Posts Tagged ‘Rasmussen’

Post Mortem in the Wee Hours

Posted: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12:25 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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For much of the last year I have been arguing with my friends at Badlands Blue and the Madville Times about the Rasmussen polls on the South Dakota U.S. House race.  They argued that Rasmussen was biased in favor of Republicans, and it appears that they were right.  Rasmussen’s last poll gave Kristi Noem a five point lead.  It looks like Noem’s margin of victory will be a little less than three percent.  I could take refuge in the margin of error, but I prefer to be magnanimous in victory.

I speak here not as a Republican but as a political nerd.  By victory I mean only that I have been predicting a Noem win based on a number of indicators.  Maybe I am biased as well, but I wasn’t wrong.

Why did Noem win?  Over the next several days there will be a lot of post mortems.  It looks to me pretty simple.  Herseth Sandlin did well in all the traditional Democratic strongholds in the state.  Noem surged everywhere else, racking up large margins in county after county.  Two things, I think, explain this.  One is that a lot more South Dakotans can identify with Kristi than with Stephanie.  The second is that the Republican wave that swept across these United States did in fact wash across South Dakota.

At this hour, it looks like the Republicans have bagged at least 57 seats in the House of Representatives.  That gave Orange John Boehner the opportunity to give an acceptance speech.  He choked up a couple of times.  He is going to be Speaker.  A lot of seats are yet to be determined, so it may well go over sixty.  It might not reach the seventies, which last happened in 1938.  It is going to be well over the Republican surge of 1994.  That might be a good thing and it might be a bad one, but it is a thang, as my Southern brethren say, and it’s a big thang.

Republicans fell short of immortal fame in the Senate races, if only because the bar was set so high.  They have bagged six Senate seats, and will probably get two more: Colorado and Alaska.  Harry Reid survived, and that is one of the great heroic stories that Democrats are well-entitled to tell.  However, Mitch McConnell will have forty-one votes when he needs them, and that changes the board.

What astonishes me about this election cycle is how stable it has been.  Fifty plus seats in the House and eight Senate seats is what the wizards have been predicting all year.  The game was fixed as early as summer a year ago.  That is food for thought.

Noem Likely

Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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The South Dakota U.S. House race has attracted national attention.  If Herseth Sandlin survives her campaign will serve as a model for relatively conservative Democrats in the vast middle of the country.  If she does not, it will serve as a model for conservative challengers and a challenge to the very idea of the Blue Dog coalition.

The race looks to me the same as it has looked all year long: our incumbent Representative is in trouble.  One indication of this is an ad run on Herseth Sandlin’s behalf by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

DCCC ad

This ad has been subject to criticism from both sides of the aisle in South Dakota.  It is certainly over the top, but it was also the most entertaining ad of the season.  With the John Carpenter horror sound track and the “Kristi is on her way to kill your children theme,” what’s not to like?

What I find interesting is the fact that it runs at all.  The SHS campaign has already produced one ad on the issue, and it was a good one.  This is a serious enough issue and you can hardly blame any campaign for exploiting something like this.  Ticket gate is the one issue that gave the SHS campaign some traction.

The trouble is, running a second ad on the topic seems ill-advised.  It dilutes the seriousness of the original point and it looks like a transparent case of milking the one good cow.  To run an ad so over the top looks like a sign of desperation.

The South Dakota House race, like the electorate national (as I have argued recently), has been remarkably stable.  SHS has been stuck below fifty percent all year.  Except for the brief turbulence cased by the eruption of Ticketgate, Kristi Noem has been consistently ahead since she won the nomination.

Rasmussen confirms the trend.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Noem, a state legislator, picking up 49% of the vote, while Herseth-Sandlin draws support from 44%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are still undecided.

Assuming that’s right, Noem has only to pick up two percent from the “prefer another” and undecided voters.  Herseth Sandlin has to win all seven percent.  Undecided voters tend to break for challengers; but even if they don’t, they are unlikely all to break for SHS.

Nate Silver lately of the New York Times, who has been friendlier to Democrats than most poll analysts, gives Noem a 78% chance of taking the seat.

All the indications at our disposal point toward a victory for Kristi Noem.

Good Witch, Bad Witch. Red Witch, Blue Witch

Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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Ah, it seems like only yesterday that David Newquist was warning us about witch hunts by Republicans.  What I want to know about Christine O’Donnell is this: is she a good witch or a bad witch?  Likewise I want to know if Chris Coons is a good bearded Marxist or a bad one.  File this one under silliest Senate campaign.  It does look as though the Buckley Rule would have been the wiser rule for Delaware Republicans to follow.  O’Donnell is behind by double digits in two polls.  Still, I wouldn’t count her out as quickly as a lot of people have.  We have seen too many Republicans come from far behind to dead even or comfortably ahead this year.  Delaware is an odd blue wonder, but it is not on another planet.

Two recent polls have the Democrats ahead by one generic point.  Has there been a shift?  Maybe, but Gallup has been bouncing violently between big Republican leads and dead even for weeks, shifts no other poll has found.  Sandwiched between the two is Rasmussen, which has a much larger sample and uses a likely voter model.  He has the Republicans up by 10.

Meanwhile we have some rather astonishing polls from a couple of Senate races.  In West Virginia, Rasmussen has Governor Joe Manchin up seven over Republican John Raese.  But the Democratic outfit PPP has Raese up by three.  What to think?  If Raese really is ahead or tied, that’s big news.  The Democrats figured they had this one in the bag.  One thing that throws me off is that John Raese looks disturbingly like Patrick Leahy.

We now have two polls showing big leads for Ron Johnson over Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.  The Daily KOS/PPP has Johnson ahead by a whopping eleven points.  Rasmussen shows him ahead by a paltry seven points.  No doubt intrepid reader Donald will post to explain how this is meaningless, but to me it looks like Feingold is in big trouble.  Ron Johnson, I am happy to report, doesn’t look like Pat Leahy.

One good sign for Democrats is that their fundraising committees took in more money in August than their Republican counterparts.  A bad sign is that both the DCCC and the RCCC are spending most of their money on districts held by Democrats.  From Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard:

Hotline OnCall is reporting that more than a third of the DCCC’s “Red To Blue” program, originally intended to highlight top pickup opportunities, is now touting Democrats running for Democratic-held seats.  At this rate, they’ll have to rename it the “Blue, Please Stay Blue” program.

Another example of map reading from the Washington Post’s Michael Gerson, with the ominous title “Blue Strongholds Becoming Democratic Graveyards”:

Just two years ago, both Democrats and Republicans suspected that Ohio was becoming another Illinois — a realigned Democratic stronghold. Ohio independents had become alienated from Republicans over both spending and ethics. Democrats took control of key state government offices and added a million registered voters. Barack Obama won the state handily in 2008. Even in the spring of this year, Ohio lagged behind national Republican momentum, with Portman and his Democratic opponent, Lee Fisher, locked in a tight race.

But Republican gains are now greater in Ohio than elsewhere in the country. The Quinnipiac poll produced the single-most startling figure of the midterm election so far: 65 percent of Ohio’s likely independent voters now disapprove of Obama’s job performance — a 2-1 rejection. Obama has lost the center of the electorate in the center of America.

There is reason for both parties to worry about this.  If Ohio can switch so rapidly from a disaster area to a land of opportunity for Republicans, it can switch back just as rapidly.  But Democrats have to worry right now.

Consider the current situation of the battleground states.  Ohio and Florida, where the 2004 and 2000 elections were decided, look very good for Republicans.  Charlie Crist’s game of bait and switch has, as I expected, come a cropper.  Crist is bleeding support in both directions, and Marko Rubio is up big.  Still, it has to be worrisome for Democrats that their candidate is coming in third.

Two other states that loomed big in recent Presidential elections, Virginia and Pennsylvania, are looking very good for the GOP.

I am not making predictions here.  That is the job of my Election Shaman, and right now he is predicting a volcano.  Not a metaphorical volcano, but a real one.  Until he comes out of his trance, all I’ll say is that this still looks a lot like a wave election.  I’m not a good witch or a bad one.

Strange New Respect for Rasmussen Poll

Posted: Friday, September 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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Politics, as they say, makes for strange bedfellows.  Suddenly my friends on Democratic side of the local blogosphere are crawling under the sheets next to Scott Rasmussen.  Badlands Blue is chortlingHere’s Cory Heidelberger:

We in the blogosphere have had some discussion about the accuracy of Republican-run Rasmussen polling. But they’re the only folks polling the South Dakota Congressional race consistently, so perhaps we can at least learn something by comparing their numbers.

Their latest poll shows incumbent Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin leading GOP challenger Kristi Noem 47% to 45%. That reverses Noem’s easy leads throughout the summer, while everyone was at the lake with Dennis.

Let me unpack that for you.  As long as Rasmussen was showing Noem ahead, Rasmussen’s robo-poll was “shoddy”, and not much better than Cory’s blog polls.  Now that the Rasmussen poll shows a Herseth-Sandlin lead, “perhaps we can learn something” from it.

I demonstrated in several posts that Rasmussen had a very good record, and I am not inclined to change my mind now.  Cory attributes SHS’s improvement in the R poll to Noem’s debate performance, Noem’s driving record, and Al Franken’s visit.  I think it very unlikely that the first or the third had any effect.  The second very likely did drag down Noem’s numbers, and if she loses, that will be the reason.

The Rasmussen Poll clearly indicates that the game has changed.  Until now, it was hard to see how Representative Herseth-Sandlin could survive.  Now it looks like a competitive race.  It still looks like quite a challenge for the incumbent.  She has yet to break 50 percent against any Republican candidate.  That is usually a bad sign for a candidate who has won what, four elections?  South Dakota voters know her pretty well, and they are not enthusiastic.

If the Republican wave that has been building all year across the nation subsides, or for some reason bypasses the Rushmore State, and if the Noem brand has indeed been permanently damaged, then there is a chance that Representative Herseth-Sandlin will be back in Congress next January.  She will get to vote for House Minority Leader.

If SD Republicans enjoy the same enthusiasm advantage they have enjoyed elsewhere this year and if independent voters in South Dakota break the way they have been breaking in pretty much every poll and actual election this year, then Kristi Noem will get to vote for John Boehner for Speaker of the House.

Is Noem Really Ahead? Yes.

Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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rasmussenBadlands Blue has produced another counter-spell to ward off the black magic of the Rasmussen poll.  Writing for BB, Badlands Blue Liberal wants desperately to dismiss the Rasmussen poll, for the obvious reason that he/she doesn’t like the result.

Having had direct experience in public opinion survey work drafting and interpreting professional polls for commercial, political, government and non-profit clients throughout the nation, I take great issue with Rasmussen. Rasmussen uses automated operators, not real people. That’s a major problem.

The statement (lacking either argument or evidence) is that “robopolls,” using automated voice-response systems, are unreliable.  Are they?

It’s a good question, since polling is so important a part of election coverage.  Two methods of polling are prominent.  The American Association for Public Opinion Research did a study of 2008 primary polls.

In the case of the pre-primary and caucus polls we analyzed, only two modes of data collection were used: 1) telephone interviews using a human interviewer in combination with a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system, and 2) telephone interviews using an interactive voice recognition (IVR) system in which digitally recorded questions were answered using a touch-tone phone.

That’s a good test, isn’t it?  A lot of polling was done in a lot of states, trying to predict who would win the various primaries.  All involved either a human interviewer with a computer making the calls (CATI), or a computer doing all the work (IVR).  Here’s what the AAPOR found, or more accurately didn’t find:

We found no evidence that one approach consistently out-performed the other – that is, the polls using CATI or IVR were about equally accurate [page 28].

And:

The use of either computerized telephone interviewing (CATI) techniques or interactive voice response (IVR) techniques made no difference to the accuracy of estimates [page 75].

So in the 2008 primaries, robopolls were as accurate as polls using a human interviewer.  Until contrary evidence surfaces, there is no reason to discount Rasmussen’s robopolls.

Of course, the real test for Rasmussen is whether his polls have been accurate in past elections.  I addressed that question in a previous post and showed that Rasmussen has been very accurate this year.  I pointed out in a more recent post that Rasmussen himself defended his accuracy with regard to South Dakota, and did so successfully.  So far, Rasmussen is at the top in his record of accuracy.

Of course, BBL isn’t really into accuracy; he/she is in denial.  Consider this gem:

Stephanie’s name identification is, authentically, over 90 percent among most-likely voters in South Dakota. How does [Kristi Noem,] a little-known first time statewide candidate from a small town and a rural district compete with 90 percent name ID overnight?

Well, maybe she wins the GOP primary in a state that is about two thirds Republican, in a year when Republican enthusiasm is off the charts.  That primary win put her on all the newspapers, radio news, and television news across the state.  The fact that she actually defeated a much better known Republican, Secretary of State Chris Nelson, is proof enough that Kristi has something that beats name recognition.

Is it so hard to believe that a candidate can come from virtual obscurity in a short time and go on to defeat universally known candidates, first in a series of state primaries, and then in a national election?  Barack Obama did it.  I am not saying that Kristi Noem is a Barack Obama.  I am saying that it is obvious that an unknown candidate can break into the big time relatively quickly in American elections.  Maybe that’s a good thing and maybe not.  It is obviously true.

I am not making any case for Kristi Noem as a candidate.  Maybe she is a good choice for South Dakota, and maybe not.  Whether political trends please me or not, I like to know what is really going on.  Noem really is poised to win South Dakota’s at large House seat.  The party that cannot field a candidate in the Senate election should not be too surprised.

Noem v. Herseth-Sandlin

Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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Al Franken’s visit and the latest Rasmussen poll have put South Dakota on the map.  I have heard that Washington Post reporters are in the state, and that they rank this as one of the top five or ten races in the country.

The Rasmussen poll breaks the voter’s opinions down in some interesting ways.  For example, both Noem and Herseth-Sandlin  are view favorably by most of the voters: 63% of the voters view Noem very or somewhat favorably, vs. 57% for Herseth-Sandlin.

However Noem’s unfavorable rating is only 25%, whereas 40% of the voters have a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Herseth-Sandlin.  This may be partly because voters aren’t as familiar with Noem yet.  Look for a wave of negative advertising from the Democrats.  If they can gain any ground in this race, it would be by driving Noem’s unfavorable rating up.

There is no gender gap in South Dakota regarding the two candidates.  There is a marriage gap.  Married South Dakotans prefer Noem over Herseth-Sandlin 53 to 39%.  Likely voters who aren’t married favor Herseth-Sandlin 51-43%.

The one thing that is beyond the control of the Herseth-Sandlin campaign is Barack Obama’s approval rating.  Of likely voters in the state, 58% disapprove of the President while 41% approves.  That’s unlike to change between now and November third, and it is a tide that Representative Herseth-Sandlin must swim against.

Noem over Herseth-Sandlin by 9 Points

Posted: Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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With eighty-seven days to go until the midterm elections, Kristi Noem leads Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin by a healthy nine points, according to the most recent Rasmussen poll.

Now July June
Noem 51% 49% 53%
Herseth-Sandlin 42% 44% 41%

It has seemed for some time that HS is in a very vulnerable position.  She has never been over fifty percent in any poll this year.  Her numbers above seem pretty consistent with what she was showing before the primary.

Rasmussen has some very interesting stats on the support each candidate enjoys.

Both Noem and Herseth-Sandlin earn just over 75% support from voters in their respective parties. Noem holds a nearly two-to-one advantage among voters not affiliated with either major party.

Noem is viewed as politically conservative by 70% of South Dakota’s voters.

Thirty-six percent (36%) view Herseth-Sandlin as a liberal. But 30% say she’s moderate, while another 30% label her as conservative.

It is curious, is it not, that the two candidates apparently do not have the support of a quarter of their own parties.  I would speculate that HS is losing both the most liberal and the most conservative Democrats.  Noem is losing Republicans who have a personal attachment to HS and those who view Noem as an extremist.  That’s just guesswork.  Either way, three quarters of Republicans beats three quarters of Democrats in South Dakota.

What is really retarding Representative Herseth-Sandlin’s reelection bid is Noem’s two to one advantage among independents.  That, I think, is less a reflection on the character of either candidate, than evidence of a conservative shift among independents.  That is indicated by the 70% of likely voters who view Noem as a conservative.  It is reinforced by the recent voter behavior in Missouri, Michigan, and Tennessee, and by the very low approval rating for President Obama in the state (41% approval vs. 58% disapproval), numbers that mirror trends in many battleground states.

Rasmussen also finds the Republican leading in the Governor’s race, though this is, I think, more detached from national trends and more indicative of very stable voter behavior in the Rushmore State.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Daugaard, the current lieutenant governor, leading Heidepriem by better than two-to-one, 59% to 27%.  Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and 10% are undecided.

Of course my friends at Madville Times and Badlands Blue, like my friend and occasional interlocutor A.I., are wont to dismiss Rasmussen as biased.  The pollster seems to be sensitive to this criticism, and includes some relevant data.

In South Dakota, Rasmussen Reports projected that McCain would defeat Obama by a 53% to 44% margin. McCain won 53% to 45%. In that same year, the final Rasmussen poll showed Senator Tim Johnson with a 54% to 38% lead over Joel Dykstra. Johnson won 62% to 38%.

We are now at the point where public opinion, in its only official form, begins to solidify.  Unless Scott Rasmussen’s poll is not only off but way off, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin is not going to win her bid for reelection.  Maybe that’s a good thing and maybe it’s a bad thing, but it’s a thang, as we say down south.  It reinforces and is reinforced by evidence of national trends.

If someone gave me a big pile of money to bet on the election, I’d bet that the next Speaker of the House will not be Nancy Pelosi.

Noem Leads Herseth Sandlin by 5 Points

Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010 at 10:30 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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noemI might not be doing Kristi Noem any favors by pointing out that she ranks number one at Politics Daily among “The Next 10 Women to Watch in Politics.”  PD’s Capitol Hill Bureau Chief, Patricia Murphy, might or might not be doing Noem a favor with this comparison:

One look at Kristi Noem’s biography makes it tough not to compare her to fellow frontierswoman Sarah Palin. The 38-year-old mother of three is a Republican trying to unseat the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, for South Dakota’s at-large House seat. When Noem isn’t running for office, she breeds Angus cattle and runs a hunting lodge with her husband on her family’s ranch. (Can’t we just assume she can field-dress a moose?)

Well, maybe an elk.

I wrote previously that Kristi Noem’s 12 point lead in the first post-nomination poll seemed unrealistically high, even as a bounce.  Well, the bounce has subsided.  Rasmussen has a new poll out for the South Dakota race.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in South Dakota shows Noem with 49% support, while Herseth-Sandlin picks up 44% of the vote. Four percent (4%) favor some other candidate in the race, and three percent (3%) are undecided.

Given the power of incumbency and the fact that four months remain until Election Day, these figures indicate the race is clearly in the Toss-Up category.

Rasmussen is being responsible here.  A five point lead is indeed a tossup, probably not much outside the margin of error.  Still, when an established incumbent is five points behind in July, that usually means she’s in big trouble.

That impression is confirmed by these numbers:

Herseth-Sandlin picks up 76% of the Democratic vote while Noem wins 74% of Republicans. Noem now leads among voters not affiliated with either major party by a 50% to 35% margin.

I think that’s a little weak for Noem, and about what I would expect from Democrats who are not all so enthusiastic about SHS.  But there are more Republicans than Democrats in the Rushmore State, so three quarters of the former wins on its own.

If SHS is really fifteen points behind among the “unaffiliated”, she is very unlikely to survive this election.  Unfortunately for my friends who comfort themselves by dismissing the Rasmussen polls, these numbers are in accord with the recent Gallup poll showing President Obama’s approval rating at 38% among independent voters.  I make no predictions.  But I am guessing that my friend the Election Shaman, when he gets back from lecturing at his old alma mater Shaman U, will call this one.

Rasmussen Reliability & Wishful Thinking

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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My friend A.I. bad mouthed the Rasmussen poll in a recent comment, something I noticed because my friends at Badlands Blue and Madville Times recently did the same.  Here is A.I.’s comment:

Does this mean you will stop quoting Rasmussen, create-a-positive-Republican-narrative, robo-call polls as though they are worth more than a pitcher of warm spit?

Here’s Travis at BB:

Rasmussen’s not credible for a couple of reasons. Most notably, he worked for George W. Bush and the Republican National Committee.  He’ll also be joining Karl Rove and other conservative big shots as a featured speaker for a National Review post-election cruise in November.  So, it’s not surprising that after a thorough analysis of a number of Rasmussen’s polls, Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com  finds that Rasmussen’s “polls have tended to show substantially more favorable results for Republican candidates” than other surveys.

Here’s how it works…In order to publish as many “polls” as possible that show Republicans in the lead, and therefore convince the electorate that the Democrat doesn’t stand a chance (credit to the Daily Kos for that analysis), Rasmussen does them on the cheap.

That’s an ad hominem, followed by an unsupported accusation involving a contradiction.  Lots of professional and respected pollsters have party affiliations, and anyway you can’t discredit a poll by telling us the pollster is biased.  You have to show the poll was biased.  And surely the Daily KOS is just as biased as Scott Rasmussen, so how can that site confirm Travis’s accusation?

To be sure robopolls are controversial, but it isn’t at all clear why they are unreliable.  Are people less likely to answer recorded questions?  Are they more or less likely to fudge when talking to a real human being?

Let’s do what Travis did not, and take a look at recent elections and Rasmussen’s record.

Contest

Final Rasmussen Poll

Actual Results

Mass. Senate Brown Coakley 47% 49 52% 47
New Jersey Gov Christie Corzine 46 43 49% 45
Virginia Gov McDonnell Deeds 54 41 59 41
2008 Pres McCain Obama 46 52 46 53

In the Massachusetts special election, Rasmussen’s last poll still showed a Coakley lead.  However, the difference between that one and previous R polls clearly showed a strong surge for Brown.  R underestimated the surge by bit with a week to go.  In the case of the New Jersey Governor’s race Rasmussen gets it about right (a three point win for Christie) while overestimating, perhaps, the third party candidate.  Rasmussen’s last poll in Virginia is a bit low on McDonnell’s final tally, but right on Deeds’ number.

In all three cases, Rasmussen’s polls were about as accurate as good polls tend to be.  Only Survey USA, I think, did consistently better.  In none of these polls did Rasmussen exaggerate Republican support or the gap between the winning Republican and the losing Democrat.  The same is true of the 2008 President election, which Rasmussen nailed.

In short, Rasmussen looks to be a very reliable poll in recent elections, and there is no evidence at all in these cases of a Republican bias.  But I can see why A.I., Cory Heidelberger, and Travis Dahle all want to believe that the R polls are unbelievable.  Rasmussen has Daugaard leading Heidepriem 52% to 36%.  We won’t know how accurate this polling is until we can compare the last R poll with November’s result, but gentlemen: isn’t this what South Dakota gubernatorial elections look like?

2006 2002 1998 1994 1990 1986 1982 1978 1974
Rep 62 57 64 55 59 52 71 57 46
Dem 36 42 33 41 41 48 29 43 54

R’s 52/36 fits comfortably into that series.  If anything, Daugaard’s advantage looks a bit low in comparison.  South Dakota Democrats haven’t won the state house since 1974.  If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on it happening this year.

Finally, there is Rasmussen’s post-primary polling showing Kristi Noem leading Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin 53% to 41%.  That twelve point lead looks surprising to me, even as a post victory bounce.  It is hardly outside the range of probability.  We live in a largely Republican state.  All the polls, even the “legitimate ones,” Travis, are showing a strong advantage in enthusiasm among Republicans.  I can’t help but point out that, not too long ago, my friend Mr. Heidelberger was rooting for a Democratic challenge to H-S.

Moreover, other polls show a dramatic shift in support to the GOP, especially among independents.  Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, whom Travis cites approvingly, backs up the NPR poll.

A new poll from Public Opinion Strategies and GQR for NPR, which shows Democrats performing badly in vulnerable House seats, is making a lot of waves this morning. It certainly contains bad news for Democrats — however — it is the same bad news that was already implied by generic ballot polling.

So far as I can tell, Herseth-Sandlin’s seat has been considered vulnerable by most analysts all year.  And then there is the recent Gallup poll showing independent voters favoring Republican candidates by a good ten percent.  Considered together with the enthusiasm gap and the Republican advantage in South Dakota, Rasmussen’s last House Race poll was hardly unbelievable.

I am not making any predictions here.  My only point is that Scott Rasmussen has a good record and his current polling in South Dakota is supported by a lot of additional evidence.  I can understand why my friends on the other side of the aisle want to believe otherwise.

A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy…

Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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aimed at Obama.  Cherished reader Donald accuses me of hate and bias against the President and Cherished reader Braden accuses me of being part of the right wing attack machine.  I do not in fact hate Obama at all.  I just think he isn’t up to the job.  I am no part of any machine.  I discovered the hero thing last night all by myself, and put my foot in my mouth all by myself.

But I note that, right now, the President has more to fear from the left wing attack machine.  I noted in my last post the scathing reaction to the President’s speech by Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews.  Yeah, they aren’t the most respected names in political journalism, but they were fully anointed Barackites last year.

They aren’t alone.  Consider this, from Maureen Dowd:

How can a man who was a dazzling enough politician to become the first black president at age 47 suddenly become so obdurately self-destructive about politics?

President Obama’s bloodless quality about people and events, the emotional detachment that his aides said allowed him to see things more clearly, has instead obscured his vision. It has made him unable to understand things quickly on a visceral level and put him on the defensive in this spring of our discontent, failing to understand that Americans are upset that a series of greedy corporations have screwed over the little guy without enough fierce and immediate pushback from the president.

And then there’s Eugene Robinson:

Less than a minute into President Obama’s Oval Office address, my heart sank. For the umpteenth time since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill began, an anxious nation was informed that Energy Secretary Steven Chu has a Nobel Prize. Obama’s speech pretty much went downhill from there.

The president was cool, determined, forceful — stylistically, all the things that the braying commentators said he had to be. But where was the substance? Specifically — and urgently — where was the new plan to contain the oil spill and protect the coastline? I wish I’d heard the president order the kind of all-out marshaling and deployment of resources that now seems imperative. But I didn’t.

And David Broder:

If there is any value in President Obama’s knocking himself out to dramatize on prime-time television his impotence in the face of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak calamity, I wish someone would explain it.

Ouch.  Best of all, here is Robert Reich:

The man who electrified the nation with his speech at the Democratic National Convention of 2004 put it to sleep tonight. President Obama’s address to the nation from the Oval Office was, to be frank, vapid. If you watched with the sound off you might have thought he was giving a lecture on the history of the Interstate Highway System.

Ouch, ouch.

My point is not that these criticisms are all valid.  Only Robinson and Broder are on target, I think.  What the nation wanted from Obama is a solution to the problem.  The President didn’t offer one, as Broder recognizes, because he doesn’t have one.

My point is that has lost the confidence of a healthy part of the left.  The Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows that 24% of likely voters strongly approve of the President’s job performance, while 48% strongly disapprove.

The standard response to these numbers from the left is that it includes a lot of voters who think that Obama has been too conservative.  Of course.  But that is hardly good news for the left.  It explains the enormous enthusiasm gap favoring Republicans, and that is the sort of thing that can ripple all the way down come November.

The best thing I have seen on this is the “Respect My Authoritah” monologue by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.  Don’t miss this.  It is devastating.  But I would add that, on almost all the points that Stewart complains about, the problem isn’t that the President’s heart isn’t in the right place or that he isn’t really trying.  The problem is that he’s responsible for keeping the next bomb from going off, and that has a way of narrowing your choices.  Stewart and other liberals cannot forgive the President for recognizing reality.