Free Markets, Free People
As we enter October, now is the time to begin to pay close attention to election polls. As the November election date approaches, more and more people will turn their attention to them and the polls will begin to more accurately reflect the probable outcome.
But there are other polls out there that are interesting as well. They give indicators, moods and trends which, when combined with election polls help better explain why one candidate is surging and the other faltering.
Two of those catch my notice today. The first is the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll. While it may mean absolutely nothing in 2012, the most important year for Obama, it does provide a snap-shot of the mood of the electorate. In it pollsters found:
- Only 38% say Obama deserves re-election and 44% will vote to oust him out
- Voters trust congressional Republicans to create jobs more than Obama by an 11-point margin
- Republicans hold a 4-point edge in generic ballot
The significance is the difference in his job approval rating (42% – an all time low) and his "deserves reelection" rating. The latter is the most significant, and it says he’s a one term president – for now. Remember, in politics, it is all about the confidence one has in the leadership. This poll could be considered a lack of confidence vote as it concerns Obama right now.
The fact that voters ‘trust’ Republicans to create more jobs than Democrats by 11 points isn’t so much an endorsement of Republican economic policies, but a rejection of Democratic ones. They’re deemed to have failed (and that failure, I would claim, is directly connected with Obama’s reelection number).
You have to wonder if Republicans are able to do a marginally better job on the job front (or the economy begins to rebound naturally and they get some credit) whether it will also pick up Obama’s reelection numbers.
The last number – 4% on the positive side for the GOP on the generic ballot – simply reflects the facts the other two numbers do. Voters are deeply dissatisfied with Democrats. That doesn’t mean they’re wild about the GOP though.
Some other news from the poll concerns the media preferences of the electorate:
- 81% of those polled get midterm election news from cable news channels
- 42% say Fox News is their main source – more than CNN (30%) and MSNBC (12%) combined
- Bill O’Reilly seen to have greatest "positive impact" of opinionated media personalities with 49%, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are second and third
- MSNBC personalities largely unknown – 70% have never heard of Ed Schultz, 55% haven’t heard of Rachel Maddow
Now this is interesting stuff for many reasons. One is it provides proof that the left’s attempted demonization of Fox News has not worked at all. I wonder how that’s going to sit with the White House. In fact, it seems to have been a dismal failure. What the left would characterize as “right biased media” apparently rules.
Secondly, I find it hilarious that the “stars” of the left are unknown to the majority of those polled. And remember, the 30% who say they have heard of Ed Schultz (I’d be one of those) don’t necessarily listen to him (I’d also be one of those). John Stewart, however, did quite well on the “positive impact” side of things.
Last – is Limbaugh’s star being eclipsed by O’Reilly and Beck? I realize that O’Reilly, for some reason, has held the top spot on cable opinion shows for some time, and Beck does both radio and cable while Limbaugh only does radio, but that’s interesting info if correct. However, regardless as to the ranking of those three, they apparently convincingly own the “positive impact” category of “opinionated media”. Wonder what Hannity thinks about all this (and not being really in the running?)?
And as an aside, despite their declining circulation numbers, newspapers remain the most important news source for likely voters:
Despite steady declines in circulation over the past decade, newspapers are more influential than national news broadcasts when it comes to news on the upcoming election, with 72 percent of respondents saying they turn to newspapers or their websites.
Local news did better, at 73 percent, and conversations with friends and family was the second-most-cited source, at 79 percent. Radio was cited by only 58 percent of respondents, and non-newspaper websites and blogs by 39 percent.
Anyway, all of this makes sense when you view the results of the other poll. And, given the majorities who’ve never heard of the liberal show hosts, I’m not sure it would be any different if it was the Republicans in control and failing as dismally as the Democrats are. When that was the case, those folks were on the air and apparently few were tuning in to hear what they had to say.
Why? Because for the most part, Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly talk about getting government out of our hair, making it smaller and less costly. That resonates. That reflects the mood of the country. It is also something you’re not going to hear from the Ed Shultz’s and Rachel Maddow’s of the world.
There’s a free clue (and one that should be obvious by now) to any politician or political party that wants it.
Here’s a very interesting clip with QandO’s founder, Jon Henke.
If you haven’t been following this, Jon, now at The Next Right which he helped co-found, has been at war with World Net Daily, claiming that the web site feeds the baser instincts of the right and distracts them from the more important issues. His call is for a boycott, not against WND, but those “respectable” institutions on the right, such as the Republican National Committee, who continue to associate and support WND.
Whether or not you agree, Jon’s point is that if credibility is an issue, and association with the fringe loony conspiracy theorists is a detriment to one’s credibility, then it is best, if you value your credibility, to distance yourself from that fringe.
Or said another way, if Van Jones can be found to be unacceptable for government service because he associated with and supported truthers, the very same credibility issue seems valid for those who associate with and support some fringe loony group on the right such as those who believe the Obama administration is planning to set up concentration camps for political dissidents.
It would be hard for anyone on the right to take anything Van Jones says seriously because his credibility is shot by such an association. How hard, then, is it to understand that when Michael Steel or the RNC say anything, their credibility is suspect because they associate and do business with an organization which claims that there are concentration camps being set up for political dissidents?
Anyway, what is most interesting about the clip is his challenge to Maddow at the end. She dodges it, suggesting that she’s really not that interested in doing what she claims to be interested in, but kudos to Jon for making it.
[HT: Liberty Papers]
Since very few of you (or anybody really) watch the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, you probably missed last night’s segment featuring QandO founder Jon Henke. Jon recently started a bit of a dust-up on the right by taking on WorldNetDaily and those who sponsor the publication’s efforts:
This is just hideously embarrassing for the Right.
[T]he Web site Worldnetdaily.com says that the government is considering Nazi-like concentration camps for dissidents. Jerome Corsi, the author of “The Obama Nation,” an anti-Obama book, says that a proposal in Congress “appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.”
In the 1960′s, William F. Buckley denounced the John Birch Society leadership for being “so far removed from common sense” and later said “We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner.”
I think it’s time to find out what conservative/libertarian organizations support WND through advertising, list rental or other commercial collaboration (email me if you know of any), and boycott any of those organizations that will not renounce any further support for WorldNetDaily.
Unsurprisingly, Jon has taken some grief (intermixed with some positive results) for his choice of target. On Maddow’s show, Jon summarizes the response as about one-third support for what he’s doing, one-third ambivalence, and one-third “no enemies on the right” reactions.
I guess I fall somewhat in the ambivalent crowd: I don’t disagree with Jon’s take on WND, but I also don’t think it’s worth challenging lest its profile be raised in importance. Frankly, everything negative that can be said about WND — e.g. promotes conspiracy theories, plays to the “fevered swamps”, detracts from the intellectual discourse regarding politics, etc. — can also be said about the New York Times, Washington Post and the Legacy Media. The difference, of course, is that far more people get their news from these traditional outlets than from WND. Indeed, if the MSM had not failed so miserably in holding government officials accountable (regardless of party), then I expect many in those fevered swamps would be less inclined to turn to oulets like WND for their “news”. As it stands, however, too many on the right see patently biased opinion pushed as incontrovertible fact and their reasonable critiques of lefty policy either ignored or ridiculed. It doesn’t take too long before they begin looking for a champion on the right, one that at least some of them have found in WND (which, I agree, is to their detriment).
I’m also somewhat disturbed by the notion that “elites” on the right “deserve” to be at the center of the discussion regarding the direction of the conservative/libertarian political movement. From where I sit, “deserve” has nothing to do with it, but instead those who advance the best ideas in line with conservative/libertarian principles, both through coherent thought and digestible delivery, will naturally get that coveted attention. What makes someone “elite” in this sense is his or her ability to connect with voters based on those conservative/libertarian ideas, not being really smart and/or educated at the correct places. That’s something that seems to have been lost recently amongst the self-designated elites on the right. And just as embattled righty voters feel abandoned by the media, in many ways I think they feel just as abandoned by their political leaders. They will fill that void with something if no one of substance steps up.
In any case, Jon does make a good point that when establishments such as the RNC throw their support behind conspiracy-traffickers like WND it hurts the right. Marginalization, therefore, is a good strategy and one that can be fairly easily obtained. Whether it helps the conservative/libertarian movement, however, really depends on what the “elites” offer up to replace the red meat readily devoured by the fever swamps. I’m all for logical, reasoned and effective discourse in the political battle, but on some level that discourse has to connect with how the average voter.
In short, while WND may be a problem for the right it is really a symptom and not a cause. Many voters think that they have no voice in political matters any more, since the MSM all but ignores them except to ridicule them, and their leaders are either absent at worst or ineffectual at best. Personally, I think that is one of the primary reasons underlying the enormous groundswell of support for Tea Parties and townhall dissenters — if nobody is going to say it for them, they’ll do it themselves. If we truly want to marginalize outlets like WND then, the right will need for real leaders to find their way to the forefront. Seeing how leaders such as Sarah Palin (who is the only one talking like Reagan these days) have been treated by the self-appointed leaders on the right, while fools such as Megan McCain and David Brooks have been feted, I honestly don’t know who that will be.