October Strategy: Base Suppression, Fooling “Likely Voter” Models

From today’s McClatchy report on their new poll of key Senate races, including Colorado’s:

In Colorado, Republican Ken Buck leads incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet by 50 percent to 42 percent among likely voters…

In each state, Republicans are benefitting from an enthusiasm gap, where their supporters are much more eager to turn out and vote on Nov. 2. In Colorado, for example, the Democrat leads 41 percent to 40 percent among registered voters. However, the contest flips among those most likely to vote, who give the Republican an 8-point lead.

“We define likely voters as registered voters who report they have an excellent or good chance of voting in November and express a high to moderate degree of interest in the elections,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., which conducted the polls…

In Colorado, likely voters are in a sour mood.

They think the worst is yet to come for the economy by a margin of 49 percent to 41 percent. That anxiety is worst among those making less than $50,000 a year, a group that usually favors Democrats.

Just 39 percent of likely voters approve of Obama’s job performance, while 56 percent disapprove, his worst margin in the three states. While that score is tilted a bit by 93 percent disapproval among Republicans, even 54 percent of the state’s independents, a key voting bloc, disapprove of the president.

The Senate race is beginning to narrow into a few key themes: one of the biggest of which is an emerging gap between modeled “likely voters,” which for a variety reasons are tilted toward Republicans as this poll shows, and actual registered voters–in Colorado, in this poll, it’s the difference between Michael Bennet narrowly leading versus losing ground to Ken Buck. It is worth nothing that the spread between “likely” and actual registered voters in this poll is larger for Colorado than the other states surveyed: in Wisconsin, the poll of registered voters still doesn’t have Russ Feingold ahead.

What this means is that October is going to be defined by Bennet’s campaign doing everything it can to drag less-enthusiastic Democratic base voters back to the polls, principally by driving up Buck’s negatives–while Buck’s campaign’s #1 goal is to suppress interest in Bennet among those same unenthusiastic and, in many cases, low-information voters. You’ll recall that key to Bennet’s primary victory in August was his ability to turn out votes that weren’t adequately reflected in “likely voter” polls showing a broad swing to Romanoff. That performance, and the acknowledged expertise of Bennet’s campaign staff, gives hope to Democrats that they can pull a victory right out from under these assumptive poll models.

Working against Bennet is the growing disparity of independent expenditures in this, as with other races around the country. There has been significant press this past week about reduced giving by many high-level Democratic funders this year, whereas conservative groups like Karl Rove’s “Super PAC” American Crossroads have invested truly unprecedented amounts of money in nationally strategic races–including Colorado. There is a risk that deteriorating narratives elsewhere could result in unilateral wholesale disarmament everywhere by major Democratic funders, which would prove disastrous for yet-winnable races like this one. That hasn’t happened yet, but neither has giving to match Republican-leaning independent efforts.

In the meantime, strategists at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the White House absolutely do consider Colorado a winnable race, and there is no indication whatsoever that resources for this race under their control are anything other than top priority–in fact, watch for the DSCC to start cutting others loose to reinforce here, for all the reasons stated above.

And get ready for a month of major combat, folks.

60 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    Is that most people get mail in ballots. Unlikely to vote becomes likely to vote when the ballot is sitting there on the kitchen counter.

  2. bud says:

    They voted against the bill to make it less tax favorable to outsource and more tax favorable to keep and create jobs in this country.  Republicans’ Pledge to America website, called “America Speaking Out,” asked for ideas from their base, and it turns out that one of the ideas that’s drawn the most interest on their website is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      That’s why the tax law has been this way for a long time.

      With that said, a Democratic Congress does try to at least occasionally do something for the people. A Republican Congress is 100% focused on their corporate masters.

    • JO says:

      …that Bennetistas on this very site repeatedly cited their boy’s bulging bank account as a leading reason to choose him over the guy who said he wouldn’t take lobbyists’ money. And, sure ‘nuf, come the primary, the Appointed One won convincingly, even though he had steadily lost, by rising margins, among the “Democratic Activists” (caucuses, county assemblies, state assembly), which might help explain the alleged Enthusiasm Gap. Count the money ’cause that’s what counts! Fuggedabout the rest.

      I can’t bring to mind just now the Bennet campaign commercial citing his independence from the corporatocracy. I can bring to mind a vision of him declaring, “I’m a businessman.” I can’t bring to mind just now Bennet citing any achievements in Education during his term as superintendent. I can bring to mind him declaring, “I’m a businessman.” Mebbe I oughtta watch more TeeVee, ’cause from what I’ve seen, he has just about the worst, least persuasive, campaign commercials I’ve ever seen, period.

      But as for ads about outsourcing and independence from corporate masters, that just might be an area where I Like Mike might not like to go.

      • bud says:

        outward for a cause, but it is starting to sound like an alcoholic in denial.  The election is about jobs and the economy for the vast majority of voters who have to make a living in the private sector or who have already lost their public sector job.  

      • Voyageur says:

        was short-lived, JO!  Welcome back, snarly-gnarly shill boy!  You were missed (not!)

        • JO says:

          Okay, Herr Professor (VorГјbergehend), we can play your game. We remember 7th grade. It was easy then and it’s easy now. Doesn’t take much wit, or knowledge, or more than a single dimension.

          Of course, I didn’t say anything about “not saying anything negative.” I said something–and yes, it was aimed directly at YOU–about substituting ad hominem attacks on other posters for a substantive discussion about any topic at hand. Accepting financing from corporations is an ISSUE. It’s a Great Big Negative for some voters, and there might–just might–be enough of them sitting home (figuratively speaking) to be a problem for the official Democratic candidate, the cardboard cutout who isn’t even good looking (to quote one of his own paid staffers!), the Man Who Couldn’t Smile, whatever the outcome of the primary and however it came about.

          Past. All past. Every Democrat is now obligated to go out of her way to vote for Lobbyist Man, right? Sure, let’s have a Bud to that! Here’s to the Obligation of the Primary! Otherwise, there will never been another abortion in the land, not another … well, whatever your preference in birth control might be, including laying off the Viagra.

          But, forget that. This site is about reaching into the inner depths of our imaginations to try, try to do our best to do our duty to come up with something clever, something the least bit witty to say, something so utterly devastating, clever, and original that we won’t hear from that poster again, something like “snarly-gnarly shill boy.” Whew! I can see my betters when I read them. Time out while I try, try to recover.

          [15 minutes later]. And while we’re snidely smirking on Saturday afternoon, let’s make up stuff from Scratch(r), such as “positive thinking,” or “not saying anything negative,” or “loose references to armed revolution.” Really? Cite one such reference–just one, Herr Professor Fugedaboutit. I’ll drop by one of your lectures one fine afternoon to learn all about the Singularity of Imagination and Reality in Rhetoricia. No wonder there’s no upper limit on IQ scores; the authors imagined there might be a Boyageur, err Voyager, out there someday, somewhere. Little did they, or anyone else, guess it would be where fruity plains meet mountain majesties, let alone Ute West Denver Grandiose Junctionitis. (I knew I could get it right eventually.)

          I have nothing invested in this blog. Wanna engage in “baby pig wresting”? Fine by me. Cut-‘-n’-Paste Capital of the West? Sure. YOU are the Front Page Editor. Wow, I can feel myself trembling already. No wonder there were a million page views! What with the likes of Voyageur posting diaries and making devastating, and I do mean devastating–there’s a good reason this cite is rated R–comments, Tweeting  Twits across the land will be chirping non-stop, either in fear or in anticipation of the next one. Did you see his latest?

          Can’t find any facts to cite? Gotta invent something? NO PROBLEM, as Plato explained in Book Six of the Republic: “Glaucon, after the argument has gone a weary way, the true and the false philosophers have at length appeared in view, said to Socrates, ‘Whoopdefuckingdodo,'” which ended the discussion.”

          Absolutely possible. Anyone can do it. Anyone can play amateur Limbaugh, junior O’Reilly. “Amateur” because maybe they can’t get paid at their level of accomplishment, but hell, let’s keep on trying. Maybe one fine day a slot will open on America’s Finest Twits to give them 15 seconds of fame.

          And the discussion, in the meantime, will be well advanced. All will have been explained by insightful, knowledgeable remarks.


          • Voyageur says:

            but he sure can’t take it.

            But he sure doesn’t get adhominem, unless he’s snarling at Michael Bennet . or anybody who ever supported Michael Bennet, or anybody who objected to one personal assaults, or anyone who laughed at his notion that the constitution thingy could be disregarded utterly, the Senate abolished — not reformed — abolished and even states themselves eliminated in favor of national administrative subdivisions, details to follow.  And who suggested all this could be accomplished in less than four months, with much of the national government replaced by the internet thingy, details to follow.  And who bellowed “Who Says” repeatedly at anyone who said that you could just erase most of the national government, and all of the states upon which they are founded, without going through the constitutitionally prescribed procewss of change — which means the state thingies would have a voice in their own abolition.  And who got even madder when I noted that the United States Army sez, that’s who, and reminded that other blowhards — called the Confederacy thingy — had tried such such an extra constititional end run around our form of government — and it didn’t work out so well.

             So, how’s that back off your meds after one day of whining about why nobody respects your opinion thing working out for you?


          • GalapagoLarry says:

            Now I’ll go back to my procrastibationary lurking.

  3. H-man says:

    What age group shows up at midterms to vote disproportionately? Older voters.  Who owns that age demographic? Ken Buck.

    What is the group of people most energized by this election? Tea Party types.

    Who owns that group 85% to 8%? Ken Buck.

    Who is going to win the election? Ken Buck.

    Real Clear Politics has moved this race from toss-up to leans GOP.  Bennet’s slide will affect spending as the Dems need to allocate resources to other places.

  4. bjwilson83 says:

    “We can win this, yes we can. Pay no attention to the polls showing Buck consistently leading by 8% points.”

    Well, you’re just starting to look a bit crazy. As for October being a “month of major combat”, I’m still waiting for it. I’m actually kind of disappointed that it’s this easy; I’d like to get into some battles with Dem volunteers in the senate race, but I haven’t found any to speak of.

  5. reubenesp says:

    Solid for Hick, Bennet, Markey, Salazar, Polis and Perlmutter, and likely for SOS, Treas. and Atty. Gen.


  6. H-man says:

    The Dems key to success is Michael Bennet getting people excited.  Seriously?

    In Bennet’s lifetime he has gotten one person excited a total of three times.  That’s it.  

    Bet you guys are missing Andrew Romanoff right about now. He was atleast capable of inspiration. Bennet, not so much.

  7. AlanR says:

    Bennet’s campaign from almost the day that he won the nomination was to try to drive up Buck’s negatives as a way to compensate for his own high negatives and his base’s low enthusiasm for him.   Guess what ?  It hasn’t worked.     His negative campaigning has made independents like him less and while some progressives have come back because of his fear mongering others (like me) have given up waiting for an affirmative reason to vote.

    All of the weaknesses that were obvious during the primary are still there.

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