Thursday, October 28, 2010

Technology Making Polling More Difficult

When I look back on this election, two key things will stick out in my mind: how muddy it was and how much polling was done. I cannot remember an election when we’ve ever more anxiously waited with bated breath for each new poll result, especially in the case of the United States Senate race in West Virginia.

But with each new poll there seems to be more and more inaccuracies due to sample flaws, the nature of who conducts the poll (Orion Strategies ring a bell), etc...

Recently a tweep and I were discussing inaccuracies in current polling and how technology is making the business of polling increasingly difficult. How so? Lots of people are trading their landlines for mobile devices, which by law cannot be randomly called. Because of new phone technologies like Vonage, Yahoo Phone, and Magic-Jack people are retaining older area codes, making it harder to get a scientific sample. While these problems were prevalent two years ago, they’ve significantly increased during this election cycle, and could lead to across the board inaccuracies.

This is extremely concerning to this stiletto-clad, 25-year old because it could undercount the amount of young people who turn out to vote this midterm election.

If only polling could be conducted through mobile devices... But it sort of already is.

Today’s digital culture provides a platform for debate, drawing instant feedback from blogs or Facebook chats. The culture demands transparency, along with a desire to engage in heated discussions as opposed to the stonewalling we commonly see on TV.

Social media are revolutionizing the way politicians campaign, increasing candidate and constituent relationships through conversation and providing instant feedback that cannot be achieved from traditional polling.

Is social media the next generation of polling?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Was there an actual debate?

Was there an actual debate?

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

Last night we watched as the four candidates for United States Senate “debated.” It might have been called a “debate”, but according to WSAZ’s Jessica Ralston (@JessicaRalston), the Gazette’s Kathryn Gregory (@kitgregory), the Daily Mail’s Ry Rivard (@ryrivard) what happened on TV last night was anything but. Where were the hardball questions? No one raised their voices, no one debated. So I’m calling for a Twitter debate between the candidates. No, we all know it most likely won’t be them doing the tweeting, but since their campaigns cannot pick a mutually beneficial date to debate in Charleston, this seems like the most logical solution. Thoughts?

Changing the subject a little, the most surprising candidate last night was the Constitution Party’s Jeff Becker. Whoever prepared him for that debate should have given him a xanex. Someone tweeted asking if he even spoke English. Another tweep said he would be the Daily Show’s dream. Needless to say, he won’t be our next United States Senator.

Winners and losers from last night’s debate:

Winning moments:

-John Raese (@RaeseforSenate) had two quotes I rather enjoyed, the first one being “We win, you lose.” The second one being “It’s called demand.”

-Joe Manchin’s charisma, calmness, appearance, and perfect sound bites. The quote that ended the debate, was nothing short of cheesy perfection: "I believe in you, and I'm asking you to believe in me."

-Manchin taking on the “rubber stamp” tag and owning it.

Big fat fails of the so-called debate:

-Raese wearing his Rolex and black suit. It’s not a funeral.

-Becker’s inability to speak coherently (I appreciate nervousness but there are pills for that).

-Johnson waisting half of his closing “minute” to speak fussing about how he didn’t get to respond to previous questions.

And moments I was lost:

-Becker talking about physics

-Johnson asking “Are you sick enough yet?”

-Raese’s statements on global warming

-Johnson dwelling on penmanship

-No one asking about subpoenas

I think West Virginians need to see a the candidates speak for two hours and it needs to be an actual debate. You can call what happened last night a debate, but for many of us it wasn’t.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Watergate of 2010

In yesterday’s New York Times, Jill Abramson juxtaposed the Watergate scandals of 1972 compared to the General Election of 2010.

According to Abramson, “...the fund-raising practices that earned people convictions in Watergate...are back in a different form in 2010.”

I couldn’t agree more, but there’s one big difference between 1972 and today: legality. It’s perfectly legal to receive secret campaign cash. While contributors cannot donate specifically to candidates, they can donate to campaigns that directly support or attack candidates. I’m sure the GOP is thanking the Supreme Court every day for this, as they are the party significantly taking advantage of this law.

I feel full disclosure of campaign contributions greatly increases transparency and really shows what kind of person a candidate is. Voters need to know who is funding political campaigns, because buying seats in government is unethical and unacceptable.

The scariest thing? Think of how many millions are being spent on campaigns now... it’s just setting the stage for 2012.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Manchin’s Campaign: Recommendations from the Politico in Stilettos

I believe it was Mic Jagger who said, “You can let yourself go, just as long as you can bring yourself back.” The United States Senate campaign between Manchin and Raese has many politicos across the nation wondering if Manchin can bring himself back in and come out on top.

It’s without question that his campaign has made mistakes, and this Politico in Stilettos is not only learning from those mistakes, but moreover trying to learn how to spin them and come out on top. But how to you spin the GOP’s “rubber stamp for Obama” angle?

Simple. You rebrand Manchin’s relationship with Obama, with a little help from Ringo. Who do you go to for advice? Who do you trust? Who helps you in times of need?

“Oh I get by with a little help from my friends...”

Manchin is a friend of Obama, someone who can most effectively teach him about the very special needs of our very unique wild, wonderful West Virginia. Obama surrounds himself with friends, meaning people he respects and trusts. I’m sure he doesn’t trust someone who slams everything the man has or hasn’t accomplished since he ran for office. Would you give someone the time of day if all they told you was how wrong you were? I know I wouldn’t. We all know Manchin is a “Friend of Coal” and, especially based on some of the GOP’s ads right now, he’s a friend of Obama. Thus, Manchin is the man who can make Obama a friend of coal.

Next problem: NRSC’s ad about “DC Joe”, how do you spin that?

Joe Manchin will not be the “DC Joe” the GOP has attempted to brand him as. Rather, he’s West Virginia’s Joe. Nobody knows West Virginia’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats like a full-time West Virginian. How many similarities does West Virginia have in common with Florida? As a legislator and as Governor, Manchin has been there for the people of West Virginia, and he will continue to be there because he’s West Virginia’s Joe.

If I had a hand in his campaign, these are what I’d propose to do on TV with corresponding direct mail and social media. But, that’s me.