Tuesday, September 12, 2006
CT-Sen, TN-Sen: New SUSA PollsPosted by James L.
SUSA just released two new Senate polls today, one on the Tennessee Senate race (likely voters):
Harold Ford, Jr. (D): 48
Bob Corker (R): 45
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first SurveyUSA poll of the Tennessee Senate race, so I don't have any trendlines for you, but this confirms the general tightening of the race shown in the (far less reliable) Rasmussen and Zogby Interactive polls, as well as Ford's own internals. Like I've said before, Democrats have a silver bullet that they can use against Corker--namely, the fact that he's completely unfit to hold public office after his abysmal record on providing emergency services as mayor of Chattanooga came to the fore. The Ford campaign and the DSCC should drive this theme hard, because America can ill-afford someone as irresponsible and reckless as Bob Corker in the Senate.
The second poll is far less heartening, but unsurprising:
Ned Lamont (D): 38
Joe Lieberman (Con. for Lie.): 51
Alan Schlesinger (R): 7
Lamont allowed Lieberman to shape the post-primary narrative by taking a week off for a family vacation. While I'm sure Ned was exhausted, I'm afraid that this wasn't a tactically smart move. Ned has some catching up to do. Here's some key data:
Lieberman leads 6:1 among Republicans, 3:2 among Independents. Lamont leads 3:2 among Democrats. 83% of the Democrats who voted for Lieberman in the 08/08/06 Democratic Primary, which Lamont won by 4 points, stick with Lieberman as an Independent in the General Election. 16% of Democrats who voted for Lieberman in the Primary switch to Lamont in the General. 17% of Republicans support the Republican Party's nominee, Schlesinger.
It's been suggested on DailyKos and elsewhere that Ned should offer Schlesinger the chance to debate. At this point, why not? Anything to build up Schlesinger's profile and raise awareness of his conservative stances in order to shave off some support for Lieberman from his right flank would go a long way towards helping Lamont right now. I'm sure Schlesinger would jump at the chance (he needs all the free media he can get), and Lamont could bill it as a "major parties debate" separate from the three-way debates with Lieberman that should come later.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
TN-Sen: Ford's Silver BulletPosted by James L.
I haven't blogged much about the Tennessee Senate race so far this cycle, mostly due to the fact that I've never viewed it as particularly competitive--or even potentially competitive. Harold Ford, Jr. has been on the air with an ever-changing array of (impressive) campaign commercials for a long time, and yet his polling numbers remained flatlined in the low 40s (at best) against his potential Republican opponents during the primary. That's starting to change now that Tennessee Republicans have selected former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker in a nasty three-way primary. Fragments of the conservative Republican base in Tennessee have been less than enthused over a nominee who was on record as a supporter of abortion rights in his first run for the Senate in 1994 (he's since changed his tune), but discontent among the conservative base in Tennessee is not what's making me feel optimistic about Ford's chances this November. Instead, it's Bob Corker's absolutely galling record of incompetence as mayor of Chattanooga. DailyKos diarist and Ford booster R o o k has more here and here. But if you want the 30 second Sparknotes version, just watch this:
In 2001, when Bob Corker took office, understaffing of Chattanooga's 911 emergency repsonse center was already a problem, with 8.8% of 911 calls going unanswered. Over his tenure, that rate steadily increased, hitting 14.9% in 2004 (Corker's last full year as mayor). In 2005, the year in question for the DSCC's ad, unanswered calls hit 16.9%, or 31,000. Now, Corker's campaign is raising an absolutely ridiculous defense, saying that blaming Corker for the gross shortcomings of 2005 is "misleading" because Corker's term expired four months into that year. Well, excuse me, Bob, it was your failures as mayor that caused the 911 emergency response rate to drop during your term and beyond. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press (03/30/06):
A retired Chattanooga police chief said former Mayor Bob Corker thwarted efforts to improve 911 operations by refusing to fund more communications positions.
"I asked for communications officers in every budget, especially under the Corker administration, and each time it was denied," former police Chief Jimmie Dotson said this week from Houston, Texas, where he now lives. "(We) spent many, many, many hours battling the Corker administration asking for communications officers."
Not only that, but Corker's budgetary irresponsibilites as mayor actually resulted in fewer 911 operators on shift at any given time:
In March 2004, Lt. Tara Pedigo wrote in a Chattanooga Police Department internal memo that there was not "sufficient" staffing to prevent unanswered or abandoned emergency phone calls.
Eight months later, Lt. Pedigo, who since has retired, announced that minimum staffing levels would be lowered, as she had been instructed to cut back on overtime within the communications division, according to a document.
There are some things that a mayor just has to do. Ensuring a properly staffed and managed emergency response system is one of them. Under Bob Corker, a bad 911 system in Chattanooga got even worse, and the lives and saftey of thousands of Tennesseans was put at risk. To be blunt, the buck stops with Bob. If he can't ensure life-or-death services to his constituents as mayor, he has no business being in the United States Senate, let alone any public office, anywhere.
Ford has now been handed an absolutely potent line of attack to make against Corker, and the NRSC is scrambling to get this ad off the air with the threat of completely frivolous lawsuits against the TV stations airing the DSCC commercial. National Republicans have been saying for months that their incumbents are safe because they will employ their strength on "local issues" to survive low approval ratings for President Bush and his Republican Congress. If they want to play that game, fine. With Bob Corker's appalling record on local issues now on the ballot, Harold Ford has an excellent opportunity to prove that Democrats can play the local game and win.
If I were Ford, I would ride the issue of Bob Corker's reckless incompetence relentlessly until November 7.
Friday, August 04, 2006
TN: Other Results From The Tennessee PrimaryPosted by RBH
Your winner in the 9th District is Steve Cohen.
Steve Cohen: 29
Nikki Tinker: 27
Joe Ford Jr: 14
The Other 11: 30
Cohen's 2004 TN Sen NPAT shows him as being more liberal than Harold Ford Jr, and barring some giant surge for Independent candidate Jake Ford, Cohen should win this election easily.
The winner in TN-01 appears to be David Davis.
The November matchups in Tennessee
TN-01: David Davis (R) v. Morristown City Councilman Rick Trent (D)
TN-02: Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R) v. John Greene (D)
TN-03: Rep. Zach Wamp (R) v. Brent Benedict (D)
TN-04: Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) v. Ken Martin (R)
TN-05: Rep. Jim Cooper (D) v. Tom Kovach (R)
TN-06: Rep. Bart Gordon (D) v. David R. Davis (R)
TN-07: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) v. Bill Morrison (D)
TN-08: Rep. John Tanner (D) v. John Farmer (R)
TN-09: Steve Cohen (D) v. Mark White (R)
No switches are expected though. I think the only real primary surprise would be Benedict beating Terry Stulce. But then again, it probably says more for Stulce that he spent $47K and lost to someone who hasn't filed an FEC report.
I'd love to see more Tennessee results, but their official page hasn't posted results due to late returns. Yes, seriously.
TN-Sen: Corker (R) Wins, Will Challenge FordPosted by DavidNYC
The results of last night's TN-Sen GOP primary (thanks, Craig):
Bob Corker: 48
Ed Bryant: 34
Van Hilleary: 17
So former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker earns the right to take on Democrat Harold Ford for the Tennessee senate race. Any thoughts on what this means for Ford?
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
TN-Sen: Ford Slips Against Three GOPersPosted by DavidNYC
A new poll from Rasmussen (likely voters, January in parens):
Ford: 36 (40)
Bryant: 45 (42)
Ford: 35 (37)
Hilleary: 43 (43)
Ford: 35 (40)
Corker: 39 (42)
The usually terse Rasmussen provides a few internals, but doesn't offer much of an explanation for Ford's slippage. As for myself, I keep vacillating on whether I think TN-Sen will turn into a legit pickup opportunity this year. Obviously, a poll like this makes you lean "no," but just a month ago, the same survey tilted toward "yes." What do you think?
Monday, October 03, 2005
TN-03: Zach Wamp's New Challenger is a Vietnam VetPosted by DavidNYC
Zach Wamp, a big-time Republican player in the House and currently Congressman for Tennessee's third district, has gotten himself a new challenger, Vietnam veteran Terry Stulce. I don't know much about Stulce beyond what's on his website, but I can tell you this:
• Wamp is gunning for the third-highest leadership position in the House, majority whip. E.J. Dionne thinks Wamp could actually reform the GOP's culture of corruption. I think this inside baseball will be lost on the average voter, and if we successfully (and rightly) highlight the entire Republican Pary's corruption, Wamp will only be inviting a more glaring spotlight if he moves up the ranks. Oh, and he's just as corrupt as the rest of them - see below.
• Wamp, one of the 1994 Republican Revolutionaries, promised to serve only six terms - meaning his time would be up next fall. Of course, he's reneging on that promise. What, twelve years isn't enough?
• Wamp's a carpetbagger. Originally from Georgia, went to college in North Carolina - and then flunked out in 1980.
• While we're talking about college, check this: Zach Wamp lied under oath about whether he had graduated. The way I was raised, you just don't do that.
• Wamp was once convicted for check kiting. I kid you not. So we've moved from liar to criminal. (And he lied about this, too, on an official real estate application.)
• Wamp has admitted to what the media likes to call "a problem with cocaine" in his past. As I hardly need to remind anyone, poor black men go to jail for stuff like this. Well-off white guys like Wamp go to rehab.
I dug up the last set of items from Lexis - almost all mentions of Wamp's various lies and run-ins with the law dropped from conversation in the past decade. The last time these things got any serious airing was in 1994 - in other words, pretty much pre-web. Lexis is the ultimate bulwark against things disappearing down the memory hole, though. Wamp can't hide from his unsavory past.
One last thing, Kossack and Congressional expert Superribbie makes the following point:
Tennesee's 3d is the one GOP-held district in the state we have a shot at winning. It is a 41.3% Dem district (Gore got 42% and Kerry 38%), but with a history of supporting Dems. Wamp won 66-34 the last two times against a placeholder.
If Terry Stulce can capitalize on all of this, we could make life pretty miserable for Zach Wamp.
Monday, August 29, 2005
A Hatred That Knows No LimitsPosted by Tim Tagaris
No, it's not election news and has nothing to do with the hurricane, but I came across this story a few minutes ago and it made me wretch with anger.
Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq. [...]It's only a matter of time before the "party atmosphere" or a "Godless environment" in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street is blamed for whatever destruction is caused by Hurricane Katrina. Just like when Republican spokesman Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on feminists, gays, and People for the American Way--it will happen here too.
The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.
The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you."
Monday, July 25, 2005
TN-Sen: DFA Rises up Against Harold FordPosted by Tim Tagaris
Let me just start out by saying upfront that I really don't know all that much about the details of the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee. I do, however, know enough that this story piqued my interest about a potential grassroots uprising against the presumed nomination of Harold Ford in his primary challenge against lesser-known Rosalind Kurita. It looks like a band of disaffected Kerry volunteers and DFA members ralled to overthrow the Shelby County Democratic Chairman; a chairman that supported Harold Ford for Senate, and had the support of Congressman Ford in the election for Chair.
The former group, the self-described “Coalition,” was one in fact as well as name. It was made up basically of two organizations – Mid-South Democrats in Action, a group of volunteers who’d been active for party nominee John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign and had felt short-shrifted by the established party leadership; and Democracy for Memphis, a local tributary of the reformist movement set in motion by erstwhile presidential hopeful Howard Dean, now national Democratic chairman. [...]We are winning battles each and every day across the country. Like I said, I know next to nothing about Shelby County Tennessee, but when it comes down to it, I trust DFA members. This is what it's all about.
* Dissatisfaction with Ford’s increasingly conservative voting record and rightward-tilting campaign strategy. The two groups making up the Coalition are, in the long-accepted vernacular, “yellow-dog” Democrats, convinced that the chief cause of the party’s electoral reverses in recent years has been the accommodationist politics of over-cautious Democrats.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Push to Revoke Frist's Medical LicensePosted by Bob Brigham
They play hardball at the Liberal Oasis:
You may recall that last December, LiberalOasis encouraged readers to contact the Nashville Academy of Medicine and request that Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist have his medical license revoked.
That was because he violated the AMA Code of Medical Ethics by spreading misinformation about HIV transmission and condom use.
Now once again, he has violated his pledge to be honest in all professional interactions, advance scientific knowledge and maintain a commitment to medical education by claiming to make a superior diagnosis than Terri Schiavos doctors by watching a few video clips.
Since LOs earlier Frist post, LO has obtained the official Nashville Academy of Medicine grievance form from the academys executive director.
To file an ethics complaint, download the form, follow the directions, have it notarized, and return it to the address at the bottom of the form.
Feel free to roll all of Frist's ethical violations into one comprehensive complaint.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
SUSA Polls Suggest a Swing State Bounce for KerryPosted by DavidNYC
Hmm... is there evidence of a swing state bounce for Kerry? Check out the polls below & decide for yourselves.
A huge jump for Kerry in Pennsylvania (PDF, likely voters, June in parens):
Kerry: 53 (47)
Bush: 41 (46)
Other/Undecided: 7 (7)
This lead is clearly well outside the MoE. Part of it surely must be because the June sample was split equally between Dems and Republicans (41% apiece), while the August poll was 46% Dem and just 34% GOP. Ruy Teixeira has ably explained why it doesn't make sense to weight polls by party ID - there are a lot of reasons not to do so. (For example, one reason why more Dems might be responding is that there is simply a surge in people identifying as Democrats.) I'd be very curious to see if this trend holds in SUSA's next PA poll.
Meanwhile, Arlen Specter saw a big drop in his support, but challenger Joe Hoeffel seems unable to increase his poll numbers.
Another big jump - and a surprisingly close race - in Tennessee (PDF, likely voters, June in parens):
Kerry: 46 (41)
Bush: 48 (51)
Other/Undecided: 6 (8)
Like many other observers, I've mostly written off TN for this election - and for the future - on the presidential level. (Don't get me wrong, though: I definitely think this is a state where we can compete strongly on the congressional level.) Al Gore's residual Tennessee background definitely kept the state closer than it otherwise would have been in 2000, so a poll result like this is certainly a surprise. So I'm still going to follow the "This is just one poll" rule - if you don't, you wind up standing on the ledge of a building because of one wacky New Jersey or California survey which shows George Bush one point behind.
And lastly, good old Washington State, where it's all over but the voting (PDF, likely voters, June in parens):
Kerry: 51 (49)
Bush: 43 (44)
Other/Undecided: 5 (7)
I've grown pretty convinced that Bush has no shot in WA. It definitely has to be considered a second-tier swing state: If we win it, it doesn't mean we've won the whole thing, but if we've lost it, it almost certainly means we're hitting the Jack. I don't think WA is as hopeless for Bush as LA is for us, but it's approaching that territory.
It also appears that the Senate campaign of one-time giant-slayer Republican George Nethercutt is crashing and burning as well. SUSA shows him down eleven points. It's hard to prise apart cause and effect here, but Bush certainly isn't helping Nethercutt and vice-versa. Speaking of which, an internal poll conducted by the campaign of the incumbent, Sen. Patty Murray, showed Kerry ahead 49-41. (Available on Polling Report.)
Some general notes: SUSA only asks horserace questions, so no favorability ratings for any of these polls. Also, the low number of undecideds may have a lot to do with how SUSA words their questions: "If the election for President of the United States were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for?" (Argh - as a grammar geek, it infuriates me that they say "who" and not "whom," especially since they manage to get the subjunctive "were" right.) Anyhow, I think that wording exerts as much pressure as possible, so it may mask the true number of undecideds. But given that undecideds are expected to break our way, this probably doesn't matter much.