Wednesday, August 03, 2022


The 59%-41% victory for abortion rights in Kansas -- a state Donald Trump won in 2020 by 14 points -- is remarkable. I want to believe that it's a good sign for Democrats in November. But here's the pessimists' take:

Maybe the right has done most of the work this year and voters will associate policies they agree with, such as abortion rights, with the party that supports them. But somehow Democratic policies are always more popular than the Democratic Party. This could be because Democrats tend to be elected at the national level when America is reeling from some Republican policy failure or crisis (the Iraq War, the 2008 economic collapse, COVID), which means that Democrats are blamed for not getting the problems solved swiftly. But I think it's also the fact that Democrats do very little brand management -- the party only occasionally says, "This is why we rule and the other guys suck." That's what Republicans do every day. Democrats need to manage GOP-created crises, and need to deliver more of their agenda -- but they also need to say, "Do you like these policies? Then vote Democrat."

Still, I'll take the win, and I'll note that I'm amused by Breitbart's scare quotes:


Republican voters in Missouri rejected the Senate candidacy of rapist and sociopath Eric Greitens, which is good, but state attorney general Eric Schmitt, who won the primary and is now likely to be the next senator from the state, is no prize:
Following in the storied tradition of Senator Josh Hawley, Eric Schmitt has dutifully spent his time as Missouri's attorney general campaigning for what he hopes will be his next job as U.S. senator. For the most part, that's involved fastidiously tracking the latest fronts in the United States' ongoing culture wars, from mask-mandate mania to critical race theory panic to attacks on trans people — and then suing the shit out of everyone involved. Often that's the state's underfunded public schools, which then have to spend what little taxpayer money they're allotted on fending off the AG's legal attacks, which are also funded by taxpayers, thereby creating something of an ouroboros of perfectly wasteful spending. Oh, and he also sued China over COVID-19 — totally on behalf of the people of Missouri, not at all a transparent campaign stunt.
That lawsuit against China was thrown out of court by U.S. district judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. -- yes, Rush Limbaugh's cousin. LOL.


And now here's a question: Are there now shy anti-Trump voters? Or at least shy anti-Trumpist voters? As I write this, the ultra-Trumpist Kari Lake has a slight lead in the Arizona GOP gubernatorial primary over the Mike Pence-endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson. But most recent polls projected that Lake would win by a lot more. An OH Predictive Insights poll gave Lake an 18-point lead, and a Trafalgar Group poll put Lake's lead at 11. Right now she's leading by barely 2 and the race hasn't been called. Only an Emerson poll, which gave Robson a 1-point lead, seems to have predicted the race more or less accurately.

Trafalgar Group made its reputation in 2016 by predicting the Trump victory. It ascribed its polling success, in part, to screening for "social desirability bias" -- which means determining whether poll respondents are saying what they think is socially acceptable.

After 2016, many pollsters looked for a formula that would ensure they wouldn't miss Trumpist voters who might be reluctant to express their opinions. But maybe in Arizona it was election non-truthers who felt they couldn't tell pollsters what they really believed. I don't know if that's what explains the polling failure, but I'll be curious to find out.

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