Left In Lowell

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September 19, 2012

It’s Not Magic

by at 8:07 pm.

Warren surges in four separate polls this week; suddenly the tables have turned in a race that everyone said was Brown’s to lose. This isn’t just a simple convention bounce; we’re two weeks past…and general analysis of the internals of the polls are showing that the surge is Democrats “coming home” to Warren. A good part of that, I’m sure, is her performance at the convention. But there is a much more prosaic, basic, and boring explanation as well.

David Bernstein takes a look at campaign expenditures (bold mine).

Brown’s spending is all message, no organization. Of the $3.8 million he spent, $2.8 million went straight to “placed media” — ad buys. Another $360,000 went to direct mail. That only leaves about $600,000 for everything else.

By contrast, Warren spent $2.3 million on ad buys and a whopping $1.1 million on direct mail — which still leaves about $1.5 million on the rest.

A big chunk of that, roughly a quarter-million dollars, went to Warren’s Internet consultants.

But the big difference is payroll. The Warren campaign has a stunning 77 people on the payroll, compared to 20 on the slim Brown campaign.

Democrats in the state are going back to a very old fashioned campaigning idea. Ever since the rise of Deval Patrick, and John Walsh, there has been a resurgence of door-knocking, neighbor to neighbor, on-the-ground retail politics. Of course, that sort of thing has been happening all along, as many longtime stalwart Democratic apparatchiks could tell you, but it’s the intensity and the energy that has changed. (Technology like databases and internet and Google maps haven’t hurt, either.)

Having done some canvassing and phone banking in the last six years, I can honestly tell you that even in the late hours of the 2006 Patrick campaign, I have never seen the level of participation from volunteers as I have in the last several months of the Warren campaign. Back in the spring, there were so many volunteers showing up, that they got frustrated that the campaign wasn’t moving more quickly or hiring enough organizers to put them to work. Fast forward to September, and those 77 people on the payroll are, well, paying off.

When an enthused and excited Democrat comes to another Democrat’s doorstep and talks about Elizabeth Warren and what she stands for, you can be sure that that Democrat will reconsider any ticket-splitting they might have done in November. Democratic-leaning unenrolleds will, too. The first half of voter ID is all about figuring out who your supporters are, but it also has a side effect of convincing some voters who are undecided or thinking of voting for the opponent, due to the one-on-one conversations at front doorsteps, the personal notes left behind on literature when someone is not home, and the sheer visibility of the campaign. The more people you have out there doing the talking, the more converts you’re likely to make.

The hand-wringing is already beginning on the other side. You’ll see them try to blame “DC Democrats” imposing their will and their support and their money in this race…or the media turning against them…or just being red specks in a blue sea. They don’t see it coming, because they just. Don’t. Get it.

The thing about retail politics, though, is that you have to have a message that resonates with people where they live. In the marketplace of ideas, I don’t think you could sell people on tea-party extremism, or sell a candidate who will double down on the Blunt amendment and vote against jobs bills and water down Wall St reform but who claims to be a moderate independent.

You also need bodies. Lots and lots of bodies. Hiring people on payroll is a huge head start, but then you need a horde of volunteers under them willing to give up a Saturday afternoon or a Thursday night and walk a neighborhood. You can’t drum up enthusiasm unless you have a great candidate.

It’s not magic. It’s hard work and steady, unremarkable, persistent grunt work. Work that is ongoing and still needs doing right up until the end. The Warren campaign, by dint of where they spend their time, money, and energy, obviously gets that. It’s why they will be successful once the votes are cast in November.

(And in case you don’t get the hint, Warren peeps, please please please offer an afternoon or two yourselves if you haven’t already. Or even if you have!)

14 Responses to “It’s Not Magic”

  1. Fran McDougall Says:

    UML just put out a disturbing poll. I guess when we’re starting to feel really good about how things are going someone drops the other shoe.

  2. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Here is the Press Release about the poll that Fran is talking about, one of the more interesting aspects is this paragraph:
    “the poll found that a substantial number of voters could change their minds before Election Day: 29 percent of those supporting Brown and 19 percent of Warren supporters indicated they may change candidates.”

    N E W S R E L E A S E

    Sept. 19, 2012

    Contact: Christine Gillette, (w) 978-934-2209, (c) 978-758-4664, Christine_Gillette@uml.edu

    Poll: Brown Has Edge Over Warren in Race for U.S. Senate

    New UMass Lowell-Boston Herald Survey Finds Slight Lead for Incumbent

    LOWELL, Mass. – Republican incumbent Scott Brown has the edge over Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in the race for U.S. Senate, according to a new UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll released today.

    The independent, nonpartisan poll – which surveyed more than 500 Massachusetts registered voters – found that 50 percent of registered voters said they would vote for Brown if the election were today, compared to 44 percent for Warren. Among those deemed likely to vote, Brown got 49 percent support to Warren’s 45 percent. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 5 percentage points. The survey, conducted Sept. 13 through Sept. 17, began a week after the end of the Democratic National Convention, at which Warren had a prime-time speaking slot. The last night of the poll was the day a video was disclosed of Mitt Romney making controversial comments at a private fundraiser.

    The new findings are a reversal from the last UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll, conducted in December 2011, which found Warren had a seven-point advantage, 49 percent to 42 percent, over Brown. The poll released today is the third by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion and the Boston Herald; they were the first to ask voters about a potential Brown-Warren matchup in September 2011 and held the first debate in the Senate race between the Democratic candidates in October 2011.

    Brown and Warren will debate at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell on Monday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. The UMass Lowell-Boston Herald debate will be the first between the candidates that is open to the public and more than 4,500 people are expected to attend.

    The poll found that Brown is backed by one in five Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and a similar share (22 percent) of the 60 percent of likely voters who say they support re-electing President Barack Obama. Brown also has the support of 58 percent of all independent voters surveyed, up from 53 percent in December 2011. The new poll found Warren has the support of 35 percent of independent voters, compared to 37 percent in the December poll.

    Brown has also made gains among voters asked who would better represent the middle class, an area that has been a hallmark of Warren’s campaign. Asked which candidate would do a better job of looking out for middle-class families’ economic interests, 46 percent of registered voters polled said Warren and 44 percent said Brown. Warren had a 10-point advantage in this area in December’s poll.

    The new UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll found that Brown has opened a large lead among men, 20 points among registered voters (56 percent for Brown and 36 percent for Warren) and 18 points among likely voters. In December’s poll, Warren and Brown were almost exactly even among men and Brown has eroded Warren’s advantage among women voters since December from an 18-point lead among registered voters for Warren to seven points now. Warren received 51 percent among women registered voters in both polls, while Brown has improved from 35 percent support to 44 percent.

    “Brown’s apparent advantage is built on a narrowing gender gap among women and a widening gender gap among men. These numbers also represent a significant shift from December and indicate that Brown’s campaign has been especially effective at winning over independents, including those who are Democratic-leaning,” said Joshua Dyck, associate professor of political science and co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion. “The return of Brown’s pickup truck and his moves to the center appear to be playing well with all voters, but especially men.”

    Warren’s favorability score increased 14 points from December to 48 percent favorable now. Her unfavorable rating rose from 27 to 34 percent. Brown’s job approval rating among voters improved from 45 percent in December to 58 percent in this poll. His favorability rating climbed 13 percent to 57 percent favorable, compared to 29 percent unfavorable.

    The new poll also looked at the race for the White House and found that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have a large lead over Republican challengers Romney and Paul Ryan, 60 percent to 35 percent among registered voters and 59 percent over 36 percent among likely voters. Obama’s favorable rating is 60 percent to 34 percent unfavorable among voters surveyed, virtually unchanged from the December poll, and Romney’s favorable rating is 32 percent to 60 percent unfavorable, compared to 40 percent favorable and 48 percent unfavorable in December.

    “While Gov. Romney continues to trail President Obama in Massachusetts by a margin nearly identical to that in our poll last December, Sen. Brown, in that time, has seen his favorability rise significantly and his unfavorable rating decline,” said Prof. Frank Talty, co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion.

    Other findings from the poll include:

    · Thirty percent of voters surveyed said Warren is too liberal while 24 percent said Brown is too conservative. Fifty-six percent called Brown’s ideology “about right,” up 11 points since December. Forty-nine percent said they see Warren’s ideology as “about right,” up 9 points since December.

    · Warren leads Brown among the youngest and oldest voters, with 54 percent to 40 percent support among likely voters younger than 35 and 51 percent to 43 percent among likely voters age 65 and older. She also leads among voters who hold master’s or other advanced degrees, while Brown has the advantage among those with some college or undergraduate degrees; the candidates evenly split support among voters who did not continue their education past high school.

    · Massachusetts voters’ views on the role of government held nearly steady from a UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll conducted in September 2011. The latest poll found that 49 percent said the government should do more to solve problems, 41 percent said it is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.

    · Gov. Deval Patrick’s favorability rating among voters surveyed is 57 percent favorable, 33 percent unfavorable, compared with 52 percent favorable to 31 percent unfavorable a year ago.

    In the Senate matchup, the poll found that a substantial number of voters could change their minds before Election Day: 29 percent of those supporting Brown and 19 percent of Warren supporters indicated they may change candidates.

    “Scott Brown has been running numerous ads touting endorsements from Democrats well-known in various parts of the state, as well as one with President Obama telling him, ‘Good job.’ These may be helping him retain considerable crossover appeal with voters in this poll. Brown needs their backing in strong numbers if he is to win re-election as a Republican in heavily Democratic Massachusetts,” said Mike Mokrzycki, the independent survey researcher who directed the poll for the Center for Public Opinion and Boston Herald. He is the former head of polling for the Associated Press whose other clients include NBC News, where he manages the exit poll operation, and the Pew Research Center.

    Results for the UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 524 Massachusetts voters conducted Sept. 13 through Sept. 17 via landline and cellular telephones by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 5.3 percentage points. More information on the poll methodology and full polling data are available at www.uml.edu/polls.

    UMass Lowell is a comprehensive, national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 16,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu

  3. Lynne Says:

    This poll LOOKS like an outlier, and then there’s this.

    Underpolling Democrats in a presidential year with Obama on the ticket…is that wise??

    And if they underpolled Dems, that would totally square with the analysis about “Dems coming home” being the main reason for the Warren lead in the other polls.

  4. Lynne Says:

    UML ought to have partnered with a more credible outfit…

  5. Lynne Says:

    “the poll found that a substantial number of voters could change their minds before Election Day: 29 percent of those supporting Brown and 19 percent of Warren supporters indicated they may change candidates.”

    Oh, and DEBATE TONIGHT!! :)

  6. Lynne Says:

    From a comment on BMG:

    The Herald fudged the numbers, why?

    It looks like the Herald changed how they conducted their poll to undersample Democrats. The Herald conducted a poll in December 2011 the poll sampled 33% Democrats (which could still be argued as undersampling), from 33% they went down to 28%. A good question to ask the pollster. Why did you change your sampling parameters to lower the amount of Democrats?

    Sept. 13-17, 2012

    RVs by party – Unleaned: D 28% of RVs, I 56%, R 12%
    Leaned: D 55% of RVs, I 8%, R 36%
    LVs by party – Unleaned: D 28% of LVs, I 56%, R 11%
    Leaned: D 56% of LVs, I 7%, R 36%

    Dec. 1-6, 2011

    Party breaks – Unleaned: D 33% of sample, I 50%, R 12%
    Leaned: D 56% of sample, I 11%, R 32%

    johnk @ Thu 20 Sep 8:56 AM

    I’d really like to know their reasoning about this, because I’m scratching my head.

  7. Jack Says:

    I’m not writing off Scott Brown. That would be folly. Of course, I am convinced he is a product of his image consultants and that Bay Staters will see through the facade, as Dem operatives strip it away over the next 46 days.

    The debates will loom large, as Brown has a weakness in those that support him. Poor debate performance could swing those voters from Brown to Warren.

    The biggest factor, imho, will be voter turnout. If the Warren campaign can beat the bushes and pound the ground, then Warren will win based on volume. Financial data shows us that Brown is investing in advertising. He is, afterall, a “made for TV candidate.” Warren is paying for staff.

    We can joke about Warren being a “job creator,” but “The Warren campaign has a stunning 77 people on the payroll, compared to 20 on the slim Brown campaign.

    It will be close, but Brown is betting that Warren’s campaign will mobilize enough “Rita Mercier Democrats” for him.

    I’m liking Warren’s odds.

  8. Lynne Says:

    As I was saying to the Mr., I don’t expect Brown to have a poor performance in the debates, not in the meltdown-OMG sense. I think he’ll keep his cool. But I also think he’ll dodge questions, especially when called on his mischaracterizations and outright lies, and on policies he supports that are just plain bad (see trickle-down post). I think he also runs screaming from the Republican party, despite his ties to Romney, despite the fact he’ll happily caucus with them and has happily obstructed the majority’s agenda these last two years, and running screaming is never good for you, it makes you look like you’re craven (”I’ll vote with and for Mitch McConnell and Romney but I divorce myself from them, no, really!”).

    The thing about MA voters, is that they aren’t really that dumb. They “can see a church by daylight.” If Brown looks like he’s dodging questions, or his answers are very vague, they’ll notice and judge accordingly. Since the only answers Brown CAN give in order to look “moderate” are by dodging and vagary, and by contrast Warren is full of facts, specifics, and likely, very direct answers…well, I expect that any viewers at least will be able to see the difference quite well without punditry to filter it for them.

  9. Hiawatha Says:

    on the polls–check today Martyville and the Herald have it right.

  10. joe from Lowell Says:

    I knew something had to be funny with that poll when the Republican did better among registered voters than among likely voters. That is never the case, and especially not in a Presidential election year when the Republicans have a (small, shrinking, but still noticeable) enthusiasm advantage.

  11. Paul@01852 Says:

    The latest is that Senate Repugs were stalling so that Brown could cancel tonight’s debate claiming “Senate business” h/t TPM: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/09/harry-reid-calls-off-votes-to-prevent-scott-brown-from-ditching-debate-with-elizabeth-warren.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  12. Lynne Says:

    Hiawatha has wishful thinking problems.

    And ya gotta love random drive by comments…that tells me more than anything else does.

  13. Right In Lowell Says:

    Liz seems to have another issue. She’s not licensed to practice law in Mass; yet she uses her cambridge office address to practice law. Bet we don’t see this in the globe!

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/09/elizabeth-warrens-law-license-problem/

  14. Lynne Says:

    Right, because all the rest of these silly lines of attack have worked so well. That website seems incredibly winger and biased. And it says

    “As detailed below, there are at least two provisions of Massachusetts law Warren may have violated.”

    This is rampant *speculation* - this guy obviously doesn’t know any of the facts, just throw shit on a wall to see what sticks. As explained on BMG:

    The United States Supreme Court has its own admission process. The Travelers case and a couple of other cases cited by some right-wing blogs were U.S. Supreme Court cases. Warren is admitted to the United States Supreme Court.

    In addition, Warren was not “counsel of record” on the Travelers brief, she was “of counsel.” A Harvard Law professor, as an “of counsel” attorney on a brief in the U.S Supreme Court, is not “practicing law in Massachusetts” simply by listing a Cambridge address on the brief’s cover.

    There is even more latitude when the brief is an amicus curiae brief, or friend of the court brief. In that case the attorney is not representing a party, but simply giving the court more information or another view on behalf of a “friend of the court.” These are routine in the Supreme Court. Warren’s Travelers brief was not such a brief, she represented a party in that case, but most of the others cited in the right-wing blogosphere were. And most of them were in the U.S. Supreme Court, a court to which Warren was – and is -admitted.

    Warren’s name was on a brief in a couple of cases in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Again not as counsel of record. Her role in the case (the last name on the brief) may not have required her to be admitted to that court, or she may have been admitted pro hac vice – just for that case. It happens all the time when out-of-state lawyers are involved in cases. I’ve done it dozens of times. The Fifth Circuit requires attorneys admitted to its bar to retain membership in some state’s bar, but Warren was admitted at all relevant times in New Jersey (she apparently resigned from that bar two weeks ago for some reason), and in the federal district court in New Jersey as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.

    My name was on briefs filed in federal appellate courts to which I’m not admitted in states in which I’m not admitted. I was not counsel of record. Counsel of record was admitted in the court, or at least admitted pro hac vice.

    Now, the commenter says at the beginning, “I do not know all the facts” but seems to have a pretty easy explanation what the situation likely is. But this is about distracting from the real issues of Brown’s voting record and his past history…you see, if you can drum up doubt, even manufactured from thin air, about your opponent, maybe the press and the voters won’t pester you about your poor performance.

    Scott Brown, Empty Suit and Not a Nice Guy.

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