Monday, September 25, 2006

"Hey Beavis, Our Polls Are Rising"

It seems like almost every single day FITS' home office gets bombarded with new polling information.

Some of it (Sanford internal polling, Rasmussen) is usually pretty accurate, some of it (Survey USA, our anonymous Lewis Vaughn informant) is not so accurate.

But since our good friend Tee Pee Tidwell consistently reminds us of the fact we've "got a commitment to the truth" and need to be "keepin' it real," we share it all with you .

Plus, the campaigns themselves are starting to pump up the poll volume in press releases and calls to the major media, which pretty much makes all of it fair game anyhow.

Last Friday, for example, Gov. Mark Sanford's campaign sent out a press release touting the governor's noticeable uptick in a number of recent polls.

Unfortunately, while going to great lengths to stress the seemingly stratospheric percentage of the black vote the governor was receiving in two of these surveys (between 22-25%), the Sanford campaign accidentally poured a bit of cold water on the independent findings.

Here's why:

Black voters generally do not cast their ballots the same way they answer polling questions.

That's not a value judgment or a racist statement, obviously, it's just a proven discrepancy that is often related to how the polling questions are asked. For example, lots of polls don't ask partisan ID questions (i.e. tagging the candidates' names with their party affiliation), which leads many black voters to answer soley on the basis of name identification.

The bottom line is that even with a massive black outreach effort, a statewide Republican candidate in South Carolina is lucky to get 12%, let alone 15% or 20% of the African-American electorate.

The Democrats experienced this in struggling to interpret one of their internal polls that was leaked to FITS earlier this month, a poll which showed Sanford getting 21% of the black vote en route to a commanding 49-35% lead over challenger Tommy Moore.

Here's the good news for Team Sanford, though: You can slice the black vote any way you want in all of the recent polling data we've seen and the governor is still cruising.

The most recent poll leaked to FITS, conducted ten days ago by SC Index, showed Sanford with a 66% approval rating, including an 89% approval rating amongst Republicans. This jives with just about every other poll FITS has seen, including the notoriously unreliable Survey USA poll, which last week had the governor's approval rating at 63%.

Internal polling from the Sanford campaign and other public and private polling we've seen show the governor's approval ratings at anywhere from 65%-72% - very solid numbers indeed against a challenger who remains completely unknown to roughly half the electorate with only five full weeks of campaigning to go.

Bottom line? The gubna's recent slump seems to be at an end.

In the Lieutenant Governor's race between incumbent Andre Bauer and Democratic challenger Robert Barber, we've literally seen polling all over the map. The SC Index poll showed Barber up by three points (37-34%), or well within the 5.5% margin of error. Of course, we've seen reputable numbers recently showing Bauer up by as much as 10%.

One thing is for certain, Bauer's position is nowhere near as strong as Sanford's, which reinforces the theory that if these guys could just get together and iron out their differences at the top of the ticket, good things could happen for Republicans up and down the ballot. Andre would benefit from Sanford's strong endorsement and coattails statewide, while the governor could improve his standing amongst Republicans in Lexington and Newberry Counties (both of which he lost in the primary to Oscar Lovelace) where Bauer is running exceptionally strong.

Will that happen? Eh ... we'll see.

One final note of interest from the SC Index poll is the unbridled (and dare we add, justified) skepticism with which the public apparently views House Speaker Bobby Harrell's bogus 2006 tax shift. Asked if they felt the Harrell tax swap would actually end up lowering their tax burden, only 25% of all respondents said "yes."


Of course the only poll that matters is Nov. 7, but in the meantime count on the FITS girls to continue delivering to your desktop all the latest surreptitiously acquired S.C. political insider news we can get our faux French manicured fingers on ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Faith …

But a remarkable aspect of the Lt’ Gov’s race is the lack of a Campbell endorsement of Andre. Additionally, the Campbell leadership put out the word not to help Andre financially, nor otherwise. I suspect Andre will weather this, but I find this strategy awkward.

Surely Carroll Campbell’s son does not want the moniker “turn coat” attached to him during future Republican primaries…but that will happen, especially in important vote counties like Lexington. So what is the point? Add that to Jenny’s husband still being standoffish to Andre…and you get an interesting photograph of the State GOP.

So…if Carroll Campbell’s son and Jenny Sanford has their way, a liberal Democratic Lt. Gov that has said he favors tax increases, will be seated in January. Whatever happened to party loyalty, and sincere and heartfelt conservative political values?

Interesting…very interesting in deed.

6:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the Shealy poll the only one that shows Andre up?

9:00 AM

Blogger Bill Smith said...

Bottom line? The gubna's recent slump seems to be at an end.

Two questions for Will Folks:

1. How much of that is due to the precipitous drop in gas prices?

2. How much does Marky Mark have to win by in order to keep his '12 White House dreams alive?

11:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard for people to see Mike Campbell is a petty little politician…and a mere shadow of his dad? Within the week of the primary, Carroll Campbell would have made the deal to endorse Andre, and to secure his future election.

Mike Campbell has shown all of SC what the Republican Party voters already new…he is not up to the task of big league politics. And for that matter, neither are his advisors.

12:08 PM

Blogger Earl Capps said...

I'm willing to bet that the level of support Jenny has shown is influenced, at least in part, upon the cheap shots Barber took at her husband in the 1994 Congressional race.

As for Mikey ... I agree - his father would have fallen in with the team, no matter what.

Just one of many ways he is so very different from his father. Which is a shame - as much as he waved his father around, you'd think he'd actually consider what Carroll Campbell was all about, and try to emulate that.

1:36 PM

Anonymous Willie said...


This post is 95% on point.

One bad miss:

Andre Bauer is nowhere near cruising in Newberry County. Bauer is almost universally disliked in that part of his old Senate district. He was pummeled in Newberry 4 years ago by Phil Leventis. That was before his many, many ethical lapses. Now he's running against Robert Barber who has significant ties to Newberry. This race will be decided by less than 4% statewide but Barber will stomp Bauer in Newberry.

And Anonymous: The only tax increase has supported is the cigarette tax. Guess who else has supported that? Mark Sanford. Opposition to the cigarette tax dies a little more every single day. Literally.

3:42 PM

Blogger SurveyUSA said...

Notoriously unreliable?

An independent analysis by the National Council on Public Polls found SurveyUSA outperformed all but one traditional pollster in the 2004 presidential election.

An independent analysis completed in November 2004 found that SurveyUSA outperformed all other pollsters in 2004.

SurveyUSA's own analysis found that SurveyUSA outperformed all other pollsters in 2004, by any measure. (caution: large Excel file, takes time to open)

You can find still more independent analysis of SurveyUSA's work in this article by pollster Mark Blumenthal and in this paper by University of Oregon professor Joel Bloom.

SurveyUSA, the nation's most active election pollster, is the only opinion pollster to publish an exhaustive compendium of all election contests it has ever polled, compared to all other pollsters. Our record speaks for itself.

4:32 PM

Anonymous myopic sniper said...

Nice pic of Katon and Robert Cahaly

8:06 AM


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