by Chris Bowers, Wed May 30, 2007 at 01:55:17 PM EDT
Also, if you are interested in becoming an occasional, weekend front-page writer on MyDD, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include links to your previous writings.
by Chris Bowers, Wed May 30, 2007 at 01:55:17 PM EDT
My mind is on the progressive infrastructure online, and ways to raise money for it ...while making a living myself. I'm not sure if it's a brainstorm or a brainsquall, though.
I think we should all boycott paying any mind to favorability polls until someone can logically explain why favorables or unfavorables have anything to do with votes.
Personally, I feel that health food is not favorable. Nonetheless, I buy health food. What a world.
This is not a logical explanation, it is a narrative explanation, and simply my opinion. Take it or leave it....
I think you misunderstand the mind of the average voter. Think about the 2000 and 2004 elections - there were many undecided voters in both of these races. 2004 is a particularly telling case, because of the perceived polarity in the nation. I often ask myself, who the hell are these people who, when given the choice between the Draft-Dodging, Cowboy Decider Guy and his War of Choice, and a smart, experienced, decorated Vietnam veteran, can't make up their mind!? These undecideds are clearly not ideological - there is nothing about either candidate or either party that drives them to choose a side and vote for it. So what hidden factor is influencing their vote? I'm willing to bet that, for at least for some of these voters, they are trying to decide which guy they like the most.
Do you ever talk to people about politics that don't follow politics? I am cursed with a wide array of apolitical friends, coworkers and acquaintances. From time to time I broach the subject and I'm given a glimpse into the mind of the uninformed voter. It is a scary fucking place. Full of misinformation, blatant lies, and resurrected talking points we all thought died out cycles ago. They talk about how they `trust' Bush because he is genuine or they think Kerry is too "elitist" because he is wealthy. Ask them about Hillary and the first thing they bring up (and often the only thing) is Bill's affair. That's all they really know about her. Some recall faint memories of health care or a Bridge to the 21st Century - but that's only the smart ones. They don't have an opinion on who the most liberal candidate is, or who the establishment candidate is, and they sure as hell don't have any clue who Bill Richardson is.
In the end, all these "voters" have are a series of vague images in their mind, entirely shaped my the mainstream media. And at some point they sit down, take a few fleeting glances at these images, and decide "I Like Mr. Whoeverthefuck". "He's like me" they think, or "he can be trusted" or "he'll kick some terrorist ass" or, my favorite one, "he won't raise my taxes".
And then they vote for him.
That is the reason Bush won in 2004. And that is the reason some of us worry about Hillary in 2008.
I didn't see it before leaving my comment. Those are the same types who I deal with every day. I'll mention netroots or major websites and they have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about. But every time politics comes up they'll say something simplistic like, "Everyone knows Democrats will raise taxes." Or, "the next president will NOT be named Barack HUSSEIN Obama."
That's really interesting. Thanks for that. Though sadly then those polls may be making the problem worse. If those elaborately unconcerned people really do absorb what sticks in the news media or elsewhere for unexplained reasons, then the favorability polls only reinforce those myths.
If Joe Smith only knows John Edwards for his $400 haircut, then a high unfavorable rating would only reinforce their stupid assumption that he's a pretty boy whom they don't like.
Although, I still have serious reservations about what the answer to "How favorably do you view Barack Obama" or "Do you find Hillary Clinton favorable?" actually means. It's very, very vague.
That's true. Things like the haircut stick - big time - in the minds of underinformed voters. And it will stick if the media keeps repeating that Hillary has high unfavorables. And it will stick if they keep saying Obama doesn't offer specifics.
I actually met a person at a bar would said that exact thing about Obama - that he seems nice but doesn't have specifics. She knew nothing about the primaries outside of one or two sound bites per candidate - yet that one stuck! The problem there is, once Obama does roll out specifics (I'm not saying he hasn't) she won't notice or care. She will just remember that sound bite and base her decision on it (and whatever other sound bites manage to stick) - just like people couldn't get over the Kerry fabrication about his Purple Hearts. Then again, I doubt she was a primary voter.
Favorability has a big impact on undecided voters.
I'll give you a couple of examples from last year in Nevada. Jon Porter in NV-3 led Tessa Hafen in the polling but was always below the 50% level. A prominent pollster was asked about the status of the race in the final week. He said Hafen had a chance but her higher than ideal unfavorable number was dragging her down and would likely limit her surge among undecided voters. Porter had savaged Hafen with misleading/lie commercials that bumped up Hafen's unfavorable percentage. The pollster said he was confident Hafen would pull out the race if her favorable/unfavorable percentage was somewhat better. Sure enough, she lost by less than 2 points.
In the gov race, Dina Titus always had ominous favorable/unfavorable numbers, a net negative. I still see posters on major sites wondering how a clod like Jim Gibbons could win that race among all the scandals, but they ignore the bottom line high percentage of people who didn't like Titus to begin with.
When the incumbent rule bombed in '04, many pollsters and analysts similarly attributed it to Kerry's less than spectacular favorable/unfavorable percentage. A presidential challenger becomes defined during a race so you forfeit some of the natural benefit of a doubt toward a challenger. My belief that Edwards was our best hope in '04 was always based on that incumbent rule, that he had likability and teflon to survive the GOP attack machine and draw many more swing voters than blase Kerry and his 100-word sentences.
Thank you for that attempt to clarify. While I don't doubt that's what the pollster says, I still don't see how it has any direct bearing on votes unless we suppose that independent candidates are bandwagon voters. A pollster will, of course, say that unfavorables will drag a candidate down but then that would need to be proven by a voting poll, not a favorability poll. Pollsters are statisticians, not psychologists. They can only tell us the answers people give to their questions.
Finding someone unfavorable has had no distinct, logical, clear, "if, then" impact on votes. It's all a ploy, I'm beginning to think. For pollsters have another result to peddle but that result speaks to no one but armchair pundits who think they know what's going on.
What does favorable even mean? Favorable for what? As a person? As someone with whom to go on a date? As someone whose voice you'd like to listen to? As someone who looks hot? As someone you'd like to bring home to the parents?
Here's a January Rasmussen favorability poll on Nancy Pelosi:
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Nancy Pelosi?
The question is enormously vague. One must wonder what the result even means.
I occasionally fantasize that someday some bright lad will conduct a poll with two kinds of questions in it:
o Subjective questions about the respondents' preferences, e.g. "Do you favor or oppose X?"
o Objective questions to measure the respondents' degree of knowledge, e.g. the simple "Who is your Congressman?", or the esoteric "What fraction of the federal budget goes to interest on national debt"?
It would be fun to see the correlation between degree of factual knowledge and expressed preference. I say "interesting", because I have no clue how the correlation would come out.
NO ONE in Michigan supports this. It's a bad, bad, bad idea on a lot of levels. In 2002, even the Republican nominee for governor was against it. But Tim Walberg thinks it's a good idea.
Please, we've got to get this guy out in 2008.
Romney's about to hold a presumably public-forum type event "Ask Mitt Anythhing" on C-Span.
If you're not sold, there's a move to draft Cheney as well.
That blog just made my day...
A noteworthy quote about why Dick Cheney can nail the women's vote...
What women want is a strong man, who is clear about what he believes in, and who can protect them
And a true gem...
Not only does Cheney have credibility, the man epitomizes it. When Dick Cheney says something is going to happen, people believe it because Cheney said it.
My blogging is way out of date.
I have a list of 14 items to blog about, I have 5 senior projects coming up, and still no job for the summer.
Anyone want to a hire a bright young blogger, straight out of high school, over the summer? I know tons about computers and also progressive politics.
Another "back and forth" between McCain and Obama went under the radar here.
Obama aide hits McCain on missed votes
John McCain, in an email to supporters today, wrote that he "was profoundly disappointed that my Senate colleagues, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, instead chose political expediency over leadership as two of the eleven Democrat Senators to vote against the funding appropriation."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton offers a sharp response:
"As a senator who takes his duties seriously, and has also showed up to vote more than once this month, Barack Obama considers few responsibilities more important than his votes on the war in Iraq. Obama opposed the war from the beginning and, unlike Senator McCain, is committed to ending it as quickly and responsibly as possible."
Almost taken word for word from a politico article. I figure that website isn't worth linking...
Here's the reply I got to my complaint to the Kucinich campaign about his participation in the Fox News debate.
Thank you for your comments, Steve. Well, I am wondering why folks are not upset at all the candidates for having pages on myspace...brought to you by the same folks who bring you Fox. It is a puzzlement, for sure.
In hope and peace,
Kucinich for President
When myspace starts laying out a right wing agenda and not letting their liberal users' pages be seen, I won't have anything to do with myspace.
What Dennis is doing is an act of appeasement from one of our own in a righteous battle against Faux News.
One other way to deal with the weekend posters -- what about some Greatest Hits posts. I know you've written about the online CW a number of times, but I think it would be great to provide links that people could read over to understand the history better, as the site has grown so much since back in the crazy early days.
I'm thinking about my post:
Comments are welcomed. Constructive ones that is...
I am just incensed over the guy who had drug resistant TB, was told not to fly but decided to get on a plane and potentially spread his disease throughout the world. Sometimes I just don't get how selfish people can be.
General Wes Clark's headline speech on C-SPAN Radio
Video Clip : Michael Moore - Sicko discussion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCzUeI0NL GU&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Edailykos% 2Ecom%2Fstory%2F2007%2F5%2F31%2F124844%2 F991
In health care, we need to take better advantage of modern technology to practice evidence-based medicine, in which treatments and practices are based on statistically proven results - not commercial advertising - and doctors and hospitals are held accountable for their performance, not just by the threat of malpractice but by the day-to-day quality of their results. We need to harness the innovation of our biotech, pharmaceutical, and health insurance industries better to serve the public good, not just the private gain of shareholders.
No child in America should grow up without regular medical check-ups and care - or regular exercise and physical fitness - and every adult should be provided access to the kinds of diagnostic testing and preventive treatments which can slow the onset of aging diseases like diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer's. Additional insurance coverage should be directed to catastrophic illness and injuries, the kind that wreck families and shatter productive lives. And inevitably this will mean transitioning over time from a work place centered, private payer system toward greater reliance on some form of single-payer system to ease administrative burdens and reduce costs. - Wes Clark