Josh Penry’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Somewhere in Colorado tonight, Josh Penry is crawling into bed hoping for sleep to come quickly.

It was supposed to be the perfect ending to a great week. The new Norton ads came out this week along with a sleek new design for the website. People all across the state would see that Norton was really, truly, no really really truly the gun-slinging terrorist-butt-kicking conservative who would fight for the people of Colorado! And this upstart, smooth-tongued, baby-kissing Ken Buck would finally learn his place in the Republican Party. After all, you had to pay your dues to the Party Leaders before you could lay rightful claim to the nomination of such an august and learned body of wise sages.

The Denver Post poll was coming out today, and finally that stupid little push poll Magellan did for Buck would be proven wrong once and for all. Tea Party, Schmee Party. They didn’t know squat about politics. Ah yes, Norton ahead by… WHAT THE ****?!? Those idiots! How dare they show Buck up 53-37? Clearly something was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Suddenly another thought struck him. People were going to read this poll. And if they believed it… well they might just start to lose faith in the anointed one. All the money in the world might not be able to fix this problem. Oh dear, dear, dear. Something had to be done right away!

And that, my friends, is how we got the following 18 paragraphs of rambling nonsense cluttering up our email boxes today. (And lest you tire of sorting through that pile of equivocations and half-truths while checking email, it was also included as an attachment so you could print it out and pour over Penry’s expert survey analysis at your leisure.)

Jane Norton For Colorado

Memorandum

TO:

Jane Norton Supporter

FROM:

Josh Penry

RE:

Today’s SurveyUSA Republican Primary Poll

DATE:

June 20, 2010

It’s safe to say that Howard Dean was more than a little surprised after being trounced in the 2004 Iowa Caucuses by eventual Democratic nominee John Kerry. You’ll recall that was the night that Dean had a now-legendary meltdown on primetime national TV.

But Howard Dean wasn’t the only one surprised by his trouncing in Iowa: so was the national polling firm SurveyUSA. That’s because SurveyUSA predicted that Dean would win the Iowa Caucuses. SurveyUSA missed the mark by a wide margin, overestimating Dean’s support by six percentage points and underestimating Kerry’s by nearly seventeen points.

This is but one of many examples where SurveyUSA has had it wrong – and badly.

The same is true of a poll the firm did for The Denver Post and The Greeley Tribune. We know this is going to be a competitive race. But the poll reported by The Post and The Tribune misses the mark. Every independent poll to date has shown Norton beating her rivals in both the Republican and Democratic Party.

Jane Norton is a conservative with a conservative track record who is running on a conservative message. It’s a winning message. Jane’s internal polls have her leading among Colorado primary voters, and virtually every independent poll released since the beginning of the year shows Jane beating appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennet.

Here’s a snapshot of the race today:

Overview: The 2010 primary election is widely expected to produce an unprecedentedly high voter turnout for two trendsetting reasons. First, overwhelming discontent with the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress has created a groundswell of emotion that most analysts believe will increase primary turnout.

The second and more important factor that will fuel heavy new turnout in the 2010 primary is the manner in which Colorado conducts its primary elections: for the first time, 47 of 64 counties will vote by all mail ballots (including 11 of the 12 largest voting counties).

Take the case of Oregon – after the northwestern state went to an all-mail-in ballot between 1998 and 2000, there was a 30% increase in primary turnout. The Norton campaign expects a similar increase in voting, which – as you will read – is very good news for Jane Norton’s U.S. Senate prospects.

Norton vs. Buck: These dynamics are fundamental in understanding who is winning the Norton vs. Buck race in any given poll and – more importantly – in deciding who will win the race in August.

In our own internal polling, for example, Jane Norton claims a lead when a broader sample of voters is polled. More precisely, when asking a wider sample of primary voters (those who voted in a primary in 2006 OR 2008), Jane is winning. But when a poll ignores the coming surge in voter turnout and the sample is ratcheted back to a more traditional sample of “likely primary voters” (i.e. those who voted in ALL recent primaries), our internals show Ken Buck with a modest lead.

All of which proves the old truism: the outcome of a poll is determined by whom you poll. Our pollsters at Public Opinion Strategies – and they are the best in the business – have uncovered another truth in the Colorado Senate race in 2010: the more people who vote, the better Jane Norton performs.

This bad news for Ken Buck is good news for Jane Norton: all indications point to overwhelming voter turnout this August. Where the race stands, then, is that recent polling from the Buck campaign and Colorado media miss the mark – and badly.

In addition to apparently relying on an outdated definition of what constitutes a “likely voter,” both pollsters are themselves notoriously wrong in their forecasts. The pollster relied on by The Denver Post and The Greeley Tribune (SurveyUSA) is notoriously off-the-mark. In fact, in the last Presidential Primary, SurveyUSA showed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama neck and neck in Alabama; Obama won by 14 points. SurveyUSA showed Hillary Clinton winning Missouri by 11 points; she lost by 1. As was noted earlier, SurveyUSA also missed the mark badly in the Presidential in 2004.

Bottom line: this race is a contest. True to his Princeton pedigree, Ken Buck is a formidable opponent, and this will be a contest until the end.

Why is the race close? The principal factor driving the bulk of Ken Buck’s support and the preponderance of Jane’s opposition is the more than $1 million dollars in negative TV advertisements. Buck’s supporters have been playing hardball on good days and downright dirty on others. Most recently a Ken Buck supporter filed a frivolous lawsuit to keep Jane off the ballot altogether. The lawsuit has no merit and no chance in keeping Jane off the ballot, but it’s emblematic of the brass-tack tactics the Buck campaign has employed.

There are two sides to every story: Voters are finding out that Ken Buck does not hold up well to scrutiny as they learn that he increased his budget as DA by 40 percent in 5 short years, as they learn that his outsider image is a smart but untrue work of fiction from a Princeton graduate who worked in the Clinton Administration for 8 years, who would be the 58th lawyer in the United States Senate, and who’s so much the political insider that Bill Ritter was his best man. As all these facts begin to play out, Jane’s advantage within all segments of the GOP primary field will grow.

Jane Norton will be the Republican nominee for the United States Senate. A survey at this point is a snapshot, and we are just beginning the home stretch of a long primary process. We expected Buck to get a short-lived bounce out of the convention, and we look forward to the debate over the next eight weeks.

Sincerely,

Josh Penry

5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. H-man says:

    There is a poll which was just recently put up on Norton’s facebook page.  It is s republican vs. democrat poll, not a republican vs. republican poll.  It shows Norton doing better than Buck against the Dems.    Here is the link to the page: http://www.facebook.com/photo….

    When you go to the original from which it is taken here is what you see:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com

    The date of Josh’s killer poll 4-23-2010.

    Ouch.

  2. Jack Burden says:

    I’m glad you’ve written a diary.

    Not to say that your commentary is especially cohesive or the content particularly relevant to my interests in this election, but it shows that you’re becoming a member of the Pols community. At least, to some degree. The shilliness could use a little work.

    I’m really, truly, hoping that you stick around after election day.  

    • bjwilson83 says:

      This is my second diary; the other one isn’t related to the senate race at all. I’ve been posting on a lot of topics and I hope to stay around for the long term, especially if a few more conservatives join. If I just end up beating my head against the wall every day though it might get old.  

  3. ClubTwitty says:

    Use the block quote to reproduce someone else’s work.  Just highlight the text you want to quote and click the quote button.  

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