Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?
Consultants Miss Big Picture, Fail To Connect Dots
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
Solomon's words of wisdom here have been quite helpful this past week and a half, when I've had the sense to heed them. Further relevant advice comes from my dad (a Mustang pilot during WW2) and one of my elementary school teachers (a Mitchell navigator during WW2): If you're not drawing fire, then you're not over your target.
Judging by some of the flak I've been catching since Labor Day, I'd say I've discovered a target the value of which neither the blueblooded old guard party elites nor the Snyder-Calley "nerd herd" want as public knowledge.
A big story yesterday in what Nick refers to as the Ivory Tower is that an EPIC-MRA poll conducted September 7-10 shows Governor Rick Snyder ahead of Congressman Mark Schauer by eight points in what current conventional wisdom assumes will be 2014's general election matchup for Michigan Governor. That sounds pretty impressive, until you start looking at a few things.
That press release was a significant news story last week: MIRS included at least a reference in four capitol capsules; the Oakland Press, WDIV-4 in Detroit, the Livingston County Press & Argus, and the MLive Network all included the press release, or a reference to it, as either the core or a key element of at least one news story; and three conservative talk shows ("Mornings in Michigan," "Your Defending Fathers," and the "Renegade River Show") had it as the centerpiece of at least one broadcast segment. Another MLive article referenced an MDP internal memo that cited the press release as evidence that the MIGOP is "coming apart at the seams" (their words, not mine).
Predictably, the iCaucus press release has drawn fire from the political consulting class (who readily pooh-poohed an upstart, branded organization's findings), as well as tea party agitators who somehow connect a credibly-structured survey to some . . . interesting . . . assumptions regarding iCaucus Michigan's motivations. Harper Polling even ran a poll for Conservative Intelligence Briefing, which showed that, among "likely republican primary voters," Snyder leads Agema in a hypothetical primary contest, 64% to 16% (MoE = ±3.17%, undecided = 20%). At least one of the critics, Stu Sandler, claimed that a nationally reputable pollster has more reliable results than a survey of convention delegates.
Maybe, and maybe not. Back to that point in a sec.
Just so we're clear, Harper Polling has only been around since mid-December of 2012, thus in operation between only 8 and 9 months if I have the math right. I mention this because that fact by itself calls the "nationally reputable" claim into question. How did this firm build such a reputation if it hasn't been around long enough to have participated in at least one full election cycle? Also, just for the record, Conservative Intelligence Briefing is a known subsidiary of Strategic National; draw from that whatever conclusions you will.
End of sidebar; back to the dueling polls.
If you're familiar with statistical analysis, then I'm pretty sure you know that the responses you get depend upon the question asked, and whom it's asked of. Harper Polling's survey was of "very likely" or "somewhat likely" Republican Primary Election voters. Notably (buried all the way down at the bottom of the report), 34% of these voters self-identify as being not-republican in their political affiliation! Also, name recognition seems to be a big factor in their "Snyder vs. Agema" hypothetical matchup. The defense being posited by Stu Sandler, as well as known StratNat operatives Gus Portela and Rich Anderson, is that the Harper poll is more "real-world" is its approach, because the gubernatorial nomination is decided in a public primary, not a party convention.
And if the core question of the iCaucus survey were a hypothetical head-to-head primary matchup, then they might have a point. As it is, this is a pretty interesting strawman defense, but not much more. But, for the sake of rebutting the argument on the record, I'll refer readers to my response as published by MIRS last Friday: The only thing that Conservative Intel has established is that, "once name ID and issue education concerns are off the table, Snyder [is] vulnerable against Agema, Attorney General Bill Schuette and, mathematically, former U.S. Senate candidate Gary Glenn."
The core issue of the survey, to be very clear, was to measure the support of the Michigan Republican Party base (effectively represented by polling the master list of convention delegates from the last three conventions) for the unchallenged re-nomination of Rick Snyder and Brian Calley, Snyder specifically. The empirical answer? Not so much.
Hell, in a FaceBook conversation thread, Randy Bishop even pinned Anderson down on the question (screenshot saved should verification be necessary):
Bishop: Polling state convention delegates does show their feelings about Gov. Snyder, and their lack of support proves that they may not work as hard for his re-election as they did in 2010, which may affect the vote of the general public.
Huh, go figure. Because the party base isn't all that stoked on Snyder, his re-nomination isn't exactly a motivator, which may encourage the very people that state party is relying on to "sit this one out" (whether selectively or generally) and teach the powers that be in the MIGOP a lesson by omission. TPTB, of course, will howl that the volunteers can't sit it out, because we have to maintain our majorities in Lansing, and will evoke the "lost decade under Granholm" as their bogeyman of choice in an attempt to prompt support from fear.
Tough, says I (and many others). TPTB in MIGOP were warned about this much earlier this year, during the run-up to the February state convention, that anything perceived as a top-down approach to the 2014 cycle (regardless of how it's packaged and spun) will guarantee the loss of at least 35,000 volunteer hours to the party. That's a lot of lit drops, phone calls, voter identifications, and small-dollar donations that potentially aren't going to happen. We don't have to look any further than last year's presidential election in Michigan to figure out what happens next.
The liberty-minded grassroots network really doesn't care about holding a majority presence in anything other than one of the two legislative chambers (and it doesn't matter which one). What they do care about is sending a message to Michigan Republican Leadership (whether in the State Capitol Complex or the Secchia-Weiser Republican Center) that the party base will no longer tolerate nominees who will not run on the party platform, nor elected officials who will not govern according to it, nor party leadership who will not hold the other two accountable. If that means leaving candidates and party leadership to twist in the wind, and defend for themselves districts that were gerrymandered to ensure party incumbency through the next census cycle, until such time as party leadership gets the hint, then so be it.
Something else that seems to have been missed in all the reporting on the iCaucus press release was the real point of Governor Snyder's approval rating. For convenience, I'll quickly repeat it here:
On a scale of 1 (absolutely disapprove) to 9 (absolutely approve), how would you rate Governor Snyder's first-term performance in office?
Now, go figure, some readers snagged on the approve/disapprove numbers and became quite puzzled as to how a governor who is so popular with his party's base could be so vulnerable to a primary challenge. What they're missing is that the response mean, not even a half-point above the scale mid-point, which is a measure of the degree to which those approving of Snyder's performance do so, indicates that those who approve of Snyder largely do so only barely.
Perhaps now the party base's willingness to consider the possibility of a primary challenger makes a bit more sense from this perspective. Essentially, Snyder's only as good as his most recent "attaboy," and the push for SnyderCaid tossed that one out the window.
To paraphrase Mike Hewitt, host of The Renegade River Show (WKBZ, 1090-AM, Muskegon, Michigan), resistance to a primary election indicates pre-existing consensus, internal apathy, or blind allegiance. The evidence that we have before us is pretty clear regarding the lack of consensus on Snyder's re-nomination, so I'm left wondering which of the other motivators is behind the mindset of those who are stridently objecting to a primary challenge to Governor Snyder.
And this may explain why the consulting class won't take up our challenge to run a similar survey of the party base, testing the same key question. Apparently, it's easier for them to launch strawman counterarguments, instigate red herring rebuttals, or engage in thinly veiled ad hominem attacks than it is for them to publicly admit to the truth.
iCaucus Michigan dared to ask the question that everyone else was already assuming that they knew the answer to (without actually asking it), and not one of our detractors actually believed we could get it done. They've been caught flatfooted with their pants down, a key vulnerability exposed for all to see, are now playing catch up, and they don't like that a bit.
Sucks to be them.
Consultants Miss Big Picture, Fail To Connect Dots | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)
Consultants Miss Big Picture, Fail To Connect Dots | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)
Related Links+ Proverbs 26:4-5
+ EPIC-MRA poll conducted September 7-10
+ general election polling to date
+ Cook Political Report
+ Rothenberg Political Report
+ Sabato's Crystal Ball
+ consensus opinion
+ iCaucus Michigan survey
+ downloadab le version of the press release here
+ Oakland Press
+ Livingston County Press & Argus
+ MLive Network
+ Mornings in Michigan
+ Renegade River Show
+ coming apart at the seams
+ Conservati ve Intelligence Briefing
+ Harper Polling has only been around since mid-December of 2012
+ buried all the way down at the bottom of the report
+ response as published by MIRS last Friday
+ core issue of the survey
+ Also by Kevin Rex Heine