigans or innocent bureaucratic bungling, but a lot of eyebrows are being raised over a strange turn of events in Garland County that’s going to lead to long lines and voters avoiding the polls. The county, with a population of 80,000 and 42 precincts, will have a total of two polling places for the upcoming runoff election. Worth noting: Garland County (home of Hot Springs) is the most populous county in Arkansas that went for Bill Halter in the primary.

IL-Sen: The Mark Kirk story seems like it’s finally catching hold in the Chicago market. At the link, you can check out the whole “misremembered it wrong” story splashed across the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times, and watch a withering WGN news story.

WA-Sen: Dino Rossi has reported $600K in contributions in one week since announcing his bid. Anyone who is surprised by this number should get better acquainted with the term “low hanging fruit;” the interesting numbers will be the ones in future weeks to see how he does now that most of Washington’s major real estate and contracting players have, assumedly, maxed out. Also in the not-surprising file, state Sen. Don Benton dropped out of the race and endorsed Rossi. Benton was the more or less GOP frontrunner prior to Rossi’s entry, but also something of a Republican-establishment stand-in for Rossi with a lot of overlap in supporters, so there wasn’t much incentive for him to continue. Goldy correctly yawns at Benton’s departure, saying that Clint Didier (the Palin-endorsed teabagger in the race) was always the real speed bump for Rossi and one that’ll continue to pose a problem: he can’t run away from Didier and his supporters, whose enthusiasm he’ll need in November, but if he gets too close to them, he’ll lose whatever moderate image he once had, which he’ll also need in November.

CA-Gov (pdf): The last pre-primary Field Poll, or at least part of it, is out. All that they’ve released today is the Republican gubernatorial primary numbers, which are very much in line with everyone else’s numbers lately. They see Meg Whitman leading Steve Poizner 51-25, only half the 49-point lead she had in the last Field Poll in March but still certainly enough to get the job done for her on Tuesday. Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the data.

NY-Gov: Maggie Haberman has an interesting retrospective of the big bag of Fail that was the Steve Levy campaign. She weaves together a number of threads that didn’t really make it into the national media — unwillingness to fully commit to the race, his reluctance to dip into his war chest, tabloid stories about law school friends — to paint a picture of a campaign that, in hindsight, was doomed from the outset.

AR-03: Sarah Palin (and the Susan B. Anthony List) weighed in in AR-03, adding one more “Mama Grizzly” to her trophy room. She endorsed state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, who’s in a runoff against Rogers mayor Steve Womack for the GOP nomination in the open seat race in this safely-red district. Bledsoe only compiled about 15% of the vote in the primary, although with a huge number of candidates, that was enough to squeak by into second place.

NY-15: In case there was any doubt that a combination of age, sliminess, and having lost his Ways and Means gavel might prompt a last-minute retirement for Charles Rangel, they were laid to rest. He’ll be officially kicking off his next campaign this weekend.

OH-18: The long-unresolved GOP primary in the 18th appears to be finally over, as former state Agriculture director and 2008 nominee Fred Dailey conceded. He lost to establishment pick state Sen. Bob Gibbs by 156 votes according to certified results, and the automatic recount only changed two votes. While this is one more in a string of recent GOP primaries where the establishment candidate beat the teabagger, this, like many of those races (like, say, IN-08 and IN-09, and IN-03 and IN-05 if you want to call the woeful Souder and Burton “establishment”) where the anti-establishment candidate came within a hair of winning, and where if there had been fewer teabagger candidates spoiling the broth or things that just bounced slightly differently, the media would be talking about an entirely different narrative.

Media: So, speaking of media narratives, I’m wondering if the media are starting to dial down their “Dems are dooooomed!” narrative that’s been conventional wisdom for the last half a year. Not just because they may be noticing that the polling evidence for that is sketchy at best, but also, as this Newsweek piece points out, that they may have gotten suckered by the Democrats themselves, who seem to be engaged in the ages-old practices of expectations management, lowballing their predictions so they look like heroes later.

Ideology: 538 has some fascinating charts up as part of a new post on where states (and where the two parties within each state) fit on the liberal/conservative scale, looking at it on multiple dimensions instead of on a left/right line. West Virginia (socially conservative and economically liberal) stands out as an interesting outlier on the chart, which does a lot to explain its particular brand of politics.

24 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 6/4 (Afternoon Edition)”

  1. Palin originally endorsed “Cecil” Bledsoe (Cecile’s husband?). Maybe she’ll have the same luck as Angela McGowen.

  2. PPP follows up it’s governor poll from yesterday by suggesting Chuck Grassley is safe against Roxanne Conlin, 57-31. However, R2K has one for an Iowa television station suggesting Grassley is vulnerable and only leading Conlin by a 50-42 margin. Which one is right? I have no idea and neither does desmoinesdem, but I’ll point you to her excellent commentary on Bleeding Heartland for the rest of the story.

    The same R2K poll has Branstad leading Culver 51-42, and Brandstad and Conlin leading their respective primaries by solid margins.  

  3. In this race Neither Daliey nor Gibbs was were the tea party favorites.  The tea party could have won the seat if they had settled on one candidate but in this race they were split between several other folks.

  4. I can’t imagine what the Garland County officials were thinking.  I’m a poll worker for Somerville, Massachusetts, which has a similar population, and even on the most boring elections imaginable we still get a couple hundred people per precinct.  Furthermore, having all the voters vote in the same place is a logistical nightmare.  It will take that much more time to find their name in the voter rolls, which is often the most time consuming part of voting.

  5. Will also remind voters to associate Kirk with Dubya…and Illinois voters were not big fans of the whats-the-big-deal-with-waterboarding guy.


    Now that she’s running for Governor of the state, mentions of her Sikh faith are virtually non-existent. A legitimate question must be asked: After seeing how the faith issue hurt Mitt Romney and damaged Barack Obama to some extent as well, is Haley making a political decision by playing up her Christian faith (just like Obama did) and LOSING the Sikh emphasis?

    I guess that means tying a R candidate to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama happens to be a political attack in SC. Is that one state where such an attack can gain traction?

  7. …I’m a political junkie, and I don’t know if ordinary voters will think the same.

    Of course, Dubya’s butchering of the English language became a feature of popular culture during his Presidency, so it’s well-known far outside the world of political junkies.  So it’s possible that quote will cause voters to make a negative association.

  8. Even if he does, it will be hard for him to use his military service as a plus in the campaign. As conspiracy points out elsewhere, his margin for error in Democratic Illinois is very narrow.  

  9. PPP has had a few clearly unintentional GOP-friendly results that either haven’t lined up with other pollsters, or in a couple cases were way off actual election results.

    PPP blew both special elections they polled, NY-23 and PA-12, and I’m talking about 11th-hour polls when voters were paying the closest attention.  Of course PPP was very good on the VA-Gov and NJ-Gov results, and in NJ in particular they detected the late Christie surge although not alone in that count.  So their record is mixed, not bad, in D-vs.-R matchups this cycle.

    And in other races, I’ve noticed PPP results lean a little more GOP than other pollsters’ results.

    Chuck Todd has always held that automated polls reveal voter intensity without producing a representative sample.  While I’ve considered him for years the best political analyst in corporate media, I had dismissed his criticism of automated polls as unwarranted corporate media stubborness.  But I now think there’s something to his criticism, even though I don’t embrace his view fully.

    Ultimately the 57-31 number just doesn’t ring true, it seems too large.  Even Rasmussen called it 53-40 in their last go-round, and this is now twice in a row that Research 2000 is calling the margin in the ballpark of 10 points.  What makes me particularly skeptical of PPP is that they’re showing Conlin barely outperforming 2 other Some Dude Democrats, all in a poll just before the primary and during a time only Conlin is seriously on the air or had any name recognition to begin with among the 3.  I can believe Fiegen or Krause down 30, but Conlin ought to be in the 15-20 range for her deficit.

    But on the flipside that R2K gubernatorial number seems too close.  I get the sense Culver really is down big, and PPP’s 15-point spread feels about right while the R2K 9-point spread feels too close.  But then PPP’s 28-56 job approval for Culver seems harsher than what I think reality is, so that’s a data point that can steer me away from trusting the PPP result.

  10. …there is significant polling 2-4 weeks from now.

    Will Kirk’s experience mirror Blumenthal’s, with voters simply not caring at all?

    Or will it be something that actually hurts him a little?

    One big difference between the two is that Blumenthal had a real defense going for him in the form of the NYT’s sloppy work, and its defiance when confronted with its sloppiness.  There was a strong pushback there that really helped Blumenthal and ultimately erased completely any potential damage.  And I would not have thought that possible at the outset.

    Kirk isn’t getting any help at all, no one has his back on this.  And further the errors in his claims about his military service look worse up front, insofar as they are written claims on his official web site and official correspondence, not just loose semantics in stump speeches.

    Kirk definitely looks like he’s taking on more water for this than Blumenthal did.  And yes, he’s in a more liberal state than Blumenthal, with little margin for campaign error.  So it’s possible this does some damage.  But this is a fascinating laboratory to see what happens, and it goes to the larger issue of how voters are reacting to or ignoring character assaults on candidates, whether accusations of lying about one’s resume or a sex scandal or whatnot.

  11. but the point is that Kirk is a Republican in a D state while Blumenthal’s party affiliation means he’s not trying to swim against the current.

  12. I ask because those are the kinds of districts that tend to get intentionally shafted, such as happened in Ohio in 2004. That was a general election, but I could easily imagine an effort to throw the primary to Lincoln.

  13. No place should be assigned thousands of people per precinct.

    Halter’s campaign should file a lawsuit on this matter.  

  14. The Dailykos user diary on this story has been at the top of the recommended list all day, and is still there with currently 12 updates on it 42 Polling Places Shut Down to 2 in Halter Stronghold.

    Apparently Halter himself showed up in Hot Springs and talked with the election commissioner, and they’ve agreed to extend early voting one extra day on Saturday. (I guess they realize they f’d up bigtime with their decision.)

    But that still doesn’t help all the more rural areas that no longer have a nearby polling place.

    As the diarist says:

    With one more day of early voting, this should help the situation, but not solve it. The Halter campaign will still have to work to help the rural, poor, and elderly to the polls on Tuesday as 75% of voters tend to vote on election day

    Damn that would suck if Halter loses due to lower voter participation in Garland County.

  15. 88% White and only a community college and a “Christian vocational school” according to Wikipedia.

    I think this was legitimately an attempt to save money.  According to the Daily Kos diary, the decision was made before the results of the primary were known.  Some official thought “why pay all those poll workers when almost no one will show up, lets just make everyone come to the courthouse.”

  16. The one off by 5% or the one off by 20%.

    Ras has expanded his menu from just offering an outlier entree to adding the scrumptuous double-outlier.

  17. It looks about right. Especially since he usually finds huge bounces right after a primary win.

  18. will be out with a poll showing Giannoulias in the lead within the next few days…not.

  19. is that Blumenthal is a statewide official of long standing; he’s got 20 years of chits to cash with the public.  Kirk’s a Congressman; most of the state has never voted for him before, and has only a vague idea of who he is.

  20. As any good political junkie knows, McCain and his wife adopted a baby girl from Bangladesh in the early 90s.  In the 2000 SC primary the Bush people spread a word-of-mouth rumor that McCain fathered a black baby.  McCain’s people blame the racist rumor for costing them votes there.

    The Deep South is still very, very, very racist and religiously bigoted.  South Carolina has had a few of the more high-profile public instances of it, but so many states down there are not any better.

    Even with a black President named Barack Hussein Obama, major sections of America still have a long way to go on race and religion.

  21. but he’ll probably squeak through because of too many primary challengers splitting the vote

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