Tag Archives: polls

Why did they move up the Hagel Cloture vote?

I’ve scanned several articles to get an idea why they moved up the Hagel cloture vote to this afternoon instead of Friday. So far, I didn’t find the answer, I will make a guess. It appears the Republicans and Democrats have finally found something to agree on: Take Friday off and Leave Town.

OH, no no no, you say. They will be in Session tomorrow.

Yes, but will there be votes? I don’t think so.

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The Plot thickens: Cloture vote on Friday?

Harry Reid has called the hand of the Republicans, moved for a cloture vote Friday. A vote for cloture isn’t a vote on the nomination—“an up or down vote”–it’s a vote on whether they should   vote on the nomination.

So Reid is trying to force a vote. But really, what is going on?

The Republicans are messing with Hagel and the White House. Sen. McCain says he won’t support a filibuster, now he’s not so sure. Same thing with Hatch and probably several others. Hagel is stonewalling on providing some financial info and other answers, so they are making him wait. Just to squirt a little gasoline on the fire, a few days ago, Dick Cheney laid out his stark view  that Hagel was chosen so that Obama would “have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense.” Ouch. So the GOP is not going to play along, but is going to try to showcase what they will say is the destruction of our national defense.

For Hagel, it has to be humiliating.  Only two votes from your own party? Those who know you best turn their back?

If  Hagel can’t get sixty votes–cloture– on Friday, surely the White House  will have to withdraw the nomination.

If he gets the sixty, he will be confirmed, of course, but he will be missing a chunk out of his hind quarters.

Still time to vote in my poll!

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Hagel Nomination in Trouble?

A rare consensus seems to have formed in Washington: Chuck Hagel was not good in his hearing. Not even a little good. Most of the press reports characterize the questioning as partisan, with Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post snarking that the Republican anger was rooted in Hagel’s abandonment of the GOP. But still, the pundits were not impressed.

So what happens next?

Hagel has promised to provide more information to the committee on his finances and his speeches. Chairman Levin said they wanted to move the nomination next week. That won’t give much time for analysis of the information, of course. Right now, Hagel still has the votes-He only needs a majority and he has roughly 56, including Sen. Cochran. Sen. Graham extracted a promise to hold a hearing on Benghazi before the vote. Who knows what will shake loose in those discussions. Also, if enough time passes, and enough microphones are in place, it is quite possible more Hagel gaffes will take place.  Although the greater likelihood is that he will be gagged, bound, encased in amber, perhaps hidden at the Smithsonian until after the vote, unseen and unheard.

The only question is, if the Republicans try to block the nomination, does he have 60 votes to stop them. And if it comes to that, does the administration want to take on that fight?  Waste political capital on someone who had interviews with Al Jazeera, alienates key donors, who seems inept and, who would be viewed by the world as having weak support in the Congress? How exactly will they spin that? Will he be their token White Male?

At the end of the day, again, the Democrats have the votes. We don’t know if the Republicans will have the stomach for the fight, or whether their calculus will be to let the President have his people and let him be accountable for the consequences.

Given his performance in the hearing, more than anything else, that should alarm the Democrats.

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Predictions on the VP Debate: Bob and Jack are Back

Jack pushed open the door of the bar and squinted into the dark until he saw Bob.  “Why aren’t you at the Old Ebbitt? I’ve been to half the bars in town looking for you. Are you coming over to Evan’s tonight to watch the debate?”

Bob watched him approach. “The debate? What about the game?”

“We have that covered. Two TVs. Side by side.”


“Can I have the remotes?”

“No. And, Evan said not negotiable.”

Bob nodded thoughtfully.”I guess we know who will win anyway, since it’s all in Spin Doctor.”

Jack dragged a bar stool into position and sat next to Bob. “By the way, I have to hand it to you. You nailed it. Watching with the sound off may be one of your best ideas yet.”

Bob shrugged. “You seem surprised.”

“I thought you were just looking for an excuse to hang out in a bar.”

“Right. Like I need an excuse.”

“Okay, smart guy. What about the VP debate?”

“You tell me. You’re the Spin Doctor, after all.”

“I think we go with the sound off again”  Jack waved at the bartender and ordered a Bass Aie.

Bob nodded. “But not because of the visuals. It is possible that listening to this debate, without proper medication, could induce drowsiness.”

“So you don’t think Biden will implode?”

Bob shook his head. “Biden is over rated as an entertainment. He knows how to woo an audience, that’s all. Sometimes he gets caught by another audience that thought he loved them more.”

“What are you talking about? He’s married.”

“Funny. Ha ha. You know what I mean. He can talk to the Economic Club of Chicago and the Brotherhood of Baggage Handlers  and they both will think he’s their guy. Then, they see the news and find out he has a multiple personality disorder.”

“Exactly. And it will be great!”

The bartender slid the bottle of beer in front of Jack, no glass, and another drink in front of Bob.

Bob went on:“No. Think. Tonight the audience is everybody. Tonight he will be buttoned down and buttoned up. No gaffes, no shooting from the lip. Just get out of the debate alive with no headlines. He can’t move the needle so–just don’t blow it.”

Jack blinked at him. “No. I don’t think so. He has absolutely nothing to lose tonight. He’ll swing for the fences. Hold up Big Bird’s lifeless body.  He is going to go for the jugular, be the defender of the President. Even if he goes over the line, he’s not going to lose votes. But, he might energize the base. Right now, the air is coming out of the base. Turnout will be everything.”

“So what are you saying? You have too many metaphors. I can’t follow.”

“Abortion. The women have fled the ticket. This is no time for sweet talk. Immigration, another base issue. And then, a blend of economics aimed at black voters.”

Bob’s pinkish eyes  widened. “The race card?”

“Not saying they will play it. But they might accidentally drop it on the table then quickly pick it up.”

Bob stirred the ice cubes in his glass with the bar straw.

“What do you think?”

“Does Evan have any Glen Fiddich or should I bring my own?”

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Filed under 2012 Election, campaign tactics, Spin Doctor

What do you think will happen in the debate next week? Vote in my poll!

See the poll in the sidebar on the left.

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A whiff of Sabotage? Or just getting ready to abandon ship?

A spate of articles report that some pundits think Obama fizzled at the Convention.  According to Politico, before the Obamas left the stage, James Carville tweeted : “Certainly not the best speech of this convention.” WaPo’s Dana Milbank’s headline: “Obama the Demigod Comes Down to Earth.”

Are the Clintonistas shuffling toward the exits? Or bolting? Do I detect the notes of  a carefully spun narrative, whispered into a few eager but discreet media ears?  Now wafting out into the media airwaves, with no fingerprints and no smoking gun? A muffled clinking of the Clinton train as it is unhitched from the Obama engine? . .
Not saying they want Romney to win, do they?
What do you think? Vote in my poll, or leave me a comment.

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Filed under 2012 Election, campaign tactics, Spin Doctor, White House

The Truth About Convention Bumps: What Happened and What’s Next?

Heading into the stiff winds of the Democratic Convention, does the Romney campaign start the week with a bump? What’s the final answer?
Rasmussen has Romney gaining 6 percentage points overall, which is average, according to Gallup. He started the week at 42%.  The latest head to head is Romney 48% to Obama 44%.
The Gallup daily tracking poll does not show a bump at this point. But keep in mind, the Gallup poll is a 7-day rolling average vs the 3 day moving average of the Rasmussen poll. In other words, the Gallup poll would include responses that were taken BEFORE the convention. So we will need to wait a few more days to see if there is an impact among registered voters, a broader measure than the Rasmussen “likely voters.”

So now does the same thing happen for the President? Will Obama get a bump this week? Please vote in my poll and let me know what you think!

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September 3, 2012 · 4:33 pm

Election Predictions–or not– from Jack and Bob!

Since it is August, Jack Abbott has been sailing on the Chesapeake. But after getting a deluge of emails from readers, he agreed to answer a few and arranged to meet his friends, Bob Carson and Evan Brett, at the Old Ebbitt last night. Once again, fictional characters are extremely unreliable and we do not vouch for this information.

Evan: I don’t know if you’ve been following the news, Jack.  But a lot of the questions imply that the direction of the campaign seems pretty clear. So how about a prediction. Who do you think is going to win the election?

Bob: Really? You think you know? If you do, why don’t you stop wasting time on politics and give me some lottery numbers.  By the way, Evan, are you running a tab? Appreciate it.

Jack: Seriously, if you see those good-looking folks on TV making predictions—well, let’s just say, anyone who says they know who will win at this stage in the election is spinning. Not saying there is anything wrong with spinning, of course.
It’s way too early to predict. Too many things still have to unfold before we will have an idea.

Evan: Come on, it can’t be that hard. The conventions, the debates, then the election.

Bob: Evan, are you serious? Is this your first rodeo?

Evan: I’m just asking the questions, Bob. And by the way, these are for Jack.

Bob: Fine with me. I just came for the drinks.

Jack: Well, there are lots of unknowns. We may have an uneventful three months or so. But what about the “October surprise?”  We don’t know if there is something out there, something held back for maximum impact. And if there is a foreign policy crisis, it almost always inures to the sitting president. On the other hand, what if the sitting president is surprised?

Evan: So if you won’t give me a prediction, at least tell me who is in the lead right now. Is Romney ahead or Obama?

Bob:Very funny. Romney has a huge lead with white voters, but lags with women and minorities. He is polling behind in key swing states. But wait–Gallup had them even on July 30. Are any of these polls right? Are they all wrong or are some wrong and others right? Is this the dream where you are in your underwear taking the SAT?

The quality of the polls varies like the quality of Maryland crabcakes. It depends what goes in to them. Sometimes you can read the ingredients and know it’s going to be all wrong. Sometimes it looks okay, but then you can’t always tell the proportions. If you put too many republicans or democrats in there, the crabcake will be off, and so will the poll.

Oh, wait. Was that for Jack, too? What do you think, Jack?

Jack: Good answer, Bob. Evan, do you want another beer?  I know you do, Bob. I’ll get the waiter.

MCL: If you have more questions for these three characters, you could hurry over to the Old Ebbitt to see if they are still there—I doubt it– or you can forward them to me. If you want to know more about these guys, check out Spin Doctor.  And before you leave the site, please take a moment and vote in the VP poll.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Spin Doctor, White House

A Word about Polls

Or, why do I retweet Rasmussen so much…

Polls are the lifeblood of democratic (small d) politics. It’s how we keep score.

Interim drama.Short for who is winning?

But different polls often give conflicting results.

If you check out RealClearPolitics.com today, you will find a poll to support your fondest hopes for the November election. Unfortunately, you may also find a poll to reinforce your worst fears.

Here is a timely example:

Gallup June 13 tracking poll Obama 46% Romney 45%.

But wait! There’s a Rasmussen poll, same date, that has Romney up by 4 points, 48-44%.

Which one is right?

I seldom admit this, but I don’t actually know. No one does.
But here is what I think, and briefly, why I tend to follow Rasmussen


First look at the sample.

Gallup polls registered voters. This means, for example, that if you are eighteen you go to get a driver’s license, you check the voter registration box, you show up on the voter registration rolls and you might get called.
But will you actually vote?

On the other hand, Rasmussen polls “likely voters.” Generally, these are registered voters who voted last time. In the last few elections, Rasmussen has been pretty accurate, and this is a big part of his secret sauce. It is more expensive and complicated to poll this more select group.

Many, perhaps most,  of the surveys you see poll registered voters. Some poll “adults” regardless of whether the adult can actually vote.

So what does it mean? Gallup polls most likely include a lot of folks who won’t bother to vote. So they may like Obama better than Romney, but not enough to leave work early, or figure out how to get an absentee ballot or whatever it takes.


I also notice that the Gallup poll was done over  seven days. Rasmussen –three days.

So as events/gaffes take place, Rasmussen will be more likely to reflect them. “The private sector is fine” took place on Friday. The impact would have been felt over the next three days. Did this contribute to Romney’s bump? Possibly. On the other hand, Gallup may feel that using a rolling average shows the trend and smoothes out the little blips and gaffes. But do we really care about week old voter intentions?

If you were alive in 1980, you may remember the seismic change in polls in the last few days of the election. Alas, I am not old enough to remember “Dewey Defeats Truman” but something similar happened.


Perhaps, but not that much when we are talking about samples. Unless the sample is especially small, all the correct statistical analysis would have taken place to calculate the margin of error. So unless the sample size is a few hundred, I don’t worry about it.


No. All polls are interesting. There are many other factors to consider also, too deep in the weeds for this blog.

But read the fine print. Some may be misleading, outdated or wrong.

As for NovelPolitics polls, they are the most select, of course. They represent the views of a relatively small sample of highly informed, motivated and intelligent electorate.

So if you haven’t already, please check them out and vote.

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