Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Who is Brian Howey Calling?

I think Brian Howey is a helluva writer, but he needs to change pollsters. His latest numbers are insane. The Howey-Gauge poll released today states that Andre Carson has 45% to Woody Myers' 28% and that Jill Long-Thompson has an 18 point lead on Jim Schellinger. I'm not saying that Carson and Thompson don't have leads, but there is NO WAY they have those margins. I'm so sure of this that I'll buy Brian Howey a steak dinner (Texas Roadhouse, not Ruth's Chris or St. Elmo's) if those numbers end up being right next week.

One thing I always do to assess a race is ask a group of apolitical (they vote, but that's it) friends in Indianapolis their opinions about different campaign ads. They had a similar reaction watching Andre Carson's recent ads -- "fluff piece," "I don't know what that was about," "it sounded like talking points," and "I can't past his head. Is he wearing a helmet?"

When I asked about Woody Myers' recent ads, they had the following responses - "I like what he's saying," "He's a crappy actor, but what the narrator was saying resonated," "I like what he's about, but he sure is heavy for a doctor." When I asked about the ad with Ryan White's mom specifically, it was off the scale. "Powerful" was the adverb that 4 out of these 5 used (the other one was "effective....bordering on schmaltzy though").

I know my amigos don't employ intellectual rigor in making their voting decisions, but these "gut" or even subconscious impressions ARE how elections are decided for a lot of voters. So I'm ignoring pundits and political professionals and going with my "impulse" voters to see how that works for me.

Based on this very small "focus group," my prediction is that Woody Myers is going to shock the world and win the race 38% to Carson's 37% (David O. at 16% and Carolene at 9%).

My off-the-cuff prediction, though, is also based on the fact that Andre Carson's greatest strength is the finely-tuned political machine he's inherited. And when you have high turnout (which we will get because of the contested presidential and gubernatorial contests), you actually NEGATE the efficacy of your machine. Sounds crazy, but let me explain. People ARE going to vote this year without GOTV prompting. As a result, more people voting won't help Carson UNLESS the increased turnout would be his votes.

Now, we know the prospect of having America's first African-American president will make African-American turnout staggeringly high. But I don't see the Obama endorsement moving votes to Carson that he didn't have already. The question, therefore, becomes whether the increased suburban white Democratic turnout will at least equal the increased turnout in Carson strongholds, such as Center Township. I think it will keep pace.

PLUS how many people who would normally vote in the Republican primary, and how many independents who wouldn't vote at all in May, will cast ballots in the D primary just to have a say in a presidential primary? How many Rush Limbaugh listeners (Marion County has a LOT of them, to my dismay) will cross-over to vote in the D primary just like they did in Pennsylvania to keep Hillary Clinton alive in the race? And do we expect Hillary Clinton to not have HER voters out in Marion County? How many R's, independents, and Clinton voters will scratch for Carson? You already know. I actually believe the lower the turnout, the better off Andre Carson will be.

Of course, this could be the Michelob Ultra talking.

Dang! I better add some A-1 to my grocery list.



Sean Shepard said...

When Howey released 7th district special election poll numbers a few weeks before the election, they showed a huge advantage for Carson that nobody believed.

Some polling figures had the race as close as 3% between Carson and Elrod but it ended up being somewhere in between the extreems, but slightly closer to Howey's double digit figure I think.

(off the top of my head I thought Howey had maybe an 18% advantage for Carson and the final result was 11% - I could be making up that howey number though - it's late)

If I do a "sign count" in my area (Pike Township) I see lots of Myers signs. Unlike some other candidates in overall 7th district race (not just the D primary), Dr. Myers definitely is acting like he really wants it (and opening his wallet to make it competitive too).

Sarah said...

I truly hope Woody Myers does not win. He is a politician through and through who has been waiting for the opportunity to buy his way into a congressional seat. (Some searching revealed that he has had his Web site domain ready to go for YEARS.)

Spending more than a million dollars on a primary seems a bit excessive. I couldn't believe Dr. Myers had the audacity to discuss campaign finance reform at the debate on Sunday. Pot=Kettle.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Brian Howey, the sample his pollster used in the 7th District is so far out of whack as to be useless.

The sample was 60% African American when history indicates that even in the Democratic Primary African-American participation rarely gets above the 45-50% range.

The poll sample is also only 37% men and while it is true that women usually outnumber men in Democratic primaries, the turnout is usually much closer to 45% men and 55% women. In addition, 47% of the sample is unemployed, a figure that is too high.

The point is not that one candidate or another would do better with a different sample -- it's that this sample is so far off the mark that none of its conclusions are really valid.

Indeed, the poll results don't make any sense given what's been happening in the race. According to the poll, Carson has been gaining ground while he's been off the air, and Orentlicher has been losing ground while on the
air. In fact, the reverse has been happening, as one would expect.

artfuggins said...

Woody doesnt care how much money he spends....he got it off the backs of working people in California when he denied medical claims to policy holders. That is why the top execs of that company are now under sealed indictment and only time will tell whether Woody is one of them or not.

Anonymous said...


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