To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The Stamford Advocate released the results of their poll this morning, in which they place Chris Shays at 44 percent, Diane Farrell at 40 percent, and undecideds at 16 percent. To give some perspective, Shays won in 2004 with 52 percent of the vote to Farrell's 48 in a two-way race.

My complaint with Farrell's campaign in a nutshell:
The results reveal that attempts by the former Westport first selectwoman to link Shays with the unpopular Republican President Bush have not been entirely successful. Shays' approval rating is a healthy 59 percent despite strong opposition among respondents to the war in Iraq, Bush and national policies.

Sixty-three percent of respondents disapprove of Bush; 67 percent believe the "country is on the wrong track;" and 55 percent said the Iraq war was the wrong decision.

"This clearly shows (Farrell's) strategy isn't working," said Monika McDermott, research director for the center. "That's not to say with the continuing bad news for the Republican Party that it can't change, but at this point, it hasn't affected Shays."
Farrell is running an awful campaign. She nearly took the seat in 2004 with a negative campaign underscoring Shays' support for the Iraq war and Bush, and so this year she figured all she needed to do was repeat herself with the volume turned up to 11. But it's a stupid strategy on multiple levels.

First, this is a mid-term election; it's questionable the same number of folks who trundled forth to cast a direct vote against Bush in '04 will go out to cast an indirect one against him this year. Second, this is 2006. In the last election, the war was less than 18 months old and people were still debating whether we should have invaded in the first place. To continually argue the Question of '03 is meaningless; the question of '06 is, How do we get out?

Third and last -- and I know that negative campaigns are supposed to be good for you and all -- the important point people forget about attack ads is that they have to tell the voter something he or she doesn't already know (I didn't know Congressman Smith fucked horses! Mabel, did you know Congressmen Smith fucked horses?). As the poll also demonstrated ("35 percent of poll respondents don't know how Shays voted on the authorization of force for the war"), a majority of voters in the 4th are aware Shays voted for the war -- and a majority are willing to vote for him anyway. Meanwhile, Farrell sends out mailer after mailer breathlessly telling us what we already know without anything substantial -- like hard exit suggestions -- in lieu of last month's gossip.

I was actually phoned for this poll last week and I can tell you, however, that its numbers are off.
Poll respondents were not asked about voting for Libertarian candidate Philip Maymin or Green Party representative Richard Duffee, prompting a rebuke of the numbers from Maymin.

The poll found that less than 1 percent of respondents would vote for "other" candidates besides Shays or Farrell.

After their release, Maymin said the numbers were "statistically unsound."

McDermott said the two third-party candidates were included in the "other" category if the respondent mentioned them by name.

Before developing questions for polls, the center sends out volunteers to gauge support for all the candidates, McDermott said. If Maymin or Duffee received more than 2 percent of the vote, they would be added to future polls, she said.
The pollster was a kid from UConn (it was conducted by their Center for Survey Research and Analysis) and when asked which of the two I would vote for -- Farrell or Shays -- I told him I would vote for Maymin, the Libertarian candidate. He asked me to hold on while he wrote it down. Which one was he again? Libertarian. Scribble, scribble. As the article says, the kid told me he was allowed to write down names of third-party candidates if the person being polled mentioned them first. Between this and my libertarian vote apparently chucked in with Duffee's socialist votes, I have to confess some skepticism about how UConn's "pre-poll poll" was conducted.

Maymin, who will participate in seven of the eleven upcoming debates, is having trouble getting into the other four mainly because the hosts demand proof Maymin will land 5+ percent of the vote. Alas, the Libs didn't run anyone in 2004 and neither Zogby nor Quinnipiac has run a poll including Maymin, and according to his campaign, neither has any intention of doing so (it's nothing personal -- Quinnipiac seems interested in the gubernatorial and senatorial races alone; their latest puts Lieberman 10 points ahead of Lamont, BTW).

Maymin has been trying to run his own poll but is bogged down in technical issues, though he says he's running between 5 and 9 percent. He's pointed me to Facebook, which currently has him at 8 percent, but I'm not sure what to think of the source.

The first debate is tomorrow. I'd like to believe it will be about Iraq, but I just got off a robo-call attacking Shays for the Foley scandal. I think this election has suddenly taken a turn for the twisted.