Monday morning’s headlines were full of good news for Democrats. Local polls are showing Democrats leading in several Senate races. This news shocks no one but the mainstream media, who can’t quit their addiction to bad polling methods even after the shame of 2012.
The Democrats rounded it up:
NEW KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS POLL SHOWS ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES LEADING MITCH MCCONNELL. The latest Kentucky Bluegrass poll shows Alison Lundergan Grimes leading Mitch McConnell 46-44. “Whereas the Aug. 28 poll, showing McConnell leading by 4 points, suggested he might be slowly pulling away from Grimes, ‘today, McConnell suddenly and unexpectedly looks wobbly.'”
NEW POLL: HAGAN LEADS TILLIS 44-40, HOLDS 19 POINT LEAD WITH WOMEN. The new NBC/Marist pollshows Kay Hagan leading Speaker Thom TIllis 44-40 and holding a 19 point lead with women including winning single women by a nearly 3 to 1 margin.
NEW YORK TIMES: COLORADO, IOWA, NORTH CAROLINA & MICHIGAN MOVING TOWARDS DEMOCRATS. The NY Times reports on the new NY Times/YouGov polls that offers new data to question the “the conventional wisdom that Republicans have recently made substantial gains in Colorado and Iowa…. The new data offers some encouraging news for Democrats in Colorado and Iowa… the largest shifts were in North Carolina and Michigan — and to the advantage of Democrats.”
“The way the FEC process works means that it will probably be at least a year before anything else is heard about McConnell’s potential violations of campaign finance law. The reason why so many campaigns on both sides ignore the law is that these cases are settled long after the election is over. For example, the Bachmann/Paul case in Iowa is still rolling along more two years after the initial violations. On another note, the polling has been especially spotty this cycle. There have been polls that are all over the map. I wouldn’t trust the average of polls, or the polling models just yet. Since the margin of error in most of the Senate polling done 4 points, McConnell’s five-point average lead could be as high as eight or as low as a single point. The really lousy NBC/Marist poll, which was loaded methodical problems, has distorted the poll average for that election.
McConnell has all the advantages on paper and he should win, but the margin could be a lot closer than current polling indicates.”
Today Jason wrote for Politicus that the media has been ignoring the signs that McConnell is fading in Kentucky:
The mainstream media have largely ignored them, but there have been signs that McConnell is fading in Kentucky for weeks. Last week, an internal poll from the Grimes campaign found that the Democrat was leading Sen. McConnell 42%-40%. The poll was significant because it was based on the largest sample size used in Kentucky this year. A huge red flag for McConnell is that his unfavorable rating remains at 58%. Sen. McConnell’s net job approval rating was (-21), while Alison Lundergan Grimes had a net approval rating of (+1).
Polls are only part of the picture. Once again, Democrats put their faith in ground work. It worked for Obama twice, and they are hoping it will help boost turnout for the midterms, for which Democratic voters are historically lazy. When you couple bad polling methods with a ground game that isn’t being taken into account, you have a much closer and more interesting election than the pundits suggest.
Isn’t the narrative that it’s a done deal for the Republicans getting old yet? Apparently the hip talking points among the mainstream crowd stay the same even when proven flawed, because relevance.
The Obama team told the media over and over again in the 2012 election about their ground game, their internal and localized polls, and why they weren’t worried about the national polls. They explained to the press (I sat in on one such informative call so I know it happened) that the voters that the pollsters were writing off were going to show up. Few listened (Nate Silver, Harvard polling, Jason Easley…. the list was small). And apparently, just as few learned anything.
Republicans smugly dissed Team Obama in 2012 for explaining his ground game, saying it doesn’t matter how many people you engage:
That said, it doesn’t matter how many offices you have, staff you hire, or ground game plans you have – you need a candidate who can tell the American people why things will be better, not worse, after four years of their leadership. The choice is clear: Governor Romney is offering Americans a future of more jobs, more take home pay, and less debt. The President can’t do the same.”
Oh, yeah, ground game totally didn’t matter. Actual people voting totally doesn’t matter. Reality sucks.
Ironically, Republicans are running on the same thing this November election after their years long plan to run against Obamacare turned into a predictable fail. Yes, they are running against what they call the “Obama’s culture of failure”. This, coming from the George W. Bush party, is nothing but amusing. It is even more amusing when taking into account that the reason they can’t run against Obamacare is because it is a success. Republicans have rarely met a reality they couldn’t deny.
Perhaps it’s too soon, but if Democrats do hold on to the Senate, here’s hoping Majority Leader Harry Reid heard Mitch McConnell’s plans to change the Senate rules to pass a bunch of GOP junk (read: ALEC and Koch legislation) upon a Republican takeover. DO IT HARRY. DO IT FOR YOUR COUNTRY.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.