This is something I’ve been meaning to do for long time, but with our pending move to Daily Kos, I figured now was definitely the right time. I’m putting together a list of terms and abbreviations that are commonly used at SSP but may not be super-familiar to newcomers. (They range from pretty common ones like DNC to home-grown specials like NWOTSOTB.) I think this will be a handy reference list (and one you can readily link to when explaining things to new people), but I’m sure I’ve left things off. So I’d really like your help in adding new terms (and improving any of the definitions below). Thanks!
1Q (or Q1), 2Q, etc.: First Quarter, Second Quarter, etc. Refers to the quarterly periods at the end of which campaigns must submit fundraising reports to the FEC. Note: Some organizations must file reports more frequently. Also, campaigns usually have to file additional reports around election time, including primaries.
CD: Congressional District.
DCCC: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
DGA: Democratic Governors Association.
DLCC: Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. Not to be confused with the defunct DLC (the Democratic Leadership Council).
DNC: Democratic National Committee.
DSCC: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
FEC: Federal Elections Commission. Tasked with ensuring compliance with our nation’s election laws.
GOP: Grand Old Party – i.e., the Republicans.
IE: Independent Expenditure. An expenditure “expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate” made by an outside group. IEs may be made in unlimited amounts. (Though groups making them have to comply with the relevant laws that govern their fundraising.) Groups which make IEs are generally prohibited by law from coordinating with the campaign they are supporting. IE reports can be found here.
MoE: Margin of Error. A statistic expressing the amount of random sampling error in a survey’s results, usually given in the form of plus-or-minus a particular percentage. Used in describing polls. The larger the margin of error, the less confidence one should have that the poll’s reported results are close to the “true” figures. See also “N.”
N: Mathematical notation used to denote sample size, i.e., the number of respondents contacted for a particular poll. The greater the n, the lower the margin of error. See also “MoE.”
NRCC: National Republican Congressional Committee.
NRSC: National Republican Senatorial Committee.
NWOTSOTB: No Word On The Size Of The Buy. Many television and radio ads are released online without any information about just how much is being spent to put them on the air. This is because campaigns and political organizations often try to get media coverage for new ads that are backed with only very small buys. (In other words, very few actual voters will see them.) If there’s no word on the size of the buy, it will often (but not always) mean that the buy is small. This happens so often we had to create our own acronym for it, because typing the whole phrase out every time was starting to cause our hands to fall off.
PVI: Partisan Voting Index. A measure created by the Cook Political Report that compares the presidential vote in each congressional district to the presidential vote nationwide. A PVI of D+5, for instance, means the district voted five points more Democratic than the nation as a whole; R+5 means it voted five points more Republican. More information is available here.
RNC: Republican National Committee.
RGA: Republican Governors Association.
Schrödinger’s Seat: A district which has borders that, due to reapportionment and/or redistricting, are not yet known, but which candidates nonetheless are considering running for. Once the district lines are known, such candidates might find themselves in a very sweet spot – or they might find themselves without a district to run in.
Some Dude: Some candidates start out with certain built-in advantages: They already hold office, they have personal wealth, or they have a prominent public profile. Some Dude has none of these. If you Google Some Dude’s name, you’ll find very little information-probably just the news article or blog post where they were first mentioned as a possible candidate. A good hint you’re dealing with a Some Dude is that they’re described as an “activist” or “Tea Party member” in press accounts. Note: Some Dudes sometimes win!