Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another poll asking the wrong question

Here we go again...every time someone does a poll on the Florida Senate race, it's followed by a flurry of overexcited articles and blog posts. Quinnipiac University published their latest poll this week, along with some breathless predictions about what the numbers mean. Crowley Political Report has some good comments here about why the Q-poll goes too far here ("Florida Republican voters can stay home next year because the nominee for U.S. Senate has already been decided, according to Quinnipiac University...").

The primary election isn't until August 2012, and the simple reality is that most people just aren't paying much attention to the Florida Senate race yet. This is reflected in the fact that "Undecided" is still winning the race (45% of Republicans, and 59% of Republican women, have not made up their mind yet).

I'm a political junkie. I live, eat, breathe politics. I love reading the latest news about the candidates, debating proposed legislation, analyzing communication strategies, and finding intriguing little details in campaign finance reports. But most people aren't like me. Even those who almost always vote in almost every election aren't really engaged in this race yet. They'll figure it out by the time next August rolls around, but until then...meh...

The best analogy I have is that if I ask you what movies are you excited to see that are premiering next May, you'd probably respond with "Huh?" You might have seen a mention in a magazine about some star actor working on some big blockbuster or caught a few seconds of a preview, but I'd bet you probably won't have an exact answer.

Now, a friend of mine is a complete film buff. She went to film school for college, has worked on film festivals and movie sets, keeps up with the latest gossip about what's happening at Cannes and Sundance, and if I ask her that same question about movies premiering next May, she's going to have a looooooong answer for me.

Same situation with the Florida Republican Senate primary. Just like the film buffs know a lot about next year's movies but the rest of us don't, the most politically active Floridians do have an opinion on the Senate candidates.

Now back to the title of this post: these polls aren't asking the right question. At this point in the election cycle, I'd really love to see the pollsters start by asking, "Have you met any of the candidates or heard them speak in person?" or even "have you visited any of the candidates' websites or watched any of their YouTube videos?" You'd end up with much different poll results.

Look at what happened at CPAC Florida: Adam Hasner gave a rousing speech to CPAC attendees, who then turned around and handed him an impressive win at the straw poll, garnering 34% of the vote in a four way primary. When people meet Adam Hasner, they like him. It's as simple as that.

So, until we get a little closer to the actual primary and the candidates start spending their war chests (well, those who have money to spend...some of the candidates are trending the wrong way) to get their messages out and reach the voters, these polls are going to continue to tell us more about the agenda of the pollsters and those quoting the polls than the race itself.

For more on this, here's a memo from Rick Wilson and Albert Martinez:

To: Interested Parties
From: Rick Wilson and Albert Martinez
Subject: Adam Vs. The Washington Insiders
Date: 11/11/11

Early polls are largely meaningless. Just ask "Senator" Charlie Crist.
But today's Quinnipiac poll does reinforce something Adam has believed since the beginning: as the only Washington outsider in the race, he has to outwork and out-hustle his opponents to earn this campaign every day. He hasn't spent 40 years as a Washington insider, he didn't inherit name ID, and he didn't have a U.S. Senate seat handed to him by Charlie Crist.

What Adam does have is a tireless work ethic, the strongest conservative bona fides and a message that resonates with rank and file conservative voters who will determine this election next year.
If 2010 taught us anything, it is that Republican primary voters will reject the candidates hand-picked by the D.C. establishment - and both Connie Mack and George LeMieux are undeniably that. At a time when Congress' approval rating is in the single digits, are voters really looking to change Washington by replacing one incumbent with either an incumbent Congressman or a former U.S. Senator?

Floridians know we can't fix Washington problems by electing people who helped create those Washington problems.
Adam is running because he believes President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are bankrupting our country with trillions in new spending, and too many Republicans are entranced by the corrupt culture of Washington to do anything about it. He believes both parties are to blame for the mess in Washington and that we need a new era of conservative leaders to clean it up.
Today's poll also reinforces that the race is wide open. No one in the Republican primary field is polling above 50%, and no one candidate does significantly better against Nelson than the other.
"None of the above" still garners the most votes, but once voters have the opportunity to compare Adam's record to Congressman Mack's and Senator LeMieux's, we're entirely confident that Adam will earn the Republican nomination.
Congressman Mack is riding on borrowed time and residual name ID. When the voters of Florida take a look at Congressman Mack's role in the Washington spending spree that wrecked our economy, his addiction to earmarks and his offensive comments on border security, the bloom will come off the rose.
In fact, Congressman Mack is polling at the exact same place today that he was three years ago in a similar Quinnipiac Poll:
Mack 34%
Buchanan 11%
Rubio 6%
Bense 4%
Other 2%
DK/NA 38%

Finally, Senator LeMieux is running on fumes. He has essentially been running for Senate for three years, and despite having the support of Charlie Crist's political and fundraising machine, he cannot escape his legacy as Charlie Crist's "maestro." The predicate of LeMieux's campaign was always to capture the moderate Country Club Republican demo. Right now, LeMieux and Mack will compete for the same pool of moderate Republican voters, meaning LeMieux's argument for his candidacy is the most difficult to make.

We look forward to the coming months as Florida voters become more engaged and compare the records, principles and philosophies of the candidates. Adam is the only candidate in the race with a record of standing up to Democrats and the Republicans who act like them. He is the most principled conservative in the race, and he gives us the best chance to defeat Senator Nelson and create a conservative majority in the U.S. Senate.

You can learn more about Adam Hasner at and contribute to his campaign here.

1 comment:

  1. why do they even bother polling this early? noone even knows anything about most of these candidates!


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available here.