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Landrieu campaign's attack belies big concern

A not-so-new Zogby Interactive poll puts Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy up by six points over Democrat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, with her treading in almost impossible waters to win reelection at 41 percent. It’s been out for over a month but only publicized today in conjunction with the release of other Senate contest polls by Zogby. Yet release of these somewhat stale results drew a swift response from the Landrieu campaign organization which raises a larger question about the viability of her effort.

The critique was a mixture of the valid, invalid, and hypocritical. Most of it concerned that the Zogby effort gathered voluntary Internet responses, rather than random contacts who then volunteered to participate. While the statement was long on criticisms of the Zogby method, it overstated them (to some degree the non-random/voluntarism problem can be mitigated by certain selection methods) and understated problems with its comparison group of random, presumably telephone polls (principally, the growing problem of voluntary nonresponse and non-random sampling due to the proliferation of cell phones as solitary lines for a household).

It also pointed out that Zogby had been paid last year by the Kennedy organization for a campaign, but failed to note that this one was independent. While insinuating that Zogby therefore would bias results to favor Kennedy, it failed to acknowledge the Landrieu campaign was ripe for the same charge with a poll down by a Democrat operative paid for by her campaign in May which showed her with a tremendous lead. Even that one and none yet done have put her over the presumed magical 50 percent line: any incumbent who cannot go over 50 percent conventional wisdom declares her to be in danger.

That is the real reason the group so savagely attacked the results of the latest Zogby poll. Over the life of polling this race, Landrieu still treads overall barely above 46 percent; industry folks who consider an incumbent who cannot average over 45 percent as a likely loser. If the campaign itself felt confident, it would have issued a simple statement to the effect that polls go all over the place, most have Landrieu ahead, the latest of all (Rasmussen) had her up five at 49, etc. If things are all right, why get upset about a poll which is a snapshot five months before the actual vote?

But the vigor at which it went after these results showed a nerve got hit and means two things likely are happening which have the Landrieu campaign very worried. First, their own internal tracking numbers must show numbers not that much better than Zogby’s, and, second, the trend lines must be headed in a negative direction for her. Only a campaign obsessed with the idea that it is getting no traction would spend so many resources debunking a poll.

Landrieu knows she’s made way too many votes out of step with Louisiana’s majority (the latest attempt at listing some is here) and that she has lost touch with the typical Louisianan got reinforced most recently with a story breaking about her vehicle being illegally parked apparently whenever she pleases. The fierce reaction by the campaign to adverse information smacks of a campaign in trouble responding by shooting the messenger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mary Landrieu has not been a bad Senator for Louisiana. However, she is not a "legitimate" Senator since she stole the election from Woody Jenkins with the help of the corrupt New Orleans political machine. I predict that she will be reelected (beat John Kennedy)on the backs of the Obama voters who will stage a massive turn-out this coming November.