Is There a Case Against Polling?

( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

My intitial, reflexive reaction was to support polling. Upong reflection, I realized that my primary reasons for wanting to see a poll were selfish. I’m a political junkie. I want to get a bead on things. It’s killing me inside.

But what purpose does a poll serve? I believe it may hurt far more than it can help. There are two general scenarios; Brown can poll well or Brown can poll poorly. Let’s consider each in turn.

I support Brown and I believe he can win. But I am under no illusion about the demographics of this state and region. Complacency is our friend. If Brown polls well, it could wake a sleeping giant.

Republicans are already motivated. Brown has gone viral. We have the momentum. Money is rolling in from all over the country. A strong poll may provide Brown a boost, but it will also alert the Democratic base, the nutroots, and the astroturfers. They are alseep at the switch right now. A poll showing Brown surging will lead to a cascade of astroturfers from Portland, Maine to Providence, Rhode Island. Unions will get rolling. Liberals around the country who’ve assumed that this race was in the bag will awaken and Coakley’s coffers will explode.  

On the other hand, Brown could poll poorly. This is still a Democratic state. There are many unmotivated Democrats out there who will reflexively say they support the Democratic candidate. It doesn’t mean they care. It doesnt mean they will vote.

This race is about motivation and turnout. A poorly conducted poll that simply pits a Democrat against a Republican will probably be misleading to Brown’s detriment. Coakley has a lot of support out there, but its soft support. For example, a poll showing Coakley leading by thirteen probably means that she is really leading by six. But some GOP forces may not understand those dynamics. They may just see the raw numbers and think the race is a lost cause and that throwing money into Massachusetts is the same as throwing money into a black hole.

Its just a thought. It seems that Brown has the right approach and momentum. A strong, motivated, and somewhat stealth campaign that is capitalizing on a poor, overconfident candidate and an unmotivated base.

I’m not sure a poll helps that dynamic.  

About swamp_yankee

  • It really can do no good.  Since Martha is the presumptive winner, it can only confirm that, and take the wind out of the sails a bit of Brown supporters.  Or it can show a close race and mobilize the left who are, as you accurately point out, basically bored to death and unenthusiastic about their candidate.

    But as the line goes in Dirty Harry….”I gots to know”

    ok, maybe I don’t, but suspense is not something I’m well equipped to deal with.

  • … is the fact that the third name on that Jan. 19th ballot – JOE KENNEDY (Independent) – would likely poll VERY high in Mass. Dems there are not know for their… um… intelligence quotient, and many if not most will assume he’s “their” Joe Kennedy and blindly do what they’ve done for years already.

    In fact, that’s the strategy for a PAC backing him, who’s already running ads and is going to be doing calls to Dems statewide for “the name you can trust” –

    Donate to that effort, too. Or donate directly to Kennedy’s campaign:

    No one needs a majority to win – they just need the most votes. Some Brown supporters seem to think Kennedy will take Brown votes away; I think he’ll take away a heckuva lot more of Coakley’s votes.

  •  I am enjoying being a part of the galvanization of Republicans supporting one candidate. There is nothing but complacency on BMG. Let them sleep. Makes it hurt even more.