We (that would be the MPR "we," I'm a team guy, you know.) have been periodically kicking around what polling firm -- if any -- to use in this campaign season. I lobbied for Rasmussen Reports because of the frequency of their polling in Minnesota (monthly) and the price (not outrageous).
I think we can now conclude, however, that no self-respecting political wonk gives a rip about Rasmussen, confirming the belief of several media organizations (Associated Press for one) that refuse to acknowledge its existence. Apparently the firm uses automatic dialers, which in political polling circles is the equivalent of forgetting to zip up.
Rasmussen has made its polling on Minnesota available since late last year, but this month's was put in the "premium" category; nobody could see it without paying. Apparently nobody is paying. I just Googled Kennedy, Klobuchar, Rasmussen and nobody has picked it up. I've checked the blogs around here and double-checked the press releases in the last week (fortunately, the recycling person hadn't come yet) and... nothing.
Without this crutch, what will we use to measure this horse race (and the governor's)? Zogby is too easily dismissed. And the media folks aren't polling yet and, if you believe them, at least one big-city newspaper around here has suggested it may cut back on polling this year.
Maybe we should take up a collection.
There was some outstanding writing among the political bloggers who went to the district conventions, none better than Minvolved.com's description of Mike Erlandson's (pick one depending on whom you believe) "sudden temper tantrum"/"wisened political calculation" at the 5th District convention.
Anywho, immediately following the speech, you could hear folks in the audience yell some pretty interesting things at Mike. I won’t reprint them here, but let’s just say these were some pretty surprising things coming from folks with “Peace First” stickers on. One of these folks was Doug Grow. Yes, the Doug Grow. He wasn’t a delegate but he was in the room reporting on the festivities. One of Mike’s staff was trying to get Mike out of the room so that he could answer questions after he made it out to the hallway; plus Jorge was about to speak…he had to get out of the room. Apparently, this wasn’t good enough for Doug Grow, who obviously felt that Mike should stop in the middle of a crowed hallway next to a bunch of people who were yelling at him to ask a few questions.
It's important to note, I think, that every blogger I read over the weekend, stated in advance what candidate they personally favored. I could then consider that in reading their material, and I still found it interesting. What if MSM did that? By the way, there's no way that MSM can cover these events as well -- or as interesting -- as bloggers.
Of course, you may have to work a little bit. Inside Minnesota Politics has posted an e-mail from an unnamed Ellison delegate who refutes the Erlandson heckling stuff. (Memo to self: get a copy of Ellison's speech and post it here this afternoon.)
At least one MSM member gave it a go, by the way. Lawrence Schumacher of the St. Cloud Times blogged from the 6th, and says he'll be at it next weekend at the DFL 6th.
In the 6th, it's not all happiness. Andy over at Residual Forces, a Phil Krinkie disciple and a district party official of some sort, describes the post convention scene at the local pub.
So were are sitting there, most of the campaign, including Phil, drowning our sorrows. But it was a happy thing. I was surprised that no one was in the dumps, sure we were all pissed at what happened, but it was a positive mood. One of the campaign supporters came in wearing his Krinkie for Congress shirt with some fancy modifications. He changed it to say Krinkie for Speaker. There was a very loud roar of approval.
We even had members of the Knoblach and Esmay campaigns join us. One big happy family, ho hard feelings, Minus one of the members of course. hmmmm?
Turns out that Hopkins High School doesn't have wireless (hey, what do you expect from the state ranked 49th in technology in its schools?), but Minnesota Campaign Report also had good after-the-fact coverage of the 3rd District convention.
Wall Street Journal opinion piece Democrats may not be able to win the House, but Republicans could lose it. The piece seems to mirror -- at least a bit -- the theme of this alleged fundraising letter that Elizabeth Dole sent out. You know, the one that -- allegedly -- suggested that if the Democrats take control in Washington, Bush will be impeached etc. etc. etc.
I'm not sure what this new "message" means for the future of democracy. "OK, they hate us, but if we don't get re-elected, they'll get them."
Maybe there's another -- more intelligent -- alternative to scaring your way to re-election.
It's true that when you're job approval ratings are plummeting, it may not mean the voters would rather have another party in control.
But it does mean the people are talking to you. The question is: what's so bad about listening?
I wish I could live in the moment. Just once. One of the problems of being a Type A person -- or didn't you notice -- is you can't turn your brain off. Just now, for example, I was cleaning the stovetop from the burned-on egg from this morning's scrambled eggs. If I were a more laid-back person, perhaps I'd spend that time thinking about ways to improve non-burner surfaces, or the chemical composition of that goop that supposedly cleans your cooking surface to a mirror-like finish... but doesn't.
But no... two things have been in my brain all weekend and nothing has worked to make it stop. One, Ray Charles' version of America, which was played on the Current Thursday. It's undoubtedly the finest version ever recorded. But still, you can only take so much of...
...and crown thy good. ...yes he did, he said he would.. ...with brotherhood....
But it's still better than ABBA's SOS which for some godforsaken reason was stuck in that noggin' last week.
The other is a profile of a middle-of-the-road voter. You know, the kind that wins or loses elections?
I've been thinking about all the various combinations that are out there. Here's a couple:
Doesn't like the war in Iraq but doesn't want to pull out and retreat, doesn't like the idea of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but doesn't like the idea of same-sex marriage either, is pretty well dry when it comes to paying more taxes, but can't stand large deficits.
You can play with that combination in a number of ways -- favors war in Iraq, is in favor of same-sex marriage by consenting adults, wants restrictions on abortion, for example -- and you can probably come to the same conclusion.
This ain't the political season for them.
This is what I like to call "red meat" season. It's when the candidates feed the base, which is usually not in the middle, only to have to run to the center in search of November votes. That is, if they don't think their base alone is enough to put them over the top.
We spend a lot of time in the news business chasing the candidates. But I think we should spend as much time chasing the voters because -- and I acknowledge I have absolutely no scientific proof of this -- I'm pretty sure the two are not the same at this point.
Here at MPR, I've argued for years for a budget item that provides for an extensive poll after Election Day to figure out exactly what voters were saying. The winner will always say they've got a mandate from the people to execute items 1-10 on their campaign issue list. But I don't think they do. I think there's a fair bet they have a mandate on item #1... and maybe 4 or 5 others. The problem is nobody can say for sure what 4 or 5 items those are.
When I first moved here in 1992, I remember sitting in the hotel before my interview listening to Morning Edition, and I heard a Chris Roberts piece profiling a family that MPR had identified as one of several undecided voters they'd follow during the campaign. It was brilliant! They were from all walks of life and they had one thing in common: they didn't know who they would vote for. And they were conflicted -- man, were they ever conflicted -- because how they felt wasn't at all with the certainty that candidates -- and their red-meat base -- displayed on every issue.
We haven't done it since. This year -- although I think it's getting late -- we're in the process of resurrecting the idea to see if we can pull it off.
I think it'll be fascinating. The only question is: if the candidates don't come back to the middle...where do these people who win and lose elections go?
Thanks to Tom Scheck, here's Mike Erlandson's speech at the 5th District convention on Saturday. (Listen in RealAudio). Personally, I don't think they worked him over that much. Seemed pretty calculated to me.
Which means -- and this hasn't gotten a lot of analysis -- the former chair of a political party (frankly, the last person you'd think would undermine the endorsement process) undermined the endorsement process.
Doesn't that beat all?
Update 2:36 p.m. - Mike Mulcahy tells me that Erlandson has not set a precedent for party chairs ignoring the endorsement process. A guy by the name of Mike Hatch, a former DFL Party chair, once ignored the party bosses and ran against Rudy Perpich.
Posted at 12:06 PM on May 8, 2006
by Bob Collins
From the "I bet it's not Mike Hatch" department, this from Tom Scheck.
Becky Lourey confirmed to me that she will be naming her running mate this week. She wouldn't tell me who it was but was clearly excited about it. It's clear that it's a man because she said she was going to announce it in two weeks but this person's wife is so excited about it that she's announcing this week. She didn't specify a day.
Rod Grams, fresh off his endorsement victory at the 8th District convention (which came a day after announcing he was running, sort of), worked the Capitol press room today.
Audio in a few minutes. Here's audio (RealAudio) of what he had to say.
Jon Olson, otherwise known in newsroom as, "the guy that owns the Dairy Queen" (you got a better way to sort out 5th District candidates?), has had a change of heart and has decided to honor the endorsement process and drop out.