"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.
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 ...